Article Recommendation from Arch Stanton: $1,500 Sandwich Illustrates How Exchange Raises Living Standards

Great article from this blog on the economics of free trade. While I typically avoid blogs given they’re really just a mouthpiece for gutless, nameless bitchers and moaners, this article was different. But before I share the article, here’s a piece of produce from my local grocer:

Took this ages ago. I’ve been sitting on this one for a while… I had to shift it from its prior location – it was bruising the plums. Reminds me, Toys ‘R’ Us is liquidating. Any sell-side bankers want to pitch this to Brazzers or Dogfart? If Kids ‘R’ Us goes up for sale, we could sell it to Apple as an upstream vertical integration play – the name perfectly bespeaks their Chinese supplier base.

And the article:

$1,500 Sandwich Illustrates How Exchange Raises Living Standards

What would life be like without exchange or trade? Recently, a man decided to make a sandwich from scratch. He grew the vegetables, gathered salt from seawater, milked a cow, turned the milk into cheese, pickled a cucumber in a jar, ground his own flour from wheat to make the bread, collected his own honey, and personally killed a chicken for its meat. This month, he published the results of his endeavor in an enlightening video: making a sandwich entirely by himself cost him 6 months of his life and set him back $1,500.

(It should be noted that he used air transportation to get to the ocean to gather salt. If he had taken it upon himself to learn to build and fly a plane, then his endeavor would have proved impossible).

The inefficiency of making even something as humble as a sandwich by oneself, without the benefits of market exchange, is simply mind-boggling. There was a time when everyone grew their own food and made their own clothes.  It was a time of unimaginable poverty and labor without rest.

The greater the number of people involved in exchange, the more beneficial the process becomes. This morning, thanks to international trade, I am drinking coffee grown in Latin America, viewing a computer screen with eyeglasses made in Europe, and typing this blog post on a keyboard made in Asia. Fortunately, freedom to trade internationally has improved, on average, around the world. Increased trade has helped raise living standards and decrease global poverty.

However, the recent trend in the United States is less positive. If trade protectionist politicians, like Bernie Sanders on the left and Donald Trump on the right, have their way, then U.S. freedom to trade internationally may deteriorate further. They put down trade by claiming that it harms the U.S. economy and destroys jobs. Yet, there is a widespread agreement among economists that free trade is key to prosperity.

This morning, as you drink your coffee, take a moment to consider where it comes from. You probably would not be drinking it right now if it were not for trade. This video elegantly draws attention to the myriad ways in which the exchange of goods and services across national borders touches lives and helps raise living standards. Almost everything you use is the product of a complex web of human cooperation, often extending beyond your country. Even something as simple as a bag of groceries or a pencil is the end result of a “symphony of human activity that spans the globe.”


Article: United Replaces Small Worker Bonuses With Chance to Win $100,000

This article is absolutely gold, GOLD JERRY! How on Trump’s green Earth is United getting away with this shenanigan? The article, United Replaces Small Worker Bonuses With Chance to Win $100,000, is from Bloomberg. Article below:

United Continental Holdings Inc. is overhauling an incentive program to give employees a chance to win $100,000, a luxury car or a swanky vacation. One union leader says his membership would rather have a shot at bonuses that are far, far smaller — but also a much surer thing.

Under the new approach, one lucky winner will take home the six-figure cash prize every quarter, with as many as 10 people getting Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans or $40,000 each, President Scott Kirby said in a memo to employees Friday. The program includes smaller awards as well. Workers need perfect attendance to participate. And the airline has to hit its performance targets.

“We believe that this new program will build excitement and a sense of accomplishment as we continue to set all-time operational records that result in an experience that our customers value,” Erin Benson, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based carrier, said in an email.

The prize drawings are a sharp break from the past, when the airline would pay broad-based employee bonuses of as much as $300 a quarter if it hit certain on-time operational measurements, said Craig Symons, president of United’s flight dispatchers union. For some employees, he said, a chance at a new Mercedes apparently isn’t as nice as a small-but-steady stream of cold, hard cash.

“I think everybody really likes Scott Kirby’s ‘If you’re not first, you’re last’ competitiveness,” Symons said. “We all want to win, but this program doesn’t encourage a team approach to winning. No team-oriented reward should be dictated by lottery.”

Everyone Always Says That Our Generation Doesn’t Want to Make Anything…

…that we’re entitled, refuse the threat of hard labor, and are merely paper-pushers looking to make the next quick buck without actually producing anything.

