Posts Tagged ‘irrationality’

Unpredictably Rational

I don’t think humans are rational creatures but we do have an ability to make rational decisions. And perhaps an even greater ability to rationalize our (rational and irrational) behavior.  Just saying. – Ilene 

Unpredictably Rational

Muskrat :: Ondatra zibethicus

Courtesy of Tim at The Psy-Fi Blog 

Common Sense

As we go about our everyday lives we don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on the irrationality of the people around us. Certainly from time to time people do stupid things, but by and large most of us make it through most of our days without driving the wrong way up roads, roasting our dogs in microwaves or buying stocks in stupid companies. Even when we do odd things there’s usually some recognisably rational reason for us doing them.

This version of human rationality is virtually unknown to all brands of economics which largely insist on defining rationality in an irrational way and then sniggering at the human race when it fails to live up to the standards that some rather over-focused economists think it should. The problem for them is that we’re not the irrational ones, they are. The problem for us is that the people that matter listen to them, not us.

Maximal Utility

The definition of rationality that’s at the centre of modern economics is a strange conceit, based around the idea of maximising utility. Underlying this is an assumption that rationality means that we’re consistent in our choices: faced with the same situation we should always do the same thing. From this position economists have then spent a great deal of time trying to design experiments to show that this is what we do, which is just about possible when you remove all vestiges of reality from the situation (see, for instance, Be a Sceptical Economist).

Chimpanzees Take Control Of The Cameras For BBC Documentary

However, real-life isn’t like this. We rarely, if ever, face the same situation twice: life is a stream and we can’t stand in it twice. Mostly we must face each situation anew and make new choices each time. Obviously we rely on past experience to guide us in our decision making and, as we all have different experiences to guide us, we make different decisions. We even make different choices ourselves between very similar circumstances and most of us will see nothing wrong in this. It’s certainly not…
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Valentine’s Day Sexonomics

Valentine’s day revisited through the eyes of Eric and from an economic perspective.  The same principles that are used in choosing which stock to buy can be used in selecting a mate, or the other way around. – Ilene 

Valentine’s Day Sexonomics

Bottle of champagne by bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates

Courtesy of ERIC FALKENSTEIN

Steve Levitt’s Freakonomics bestseller highlighted that many quirky phenomenon can be analyzed using economic reasoning, or really, assuming individuals are self interested, and applying statistics and logic to that. Many people find this application of ‘economics’ much more interesting than applying such logic to widgets or muni bonds, so why not just get all those cost and indifference curves in price/quantity space out of economics textbooks, and replace with sexy pictures and fun sex trivia? One could then see economic lessons on Spike TV, right after Manswers. After all, sex is an object of exchange just like any other commodity, but a lot more fun for college-aged students to contemplate. 

For example, Charlotte Allen’s article on the New Dating Game, and Lori Gottlieb’s book on why women should settle rather than become spinsters, brought forth a lot of ‘Freakonomic’ issues around dating, sex and marriage, and generated considerable blog buzz (see Robin HansenSlateJezebel). Writing about these matters is always sure to get people excited, because these are issues people feel they understand pretty well, so people who disagree are way wrong! This got me thinking about the fun book, Mathematics and Sex, which is good nerd porn. Consider the application of economic models to the following issues:

Asset pricing: Choosing a young man for a long-term mate means evaluating his future value; you don’t want a young hottie who won’t age well. Hot Chippendale dancers with low intelligence aren’t good buys. But then, if you want to get the next billionaire, should you try to find the next Bill Gates or Warren Buffet? These are true nerds, and at 18 they weren’t attractive to most women (Buffet writes candidly about his social ineptness as a young man). So, should women glom on to nerds? Well, it could be that nerds have a higher top return, but lower average return, so this isn’t optimal even abstracting from their obviously lower current value. Fads based on conspicuous successes can alter the value of current young men. Perhaps your dad was a prior bubble (eg, he…
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Science, Stocks and Superstition

Science, Stocks and Superstition

Courtesy of Tim at The Psy-Fi Blog

biasesUnreliable Science

As we’ve seen – repeatedly – people aren’t particularly good at overcoming the behavioural biases built into our nature by evolution. There’s no real reason we should be – computing the statistical probability of an above average return on the stockmarket over a twenty year period wasn’t of much value for most of human history. This was partly because twenty years was more than the average lifespan of a proto-human but largely because no one had yet got around to inventing money or stockmarkets or stocks. Or ‘years’.

