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Market madness

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 am, January 17th, 2013 - 220 comments
Categories: capitalism, economy - Tags: , ,

There have been various demonstrations of random processes beating professional stock market analysts. Here’s the latest as reported by 3 News:

Cat beats investment professionals in portfolio challenge

A common domestic cat has outperformed two teams of humans, including a group of investment professionals, in a year-long stock market challenge. …

The professional team – comprised of Justin Urquhart Stewart of wealth managers Seven Investment Management, Paul Kavanagh of stockbrokers Killick & Co, and Schroders fund manager Andy Brough – presumably used their decades of investment experience to decide where to put their money. Initially the value of that experience seemed to be showing, with the professionals claiming the most profit by the end of September

But Orlando [the cat] was meanwhile making his stock picks by throwing his toy mouse every three months at a randomly numbered grid, where each number was allocated to a particular stock. And by the end of the year, it was Orlando’s approach that had paid off.

The cat finished the year with £5,542 (NZ$10,688). The professionals were in second place, with a total of £5,176 (NZ$9,982), while the school students had lost some of their starting capital to end the year with £4,840 (NZ$9,334).

This can be read at many levels. As a “human interest” funny with lots of bad puns (the approach taken by The Guardian). As an exposure of the empty hype of “financial experts” and the blatantly ludicrous renumeration packages that they insist that they deserve. Or perhaps most worryingly, as evidence of the madness of the markets. We are all at the mercy of a financial system that we don’t and probably can’t understand.

However the experienced investors did concede from the outset that not being a human could have some advantages. Mr Stewart told the paper Orlando would have no awareness of financial risk. “He doesn’t appreciate the need for a balanced portfolio and could end up choosing shares which really take off this year,” he said.

Shouldn’t we sack all the stockbrokers and turn the process over to random number generators? I know, better idea, why don’t we come up with an alternative to this mad, speculative system which exists to facilitate value extraction, and replace it with something that supports value creation instead?…

220 comments on “Market madness”

  1. vto 1

    Ha ha brilliant.

    But the maddest thing of all is that this government wants to give taxpayer assets over to the NZX to bolster it. Welfare for the corporate world, ha ha ha… lazy losers.

    And people like Joyce and Key and English wonder why the average manwoman in the street go nowhere near the NZX. Quite frankly this cat story backs up the wisdom of the people over the investment experts. The people and the cats win – the investment experts lose. Both in this experiment and in real life.

    lessons galore….

    • Tiresias 1.1

      “And people like Joyce and Key and English wonder why the average manwoman in the street go nowhere near the NZX.”

      The NZX returned 24.2% on capital last year. That’s unusually high but it was still recovering from a substantial drop owing to the GFC. Over the medium to long term though the NZX has shown a steady capital appreciation.

      Of course the average manwoman in the street probably doesn’t have the capital to make a 24.2% profit on – in part because they’d rather buy beer than shares in a brewery. Or a Lotto ticket.

      And in part because investing in the stock market is quite deliberately portrayed by professionals as a complicated, sophisticated, frightening thing which should only be handled, er, by those very same professionals.

      • KJT 1.1.1

        People who tout for the share market love to say the average ROI of the market went up.

        They forget to mention, it is not the same shares.

        For example. For the decade around 1987 the average ROI of shares went up, which sort of suggests that shares are a good investment. Most share investors still lost their shirts.
        I remember people telling me I was stupid not to borrow and invest in shares as the ROI was over 20%.
        Except that for any parcel of share bought in, say 10 companies, on the NZX, pre 1987 was worthless by the end of the year. You would have had to sit on the shares, of the few that survived, for over 20 years to get your money back.

        When the underlying value of the companies traded on the market remain static and their profits are flat, 24.2% profit IS A BUBBLE.

        Capital raising is considered to be another strength of the share-market.

        Well, not true, especially for the NZX., Most successful startups are either State funded, owner funded or funded by borrowing, often on the owners mortgage. When the company has passed the initial growth stage they are sold to wealthy individuals or overseas corporates, awash in “printed money” as the NZX demands too much of the business.

