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No, the British did not steal $45 trillion from India

This is an updated copy of the version on BadHistory. I plan to update it in accordance with the feedback I got.
I'd like to thank two people who will remain anonymous for helping me greatly with this post (you know who you are)
Three years ago a festschrift for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri was published by Shubhra Chakrabarti, a history teacher at the University of Delhi and Utsa Patnaik, a Marxist economist who taught at JNU until 2010.
One of the essays in the festschirt by Utsa Patnaik was an attempt to quantify the "drain" undergone by India during British Rule. Her conclusion? Britain robbed India of $45 trillion (or £9.2 trillion) during their 200 or so years of rule. This figure was immensely popular, and got republished in several major news outlets (here, here, here, here (they get the number wrong) and more recently here), got a mention from the Minister of External Affairs & returns 29,100 results on Google. There's also plenty of references to it here on Reddit.
Patnaik is not the first to calculate such a figure. Angus Maddison thought it was £100 million, Simon Digby said £1 billion, Javier Estaban said £40 million see Roy (2019). The huge range of figures should set off some alarm bells.
So how did Patnaik calculate this (shockingly large) figure? Well, even though I don't have access to the festschrift, she conveniently has written an article detailing her methodology here. Let's have a look.
How exactly did the British manage to diddle us and drain our wealth’ ? was the question that Basudev Chatterjee (later editor of a volume in the Towards Freedom project) had posed to me 50 years ago when we were fellow-students abroad.
This is begging the question.
After decades of research I find that using India’s commodity export surplus as the measure and applying an interest rate of 5%, the total drain from 1765 to 1938, compounded up to 2016, comes to £9.2 trillion; since $4.86 exchanged for £1 those days, this sum equals about $45 trillion.
This is completely meaningless. To understand why it's meaningless consider India's annual coconut exports. These are almost certainly a surplus but the surplus in trade is countered by the other country buying the product (indeed, by definition, trade surpluses contribute to the GDP of a nation which hardly plays into intuitive conceptualisations of drain).
Furthermore, Dewey (2019) critiques the 5% interest rate.
She [Patnaik] consistently adopts statistical assumptions (such as compound interest at a rate of 5% per annum over centuries) that exaggerate the magnitude of the drain
Moving on:
The exact mechanism of drain, or transfers from India to Britain was quite simple.
Convenient.
Drain theory possessed the political merit of being easily grasped by a nation of peasants. [...] No other idea could arouse people than the thought that they were being taxed so that others in far off lands might live in comfort. [...] It was, therefore, inevitable that the drain theory became the main staple of nationalist political agitation during the Gandhian era.
- Chandra et al. (1989)
The key factor was Britain’s control over our taxation revenues combined with control over India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its booming commodity export surplus with the world. Simply put, Britain used locally raised rupee tax revenues to pay for its net import of goods, a highly abnormal use of budgetary funds not seen in any sovereign country.
The issue with figures like these is they all make certain methodological assumptions that are impossible to prove. From Roy in Frankema et al. (2019):
the "drain theory" of Indian poverty cannot be tested with evidence, for several reasons. First, it rests on the counterfactual that any money saved on account of factor payments abroad would translate into domestic investment, which can never be proved. Second, it rests on "the primitive notion that all payments to foreigners are "drain"", that is, on the assumption that these payments did not contribute to domestic national income to the equivalent extent (Kumar 1985, 384; see also Chaudhuri 1968). Again, this cannot be tested. [...] Fourth, while British officers serving India did receive salaries that were many times that of the average income in India, a paper using cross-country data shows that colonies with better paid officers were governed better (Jones 2013).
Indeed, drain theory rests on some very weak foundations. This, in of itself, should be enough to dismiss any of the other figures that get thrown out. Nonetheless, I felt it would be a useful exercise to continue exploring Patnaik's take on drain theory.
The East India Company from 1765 onwards allocated every year up to one-third of Indian budgetary revenues net of collection costs, to buy a large volume of goods for direct import into Britain, far in excess of that country’s own needs.
So what's going on here? Well Roy (2019) explains it better:
Colonial India ran an export surplus, which, together with foreign investment, was used to pay for services purchased from Britain. These payments included interest on public debt, salaries, and pensions paid to government offcers who had come from Britain, salaries of managers and engineers, guaranteed profts paid to railway companies, and repatriated business profts. How do we know that any of these payments involved paying too much? The answer is we do not.
So what was really happening is the government was paying its workers for services (as well as guaranteeing profits - to promote investment - something the GoI does today Dalal (2019), and promoting business in India), and those workers were remitting some of that money to Britain. This is hardly a drain (unless, of course, Indian diaspora around the world today are "draining" it). In some cases, the remittances would take the form of goods (as described) see Chaudhuri (1983):
It is obvious that these debit items were financed through the export surplus on merchandise account, and later, when railway construction started on a large scale in India, through capital import. Until 1833 the East India Company followed a cumbersome method in remitting the annual home charges. This was to purchase export commodities in India out of revenue, which were then shipped to London and the proceeds from their sale handed over to the home treasury.
While Roy's earlier point argues better paid officers governed better, it is honestly impossible to say what part of the repatriated export surplus was a drain, and what was not. However calling all of it a drain is definitely misguided.
It's worth noting that Patnaik seems to make no attempt to quantify the benefits of the Raj either, Dewey (2019)'s 2nd criticism:
she [Patnaik] consistently ignores research that would tend to cut the economic impact of the drain down to size, such as the work on the sources of investment during the industrial revolution (which shows that industrialisation was financed by the ploughed-back profits of industrialists) or the costs of empire school (which stresses the high price of imperial defence)

Since tropical goods were highly prized in other cold temperate countries which could never produce them, in effect these free goods represented international purchasing power for Britain which kept a part for its own use and re-exported the balance to other countries in Europe and North America against import of food grains, iron and other goods in which it was deficient.
Re-exports necessarily adds value to goods when the goods are processed and when the goods are transported. The country with the largest navy at the time would presumably be in very good stead to do the latter.
The British historians Phyllis Deane and WA Cole presented an incorrect estimate of Britain’s 18th-19th century trade volume, by leaving out re-exports completely. I found that by 1800 Britain’s total trade was 62% higher than their estimate, on applying the correct definition of trade including re-exports, that is used by the United Nations and by all other international organisations.
While interesting, and certainly expected for such an old book, re-exporting necessarily adds value to goods.
When the Crown took over from the Company, from 1861 a clever system was developed under which all of India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its fast-rising commodity export surplus with the world, was intercepted and appropriated by Britain. As before up to a third of India’s rising budgetary revenues was not spent domestically but was set aside as ‘expenditure abroad’.
So, what does this mean? Britain appropriated all of India's earnings, and then spent a third of it aboard? Not exactly. She is describing home charges see Roy (2019) again:
Some of the expenditures on defense and administration were made in sterling and went out of the country. This payment by the government was known as the Home Charges. For example, interest payment on loans raised to finance construction of railways and irrigation works, pensions paid to retired officers, and purchase of stores, were payments in sterling. [...] almost all money that the government paid abroad corresponded to the purchase of a service from abroad. [...] The balance of payments system that emerged after 1800 was based on standard business principles. India bought something and paid for it. State revenues were used to pay for wages of people hired abroad, pay for interest on loans raised abroad, and repatriation of profits on foreign investments coming into India. These were legitimate market transactions.
Indeed, if paying for what you buy is drain, then several billions of us are drained every day.
The Secretary of State for India in Council, based in London, invited foreign importers to deposit with him the payment (in gold, sterling and their own currencies) for their net imports from India, and these gold and forex payments disappeared into the yawning maw of the SoS’s account in the Bank of England.
It should be noted that India having two heads was beneficial, and encouraged investment per Roy (2019):
The fact that the India Office in London managed a part of the monetary system made India creditworthy, stabilized its currency, and encouraged foreign savers to put money into railways and private enterprise in India. Current research on the history of public debt shows that stable and large colonies found it easier to borrow abroad than independent economies because the investors trusted the guarantee of the colonist powers.

Against India’s net foreign earnings he issued bills, termed Council bills (CBs), to an equivalent rupee value. The rate (between gold-linked sterling and silver rupee) at which the bills were issued, was carefully adjusted to the last farthing, so that foreigners would never find it more profitable to ship financial gold as payment directly to Indians, compared to using the CB route. Foreign importers then sent the CBs by post or by telegraph to the export houses in India, that via the exchange banks were paid out of the budgeted provision of sums under ‘expenditure abroad’, and the exporters in turn paid the producers (peasants and artisans) from whom they sourced the goods.
Sunderland (2013) argues CBs had two main roles (and neither were part of a grand plot to keep gold out of India):
Council bills had two roles. They firstly promoted trade by handing the IO some control of the rate of exchange and allowing the exchange banks to remit funds to India and to hedge currency transaction risks. They also enabled the Indian government to transfer cash to England for the payment of its UK commitments.

