Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another Revolution


This revolution is in society, and is more powerful than any mere political revolution.

It has been mentioned before that we lose and rediscover knowledge, this is just another instance.

As mentioned in the Bastiat Free University blog:

Disruptive technology and disruptive innovation are both well described in Wikopedia
. Joseph Schumpeter presented a well developed economist's view of the same idea in the 1940s, he called it creative destruction .

Destruction probably was discovered under another name prior to Schumpeter. The basic idea is both simple and intuitive. A new technology starts as a basic tool to address unmet or marginally profitable needs. As it develops it overtakes old technologies to everyone's benefit, except those tied to the old tech.

In the industrial age Schumpeter favored protected patent monopolies as a way to ensure profit for the creative. The speed of creation in the information age seems to be making patent protection obsolete and perhaps counter productive.

Rapid adaptation and a sterling reputation will be the valued hallmarks of the netcohort operating in the network society. As governments and their regulations shrink, the costs of entry to markets will decline. Ease of starting a new venture should ensure a constant flow of life style enhancing disruptive technologies.

The industrial age is almost over. Creating "one size fits all" solutions was the most profitable and most direct way of benefiting the greatest number. Industry, education, government, in fact all institutions developed on this precept; large size is more efficient. The needs of the individual were pushed aside as the needs of society were addressed.

This is changing, of course inevitable is not the same as immediate. The huge once efficient structures of the information age are being hollowed out as individuals and the small associations of the netcohort are empowered.

What is changing the dynamic of individual interactions with society?

Technology. The same disruptive technology that is ushering in the information and
miniaturization age. It is easier now than ever to craft a solution that is custom fit to the individual. As needs are identified in the emerging network society, small groups of the new netcohort will quickly identify the needs as opportunities and respond.

Bastiat Free University is an example of a disruptive innovation. Higher education has become a track meet for bureaucrats, their job is to place archaic hurdles in front of students. The goal of the race is not learning, but
education. Education, having survived the bureaucracy, is confirmed by the awarding of a diploma. A diploma is not prized as evidence of useful knowledge; A diploma is a job search personal marketing tool.

I'll say that again.

A degree evidenced by a diploma has primarily become a
marketing tool to sell yourself to an employer.

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."
Mark Twain

Twain used schooling for education, education for knowledge, but his
precursor to my statement stands. And there are now a hundred more years of silly rules applied.

A degree is of value if you want to be part of government, or a monopoly, or a similar structure. The bigger the institution the more they value your self marketing tool diploma as proof of your willingness to do the absurd for a pecuniary reward.

If you are preparing for the network society.

If your goal is to be part of the network class.

What will matter in the future is knowledge, personal integrity, flexibility, and accomplishment.

These also matter now, if you want to start your own business.

When will the change from large is best to small networks conquer all take place? It will be gradual, over a very long time period, if ever. If you want a guess on when it becomes apparent; look for it as we exit the depression we now appear to be entering. Give it ten to fifteen years and even the US post office will privatize; small, efficient, and creative will by then be on the rise.

Do you want an example of a potentially disruptive technology that may force change sooner? Consider the implications of this BBC story.

Am I a Polyanna?


We know the death throes of large economies of scale have begun. Perhaps that is why I value C. F. Bastiat. If we are to avoid a violent tribal world or feudal serfdom, Bastiat's words offer some of the guidance we will need.

"The sort of dependence that results from exchange, i.e., from commercial transactions, is a reciprocal dependence. We cannot be dependent upon a foreigner without his being dependent on us. Now, this is what constitutes the very essence of society. To sever natural interrelations is not to make oneself independent, but to isolate oneself completely"
- Bastiat

"By virtue of exchange, one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others." - Bastiat


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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fund your own revolution


I stole the title, and I stole the wonderful quote that went with it.

"The American Revolution was not financed with matching grants from the Crown." – David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear

This is the post with the title and quote I found while blog surfing. An interesting art blog, it speaks to much larger issues. At least to me.

