Miscellaneous

     

 

 

 

 

 


 

I write this with sadness, still, at the news of the death of my friend Heinz Blasnik. He is better known by his nom de plume, Pater Tenebrarum, who published the economics blog Acting Man and wrote for many other financial sites.

I met Heinz twice, at his home in Vienna. He was a kind and gracious host, sending his driver to pick me up and serving Austrian delicacies for lunch. When I met him, he was struggling near the end of a long illness which was the result of a youthful adventure. Even so, he retained a benevolent sense of life, and a positive spirit.

But this is not why I wanted to write this. We were friends because we shared some ideas. Important ideas. Ideas about the nature of the world, and mankind, and how man can work together and coordinate their productive activities. Economics and business are my life, and Heinz was the same way.

What better basis for a friendship than sharing important values?

Heinz was deeply, passionately interested in helping people understand economics. I know not how much time he gave to this cause—unpaid, as blogs do not make money—but it was surely more than I spend. He engaged with those who were interested. Sadly, Austrian economics is not mainstream, though there are more than enough people to keep a teacher—or sensei—busy. He was willing to correspond with me, and I credit his articles and emails for helping shape my own views.

We did not always agree. If you put 3 economists in a room then you have at least 4 opinions. But even when not, he listened with benevolent intention and did not make it personal. It was always about the ideas. I think this is an important and uncommon virtue.

On one of my visits, we discussed life, the universe, and everything. And he told me a bit about the Austrian welfare state. Which led me to write The Service Economy. I have traveled around the world, and I have shared food and drink with friends in many countries. Yet that one conversation with Heinz stands out as interesting and important. I can only recall one other discussion with one other friend that led directly to me writing an essay.

I don’t think Heinz believed in Heaven, but I hope everyone will understand when I say this. I would look forward to a day—many years in the future, I hope—when I could meet Heinz for beers in Heaven, and continue our conversation where it left off in 2021.

Adieu Heinz.

 

Dr. Keith Weiner is the president of the Gold Standard Institute USA, and CEO of Monetary Metals. Keith is a leading authority in the areas of gold, money, and credit and has made important contributions to the development of trading techniques founded upon the analysis of bid-ask spreads. Keith is a sought after speaker and regularly writes on economics. He is an Objectivist, and has his PhD from the New Austrian School of Economics. He lives with his wife near Phoenix, Arizona.

 

     

 

 

A Gentle Nudge

The America we thought we knew – the country we learned about in grade school – vanished long ago.  In truth, it was gone well before we stepped foot in our first classroom.  But America’s myths and legends remain.

 

The Wild Bunch… where are their stetsons? Contrary to myth, cowboys rarely sported a stetson. They wore bowler hats instead. The stetson only became available in 1865 and wasn’t really considered fashionable before the turn of the century. [Myth buster PT]

 

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In 6 of 10 Countries a Single Day Outperforms the Entire Week!

In the Seasonal Insights issue of 13 February 2019 I presented a study illustrating the power of intraweek effects. The article was entitled “S&P 500 Index: A Single Day Beats the Entire Week!” The result of the study: if one had been invested exclusively during a single day of the week since 2000  – namely on Tuesday – one would have outperformed a buy and hold strategy, beating the broad market.

Moreover, one would have achieved opportunity gains, as it would have been possible to invest in other profitable assets over the remaining 80% of the time.

But what is the situation on the global level? Perhaps there are intraweek profit opportunities in international markets as well.

 

Putting the 10 Largest Countries to the Intraweek Test

Today I want to examine whether intraweek effects can be detected in the stock markets of other countries as well, and what they actually look like.

For this purpose I have used the benchmark stock indexes of the ten largest countries in terms of market capitalization from the year 2000 onward.

The charts below show the average weekly patterns of the stock markets of all ten countries. The annualized performance of the stock markets of the respective countries since the turn of the millennium is depicted in black and that of individual days of the week in blue.

Daily changes are measured from close to close; thus the performance of e.g. Tuesday is the average return delivered from the close of trading on Monday until Tuesday’s close.

 

Canada: performance by days of the week, 2000 until 2/2019

 

Only two days of the week delivered a significant positive return

 

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Pater Temporarily Keels Over

Regular readers have no doubt noticed that the blog has fallen silent for around three weeks and may be wondering what has happened. In a nutshell, we were hospitalized. After a lengthy time period during which our health gradually but steadily deteriorated (we have complained about this previously), we finally keeled over. Thereupon we were forced to entrust the ruin that houses our mind to an experienced team of doctors (depicted below).

