A History of Syria (2013) BBC
Inside the mind of Google
Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant – CNBC Original Documentary
How to think Chinese – Developing a long term view
Before we begin we need to clear a few biases. People confuse culture, politics, and economy. For example, there is confusion about the differences between socialism and communism; many people think they are the same. Also people equate communism with USSR style communism, which was less communist than your local community. The most communist organization in modern times is the Jewish Kibbutz. To see more about communist ideas read about it here. The USSR is best described as state capitalist, similar to what China is today. That means it was a capitalist society but controlled by the state. It certainly was not 'classless' and it was not a democracy. Real communism as a political system includes a democratic approach whereby everyone has a vote and a say in what the group does. Family is a small communist organization (sometimes ruled by a tyrant dictator!).
Another misconception is the current model of the United States, which is not democratic and not purely capitalist. First, the US is a republic, not a democracy. In a real democracy individuals vote (such as in referendums) on laws or other rules passed. In the US system elected officials vote on rules on the behalf of voters which is a Republic. Second, the US is not pure capitalism because there are government regulations. Also large corporations control markets which is closer to an oligopoly or plutocracy. Moreover, the US government is a big economic actor, actually employing more Americans than any single corporation. Capitalism as described as it's original thinkers requires a political system similar to anarchy, complete rule by the markets and free enterprise with virtually no regulation. Clearly this is not the system used in the United States. This confusion can be traced to the British where they were trying to sell their mercantilism approach as a means of economic colonialism, as not to appear as an invading army when taking over a countries resources. So they promoted 'capitalism' as the new freedom, and giving the lesser classes the hope that if they work hard, they can make a life for themselves.
But cultural influences also need to be considered. For any system, it will look different in different cultures. Americans have a free enterprise wild west mentality embedded in their culture so while the US is really a Republican Plutocracy, it resembles Anarchistic Capitalism because of the culture. Americans are risk takers, mostly. Americans comprise of people from all origins who risked everything to start a better life in a new alien world. Once there, policies such as the land grab of the west created by the government to expand US territory, exacerbated these traits. Millions of businesses have been started and failed. The biggest myth about America is the statistics of success; it's true there have been cases of people rising from nothing to great power and wealth, but for every one Rockefeller you have thousands of losers who have bankrupt or died. The American Dream is really a dream, like commoners who discuss what they would do if they won the lottery. People do win the lottery but you have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning or dying in a car crash. But these hopes and dreams kept lower class Americans slaving away in factories and plowing fields in a subsistence existence not much different than people lived in Feudal Europe. But the hope kept them plowing.
Now that we've briefly discussed some important biases, let's try to think Chinese, culturally speaking.
China is a big place with thousands of sub-groups that speak different languages. It's more fragmented than any part of the world. We commonly believe there are 2 main languages, Cantonese and Mandarin, but there are thousands of sub-cultures and sub-dialects. Without a unified China, the place would be a collection of villages and probably constant war. The greater state of China keeps them all under one rule. This is acknowledged by regional leaders such as the founder of Singapore.
The Chinese are not creative as such. They are an extremely conservative group, one thing shared among most of the sub-groups. They believe in traditional values, whatever they may be, and they are not innovative, culturally speaking.
They think in terms of 100 years or 1000 years. This is difficult for Westerners or Western educated people to understand. In some respects, Indians have succeeded by placating Western creativity while holding similar traditional values like the Chinese.
Farmers can understand this, especially those with fruit trees. It may take 5 or 10 years for a tree to grow to the maturity required to produce nice tasting fruit. Good wine, in addition to the growing process, is more valued when aged for decades. The entire process can mean a lifetime.
It should be also noted that any nation-state strives to increase the wealth and power of their nation by any means, whether by mandate or by lust for power, regardless of the system used to do so.
It's hard for Western Investors to take a Chinese view of the markets, that is to say, a long term global macro view. Certain hedge funds and analysts do this, realizing that macro fundamentals will ultimately overwhelm any short term market dislocations. But it's harder for investors. Saying that investors had a 'buy and hold' mentality for 20 years during the 80's and 90's is unfair because during this period the market relatively went up. Would they have had the same view in a bear market?