The United Nations (1962) historical data for 1900 to 1960, show that for three decades up to 1928 (and very likely earlier too) India posted the second highest merchandise export surplus in the world, with USA in the first position. Not only were Indians deprived of every bit of the enormous international purchasing power they had earned over 175 years, even its rupee equivalent was not issued to them since not even the colonial government was credited with any part of India’s net gold and forex earnings against which it could issue rupees. The sleight-of-hand employed, namely ‘paying’ producers out of their own taxes, made India’s export surplus unrequited and constituted a tax-financed drain to the metropolis, as had been correctly pointed out by those highly insightful classical writers, Dadabhai Naoroji and RCDutt.
It doesn't appear that others appreciate their insight Roy (2019):
K. N. Chaudhuri rightly calls such practice ‘confused’ economics ‘coloured by political feelings’.

Surplus budgets to effect such heavy tax-financed transfers had a severe employment–reducing and income-deflating effect: mass consumption was squeezed in order to release export goods. Per capita annual foodgrains absorption in British India declined from 210 kg. during the period 1904-09, to 157 kg. during 1937-41, and to only 137 kg by 1946.
Dewey (1978) points out reliability issues with Indian agriculutural statistics, however this calorie decline persists to this day. Some of it is attributed to less food being consumed at home Smith (2015), a lower infectious disease burden Duh & Spears (2016) and diversified diets Vankatesh et al. (2016).
If even a part of its enormous foreign earnings had been credited to it and not entirely siphoned off, India could have imported modern technology to build up an industrial structure as Japan was doing.
This is, unfortunately, impossible to prove. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication that India would've united (this is arguably more plausible than the given counterfactual1). Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been nuked in WW2, much like Japan. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been invaded by lizard people, much like Japan. The list continues eternally.
Nevertheless, I will charitably examine the given counterfactual anyway. Did pre-colonial India have industrial potential? The answer is a resounding no.
From Gupta (1980):
This article starts from the premise that while economic categories - the extent of commodity production, wage labour, monetarisation of the economy, etc - should be the basis for any analysis of the production relations of pre-British India, it is the nature of class struggles arising out of particular class alignments that finally gives the decisive twist to social change. Arguing on this premise, and analysing the available evidence, this article concludes that there was little potential for industrial revolution before the British arrived in India because, whatever might have been the character of economic categories of that period, the class relations had not sufficiently matured to develop productive forces and the required class struggle for a 'revolution' to take place.
A view echoed in Raychaudhuri (1983):
Yet all of this did not amount to an economic situation comparable to that of western Europe on the eve of the industrial revolution. Her technology - in agriculture as well as manufacturers - had by and large been stagnant for centuries. [...] The weakness of the Indian economy in the mid-eighteenth century, as compared to pre-industrial Europe was not simply a matter of technology and commercial and industrial organization. No scientific or geographical revolution formed part of the eighteenth-century Indian's historical experience. [...] Spontaneous movement towards industrialisation is unlikely in such a situation.
So now we've established India did not have industrial potential, was India similar to Japan just before the Meiji era? The answer, yet again, unsurprisingly, is no. Japan's economic situation was not comparable to India's, which allowed for Japan to finance its revolution. From Yasuba (1986):
All in all, the Japanese standard of living may not have been much below the English standard of living before industrialization, and both of them may have been considerably higher than the Indian standard of living. We can no longer say that Japan started from a pathetically low economic level and achieved a rapid or even "miraculous" economic growth. Japan's per capita income was almost as high as in Western Europe before industrialization, and it was possible for Japan to produce surplus in the Meiji Period to finance private and public capital formation.
The circumstances that led to Meiji Japan were extremely unique. See Tomlinson (1985):
Most modern comparisons between India and Japan, written by either Indianists or Japanese specialists, stress instead that industrial growth in Meiji Japan was the product of unique features that were not reproducible elsewhere. [...] it is undoubtably true that Japan's progress to industrialization has been unique and unrepeatable
So there you have it. Unsubstantiated statistical assumptions, calling any number you can a drain & assuming a counterfactual for no good reason gets you this $45 trillion number. Hopefully that's enough to bury it in the ground.
1. Several authors have affirmed that Indian identity is a colonial artefact. For example see Rajan 1969:
Perhaps the single greatest and most enduring impact of British rule over India is that it created an Indian nation, in the modern political sense. After centuries of rule by different dynasties overparts of the Indian sub-continent, and after about 100 years of British rule, Indians ceased to be merely Bengalis, Maharashtrians,or Tamils, linguistically and culturally.
or see Bryant 2000:
But then, it would be anachronistic to condemn eighteenth-century Indians, who served the British, as collaborators, when the notion of 'democratic' nationalism or of an Indian 'nation' did not then exist. [...] Indians who fought for them, differed from the Europeans in having a primary attachment to a non-belligerent religion, family and local chief, which was stronger than any identity they might have with a more remote prince or 'nation'.

Bibliography

Chakrabarti, Shubra & Patnaik, Utsa (2018). Agrarian and other histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri. Colombia University Press
Hickel, Jason (2018). How the British stole $45 trillion from India. The Guardian
Bhuyan, Aroonim & Sharma, Krishan (2019). The Great Loot: How the British stole $45 trillion from India. Indiapost
Monbiot, George (2020). English Landowners have stolen our rights. It is time to reclaim them. The Guardian
Tsjeng, Zing (2020). How Britain Stole $45 trillion from India with trains | Empires of Dirt. Vice
Chaudhury, Dipanjan (2019). British looted $45 trillion from India in today’s value: Jaishankar. The Economic Times
Roy, Tirthankar (2019). How British rule changed India's economy: The Paradox of the Raj. Palgrave Macmillan
Patnaik, Utsa (2018). How the British impoverished India. Hindustan Times
Tuovila, Alicia (2019). Expenditure method. Investopedia
Dewey, Clive (2019). Changing the guard: The dissolution of the nationalist–Marxist orthodoxy in the agrarian and agricultural history of India. The Indian Economic & Social History Review
Chandra, Bipan et al. (1989). India's Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947. Penguin Books
Frankema, Ewout & Booth, Anne (2019). Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, c. 1850-1960. Cambridge University Press
Dalal, Sucheta (2019). IL&FS Controversy: Centre is Paying Up on Sovereign Guarantees to ADB, KfW for Group's Loan. TheWire
Chaudhuri, K.N. (1983). X - Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments (1757–1947). Cambridge University Press
Sunderland, David (2013). Financing the Raj: The City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940. Boydell Press
Dewey, Clive (1978). Patwari and Chaukidar: Subordinate officials and the reliability of India’s agricultural statistics. Athlone Press
Smith, Lisa (2015). The great Indian calorie debate: Explaining rising undernourishment during India’s rapid economic growth. Food Policy
Duh, Josephine & Spears, Dean (2016). Health and Hunger: Disease, Energy Needs, and the Indian Calorie Consumption Puzzle. The Economic Journal
Vankatesh, P. et al. (2016). Relationship between Food Production and Consumption Diversity in India – Empirical Evidences from Cross Section Analysis. Agricultural Economics Research Review
Gupta, Shaibal (1980). Potential of Industrial Revolution in Pre-British India. Economic and Political Weekly
Raychaudhuri, Tapan (1983). I - The mid-eighteenth-century background. Cambridge University Press
Yasuba, Yasukichi (1986). Standard of Living in Japan Before Industrialization: From what Level did Japan Begin? A Comment. The Journal of Economic History
Tomblinson, B.R. (1985). Writing History Sideways: Lessons for Indian Economic Historians from Meiji Japan. Cambridge University Press
Rajan, M.S. (1969). The Impact of British Rule in India. Journal of Contemporary History
Bryant, G.J. (2000). Indigenous Mercenaries in the Service of European Imperialists: The Case of the Sepoys in the Early British Indian Army, 1750-1800. War in History
submitted by GaslightEveryone to u/GaslightEveryone [link] [comments]

[LONG] My Story of Disillusionment with and Disappointment in the World and Myself

