Sunday, March 1, 2015

Don't Judge Too Early

The Washington Post article did a great job summarizing what I would expect to happen from the FBI shutting down the illicit online drug market. Meanwhile, it felt like the article claimed that the FBI shutting down the first Silkroad caused the online drug market to explode, but where is such evidence? Maybe the online drug business would have expanded even more without the FBI shutting down the first Silkroad or much less, but that other side of the issue didn’t seem to get the deserved exploration. It appears many assumptions were made in the course of the article, and assumptions are just assumptions. Just because there was some user that collected some data about Silkroad 2.0 doesn’t mean that user’s numbers were accurate and truthful. Independent investigations would have proved to be more valuable than simply relying on what some user says because there is no guarantee there is no interest or conviction that is swaying what is written by that user. How do we know the FBI was wrong? There are many bright FBI employees, and someone just saying that what they do is wrong seems to neglect their knowledge and experience. How do we know the assumptions stated by the article are correct and that what the RBI does is incorrect? I, obviously, do not know much about law enforcement to make some assumption and tell someone with knowledge and experience fighting crime what to do. How would an engineer, nurse, teacher, doctor, or lawyer like being told what to do and what not to do by someone that not have the credentials? What I’m saying is there are always at least two sides to something, and it can only be beneficial to have that approach on many issues of economics, or anything else. All in all, the FBI did shut down something that was illegal, and that is part of their job description.

Darknet Markets

Money brings with it innovation. With the popularity and ease of use of the internet in this day and age it only makes sense that one of the biggest moneymakers out there - drugs - has found it's way to be provided to anyone capable enough to pursue it online. In direct defiance of the FBI's shutdown of the Silk Road a variety of other start ups taking its place with no halt in profits or trade.

My question is whether or not this practice is good for people.

From what I understand to the end consumer is that the practice is significantly safer than dealing with drugs in real life. The potential for violence is incredibly low without the interactions between people using mind altering substances and holding potentially large amounts of money. On top of that the risk for users due to police presence because of the process is significantly lower. From my readings the ability of the dark net vendors to ship their product stealthily is a big pro to some vendors over others. For the dealers it seems like a good investment as well. They're able to build a reputation that makes it in their interest to not screw over their customers. In addition as opposed to needing people to work streets to sell product you can instead have a distribution center ala, amazon to do it instead making the process more effective. 

Wether or not you agree on the morality of drug usage and distribution the use of Dark Net Markets is a benefit to the safety of the end user so I believe it has a net positive result.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dragnet's Dark Net.

The Dark net is evidence of the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well within this world. As the article stated, they've made anywhere from hundreds to millions of dollars within a single month. The money was made from percentages from the sales and payments to be part of the site. The start up cost, outside of time, seems to be minimal if the person's site didn't require purchase of a domain name, an understanding of federal and state regulations, proper licensing and tax identification. since start up costs, monthly overhead and operating costs are low - the person is able to keep cost low and allows for the increase of sales.

I think it is unfortunate that the capitalist government is unable to see that there is tax money to be made in all open and free markets - even if that market is destructive to a person's self. Isn't that our choice to be made?
There will always be addiction, but is that a governmental concern or is it a community concern?

I found it quite entertaining the creator picked up on eBay's Method of ensuring buyers have the best information to make an informed decision as to who is the most "reputable" sellers. The question is though, how can you trust any interaction with a person who steals identities?

Monday, February 23, 2015

An Opinion on Macroeconomics

My defense for laypeople understanding, or lack of, towards macroeconomics is that it is potentially helpful. While group think and other though trends can negatively affect policy change when people are allowed to vote with their potentially skewed thoughts I think that it is worth it for the potential of new ideas to enter the arena. As purported in the article macroeconomics is hardly a easily cracked puzzle, high profile macro economists still argue back and forth on large distinctive policies. With this potential for error remaining around who are they to be thought off as the defining voice? I believe popular economists like Krugman have a valuable place and they are treated as such but they do not have a complete understanding of the intricate set of systems that is macroeconomics, preciously because it is chaotic. Despite this having an eye for guidelines and the prediction of trends which they are often able to make is a valuable tool and their place is served within society.

