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David Stafford
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Student of markets, enjoys following their course.
My book:
Around the World in Several Pieces
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  • Post-"Recovery" Musings; The Economy Of The Future

    Perhaps thinking of and waiting for "recessions" and "depressions" etc to come to an end financial or economically has sort of taken the lion's share of financial/economic discussions as of late(past few years), but is this really sort of missing the forest for the trees per se?

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    While perhaps many economic/investment related discussions or thinking may be related to the question of has economy X really recovered, etc. etc., perhaps a question that is worth asking is perhaps something more along the lines of, "what sort of a world," or "what sort of an economy will we "recover" into?".

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    Seeing this interesting documentary on thinking of containing nuclear waste for 100,000+ years is perhaps inspirational in a sense that it may lead one to think in longer term horizons per se.

    (Here's link to an interview with the director of said film that airs on Al-Jazeera America; http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/al-jazeera-america-presents/documentary-blog/2013/8/9/interview-with-michaelmadsendirectorofintoeternity.html)

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    Thinking in terms of a longer timeline per se, and with a sort of tip-of-the-hat or with credence per se given to recent scientific discoveries like those concerning "teleportation" of information, and how this may relate to future supercomputing, along with the ever increasing improvement in various fields pertaining to "human technology" writ large per se, one may wonder perhaps if we have entered into a new age of "the human experience" if one will.

    teleportation news; http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2458803,00.asp

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    Whereas previously we sort of perhaps have been living in an age of "the human spirit" and sort of "expansion" of the capitalist system, investment, industrializing the far reaches of the world etc. etc. will we soon be entering a period one might like to call a period of "meditative scarcity" as one might like to think of it.

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    source; http://imu-tv.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/maxresdefault85-640x360.jpg

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    With the one day perhaps development of the third world, and the presumable lack in fertility, that will come with lowered infant mortality rates, and higher standards of living etc, have we sort of reached the end of sort of the "age of the terrestrial pioneer". Have we sort of lain the groundwork per se, for a future society which will not so much be about "quantity" and which will instead be more about "quality" if one will.

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    Perhaps as technological breakthroughs and continuing improvements in efficiency/rate of production per se of robots, and software continue to evolve will we inevitably reach a sort of second stage of this new transition where all people are perhaps sort of knowledge workers per se, with robots doing most other sort of previously human back-born tasks. Once that happens will there even be a chance for information sorting/engineering to still be done by humans or will this already, by then already be sort of be so efficiently programmed that we will just be gardeners of infrastructure per se at that point, and what will this infrastructure then produce, and who will buy it, with what salary per se? Who will be earning a salary at that point, for how many jobs could their even be? Perhaps hence with this potential changing of the sort of human-narrative that may occur or may already be occurring, perhaps "where will it lead?" is an interesting question.

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    source; http://smashingtopten.com/wp-content/uploads/Robot-Workers.jpg

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    If we still have stock markets at that time, perhaps "tech" in general, that relating to robots, that relating to information systems, and that related to pioneering methods of developing energy grids, or energy infrastructure its self may be safe bets in the present. Food, and food production will presumably be valuable as long as there are people and animals around to eat it, water will perhaps if still privatiz-able be a valuable commodity. Perhaps housing too will be valuable if it is still privately owned in the semi-distant future(1-300 years). Perhaps financial institutions/services will also be valuable investments in the present(regardless of current financial ratios per se) for surely we will need some way of accounting for the transfer of resources or capital even in the future per se. Entertainment and media companies will presumably continue to be valuable, how profitable perhaps is difficult to say, but still valuable as long as people are around. Car companies may become one giant robotic car-manufacturer in the future with one company being half public/half private and producing products in association with them(automobiles) being seen as public-goods per se(how the price for them will be paid who can say, as in is it a service per se or a consumer/retail item per se still, or a mix like various European-health-care-models style) especially since their complete roboticization might perhaps make the differences between different manufacturers models almost un-noticeable apart from seating/hauling/conveying capacity per se. Perhaps one day we'll have one sort of big robotic-car Volkswagen producing all the developed world's cars per se, with the variety of trims and the variety of utility specific models Volkswagen currently offers for example presumably being more than enough to satisfy anyone's robotic car desires(give or take a few "truck" models).