 

A great many diagnostic and treatment alternatives were tried, including experimental ones. The fact that we remain among the quick is a strong hint that something must have helped.

 

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A Year of Turmoil

Dear Readers,

The team at Acting Man wishes you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays and all the best for the new year!

Hopefully our missives helped you navigate the treacherous waters of the financial markets this year. As our low posting frequency attests to, we unfortunately continued to be incapacitated by our poor health. Nevertheless, we did our best to chronicle the growing cracks in the bubble edifice.

 

Evidently the Bad Santa got hold of the markets this year.

 

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Life After ZIRP

Roughly three years ago, after traversing between Los Angeles and San Francisco via the expansive San Joaquin Valley, we penned the article, Salting the Economy to Death.  At the time, the monetary order was approach peak ZIRP.

 

Our boy ZIRP has passed away. Mr. 2.2% effective has taken his place in the meantime. [PT]

 

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What Is Money?

Today we begin with a fundamental question: What is money?  This, no doubt, is an important question.  And we ask it with clear intent and purpose.  Namely, we want to better understand how it’s possible for America to rack up such a massive trade deficit with China.

 

China-US imports and exports of goods. It has to be stressed that the most often cited figure is the trade deficit in goods, which is the “scariest” figure. The US surplus in services with China has grown rapidly in recent years. It was $33 billion in 2015, doubling from $16.5 billion just four years earlier. By 2017 it had grown to $38.5 billion. The idea that a trade deficit is somehow “bad” is highly dubious. “Countries” do not trade with each other anyway – individuals and companies do, and they obviously do so because they deem it advantageous for both sides. Moreover, these aggregate statistics obscure more than they reveal. The global supply chain is extremely complex – a single $3 t-shirt “Made in China” will contribute to the incomes of people in some 15 to 20 countries before a consumer in the US plucks it off a shelf at Wal-Mart. If we were to talk incessantly about the US capital account surplus – which offsets the trade deficit – would anyone complain? [PT]

 

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Impressive Zeal for Faded Ideals

Uncompromising independence, rugged individualism, and limitless personal freedom were once essential to the American character.  According to popular American folklore, they still are.  We have some reservations.

 

Rugged individualists suffer mid-life identity crisis. [PT]

 

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Credit has a wicked way

of magnifying a person’s defects.  Even the most cautious man, with unlimited credit, can make mistakes that in retrospect seem absurd.  But an average man, with unlimited credit, is preeminently disposed to going full imbecile.

 

Let us not forget about this important skill…  [PT]

 

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A Difficult, but Also Exciting Year…

Dear Readers,

Another year is coming to a close, and the team at Acting Man wishes you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays and all the best for the new year.

You have probably noticed that your main scribe was a lot less prolific this year than he normally tends to be; unfortunately, we were held back by health-related issues. We remain among the quick though and will try to increase our posting frequency again. After all, it is not as though nothing interesting were happening.

 

We felt a bit like Santa feels in this picture this year, but we are recovering. Santa recovered too, just look at the stock market at the end of the year for evidence.

 

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Il n’y a rien à défendre – by Vidocq

 

Dr. Marc Faber, author of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report

Photo credit: Michael Wildi / RDB

 

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Crazed Decision

The Los Angeles City Council’s recent, crazed decision* to replace Christopher Columbus Day with one celebrating “indigenous peoples” can be traced to the falsification of history and denigration of European man which began in earnest in the 1960s throughout the educational establishment (from grade school through the universities), book publishing, and the print and electronic media.

 

Christopher Columbus at the Court of the Catholic Monarchs (a painting by Juan Cordero).  Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa in Italy, but made his exploration voyages (four in all) under the auspices of the Spanish crown. In 1492, just after Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain had reconquered the last Muslim outpost in Spain, they finally agreed to make a deal with Columbus and funded his voyages (the crown later partly reneged on the deal, particularly with respect to the degree of political power Columbus and his appointees were allowed to wield in the new territories –  descendants of Columbus were involved in litigation over the matter until 1790). Interestingly, no contemporary portrait of Columbus exists – we have actually no idea what he really looked like. All statues and paintings of the man were made posthumously. A previous attempt to rename Columbus Day ”Indigenous People Day” in Utah was voted down by the Utah Senate in 2016. [PT]

 

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