As we outline (eventually getting to the point in Coping this morning), ultrasociality seems to be the new ruling paradigm. Thanks to one of our brilliant readers, who used the phrase “like Microsoft software – there’s a million ways to do something,” Ultrasociality may be a great key for understanding the world in a new way. (Suggested reading: Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth by Peters Turchin)
The difficulty is that ultrasociality doesn’t seem to have nice, soft, fuzzy edges to it. In other words, the high sense of bifurcation (worlds splitting in two) seems become more apparent as we age. As most of my education/thinking has a very old school foundation, it’s an adjustment to think in terms of ultrasociality.
On the other hand, in economics not only is ultrasocial apparent once the term is understood, but the lack of “smooth edges” becomes clear as well. For example, we look at Bitcoin (hovering around $17,200 USD each). There’s only just now a developing softer edge to the ultrasocial divisions within economic spheres as futures trading and options trading has begun. Arbitrage at the edge.
But as hopeful as the “new money” faction is (that their made-up money will replace the existing made-up money) there is still the little matter of a bubble to be considered.
Not that the “existing made-up money” doesn’t have its problems. The Fed this morning kicks off a couple of days of meetings culminating tomorrow afternoon in their latest threats to hold their breath and turn blue, lest people don’t start taking their Yellin’ seriously.
Of course, why should they? Fact is (if you look over here at the data) the 10-year Treasury Note has been about as flat-lined as a stiff who won’t make it out of the trauma ward.
If there is anything “soft” about the “friction layer” between the “nominally ruled” world and the “ultrasocial world” when comes to made-up money, it is that so far (near as we can figure) Bitcoin is the most honest of the lot. The rest seem to be based more of the financial models of certain stocks on the Vancouver Stock Exchange that trade more on the tout that on legitimate (even marginally real) prospects for future profits.
Armed with this new way of piece-fitting the world together, let us now advance to the pile of distractions thrown up (yes, like puke) and labeled as “news.” Despite the fact that unless you can vote in a Senate race today, most of this is generally disposable; serving to fill up “news channels” which in turn provides an economic justification for journalism programs in colleges, student loans, tenured professor retirement programs and….well, I seem to be explaining how the watch works, rather than telling you what time it is. Again.
Item the First: Data Points
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index came out earl today. One sees in it a continuation of the Trump Bump. The press release, please?
Washington, D.C. – Not since the roaring Reagan economy has small business optimism been as high as it was in November, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Index of Small Business Optimism, released today.
“We haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, and we’ve seen it only once in the 44 years that NFIB has been conducting this research,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small business owners are exuberant about the economy, and they are ready to lead the U.S. economy in a period of robust growth.”
Second data point is the Produce Price Index. This is a price view looking “up-the-pipeline” toward wherever it is new cars, food, clothing, and social media came from…
“The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.4 percent in November, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices also moved up 0.4 percent in both October and September. (See table A.) On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index rose 3.1 percent for the 12 months ended in November, the largest advance since a
3.1-percent increase for the 12 months ended January 2012.
In November, three-fourths of the rise in the final demand index is attributable to a 1.0-percent increase in prices for final demand goods. The index for final demand services climbed 0.2 percent.
The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services rose 0.4 percent in November, the largest advance since increasing 0.6 percent in April. For the 12 months ended in November, prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 2.4 percent.
Final demand goods: The index for final demand goods jumped 1.0 percent in November, the largest advance since a 1.0-percent increase in January. Over three-fourths of the broad-based November rise can be traced to prices for final demand energy, which climbed 4.6 percent. The indexes for final demand goods less foods and energy and for final demand foods both advanced 0.3 percent.
A couple of math notes: 0.4% in one month pushes to 6 percent in a year. 1-percent in a month is 12.68 percent annualized.
You might think this would cause markets to pause and reflect, but no, the Dow futures were up 60 after the data.
With Bitcoins at $17,200’ish, there’s no choice but for the market to rally on. At least until the Fed decision tomorrow – and even then, after another rousing chorus of “Well huff and we’ll puff, and we’ll bloooow Ure bubble out!” The market will keep climbing anyway. They don’t refer to the Santa Rally in the Trader’s Almanac for nothing…
Speaking of which – here’s a $32 stocking-stuffer not to miss out on: Stock Trader’s Almanac 2018. Beats the hell out of lumps of coal.
Item the Second: Judgement Day?
If you’re not already sick of this over-used term, and if you haven’t yet figured out that Roy Moore has Donald Trump’s backing, and (blah, blah, blah) go enjoy this morning’s latest take on Alabama’s senatorial slug-fest.
Terms like “toxic election” and “nail-biter” and “cliff-hanger” are all designed to make you care. Ure a fool if you do, but that’s how mob-media works. Whip ’em up and if the media favorite doesn’t win, question everything until the Second Coming. (For a case study: See Clinton v. Trump, if you remember it…If not, it’s still going on and hard to miss.)
After all the hype, it always comes down to the final score – it’s like pro sports that way. All the cheering and hot dogs in the stands don’t really influence the outcome of the play on the field. *We’ve always wanted to watch a silent football game, just in the name of science, you understand.