Intro.
This might be a long one. I hope someone reads the thing, I put like 3 hours into writing it. A brief story of my life and how it all led up to this moment, where I am disillusioned with my self-image, my life choices, and certain aspects of the world, and have no idea what to do next. Warning: this whole thing might be a little depressing to read.
Childhood.
I am a 20yo Russian male. During my childhood, I was made to believe that I am capable of doing something great and doing better than anyone. At the same time I developed a very non-conformist life stance and very often rejected things and ideas simply because they were too popular for my taste, and I couldn't feel special whilst enjoying them. Of course, in turn, society rejected me, as it does with anyone who doesn't play by the rules. Oh well.
My only redeeming quality was that I considered myself pretty smart. Which is even easier to assume, when at the same time you think that you're different from everyone else. Now, I know that to some extent, I was indeed smarter than most people in certain areas. Unlike most people I knew back then, often with bare minimum efforts I was able to maintain near perfect grades at school. I was also enjoying learning new things and reading more than an average person. So, let's just say, I had a basis to assume I was a smart dude.
I wasn't happy and content with my life, though. I never had real friends, because I only hung out with people when they were my classmates/roommates/co-workers, and after we parted ways, I rarely if ever contacted them afterwards. I always enjoyed doing things you usually do in solitude more, because when I was alone, I wouldn't be afraid that someone could hurt me for being different. Because of that, I was never in a romantic relationship.
High School.
Still, life was going okay. By the end of school, I kind of accepted my social deficiency and I wanted to focus on improving the world and become a successful person - for myself. I was facing a dilemma, though. Despite the fact that I was doing great in school, the idea of having to invest four years of my time into studying something really specific, and then having to work another 20-30 years on the same job was terrifying, because I had no idea what I liked to do! Nothing seemed interesting to me, I didn't have a passion for doing anything... Thanks to my video game addiction, which made me lazy as fuck, probably. I also needed to meet my criteria for success with my future job, which included being financially successful. I grew up in top 1% income family, so... I always felt the pressure to outperform or at least match my parents' income.
Enter trading. My dad discovered investing several years ago (we don't live in US, so most of the people aren't as financially savvy, so he never thought about investing before then). I was always curious about financial independence and markets, but now I was seeing it all done in front of me, I realized that it might be a good opportunity to make a lot of money and become successful without being socially adept, which is something absolutely required in business or politics. So, I asked my father to open a brokerage account for me in the US, and started swing trading (trading in weekly/monthly time frames). I could only trade slow and small because of the trade restrictions put on accounts <$25k and <21yo in the US. Still, it was going well, but in hindsight I was just lucky to be there during a great bull market.
Even before I thought trading and more importantly investing were the ways smart people make money. I thought simply because I was conventionally smart, I had a talent or an innate ability to pick innovative stocks and do venture investing when I grow some capital. I truly believed in that long before I was introduced to financial markets, I believed that my surface level understanding of multiple areas of cutting edge and emerging technology would give me an edge compared to all the other investors.
US Community College and Return Back.
In the end, I've decided I want to go to a US community college and study finance and become a trader and later an investor, but I didn't want to work for a fund or something like that (lazy ass). I wanted to use my knowledge and skill and my own money to grow my net worth and make a living. I didn't really like the process of trading, I just needed the money to live by while I was trying to figure out what else to do with my life. Because I thought I were smart, I thought this would come easily to me. Boy was I wrong. From the nicest of conditions in my hometown, I was suddenly moved into a foreign setting, on the other side of the planet away form my family and mates, with a video game addiction and laziness that ruined my daily routine and studying as well. The fact that I didn't like my major was not helping. My grades fell from A- in the first quarter to C+ in the last. I gained +30% from my normal weight. I was stressed out, not going outside and sitting at my computer desk for days at a time, skipping all the classes I could if they were not absolutely essential for my grades, living on prepared foods. I never got out of my shell and barely talked to anyone in English, all of my friends were Russian speaking. I wasted an opportunity to improve my speaking, although aside from that my English skills satisfy me.
By the end of community college, last summer, I was left with B grades that wouldn't let me transfer anywhere decent, and the extreme stress that I put myself through started taking a toll on my mental health. I was planning to take a break and go back to Russia for several months, and transfer back to a US uni this winter. Needless to say, you can't run from yourself. It didn't really become much better after a few months in Russia. I didn't want to study finance anymore, because it was boring and I was exhausted. I still had the video game addiction, still was lazy and gained some more extra pounds of weight. I was not sleeping at all, extremely sleep deprived for months. Because of this and lack of mental stimulation I started to become dumber. And all that was happening where I didn't really have to do anything: not study or work, just sit around the house and do whatever I wanted. Turns out, these conditions didn't help me to get out of the incoming depression.
Finally, around November, when I already sent out all of my transfer applications and already got some positive answers from several universities, I knew I didn't have much time left at home, and I had to leave soon. But I really, really didn't want to go back. It was scarier than the first time. I was afraid of new changes, I just wanted for the time to stop and letting me relax, heal... I was having suicidal thoughts and talked about it with my family and my therapist. They were all supportive and helped me as much as they could. But I was the only person who could really help myself. If I wanted to breathe freely, I had to admit defeat and not go back to the US to continue my education. It was extremely hard at first, but then I just let go. I decided to find a temporary job as an English tutor and give myself time to think. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of money in my trading account. I still thought that I was pretty smart, despite failing college, so I figured, why not try move it to Russian brokers who don't have trading restrictions, and do it full time? Which is exactly what I did. And I started to study trading all by myself at a fast pace. I was now trading full time and it was going sideways: +10% in December, -20% in January. Then, something incredible happened. I was already in a shitty place in life, but I still had some hope for my future. Things were about to get much worse. I'm in the late January, and I discovered for myself that the whole financial industry of the world was a fraud.
Brief Explanation of My Discoveries.
In the image of the financial industry, there are several levels of perceived credibility.
In the bottom tier, there is pure gambling. In my country, there were periods when binary options trading and unreliable Forex brokers were popular among common folk, but these were obvious and unsophisticated fraudsters who were one step away from being prosecuted. There are also cryptocurrencies that don't hold any value and are also used only for speculation/redistribution of wealth. There is also a wonderful gambling subreddit wallstreetbets where most users don't even try to hide the fact that what they are doing is pure gambling. I love it. But the thing is, this is trading/investing for the people who have no idea what it is, and most people discredit it as a fraud, which it, indeed, is. These examples are 99% marketing/public image and 1% finance. But these offer x10-1000 returns in the shortest time span. Typical get-rich-quick schemes, but they attract attention.
Then, there is trading tier. You can have multiple sub levels here, in the bottom of this tier we would probably have complex technical analysis (indicators) and daily trading/scalping. I was doing this in the DecembeJanuary. At the top would be people who do fundamental analysis (study financial reports) and position trade (monthly time frames). Now, there is constant debate in the trading community whether technical analysis or fundamental analysis is better. I have a solid answer to the question. They work in the same way. Or rather, they don't work at all.
You'd ask: "Why you didn't discover this earlier? You were in this financial thing for several years now!" Well, you see, unlike on the previous level, here millions of people say that they actually believe trading works and there is a way to use the available tools to have great returns. Some of these people actually know that trading doesn't work, but they benefit from other traders believing in it, because they can sell them courses or take brokerage fees from them. Still, when there are millions around you telling you that it works, even a non-conformist like me would budge. Not that many people actually participate in the markets, so I thought that by being in this minority made me smart and protected from fraudsters. Lol. All it took for me to discover the truth is to accidentally discover that some technical indicators give random results, do a few google searches, reach some scientific studies which are freely available and prove that technical and fundamental analysis don't work. It was always in front of me, but the fucking trading community plugged my ears and closed my eyes shut so I wasn't able to see it. Trading usually promises 3-15% gain a month.
A huge shock, but surely there was still a way for me to work this out? Active investing it is!
The next level, active investing, is different from trading. You aim for 15-50% yearly returns, but you don't have to do as much work. You hold on to stocks of your choice for years at a time, once in a while you study the markets, re balance your portfolio, etc. Or you invest your money in a fund, that will select the stocks of their choice and manage their and your portfolio for you. For a small fee of course. All of these actions are aimed at trying to outperform the gain the market made as a whole, and so called index funds, which invest in basically everything and follow the market returns - about 7-10% a year. And if I ever had any doubts in trading, I firmly believed that active investing works since I was a little kid (yes I knew about it back then). And this is where the real fraud comes in.
The whole Wall Street and every broker, every stock exchange in the world are a part of a big fraud. Only about 10-20% of professional fund managers outperform the market in any 15 year period. If you take 30 years, this dwindles to almost nothing, which means that no one can predict the markets. These people have no idea what they are doing. Jim Cramer is pure show-business and has no idea what's going on. Warren Buffet gained his fortune with pure luck, and for every Buffet there are some people who made only a million bucks and countless folks who lost everything.
Wall Street. They have trillions of dollars and use all that money and power and marketing to convince you that there is a way to predict where the stocks are going without being a legal insider or somehow abusing the law. They will make you think you can somehow learn from them where to invest your money on your own or they will make you believe that you should just give it to them and they will manage it for you, because they know how everything works and they can predict the future using past data.
They won't. They don't. They can't. There are studies and statistics to prove it countless times over the span of a 100 years. But they will still charge you exchange fees, brokerage fees and management fees anyway. And they also manipulate certain studies, lobby where and when they need it, and spread misinformation on an unprecedented scale, creating a positive image of themselves. And everyone falls for that. Billions of people around the globe still think it's all legit.
Passive index investing is the last level. You just put your money in the market and wait. Markets will go up at a predetermined rate. If there's a crisis, in 10 years no one will even remember. Markets always go up in the end. But passive index investing can only give you only 7% inflation-adjusted returns a year. Not enough to stop working or even retire early, unless you have a high-paying job in a first-world country. I don't.
Despite all that, to put it simply, this is the only type of investing that works and doesn't involve any kind of fraud or gambling. It's the type of investing that will give you the most money. If you want to know why it is like that and how to do it, just go to financialindependence. They know this stuff better than any other sub. Better than investing, trading or any other sub where non-passive-index investing is still discussed as viable strategy.
Back to me.
My whole being was fucked over, my hopes and dreams and understanding of success and how this world works were shattered. I realized, I had no future in financial industry, because only middlemen make money in there, and I quit college needed to get there. Frankly, I wouldn't want to work there even if I had the opportunity. The pay is good, but the job is boring and I wouldn't want to be a part of this giant scheme anyway. But even if I wanted to go back, I also couldn't. Russia is in a worsening crisis and my parents could no longer afford a US university and now with coronavirus it's even worse. Good thing I quit before it all happened. I learned a valuable lesson and didn't lose that much money for it (only about 10% of my savings). God knows where it would lead me if I continued to be delusional. But now that my last temporary plans for the future were scrapped, I had no idea what to do next.
The future.
With the reality hitting me, I would lie if I say it didn't all come full circle and connect to my past. I realized that I was stupid and not intelligent, because I was living in a made-up world for years now. But even if I were intelligent, pure wit would not give me the success and fortune that I was craving, because trading and active investing were a no-go for me, and business/politics require a very different, extroverted mindset, different education and interest from my own. My only redeeming quality in a hopeless introvert world, my perceived intelligence was taken away from me and rendered useless at the same time.
Besides, failing at that one thing made me insecure about everything and now I think of myself as an average individual. So, if 8 out of 10 businesses fail, I shouldn't start one because I will probably fail. And if most politicians don't get anywhere, why should I bother? If average salary in my country is X, I shouldn't hope for more. I stopped believing in my ability to achieve something. First, I failed at education and now I failed... Professionally? I don't know how to describe it, but my life recently was just an emotional roller coaster. I just feel like a very old person and all I want calmness and stability in my life. I was very lazy before just because, but now I feel like I also don't want to do anything because I feel I would just fail. It feels better now I don't have to worry about trading anymore and I got rid of that load... But I am still miserable and perhaps worse than ever, maybe I just don't understand and feel it because I've become slow and numb. The only positive thing that happened to me recently, is that I finally started losing weight and about 1/4 of the way back to my normal weight.
As for my future, am looking at several possibilities here. So far the parents are allowing my miserable life to continue and they let me live with them and buy me food. I don't need anything else right now. But it can't go on like this forever. The thought of having a mundane low-paying job in this shithole of a country depresses me. I will probably temporarily do English tutoring if there's demand for such work. My old school friends want me to help them in their business and my dad wants me to help him in his, I and probably should, but I feel useless, pathetic and incapable of doing anything of value. And business just seems boring, difficult and too stressful for me right now. Just not my cup of tea.
I am also looking at creative work. I love video games, music, films and other forms of art. I love the games most though, so I am looking into game dev. I don't really like programming, I have learned some during school years, but the pay would probably be higher for a programmer than an creator of any kind of art. However, I think I would enjoy art creation much more, but I don't have any experience in drawing and only some limited experience in music production. And I am not one of these kids who always had a scrapbook with them at school. Having to make another life choice paralyzes me. I am leaning towards art. I don't feel confident in my ability to learn this skill from scratch, but I think it's my best shot at finding a job that would make me happy.
So perhaps, when this whole pandemic is over, I'll go to Europe and get my degree, get a job there and stay. American Dream is dead to me, and Europe is cheaper, closer, safe and comfortable. Just the thing for a person who feels like they are thrice their real age.
Outro.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. Special thanks if you read the whole thing, it means a whole lot to me, an internet stranger. But even if no one reads it, feels good to get this off my chest. I actually cried during writing some parts. Holy shit, this might be the longest and smartest looking thing my dumbed down head could manage to generate since college. I hope that you're having a great day. Stay healthy and be careful during this fucking pandemic. All the best.
submitted by OberV0lt to TrueOffMyChest [link] [comments]