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    (click to enlarge)

    source; http://upload.wikimedia.org/

    wikipedia/commons/a/ac/I_robot_car.jpg

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    With increased public/private partnerships being possible, perhaps there will be more ways to interestingly enough invest with or in the government per se. Perhaps there will be different varieties of shares associated with different cash-flow level/volatility associated projects/processes run by a sort of collective governing organization, with jobs being scarcer and scarcer perhaps a sort of global-Mondragon Corp. style government/economic system will have to be established. Another interesting question perhaps, is will large private companies be in existence in the future. If everything including the government were to become more sort of "investable" would all large private companies sort of directly or indirectly sort of be forced to go the same way, or would private companies simply be eventually bought or spun-off a dozen different ways into large public companies per se. In-turn, will interest rates simply become a sort of metric that exists as a proxy for what bonds once were, will we still need to have a different between stocks and bonds, if the government etc becomes more investable per se, could we just have a variety of different seniorities to "stocks" to sort of simplify the whole situation.

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    Perhaps it is difficult to answer any of these sorts of questions now, but perhaps presuming that all information sorting/processing and manufacturing processes are to be conducted by machines, and potentially many different retail associated jobs as well, if "retail" "brick and mortar" type-establishments still exist by then apart from restaurants, souvenir stores, and "potpourri" type shops still exist in the future, would people still be behind a cash register in these stores? Who can say, and perhaps its truly an interesting future that lies before us as people. Perhaps in a sense this whole "economic crisis" has sort of been a "blessing in disguise" in a sense in that it has potentially granted us a temporary sort of distraction per se and given us comfort in overlooking this tremendous shift which is either developing, or already in progress per se, or perhaps it has given us a taste of what is to come per se, a taste of the scarcity, potentially skewing of the income dist. of developed countries and in turn all countries in time per se, that belies our futures as human societies per se. Who can say perhaps in so far as to what the future holds, but perhaps thinking in terms of different timelines may lead to interesting investment-related ideas, and perhaps intriguing questions surrounding the lives of one's own and everyone's progeny per se for that matter as we as people continue to invest, live, eat, and breath during our brief(relative to 100,000+ years) time in this sort of "human experience". Perhaps as Edwards Said and others have used the quotation that anthropology is like "taking a snapshot of a moving train" perhaps all human experience is of that same snapshot quality per se, and perhaps as investors or speculators or however one might see one's self, perhaps we can all sort of thankfully potentially profit or benefit from these sorts of dreams as though we were science-fiction writers of a sort(through investing,and perhaps the potential sheer joy of forecasting for its own sake per se).

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    Either way hopefully everyone's investing is going great regardless of what the future holds, hopefully the future will be great one way or another, and hopefully we'll all live long enough to see how cool some of it may be. Thanks again for reading.

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    source; http://newagebd.com/newspic/284ede3c

    48b4f76ef3056fedbacb7b1c20120604.jpg

    Jun 02 5:25 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Friday Fancies; Utility Projects And Railroads.

    This Friday, perhaps once again folks may have a taste for something new. Though the market in general has been perhaps marching higher slowly but surely, with seemingly Seusa inspired certainty, there may still be a few wooly sheep stuck in a fence some where, still representing attractive value per se.

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    image source; http://schoonoverfarm.

    files.wordpress.com/2010/02/couginfence.jpg

    (click to enlarge)

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    With solid high yielders like AINV, BKCC, and NRP and their ilk seemingly stuck in sort of a low-volatility, not-so-high growth price range/band for the moment, its perhaps a good week to look for some longer term picks to perhaps start incrementally shoring up the income side of one's portfolio, while at the same time perhaps getting a little more green exposure. Other favorites mentioned in Friday Fancies from time to time like HTGC, have fortuitously perhaps, been doing great, consistently rising in price, so perhaps it may be better to ultimately buy something like that after a more serious dip in the price of that sort of investment, or perhaps for those who like to "buy-winners" per se, that might be a solid move.