This doesn't mean investors should sit on losing positions forever hoping they will return. Simply, that with the right analysis, it can't lose. Use any analogy; if you are selling water in the desert and people are dying of dehydration, it's just a question of time before business will explode. Smart marketers use arguments to invest in their company, such as those promoting their business models using similar analogies. Ultimately, reality always wins. You can't fight gravity and you can't turn Iron into Gold for a price that would justify the process.
The mathematical analysis especially on a macro level, if done correctly, cannot be completely wrong. Of course other factors may come into play, a common one recently are Fed speeches that have little information value but large impact on the market. But these reactions are usually short lived.
The same long term thinking can apply to any aspect of our lives; health, business, relationships, or projects. The modern version of capitalism teaches us to think in the next 24 hours. If we can't make a buck this quarter, it doesn't exist. Taking a long term view requires patience, perseverance, and understanding. If you look at any person's career, only after years of experience do they gain mastery of their industry. Child development is another good example, it takes an entire decade for a small child to grow into a full adult. Why do we take a different view on investing, or in our business?
Long term thinking isn't about disregarding the present, it's about understanding macro (global) implications on a longer time frame in synergy. Those who have suffered through natural disasters like Hurricane's Katrina and Sandy are examples of how to look only in the short term. In great contrast, the Great Pyramids in Egypt were actually built to withstand large earthquakes by using a brick locking system of non standard sizes (think Tetris). Other ancient structures have also survived thousands of years, and new theories indicate the Pyramids may be actually much older than we think. Whoever built such structures certainly had a long term view on construction.
How to do it
The first step is to develop a method of analysis, collect as much research and information as possible, and make a long term plan. This should include considerations for social and political changes, market changes, technology influences, having a backup and redundancy, and long term suitability. For example when investors have been creating portfolios they are not considering institutional risk, such as the collapse of their institution. Now they are not considering the new 'bail-in' policy whereby deposits can be confiscated to shore up bank balance sheets.
If building a business, considerations should be made about potential future government regulations, market impacts based on demographic shift changes, and technological impact. A good example of technology impact is in the internet industry where the technology shifts every few years. Getting stuck in a legacy application will not give you the flexibility to adapt to new changes.
A good business example has been the growth of the water industry. Only 10 years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that something as simple as water would be a big business. This has been seized by entrepreneurs offering both water to places where it's become difficult to find potable drinking water, and a growing demand for consumers for designer waters.
Just remember that if big companies are always on top of this, then Microsoft, Google, and Facebook wouldn't exist. IBM was practically a market monopoly when Microsoft was founded, yet IBM didn't cash in on the growing PC business. Microsoft grew and became a niche IBM, missing the trend in the internet giving rise to Google. And Google did the same, missing the social media trend giving rise to Facebook. This exists in all industries but it most obvious in the tech sector.
One could argue that the key is not trend spotting but proper planning. It was obvious to many that a search engine would be needed with the rise of the internet. Google capitalized on it. It should be noted however that while Google is a common example because of it's notoriety, there were hundreds of other groups that capitalized on it, either being bought by Google or some other company.
A good start is to read Sun Tzu - which has been recommended reading in business schools and especially for traders. Download the book here: The Art of War, by Sun Zu
The interesting thing about Sun Tzu is that the strategy outlined in this ancient manuscript still applies to business and the markets today. In other words, good analysis and strategy is timeless. It can be applied to your portfolio, business, or anything. Sun Tzu isn't a particular strategy per se (unless you are doing battle in Ancient China) it's a set of rules, or a doctrine, on which you can base your analysis system. The problem with developing a strategy is the influence of biases and opinions. "Thinking" that something will happen doesn't a good strategy make. Sun Tzu provides an framework for developing "Chinese Thinking" or a long term view based on. Sun Tzu isn't the only analysis framework. A more modern approach has been developed by Carl von Clausewitz which to this day is taught at West Point.
Why all the military examples? Simply, military analysis is by design no different than trading, or business. As the Japanese say "Business is War." With the military, and with trading, a flawed strategy that causes losses in money or life can be devastating. The military is used when a diplomatic solution (political) is not possible, so any military is focused on strategy, tactics, operations, completing the mission. Politics on the other hand, is a completely different animal, it's more similar to dating than to war-fighting.
Of course investing is not the only application of such an approach, although it may be more useful for investors and traders than in other applications. Long term project development can use the same thinking to build strong foundations for their projects, and defend against outside threats, for a lasting success.
