The New Normal

With all due credit to Muhamed  ElArian of PIMCO, the New Normal is upon us. We see it in the markets, in our technology, in our everyday lives, in our politics and most of all in our world. This is not a slow moving local. It is a high speed train that you either get on or get run over by.

Now some will espouse the theory of singularity. It is the time when man feels he can create a machine that is smarter than a human brain. Some put that time at somewhere in the 2030’s. If they were comparing it to mine, it might be a lot sooner. A little out there. I think I can wait.

That’s not what I am talking about. It’s more about a breakaway from the past. Of course we all long for the good old days of Leave It to Beaver, the Fonz and live TV. Sorry gang. Ain’t gonna happen. Politicians crave for a more simplistic world with no regulations. The way they get things done I would not hold my breath there either.

I think most of us really understand the meaning of progress as well as regression. We ride this fad or good time and then can pretty much figure out the bubble. Usually a little too late but we still get it.

Take markets. Buy and hold really isn’t appropriate any more. Not so much that companies don’t work as much as when you buy them. Supercomputers have the edge and you can be up or down 2-5% in a matter of moments. If it is the darling you are in clover. If you are being shorted, you are dead.

Housing is another good example. Being a market, it tends like all others to exaggerate swings for better or worse. Did you really think you could not lose money on real estate? Probably in the 60’s to early 2000’s you couldn’t go down but all good things must come to an end….or a least a pause. How incredibly naïve we can be.

High school diplomas don’t amount to much and unfortunately doing a cost analysis on that college sheepskin is not going to guarantee untold riches. They are now telling us, thank God, that we have too many lawyers. Sorry Dick. And MBA’s. But we are missing scientists, math doctors, and engineers. My how the pendulum swings.

Cars last ten years. You don’t buy one every two or three years unless you are my daughter Megan. You can’t put too many more bells and whistles on the flat screen TVs. The world seems to have drawn a line at 3D. You really look like a dork wearing those glasses.

We are in a global world. The internet has enabled the masses to make themselves heard. And whether they are in Egypt, Libya, Syria, or Greece,  it throws economies and markets into turmoil. We have an amazing clash of cultures and moralities. Religion? I wouldn’t dare touch it with only a passing reference.

And all the while people will clamor for peace and quiet. Their lives are a blur. I love solitude but it is pretty nigh impossible to find. Six days at sea was a dream if you left the internet alone. But I think we are hooked.

The pundits will tell you that a third party does not have a chance because of boots on the ground and support from big money. Tell that to Mubarak, Quadaffi, and maybe even Putin. Cyberspace does not cost anything except for content. Money? With the right message you can raise million in a matter of hours.

I watched fiasco after fiasco in Washington. Eric Cantor calls it just part of the political process. I call it a lot of jaded men and women that don’t seem to get it. They won’t know what hit them.

In sum I am expectant and intrigued. I really believe that a lot of us have gotten that New Normal. We have made adjustments financially as well as to our principles. Doesn’t mean we have given them up but we have reexamined them and found out what works and what doesn’t. At least we are giving it a try.

The Jesuits have an education philosophy that teaches you to question everything. It is throwing old hat and conviction by osmosis aside. It is only by casting doubt on a principle that you can really understand what it is you believe.

Look. I love Oldies but Goodies. Would I love to put my life on automatic for the next 20-30 years? It is a nice thought. But I am a citizen of the world. It is throwing new challenges at me that textbooks don’t always solve. I want to be aware and ready. That train is not going to get by me. I’ll get used to the modern interior and besides  I like the view.

As always

Ted The Great


We all worry about us or our kids getting a job. A plumber, mechanic or electrician will charge $75 and up to come to our house. And if you don’t think he has work, how long does it take him to respond to your phone call?

More Americans approve of polygamy, pornography, Nixon and even Obama more than they do the Congress.

High frequency trading is highly quantitative using complex algorithms to analyze data and automatically buy or sell huge amounts of stock.  These trades now account for 75% of the volume of stock trading on any given day

Internet Usage

Africa 1billion pop. 4.5 mill users(2000) 118 million(2011)                                                            Asia 3.9 billion pop.114 million users(2000) 922 million(2011)                                            Europe 816 million pop. 105 mill users(2000) 476 million(2011)                                              Mideast 216 million pop.  3.2 million users(2000) 68.5million(2011)                           N.Amer.    347 million pop. 108 million users(2000) 273 mill (2011)                                       Lat Amer. 597 million  pop.18 million users(2000) 215 mill (2011)                                    Oceania 35 million pop.  7 million users (2000) 21 million (2011)

World Tot  6.93 billion pop.  360 mill users(2000) 2.1 bill (2011)

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