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    From another angle though, that of shoring up one's portfolio with a little bit of Green, and perhaps growing in price in the mid to mid-long term time-frame(3-5yrs.) capital, one may want to look at HASI. HASI is the ticker for a sort of Green-reit, that seems to be rather sophisticated in the amount of different I guess one could call it "financing-capacities" offered. Perhaps this variety of methods and approaches via which HASI may engage in the involvement per se in Green-investing, may allow it to be somewhat of an extra-dexterous player per se in the Green-investment space going forward. Coupling this with its real proximity to the nation's capital, which may allow for extra-public-private synergies per se, may make HASI a decent 3-5 year at least, target.

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    With a decent number of large institutional investors like Blackrock/Blackstone etc. getting into every sort of real-estate investment they could either directly or indirectly via sort of rental-related acquisitions, perhaps its surprising that a REIT like this wasn't swallowed up(if that's possible) in one way shape or form, with this glut of excess capital per se, thanks to these sort of low interest rates, and hence very low required rates of return, which were incidentally driven up by said glut of capital, but none-the-less, alone HASI still stands an interesting investment opportunity for the open-market-still.

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    Hence if one has to park one's capital somewhere in this market, though it may not be necessarily the sort of blue-chip or very-high-profile stock that would inevitably rise with the market in general, HASI seems quite attractive perhaps according to its decent yield (~6.3%), dexterity, and hence perhaps increased fiduciary capacity one could say, in that, one may always want to have the most dexterous of managers handling one's capital per se, for presumably they would allow one's capital to be invested in a greater variety of investment opportunities per se.

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    HASI has like the stock market in general been sort of increasing in price over the past year, its up about 15% or so, rising from 12 to 14 dollars or so a share, while still maintaining its decent dividend yield, and hence perhaps its sort of the well positioned Green-investment player, that hasn't risen in price exorbitantly per se over the past year or so that one might want to have a few shillings in per se, just in case for the long run, and given increased tendencies and opportunities for Green-investment going forward per se.

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    It may not be a short-term knife catch per se, like some previous "Friday Fancies" turned out to be(thank providence), however, perhaps it may still have a place in one's portfolio, and certainly seems attractive perhaps.

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    Another approach to getting into the market today, if one is instead looking for a sort of "bond-substitute" is perhaps to get into some railroads. Though they may not have such an attractive yield per se, perhaps due to their high prices( perhaps a product of their desirability in this environment per se) Railroads may also be a decent parking spot if one is looking for that sort of bondy-feel. UNP for example, which has some very nice forward growth rate projections is currently yielding around 1.84% in dividends a year or so, so that might beat a decent number of bonds at this point, and its might also be a little safer perhaps in the off-chance of liquidation(even for a stock) per se, given the oodles of albeit used fixed capital per se, they'll have at their disposal per se, if the untoward were to happen(hopefully, and very likely not). Either way,with Energy concerns leading the world's powers into numerous conflicts these days, it seems as though energy prices may be driving transport trends even more in the future, so perhaps these potential bond-substitutes might become even more attractive per se.

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    Either way, hopefully everyone's investments are going great. If anyone is also further interested in a little HASI action/reading, "Tom Konrad" here on Seeking Alpha amongst other portals per se, tends to follow it, and is a great green-investment writer I would say in general. Hopefully everyone is enjoying these "Spring-showers" or their lack there-of and riding the tide of the ever increasing price of the S&P. Thanks again for reading.

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    Also, speaking of sheep, if one wants to spend the next few months with one's nose in an interesting series of books; I personally found the more relaxed pace of the summertime in general, to have been a great time, to get carried into the fantastic world of "Haruki Murakami's" fiction per se. One of the books in his sort of linked series of novels is "A Wild Sheep Chase", and who knows, it might be just what the doctor ordered. Either way, hopefully everyone is enjoying their spring/summer, however it may be.

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    Lest old acquaintances be forgot; Uncle Scrooge McDuck;

    image source;

    http://d1466nnw0ex81e.cloudfront.net/n_iv/600/694013.jpg

    Tags: HASI, Green, UNP
    May 29 8:22 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Interesting Dynamics Shaping EU Votes, And US Cultural Conversations.