Little Ice Age is Coming in 2014
Thursday, March 7, 2013 19:34
The cooling is a significant warning that the globe is headed towards a Little Ice Age (LIA), climate scientists have predicted that 2014 is the beginning of a new age, the earth will go through a series of unstable variations in which global temperature will fluctuate into dangerously cold climate. However with the mass production of current carbon dioxide (CO2) it is unlikely that we will see a major ice age like the one experienced 12,000 years ago.
The Little Ice Age should be the story of the century, yet it’s only being announced quietly by climate scientists and solar physicists. Not a word is being mentioned by the mainstream media, who had a hand in selling the Global Warming propaganda that has become irrelevant as we slide into colder climate. US solar scientists have announced years ago that the sun appears to be headed into a lengthly spell of low activity, which means that the Earth is far from facing a Global Warming catastrophe and actually headed into a Little Ice Age that is said to may last for 60 to 80 years.
Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a geophysicist at the University of Mexico agrees by stating that in about 5 years the “Earth will enter a “Little Ice Age” which will last from 60 to 80 years and may be caused by the decrease in solar activity”, The geophysicist slammed the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying their stand on global warming “is incorrect because only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity”.
(Read More: Get The Best Portable Solar Charger on The Market)
It’s not 2014 yet, but we’re already seeing and feeling the signs of the Little Ice Age:
Japan broke a winter record this year, Northern Japan is currently blanketed by unprecedented volumes of snow, more than five meters, houses covered like igloos and roads made into snow tunnels.
Another record for Russia, snow piles up to five meters causing gridlock in Moscow. Link: The Beginning of Spring in Russia! (55 pics) Pic: A house in Russia nearly covered in snow!
A Texas blizzard breaks 120 year old record, hammering the state in February 2013 with 19.1 inches. The blizzard was accompanied by fierce winds in excess of 75 mph. Breaking the record set in Februrary 16, 1983.
Roads in India buried under 100 ft of snow, landlocked passerby’s had to cut through the mass to connect this Himachal Pradesh hill resort to landlocked Lahaul Valley in the Himalayan slopes.
Toronto Canada broke a snowfall record for Februrary 23, 2013 according to Environment Canada. At Pearson International Airport, 12.4 centimeters of snow covered the ground, breaking the record of 7.1 centimeters set in 1967. Ice Boulders in Canada go Viral!:
A State of emergency has been recently declared (March 6, 2013) in Virginia where 200,000 are left without power due to the heavy wet snow, some 20 inches had fallen. Winter storm warnings are in effect for much of Virginia and Philadelphia. Much of the Northeast has been bombarded with heavy snow and blizzard activity.
(Read More: Protect Against Blackouts, Get The Best Survival Tool Here)
Now you know the reason why the Global Warming nuts have gone into hiding, ever since Climate Gate the Global Warmists have lost all credibility. Some are still claiming that CO2 is causing Global Warming, and some are now claiming that CO2 is causing Global Cooling, and that it has nothing to do with the lack of solar activity!
Climate change has little to do with carbon dioxide emissions and everything to do with solar activity, CO2 doesn’t heat-up the planet, but it does help “keep the heat” preventing the planet from dipping into a major planetary ice age like the one experienced 12,000 years ago. Dr. James Lovelock explains in the video (below) how greenhouse gases have helped stop the onset of a major ice age.
Meanwhile the internationalists, politicians and global warmists want to continue the fraud, and decrease the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, I guess they want to go back to the ice ages?
Let’s look at the snow pack progression from 2013-2004, with the help of NOAA’s NOHSRC National Snow Analysis page, you can clearly see the difference that it’s indeed becoming colder.
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Charles J. Hall Area 51, 53 & 54
12 facts all investors should know
1) The Federal Reserve is a private bank. It is not a part of the US Government. Ironically, the FDIC is owned and operated by the US Government, as are many other government sponsored organizations that would bear the burden of any crisis.
“Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders.”
– The Honorable Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, in the 1930s
2) Since the original issuance of the US Dollar by the Fed, it’s down more than 97% (chart). Article:
”By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens…There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.” John Maynard Keynes attributed to Vladimir Lenin.
3) $1 Million in Gold in 2002 would equal $6 Million today, whereas a $1Million investment in the DJIA in 2002 would equal $1.4 Million today.
