Lion of the Blogosphere

No profit in individual investing

with 60 comments

Commenter Hermes writes:

Lion, with your ability to predict the future, why can’t you become independently wealthy through investing?

I am not entirely sure if Hermes is trying to insult me, or if he genuinely wonders why someone as smart as me isn’t rich.

People become rich from having a good career track, and become super-rich by having a monopoly. No one becomes rich from investing their own money. Even if, because if my superior insight, I would have a long-run rate of return that’s 3% higher than investing in index funds, a 3% excess return does not making anyone rich if they only have their own meager money to invest, and in the short run the ups and downs of the market can kill you if you try to make big bets and they fail. I still predict that oil is a good long-run investment, but in the short run I lost money on that during the last two years. Ouch. Very painful. I also predict that robots are the future, but in the short run I lost money in IRBT the only pure-play robot stock I could find to invest in.

The people who become wealthy from investing are investing other people’s money. That’s how Warren Buffett became a decabillionaire, and it’s how Al Gore became rich and how thousands of lower level Wall Street types have become decamillionaires.

As I previously explained, investing is less profitable today than it was in the past, because of value transference. That is, the money you invest in corporations is being transferred to wealthy CEOs and other highly compensated senior management and consultants, and to Wall Street types such as investment bankers and hedge fund managers.

* * *

You can also get rich from having inside information, as Gordon Gekko explained in the movie Wall Street. And commenter Curle says “you can get rich on inside deals,” but that’s a sort of monopoly power being one of the few lucky people having access to insiders, and you usually get to such a place by starting out in a good career track.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 4, 2015 at 11:47 am

Posted in Investments


with 49 comments

I’ve previously stated that Trump can’t win the Republican nomination because he’s a bozo, which means he lacks gravitas because bozos don’t have gravitas.

On the other hand, Trump is now tied with Jeb Bush for first place. Is it possible that, as the only candidate seriously taking a stance against immigration and making it his main campaign platform, he can actually win the nomination despite being a bozo?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 4, 2015 at 11:29 am

Posted in Politics

Puerto Rican mystery

with 26 comments

Puerto Rico cannot repay its $73 billion of debt.

How did a crappy little island of only 3.5 million people borrow so much money? And who was stupid enough to lend it to them?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 4, 2015 at 12:24 am

Posted in News

Church of Cannabis

with 35 comments

Some people in Indiana are taking advantage of Indiana’s religious freedom law to have a religion devoted to smoking pot, thus they can smoke pot and not be prosecuted for it. Who could have predicted anything like this happening?

Well it turns out that the Lion of the Blogosphere predicted it. I previously wrote:

By the way, religious freedom laws are bad ideas because they will wind up being used by Muslims and weird fringe groups to avoid their civic responsibilities.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 2, 2015 at 10:31 am

Posted in Religion

Liberal Frank Bruni loves big corporations

with 56 comments

He writes in the NY Times:

They’ve been great on the issue of the Confederate flag. … Eli Lilly, American Airlines, Intel and other corporations were crucial to the defeat or amendment of proposed “religious freedom” laws in Indiana, Arkansas and Arizona over the last year and a half. … And if it were up to corporations, we’d have the immigration reform we sorely need. … those efforts, coupled with whatever genuine altruism and civic obligation some corporate leaders feel, have produced compelling recent examples of companies showing greater sensitivity to diversity, social justice and the changing tides of public sentiment than lawmakers often manage to. … Major financial institutions were well ahead of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic politicians when it came to same-sex marriage. The leaders of these banks and hedge funds lent their voices and considerable sums of money to its legalization in New York in 2011. …

Between 2010 and 2014, Unilever increased the fraction of materials it got from farms with sustainable practices to roughly one-half from less than one-fifth. And the software company Infor participated in a multimillion-dollar program to provide free tickets to “Selma” for American schoolchildren.

It’s ironic that conservative Republicans also love corporations, yet not one iota of love is returned to conservative causes. Instead, the corporations are participating in the victory of liberals.

Conservative Republicans are stupid for continuing to support corporations. They should be the anti-corporate party, in favor of high tax rates for large business entities (regardless of whether they are technically corporations), and in favor of vigorous anti-trust enforcement.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 2, 2015 at 10:19 am

Posted in Politics

Prole art

with 54 comments

A commenter wrote (about my landscape painting):

What a prole choice of subject.

A bobo would paint abstract. Or better yet, just leave the canvas blank. It’s called postmodernism.

There are many commenters who seem to live for the opportunity to insult me. Unfortunately, in this case, the comment is not completely without truth. For more than a hundred years, paintings that are pretty and look like a scene from real life have been out of favor with the intellectual elites, and that has spilled over to all other elites sometime during the twentieth century.

The theory behind elite tastes in art is that any art that a regular everyday person, not educated in elite art appreciation, would like to look at is not considered to be worthy art. The elite art movement started out as a Marxist anti-bourgeoisie movement, although today it’s the bourgeoisie themselves who are spending huge amounts of money to buy art that the regular everyday person would consider to be crap. (Another example of how the different types of elites have joined together into a broad elite class.)

So why bother to paint landscapes if they will never be appreciated by the elites of the art world?

Perhaps the reason is that I see through the elite art scam and maybe I don’t want participate in it. Or perhaps I just see more opportunity in more traditional art. Contemporary abstract art is generally worthless junk unless it is somehow discovered by someone powerful enough in the art world to promote it. The vast majority of artists trying to make it in that world just have a lot of paintings or other works of “art” that are really nothing but worthless crap that people wouldn’t want to hang on their walls even if it was given away for free.

On the other hand, well-executed representational art has greater intrinsic value because there are so few artists in the developed world who can actually do it well. How to paint in a representational manner is no longer taught at art schools. And despite the propaganda from intellectual elites, there are still many rich people who want paintings in their homes that they actually like to look at, and thus you will always find galleries that sell this type of art, although such galleries aren’t found in Chelsea. However, one will never become a multi-centimillionaire like Damien Hirst from doing landscape paintings. Thomas Kinkade, the most economically successful representational artist of our time (and much hated by the elites because his paintings were very much on the prole end of landscape art), was only worth $66 million when he died, which is a much lower net worth than the wealthiest abstract artists favored by the elites.

In my defense, the style of painting that I am trying to develop, plein-air-style landscapes, is the least prole form of representational art.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 1, 2015 at 11:35 am

Posted in Art, Proles

Prospect Park

with 50 comments

6×8″ oil on canvas paper.

I painted it this afternoon.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 30, 2015 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Art

The Jewish response to Obergefell

with 32 comments

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America says:

In response to the decisions announced today by the United States Supreme Court with reference to the issue of legal recognition of same sex marriage, we reiterate the historical position of the Jewish faith, enunciated unequivocally in our Bible, Talmud and Codes, which forbids homosexual relationships and condemns the institutionalization of such relationships as marriages. Our religion is emphatic in defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Our beliefs in this regard are unalterable.

How quaint.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 30, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Religion

No noblesse oblige to be found here

with 22 comments

The New York Times reports:

From Ukraine to Uruguay, Moldova to the Philippines, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its foreign affiliates have become the hammer for the tobacco industry, engaging in a worldwide effort to fight antismoking laws of all kinds, according to interviews with government ministers, lobbyists, lawmakers and public health groups in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States.

The smart and affluent people who control the U.S. Chamber of Commerce should be trying to help the less fortunate of the world to lead better and healthier lives, and not addict them to an expensive and cancer-causing habit so that a few rich American tobacco companies can become even richer. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 30, 2015 at 10:29 am

Posted in News

Prep attire in Southampton

with 30 comments


Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 29, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Photography


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