    Perhaps similar to but in an inverted relationship to the Ukraine, various EU countries are taking to the polls per se for a variety of measures in the coming days and weeks ahead. Various news sources have mentioned a developing interest in sort of local-centric political parties as opposed to pro-EU parties. Perhaps Ukrainian protestors felt the same way and felt that the EU could be a bulwark against a hegemonic force they felt spreading across their borders(or were just tired of corruption in general in the local govt.). Either way there's perhaps an interesting new focus on localism, or perhaps more specifically "self-determination" sweeping the "western world" perhaps, all the whilst however, where is the US in all of this.

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    The US has often been noted as being a little different from other Western countries for a variety of reasons. The US has been noted as not really having a sort of exclusive national identity, and instead has been sort of the home of various sorts of "for fun" nationalisms over the years. Little Italy's, Irish parts of town, Boston for example, is perhaps an interesting example of all of this. With nationalism or localism adding a sort of spice to a particular region or quarter, but not really changing its overall "American-ness", or "Boston-ness" per se.

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    So why is America not going to the far right, one might ask, or wonder. Well, perhaps there are a variety of reasons for this, but perhaps an interesting reflection upon "messianic" or pseudo-messianic movements in the US, may help us to shed some light on the sort of unique flavor of American nationalism.

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    Ever since the various discussions of spirituality, or agency based freedom have graced the lips of American civic-leaders, the US has had a sort of brand of varying dynamic sort of pop-culture nationalism, that is not really as hard or as "exclusive" as other country's forms of nationalism perhaps. An interesting look at this can be seen in Andrew Delbanco's "The Real American Dream", which seemed at times almost like a sort of play-book for the ambiguous but seemingly captivating messages of "hope and change", and "yes we can" which brought many Americans to the polls in the past couple of elections.

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    Though the US is no longer a country of ever expanding borders, and dreams of grandeur, just over the next hill per se, perhaps it still maintains this sort of soft-nationalism identity based political discussion per se.

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    Perhaps at the moment we don't see these sort of far-right, or right leaning, political movements taking sway in the US, for the sort of ambiguous nationalism of the US as mentioned earlier, and also perhaps because perhaps nationalistic tendencies are sort of caught in a sort of thumb-war at the moment in the US, over what really is the nature of the US's current "hope and change" ideology.

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    Terrorism, or a sort of "Indian War" moment, seemed to grip the country in the wake of the various terrorist events, and wars of the past decade or so. However, now as this phase sort of winds down, it seems as though once again, the US is now swinging back towards its sort of other pole, namely the transcendentalist side per se of the US's hard to really define national psyche per se.

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    Perhaps it was the utter crushing of the occupy movement, and the kind of pitifulness of that whole moment in the US, in so far as the disproportionate force that was brought against it per se is concerned, or maybe it's also the ilk of people like Snowden making national headlines, or maybe its the semi-recent gulf-oil-spill events, or maybe its the sort of loss of our "nation-building" adventures to local "tribalism" or nationalism, but it seems as though the sort of expansionist phase, is now coming to a close and now the spiritual side is once again reappearing in the US gestalt's rear view mirror per se.

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    The US is interesting in that these clashes are never sort of "hard" per se. There were some congressional hearings about the excesses of the "Indian War" phase typified by elites fighting over their bureaucratic fiefdoms(see Senators from Cali. vs. Intelligence svcs.), however, it seems as though this sort of infighting, and the widespread later question of the congressional testimony of the whole affair and related issues, has perhaps lead to a sort of tacit understanding and acceptance that this phase is sort of a dead-horse at this point. That perhaps the secret-military build up of this most recent "Indian War" phase, has sort of burned its self out, it has come to light, and though unexpected, it's not really perhaps captivating enough to really propel/motivate the American gestalt into an acceptance of further expansion per se(perhaps).

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    Perhaps for the US's future political movements hence we will begin to see more and more of a sort of fraying and fusing of the "Indian War" excesses into the more idyllic, utopian-vision-guided future , and more and more of a returning of sort of plural-spirituality based arguments driving the US in the future.