Dow to Gold ratio 100 year historical chart shows Dow out-perform Gold by 238%. Compare this to the DJIA’s explicit 700% increase during the same time. Also consider that Gold remains Gold, while losing companies in the Dow are regularly removed, thus providing a misleading result.
4) European banking system is leveraged 26:1 meaning a 4% drop will wipe them out.
The European banking system is a complete and total disaster. Remember how bad Wall Street was in 2008? Europe’s banks are many multiples worse than that. The US at least recapitalized its banking system after the Crisis. Europe hasn’t. At all. That’s right, the banks in Europe have not raised capital to bring down their leverage rations, which is why the ENTIRE EU BANKING SYSTEM IS LEVERAGED AT 26 TO 1. Lehman, which was a total sewer of garbage debt, was leveraged at 30 to 1. Europe’s ENTIRE SYSTEM is leveraged at 26 to 1.
5) Hyperinflation has happened worldwide in more than 56 countries.
Hyperinflation effectively wipes out the purchasing power of private and public savings, distorts the economy in favor of the hoarding of real assets, causes the monetary base, whether specie or hard currency, to flee the country, and makes the afflicted area anathema to investment.
6) 99% of stocks are not owned by individuals, they are owned by the DTCC on your behalf. The European equivalent is Euroclear. Info on DTCC
So, do you think you own the stocks you've bought? Think again. For those of you who have not heard of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (DTCC) and you own stocks ... sit down. This might change your your whole way of thinking. Who is the DTCC and what does it do? The DTCC actually provides clearing for 3.5 million securities from the United States and, get this, from 110 other countries and territories as well -- all valued at roughly $28 trillion. In 2008 alone, the DTCC settled more than $1.88 quadrillion in securities transactions. The DTCC is also the registered owner and holder of your stock. At present, the DTCC holds $23 trillion in assets. It has a virtual monopoly on clearing. In fact, 99% of all stocks in the USA are legally owned by it.
7) Currently several countries including Germany are repatriating their Gold stored in the US, France, and England.
Considering that the Federal Reserve and the Bank of France might not have all of Germany's gold in their possession, (after possibly 'lending' some of it) could be reason enough for deciding to repatriate it in the course of a seven year time period. Legal accounting "tricks" (gold swaps) currently allow central banks to "lease" and provide the physical metal to the market (causing gold price suppression) while still reporting it in their balance sheets.
8) Economically speaking, the British Economy is worse than during the Great Depression.
Economists from the Royal Bank of Scotland said the last four years have produced the worst economic performance in a non post-war period since records started being collected in the 1830s.
9) The real unemployment rate, as was calculated during the Great Depression would be greater than 20%.
Shadowstats.com is a website that analyzes government economic and unemployment statistics based on methodologies used by previous United States administrations, from the pre-Clinton era to the time of the Great Depression. The author of the site claims that using Depression-era methodology, for example, the U.S. unemployment rate would have been 16.5% in January 2009, more than double the announced rate of 6.7%. The site is authored by John Williams, an economic consultant with an economics BA and an MBA from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.
10) Although the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world at 35%, the effective tax rate (based on what US Corporations actually pay because of loopholes and the use of offshore tax efficient jurisdictions) is only 12%. On a scale of OECD countries, the US has one of the lowest effective tax rates.
At 35%, the United States has the highest nominal corporate tax in any of the world's developed economies. However, the effective corporate tax rate in 2011 fell to 12.1%, its lowest level since before World War I.
11) The world’s largest trading nation is China, not the US
U.S. exports and imports of goods last year totaled $3.82 trillion, the U.S. Commerce Department said last week. China’s customs administration reported last month that the country’s trade in goods in 2012 amounted to $3.87 trillion.
12) The nation in Europe with most hours worked is Greece. Germans aren’t even in the top 10.
This week Greece is facing more spending cuts after agreeing to a deal of 130bn euros (£110bn, $175bn) to help it avoid bankruptcy. But the statistics suggest the country has not lost its way due to laziness. If you look at the average annual hours worked by each worker, the Greeks seem very hard-working. Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that the average Greek worker toils away for 2,017 hours per year which is more than any other European country. Out of the 34 members of the OECD, that is just two places behind the board leaders, South Korea.
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