Sorry for the long headline, but this is may turn into something of a long rap before we get to the latest job figures just out. Let’s see how well the “Prince of Shorter Columns” can do on his verbal diet today, shall we?
Trump Has Covid
About here, I need to remind all my friends of two things: Elaine and I have been diligently wiping everything coming home from the store down with Clorox. Only one of us goes to town. Masks around people. Still wearing gloves in public places.
I’m saying this again – for those slow on the update – this is NOT a political problem – it is a Medical Problem.
President Trump and first lady Melania will be quarantining in the White House – but we think this is merely going to add a level of complexity to what is already an electoral train wreck in process.
Oh – and my expectation of the S&P 500 kissing the 3,000 level by election day? Well, yah….
Covid and Elliott
Based on the latest figures on the Johns-Hopkins site, we would remind you of several points of “grown up math.” This first is that we are really impressed with how Nature is filling out the Elliott five waves up in the disease so far. This, no surprise to people like the Economic Fractalist, whose stock-in-trade is this kind of fractal “news and finance” evolution. 3’s and 5’s are very common in nature… Behold!
Elliott is not perfect. Or, put another way, Nature is Noisy.
Notwithstanding, the Presidential Bug will likely cause people to become (momentarily) more serious about precautions. But, what if this is just a larger-degree Wave 1, we then have a large 2 down into next year, and then a “run for the roses” as we are not near “herd immunity” yet?
Things to ponder…and as long as we’re betting the math books…
The Ugly Side of Complexity
Over on the Peoplenomics side, and this goes back several years and I don’t remember the date, but I took issue with the notions in the book “Anti-Fragile.” As laid out on the Amazon page for the book (*here):
“In The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas) Taleb outlined a problem, and in Antifragile he offers a definitive solution: how to gain from disorder and chaos while being protected from fragilities and adverse events. For what Taleb calls the “antifragile” is actually beyond the robust, because it benefits from shocks, uncertainty, and stressors, just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension. The antifragile needs disorder in order to survive and flourish.”
Essentially, the concept of anti-fragility is that complexity makes things stronger. My counter is that it does not.
The reason? Very simple when you think about it. There’s symmetry in Nature. That is, the choices (or avenues) by which Black Swan events may arrive, increases. At a minimum the complexity-driven increase must be geometrical:
“Geometric growth refers to the situation where successive changes in a population differ by a constant ratio (as distinct from a constant amount for arithmetic change).”
But, in my nightmare case, it’s exponential:
“Exponential growth refers to the situation where growth compounds continuously at every instant of time. “
All that really remains to be solved is the “local exponent” for complexity-driven increasing “swan herds.” My suspicion is that (due to Nature’s symmetry) that despite the soft-think appeal of “antifragility” in reality, it’s still a zero-sum change due to symmetry.
In short, the hyper-complex world is absolutely as vulnerable as the non-complex worlds. It’s just that advocates of hyper-complexity tend to narrow their focus to carefully-bounded cases to make their arguments. Ignoring that complexity doesn’t change any ultimate outcomes – only their timing. For in the end, we’re all screwed. It just takes more steps to realize it.
Today is a fine day to reflect on Realized Complexity Solves Nothing. (Ure’s RCSN postulate!)
Donald Trump’s 74-years old. Won’t be 75 until next June. As such, reported in reasonable health, he still faces possible comorbidities simply due to his age. Joe Biden – 77 now, and 78 just after the election – is also in the high risk category.
So our simple observation of the day is (as we’ve been kicking around at cocktail time here) is “We should all look at the election as a choice between Kamala Scare-us and Mike Pensive.
If Trump’s health is – as represented (***string of disbeliefs inserted) – good, then he should come through fine. If not? Well, remember I’ve had my S&P 3,000 bet in place for a while, however painful the recent rally has been. In the end, symmetry of change rules and Swans multiply in complexity, not the other way around… Pending, that is, nailing down of the “Magic Exponent” which I’d offer to Taleb as a dandy book title. Surely he ought to be able to lay out the future implications of what I propose is “The Conductivity of Chance.” Which all gamblers know about experientially already. Yet it hasn’t been articulated in formal theory that I’m aware of.