Dive Bar Pub Crawl 2018 - Third Six

I'm doing a tribute to the 24 days of Christmas by going over the financial statements of 24 companies that are considered downrange, speculative, and just plain high risk.
The legal cannabis industry already has a ton of risk in it - but this stuff - is only for thrill seekers. All opinions are my own, and certainly not a recommendation for or against any of them, or to buy or sell.
I've limited myself to 45mins to each, and kept to most recent financial statements You'll likely know more about the company than me if you're following them. This is only my reactions with a brief commentary about what I see in their financial statements.
I haven't been consistent in following them all over the past year: some I have, others not.
The second one of this year.....is here
CMM - Canabo Medical Inc.
Scratched! Guess there’s another slot open for a Dive in this year’s Crawl! I did take a run at Aleafia’s financials a few weeks ago though. Their ‘merger’ with Emblem hadn’t yet been announced. Alefia ‘Just Said No’ to cultivation by the looks of it. Best choice for them, at least on the face of it.
ISOL - Isodiol International
Price Then: $11.50 Price Now: $1.71
Well then. International operations do attract cost (their G&A is bracing), as does business dev. Especially in Brazil. When a company with a net book value of $2.7MM costs $36MM (takes me back to Canopy buying 2 money losing greenhouses with a net book value of $6MM for $86MM at the time).
ISOL’s still shopping too. Round Mountain looks like ISOL tossed them a life preserver. One will have to trust mgmt as to quality/fit of underlying assets. I didn’t detail, it’s only a half million, they bought it for what looks like working capital, I assume it saved them from insolvency.
A pretty sweeping and broad horizon is presented by these statements - in a company looking internationally. They’ve got a clean professional presence (I’ve seen them at pretty much every trade show I’ve attended), yet, $12MM in op costs per quarter based on $8MM in sales for same….sheesh.
Margin relatively static as well. That needs to improve, and sales need to triple+ to support ops. They lost $6MM per quarter this year, sales modestly up Q over Q.
IMH - Invictus MD
Price Then: $1.40 Price Now: $0.81
Few things here. While I don’t get the warm and fuzzies from this (what the elves are taking these days apparently does give you that & they swear by it), it looks better than it did last year. I have concerns over sales, margins, and the assets in subs. Wrote one off this year. Only 9 months to find out it’s a mutt? Honestly, this company requires far (far) more time to get a handle on. Will do on website. Needs a full once over to be fair.
MDM - Marapharm Ventures (now: LIHT CANNABIS)
Price Then: $0.92 Price Now: $0.17
Sigh. Another that needs more time. Where is Quadron when you need them?
Nothing stand out - at least in terms of company differentiation or size. Boring. And leveraged. The Full Spectrum thingy hits their financials like landing an 8 ft fish in a 7 ft boat. I’d need to deconstruct that ‘asset’ to get any strong utility out of this. I’d really want to have a handle on it - and management - if I was to go anywhere near this outfit. Doesn’t look unfairly priced. Unless you ask the people who placed at $0.865, $0.70, and $0.50 during the year.
Ugliest thing I see is them issuing shares for $0.38 and $0.04 to retire debts, when the share price was $0.80 and $0.40 respectively. If I was one of those in the private placements, I’d be coming out of my shoes on that (Note 14). Even if it was only $40k. Speaks to quiet desperation at one point.
Whether there’s a viable business in here….tune in next time for another episode of ‘Dive Bar Pub Crawl’. As I see it….this would take far too much time for the level of interest I have in it. Unless Full Spectrum is a home run…..
ATT - Abattis Biocuetical Corp.
Price Then: $0.48 Price Now: $0.08
Man, what a difference a year makes. I’ve largely avoided looking over last years’ Crawl as reference, except to skim for major points. This one remains clear in my memory…it looked like a complete mutt then. Only thing they looked good at was producing press releases. They’re still kicking, as is the rate of news releases/month. They have begun paying a formal IR front end, so maybe this will slow down. Or perhaps speed up. Can’t tell. Ah well, latest fins I can find are somewhat old (Sept release. Amended too :( ). New ones should be due pretty quick.
Gonna stop there. I’ve got a stitch in my side, and a headache. If I ever get my hands on the mug who suggested this one….the elves heads are collectively a ‘bag of cats’, and the little buggers staged a walkout. They’re outside singing Woody Guthrie songs and burning pallets. This totally sucks. As does Abattis’ financials.
They offer low friction on tokens perhaps, but any cash put toward this thing will probably have the friction of a canvas bag re-entering the atmosphere. Poof. My personal choice for ‘Dive Bar of the Year’. Curiously, it’s not an easy title to take.
IN - Inmed Pharmacuetical
Price Then: $1.47 Price Now: $0.37
TGIF - Friday Night Inc.
Price Then: $1.20 Price Now: $0.37
I looked at these guys as recently as July. I also met up with them at MJBizCon in Vegas. I asked for a look at their facility….they never did get back to me. I won a laptop bag and some nice swag at the booth on a business card ‘draw’, it didn’t help getting a tour tho. I really wanted to see it…the financials got me curious in last year’s Crawl, and I strongly get the sense I’m missing something of note in them. Seems an incomplete story tbh. Maybe just some mild indigestion.
And….for a region notorious for $70 eights in top shelf, I was also curious why they were recording sub $5 revenue on grams. Got the annuals now….
There’s a reason price softening is lower in this one compared to others - at least they are in production & they have a product suite (at least in their booth at MJBizCon). No retail frontage (?) would explain the shitty sales price. I have somewhat of a soft spot for Canadian business, and I’d hope that relatively early movers would be seeing this start to ramp.
As my trip to the US revealed - the US is a hyper-competitive compartmentalized environment. I do believe vertical integration is requisite for a company with this breadth and spend.
Gonna sit in on the next call on these guys, and try and get a (the) story. Looks like false starts in build out, and challenges ramping. Sales are growing. They don’t look to be peddling a ’take me out’ story or stance…but….I have blind spots on this one.
Because of Abattis, the elves are now wearing balaclavas and carrying home-made gas masks. Told me they are going for a stroll. I gave the RCMP a heads up. Gotta keep up good community relations and all.
submitted by mollytime to TheCannalysts [link] [comments]

