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I just finished reading The Big Short. I have little reason to believe that any of the structural problems with Wall Street described therein have been resolved. Outlook: cynical and gloomy.


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Sarah | 2011-10-01T08:36:32.276733

You should read this book:

Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

...or at least something uplifting. :P

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Dad | 2011-10-01T12:27:59.607833

Not to sound callous, but the key is for you to figure out how to do well, even if the economy as a whole is doing poorly. As you know, I am fairly skeptical that your generation as a whole will do as well as my generation has, but certainly, many individuals will do quite well.

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Drew Fisher | 2011-10-01T13:13:49.470417

@Sarah: I'll probably read some fiction next: Anathem and Cyteen are on my list.

Interestingly, there are HCI problems relating to microfinance. MSR did field tests with a machine that could OCR text written on paper by a scribe for a group of Indian women who pool their collateral to receive loans. The benefit was that it could check the math (and decipher handwriting) before they sent it off via mail to the computer guy, and it could also read off everyone's balance in the native tongue.

@Dad: Clearly, the purely rational self-interested thing to do would be to get in on the winning side of the racket at the world's expense, but I don't think I want to become that much of a jerk. Put another way: I could probably succeed at making a living gambling in the bond market if I were to do due diligence, but I don't think that's a life I want to lead.

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Dad | 2011-10-01T13:17:43.800746

Not suggesting that you join the "dark side" or become a jerk, but that you recognize what the economy is doing, be prepared, and make wise choices.

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Drew Fisher | 2011-10-01T13:29:17.879924

Gotcha. Right now, the wise choice is to get out of stocks and commodities and into dollars, at least for a while. I'm not sure when that'll change, but I would suggest having enough cash liquid that you can survive for a year if the S&P drops to 600 and stays there, in a manner not unlike Japan's Nikkei index.

I would also suggest you reacquire lawful means of self-defense, if you don't have them anymore (lead delivery systems). Actually, I'm probably in a more urban area and at greater risk should a significant displacement event occur...perhaps I should start stockpiling nonperishable food.