One hidden benefit: Why get anything but the best lectures in the world on any topic? There's probably a half dozen teachers for each topic that represent the best available. Why have thousands upon thousands of profs teaching 2nd/3rd rate versions of the same thing?
Interesting post over at the Oil Drum. Hint: replace the discussion of military complexity (Roman) with financial complexity (the US) and the destruction of 3 legions in Teutoburg forest with the destruction of Bear/Lehman/et. and you see something interesting.
I've always thought that being a doctor should be a calling and not a profit driven exercise. Of course, I am on the outside, but I suspect if the government offered free tuition + stipend and $120 k with a cola for 20 years once you get out of school, the line of highly qualified applicants would go out the door, round the block, and across the country. I wonder if resilient communities could offer this to route around the damage at the national/state level?
Like most, the nagging question I've been asking myself is "what next?" "What's the next shock going to be?"
That's a hard question, given that the horizon is filled with aspirants, made possible by a global system operating without any meaningful level of control and a "core system" that produces a torrential flow of entropy (which in hasty acts of blind self-preservation, showers everywhere without regard to the consequences).
Clearly, the next shock will come soon, and it be followed by another and another and another until the global system evolves (as opposed to develops solutions). That evolution, almost certainly organic, will be a transition to a system that is quite unlike what we have today. It will be a new dissipative structure that can operate at a low level of entropy while remaining connected (preserving the computational capacity of the system).
What does a low entropy system that can provide us with an accelerated future with a long trajectory look like?
One that is extremely efficient at using inputs of mass, time, energy, space, and information while not losing an ability to think.
one that can produce all of the diversity of things/services we currently produce merely through the exchange of information and raw materials, obviating the need for our grossly inefficient global middleware.
one that is efficient enough to produce this diversity with only the energy actively produced by the sun/earth.
one that requires little governance except at the periphery, eliminating the need for overly complex political and economic systems.
one that stays connected to dynamically respond to rapidly changing circumstance -- parallel process decision making -- and learn at unprecedented rates.
one that is, for all intents and purposes, immune to global shocks through scale invariance and decentralization.
Yet another sign that the global system is too big for any single nation to mitigate.
U.S. taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $23.7 trillion to bolster the economy and bail out financial companies, said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.
We just embarked on the biggest social welfare program of the century: a bail out of global banks. This program went from the low single digits to $23.7 Trillion in one year.
The biggest difference between this expenditure/liability combo and others (medical/retirement liabilities) is the rate of onset for realized liabilities. Instead of 50 years, this bill might be due in the next couple of years.
Some smart observations from Karl Denninger at market ticker. Basically, the disconnect is a result of a breakdown in traditional models of economic performance that dictate a return to equilibrium and reality (what the numbers/data tells you). Stick to the models and the mainstream media optimistic hype (amazingly biased to the sell side) and you FAIL. The oligarchs are such baddies (not only for being focused on short term personal greed over long term public good, which is asinine, but because they can't think themselves out of a paper bag).
When The Port of Long Beach shows container shipments down nearly 30%, when freight carloadings are down nearly 25% year over year, when sales tax receipts are down in the double digits and when income tax collections, both personal and corporate have effectively collapsed there is simply no argument that "the recession is over" or that "trend growth is around the corner."
What those high-frequency data sources are telling us, here and now, today, is that we are in the middle of a 25-30% economic contraction - exactly as I predicted would occur in 2007.
Everyone seems to be hollering about the "wonderful performance" of the banks that have reported thus far, but let's be honest - if you can borrow for nothing and charge 30% interest on plastic, you make a fortune, right? Well, for a while - until the squeeze of contracting incomes and increasing interest charges force your customers to default, at which point the charge-offs and defaults this forces in the rest of your portfolio (e.g. mortgages) kill you dead.
Our government and regulators have chosen "earn them out". The problem is that this path cannot succeed because "earn them out" requires that the economy return to trend growth - that is, 3-4% GDP - before next year. That is not going to happen; the government backstop and artificial support only work so long as they continue, and we cannot continue to borrow two trillion a year for the purpose of propping
up these institutions in excess of their natural earnings power in the economy.