Comments on: My One And Only Stock Market Advice Post http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Wed, 19 Nov 2008 22:08:29 +0000 #?v=2.3.2 By: Anonymous http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2275 Anonymous Fri, 14 Dec 2007 12:00:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2275 Beautiful Blog ! You can Discussing and Earn Stock Market at http://www.onlimoney.com Beautiful Blog ! You can Discussing and Earn Stock Market at http://www.onlimoney.com

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By: Ben http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2274 Ben Fri, 31 Aug 2007 02:06:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2274 I'd like to speak up a bit on behalf of the monetary system. There are a number of things about our society's economic order that are quite problematic, but I don't think the debt-based monetary system is one of them (although it probably makes the others worse), and I think I can explain why.<br/><br/>First, growth: A debt-based monetary system requires that more <i>money</i> be paid back in the fiture than exists in the present, but it doesn't necessarily require that more <i>value</i> be paid back in the future, and is thus compatible with a zero-growth economy. This is because money can decrease in value (this is called inflation).<br/><br/>Indeed, <i>even in a zero-growth economy</i>, we should expect money to decrease in value over time, because money can be exchanged for useful things, and useful things today are worth more than the same useful things tomorrow because if you get them today, you can use them today. This will continue to be true in a more local world where land and the tools of household subsitence will figure more prominently on the average person's list of useful things than they do now.<br/><br/>In a zero-growth economy, the prevailing interest rate will be equal to the rate of inflation, since inflation is the rate of change of the money/value ratio, interest is the rate of increase of money, and value is constant.<br/><br/>Second, power: Because banks have the mysterious power to create money out of thin air and then sell it at a profit, the debt-based monetary system funnels excess value, in the form of interest, to the shareholders of banks, who are mostly very wealthy. This power imbalance isn't the fault of the monetary system, it's the fault of the unequal distribution of wealth in our society! That inequality is a real social justice problem, but it's a <i>different</i> problem. Institutions which operate like banks but in which the members of a community are more equal stakeholders are possible — I believe they're called "credit unions". More to the point, the monetary system doesn't have to suck value out of local communities, because a community can always start their own bank. (There's probably a sense in which a local currency is equivalent to a locally-owned bank that deals in dollars.)<br/><br/>As for the question of whether the free market is sane... I see the craziness, and I still think the idea that people should be free to decide whether and for how much to sell things is saner than any of the alternatives. Certainly, when people are free to decide, they can decide badly, and occasionally do so in large groups, but <i>all</i> systems of human society are vulnerable to human mistakes.<br/><br/>There is a lot of craziness and injustice in our economy, but I would attribute it to attitudes which I see as separate from the basic economic infrastructure. Money is just bricks, which can be used to build prisons or farmhouses. I largely agree that our society should change its priorities, but I don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with those particular bricks. I’d like to speak up a bit on behalf of the monetary system. There are a number of things about our society’s economic order that are quite problematic, but I don’t think the debt-based monetary system is one of them (although it probably makes the others worse), and I think I can explain why.

First, growth: A debt-based monetary system requires that more money be paid back in the fiture than exists in the present, but it doesn’t necessarily require that more value be paid back in the future, and is thus compatible with a zero-growth economy. This is because money can decrease in value (this is called inflation).

Indeed, even in a zero-growth economy, we should expect money to decrease in value over time, because money can be exchanged for useful things, and useful things today are worth more than the same useful things tomorrow because if you get them today, you can use them today. This will continue to be true in a more local world where land and the tools of household subsitence will figure more prominently on the average person’s list of useful things than they do now.

In a zero-growth economy, the prevailing interest rate will be equal to the rate of inflation, since inflation is the rate of change of the money/value ratio, interest is the rate of increase of money, and value is constant.

Second, power: Because banks have the mysterious power to create money out of thin air and then sell it at a profit, the debt-based monetary system funnels excess value, in the form of interest, to the shareholders of banks, who are mostly very wealthy. This power imbalance isn’t the fault of the monetary system, it’s the fault of the unequal distribution of wealth in our society! That inequality is a real social justice problem, but it’s a different problem. Institutions which operate like banks but in which the members of a community are more equal stakeholders are possible — I believe they’re called “credit unions”. More to the point, the monetary system doesn’t have to suck value out of local communities, because a community can always start their own bank. (There’s probably a sense in which a local currency is equivalent to a locally-owned bank that deals in dollars.)