        Returning 24.2% on capital invested is a big ask of any company and makes the share market a very expensive source of funds. Banks in the USA will lend on a business at 5.5%.

        In New Zealand having to go to a finance company, 28% or the share market, instead of a bank, at bank rates for capital, is a big competitive disadvantage.

        Giving people something to invest savings in such as Kiwisaver is considered another reason for a share market.. Unfortunately, pension funds historically have helped push up the monetary value of shares, to the great advantage of insiders.
        And, when all the boomers sell their shares at once there will be a corresponding crash in share prices, because the share market has not increased productivity.

        Kiwi saver is another great myth. The idea of privatising power companies to pump up the NZX shows the fallacy. The next generations work will always pay pensions. Whether directly as taxes, or indirectly as higher power bills to pay Kiwi saver investors in power companies.

        The alternative is to let pensioners starve. Something even ACT is not advocating. Yet!

        I just hope I get my contributions out before the finance industry loses it, again!

        Pension schemes in the USA are already reducing, or cancelling, payments, promised to those who have saved into them for years.

    • Nick 1.2

      You want to know the best thing about this Anthony? You think this is an effective attack on capitalism, but in reality it is simply a demonstration of the efficient market hypothesis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient_market_hypothesis

      “In finance, the efficient-market hypothesis (EMH) asserts that financial markets are “informationally efficient”. In consequence of this, one cannot consistently achieve returns in excess of average market returns on a risk-adjusted basis, given the information available at the time the investment is made.”

      In other words, the finance traders cant make more money than a random choice 100% of the time, because otherwise that would be a gap in the market which would be filled. The fact that the brokers can’t make risk free money actually shows that the market is working.

      • McFlock 1.2.1

        Cool. We should ban financial traders as fraudsters and assign stock purchases randomly via the stock exchange computer.

        • Nick 1.2.1.1

          No not at all. The question is not whether the average trader can make a profit. The fact that experts are the ones who invest drives up overall returns, this efficient allocation of resources is what drives economic growth. It’s simply that the *marginal trader* cannot make more profit than the average trader. So we would expect the cat to sometimes make more than the broker.

          Think about it this way: The cat has no idea what it’s investing in. But it cannot invest in an overvalued company. Why? Because on available information there is no such thing as an overvalued company. If the company ever became overvalued someone would sell the stock, reducing it to its appropriate value. Therefore changes in stock price are only ever driven by new events and the discovery of new information. That new information is as unpredictable to the broker as it is to the cat, therefore the cat will sometimes get lucky and beat the broker.

          But this does not imply that random number generators should run our economy. If you think it does, pick up a textbook until you understand, this is well established theory.

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.1

            This is the most ridiculous load of bullshit ever. The financial markets have nothing to do with the “efficient allocation of capital”, unless you are talking about the efficient removal of capital from Main Street to Wall Street.

            Why? Because on available information there is no such thing as an overvalued company. If the company ever became overvalued someone would sell the stock, reducing it to its appropriate value.

            Would you please get with the fucking 2000’s. With HFT set ups there are some market players out there who get prices, quotes and trades far ahead of everyone else in the market. Please get your head out of the textbooks and into the real world.

            Start by reading Zero Hedge OK? And after that, would you please learn about “Dark Pool Exchanges” before you utter another load of crap about the distribution of market information.

            • Nick 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Lololol Zero Hedge. Been buying up gold there genius? http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/buy-gold-durr-hurr.html and note that Noah Smith isn’t exactly a huge defender of mainstream economics

              “Please get your head out of the textbooks and into the real world.”

              I am. I’m using theory to explain a real world event.

              “Would you please get with the fucking 2000′s.”

              My point isn’t that crashes can never happen, it’s that when they do they are inherently unpredictable, so the cat has much chance of making money as the broker. This doesn’t mean that the stock market is perfect, it simply means that it broadly fits the definition of the efficient market hypothesis

          • KJT 1.2.1.1.2

            Except that most trading, now, is done by computers programmed to pick up which stock is rising a few percentage points on a given day.

