Real America: All Minorities

If you read my blog, you’ll get the distinct impression (I hope) that I am a bit right wing. On the other hand, I am a bit left wing. Really I have both wings. The topic I am about to discuss, more beautifully perhaps than others, perfectly blends what is good of both ends of the political spectrum.

Minority Report

In February of last year (2009) The Atlantic published an article about the end of the white majority of the US. The idea stuck with me, and has popped up a few other places, in conversation, the memory, the radio, etc.

Today, as I contemplated the founding fathers and the circumstances out of which came the US constitution, I realized that although we would have called the founders all “dead white men” among themselves, they would have thought of a mixing bowl of minorities.

Countless religions and numerable roots of national decent created a tapestry of minorities in the original colonies. These differences in people were written on the dress, facial features, and accent of people as clearly as African, ‘white’, and latino attributes mark people today. The first amendment visibly illustrates the popular consciousness of each group wanting to protect itself from being bullied.

Less visibly, but perhaps even more importantly, Alexander Hamilton’s argument for Federalism in Federalist Paper No. 6 illustrates that the expected bullies were not majorities, but a minority or a team of minorities in government. In the famous document, (published in what was the equivalent of a full page in the New York Times) Hamilton describes how through Federalism (as opposed to parliamentary or ‘proportional’ voting) protected all minorities against oppression. It was this Federalist paper in particular (along with a handful of others) has stood the test of time, and also rang true to his countrymen at that time.

The amalgamation of white people into one distinct ‘race’ is an historical aberration that emerged after the civil war. White hegemony is an aberration that is now thankfully coming to an end. Hopefully a bit of the spirit of Federalist paper No. 6 will return with its passing.

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1,000,000$ ideas

I know this is getting to be worth less and less these days, but you get the point still. These are good ideas:

A USB drive that goes up instead of out of your computer so it doesn’t get bent as easily by passing knees and feet and hands.

Break lights that get brigher if you break extra hard.

A nice car horn option besides the impolite ‘HONK’.

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New Job, New Blog, Private Money

I got a new job, started a new blog—it is the premiere nook of the web for information and discussion of private money.

One Is Not Enough . ORG

I learned a lot from Geniusingout, and I will not retire it completely, because I like the back log I’ve developed. However!

One thing I learned about blogging is people reward you for specializing as much as possible. So!

I have built a new blog. is dedicated exclusively to the open and intelligent discussion about the possibility of private moneys.

Please visit it and suggest it to friends, twitter it

One Is Not Enough . ORG


Adam J Braus

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Charter Citys: So Smart, So Misguided


Paul Romer gave up his job as a Stanford professor of economics to dedicate himself to his brilliant idea: Charter Cities. The problem is, they’ll never work.

Romer’s idea is to duplicate Hong Kong on the coast of underdeveloped countries and continents.

For example, Romer suggests that Canada should work with Cuba and the US to put aside Guantanamo Bay, and give the bay a “charter” or constitution written and enforced by the Canadian government. The city would attract international trade and capital and eventually be an engine of growth for the whole island and Caribbean.

The idea has attacked because it seems unethical; even the term “neo-colonial” gets thrown around. The lofty question of ethics, however, puts the cart before the horse of more pragmatic questions of power.

Smart Smart Smart Smart Smart

Third world countries are not just countries that are ‘behind the curve’ or ‘playing catchup’ because of some accident of history.

Underdeveloped countries follow a 80/20 and even a 95/5 rule, wherein a minority of people intentionally control the vast majority of resources of the country.

This small group of people are VERY smart and VERY educated. Often they are educated at the highest levels of schooling in developed countries. The group purposively designs their nations to run for their benefit.

In the calculations of these people, a Charter City could potentially 1) directly strengthening power of their class opponents, 2) escalate faction within their cadre (these groups have their own diverse elements), and inevitably 3) put on uncertain ground their continued power.

Hong Kong worked because the British military was the power that supported a merchant oligarchy that demanded free trade. Then, the merchant power base surged again during the Cultural Revolution, when a tide of Shanghai entrepreneurs and merchants set up shop in Hong Kong.

Underdeveloped countries are neo-feudal. Enterprise might be legally “free”, but socially and racially there are still deep retrenchment. Power generally still lies in land ownership—the purchase of land being legally, bureaucratically, or socially almost impossible. Current landlord/oligarchs will not let enterprise grow along uncertain terms. Their sons and daughters are expected to become the titans of future industry.

The free and fair trade and free and fair purchase of land in a charter city, would make a country wealthier and more egalitarian, if you could make it happen. But you can’t without a tangible and real power base who would benefit from it. Such as the British Empire. Now if we want to talk about real American imperialism (not this crypto, economic imperialism in the Middle East and South America), I am game, but you can’t just pull power out of a hat like a rabbit.