As for the question of whether the free market is sane… I see the craziness, and I still think the idea that people should be free to decide whether and for how much to sell things is saner than any of the alternatives. Certainly, when people are free to decide, they can decide badly, and occasionally do so in large groups, but all systems of human society are vulnerable to human mistakes.

There is a lot of craziness and injustice in our economy, but I would attribute it to attitudes which I see as separate from the basic economic infrastructure. Money is just bricks, which can be used to build prisons or farmhouses. I largely agree that our society should change its priorities, but I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with those particular bricks.

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By: jewishfarmer http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2273 jewishfarmer Tue, 28 Aug 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2273 Beam, that's an interesting point. But, of course, one's money is far more often laboring away creating cancers - or the industrial by products that cause them. I'm reminded of Jared Diamond's claim that there are no new technologies that don't cause more trouble than they create. I don't know if that is true, but I'm a little dubious about paring the good out. <br/><br/>That said, however, there are certainly parts of industrial society I'd like to keep running. It is certainly a conundrum, and one for which I don't have the answer.<br/><br/>Sharon Beam, that’s an interesting point. But, of course, one’s money is far more often laboring away creating cancers - or the industrial by products that cause them. I’m reminded of Jared Diamond’s claim that there are no new technologies that don’t cause more trouble than they create. I don’t know if that is true, but I’m a little dubious about paring the good out.

That said, however, there are certainly parts of industrial society I’d like to keep running. It is certainly a conundrum, and one for which I don’t have the answer.

Sharon

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By: Beam http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2272 Beam Tue, 28 Aug 2007 01:17:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2272 Hi Sharon, <br/><br/>A thoughtful, well reasoned post, as always. I think, though, you missed the heart of investing, the notion of "what-if"? The concept of money, of supporting people making no obvious product while they toil away seeking cures or other technological advances, people who may never contribute to a success in their lifetime, can and should be considered a noble enough reason for society to invest. And, when in past years this meant only the bankers made money, we've entered an interesting time where we all can form the market to provide the labor exchange to allow pursuit of the not immediately beneficial. <br/><br/>I suspect as long as we can maintain our ability to communicate electronically, this means of exchange will likely continue to exist. I agree with all regarding paying down debt and tending to family, but think the other noble ideas of helping community and furthering worthy causes can be done in the market as well as through charity. It may, in some circumstances be more efficient this way, particularly in the biological area of cancer research, etc. That the markets also feed our baser desires is a conundrum needing resolution, yep, but perhaps we can keep the good and pare away the excesses.<br/><br/>all the best, as always,<br/><br/>Beam Hi Sharon,

A thoughtful, well reasoned post, as always. I think, though, you missed the heart of investing, the notion of “what-if”? The concept of money, of supporting people making no obvious product while they toil away seeking cures or other technological advances, people who may never contribute to a success in their lifetime, can and should be considered a noble enough reason for society to invest. And, when in past years this meant only the bankers made money, we’ve entered an interesting time where we all can form the market to provide the labor exchange to allow pursuit of the not immediately beneficial.

I suspect as long as we can maintain our ability to communicate electronically, this means of exchange will likely continue to exist. I agree with all regarding paying down debt and tending to family, but think the other noble ideas of helping community and furthering worthy causes can be done in the market as well as through charity. It may, in some circumstances be more efficient this way, particularly in the biological area of cancer research, etc. That the markets also feed our baser desires is a conundrum needing resolution, yep, but perhaps we can keep the good and pare away the excesses.