Gamblers “know” that the more people they interact with the better their chances seem to run. I’d refer Taleb to Max Gunther’s classic on real-world chance: The Luck Factor: Why Some People Are Luckier Than Others and How You Can Become One of Them.
Baited and Switched
We will only pause here and wonder what the election would be like if it turns into Pence-Harris in the final few weeks.
God help us.
Has Harris denounced BLM, Antifa, and Marxists yet?
We already know (*having heard the tape of Trump denouncing the KKK and white supremacist’s in a 2016 interview with with him that Chris Wallace is a tool or fool. Say, he doesn’t have memory issues too, does he?
You may not like Alex Jones (InfoWars) much, but the video of how BLM is a bullshit 2-bit Marxist hate organization is clear in the video of how they interrupt people peacefully trying to have dinner...
I can’t speak for you, but if a clown posse were to yell at me during a “nice dinner out” they might be able to move me from solid progressive on civil rights into reactionary… angry reactionary at that!
BLM obviously understands that if they piss off enough people they can create racists to argue with…old line communist treachery. See Hegelian Dialectic. No idea how they’d react to being called “Un-American Community A-Holes…” Bring your bullhorns to dinner?
Bullhorns are weapons of mass disruption… Free speech doesn’t include ruining someone’s dinner out. That’s theft and breach of the peace. Where were the cops?
The Jobs Data
Statistical Roulette (ok, denial then) continues:
“Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September, and the unemployment rate declined to 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In September, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in professional and business services. Employment in government declined over the month, mainly in state and local government education.”
Our usual skeptical review:
- There was a SMALL REAL GAIN – since the second line of the data table here reduces the number of people in the labor force by 695,000 people. AYFKM?
- The number of people ACTUALLY WORKING was up only 275,000 – which would be the headline number if the war on drugs hadn’t been lost.
- The CES Birth-Death Model reduced the job gains by 62,000. But, without a bunch of “statistical adjustments for CV-19, the reduction would have been 99,000 says up above that.
So, they just “made up” 37,000 jobs (after killing 695,000 people formerly in the labor force). This is a statistical nightmare because of Taleb’s beloved “complexity.”
No, he didn’t create the mess at Labor. But, soft-think is contagious and it happens in business all the time.
A number comes out management doesn’t like. So what happens? Excuses fly. Season adjustments. Special Adjustments for CV-19. Where does all this (bullshit) adjusting stop? Special adjustment because it’s the first Friday of the month, anyone?
Delusions are like that. Deal with the effing numbers – they are what they are. Total number of people likely working is 275,000 more less than 37,000 made-up in the CES Birth Death Model (which, oh God, I can hear the pitch-fork statistical justifiers at the gate, already…).
Embracing Reality is not a popular path these days, but 238,000 people (roughly) more working sounds way more real to us…
You know our view on the lack of “real news” and the excess channel capacity of the MSM is true when you read…
Will we see another round of demonstrations? We wonder as CNN digs up A North Carolina man overdosed in police custody. He was alone and crying out for help before collapsing. Well, he died three days later. But, we can almost hear it now: “Don’t arrest people drugs!” Sunset of sanity, anyone?
Gender-change marketing sensed in “Petra De Sutter, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister is Europe’s most senior transgender politician.” They’re selling what?
No less credible than “Connecticut assault, robbery suspect, 38, claims DNA planted at crime scene by airplane.”
Yet Another White House HR Disaster
Who the (‘f’) is NOT running the HR Dept. in the White House?
Out comes the story today about how “Leaked Calls Reveal Melania Trump’s Private War on Christmas: ‘Who Gives a F*ck About the Christmas Stuff’.”
Which reads like a Melania hit-piece to us.
Oh, and the source of the leak? From the above story – and we quote –
“Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former senior adviser to Melania Trump, appeared on CNN Thursday night to promote her new book on the First Lady — and she came armed with surreptitiously recorded tapes of their conversations.?
And who isn’t checking on the obvious shit like this?
We are so lost anmd screwed as a country, it’s breath-taking.
Off to count profits as our short position turns green…
Write when you get rich (or just get sick of it, too, lol)