Anything That Interests Me! :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Current GFC - Global Financial Crisis

The Current GFC - Global Financial Crisis

No, I am not going to talk about the GFC to explain it to people. That's not the point of this post. The point of this post is about themes. And the difficulties of my incredibly difficult ISM and the conundrum that I've faced, and also a bit about philosophies.

On Bullshit and the GFC (Ponzi schemes)

Anyways, the GFC is also evidence of the lengths that people would go to just to bullshit others, in terms of the Madoff case and the lax regulations that led to renegade money managers. I was thinking of proposing:

"Is the liberal financial regime in the US and Europe one giant Ponzi scheme?"

Other proposals that I have in mind:

Does the GFC mark the end of the liberal financial model, or is it just an aberration?

Effects of ... on the GFC

... include:

rumours, economic liberalisation, economic integration... and much more. Just imagine that to be a Satzklammer, where you can fill in any nice word you want.

Effects of hamburgers on the GFC (that would get me kicked out!)

The problem is that this is an ISM, and with a very important and clever professor.


I cannot do a literature survey or a simple analysis in words, because that would not suffice for a major ISM. In economics there is now a pressing demand for models and empirical studies or econometric studies at the undergraduate level, even for level 3000.

This is not a fact but a kind of trend. I have a friend whose professor just said that a literature review and simple analysis would do - because we are not trained to make models or to innovate models or conduct econometric studies at year 3. On the other hand, there is my professor, who is wise and clever enough to inform me of the pitfalls of "traditional economics", which is under heavy attack by mathematics. I am using such strong words, but basically the mathematisation of economics is an ongoing and continuous trend that will not abate, and in fact has been established as part of this field for ages.

SO the problem is THIS:

Building a model, and then doing empirical testing.

Another possible way is to have the empirical evidence and then do a model based on that.

Needless to say there are debates.

I am going to graduate with an Economics First Class here, so no matter what it takes, I'll do it (yes, that's not economic thinking - did not weigh opportunity cost). So one possible strategy would be to bite bullets.

Biting bullets

Mankiw claimed that he is not good at math. Yet he bit the bullet and became an Economist. I have bitten the math bullet.

In addition, the other intellectual bullets that I have bitten are:

1. Physics - at the level of concepts and hypotheses - models of course

2. Biology and evolution

3. Increasing mathematisation in Economics including abstract statistical concepts

4. Additional modules - including International Economics (which is not compulsory for me) - i.e. doing more work, in effect

5. Dumping History, my beloved subject... because I have to get Economics First Class and USP. Sigh. I will miss her, but then again, I can always study history and read stuff on my own, whereas Economics and USP are paying and metaphorically paving me the metaphorical road to metaphorical success. You know, I really loved Economics and History at JC, but now, when I do Economics as a "professional" subject, it is a bit dry.

But there are more bullets to come.

Now I go back to writing proposals.

One good thing about blogging is that it is a form of catharsis. And what do you know, you may actually think of better ideas whilst formulating your own ideas into words.

One last thing is that for you non-economists, this current global financial crisis is colossal and has far reaching repercussions, the likes of which the world has never seen. This is really indeed some catastrophe and I am not alarmist (i.e. I'm not that kind of DOOMSSSSSDAY IS COMINGGGGG!!! person). Francis Fukuyama predicted the end of history. Many predicted the end of finance (i.e. that finance was fully developed). Well, they were right and wrong - it was no end to finance, but now it seems that it is an end to finance.

The world is ending!!!

PS You will be pleased to know that economists are spectacularly bad at predicting. We are not dentists (Harford, of Undercover Economist fame).

Anything that interests me

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Nice stories I just want to share

Anything that interests me: Nice stories I just want to share

With the world in recession plus a whole host of negative things around us (fires in Thailand clubs, dead Singaporeans and live terrorists, Israel attacking Hamas yet again... et al), I think I would like to share some nice stories instead. Just for a change. For no apparent reason, psychology, philosophy, economics and history aren't in my head at the moment, although once school starts I will be studying all the philosophy, economics and history that I can lay my hands on, and memorising and learning and whatnot. I would like to share some nice stories.