all the best, as always,

Beam

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By: Ares Olympus http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2271 Ares Olympus Mon, 27 Aug 2007 22:05:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2271 A wonderful post, slightly similar to me, generally discovering my low tolerance for risk and danger (Cars became more scary from my bike's point of view after I started driving myself!) And I have no idea how the economy succeeds, except the recognition of "cheap energy" (and long-term false hopes of unlimited growth) driving everything.<br/><br/>My thoughts are similar on investment, defensive and conservative: (1) Pay down debt, (2) Invest surpluses in things that reduce my current/future cost of living, (3) Invest surpluses in local businesses I value that strengthen the local economy. (4) Keep my own "needs" (and expenses) down and give away what I don't need in ways that strengthen our collective prosperity in the long term.<br/><br/>This (nonordered) list seems to have as much security as I can imagine, and I've been blessed by a lot more abundance than I can ever take credit for.<br/><br/>I don't have children myself, so nothing to hold onto to pass on. I don't envy the harder decisions parents must make between short term comfort and long term hope. A wonderful post, slightly similar to me, generally discovering my low tolerance for risk and danger (Cars became more scary from my bike’s point of view after I started driving myself!) And I have no idea how the economy succeeds, except the recognition of “cheap energy” (and long-term false hopes of unlimited growth) driving everything.

My thoughts are similar on investment, defensive and conservative: (1) Pay down debt, (2) Invest surpluses in things that reduce my current/future cost of living, (3) Invest surpluses in local businesses I value that strengthen the local economy. (4) Keep my own “needs” (and expenses) down and give away what I don’t need in ways that strengthen our collective prosperity in the long term.

This (nonordered) list seems to have as much security as I can imagine, and I’ve been blessed by a lot more abundance than I can ever take credit for.

I don’t have children myself, so nothing to hold onto to pass on. I don’t envy the harder decisions parents must make between short term comfort and long term hope.

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By: jewishfarmer http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2270 jewishfarmer Mon, 27 Aug 2007 20:39:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2270 Neither private property nor privelege are excluded from the discussion here - it is a blog post, not a book. Of course the people who are asking me about stocks are priveleged - so, frankly, are most of the people who are having these discussions on the internet. My suggestion tha they redistribute their wealth rather than invest is, actually, a comment about privelege.<br/><br/>If you'd like to open such a discussion, feel free.<br/><br/>Sharon Neither private property nor privelege are excluded from the discussion here - it is a blog post, not a book. Of course the people who are asking me about stocks are priveleged - so, frankly, are most of the people who are having these discussions on the internet. My suggestion tha they redistribute their wealth rather than invest is, actually, a comment about privelege.

If you’d like to open such a discussion, feel free.

Sharon

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By: theFlyintheOintment http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2269 theFlyintheOintment Mon, 27 Aug 2007 18:53:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2269 The exclusion of private property and privilege from the discussion undermines moral claims about fairness, equality and lifestyle choices. The exclusion of private property and privilege from the discussion undermines moral claims about fairness, equality and lifestyle choices.

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By: Amelia http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2268 Amelia Mon, 27 Aug 2007 15:13:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2268 The best advice on the stock market I've ever heard was that of a broker parent at my son's school: don't invest anything you can't afford to lose.<br/><br/>Well, I don't know how much I'm going to need for the future, so I don't think I can afford to lose anything. Our family decided early on that every raise, every bonus, every bit of spare cash would go into savings. It was hard, going without, but we managed.<br/><br/>Ten years on, we have no debt aside from our home (and we're six years into a fixed 15-year loan), we save about a quarter of our income a month, and are able to pay cash for our son's university education. <br/><br/>(He elected to go to the state university two miles from the house. They have a nationally recognized biology program, his advisor cheerfully drags students into the campus permaculture programs, and full-time students, faculty and staff are given annual passes for local public transit: between light rail and the buses, he doesn't need a car, which saves us money and anxiety.)<br/><br/>Two friends of ours recently sold up and moved to Oregon; they made an insane amount of money on the sale of their house and are putting it into a share in her family's farm in the Applegate Valley. They sound so much happier.<br/><br/>I'll tell you something I've noticed: when the gas prices started climbing, it was the houses like ours -- the ones in older neighborhoods in town, with large back gardens, on major transit corridors -- that gained in price; the McMansions in the foothills and near the Point of the Mountain are still insanely overvalued, but they also slowed in sales. The best advice on the stock market I’ve ever heard was that of a broker parent at my son’s school: don’t invest anything you can’t afford to lose.

Well, I don’t know how much I’m going to need for the future, so I don’t think I can afford to lose anything. Our family decided early on that every raise, every bonus, every bit of spare cash would go into savings. It was hard, going without, but we managed.