The high, the low, and the wealthy

   First a direct response on macro economics, and the vaunted attitude that so many experts love to apply to their field and exclude all others- This high minded disdain for the 'common man' is worth about as much as the paper these peoples' accolades are printed on. Take comfort that I am in no way meaning this in an absolutely literal sense, though. I am merely posing a visceral reaction to such blatant elitism.
Now to the reader:
   The basics of any field are easy for any intelligent person to learn, and thereby have a right to an opinion on. History shows over and over what works and what doesn't, while many 'experts' continue to destroy their economies over the same problems(greed, mainly). Models and ideas given new names, and more math to cover up the fact that the basis of human action and motivation is relatively easy to understand, and therefore relatively easy to get a working model going for.
    It is the controllers and would be kings of this world that have always caused the most damage. The history of our own country is a script easy to read, if you know the facts. Facts that so many experts avoid in their renditions and propositions. The same goes for the 19th and 20th centuries. These experts also understand how humanity basically functions. It is usually experts, waving mirrors and blowing smoke, who get the masses on their side; and the most people killed. Anyone look into how wars start?
   Again, this is the 21st century, and the information age. There is enough fact out there for the avg. person to be able to gather information, and hold a fairly educated opinion. I am most wary of those who despise the average person, as their agendas by and large seem to disregard the majority; as if they were little more than tools to be pushed and prodded at will.

   As for Darknet markets- In the presence of excess regulation in all facets of a market, there will be a black market that reflects the desperation of regular people attempting to survive the stealing of their wealth so they, too, may live their lives in the fashion of their choosing. It is merely a sign of the times. If the tax burden/regulation is not considered onerous, people will not go to extreme lengths to avoid said regs.

   As for the 3rd article on the FBI- it is all smoke and mirrors (see above)
One question:
IF the FBI and the administration heading policy was truly interested in doing something definite on the drug wars, would they not start at the border?

 Overall, #3 is a good article that raises some legitimate points. However, the article is unnecessary to prove that the 'war on drugs' is a ploy by politicians- aimed for popularity among the people.              Politicians, who would rather not talk about the real crises occurring, whose job it is to fix. After all, the avg. voter does not even know of most of the crises affecting them and this country, and would rather not hear about them.


Darknet

The existence of darknet marketplaces for items illegal to posses or trade proves the existence of a supply and demand for the product. Despite enormous risks, ease of production and widespread demand for these products have resulted in non-sanctioned markets for them. Even in the absence of Silk Road, other markets are arising to meet the needs of consumers and producers.

Darknet markets are prime examples of how a free market systems work, which produce safer, more affordable, and higher quality goods despite risks. I'm simply saying that the market, uh, finds a way.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Opinion Is Nothing More Than Opinion

The article was an interesting read, but with so much jargon and opinion I remain skeptical about its points. The opinion shown in the article was glaring because the author was taking sides on almost everything. A lot what the author stated was pretty much common sense, but common sense is often very misleading. One thing I want to point out as a difference between physicists and macroeconomists is that the physicist are able to make predictions about a physical phenomenon and are actually correct about it, while so many macroeconomists are wrong. Almost nobody predicted the current fall in oil prices, so why should a “layperson” trust someone who is wrong much less often than a physicist? Someone can argue that the empirics cause some of the disparity, but even if that was true it does not five someone the right to bash the general population for not understanding macroeconomics the same way they do. Just because someone uses jargon that few understand does not mean someone is right, because opinion is just opinion. There are so many “experts” out there that think they know what they’re talking about, but if those experts know so much how come very of their macroeconomic predictions actually come true? Chances are I could toss a coin and it would have the predictive nature of oil prices as so many of those experts. To me, macroeconomics is one of the most complex fields there is because there are infinitely many factors to consider because it aims to describe human behavior in a macro scale, and that is almost an impossible feat. In physics there are many factors, but in macroeconomics those factors from physics are also factors in macroeconomics. The reason I say that is because those factors in s affect the experimental or theoretical outcome, which does have explicit or implicit economic consequences even if we don’t see them. One such example would be the discovery of the conservation of energy and mass, which had tremendous engineering, scientific, and economic consequences. Scientific thought allows for a better predictive nature for phenomenon, but that very predictive nature hinges on economics and vice versa because of interrelationships. If only the blog I read was more scientific in nature and less opinion because I doubt opinions are more than just opinions.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Rehash: Audit the Fed: The truth behind the propoganda