            Over thousands of trades daily, the players who make the most money are those who arbitrage commissions on buying and selling.

            They have no interest in the value of individual shares, because they gain from both buyers and sellers.

            Hence, the plethora of financial products designed simply to increase the volume of financial trades, without any increase in the underlying work/productivity, to make firms like Goldmen sack the world, rich.

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.3

            okay.

            So we should just ban the bottom performing third of traders every year.

  2. end o times viper shorts 2

    I think the average man and woman on the street don’t have the disposable income/capital to go near the markets even if they so desired – or perhaps they show their innate wisdom by purchasing a cat

    debatable stats –
    New Zealanders are the world’s greatest cat owners, with a total feline population of 1.419 million
    28% of New Zealand households own one cat and a further 20% of households own two or more cats

    http://www.nzcac.org.nz/home/40?task=view

    [2005 quick google result] Latest figures show 23% of the 18+ population own shares directly (ie: not through managed funds or superannuation schemes). This is up from 21% when the survey was last conducted five years ago.

    http://www.sharechat.co.nz/article/53dc261a/share-ownership-levels-increase.html

    • Wayne 2.1

      This is all very amusing, but it is essentially an argument against Kiwi Saver, which millions of New Zealanders belong to. Their money has to be invested somewhere, even if the best adviser for the investments is a cat.

      Actually given the descripition of the experiment, a random portfolio (the cat approach to investment) would reflect the balance of companies on the exchange. Therefore the result would also be most likely to mirror the overall performance of the market.

      • KJT 2.1.1

        Which is why many of us advise investing in infrastructure, education, housing and sustainable development, in New Zealand’s future capability, directly funded by taxation and QE, not by paying for 40% ticket clipping, through the finance “industry”.

        Muldoon’s “think big” was not wrong, most of the projects are now returning good incomes for their private owners. Funding it by offshore borrowing was. Privatising was an even bigger cockup. Selling them just as we were starting to get a return.

        Just one example, the refinery, returned 300 million profit the year after it was sold for 300 million.
        Incidentally 300 million had also just been spent on an upgrade.

        If the USA had not promptly invaded a few countries to keep their pump prices down in the 70’s the advantages of projects such as the Clyde dam and the NZ refinery would have been more immediately apparent.

        Investment now, in wind and tidal energy, future proofing housing and low energy public transport, for example, will be paying off about the time we need it for the pension bubble.

  3. marsman 3

    Replace John Key with his cat and we’d have a better Government.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    high Frequency Trading algorithms

    With your compsci knowledge Anthony, you’ll appreciate how these market manipulating tools have turned the financial markets into money sucking sink holes for ordinary investors. What can you expect when the big trading houses have arranged to see, manipulate and trade on security prices for themselves, before anyone else in the market.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-14/momentum-ignition-markets-parasitic-stop-hunt-phenomenon-explained

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-01-03/houston-looks-we-have-quote-problem-out-there

    • tc 4.1

      There’s a TED session where they hollow out skyscrapers and place massive servers, fibre, infrastructure with redundancy etc so they can trade billions in milliseconds making millions on small movements in stock prices. Effectively fully automated buying and selling.

      Making millions generating no value at all, alot of it about.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    So what we need to do obviously, is not leave everything to the market. We should pick some expert to control every aspect of the economy. Who, I wonder? What’s that cat up to?

    • One Tāne Huna 5.1

      We should pick some expert to control every aspect of the economy.

      Who are you going to nominate, Goldman Sachs?

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1

        Who do you think is up to the task? If you don’t ask the 5 million who starved to death in the famine of ’32-’33, Stalin was pretty good. We need someone like him.

        • One Tāne Huna 5.1.1.1

          Disagree. I don’t think putting too much power over the economy in too few hands is a good idea at all.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1.1.1

            But we are agreed that we need someone to plan the economy, right?

