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Being Good and Doing Evil

January 12, 2013


The other day I was referred to a government social worker whose father had died leaving her a small inheritance. She makes approximately $100,000/year plus benefits, and although this is not a great deal of money by Bay Area standards it was enough to get me thinking about the nature of her work. It was not […]

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Will The Real Left Please Stand Up

January 3, 2013


Both Left and Right generally treat working people with disdain, relying on the elites in universities, the media, think tanks and government agencies to tell them what working people need.  Since it is thought that the masses are unable to understand and act for themselves on complex issues such as health, economics or education, these things are decided for them with […]

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Is Democracy Dying?

November 19, 2012


Most of us find our own beliefs to be very comforting, and as long as we don’t have any ‘skin in the game’, we usually don’t go to the trouble of subjecting them to any form of rigorous criticism. However, if serious money is at stake through, say betting or investing, then we are much more likely to think longer […]

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Experiments In Living

November 6, 2012


I recently came across the following quotation from Edmund Burke (1729-1797) – “For us to love our country, our country must be lovely.” and for some reason it has been bouncing around in my head ever since. However, I finally realized that I did not like the word ‘lovely’, because it reminded me too closely of […]

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A Little Rebellion Now And Then Is A Good Thing

September 24, 2012


I often have cause to drive from Nevada to California on interstate 15 and so have been stopped innumerable times by the California Fruit Border Control, and asked where I am coming from and whether I have any fruit in my car. The ostensible purpose of these checkpoints is to protect California from exotic invasive species. While there are […]

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Why The Worst Get On Top And What To Do About It

August 26, 2012


My wife grew up in Lithuania when it was part of the Soviet Union, so she had plenty of opportunity to observe the new Soviet man that the ideologists of the Communist Party thought they had created in their planned society.  She was not impressed and nor were the rest of the Soviet people. Popular culture and specifically anti-Soviet jokes, […]

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The State: Engine of Creation or Engine of Plunder?

August 1, 2012


While in England recently I visited Buckland Abbey in Yelverton, Devon, the home of Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596).  As every English schoolboy knows Drake is famous for successfully raiding Spanish ships loaded with treasure from the New World, being the first man to circumnavigate the globe, and helping to defeat the Spanish Armada.  Of course, […]

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Pickled Onions and Thatched Cottages

July 26, 2012


I’m writing this while on vacation in England, in a beautiful thatched cottage in Devon, built in the early 1700’s. There’s no internet so it is easy to ignore unsettling news from the outside world, the Batman massacre, Eurozone concerns and Middle Eastern turmoil. The setting, gardens and décor are idyllic.  The cottage has seen witchcraft […]

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Human Nature – Take Your Pick

July 7, 2012


Sinceritus: People are basically good. Most of the world’s problems could be solved if only we all learned to act a little less selfishly. It just comes down to education and changing the environment, so we can help make people better. Economicus: I disagree with your basic premise. Man is an imperfect, selfish, fallible creature […]

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On Doing The Right Thing

June 25, 2012


I attended the funeral of an old client the other day. JP* was an immensely strong man, both physically and mentally, and had built a very successful construction company. He was old-school and somehow you knew that, if there were difficult choices to make, JP would always do the right thing, however hard that might be. […]

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Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

June 18, 2012

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The daughter of a friend of ours has a leading role in ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’, a rock musical about Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, at the San Jose Stage, so I am looking forward to seeing it in a few days. The review in the San Jose Mercury News quotes the […]

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Planning or Scamming?

May 20, 2012


As a long-time financial planner I know how hard it is to do good planning work for individuals and couples.  Such planning requires, among other things, meticulous attention to detail, an effective process to elicit the values behind the numbers and a constant review of assumptions and goals over time to make sure the client […]

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Hayek, Candies and Keynes

April 23, 2012


The debate between Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes over the nature and future of economics, spanned momentous times such as the Great Depression and the age of dictators, and it continues today posthumously in the discussion of how best to nurse back to health a wounded world economy.  Keynes, the optimist, believed that solutions […]

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The Plus Side Of Debt Default

April 20, 2012


Back in September, 2008 Professor Jeffrey Rogers Hummel gave an online presentation to Sterling Futures’ clients and friends on the state of the economy. In 1993 Hummel was the first economist to go on record predicting that the U.S. government will default on its obligations. At that time the prediction was considered extreme but now […]

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