2011

Well, another year in review. Here we go.

This was the year I…

– started to furnish my apartment
made some huge mistakes
learned what real love is
– turned back into the man I used to be
almost died and ended up with a cast on my hand
tried to atone the past
had a wonderful summer
– didn’t buy that many tshirts
– developed a slight caffeine addiction
– redefined friendship
– matured 10 years worth of life
lost big time
initiated an educated risk
became a decent macroeconomist

I think that covers it.

A Game Theoretic View of Our Savings Glut

I try to convince my economist (and non-economist) friends all the time that the world’s current deep economic slump is a simple demand problem. We just don’t have enough demand. Or in other words, we just have way too much saving. You can talk about debt, you can talk about structural changes, you can talk about demographics, you can talk about all these things, and they may be valid, but these are all things that market economies can deal with as long as the macro picture is stable. What we desperately need right now is more spending and less saving.

I know, it sounds paradoxical, but it’s true. Trust me.

But the question is, why then don’t we just spend more and make all our problems go away? Good question. Let’s play a quick and dirty game that demonstrates why we’re stuck where we are.

Click to keep reading…

Euro Guilt

For way over a year now, I’ve been convinced that the euro as a currency was in its last days. Without a central fiscal authority, or a central bank willing to print unlimited money to buy government debt, I could not and still cannot picture any scenario where the eurozone will survive. I tell people this constantly. I kick and scream and I tell them how bad the situation is, what needs to be done, and what will happen if not. I try to make a difference, one person at a time.

And the reason I become so passionate when I talk about this topic is because this stuff matters. It’s not just economics. It’s not just unemployment. It’s not just struggling families. It’s not just quality of life. It really really matters.

Depressed economies create societies where extreme non-tolerance thrives, violence against minorities is accepted, freedom and liberty are eroded, and fascist parties take power. Usually I’m told that I’m being sensational, but we are already seeing this. Look hereherehere, and here. It’s truly scary.

By my count, if the euro falls I will have 5 bets to cash in on. And I’ve done well in the markets by betting against the euro’s survival.

But I hate the idea of profitting off something that is so so so horrible, that I am hoping doesn’t actually happen.

But if I really think it’s inevitable, what’s a brother to do?

Euro D-day

It’s still Thursday evening here in Toronto, but the time is 03:49 in Berlin, Friday December 9, 2011.

I’m just imagining streets across europe, mostly empty and quiet waiting for the sun to rise. An eerie calm before the storm.

Rule 13

A corollary to Rules 4 and 5.

Corollary: The universe pushes and pulls you towards certain paths. But no path in your life is inevitable. Your decisions matter. Make them as wisely as you can.

Which I extend to create a new rule by applying Rule 5 to all other rules.

Rule 13: All life rules are, in reality, guidelines. No path in your life is inevitable.