By the way I realise that some people may want to contact me and to ask me things and talk to me. Do leave some means of contact, like a blog or an email, so that I can get back to you. I don't let people contact me easily on my Ideas on How To Become Rich and Get Your University Degree Online sites, but this is my personal academic blog and questions are always welcome. Thanks! The reason, of course, why I don't leave any means of contact around is that if you check things up, I have been flamed and attacked ad hominem by strange people whom I've never met (and in some cases, whom I've met for like 10 seconds). But for the rest of the world, just leave me some contact and I'll be glad to help you.

Anyways, stories, in my own words:

A rugby team was about to win the first championship in their lives. They were seconds away from victory and the crowd was already counting down. TEN! NINE! EIGHT! ... One of the quarterbacks, caught up in the excitement of the moment, threw up the ball, up into the air, just as the crowd counted THREE! TWO! ... He thought that the match was almost over and that he had won for the first time ever. At that moment, the other team's foremost player caught the ball and ran to the end and ... touch-down! The other team won.

Moral: it ain't over till the fat lady sings. That's my fave phrase!

During the Vietnam War, the Americans accidentally bombed a village and injured many young children. One little girl was especially hurt and needed a huge blood transfusion to save her life. She was rushed to hospital by her teacher, accompanied by friends and classmates. The Red Cross nurse who was tending to her asked everyone: "Will any one here in this hospital give her blood? She's dying!" However, none of the Vietnamese in the hospital responded, including the girl's friends. A little boy took a look at the dying girl, and then volunteered to give blood. The nurse took her syringe and started her work. As she did, the life started returning to the girl's face and she looked much better, and the Doctor said, "She's going to live, because of you. Well done, little boy." And the boy said, in a trembling voice: "Well, I am glad that she can live. When will I start dying? Am I going to die now?" It was then that the Red Cross realised that every one of the Vietnamese had misunderstood and that they thought they had to give their life to save the girl.

My thought: As Jesus says, there's no greater love than giving your life for your friends. I am touched every time I read this one.

A boss was hiring workers to sell telephone systems when a cowboy walked into his office. "Hire me, boss, I wanna become a success in beeness (business)," said the cowboy. The boss thought that he would never make it, but gave him a chance anyways because he thought that the cowboy would be out in a month. "Thanks sir, you won't regret it," said the cowboy, "how much do ya think I will make inna month?" The boss said, "Well, based on your lack of experience and your dressing, your accent, and your bad English, no more than 1000 bucks a month!" The cowboy said, "No problem; that's more than what I get back at the ranch anyways!" He got 400 bucks working as a cowboy.

He went on to make 6000 bucks on his first month and went from success to success. One day he even came into the office with bags of cash and said, "Hey Larry, I doing fine, no?" The boss was flabbergasted. He said, "I don't know if you take paper (a cheque - he didn't know what a cheque was), so I drove the lady to the bank and got her to give me the money in cash!" How did he sell the phones to her, to begin with? He said: "I just said to her, 'Ma'am, let's just say the phone does nothing but ring and you pick it up, my brand looks nicer than those that you already have!' "

The cowboy also wrote down his goals: "I wanna be a success in beeness." And he made hundreds of cold calls a day. He wrote his goals and went for it, and eventually did become a success in business.

"To Risk"
by William Arthur Ward/ Author unknown (I have found multiple attributions)

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out to others is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure

But risks must be taken,
because the greatest hazard in life is to do nothing.

The person who risks nothing,
does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.

Chained by their attitudes, they are a slave,
they forfeited their freedom.
Only the person who risks can be free.

The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails.

And another nice, well, advertisement, in this case, that I want to share is:

Impossible is just a big word
thrown around by small men
who find it easier to live
in the world they've been given
than to explore the power they have
to change it.

Impossible is not a fact.
It's an opinion.

Impossible is not a declaration.
It's a dare.

Impossible is potential.
Impossible is temporary.

Impossible is nothing.

I remember that most people said that David Beckham was just fluff and not a real footballer, only an advertisement or some kind of walking merchandise or something like that. He sells shirts and perfumes and whatnot, you see. When he went to Real Madrid, they said that too. He was real unpopular.

BUT, I also remember that on his first match, he scored his very first goal for Real from a freekick - scoring his debut goal for Real Madrid, on his first match, on his first freekick. He won them that game. David Beckham never looked back, and his detractors were all wrong anyways. Go BECKS! :) Hah. I'm ancient.

Anything that interests me!