[-empyre-] On Currencies, Capitalism, and the Fed

jeff pierce zentrader at live.ca
Wed Apr 8 02:28:15 EST 2009



You've made me do some pondering about your response and while I'm not as well traveled as I'd like to be, I see your point. Traders aren't the ones that move markets though, we more or less provide liquidity and fill in the gaps between uptrends and downtrends. Mutual and Hedge funds are the real movers and shakers in the markets, the big fish. We traders try and live off the scraps that they throw our way and trade in the general direction of the market. People like yourself (long term investors) who contribute on a monthly basis regardless of market direction provide the foundation for a smoothly run financial market. Collapses in the market like we've seen over the past 6 months is when everybody (Funds, traders, and individuals) yanks their money out and no new money is being contributed to the pot, as well as short sellers pushing the market yet lower. Sooner or later a perceived "bargain" is collectively found and the markets find a bottom and attempt to recover. This is how the free markets should run. One other aspect is how the Government plays a role in all of this and I remain firm in my opinion that any role they play should be minimal at best.


Personally I feel that buy and hold is a losing strategy, even more so in these volatile times. The markets are way below where I started investing 10 years ago so in theory I'd be in the hole right now instead of doubling my account many times over. There is a very distinct time to sell everything and not be in the market, even with the penalties involved. If one doesn't want to liquidate they should at the very least be proactive in maximizing and minimizing their percent allocations based on oversold/overbought conditions in the markets. Basically over the last few months individuals with a longer time frame should have been maximizing how much they contribute and take advantage if their employee matches that percentage.


Last August was one of those times that it was best to sit on the sidelines and wait for a much better buying opportunity. I'm not just saying that in hindsight as I did indeed get out of the markets at that time and really didn't do much trading for almost a month and a half, and even then it was mostly just a few daytrades here and there on the short side because the trading environment was, how shall I say this, scary. I can't even remember the last time I used margin to trade and that in itself should tell you that I've been very cautious as of late.