If these biases are inherent and cause us to do stupid things around finance we might expect that they’ll appear in other areas as well where humanity has only recently started to apply its higher cognitive functions. So it’s unsurprising that our basic intuitions about science are about as reliable as those we have about finance. To whit: not reliable at all.

Greek Geeks

Science has been around a lot longer than modern financial theory. The Ancient Greeks developed many concepts that aren’t out of place in the modern pantheon of university science faculties – atomic theory, planetary orbits and toga parties amongst them. Unfortunately they failed to marry their scientific insights to a stable economic system and much of their knowledge was lost for the best part of a millennium. The lesson being, presumably, that disenfranchising women and relying on slave labour is a poor way of building a stable society. Global corporations take note.

GreeksDuring that lost thousand years or so the only real legacy of Greek knowledge in the Western world was a smattering of Aristotle, who was a bloody good thinker but a bit weak on stuff like planetary motion and mathematics. Somewhere along the line Aristotle’s ideas got mixed up with Christianity and resulted in the odd position of the Catholic Church defining God’s word on the basis of the scientific writings of an atheistic Greek who died before Christ was born. We can blame Thomas Aquinas for that one.

The period known as the Renaissance – the rebirth – was marked by a remarkable rediscovery of Ancient Greek thought. Some of this came from the Muslim world, where many ideas and writings had been sustained through the European Dark Ages, and some of it from the


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Zero Hedge

Trump Sues Manhattan D.A. In Response To Subpoenas

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

And now a plot twist: with Trump under relentless attack for the past three years to disclose his tax returns, on Thursday morning the president struck back, suing Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to block an attempt by New York state prosecutors to obtain eight years of the president’s tax returns in a probe of whether the Trump Organization falsified business records.   

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Phil's Favorites

At Press Conference, Fed Chair Powell Refuses to Answer Whether Wall Street Banks Are Too Big to Manage

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at Press Conference, September 18, 2019

Following a lack of liquidity on Wall Street, which necessitated the Federal Reserve having to provide $53 billion on Tuesday and another $75 billion on Wednesday to normalize overnight lending in the repo market, the Chairman of the Fed, Jerome (Jay) Powell held his press conference at 2:30 p.m. yesterday. The press gathering followed both a one-quarter point cut in the Fed Funds rate by the Fed yesterday as well as the first intervention by the Fed in the overnight lending market since the financi...



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Insider Scoop

How Cheapskates Can Access Mid Caps

Courtesy of Benzinga

For investors that don't like stocks but do enjoy saving money on fund fees, exchange traded funds are highly desirable destinations. And for those looking to dance with mid-cap stocks, a desirable asset class, there are plenty of compelling ETFs for cost-conscious investors to consider.

What Happened

The Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF (NYSE: ...



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The Technical Traders

SAFE ASSETS - A TRADING STRATEGY FOR UTILITIES, GOLD, AND BONDS

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Chris Vermeulen, Founder of The Technical Traders shares his trading strategy for safer assets. While precious metals and bonds had a great run, the charts are showing the utilities could be the place to be in the short term. It’s important to note we are not saying the other safe havens are going to crash but it’s all about the time frame and playing the sector that could pop first.

LISTEN HERE NOW

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stocks, Oil, and Bond Yields At Critical Bullish Breakout Tests!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

It’s not often that three asset classes reach similar important trading points all at once.

But that’s exactly what’s happening right now with stocks, crude oil, and treasury bond yields.

And this is occurring on Federal Reserve day no less! Something has got to give.

In the chart above y...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Is The Drone Strike a Black Swan?

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Pundits are calling yesterday’s drone strke a “black swan.” Can a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility, be a “black swan.”

According to Investopedia:

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the practice of explaining widespread failure to predict them as simple folly in hindsight.

I seriously doubt that no one expected or could have predicted a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility.

Call Me A B...

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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

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Digital Currencies

China Crypto Miners Wiped Out By Flood; Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits ATHs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last week, a devastating rainstorm in China's Sichuan province triggered mudslides, forcing local hydropower plants and cryptocurrency miners to halt operations, reported CoinDesk.

Torrential rains flooded some parts of Sichuan's mountainous Aba prefecture last Monday, with mudslides seen across 17 counties in the area, according to local government posts on Weibo. 

One of the worst-hit areas was Wenchuan county, ...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

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In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

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