The Best of the Aleph Blog, Part 16

I try to do “The Best of the  Aleph Blog” pieces between 1-2 years after original publication.  Why?  It gives time for reflection, time for series to complete, time for me to be proven wrong/right, etc.  I would have preferred that readers do this job for me, so that I could be neutral, but I realized that I am the one that has the most concentrated interest in doing this, so that is why I do this.  The main benefit for me in doing this is when I submit free content to “Wall Street All Stars,” I know what I think is good stuff, and I utter a few words to explain how my wisdom has proven right, or fell on its face.

This episode covers the era of November 2010 through January 2011.

On Investment Modeling, Part 1

On Investment Modeling, Part 2

On Investment Modeling, Part 3

On Investment Modeling, Part 4

Investment modeling is tough, you omit some bits of reality, and deny other bits of reality.  In this four-part series, I try to explain how difficult good modeling is, and how to make it better.

Flavors of Insurance, Part I

Flavors of Insurance, Part II (Life)

Flavors of Insurance, Part III (Personal Lines)

Flavors of Insurance, Part IV (Commercial)

Flavors of Insurance, Part V (Reinsurance)

Flavors of Insurance, Part VI (Brokers)

Flavors of Insurance, Part VII (Health)

Flavors of Insurance, Part VIII (Financial)

Flavors of Insurance, Part IX (Title)

Flavors of Insurance, Part X (Conglomerates)

Flavors of Insurance, Part XI (Banks and the Insurance Business)

Flavors of Insurance, Part XII (Summary — The End)

This was a unique series where I tried to bring my expertise to bear on a complex industry.  I wrote the original piece in 2003, and it never got published.  I used OCR to scan it and one of my brighter children to edit it, so you have my original text, plus my commentary in 2010, pointing out where I was right and wrong.

Time to Grow Up

I am an advocate for a brainy libertarianism that reflects the intelligence embedded in the Bible, coming form the Creator Himself.  I do not back what the t-party has to say, whose positions reflect personal selfishness.

Nonidentical Twins: Solvency and Liquidity (III)

Now, when a government is overleveraged, but interest rates are low, the situation is potentially unstable.  A rise in rates could tip the scales.  Market actors would conclude that they can’t survive at rates high than a certain threshold, so sell the debt now, in case rates would get so high.  That action forces rates higher, leading to a self-reinforcing panic.

Sometimes this happens in advance of a debt refinancing, leading some politicians and bureaucrats to say the forever bogus phrase, “This is not a solvency crisis, this is a liquidity crisis.”  Sorry, if you play near the cliff, don’t complain if you happen to fall off.

Liquidity crises do not happen to governments with low debt levels.  Liquidity crises are solvency crises during the panic phase, before they are revealed to be solvency crises alone.

The Value of Fair Accounting

Why fair value accounting has value to investors.  This should be a “duh” moment, because everyone should understand this.

2010 Financial Report of the US Government

My annual post on the topic, describing the deterioration of the situation.

A Portrait of Maryland’s Public Companies

I explain why Maryland, my adopted homestate, has the mix of publicly traded companies that it does.

Why We Don’t Need the Fed

We would do better with a commodity standard, and even a gold standard.  The Fed hoodwinks us with its pretended efforts to maintain value.  I genuinely mean that we could do better without the Fed.  Put James Grant and Steven Hanke in charge of our monetary policy, and we will do well

On Human Fertility

A controversial topic, but fertility rates are falling more rapidly than the demographers expect. Why? It is politically correct to say that the planet is running out of resources, a bogus idea, but often stated.  As it is, because of changes in the way that women and men view their roles, fewer children will be born.

And as for a guy who has sired three children, and adopted five (far more difficult), I would simply say that we are better off with more children in homes that care about the results of how children turn out.