Wow, here are some of the most coherent stream of consciousness thoughts I’ve posted. You can actually trace my train of thought through these articles.
- What is threatening to cause the next great financial crisis? Sovereign debt. Heh, when I was taking polisci, my professor told me that the teacher’s union had Gray Davis in their pocket.
- I’ve always been worried about the low savings rate in the US. It now turns out that collectors are going straight to the source and requesting pay garnishments from employers. Normally, as a classical liberal, I’d be supportive of this. Individuals who default on debts are doing a disservice to their fellow countrymen who have entrusted them with money. Also, I believe that there is substantial room for people to save more. It’s just that today, many wants have become needs.
- That is, until I listened to this lecture by Elizabeth Warren. She claims that households today are more squeezed than ever because of rising housing prices, new child care needs, and expensive medical care. That makes sense. There are a finite number of good schools and competition for them is intense, which only serves to drive up prices. The solution is for individuals to know what they’re getting into and plan to afford all the expenses associated with having a child. If your lifestyle would be too crimped with the estimated costs, don’t have a child!
- Speaking of children, artificial insemination of purchased eggs is an interesting phenomenon. Anyone browsing through college newspaper classifieds can attest to requests for egg donors. Prices for a successful harvest can be in the mid 5 figures. As someone interested in the brutal applications of uninhibited markets to unusual situations, I was not surprised to discover that political correctness is thrown out of the window in some of these requests. SAT scores and physical attributes are the indicators of market value. Of course, there is also a stratification of ethnicity. Jews and Asians are the most in demand.
- In actual Asia, there is yet more social unrest going on. Taiwanese men have banded together to shun women, claiming that women have unreasonable standards for men. Women counter by saying that these men are disgustingly obsessed with playing video games. I don’t know what to make of this other than to chalk it up to increased global competition in all aspects of life, including dating and marriage.
- Things are not much different in the west. Individuals are more, well… individualistic and selfish than ever before. They’re also less inclined to value hard work, preferring leisure instead. It’s just one more step in the gradual evolution of society. The US is about 30 years behind Western Europe in mindset and is just slowly catching on to the value of free time.
- On the topic of leisure, some individuals are opting for early retirement by saving and living below one’s means. This gives them the freedom to travel and do whatever they want. Heck, you don’t even need to save all that much. For myself, a 90% savings rate is attainable, and once I’ve replaced my income through passive investments, I’ll be truly financially independent.