Dive Bar Pub Crawl - Second Six

I'm doing a tribute to the 24 days of Christmas by going over the financial statements of 24 companies that are considered downrange, speculative, and just plain high risk.
Our first six stops is fondly captured here.
All opinions are my own, and certainly not a recommendation for or against any of them, or to buy or sell.
Many are companies I've never looked at before. In some cases, I'd never even heard of them. I limited myself to 45mins to each, and kept mainly to most recent financial statements and MD&A's. You'll likely know more about the company than me if you're following them. This is only my reactions with a brief commentary about what I saw in the financial statements.
LDS - Lifestyle Delivery Systems
Thing feels a like an ATM for management to me.
RTI - Radient Technologies
Of all I’ve looked at, I think this business model could work if they can wait until it actually generates revenue. Top heavy balance sheet needs concrete supports quick.
TNY - Tinley Beverage Company
All sparkles and rainbows and hope. The only question is if there will be anyone who wants to buy what they make. Feedstock not well defined. Scalability a real concern. Suspect they’ll need a shit ton of money if they actually try to. Feels like campers.
IMH - Invictus EDIT - Dec21 1100hrs Elves pulled a boner, covered wrong financial statements. Will be corrected after they come to later today. Replaced for now by......
iAn - Ianthus Capital Holdings
A business built on excel spreadsheets by bankers for bankers. So many contingencies to revenue combined with jurisdictional uncertainty, this is simply a hedge fund. Short and mid-term operational exposure is extreme.
CHV - Canada House Wellness Group Inc
I’m going to stop, because there’s many more to go, and there’s not much more to see here in terms of doing a high level look. This has been my favorite to do so far, because their disclosure is so good. I really like the idea of a focused, vertically integrated company too, but this company is a train wreck on paper. Whether this one can survive for another year…. EDIT UPDATE! Day after I posted this, CHV announced a $7MM convertible raise, spending 25% of it on paying debt and accounts payable. Expensive, and suggests ops aren't paying the bills. Not atypical in growth phases. Exceptionally good disclosure though. Of note, 60% of the stock is owned by only 2 investors and insiders.
LIB - Liberty Leaf Holdings
Doesn’t look bad on paper. I’d gauge the risk on whether or not production can come in on time, what the facility actually looks like, and if they can get product sold mucho pronto. CEO has no history of anything connected to cannabis, only equity structures. Despite financial ‘health’, high risk Dive Bar goodness. Speculative is an understatement for this one. If IR can specifically address those three top things accurately, it offers focused regional cannabis exposure. Problem with that is the supply bubble potential in BC though. If they were in Manitoba….
submitted by mollytime to TheCannalysts [link] [comments]

Subreddit Stats: AskEconomics posts from 2018-09-23 to 2018-12-09 01:20 PDT

Period: 76.83 days
Submissions Comments
Total 982 5230
Rate (per day) 12.78 67.37
Unique Redditors 702 946
Combined Score 5730 16211

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

  1. 366 points, 45 submissions: benjaminikuta
    1. So, what's the difference between this new trade deal with Mexico and Canada and the old one, and what are the implications? (68 points, 12 comments)
    2. Do powerful unions increase wages above the optimal level, or do firms with market power cause imperfect competition in the labor market, causing sub optimal wages? (Or both?) (29 points, 2 comments)
    3. How do the salaries of high paid professionals compare between the US and various other developed countries? (28 points, 1 comment)
    4. Just how much more expensive is it to build on mountainous terrain than on flat land? How much more expensive would housing have to be before it's economical to develop the mountains of Hong Kong? (27 points, 5 comments)
    5. When it is said that someone in a third world country lives on a dollar a day, what does that actually mean? (25 points, 19 comments)
    6. How do economists measure unpaid work? (23 points, 8 comments)
    7. What's the economic effect of legal vs illegal immigration? (22 points, 10 comments)
    8. If someone saved enough money to live on investment income, could their descendants live off it indefinitely? (Assuming they don't spend the principle, reinvest to account for inflation, etc, of course.) (20 points, 46 comments)
    9. How effectively can negative externalities be quantified? (11 points, 7 comments)
    10. What are some common misconceptions about economics? (11 points, 19 comments)
  2. 134 points, 11 submissions: Fart_Gas
    1. Is free public transport a good idea? (42 points, 20 comments)
    2. What caused the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis? (31 points, 13 comments)
    3. Would it be more economical for supermarkets to slightly under-stock? (21 points, 12 comments)
    4. Will Venezuela's plummeting economy make it a good choice for low-wage industries? (20 points, 8 comments)
    5. What might cause sudden inflation? (7 points, 2 comments)
    6. Why do some countries without hyperinflation use a foreign currency in everyday life? (7 points, 3 comments)
    7. Has any country tried reducing the minimum wage, and ended up with a good result from it? (4 points, 8 comments)
    8. Is Ordoliberalism feasible for most poor and recently war-torn countries? (1 point, 0 comments)
    9. Why do some businesses sponsor sporting teams in countries they don't operate in, and that they don't plan to expand to in the foreseeable future? (1 point, 1 comment)
    10. Is it inevitable that certain areas will never recover from a war? If so, why? (0 points, 0 comments)
  3. 96 points, 5 submissions: MrZer
    1. Why do countries like France or Japan have a high debt to GDP but aren't in shambles like Greece? (43 points, 16 comments)
    2. Milton Friedman is well respected by many economists, why aren't there more Libertarians? (22 points, 18 comments)
    3. I've heard Marxists claim that central planning is good because the military and corporations do it. (20 points, 38 comments)
    4. Someone once said "Interest is what actually creates money. Without debt and interest, our economies would collapse." (7 points, 5 comments)
    5. What does it mean when people say China manipulates currency? (4 points, 7 comments)
  4. 83 points, 17 submissions: Whynvme
    1. Do economists actually calculate consumer surplus empirically, or is it more of s theoretical concept? (19 points, 5 comments)
    2. If we have cobb douglas preferences, my demand for x is not a function of the price of y. How do substitution effects arise then? (13 points, 6 comments)
    3. Is me making more money than I would necessarily require to work( so more than my 'opportunity wage') for a job an economic inefficiency? or is ineffiency in labor markets a wedge between my marginal revenue product and my wage? (11 points, 3 comments)
    4. some basic macro questions (6 points, 5 comments)
    5. understanding equilibrium in a dynamic context? (6 points, 1 comment)
    6. Trying to understand economies of scale, e.g. costco (5 points, 5 comments)
    7. Why does inflation necessarily mean wages will be increasing too? (5 points, 3 comments)
    8. question about equilibrium tax incidence (3 points, 1 comment)
    9. trying to understand the utility of theoretical models (3 points, 3 comments)
    10. when firms are earning short run economic profit, does that just mean all factors of production are earning more than their opportunity cost? so firms entering the industry = labor and capital reallocating towards that industry by forming new firms? (3 points, 1 comment)
  5. 65 points, 1 submission: imadeadinside
    1. If Bruce Wayne was revealed as Batman, would stock prices and sales skyrocket or plummet for Wayne Enterprises (65 points, 16 comments)
  6. 57 points, 2 submissions: csObsession
    1. Do most economists think political and economic freedoms are intrinsically tied together? How do they explain the success of extremely authoritarian capitalist governments (Singapore, China, South Korea, Chile)? (37 points, 25 comments)
    2. Why are salaries for professionals so much higher in the United States than other developed countries? (20 points, 34 comments)
  7. 53 points, 13 submissions: Experimentalphone
    1. Why do Information Technology workers are so high in demand and earn so much in Western countries but doesn't even get sustenance wage in Bangladesh? (30 points, 10 comments)
    2. Anyone know of a comprehensive list of all the sub disciplines one can do a PhD in Economics, Finance and Business? (6 points, 4 comments)
    3. Which PhD sub disciplines have the least math but still good employability prospects in academia and industry? (5 points, 19 comments)
    4. What is the best website to publish your working papers in Economics? (3 points, 4 comments)
    5. Do I have to prove factual assertions before providing my arguments on economic policy suggestions for a journal article? (2 points, 4 comments)
    6. Why is the Ready Made Garments industry of Bangladesh declining due to withdrawal of trade privileges of Western countries when prices are already competitive in the world market? (2 points, 1 comment)
    7. Are qualitative policy prescription papers accepted by most journals or are they better of in blog posts? (1 point, 7 comments)
    8. What is the best free website for working papers in Economics? (1 point, 3 comments)
    9. Where can I find data on work conditions and how hard is the work of foreign students who work alongside their studies legally or illegally? (1 point, 0 comments)
    10. Which metrics do I need, to find out the effects of outward remittance on a poor economy? (1 point, 5 comments)
  8. 52 points, 6 submissions: FrankVillain
    1. Is China still considered a centrally planned economy? (16 points, 4 comments)
    2. Ressources on the Soviet industrial failures due to poor economics? (15 points, 2 comments)
    3. What is the reason behind France's high unemployment rate? (10 points, 13 comments)
    4. About Land Value Tax & Single Tax: how would it affect farmers and those of them who own their land? (9 points, 3 comments)
    5. Does welfare policies contribute to inflation? (2 points, 1 comment)
    6. If a Bitcoin is worth $1 000 000 and some persons like Satoshi have one or more millions of it... what power do they have? Can they disrupt the financial system with the huge amount of dollars that they have? (0 points, 8 comments)
  9. 49 points, 9 submissions: Chumbaka
    1. Can someone explain M0 , M1 and M2 to me? (13 points, 2 comments)
    2. Why is inflation and deflation bad? (13 points, 8 comments)
    3. Can anyone explain why this happens and what it means? (10 points, 3 comments)
    4. Stupid question but : Why does printing lots of money lead to inflation? (5 points, 14 comments)
    5. Why aren't all banks Full Reserve Banking? (5 points, 3 comments)
    6. What does this stock market fall mean to the economy as a whole? (3 points, 4 comments)
    7. How do I pick an economist ideology to support? (0 points, 3 comments)
    8. Is investing in Forex worth it? (0 points, 15 comments)
    9. What is Fractional Reserve Banking? (0 points, 4 comments)
  10. 47 points, 1 submission: furikakebabe
    1. The Tax Bill of 2017 reduced corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. Tax haven countries have rates as low as 15%. Why would companies be more likely to move money back to the US if they still aren’t getting a better rate? (47 points, 6 comments)
  11. 47 points, 1 submission: gh0bs
    1. Why does the economy have to be a series of bubbles and bursts/corrections, rather than a sustained gradual growth? (47 points, 32 comments)
  12. 45 points, 1 submission: wcoleman22
    1. For all the economists out there that got advanced degrees, what were your most influential assigned readings? (45 points, 23 comments)
  13. 43 points, 1 submission: Crane_Train
    1. How could Venezuela fix its economy? (43 points, 17 comments)
  14. 42 points, 4 submissions: Jollygood156
    1. Why didn't quantitative easing + low interest rates raise inflation high? (20 points, 36 comments)
    2. How do we actually refute MMT? (12 points, 69 comments)
    3. What is Nominal GDP targeting and why do so many people advocate for it? (6 points, 16 comments)
    4. How exactly are land value taxes calculated? (4 points, 3 comments)
  15. 42 points, 1 submission: kornork
    1. With Soybeans piling up and a 12 Billion bailout from the trade war, how come tofu isn’t super cheap right now? (42 points, 3 comments)
  16. 41 points, 1 submission: TheHoleInMoi
    1. Are there any papers/solid arguments about the benefits of having more local business as opposed to corporate consolidation? (41 points, 2 comments)
  17. 39 points, 1 submission: infernomedia
    1. What are some of the most interesting results in economics that are widely well regarded by the academic community to come out in the last decade? (39 points, 7 comments)
  18. 38 points, 1 submission: -reasonable-person-
    1. From an Economic Perspective What is the Most Effective Way for Mexico to end its Violent Organized Crime Problem? (38 points, 13 comments)
  19. 38 points, 1 submission: ajsox22
    1. Does culture impact the growth and development of a nation's economy? (38 points, 15 comments)
  20. 37 points, 8 submissions: MedStudent-96
    1. Quasi-convexity of the Indirect Utility Function? (12 points, 14 comments)
    2. Is my textbook wrong? (9 points, 8 comments)
    3. Interpretation of Lagrange Multipliers for Consumer (5 points, 4 comments)
    4. Consumer Demand Interpretation for Cobb Douglas-Non Convex to Origin. (4 points, 6 comments)
    5. Do monopolies produce the same as a competitive firm in the long run? (4 points, 8 comments)
    6. In some circumstances can a monopoly leave the consumer better off? (1 point, 3 comments)
    7. Two Period Consumption Savings Model (1 point, 3 comments)
    8. [General Equilibrium] Proving that in the limit case the core shrinks to the set of competitive equilibrium. (1 point, 0 comments)

