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Dialectical Materialist

Dialectical Materialist
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  • Taking an Honest Look at GDP Calculation [View article]
    I agree that you have to look past certain interpretations of the GDP numbers, but I think the GDP is only one number anyway and can't be made to give a perfect snapshot. GROSS domestic product is by definition not NET productivity, so making a lot of subtractions for debt servicing and such doesn't make a lot of sense to me. That doesn't mean the points made here and elsewhere about what the GDP is really telling us are less valid, only that I think we shouldn't try to toy with the number too much to get it reflect something it was never intended to. In some sense it is really just "gross domestic spending" and so, yeah, if much of that is government spending then that is cause for concern, mostly because it is unsustainable and funded by borrowing.

    On Aug 02 10:30 AM John Lounsbury wrote:

    > 1. Consumption funded by debt (such as government deficit spending)
    > should not be valued in GDP the same way as that funded by "earned"
    > income. I do not think the debt should be subtracted directly, though.
    > It should be subtracted as a discounted value of future cash flows
    > to service the debt. I think this would be much less than the simpler
    > direct subtraction.
    Aug 2 02:00 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Taking an Honest Look at GDP Calculation [View article]
    I think you missed that housing purchases were included in "I" (Investment). So the housing collpase would subtract from GDP even while the increased renting added to it.

    On Aug 02 05:40 AM Dave Wrixon wrote:

    > The one thing I got out of this is the fact that mortgages are not
    > counted but rents are. Doesn't this mean a collapse in the housing
    > market actually boost GDP? People that are not buying and not living
    > in cardboard boxes must be renting something even if it is only a
    > trailer home. So GDP gets a massive spur. Of course as the economy
    > recovers one would expect this to provide a massive drag on the GDP
    > figures as well. Of course you might expect a revision in the methodology
    > by then to make things look rosier!
    Aug 2 01:41 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why GDP Stats Are Still Ugly [View article]
    You're right of course. And I didn't really mean conspiracy in the New World Order sense, only in the sense of market manipulation (which takes some level of conspiring to make happen unless it is one lone person doing the manipulating). And you're right, a correlation wouldn't PROVE anything. Nonetheless I think it is instructive (and fun) to track some of the predictions made in the articles and comments in SA and seeing if they pan out. The higher a person's hit rate, the more I accept his/her general concept of market moving. We are dealing with such fractional understanding of a fraction of the whole picture that it is a wonder we are ever right!

    Good luck, and I'll be watching for that pullback.

    On Aug 01 05:56 PM H. T. Love wrote:
    "Anyway, the any predicted results certainly only support manipulation or conspiracy circumstantially."
    Aug 2 12:23 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why GDP Stats Are Still Ugly [View article]
    The knock on "conspiracy theories" is that they always use historical data to "prove" them right and never predict the future. That is why I really appreciate this comment. If one is looking to support the idea that GS is manipulating the market (something some people flatly refuse to believe), then it is instructive to see if reasoned predictions about what shape this manipulation may take prove true. I for one will be watching to see if this pattern develops. If it does, I think that is good support for the premise on which your prediction is based. In other words, if things DO play out this way, your reasons for why it did would make a lot of sense.

    On Aug 01 10:32 AM H. T. Love wrote:
    "As to a time-frame, I'm certainly not brazen enough to call it. My only thought is that it must occur before any further reports on real GDP, or other influential statistics, can be issued that are substantially more negative than expected. Since we have so many weekly items that *might* fit this description, I think they have to get it done pretty quickly."
    Aug 1 02:01 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Rally Is Sustainable: Halftime Report, Part 2 [View article]
    I agree on both counts. I enjoy reading both positive and negative opinions and think there is usually some truth in both sides. I have a problem with some people who are gloom and doom and seem to be hoping for collapse. I am in the other negative camp. I would LIKE to see reason to cheer, but have a hard time finding positive measurements that resonate with my sense of what is happening. I think we are deeply damaged by the impact of the credit bubble and its aftermath. Sometimes the Bulls remind me of the Black Knight form Python's Holy Grail. As he is disassembled by King Arthur's sword, he keeps insisting it's only a flesh wound and "I've had worse." There is a place for (and a power to) positive thinking. But sometimes it seems divorced from what is actually happening. In 2011 this post will be long gone and I will either have changed my mind about the economy or I will feel vindicated. But I think it will take at least that long before we start seeing healthy activity, recession or no.