We have let the government appropriate responsibility for normal human actions. Katrina is one recent example, although the nonresponse to Andrew was similar and received much less press. The government has the power, and we will not change their actions by asking them to change.

If you want change, do something yourself. Don't wait for direction, don't wait for funding, just act.

The more areas that we as caring people take back from bureaucrats, the better our lives will be. Don't just separate church and state, but separate education and state, separate farming and state, separate insurance and state, and by all means, separate charity and state.

We have been fighting poverty since the last depression, and as we enter this greater depression poverty is still the same huge problem. If a private charity passed through as little of the money they received to the final recipients as food stamps and government hurricane relief, it would be called a fraud.

Remember that Marine I mentioned that was sent to Nawlins? After all the delays he made it there, and spent his time helping people with their gardening. He planted flowers. He has left Nawlins and is back with his normal unit again.

Neighbors help neighbors, people help people, governments will help themselves. If it needs to be done do it, don't ask those that screwed it up so many times before to fix it.

Some final quotes.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." - Thomas Jefferson

"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone." - C.F. Bastiat

"The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other." - Ronald Reagan

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill

and finally,

"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." - P. J. O'Rourke


Monday, September 19, 2005



For those of you that consider the yellow dog metal, it looks like we may get a sustained break out.

My plans are simple, about 1/3 of the investment I plan on putting into gold is now in. If it goes up more, I'll toss in another third, and plan for the final portion. If gold drops a bunch I'll back out, sell it all, and look for another entry point. That may take quite some time.

There will probably be no follow up post, don't wait for it.

This should / could be a long term, multi year, raise: if it happens.

Ya puts ups yer money an ya takes yer chances.

Various risk disclaimers; this is a record of my plays, not a recommendation. I will laugh if I lose money; don't follow me if you can't do the same. etc, etc, blah blah blah. And of course, past failures are not necessarily indicative of future performance.

Don't get out of bed if you can not accept risk.

Life is risk, don't avoid it.

Learn to manage and enjoy risk.



Friday, September 16, 2005

MDA, most desired action



If you have a blog or website, this is where it all starts. If you are like me, you wander around catching waves, and sometimes think about what you want between sets. It is of course better to plan first, maybe I'll try that next week.

When you present your material what is the result you want? What to you is your reader's most desired action?

My personal goals sometimes conflict with my business goals, when that happens everything suffers. Life congruence, getting your various conscious and unconscious desires working together, is one way to ease stress and improve results. You want to blend your MDA with your reader's MDA.

I will use myself, Bastiat Free University, and the Hitchhiker as examples.

As a Christian, my personal goals are getting closer to God and sharing, with those that want to listen, how they can find the joy I experience.

With Bastiat Free University my goals are more mixed. With society changing I believe current educational style to be both obsolete and harmful to those forced to endure it. I do not expect to change society from a degree orientation to a learning environment overnight. To those that realize what the change from industrial to information means; BFU is a reinforcement to them of their potential. While I would love for BFU to be self supporting, that is not likely for years, perhaps decades. My basic goal is to illuminate reality, and hope some will notice, to their benefit.

For the Tsunami Hitchhiker the goal is simple, this is a place where I can vent those thoughts that may not apply to my stated goals, but I yearn to express. There is probably a lot of the subconscious that gets exposed on the hitchhiker waves.

An example is the last post about Doug Casey and waves. As soon as I wrote that I knew I had left out other wave information, a bit more difficult to grasp, but important concepts if you want to understand the world. This is an effort to restore a more complete picture.

While these goals may not be in conflict, it takes awareness to try to blend them in a way that is honest to myself, and to the reader.

That is my MDA.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Different wave structure


I often use allusions to waves to demonstrate technical aspects of financial analysis.

A much better writer than myself, Doug Casey, does a beautiful short work on wave structure. What is interesting is this is from the archives of International Speculator, Doug's news letter; and was written before the new millennium.

