Markets

[Note: This content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Consult a professional before making or changing investments.] Did the Coal-Mine Canary Just Byte the Dust?  NOTHING EXEMPLIFIES today’s progressive abstraction of reality and value  better than bitcoin–or say better than cryptocurrencies (bitcoin is the largest of many).   Over the last few hundred years, systems for a medium of exchange (and store of value, etc.) went from physical gold and silver coins to paper currency (notes) that did represent some quantity of a valued commodity (e.g. pound sterling or gold standard US dollar) to a completely confidence-based currency (“fiat” currency e.g. most world currencies today) to bitcoin (a unique algorithm among a finite supply of them). As I looked back on the economics class I

Read More
Movies

Trial of the Chicago Seven A riveting film considering the events are part of history. Heavyweight actors abound in the cast of a film worthy of its many awards.  Mark Rylance, a favorite actor (Dunkirk, Bridge of Spies, Ready Player One), plays the attorney for the defense. Michael Keaton shows up in a special role to name only two. This film brought to light the confrontations up to and after the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago when a group of activists planned anti-war and counterculture protests at a nearby park.   Justice itself goes on trial here and it’s only before the credits roll that you learn what happened afterward. A number of people put years of  their own freedom on the line for the

Read More
More

  IN MY MOTHER’S kitchen, and taped to the door of a cabinet where cups and plates are kept, is a laminated Catholic Diocese card. The card is divided into two distinct sections. The top part is titled The Corporal Works of Mercy. The “works” are ministrations to be made and observations to be kept in caring for –to name some of them–the poor, the sick, and the dead. The lower part describes The Spiritual Works of Mercy. This section addresses, among other items, forgiveness toward the wretched and prayers for the dead.  The Diocese card made it clear that Mercy took the form of both Thought and Deed. Earlier this week, after a spate of cool, damp weather had broken and given way to a

Read More
Markets

[Authors Note: This material is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Consult an investment professional about your personal investment needs and preferences for risk] I HAVE BEEN AN AVID OBSERVER  for thirty years as markets have made their seemingly inexorable rise despite manias and crashes and soaring national debt. I read about historical markets and the concomitant calamities and mostly booming recoveries therefrom.  I wish I had a dollar for every conspiracy theory and every method of prediction or forecasting I have come across. I even had a financial radio show in 2005-6. All of my guests–many of them prestigious–predicted the crash to come, though two years early.  The current market condition–like much of what else has happened in the last five years–continues to have

Read More
Movies

TOM HANKS doesn’t make bad movies, though he has been part of so many great ones that many, like this one, are merely “good” or “worthwhile.” News of the World takes place not long after the Civil War-where a  lot of things had been disrupted, of course, and not yet returned to their proper place [Over 150 years later this remains true]. There aren’t many jobs that allow you to earn a living to avoid going home, but Hank’s character, Captain Kidd, found one. Part  performer, part civil servant, and former soldier, Kidd travels about the Middle West to read to townspeople from a collection of domestic newspapers. He has to be part diplomat, too because in every audience he is sure to have sensitive

Read More
More

  LITERATURE AND SOCIETY dance a duet and take turns leading.  It isn’t always apparent that changes in Art are a response to changes in society and culture  or whether the order is reversed. Yet the very “ominous” poem, The Second Coming by Yeats was written just after WWI, the “war to end all wars” (https://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/twilight-in-the-land-of-more/). And Orwell’s dystopian 1984 (published 1949) was a response to totalitarianism before, during, and after WWII (https://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/orwells-1984-is-the-book-of-our-time-a-canticle-for-eric-blair/ ). In the Roaring Twenties, the male and privileged romanticism of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were the rage. By the end of the Depression, the mantle of social authority was transferred to the destitute masses in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath or the more haunted existences of the Deep South revealed in

Read More

Movies

Movies are more than entertainment. While film is one of the most powerful mediums for storytelling, movies can inform and inspire. First of all, Movies—the good ones—are part of our culture. Once a movie is established as “good,” it conveys some valid message about the human experience. What people watch is important—just as it is important what they read and listen to.

Movies inspire, too. When I see  an impassioned performance or notice an exceptional display of cinematography, it makes me want to try and create art.  Great stories are there to ask us if we, like the hero and heroine, could rise to become our best selves when a lot was at stake, or when no one else would do the right thing.

So do I watch movies at home?  Yes, but the movie theatre, as Joseph Campbell noted, was like a temple. Moviegoing is a ritual. We go there to receive the potent “myths” of our time, and we hope to walk away slightly charged with purpose or reminded of what it means to be human—which is why we should be seeing movies at the theater, with strangers, humans.

read more button 200w 

Markets

The markets are probably more interesting than the movies. After all, every day billions are pilfered in elaborate schemes, the equivalent of warfare takes place in the currency and equity markets, and heroes and villains make the headlines.

Aside from the drama involved, the spectacle of crowds in action is something to behold. The average person sees little more than the change in the value of their stocks or funds at the end of the day. But imagine watching a few bankers at the Federal Reserve change a couple words in their statement, only to add or erase half a trillion dollars in global values of bonds and stock.

Macroeconomics is essential. And the history of markets is priceless—people repeat the same patterns for centuries.

Does it matter that we use computers or smartphones to buy stocks? No.

read more button 200w

…and More

I have taught for about fifteen years now. But I got lucky. I was offered the chance to teach classes in world religions, diversity, economics, finance and Africa—to name a few.  The value for me was to see how those subjects interrelate.

I do not see political parties, or terrorists, or despots or ideologies any more: I see power structures and patterns. History did not have much value for me in high school or college—oh, it was interesting, but I did not see the usefulness. I see it today.

People have not changed in ten thousand years. They were just as smart then as we are today. And when they get together in groups, they do the same things. Over. And over.  Africa, for example, is a study in power structures. First tribes, then empires, then colonial powers, then religious influences, then Cold-War rivalries.

The world is anarchy. In anarchy, power is king. Watch the power. It’s a little like “follow the money.”

read more button 200w

SHARE

Home