Top Commenters

  1. BainCapitalist (2255 points, 571 comments)
  2. smalleconomist (1053 points, 307 comments)
  3. RobThorpe (853 points, 247 comments)
  4. Calvo_fairy (721 points, 146 comments)
  5. Cross_Keynesian (527 points, 126 comments)
  6. zzzzz94 (468 points, 83 comments)
  7. raptorman556 (334 points, 91 comments)
  8. Integralds (323 points, 51 comments)
  9. whyrat (298 points, 56 comments)
  10. MrDannyOcean (290 points, 48 comments)
  11. isntanywhere (263 points, 84 comments)
  12. benjaminikuta (249 points, 133 comments)
  13. penguin_rider222 (158 points, 40 comments)
  14. daokedao4 (148 points, 23 comments)
  15. lawrencekhoo (132 points, 13 comments)
  16. ecolonomist (129 points, 45 comments)
  17. RegulatoryCapture (126 points, 29 comments)
  18. intowilde (114 points, 28 comments)
  19. VineFynn (113 points, 30 comments)
  20. MedStudent-96 (103 points, 48 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. So, what's the difference between this new trade deal with Mexico and Canada and the old one, and what are the implications? by benjaminikuta (68 points, 12 comments)
  2. If Bruce Wayne was revealed as Batman, would stock prices and sales skyrocket or plummet for Wayne Enterprises by imadeadinside (65 points, 16 comments)
  3. Why does the economy have to be a series of bubbles and bursts/corrections, rather than a sustained gradual growth? by gh0bs (47 points, 32 comments)
  4. The Tax Bill of 2017 reduced corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. Tax haven countries have rates as low as 15%. Why would companies be more likely to move money back to the US if they still aren’t getting a better rate? by furikakebabe (47 points, 6 comments)
  5. For all the economists out there that got advanced degrees, what were your most influential assigned readings? by wcoleman22 (45 points, 23 comments)
  6. How could Venezuela fix its economy? by Crane_Train (43 points, 17 comments)
  7. Why do countries like France or Japan have a high debt to GDP but aren't in shambles like Greece? by MrZer (43 points, 16 comments)
  8. Is free public transport a good idea? by Fart_Gas (42 points, 20 comments)
  9. With Soybeans piling up and a 12 Billion bailout from the trade war, how come tofu isn’t super cheap right now? by kornork (42 points, 3 comments)
  10. Are there any papers/solid arguments about the benefits of having more local business as opposed to corporate consolidation? by TheHoleInMoi (41 points, 2 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 68 points: Calvo_fairy's comment in Milton Friedman is well respected by many economists, why aren't there more Libertarians?
  2. 62 points: Calvo_fairy's comment in Milton Friedman is well respected by many economists, why aren't there more Libertarians?
  3. 54 points: Calvo_fairy's comment in If Bruce Wayne was revealed as Batman, would stock prices and sales skyrocket or plummet for Wayne Enterprises
  4. 52 points: Qwernakus's comment in What is the difference between GDP (Nominal), GDP (PPP), and Real GDP ?
  5. 50 points: TheoryOfSomething's comment in Which parts of Marxism are theoretically dependent on the labor theory of value and which are not?
  6. 47 points: Lucid-Crow's comment in I've heard Marxists claim that central planning is good because the military and corporations do it.
  7. 46 points: Integralds's comment in Milton Friedman is well respected by many economists, why aren't there more Libertarians?
  8. 44 points: Yankee9204's comment in If Bruce Wayne was revealed as Batman, would stock prices and sales skyrocket or plummet for Wayne Enterprises
  9. 43 points: lawrencekhoo's comment in With Soybeans piling up and a 12 Billion bailout from the trade war, how come tofu isn’t super cheap right now?
  10. 42 points: Cross_Keynesian's comment in Does income inequality really matter?
Generated with BBoe's Subreddit Stats
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[Table] IAmA full-time Bitcoin day-trader, blogger, and explainer. I was a pro TCG player. Here until Midnight EST. AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-02-20
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Let's say someone was looking for a stay at home computer job, would you recommend doing what you do? Is it something you can hop into, or is it something a lot of time must be put into before considerable income comes? You handle risk and pressure well, and you don't let your emotions guide your decision-making. Professional Poker and TCG players often develop this skillset.
You have experience working with stocks, bonds, derivatives, foreign exchange, or other financial instruments. If you have a strong mathematical background, that would also likely fulfill this.
You can invest significant capital into trading while remaining financially secure if it all suddenly vanishes.
You are capable of constantly monitoring a situation, waking up in the middle of the night if an alarm goes off, etc. It requires serious dedication.
You are good at keeping up with news, understanding market psychology, and "feeling" shifts in attitude and perception among other market participants.
Of those, I'd be most cautious if you don't meet no. 3. Going bust is a real possibility--day-trading a volatile commodity is inherently extremely high-risk. Nos. 2 and 4 are the easiest to learn or force through routine. No. 1 requires a person who approaches things in an emotionally detached manner. No. 5 is something that comes with investing enough time.
Second question: I'm answering this after that big block of text because this answer will come off like a get-rich-quick scheme. Yes, you can hop into it very quickly, and you can start making very high profits very quickly. I put in a small initial investment to test the waters, and made 10% on it in a few days. If you have the right skillset, composure, and resources, yes. It is a potentially very lucrative and exciting stay-at-home job. It is not for everyone, though.
As much as it would be beneficial for me (being in the industry and all), to tell everyone it's easy and that it will help them provide for themselves I feel that people need to know the real risks that are involved. Regardless, that's all a little irrelevant. We're not playing the house, and we're not flipping coins. We're playing other investors, and we're making actual decisions. You keep saying things like "98% lose money" and "Go onto any FOREX forum, and you will see from the users posts that they pretty much all lose money" but you don't back it up. Cool, yeah, it's a zero-sum game with a rake: a little more than half of the players will lose. That's expected. They'll probably complain about it, too, huh?
Retrospect can have a very positive effect. Got any real account trading statements I can have a look at? Let's see how fast you can come up with excuses not to show me ;) I only have and need one: I have chosen not to disclose my personal valuation for privacy reasons. Same reason I've had all along. I instead publicly disclose my trades, as they happen, on my website. The posts are timestamped, and the ones that are the start of a position contain the price I entered at. Go check the posts, then go check the charts, then go check my archive. But feel free to continue to arbitrarily call my credibility into question--that makes your argument better!
What leverage do you use? In Australia the leverage is typically 100:1, perhaps that's why your not seeing how risky I deem it to be. First, our argument so far has had nothing to do with risk. Second, I told you I am leveraged 2.5:1, two posts ago. Third, you realize I'm trading Bitcoin, not ForEx, correct? And that no one in their right mind would offer 100:1 leverage on Bitcoin due to its volatility?
What's your last year's hourly salary? A year ago I was finishing up college and extricating myself from the TCG business I'd co-founded. I took very little in take-home pay over that period, but kept part ownership of the continuing business. Money isn't just about the number on your bank account--it's also about residual future income.
How many hours a week are you typically on a computer? On a computer, probably 50-55, if you add in time I spend on my phone, I'd say 65-70. Day trading takes constant watchfulness. I imagine it's like an easier version of taking care of a baby.
What are your favorite to sources of news besides waiting for it to get to the front/hot page of /Bitcoin when it's several hours old? I have an IFTTT for /BitcoinMarkets and /Bitcoin that notifies me early on about some posts.
What's the weirdest thing about your mom? She started a bookselling business online in her 50s and makes more money than me.
Or.
She's a little old lady who loves gadgets and technology.
What are your thoughts on Dogecoin and other bitcoin competitors? Do you think any have staying value? LTC.
DOGE.
NXT.
VTC.
Coins that offer something different or that have a strong community to them can be valuable prospects.
LTC is the first-mover scrypt coin - DOGE has the most non-techies interested in its success and is spreading quickly as a result - NXT is a cool generation two coin that has a lot of features BTC doesn't have - VTC is ASIC-resistant