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The Bro—Financial Support We All Would Appreciate

What if banks could make their own moneys? Weird huh? Weirder still would be if allowing banks to make their own moneys was the fastest, cheapest, and most resilient way to avoid another financial crisis.

What if Lehman Brothers had had a money, the Bro—not to be mistaken for the Manzier—that had a somewhat large circulation in the world and domestically within the United States, say 1% of M2 (cash, deposits and savings)? .

On the day of Lehman Brothers’ liquidity trap, the bank would have printed the number of Bro’s required to pay the debt for that day. To keep the purchasing power of the Bro level Lehman brothers would have raised interest rates precipitously and sold their assets cheap to banks in order to ‘buy back’ their money out of circulation.

Thus they would have weathered the liquidity trap, buying themselves time to reorganize their balace sheets for long run stability.

The Bro would mean: no liquidity trap, no bankruptcy, no contagion, no financial crisis. Lehman’s managment would have been punished by their stock holders for their bad decision making, but society as a whole would not be violently disrupted.

Does this mean we should throw away the 4,000 page financial regulation bill before Congress, and embrace the brief but profound Free Competition and Currency Act?

Posted in Economics, Ideas, News, Politics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Information Architecture: Short on Security

Wanna have the most scrupulous security guards? Go with the shortest guy you can find.

Why? It is called “testosterone” and it flares up and makes people behave in especially irrational (but still predictable) ways.

The short guy feels better if he can shut out a bunch of average to tall guys from a party, and is willing to fight for it.

“He’s like a little Terrier who is ferocious and yappy because of ‘small dog complex,” says one expert source.

“Big guys wanna be like the jolly green giant—’Don’t worry guys, I get you in’—not short guys.” Says another expert.

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Mac Mini: $ 699.00

Vuzix’s iWear: $ 350

looking like this guy at work: priceless

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China’s Currency is Free, Free! (some restrictions may apply)

If something in the market is put on major media outlets, as an investor, we’ve missed our opportunity to make money on it. The rumblings of a possible change like this one would have been good to capitalize on if you have some money. Shorting dollars and buying Yuan would have been the most straight forward way to capitalize on it

Copper is jumping up b/c with a stronger Yuan people suspect higher demand on copper in Chinese electrical investment. With a stronger Yuan China will be able to import more and outsource more. So nations like Australia and New Zealand, who export to China will see their currencies bump up, as well as profits for their mining corporations. Moreover, selling short on Wal-mart—predicting a downward motion of its stock—might be a good idea still, since all their products are made in China and will now cost them more. Even some electronics companies that source all their components from China could get hit.

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Nuclear Energy and The Economics of Technology

The debate about nuclear power ends as soon as we look at the power of exponential growth curves. (See TED Debate Video)

Steward Brand: A Green Robert Moses?

It takes 5 to 10 years to build a nuclear reactor. Renewable energy is following an exponential growth curve. Every 2 years since the Eighties, the amount of renewable energy doubles. Thus, in the 8 years it would take to build the first new nuclear reactors, renewables will produce 16 times more energy than what it is now, and two years later, it could be 32 times present output.

For the first and the third world, nukes are not the way to go. They are undemocratic and put huge risks in the hands of inefficient governments. Renewables, on the other hand, put entrepreneurs and laborers to work in every neighborhood, city, and town. Renewables empower communities and individuals (pun intended!), they build resilient and flexible energy systems and contribute to participatory government and civil society.

Even without bringing into account the nasty bi-products of nuclear, the potential for nuclear weapons and meltdowns, or the huge intense land costs of plants, uranium mining and refining—even with conservative projections on the growth in renewable outputs (x 5-10)—nuclear does not size up in the short term or the long term—environmentally, socially, or commercially.

If the nuke lobbyists and boosters succeed, reduced investment in renewable energy will “confirm” the pro-nuke projections that renewables would never have been able to foot the bill. However, if the nuke’s are beaten back, the exponential growth rate of renewable energy will continue to everyone’s benefit today, tomorrow, and in the future.

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Good Magazine’s Subscription Fee’s Go 100% to Charity

Sitting in the Red Lantern Guest House in Beijing, a Brazilian youth trends specialist in a TED T-shirt gave me the heads up about Good, and this is me retweeting what he said.

I first read Good when one of my pals in college gave me an article about game theory to read. The article was immaculate and I read every word with joy, then quickly forgot that Good existed. I was a student, I didn’t have time or money to be subscribing to magazines.

My Brazilian friend told me the story, that I later fact-checked on wikipedia, that Good gives all their subscription fee’s to charity and have raised over $800,000 dollars that way. It turns out they make their money from advertising. Much in the way of game theory, Good is playing to people’s bias to undervalue something that is free and overvalue something they’ve paid for. Good is also following Seth Godin’s theory of the Purple Cow, where the “remarkableness” of a thing drives a word of mouth marketing campaign.

The magazine has yet to break even, says wikipedia, but nevertheless: their marketing strategy is not just good, it is freaking genius.

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