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    As sort of an interesting dovetail to all of this, the "Indian War" phase is perhaps even beginning to be questioned on a very subtle level, with for example the hitherto-not-so-problematic name of the "Washington Redskins", coming into the frame of the cultural lens of the US.

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    Perhaps this end of the expansionist phase, can also be seen in more and more US locals, are starting to feel as though foreign invasions are not ok, especially most recently in regards to Libya, and Syria. This can also be seen in various Pew polls, whereby US'ers who when asked about about eh US's "global policeman" roll, and there thoughts thereof, most often responded neutrally or negatively to notions of the US being a sort of far-reaching military hegemon per se.(poll results cited at bottom of post)

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    Hence, perhaps as the expansionist phase of the US's cultural conversation dies down, will see more of an emphasis on the sort of "green" or "renewable" themes, that were perhaps trendy but not necessary per-se, or fundamental, to the past decade's discussion of commerce and energy, and hence perhaps we can already begin to see this with new sort of condemning regulations being hoisted upon the US Coal Industry as of late as well.

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    Either way, it seems that, though the US's economy is not exactly 1980's mode per se at the moment, that perhaps in the future, US society will become more sort of, pleasant, or Vermontian if one will in the next few decades. If one visits the hinterlands of Vermont, which are quite nice this time of year and over the summer, one can get that sort of sense of the enlightened parochial-ness that US transcendentalism was birthed from, and which is still sort of a guiding muse of the US to varying extents. With sort of unique sorts of shops like little farmers' co-ops, nestled amongst Bostonian's country-retreats per se, one can sort of get that sort of spiritually, or community guided spirit, that represents perhaps the other poll that we may begin to perhaps swing towards to a greater extent here in the US over the next few months, and years.

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    Hence, though there are still sort of prickly-vestiges of the "Indian War" expansionist phase left, like sort of unusual security procedures(from an international perspective) etc., remaining, perhaps things will sort of languidly, and almost un-noticeably drift more towards that spirit, of tolerance, and of the pursuit of a more-ideal/utopian future, that perhaps enlivens(whether knowingly or not) the US's collective conscience every so many decades, and hence, perhaps even though there isn't as much "excess" in the US as there used to be perhaps, perhaps the US will still be a happy place guided by that other pole, which guides us to the other niceties of life per se.

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    Either way, if there is a sort of transition hopefully its an imperceptibly smooth one, and hopefully its great for everyone's investments one way or another. Thanks again for reading, hope everyone is doing great, and feeling their inner "Vermontian" these days.(haven't been myself in years, but hopefully others have gotten that Vermont vibe, or whatnot)

    Ye Olde Vermont;

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    Source for picture 1;

    http://www.orbitz.com/public/ANS/Dynaflex/Images/ TravelGuide/Vermont_Intro-Hills_345x225.jpg

    Source for picture 2;

    http://www.concierge.com/images/destinations/destinationguide /usa+canada/usa/northvermont/new/vermont_035p.jpg

    (Links below(references etc.))

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    Links;

    US's estimated opinion concerning desired involvement level in foreign "adventures" etc.;

    http://www.pewresearch.org/key-data-points/u-s-foreign-policy-key-data-points/

    Transcendentalism;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendentalism

    Sen. Feinstein angry at CIA;

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/11/dianne-feinstein-cia_n_4941352.html

    Andrew Delbanco's; "The Real American Dream; A meditation on hope"

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-American-Dream-Meditation/dp/0674003837/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1400882712&sr=8-3&keywords=andrew+delbanco

    Some interesting reporting on Ukraine by NHK World; more in depth and exploratory pieces on Ukraine, can be seen on NHK world's television station's if one can get a hold of it per se. A few brief excerpts;

    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20140523_39.html

    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20140524_01.html

    Senate leader's not happy about "Redskins" name;

    https://sports.yahoo.com/news/senate-leader-nfl-redskins-change-185022348--nfl.html

    Tougher regulations for the Coal Industry;

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/us/politics/supreme-court-backs-epa-coal-pollution-rules.html

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    May 23 7:01 PM | Link | Comment!
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