> Date: Tue, 7 Apr 2009 11:53:13 -0400
> From: davinheckman at gmail.com
> To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] On Currencies, Capitalism, and the Fed
> Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I don't doubt that plenty could
> go wrong with a monetary monopoly--Look at what folks have done with
> the monetary oligopoly.
> I just wanted to some more out there from someone who knows more about
> it than I do, especially since I have so little experience with money.
> My wife, our three three children, and I try to get by with as little
> as possible. The only sort of financial dealings I have, beyond
> cashing my paycheck and paying my bills is our contribution to my
> University's retirement account. And I would consider even going
> without that, if we could just have the promise of a small home, three
> meals, and a doctor when we are sick.
> I know it will sound strange to say this, because I just said that I
> would be happy with the promise of a home. etc. But money opens up
> for me a feeling of dependence that tends to flow in one direction.
> So much of what my wages are worth and how I am permitted to live, if
> at all, depends not on what I can do well... but upon what some other
> people in some other place do with money. Money itself is so
> abstracted from actual production that people who trade it tend to
> become detached from anyone but the value of their own portfolios, yet
> their actions effect me. Yet, working people take time daily to build
> the foundations upon which the financial system is abstracted from.
> I'm not saying all investors operate in this mode (for example, I know
> some nuns who invest so they can attend board meetings and agitate for
> women's rights), but I think that the abstract quality of money and
> the speed at which it moves tends to gloss over the human foundations
> that it is derived from. How often does a day trader travel to China
> or Honduras to examine the labor that they have just purchased?
> And since I cannot demand that any individual take this measure of
> responsibility and a nation-state has a hard time regulation what its
> currency does beyond its borders, I was wondering if a global system
> of economic and trade regulation might do any better. But, like you
> said, we don't have such a hot record with more limited currencies....
> so it is entirely likely that I am out of my tree. As with previous
> threads about the "good" and trying to funnel these things through a
> single nexus probably does more to undermine the vibrant character of
> ethics than it would to share them. I guess I still have a bit of
> thinking to do.
> Thank you.
> Davin
> On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 10:26 PM, jeff pierce <zentrader at live.ca> wrote:
> >
> > Davin,
> >
> > My jaw literally dropped when I read your question about what would be wrong
> > with a one world currency. Now let me preface this by saying that I don't
> > have all the answers, but I think based on some of the events that have
> > transpired over the last 6 months we can come to a few conclusions and go
> > from there.
> >
> > 1. Government policies created this problem through easy credit, poor
> > legislature, and low interest rates. If you let people borrow money at an
> > historically cheap rate for an extended length of time, bad things will
> > happen. I'm sure Greenspan was telling himself that "this time it's
> > different" and we can leave interest rates low, but believe me it's never
> > different. Every time a trader tells himself those 4 words they're setting
> > themselves up for a fall. Greenspan took the interest rate down from 6% to
> > 1% and kept it there far too long.
> >
> > Easy credit encourages leveraged speculation. This fuelled the housing
> > bubble as everybody thought their house would appreciate at 10%/year, every
> > year. And all of this led to the ensuing subprime debacle and credit crises.
> >
> > 2. The SEC failed to do it's job allowing major corruption with the
> > financial system like Madoff.
> >
> > 3. The Government's reaction to all of this proves time and time again that
> > they have no real idea on how to handle this. They are throwing everything
> > at this hoping something will stick, literally gambling the future of
> > American on a hunch that massive money printing and quantitative easing will
> > solve everything. Why can't they realise that you can't solve a problem with
> > the very same cause of the problem in the first place.
> >
> > So why is a one world currency bad? In theory it's not, but in the practical
> > application and the greed that lives within the financial industry would
> > ruin it.
> >
> > It's puts to much power in the hands of too few. I'm so tired of hearing
> > about "centralized this" and "globalization that" as every time I hear it in
> > the media I get the feeling that they're just warming us up to what will
> > eventually be. Governments are too big to begin with, as they are a big part
> > of this problem. They can't handle their affairs on a national level, what
> > makes anybody think they can handle the affairs at a world level. The
> > thought alone makes me shiver. Where would you hide if you didn't like the
> > system that is in place? At least now if you don't like the the United
> > States, you can move (like me--to Canada). The world needs diversity as much
> > in the cultural sense as in the financial sense. Checks and balances if you
> > will.
> >
> > The currency should be the health barometer of a country. I can't even
> > fathom how a one would currency would effect the business cycles between
> > countries with different types of governments. I feel that people throw
> > around the term "capitalism" too much. The United States does not operate
> > under a capitalistic state at this point in time. It's some hybrid cross of
> > socialism, capitalism, and possibly totalitarianism. At one point between
> > October-December it was so hard to trade and carry any positions over the
> > weekend because we (traders) feared some type of government intervention
> > over the weekend which would cause the markets to move in totally random
> > ways. This is still very much a concern, but it hasn't been as bad as of
> > late.
> >
> > This is not a free market system. Who are the government to decide which
> > companies are bailed out and which ones aren't. Last time I checked the
> > survival of the fittest in the business world was the model of choice. If a
> > company wasn't profitable, then they should fail. End of discussion. Don't
> > use taxpayers money, print unlawful amounts of money, and destroy the
> > currency in the process.
> >
> > The final piece of the problem is the Fed. It doesn't even make sense to me
> > for the government to borrow money from a private institution to conduct
> > business. Our federal taxes go to pay the interest only on the debt to the
> > Fed, making those bankers filthy rich. This house of cards will collapse
> > sooner rather than later as the money printing goes to exponential heights.
> > It's so bad now that the Fed doesn't even report it's money growth anymore.
> > No fiat currency lasts and this one will be no different. But instituting a
> > one world currency will result in more of our privacies being taken away,
> > more surveillance, and more control. It makes more sense for the government
> > to print it's own money, thus relieving itself from hefty interest
> > repayment.
> >
> > My solution is dissolve the Fed, cut the government in half, stop policing
> > the world and bring home the troops, stop the bailouts and quantitative
> > easing, and focus on infrastructure and sustainable energy sources that
> > would create a whole new sector of job growth. In my opinion everything else
> > would fall into place. Yes it would be bad for a few more years, but at
> > least we would come out the other end a cleaner, debt free nation.
> >
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