Bullshit. That’s a Grade-A load of malarkey. That sort of nonsense is on par with Chelsea Manning kicking off its political campaign with theme song Born This Way by Lady Ga-gaaa. I have no qualms with rolling up my sleeves and getting to work. In fact, I have every intention of making the world’s first Quintuple Levered, Rolling Ten-Year Forward-Contract ETF based on a price-weighted, hourly-rebalanced, ever changing basket of Venezuelan-based cryptocurrencies.

And sort of like my caught-in-limbo friend R. Batory, this ETF may seem a bit ar-bitrary. And just like the threat of a proliferation of overly complex Venezuelan cryptocurrency ETFs, having too many FRA Deputy Administrators could be problematic, just Juan is good enough.

And now, I give you the greatest cereal you’ll ever eat again:

Well. Second only to Trix, but we all know how that turns out:


Random Bidtits (2/5/2018)

Fuck the Patriots, ya heard? Separately. How are my boys doing out there in these turbulent markets? Enjoying some volatility? I know it’s a rollercoaster but as my true finance boys know, you’ve got to speculate to accumulate.

And now, some photos to enjoy:

I hope everyone enjoyed watching the Patriots stumble on the national stage as much as I did. Great show. As was the SOTU address! Who else got face paint and streamers to watch the address? I was rocking the face paint pretty hard but it was still rather tame compared to Melania’s. Also, how do I reconcile Donny T-zone’s rhetoric that 1) he’s saving the manufacturing industry, while at the same time in his personal life, 2) he’s focused on supporting the service industry ala Stormy Daniels? Eh, I get it, and am actually cool with him focusing on the services sector. The last time he actually made something, it was the Trump children. And I do NOT, need another helping of that heap of gelled ruffians. Donald Jr, Eric, Barron, Ivanka? Ugh. And Tiffany?!? She looks like a life-long boxer. Or boxer’s wife in the case of Mike Tyson.

Ellen Pao.

And finally, does anyone else have someone in their life who sends text messages or leaves voicemails with “call me, I have something to tell you” with literally NO ADDITIONAL DETAIL?!? This bullshit has to end. This is what anarchy looks like, people.

Well, I’m back to watching the markets open in Japan, China, and Best Korea.


Song of the Day (1/25/2018)

Today’s song of the day is Listen by Dave Eakin and Steve Hoke. It’s a lovely, timeless little ditty with a strong message.

Separately, to my homies in the tech and finance worlds, I came across this article and accompanying photo and it’s absolutely priceless:

It’s clear to me that none of the three gentlemen accompanying our Clementine-in-Chief wants to be there. Especially Tim Cook, who you can tell is at the edge of his seat, squirming on his chocolate starfish. Tim wants nothing to do with the American Technology Council, although I’m guessing that wouldn’t be the case if Mueller probed them too.

And finally, Japan’s Central Bank is keeping rates low as inflation expectations move sideways:


Random Bidtits / Song of the Day (1/24/2018)

What’s up, what’s up, WHAT’S UP!  To all the new followers, thank you for joining this mediocre blog!  To all the people who viewed the site and decided not to follow, fuck you, I hope you slam your nugget pouch in a DVD case.

Let’s get this party started with a little music, shall we?  I highly, HIGHLY encourage you to watch the following video as it’s only a minute long and features North Korea’s finest, strutting their stuff to Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees.  Please watch it.  For my Chick-fil-A fans out there, you’ll enjoy this video and it’s only 90 seconds long.  I recommend you turn the sound down on this one given the commentary is forced and lacking.  Next.  WHERE ARE ALL MY FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF FANS AT?!?  I came across this gem in a Starbucks parking lot:

Abe Frohman

The sausage KING, of Chicago.  Next story.  And I may have shared this one before so please pardon me if that’s the case.  I was traveling last Summer and stumbled across a lake-side restaurant called Kara’s Kountry Kitchen (aka KKK).  Solid food and great scenery.  All the trimmings, all the works.  Just don’t expect to order the Blackened Fish.  Okay, that was racist, but not nearly as racist as this:


Aggressive sign, especially for the healthcare sector.  But as Stewie said, it’s good to have land.  As you can see, I spent a night in the hospital and the hot water heater was massive!  Nice not running out of hot water, although I did have to reduce the temperature as I was particularly gassy that evening and the the humidity was wafting the funk in a most unpleasant fashion.  Word to the wise: always take cold, no-humidity showers when your busts stink like cow ass.  This was partially my fault: I had nasty gas and explosive runs after a day spent munching on hospital food.  To quote my bad-hombre Peachy Carnehan, I was shitting out tomorrow’s breakfast, tonight.