I probably read this at the time, and may have acted on it in a short term manner, but sadly seemed to have missed much of the long term significance of Doug Casey's article. Read this, and notice how well he defined the large trends that currently are washing ashore. This is also a read on what in general may come next, and Casey has added some notes to the original commentary. I distrust anyone, including myself, that makes specific predictions. I have watched and read Doug for decades however, and while he is frequently too early, he is very often right.

If you wish to preserve capital, too early is a very good thing.

Doug inspired and collaborated on a graduate level course for Bastiat Free University. Find out more about Doug Casey and find out more about what may come next.



Friday, September 09, 2005

Immoral Lies


Sorry 'bout this.

I was trying to stay out of the Katrina free for all. Posturing for the camera by government, celebrities, and large charities is to be expected. It is annoying, but expected.

What has really pushed the limit is all of the political dung that is being flung. The mendacity of people that know better, but still use bald faced lies to fool their followers. This is from all sides of the political spectrum. While the bodies are still floating past, the comments are made that anyone who thinks will know are outrageous lies. You expect a bit of this from government bureaucrats, they think everyone but themself a fool; that is why they have to make basic decisions for us. The sad part is that almost every news report and article seems to focus on repeating statements they know to be false, just to push a party line; while unity work and saving people should to be done instead.

The only good note is that there is a new fear heard from the vapid pretentions of the gnomes behind the curtain. I read one today where they blamed the losses in "Nawlins" on 25 years of smaller government caused by, get this, Libertarians.

third parties do have a chance.)

I can hear the rattling from those that nod their head to that story. Yeah, sure, the government is so much smaller than it was 25 years ago. On whose planet? And the party to blame is a group so divided they haven't won a single state yet in the presidential elections.

Gee, do we need a scape goat that can't fight back? Perhaps the agenda is even slimier than that.

Perhaps George Bush is a racist, if so his appointments are a profitable sublimation of his feelings. Perhaps Bill Clinton talked the Army Corp of Engineers into doin' the job cheap, as if he had any more knowledge of local actions then George does. Or all the other pollution you have heard, and hopefully turned off.

These are so obviously lies, the person that proclaimed them must know they are lies. His only hope is that his followers are as stupid as he believes they are. Then they will repeat the stupid lies to their stupid friends, and the liar's power will increase.

What a mess is made by those ghouls on all sides in the recent, and prior, and next, disasters. An event like this would be handled best by the outpouring of concern from private individuals, small businesses, and charities. They are
shoved aside by an uncaring and inefficient bureaucratic elite. As soon as the cameras stop running, the elites will be off to the next show. It will be up to the common man to pick up the pieces and truly help. They will help, it is the way we citizens are made. (I have heard someone in government use "citizen" as a swear word, he seemed to feel we are ignorant dung, we are not part of his club.)

I just heard from a Marine bound for the flood lands. He knew a week ago he was going and he was ready to help, but he had to be transferred several times between units, and still has not left. And the Marines are a small outfit, that cares a great deal. The larger government units are still shuffling paperwork, and fighting each other. The bigger the government, the less caring and less efficient it becomes. The Federal government alone will spend several thousand dollars per taxpayer in Nawlins, Private charity would be much less expensive, and the funds would be better allocated, the results would be better and faster.

I have to agree with actor Drew Carey. In an interview he was asked. "What's your basic attitude toward government?" His response fits this situation, even though it was a general question.

"The less the better. As far as your personal goals are and what you actually want to do with your life, it should never have to do with the government. You should never depend on the government for your retirement, your financial security, for anything. If you do, you're screwed."

The suffering continues. Help where you can, and remember to help a few months from now too. By then the liars and showboats will have left.

That will be when the real work begins.


Sunday, September 04, 2005



Today the Vice President announced a new private citizen initiative to be financed by federal funds, the FOUNDATION for LAW AND WAR. “We have found that anti-terrorism actions on just the public level are not sufficiently encompassing. While the Patriot Act allows us to effectively watch everyone all the time, we lack the resources to review all material properly.”

Outlining the lack of overwhelming success the Vice Pres related “All of our arrests under the Patriot Act so far are for minor terrorism events, like jaywalking. We have however been able to require long jail sentences for jaywalkers due to the act , thus protecting all of our liberties.”