We’ll cover it as a box score for Peoplenomics subscribers tomorrow, Moore or less.
Strategy and Tactics
From .mil affairs contributor warhammer:
“This bit of news is the next logical step for the militaristic Nork regime . . .bio-weapons.
Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are currently comprised of nukes, bio/bugs and chem weapons (NBCs). For any nation to present itself as having a viable militant force should diplomacy fail, possession of this unholy trio of weapons does the trick. It makes potential aggressors think long and hard about the consequences of launching an attack.
Small, otherwise defenseless regimes like N. Korea can, to some degree, guarantee their border security thru the acquisition of an arsenal of WMDs. If attacked, the prosecuting forces know that hounds of Hell will be unleashed. The Nork secret police demonstrated a smaller scale penchant for using chems when a hit squad assassinated Kim Jong Un’s half-brother with liquid sarin, a neural agent which kills quickly..
I’m interested in finding out if the bio weapons activity is exploring ‘genetic’ targeting or something similarly sinister. Things that make ya go “hmmmm.”
Once again, the hermitic lifestyle does have some virtues. Not to be confused with a hermetric lifestyle, which we canned some time back.
Still Selling Climate Change
While we continue to wonder how the last Ice Age could have ended any other way besides man-caused climate change, we found the latest junior climateer’s badge sales pitch in the WaPo to be entertaining…
We’ve always preferred Dacron to Macron, but there’s a climate for both, we’re learning.
Ed Lee, San Francisco Mayor, Dies at 65. By all accounts, a solid fellow who will be missed.
A daredevil died doing pullups off a skyscraper in China. We’ll stick to monkey bars and cancel our planned trip to the big city for a workout.
And? There are only 450 North Atlantic right whales left and 17 died in 2017. (If there are right whales, are there left ones?)
From the Old Reporter’s Notebook
A note from my little sister overnight revealed that the Seattle landmark restaurant 13-Coins (which we have often fondly cited here) is closing down it’s Fairview Avenue location They’re moving to Pioneer Square, a couple of miles south.
I can’t say enough good things about the place and the people, starting with Elaine Ward who opened the SeaTac location when her husband died leaving her to run things.
Back in about 1971, or so, the late Wick Temple and Steve Weiner (who ran the Alaska bureau for the AP, and Ure’s truly “invented” the idea for the A.P. Radio Network on a cocktail napkin at 13-Coins. That was before the current remodel – back when the stained glass sailing ship and bar was at the south end of the building, not the north end.
The Fairview location was kitty-corner from the Seattle Times. It was part of my ongoing education (being all of 22 at the time) to sit around and listen to the pressmen who did the real work of getting the paper out. Anything you wanted to know about newspapering for a cold beer. Biggest bargain in education you could find. Perhaps only rivaled only by an “educational beer” invested in a longshoreman who would tell everything going on at the docks around 3:30 PM down at Nifty’s restaurant on Harbor Island.
But it was the A.P. folks, just across the street, who were the best journalism teachers ever. “Big Al” (den Beste) the “broadcaster’s pal” ran the early morning northwest news. Great writer. Last I’d heard, he’d left the new business and had gone head-hunting. Lots of opportunity in high-tech in Seattle “back in the day.”
After each of my children was born, there was a cold beer and an SST Sandwich (still on their “secret menu” if you ask) and a friendly chat with Gayle, the day-shift bartender. He retired something like a decade back. It served to sharpen by sense that time marches on, and too often over me.
The problem with the Fairview location, though, had to come as some point. The whole south end of Lake Union has turned into a kind of Amazon-centered gold rush town. It’s only a matter of time till even Lake Union will have to be paved over, and there will go the Tuesday Night Duck Dodge sailing series.
But not yet. And for that we’re thankful.
And yes, next time up north, we’ll have to try on the new Coins location in Pioneer Square. And hoist a glass to friends long-gone who made it – and Seattle – a special place.
A cold, wet, miserable, no-parking, high tax, terribly expensive place, at that.
A note to today’s young: No question I should have finished my first degree before age 37, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t educated – and in the finest way possible. Try investing a cold beer in older people, now and then. I assure you they know a lot more than you.
By the time I’d spent a decade of making “beer investments” in people, I’d talked to almost every famous author who came through town, an assortment of fire and police chiefs, several mayors, more politicians than you can shake a stick at….and just regular working people, too.
There was no sheepskin at the end of it, but a million sights and sounds – indelible stuff never to be erased from the memory. It can still be done today.
I would have thought that in today’s world of ultrasociality that such street-level learning would really catch on. Yet, oddly, it hasn’t.
People today are still trying to “shake off” the old ways – ones that valued a piece of paper more than what a person could “call up” from memory or what they really experienced in their life.
Don’t mean to go on, but we will know that ultrasociality has prevailed over the forces of marketing and hype when we all respect and value one-another for “what we know and what we is.”
Until then, ultrasocial is a rising tide of people who, like me, will mock the Engrish profs who would correct “What we is” to “What we are...”
They are fools demanding obedience…and ultrasociety is about the feelings, not the rules. Somewhere in the middle may we strike a balance.