I’ll leave everyone with a final thought as they watch the North Korean Bee Gees song for the fourth time: many women (I’m including Ellen Pao in this bucket) will be quick to tell you that they make ~77 cents to the dollar for equivalent male work.  Let’s dispel with this fiction that women don’t know what they’re doing.  They know exactly what they’re doing.  They’re undergoing a systematic effort to change workplace culture and make the office more like the rest of the world.  To be clear, this 77% statistic IS FOR ALL WOMEN ACROSS ALL JOBS AND FAILS TO ACCOUNT FOR DIFFERENCES IN POSITION OR TITLE.  One could point out that 16 year olds should make the same argument as their demographic makes considerably less than other peer groups.  For the same job and same title, women make ~4% less than men.

And how do I live with myself knowing this fact to be true?  Well, in a normally functioning society in equilibrium, people are paid (the “reward” or “return”) based on their contribution to the firm, accounting for the chance that they’ll leave and take with them these skills after significant financial investment by the employing firm (the “risk”).  Women carry more risk given there’s an established history of having children (yes, men also carry this risk, albeit to a smaller degree based on empirical evidence) and leaving an employer after the firm has made a significant investment in the employee.  But in life, EXPECTED RETURN IS PRICED BASED ON ANTICIPATED RISK.  I’m ALL for equality within a logical, economic framework.  But one could argue that if women want to make 100 cents on the male dollar, they should be willing to get spayed following the interview.  Game.  Set.  Match.

Now I’m off to play with those fuzzy yellow balls.


Song of the Day (1/5/2018) / Article: Russian Launches World’s First Jewish Cryptocurrency

مرحبا and عيد ميلاد سعيد to the baby Jesus…Merry Christmas!  Today’s song of the day is Arab Money by Busta Rhymes.  I’m writing to you from the toilet after an unfortunate bout of holiday face-hole stuffing.  I want to get up and look at this thing but I don’t dare make eye contact.  It’s been a fun morning on the throne…

Sorry, I’ll get off my mound and press on.  I think you’ll find the following article amusing.  P.S., if you do go to the website, I apologize beforehand for the number of fee-based advertisements that will undoubtedly pop up.  In keeping with tradition…

Russian Launches World’s First Jewish Cryptocurrency
BitCoen to conform to Jewish law, offer interest-free loans and be administered by a council made up of community members

A Russian entrepreneur has launched the initial offering of a cryptocurrency aimed primarily at the Jewish market on Wednesday that would conform to Jewish law and offer participants interest-free loans.

BitCoen is billed as the “first kosher crypto currency in the world” according to the website. It promises to give 10 percent of earnings to charity and says it can be used at 110 reception points including kosher restaurants and stores.

It is the brain child of Vyacheslav Semenchuk, a serial entrepreneur who has launched more than 30 startups.

According to the website, the new currency “absorbed all the advantages of the digital world and combined them with values, customs and ancient foundations within the framework of Jewish law.”

The ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is planned for October 9. So far the venture has attracted investments of over $42,000. Semenchuk himself invested $500,000 in the project, INC. news site reported, and he hopes to attract up to $20 million.

In addition to conforming to Jewish law, members of the kosher cryptocurrency will be able to receive interest-free loans.

The currency will be administered by a body called the “Council of Six” made up of six respected members of the Jewish community each representing a different area of expertise — business, politics, finance, technology, social activities, culture — represented by the six-pointed Magen David Jewish star.

The name of the currency BitCoen, is a play on the most popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the Hebrew word “Kohen,” referring to Jews from the priestly class.

The launch received support from one of the two chief rabbis of Russia, the Chabad-affiliated Rabbi Berel Lazar.

“We expect that the cryptocurrency will cover all Jewish communities around the world,” Lazar’s press secretary, Michael Lidogoster, said in a statement. “The main guarantor of stability here is the fact that the keys to managing the cryptocurrency will be in the hands of the most respected members of the community, and not in the hands of some programmers.”

BitCoen joins more than 800 cryptocurrencies traded globally.