Audit the fed
Why audit the FED? we cant open their books and we do not know who owns them. Don't believe it? See for your self. Its only 9 trillion dollars, probly not worth a few minutes of your time.
Glenn Beck is fired from Fox after a factual examination of the FED

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    While I agree on the outset with the general- theme on wether or not to audit the Fed- I have a couple issues I would like to set forth.
   Firstly, the Fed gets reviewed already, so I'm not sure how this audit would differ from any other
http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/about_12784.htm

On the other hand, read this article
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/02/the-sane-case-for-auditing-the-fed.html

''While it is technically independant, the federal govt exerts massive political pressure on the Fed and appoints its chair and board of governors.''
Maybe an audit along these lines would have some interesting findings.

Second, I don't see how any can deny the conflict of interests that seems to exist between the Fed and the people, and the Fed and Goldman Sachs. I see no reason why the fed govt should be tied to the banking industry, nor the necessity for a Federal Reserve Bank.
Any action that could result in a hard look at the past actions of the Fed and the allocation of tax payer dollars seems like a good start to me.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Auditing in Skepticism

After reading the article, I am not sure whether the Fed should be audited or not. It is true that the Fed is relatively transparent, and I believe it tries to do its best to benefit the country. There are so many conspiracies or simply theories about the secretive things done by the Fed, but those claims are very hard for me to believe. It does make sense that the more people know about what happens in the Federal Reserve the better, but to what extent? Having someone see everything said and done may lead to different decisions being made, which are not guaranteed to be better. Maybe the conversations would be less frank and more politically correct, or maybe not. The one thing that comes to mind is the cost of auditing the Fed, and whether that cost will or will not exceed the benefits. To me, the benefits do not seem to be as clear as I wish.  Another thing to consider is what might happen to the financial system if bailing out certain financial institutions or intermediaries becomes public because that would identify who is struggling and it might create certain hardships to those seeking loans. I do favor having that information public, but maybe immediately and rather with a delay. It appears that there isn't tremendous benefit outside of politicians criticizing the Fed to gain short-term benefit. I believe the Fed should be immune to short-term political pressures, but whether that immunity is good and whether the audit would alter that immunity is a hard question for me to answer because there are many nuances. Thus, I prefer to remain skeptical about auditing the Fed.

Audit the Fed

"Audit the Fed" is a political stunt being put on by Rand Paul to gain some suppor for his 2016 President bid. Wether or not the Fed needs to be audited is besides the discussion, because the bill is not about auditing the Fed, its about getting Rand Paul's name out in the major media outlets.

I think that literally auditing the Fed is a good idea, but politics aren't going to result in any actual changes to the current system.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Taxes

I agree with most of the statements made in the video. The only issue I think needs more attention is the IRS. The tax code is several thousand pages long, to the point that no one person knows what is in the tax code. The law states that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and yet it is actually impossible to be fully aware of what the law really is. Despite the complexity of the tax code, the IRS audits roughly 1% of all filers. If the tax code were 1% of its current size (about 1,000 pages), then perhaps the IRS would be able to perform audits on 100% of filers.

How long does that tax code need to be? Why are there so many special cases and opportunities for corruption? Couldn't a simple graduated scale be implemented in a short 10 pages, or even a single page? Would it even take one paragraph to implement a flat tax? One sentence?

Part of my obsession with simplicity stems from my computer science background, in which simple code is greatly preferred to complex codes. With simple codes, bugs are easy to find and the package is easy to use. With complex code, there is inevitably one developer who can actually do anything with the project. If he decides to stop supporting the project, then there's no use trying to salvage it; better to start over from scratch.

I think that's the state that we've reached now; the tax code is so complicated that we don't know how to simplify it beyond starting over.  I think that a simple tax code which everyone understands would be beneficial and generate more revenue than the current tax code.