    On Jul 23 09:35 AM David Van Knapp wrote:

    > JohnBinTN: You should post more. Your positive attitude is refreshing,
    > and SA needs more of it for balance.
    Jul 23 10:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • This Rally Is Sustainable: Halftime Report, Part 2 [View article]
    "The strongest argument that this rally is sustainable is the historical pattern that bull markets start about 6-7 months before the ends of recessions, combined with evidence that the recession is entering its final stages."

    If this bull market started in April, as you suggest, 6-7 months out puts us in October. If this is the strongest argument and it suggests the recession is ending in October, I don't think it is a very good case.

    I love basketball, but I rarely cheer when my team, which was down by 26 points closes the gap to "only" 18. The problem with trends is that they can look positive ("We've out scored them 2-1 in the last three minutes") when the real picture is negative ("The score is 100 to 82"). Eventually trends will improve, but we are a long way off from ever catching up to where want to be, in both the market and the economy. End of recession? Maybe soon. Recovery? Don't hold your breath.
    Jul 23 10:55 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • James Surowiecki notes that while the feds can stimulate, most states are legally bound to feed a downturn by balancing budgets: There must be 50 ways to kill recovery. Gotta hike tax, Jack; just write an IOU, Stu.  [View news story]
    Roll up your sleeves, Steve
    Make a new plan, Stan
    Eliminate some jobs, Bob
    Make some new fees, Lee

    Wield the budget axe, Zack
    Seek some more aid, Wade
    Float some new debt, Brett
    Find a revenue stream, Wahim

    and on and on it goes....

    Jul 20 08:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why This Is No Time for Buy and Hold [View article]
    Cloward and Piven evolved from their early days as radical youth. By the 80's they were touting "the politicization of the Welfare State." By that they meant that since Reagan used welfare issues specifically in his platform, that welfare in some form or other had become an entrenched part of society (an entitlement). They argued this permanence was a GOOD thing (because it helped the poor) and this was a departure from their earlier assertion that it kept the poor trapped in a system that did not serve them.

    If this is relevant at all to the discussion, I guess I would say that it shows even Cloward and Piven don't believe in the C&P Strategy anymore. I seriously doubt Obama has given it any thought. I'm with ConceptWizard... There is manipulation going on, but it is not to bring down the system -- at least not intentionally, and CERTAINLY not to benefit the poor.
    Jul 20 02:17 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Six Signs Economy Is Turning the Corner [View article]
    You've got a BBA and you think the President runs the economy? What do they teach kids these days?

    On Jul 19 05:28 PM whisperonthewind wrote:

    > So with my BBA, I'm out of work, I can't afford to move, and there
    > are no jobs. Soon, I'll be looking for that transition to welfare,
    > or maybe I'll just look for a refrigerator box. Thank you, Mr. President.
    Jul 20 01:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • CIT: A Turning Point in the Financial Crisis [View article]
    I am stunned when I read comments like this (which I'm seeing a lot more of lately). We have awfully short memories when we try to convince ourselves it was really not all that bad. "It was just that we were worried. Some of the cornerstones to the global financial systems were not actually insolvent, it was just that we all worried they might be. Then we woke up. Really nothing to it..."

    This kind of revisionism will likely ensure we end up in a similar mess in the future. "It wasn't that we leveraged risk too much, it was that we started to worry about it."

