The Individual is Rising – Third Edition

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Individual is Rising – Third Edition

November 18, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Dear Journal,

A specter is haunting the modern world…

Society has undergone a massive change over the past several decades – the type of change from which there is no return. This change has been the transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age; a transition which is still in its infancy. Most people may not know this yet, but they can feel it.

The rules have changed, and many are rapidly falling behind because they still cling to the old paradigm. Yet a world of opportunity awaits those who understand what is taking place.

Continue reading “The Individual is Rising – Third Edition”

Maximize Capital; Minimize Crap

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Maximize Capital; Minimize Crap

September 20, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

He achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction…
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,
This is to have succeeded.
” – Bessie Anderson Stanley

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,139. Gold closed at $1,316 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $43.80 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.70%. Bitcoin is trading around $608 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

The first leaves of Autumn have begun to fall, and each new morning is now accompanied by a light breeze. Little Maddie seems to share her father’s love of the season, as she enthusiastically gathers black walnuts from the yard to feed the squirrels.

Here, squirrel, squirrel, squirrel… I have an apricot for you!

Yeah, she calls the walnuts apricots. I am not sure where that came from.

Madison has also been debriefed on the proper way to carve a jack-o-lantern, and I test her knowledge daily.

“Maddie, what’s the first thing we have to do to make a jack-o-lantern?”

“We have to carve the top and get the gunk out!”

“And what are we going to do with the gunk?”

“We are going to throw it on mommy!”

…I think you are ready, kiddo.”pumpkin

It is truly the simple things that make this life worth living.

We spend most of our time in these journal entries and especially in the Zenconomics Report discussing complex topics within the world of money, finance, and economics, but that is only because we want to be able to enjoy the simple things. Continue reading “Maximize Capital; Minimize Crap”

Monetary History in Ten Minutes

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Monetary History in Ten Minutes

August 23, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Money, moreover is the economic area most encrusted and entangled with centuries of government meddling. Many people – many economists – usually devoted to the free market stop short at money. Money, they insist, is different; it must be supplied by government and regulated by government. They never think of state control of money as interference in the free market… If we favor the free market in other directions, if we wish to eliminate government invasion of person and property, we have no more important task than to explore the ways and means of a free market in money.”Murray Rothbard

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,183. Gold closed at $1,343 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $46.81 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.58%. Bitcoin is trading around $585 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Little Maddie is rapidly approaching her second birthday, and I swear she is going on twelve. Like her mother, Madison is quite adept at the art of talking, and she communicates with us very well. This makes life so much easier when she tells us exactly what she wants for dinner; it makes life just a touch more difficult when she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning and tells us she wants to watch Mickey Mouse.

While this seems terribly inconvenient to her parents now, I can only imagine how immaterial it will seem when Maddie is a teenager and we just hope she comes home before the wee hours of the morning. Nevertheless, it all makes perfect sense when she looks up at us with her blue eyes shining bright and says I love you sooo much!

Moving on to finance… Continue reading “Monetary History in Ten Minutes”

Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

August 4, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” – H.L. Mencken

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,163. Gold closed at $1,364 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $41.08 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.54%. Bitcoin is trading around $584 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Election season is now in full swing here in the U.S. – much to the agony of those of us who believe in human liberty, voluntary association, and participatory networks.

Once again the intelligentsia have convinced people that their future hinges directly upon the outcome of the next presidential election, and inevitably we non-voters are denounced for lack of patriotism by the 40% of the population who still place their faith in the voting booth. Naturally, our first reaction is to stand up for ourselves and explain our position:

“The essence of politics is coercion and, if necessary, violence…”, we attempt to explain in vain. Continue reading “Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting”

The Beta Investment Strategy

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Beta Investment Strategy

July 22, 2016
Charlotte, NC

Most people think the secret to making money by investing is to find the stock that will go up. They all want to be an alpha investor, the big man on campus… That’s the whole game, they believe – seeking alpha… But the trouble with alpha is that it is unreliable… In the long run, it’s beta that makes fortunes, not alpha. Every study proves it… A beta strategy is completely different from an alpha strategy. Instead of trying to beat the market, you make the market your friend. It’s not your enemy. You don’t try to beat it; your just want to join it. And go along with it.” – Bill Bonner, Family Fortunes: How to Build Family Wealth and Hold on to It for 100 Years

The S&P closed out Thursday at $2,165. Gold closed at $1,332 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $44.56 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.56%. Bitcoin is trading around $655 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel and I are back in the Queen City for the weekend with little Maddie in tow. Accustomed only to mountains, pastures, and the wide-open spaces of the countryside, Madison stares up in awe at the tall buildings that loom overhead. Accustomed only to backwood country roads, her father tries very hard not to curse at all of the other motorists he shares the highway with.

We travel back to the city of our marriage this weekend to celebrate a soon-to-be new addition to the world of humanity. Friend Wade will soon be a poppa!

Rachel comes bearing gifts for the mother-to-be Kristi and her soon-to-be son, Thomas. I come to share a stiff drink with Wade and tell him how amazingly hard child-rearing is. Madison has been instructed to wake up crying at 3:00 am to hammer home my point. Continue reading “The Beta Investment Strategy”

Markets and Economic Calculation

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Markets and Economic Calculation

June 7, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Monetary calculation is not the calculation, and certainly not the measurement, of value. Its basis is the comparison of the more important and the less important. It is an ordering according to rank, an act of grading (Cuhel), and not an act of measuring.” – Ludwig von Mises

The S&P closed out Monday at $2,109. Gold closed at $1,247 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $49.71 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.72%. Bitcoin is trading around $585 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel and I will commemorate our third wedding anniversary tomorrow! When she asked me what I would like to do to celebrate, I naturally suggested that we could do anything in the world she wanted. Her response:

I would kind of like to do something fun, but I would settle for a major house cleaning day…

Does that mean we are officially marriage pro’s?

Moving on… I think this is a fascinating time to be alive. Based on what I know about recorded human history, I doubt there has ever been a more interesting point in time to be a keen observer of civilization. How lucky we are!

As I have reckoned on before, human civilization is currently transitioning from the Industrial Age and into the Information Age. Pre-Internet society was drastically different from post-Internet society, and indeed all of modern civilization has been made dependent upon a functioning Internet. This dynamic will only deepen as all of the Big Data and Internet-of-Things trends continue to play out. Continue reading “Markets and Economic Calculation”

Transitioning from Coercion to Voluntary Association

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Transitioning from Coercion to Voluntary Association

April 27, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

The only highwayman I ever met was the state itself. When I have refused to pay the tax which is demanded for that protection which I did not want, itself has robbed me. When I have asserted the freedom it declared, it has imprisoned me.” – Henry David Thoreau

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,091. Gold closed at $1,244 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $44.02 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.93%. Bitcoin is trading around $455 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Last week we gazed into our crystal ball and discussed the future of commerce. As part of that discussion, we suggested that centralized governments have been skimming 50% of all production via taxation for quite some time now, and we suggested that the global economy would boom if producers were permitted to keep the monetary fruits of their labor.

I should clarify this a bit more by saying the vast majority of those taxes go towards financing corruption, cronyism, special interests, bureaucracy, militarism, dependency programs, and waste. In other words, they are used to destroy wealth and destabilize civilized society. A very small portion of the taxes you pay goes towards providing core civil services.

Further, the entire system of centralized government is underwritten by coercion and violence. Here’s what I mean by this: Continue reading “Transitioning from Coercion to Voluntary Association”

The Path to the Great Reset

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Path to the Great Reset

April 6, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

But if government manages to establish paper tickets or bank credit as money, as equivalent to gold grams or ounces, then the government, as dominant money-supplier, becomes free to create money costlessly and at will. As a result, this ‘inflation’ of the money supply destroys the value of the dollar or pound, drives up prices, cripples economic calculation, and hobbles and seriously damages the workings of the market economy.
Murray Rothbard

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,045. Gold closed at $1,229 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $35.89 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.78%. Bitcoin is trading around $423 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

I began writing a book titled The Individual is Rising back in 2013. The first edition was published in the summer of 2014, and then the updated, expanded, and revised second edition was published in August of 2015.

The central thesis of the book was that a financial “Great Reset” was on the horizon specifically due to the gross abuse and mismanagement of the monetary system that grew progressively more blatant over the course of the past century. Continue reading “The Path to the Great Reset”

The Moral Value of Money

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Moral Value of Money

March 17, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,027. Gold closed at $1,264 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $38.50 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.94%. Bitcoin is trading around $415 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Last week we examined the majesty of mindfulness, and we suggested that politics was the bane of human civilization. There are many reasons for this, but at the core is this: politics is based on coercion. Politics rests upon the notion that those who gain political power have the right to force people to do things against their will using the police power of government. This is always a zero-sum game: one side wins and the other loses.

The U.S. federal government collects roughly $3 trillion in taxes annually. The civics textbooks tell us that taxes are the price we pay for civilization, but I have to ask: where does all of this money go? Continue reading “The Moral Value of Money”

Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky: the Fallacy of Keynesian Economics

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky: The Fallacy of Keynesian Economics

February 16, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

“There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”
-Ludwig von Mises

The S&P closed out Friday at $1,858. Gold closed at $1,239 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $29.44 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.64%. Bitcoin is trading around $405 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

The snow has returned to the mountains of Virginia with another eight inches gracefully covering the ground. As winter continues to play out here on the home front, I can’t help but notice winter settling in over the financial markets as well. I expect the last three quarters of 2016 to be especially volatile.

Simply tracking the brief market updates in this journal series tells the basic story and highlights the budding trends. My last entry of 2015 observed the S&P comfortably perched at $2,056 while gold was safely out-of-sight at $1,068 per ounce. Crude oil was trading at $36.81 and the 10-year Treasury rate was 2.23%. A week later the S&P was slightly down while gold, oil, and the 10-year rate were slightly up. The following week the S&P had continued to fall to $1,938 while gold continued to rise to $1,085. Oil plummeted again to $30.44 and the 10-year rate fell to 2.10%.

These trends have continued week-after-week for the first two months of 2016. Today, the S&P is down 10% from its December high. Gold is up 15%, oil is down 24%, and the 10-year Treasury rate is down 28% over this same time period. This crude analysis very clearly demonstrates that capital is fleeing the U.S. equity markets and flowing into gold and U.S. Treasuries which are considered safe-haven assets. Meanwhile, we are seeing 12-year lows in crude oil and all-time lows in U.S. shale oil and gas companies.

Expanding our gaze a bit: we are seeing new 52-week lows in the major stock markets of Europe and Japan as well. European banks are particularly troubling as those stocks have fallen more to start 2016 than they did to start 2008. Further, we are seeing six-year lows in junk bonds as well as emerging markets.

All of this is occurring while the Federal Reserve proclaims the economy healthy and ready for “normalization” policies. But what is normal? Continue reading “Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky: the Fallacy of Keynesian Economics”