Detailing the obvious lack of statistically significant results the V.P. Pointed out that while we lead the world in the percentage of our population in prison, there are still more law breakers out there. “Less than half the people vote in most elections, the others are obviously scofflaws that threaten our cherished freedoms. These and other terrorists must be stopped.”

The Veep went on to detail the new program for the FOUNDATION for LAW AND WAR. “If we are to have perpetual peace we must commit to an eternal battle. We have done extensive analyzes and found all previous models of control were insufficiently rigorous. We are quite sure the Soviet model failed for this reason, and the government fell to 'peaceful demonstration terrorists' because the KGB did not sufficiently limit operational variance available to non-government units. The USSR even allowed travel, if your papers were in order and you received prior permission.”

“We are aware that lawful citizens are unequipped to protect themselves while waiting for authorities to arrive, it must be so if lawful people are to be kept from the temptation of self defense. We are aware unlawful people by definition will break laws. With the extra analysis of recording review by citizens that have been volunteered by their neighbors; we will probably catch more of the unlawful after their acts are completed and we arrive to investigate. We are sure we will be able to catch more of the (formerly) lawful that tried to defend themselves rather than wait for us to review the crime scene. This will be the power of the FOUNDATION for LAW AND WAR (FLAW).”

“Your local government, working with the encompassing Federal FLAW, will achieve close to absolute safety for our citizens, through incarceration.”

The Vice Presidential address was greeted with thunderous applause by the selected and assembled news reporters.

Dateline: Tungenchiek D.C., the day after the next terrorist attack



Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Vanishing Middle Class


This is off the top of my head, but if I share it, I can latter refine it.

Vanishing middle class.

Maybe shrinking middle class is better.

Let's go with transforming middle class.

Some of the middle class are sinking, others will morph into the netcohort.

The point is, a whole bunch of people have lost their middle class status. A lot more people are worried about losing it. Most of the studies on this phenomena have been finger pointing; folks with a political agenda making up obfuscating reasons the other guys are at fault. The followers of political party lyrics are singing the songs they have been handed. Very few are thinking.

To start our thoughts we will take a look at the transformation from a historic view. The Middle class is usually associated with the industrial age. Small businessman, and workers at skilled jobs in larger businesses, reaped rewards commensurate with their contributions. As they raised themselves above the level of their brethren, the economic level of everyone they were associated with was also raised. Industrial society as a whole became better off, the emerging middle class was much better off. But there was a group that was hurting and vanishing, the guilds.

To those screaming about the horrors of the industrial age, I am happy if you wish to live in a wattle and daub hut surviving on gruel and experiencing frequent famines. I think most of us prefer the better life available now. Don't ask me to give up my life for your factual errors, and don't get some government busybody to demand it of me for you. That is still theft.

Gee, they left the Hitchhiker. ;>}

That is where we arrive at the transforming middle class. If there had been an internet at the start of the industrial revolution the conspiracy theorists would have had the guilds financing the mobs that destroyed looms. As an aside a joining of the Luddites and the guilds would be the equivalent of today's odd bedfellow relationship of greens and giant labor unions.

As the industrial age advanced, the middle class expanded. Unskilled labor, by politics, extortion, and the compound growth of wages, secured many highly paid positions with access to middle class incomes. The world for a time had huge populations controlled by inefficient governments practicing socialism. In most of those nations all but the politically influential became working poor. The middle class of more open societies prospered by lack of innovative competition.

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill

The transformation of the protected middle class is now in effect. Workers in China and other formerly highly managed economies are now free to compete, and they want a piece of the pie.

Just as when the guilds faded into history, the middle class is shrinking. Small businessmen will remain, a constant of open societies from all three ages. Those that are replacing the old middle class have far more options than the middle class had before, just as the industrial age middle class had more options than the guildsman.

We need a working title for the newly emerging middle, for now we will call them the netcohort.

Perhaps we will talk about the emerging netcohort in the next post.

Most of us will live in the future, we may as well make some educated guesses about it.



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