Ten years on, we have no debt aside from our home (and we’re six years into a fixed 15-year loan), we save about a quarter of our income a month, and are able to pay cash for our son’s university education.

(He elected to go to the state university two miles from the house. They have a nationally recognized biology program, his advisor cheerfully drags students into the campus permaculture programs, and full-time students, faculty and staff are given annual passes for local public transit: between light rail and the buses, he doesn’t need a car, which saves us money and anxiety.)

Two friends of ours recently sold up and moved to Oregon; they made an insane amount of money on the sale of their house and are putting it into a share in her family’s farm in the Applegate Valley. They sound so much happier.

I’ll tell you something I’ve noticed: when the gas prices started climbing, it was the houses like ours — the ones in older neighborhoods in town, with large back gardens, on major transit corridors — that gained in price; the McMansions in the foothills and near the Point of the Mountain are still insanely overvalued, but they also slowed in sales.

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By: roel http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2267 roel Mon, 27 Aug 2007 15:02:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2267 I have an issue with most stocks, if not all, that prevents me from investing in the most profitable ones, even if I'd have money to invest.<br/><br/>When you look at how gold, silver, diamonds, oil, chemicals etc etc are extracted and produced, do you really want to hold a part of that industry, and share the responsibility of the pollution and destruction that it brings along? <br/><br/>Aluminum is a great example: solid returns, but at the cost of gargantuan amounts of electricity and water used, with all negative consequences that entails.<br/><br/>Honoré de Balzac, I think, was right: "behind every great fortune there is a great crime". And I think I'll try to keep my hands clean, or at least not even dirtier, and not invest in all that stuff.<br/><br/>There's another point, even more vital: financial markets are based on principles of profit without work. No way that can be beneficial long term. I have an issue with most stocks, if not all, that prevents me from investing in the most profitable ones, even if I’d have money to invest.

When you look at how gold, silver, diamonds, oil, chemicals etc etc are extracted and produced, do you really want to hold a part of that industry, and share the responsibility of the pollution and destruction that it brings along?

Aluminum is a great example: solid returns, but at the cost of gargantuan amounts of electricity and water used, with all negative consequences that entails.

Honoré de Balzac, I think, was right: “behind every great fortune there is a great crime”. And I think I’ll try to keep my hands clean, or at least not even dirtier, and not invest in all that stuff.

There’s another point, even more vital: financial markets are based on principles of profit without work. No way that can be beneficial long term.

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By: Els http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2266 Els Mon, 27 Aug 2007 11:03:00 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2007/08/26/my-one-and-only-stock-market-advice-post/#comment-2266 Two years ago, we moved from Holland to Curacao, this tiny Caribbean island, to work there for three years in education. We bought a house because we thought it was a good investment. As the dollar went down and the euro went up, our local currency devaluated quite a bit. As a result of that, we are now stuck with a mortgage that has grown instead of shrunk... <br/>We'd like to leave the island next year, but not with great financial losses. (Anyone want to buy a nice house? ;-)<br/><br/>Watching the stock-market news, I would be really reluctant to put in even my savings money. IMHO the dollar is going down the drain some time soon and savings won't be worth much anymore. Me and my husband have been planning to buy gold for some time now. It keeps its value and you don't need intermediaries to keep it for you, like a bank. Jewelry or coins, I'd say. But that's just another baboon's advice... Two years ago, we moved from Holland to Curacao, this tiny Caribbean island, to work there for three years in education. We bought a house because we thought it was a good investment. As the dollar went down and the euro went up, our local currency devaluated quite a bit. As a result of that, we are now stuck with a mortgage that has grown instead of shrunk…
We’d like to leave the island next year, but not with great financial losses. (Anyone want to buy a nice house? ;-)

Watching the stock-market news, I would be really reluctant to put in even my savings money. IMHO the dollar is going down the drain some time soon and savings won’t be worth much anymore. Me and my husband have been planning to buy gold for some time now. It keeps its value and you don’t need intermediaries to keep it for you, like a bank. Jewelry or coins, I’d say. But that’s just another baboon’s advice…

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