Ok, let me spell it out to you. The retail forex market only makes up 5% of the total forex markets liquidity. The other 95% is from hedge funds and institutions. Therefore, 99% of the retail market losing their money is very possible, as that only makes up 4.95% of the whole market. Is it possible that 4.95% of the market generally loses? Yes. How is that infeasible? Nope. That's a false equivalence. It is possible that 4.95% of the market loses. It is not feasible, that, say, 99% of people with blue eyes lose. What, exactly, in empirical terms, is the difference between retail investors and hedge/institutions that causes this INCREDIBLE disparity? Would you care to respond to my above empirical argument that demonstrates that a zero-decision system is flipping a losing coin? Do you consider it feasible for 99% of people playing a 45-55 game to lose?
Are there options and/or futures markets for Bitcoin? Not really yet, but there will be more prominent ones soon. I hear about a new one pretty regularly, it seems, but nothing that seems truly legitimate has come out. I'm certainly excited for them, though.
Eventually, once Mr. Lawsky and co. get things sorted out, I'm certain we'll see a big-name investment bank start offering them.
From the time you started trading until today, what is your overall percentage return? In USD, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 300% over a little more than 2 months.
In BTC, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 425% over a little more than 2 months.
Using my average per-coin buy-in price, if I had just bought-and-held, I would have lost about 27% of my initial investment value.
Ben, i told you I'd be here and asking about Hearthstone first. If there's one class that needs a bit of tuning, up or down, which is it and why? I think Mage needs basic, class-level tuning. I'm not sure what needs to be done exactly, but I don't like what the Mage class power does to gameplay. I've thought some about how different it would be if it could only hit minions, and I'd want to know if Blizzard had tried that out. The Mage power is too versatile, and over the long-term I think it will prove to be problematic.
What's your favorite card? Lord Jaraxxus is my favorite card. He has a truly legendary feel to him when you play him, but your opponent can still win, even though he's very powerful.
So, where do you think we go from here? I'm currently short, but I don't expect to be so for a lot longer. I don't think we'll get past 550. I also don't expect this drop to hold on for a really long time.
I haven't seen a good, substantive rationale for what the MtGox situation really has to do with Bitcoin price. Yes, it looks bad, it certainly doesn't help with our legitimacy, but is it really worth the incredible price declines we continue to see? I don't think so. I think we are seeing these impressive declines because the price on MtGox (which is a reflection of trust in MtGox relative to Bitcoin price, not just Bitcoin price) has been declining heavily. I don't expect it to continue forever, especially not with things like the Winkdex and the accompanying ETF launching.
MtGox is basically dead to me, for now at least. The sooner everyone stops paying attention to it, the sooner we can all get back on track, which I, for one, will be quite happy about.
Do you think that it's a good thing for a game when the developers of that game discourage certain playing styles (e.g. mill decks or decks that try to win in unconventional manners) whether in hearthstone, MTG, or other TCGs? It can be. I don't want the developers metaphorically over my shoulder outlawing strategies, but I don't mind if the strategies that are "less fun" for your opponent (Draw/Go, Mill, or Hard Combo from MTG, for example) are also less powerful. Most players prefer a game where the best decks are also among the most fun, because it means that they are playing against fun decks more often. Clearly the 2-cost 3/3 will be played most often. If you fix this by making both 2-cost guys 2/2s or 3/3s, or by making one a 2/3 and the other a 3/2, then you've done something--but it's not that interesting. If you instead make the 2-cost 2/2 have text that says "While you control the 3-cost 3/3, this gets +2/+2" and you give the 3 cost 3/3 text that says "While you control the 2-cost 2/2, it has Taunt" you now have more complex cards that reward players for doing something other than just playing the best stand-alone card.
Which do you think is a better option to encourage diversity in TCGs; improving/buffing cards/decks that hardly see any play versus weakening/nerfing cards that are overwhelmingly played? This is obviously a very simplistic example, but I hope it makes the point. Games are more fun when you give players more relevant choices: buffing and nerfing cards tends not to do that as well as promoting synergies does.
Where/what is the actual money behind bitcoin? If it does exist. You might need to rephrase your question for me to understand what you're asking. If you're asking why a Bitcoin has value, the answer is the same as any other good: because someone is willing to pay it.
If you're asking why someone is willing to pay that amount, my answer would be utility.
I just got started on Bitfinex (using your referral link) and am a little intimidated. What types of trades would I recommend I try as a beginner? From there, just keep careful watch, and see what happens. Be neutral and objective toward your own hypothesis, just like in science. Don't be biased by your hopes, be focused on the reality.
So far I've only done a liquidity swap offer to try it since it seemed (nearly) risk free. Have you done any liquidity swap or is it too low in profit? If I'm not going to be able to check my computer for a day or two, or I'm uncertain of what's going to happen the next few days, I do use the liquidity swap function. It's actually very profitable, relative to traditional investments. And you're right, it is low-risk. I'm a fan. Good job selecting it if you were intimidated--that's a good place to start. As far as actually starting trading, do science. Start with a hypothesis. If you were up at 5 AM today when MtGox published their announcement, a good hypothesis might have been something like: "This announcement is going to be a blow to their credibility, and might panic the markets. We'll probably drop by some amount as a result." Invest based on it, figure out around what price you want to take profits, and at what price you'll cut your losses and get out. Stick to those determinations unless something substantive changes. The time you tell yourself you can afford to not close your position because it will "rebound" back to where you want is also the time you lose your shirt.
Is it true that you like Balloons? No, I <3 them.
Lol to the question about your mom... Ben, from my understanding Bitcoin is anonymous, does this mean that you can avoid taxation when receiving payment? Bitcoin isn't anonymous. That's actually a common misconception. It's actually pseudonymous, like Reddit. You end up with an online identity--a wallet address--that you use with Bitcoin.
If I walk up to you on a street corner and buy Bitcoin with cash, then I'm pretty much anonymous. If I buy it from a large institution like Coinbase or some other company, they will have records of the address my Bitcoin was bought for. As a result, you can trace them down, generally speaking.
As for avoiding taxation, that's a general no.
What do you think Bitcoin's biggest hurdle is and how do you think it can be overcome? Are there any misconceptions about Bitcoin that you think people have? The biggest hurdle for Bitcoin to overcome is governments. Governments have a variety of reasons not to want an alternative currency. We seem to have done pretty well on that front here in the US, but for other countries (China) that is not the case. Past that, the other major hurdle is something I consider an inevitability: consumer adoption. Business adoption has begun in earnest, consumer adoption hasn't. It will when enough businesses take Bitcoin to give it sufficient utility for the average customer.
What trading platform do you use to daytrade Bitcoin? What is the standard margin that Bitcoin brokers offer? what's the typical ask/bid spread? I primarily use Bitfinex.
Very few Bitcoin brokers currently offer leverage, Bitfinex offers 2.5:1. Over time, I anticipate it will become more like current Forex, where 10:1 or greater leverage is common.
It varies by exchange depending on their fees. Huobi charges 0% fees, so their spread is generally tiny. Some exchanges can be as wide as 1.5%. Typically, I see spreads between .5 and .7%.
Do you invest in any other type of cryptocurrency? if so, which is your favorite besides bitcoin? I currently have no other holdings, but I've held DOGE and LTC at points and am considering VTC and NXT. DOGE is probably my favorite, because if the community can keep this up for a little longer it will snowball into amaze.
Can you trade me a Jace? TMS WWK, TMS FTV, Beleren, MA, or AoT?
Beleren. M10, M11, LOR, JVC, JVCJPN, or Book Promo?
M10 and if not possible then M11. Sure.