    On Jul 20 07:12 AM apppro wrote:

    > <<You mean it was all just a fear induced hallucination? You sure
    > about?>>
    > Pretty much!
    > We will see that history will write that after we allowed shorts
    > to take down Lehmans for their own greed &amp; hubris, we all convinced
    > ourselves that the end was here out of our own fear and ignornace.
    > Fear is a very powerful emotion - far more powerful then greed.<br/>
    Jul 20 01:30 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • David Rosenberg - Devaluing U.S. Dollar Could Be Next [View article]
    I'm not a "guns and beans in my bunker" person (at least not yet), but even the reasonable possibility that this could happen suggests that gold or silver should be a part of everyone's plan, right? At least until the dust settles in the next few years. Waiting too long to hedge may prove costly.
    Jul 19 06:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ...Though Pitchforks May Be Useful on Compensation [View article]
    And if taxpayers are the ones getting screwed...? Shouldn't they be able to seek a remedy just like shareholders. Because I would buy your point entirely if we could go back and replay this tape, this time without the taxpayer funded bailouts and backstops.

    On Jul 19 03:22 AM Angry Banker wrote:

    > This is ridiculous. The SHAREHOLDERS own the company, not the government.
    > The government has no place imposing compensation restrictions through
    > taxation. If SHAREHOLDERS are getting screwed, then the SHAREHOLDERS
    > should rebel, vote out the directors, vote for compensation limits,
    > or whatever they believe is wrong with the company. That is the OWNERS'
    > prerogative.
    Jul 19 06:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Perhaps There Are Unseen Green Shoots [View article]
    Yes, since no longer down = end of recession, this recession will end at some point... But I find Achuthan's comment "The recession is already ending." a bit funny. "presently ending" or "currently ending" would have been better. I know what he meant, but "already ending"? This just sounds like someone who doesn't pay attention to how he uses his words.
    Jul 19 05:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Forget Goldman, Start Worrying About the Government [View article]
    And agreeing with you is going to be just as obvious as John Lounsbury says your being, but I can't help chiming in. The problem is that I think most people kind of realize what you're saying, Common people (like me) have an increasing awareness and sense of frustration that the system is stacked against them. Rich and powerful were always that way, but now the collusion seems more blatant than ever. The transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the rich is a recurring front page story (with very little reading between the lines).
    My question is, "What now?" You suggest we "start focusing in on the right people: Congress and the President." but I wonder what shape this focus is supposed to take. Would trying to elect other candidates work? Are there enough potential congresspeople and senators who would NOT serve the needs of GS reflexively? Tax payers certainly have cause for revolt, but how and to what end? How can common citizens (or even uncommon citizens in better positions of power than me) actually respond to these outrages in any meaningful way? These are not supposed to be rhetorical questions, by the way.
    Jul 19 04:37 AM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE Results Validate Theory: Severe Economic Contraction [View article]

    I have heard the WWII argument a lot. It goes something like, "We couldn't spend our way out of the depression... It took WWII to do that." But wasn't it the MOBILIZATION of WWII that pulled us out of the depression? In other words, the SPENDING the government did as it ordered battleships, tanks, and jeeps and as it employed millions of men in battle? To the extent that the private sector was involved it was all selling to one customer -- the government. I think the moral to the story is that you can't play at spending your way out of a depression, you have to full court press it. An all hands on deck kind of thing. I can't see us doing that, but if there were a cause great enough to mobilize us, it would essentially be "spending our way out" would it not?

    I agree somewhat about the healthcare stuff, though.

    On Jul 18 11:43 AM yank wrote:

    > "Once healthcare is reigned in"
    > Dream on my friend. If you think Comrade Obama and Commissar Biden
    > can control healthcare costs I have a bridge I want to sell you.
    > Go back to the history books. FDR tried to spend his way out of a
    > depression and it took a World War to finally end it. There is no
    > successful example of a country ANYWHERE spending its way out of
    > a severe contraction (i.e. Japan in the 1990s).
    Jul 19 03:36 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment