Saturday, March 15, 2014

Free Markets, Choice, and Market Failures

For those interested in economics, I thought this statement was a good perspective - counter - on free markets.

"Assume that a number of people are engaged in a productive  activity--say, listening to a lecture. By some fluke, a hundred-dollar bill falls at the feet of each person present. Each individual has a choice: to stop paying attention and grab the bill at once, or to wait until the end of the lecture and then pick up the money. Although the latter option is more efficient (since it does not entail the disturbance of productive activity), it is not a Nash equilibrium. Given that everyone else is waiting, it pays each individual to bend down to gather up not only his hundred-dollar bill, but also that of his neighbor. But there is no real social gain from picking up the bill a few minutes earlier, and there is a real social cost. Many financial innovations that involve faster recording of transactions do little more than allow some individuals to pick up hundred-dollar bills faster, "forcing" others to follow suit (for a formal model see Stiglitz and Weiss 1990). Better financial markets may contribute to economic efficiency, but the extent to which they do so requires careful scrutiny. Improvements in secondary markets do not necessarily enhance the ability of the economy either to mobilize savings or to allocate capital."

Stiglitz, J. E. (1993). The role of the state in financial markets (No. 21). Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Your Stone. Your Sculpture. Your Choice.

There is something to be said about the wilderness, about being alone in a personal struggle. There is a point where you want to quit and go back to the world of comfort. Then there is the space where you can't go back, but question if you have made a monumental mistake in the journey. Finally, there is the beautiful space - nirvana for me in many respects; the reason why I head back in the woods every time. It's the point when you have no choice but to keep moving, in spite if everything going against you. It's the space where you square up with your character and realize the cost of achievement. Where every accomplishment in the past doesn't matter, and there are few fans cheering you on. It's where real strength is built, where your stone-of-character is refined some more to build your life's composition. 

Trust me, it is easy to avoid these moments and experiences, as long as you are okay with looking at your stone as merely that, a stone on the side of the road benefiting no one, inspiring folly, and producing the things that hinder our society from being a beautiful world for everyone. Well, Martin places it in a better light:

"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."

The only way you will lose is quitting - giving up.
The finish line is not determined by you.

For those who wish to craft and sculpt a useful piece of stone, the wind won't erode it into something beautiful, and the water can wash away the rough edges. No, the composition is totally up to you, and the tools you acquire along the way are reflective of your desire to tell your story your way - presenting a composition useful to many, inspiring all of us to be and do better, and producing something to goes beyond your time here on earth.

I am blessed to have chipped away a major piece of stone lately. I may not finish the composition, but the inferences are there, or at least I can start to see them.

Take care of your stone (spirit), build your composition, and share it with others.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Turning the Corner

I am at an all-time low with my post frequency. Every time I take a look at my browser menu tab and see "My Blog", I feel guilty about neglecting the site, but I can't seem to find the time, energy, and mindset to get back in the groove. In all honesty, my plate is extremely full, and my inability to blog more frequently is a reflection of this busy schedule.

Long story made short, I believe I am turning the corner, and I am beginning to feel good about my chances to return to some good blogging. That's all I have for today.