I've been reading your blog for quite some time and especially like your summaries for recent events. Keep up the good work! Do you use strict stop-loss orders for your trades? When do you decide to close a trade? Especially in situations where you can basically see you profit/loss grow by the minute. When is enough? Do you have a longterm bitcoin investment you don't touch or do you use everything you have for trading? I do use relatively strict stop losses, but they're not stop loss orders. My conditions usually aren't just the price hitting a certain point, but instead it sustaining for a brief period, or hitting it with a certain volume, or with a certain amount of resistance to retreat. I don't want my stop loss to be triggered by some idiot who dumps 300 BTC and temporarily drops the price 15, but only ends up really dropping it 3. I am very strict with myself about this, though, generally speaking--if I can't trust promises I make to myself, what good am I?
Let's say for example you have a sum x dollar and a sum y bitcoin on your trading account. How much % of x or y do you risk at every trade? I've seen a formula for the max. amount of investment and read numerous times that traders shouldn't risk more than one or two percent of their "bankroll". Do you generally have dollar and btc or just one of them at any given time? 100% of funds in every trade, so long as all funds are easily moved into the position. Common exceptions are lack of liquidity and funds being on other exchanges. My reasoning for being all-in all-the-time is that it's a profit-maximizing move. It is also risk-maximizing. My risk tolerance is infinite; most people's isn't. Only ever one. Generally BTC if I'm long, dollar if I'm short. I prefer to double-dip, as otherwise it would be in contradiction to the 100% plan. I use everything I have for trading. Again, profit-maximization, infinite risk tolerance.
I decide a closing price when I'm near either my stop loss or my profit aim. I place a limit order or multiple limit orders wherever I need to. I avoid market orders whenever possible. Enough is when I hit my goals or my loss tolerance. I decide these at the start, but I frequently re-evaluate them as news and market conditions develop.
What is a typical bid/ask spread for Bitcoin? It depends what exchange you're looking at, but generally .5-.7%.
What's the best way to popularize Bitcoin among the masses? Add your own but would love your thoughts on: -microtransactions developing nations -gift economy (tipping) I would suggest just running around shouting "You get to be your own bank" is probably the best way.
In all seriousness, though--we don't need to try. It's going to happen on its own from now on, as the news media slowly starts to pick up the story. People will start appearing on TV talking about it with more and more frequency. Things like the Dogelympic teams are great PR and help boost it up, as well, of course, but in general it's just going to follow the adoption curve of every other technology.
If it picks up in a few developing nations that have stable internet, it will be a massive revolution for them. Self-banking can do a huge amount of good for an economy like theirs. We might see reports on that. If a major newspaper decides to run a permanent paywall like what the Sun-Times tested recently, that could be big as well. The slow PR from tipping on Reddit is another way, to be honest. Every bit helps, but the cryptocurrency community is now large enough that we're going to do a significant amount of organic, word-of-mouth style growth.
Do you think that a magic game could beat harthstone? If they do a good job, absolutely. They have to focus on the right things. It needs to be mobile-available, easy to pick up and play, and fun.
Is there a good crypto currency to get in on now, before it explodes like bitcoin did? There are plenty of options. Check out coinmarketcap.com. Fair warning, there are plenty of horrible things there--treat it kind of like penny stocks. I like BTC, LTC, DOGE, NXT, and VTC.
Also, why is it such a pain in the ass to buy them with actual money? Like you have to have bitcoins to buy other crypto currency. It's such a pain to buy them with USD because no one has made a good system to do it on, like Coinbase. If you think there's a desire, go do it!
Well the way I look at it, is how the hell else would you be able to buy them? Not everyone has piles of bitcoins lying around and I really don't want to spend $600+ on a single bitcoin just to buy some other currencies. Ah, I see the problem! You can buy fractions of a Bitcoin using Coinbase--I think .01BTC (~$6) is their minimum.
The March 2013 appreciation was from American and European investors and November 2013 was mainly from Chinese investors. Which group of people do you think will be the next to buy (I hate using the word invest when talking about bitcoin) bitcoin for investment purposes? American institutional and hobby investors. That is, Wall Street and people who pay attention to Wall Street.
Which do you think will be a better long term (~5 years) investment, Bitcoins, Litecoins, Dogecoins, Fetch Lands, Shock Lands, or Original Dual Lands? Does it change for ~10 years? Either Bitcoin or Fetch lands for 5 years. For 10 years, Bitcoin. I'd be worried about the 10-year view for paper MTG.
Ive been mining Bitcoins for years now, i have a good sum im my wallet but i never plan to use them. Does this make me a bad person? Approximately yes.
Ben, I should've simultaneously copied and pasted all of my questions from the Spreecast over to here but here are a few... It seems like the conspiracy crowd has really latched onto the idea of Bitcoin as being a discreet form of currency. If Bitcoin is backed up by the internet why would people choose having a currency that's being tracked over say cash, gold, different commodities? Having a currency be tracked has negatives and positives, but it's overwhelmingly positive for the average consumer. Because it's tracked, you don't need to pay someone to move your money for you. There also are no chargebacks, which means merchants aren't getting scammed and passing those costs onto consumers. Theft costs everyone money. It's also very fast--transactions confirm in just 10 minutes, regardless of size or where it's going. Transferring dollars from here to China is very difficult--transferring Bitcoin? Just as easy as from anywhere else to anywhere.
My job is a mix of voodoo, intuition, science, and news. In USD, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 300% over a little more than 2 months.
No, just gambling. In BTC, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 425% over a little more than 2 months.
Anyway, how have the profits been from start to finish compared to the market? Using my average per-coin buy-in price, if I had just bought-and-held, I would have lost about 27% of my initial investment value.
Are you willing to disclose how much you have in your trading portfolio/what kind of profit you turn both % and $ wise? In USD, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 300% over a little more than 2 months.
In BTC, my percentage return calculated from investment to current valuation is about 425% over a little more than 2 months.
Using my average per-coin buy-in price, if I had just bought-and-held, I would have lost about 27% of my initial investment value.
What would you say is the easiest method of shorting bitcoin or any other coin? For shorting Bitcoin or Litecoin, check here.
For other coins, there isn't really a good way yet, to the best of my knowledge. A few exchanges have plans to add short-selling, but Bitfinex is really the only one I know of that has.
What did you have for breakfast today. Didn't breakfast, was delicious.
Hey Ben, I know next to nothing about Bitcoin. I went to /bitcoin after seeing this AMA on your FB, and I noticed that everyone is going apeshit over "Gox". I have no idea what that means or why everyone is so sad/angry/suicidal. MtGox (which originally stood for Magic the Gathering Online eXchange) was the first prominent Bitcoin exchange. They've been going through some rather rough times lately, some of which I was an early cataloguer of here. In short, everyone is freaking out because the exchange may be insolvent. It's not really a big deal to Bitcoin as a whole, but it's certainly an obvious blow to credibility. In my view, people are primarily upset because MtGox has been a part of Bitcoin for a very long time, and it can be hard to let go of what we're used to. I expect that they will either fix the issues or will go out of business officially very soon.
Please explain what happened.
Tell me every artist in your iTunes. Daft Punk, detektivbyrån, Kid Cudi, Matisyahu, The White Panda.
Spotify for life, yo.
Follow up question, what % are you in BTC vs Fiat and when you are on the losing side of a trade do you find your self dumping in more to get right or do you pull the cord Unless my positions are on different exchanges or in different coins, they're all always 100% of what I'll put into that trade at entrance and exit. As a result, I end up with a binary choice: stay or reduce/close. I very rarely reduce position size, nearly always preferring to just end the position instead.
Last updated: 2014-02-25 04:57 UTC
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