            • One Tāne Huna 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope. We just need to avoid too much power over it concentrating in too few hands. Some would argue that this has already occurred and that a correction is required.

              • Draco T Bastard

                That is exactly what has occurred and a correction is required and that correction must be the dissemination of the accrued wealth and power from the rich to the people.

                • NoseViper (The Nose knows)

                  DTB
                  Like reducing the puffed up ACC levies that Andrew Little is asking for.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      We should pick some expert to control every aspect of the economy.

      We already have that in the collusion that we see between business and government. What I’m in favour of is democracy. Let everyone know what resources the country actually has and then let them vote on how they should be used.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.2.1

        Let everyone know what resources the country actually has and then let them vote on how they should be used.

        OK, let’s make a list. I’ll go first. I have:

        1. A 1984 Toyota Corolla (Hatchback)

        2. Y fronts (five pairs)

        3. Dr Martens (Greasy Gibson, size 10)

        4. Breadmaker

        5. Picture of a cat (drawn by daughter, value unknown).

        You?

        • vto 5.2.1.1

          Ok, I’ll cast the first vote.

          I vote to stick your corolla hatchback with you inside wearing y-fronts and doc martens in Te Papa. Back seat has picture of cat and stale white bread. Special exhibit price 50c (old coins only).

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.2

          That’s almost mildly amusing.

    • Bill 5.3

      Do you have any particular problem with the idea of a democratic economy; goods produced and distributed via democratic mechanisms? In other words an economy where ‘everyone’ is in charge as opposed to an elite or a clique or whatever?

      • Matthew Hooton 5.3.1

        Bill asks: “Do you have any particular problem with the idea of a democratic economy; goods produced and distributed via democratic mechanisms?”

        Yes, I do. I can’t imagine how democratic mechanisms will know how many pencils to produce in any given year, but the market economy manages to work this out.

        Also, I’m not aware of any successful use of democratic mechanisms (whatever they are? Voting on how many pencils to produce?) deciding on what should be produced, how and when.

        I am however aware of apparent attempts to implement truly socialist economies. Usually, it has involved many people starving to death and/of being killed by the state

        • tc 5.3.1.1

          Simplistic and then a leap into ‘people starving to death and/of being killed by the state’

          stay classy matthew

          • Matthew Hooton 5.3.1.1.1

            So simplistic you fail to address any of it. Please name the non-market economy where people haven’t starves and/or been killed by the state? (Hint, there isn’t one)

        • felixviper 5.3.1.2

          Good thing the market-based economies are all doing so well, otherwise you’d seem a bit of a tool making comments like that one.

          • Matthew Hooton 5.3.1.2.1

            Market economies at their worst provide far better societies for which people to live than any possible alternative, and I think you know it

            • McFlock 5.3.1.2.1.1

              Really? Which market economy was the worst?

            • johnm 5.3.1.2.1.2

              Hi MH
              Your comments are so stupid I can hardly bother reply to your rwnj rubbish. OK Market economy the U$. Almost 50,000,000 Americans on food stamps. A huge Prison Gulag of over 2,000,000. A society so unequal as to be banana republic status. A revolving door between The White House and Wall Street. The American Middle class destroyed by offshoring of jobs to Asia. A Nation with astronomical debt and completely bankrupt. Poverty on the up and up. Go back to Radio Live you ignorant FW. There you can spin your Right Wing spin without anyone with any brains to tell you you’re crap!

            • Frank Macskasy 5.3.1.2.1.3

              @ Matthew. I think that depends on where you are in that “market economy” society, don’t you?

              Taking the US for example. If you’re in the top 10%, you’ll love the “market economy” society.

              If you’re in the bottom 10%, I think your enthusiasm might wane very quickly.

              And here’s a question for you; would you rather get sick in the USA or here in NZ? Especially if treatment cost $100,000 and you ran out of insurance in the US…

              • Gosman

                Would you rather get sick in the US or North Korea?

                • bad12

                  What the f**k would an air head like you know about what medical treatment is available to the average person in North Korea…

                • vto

                  Hey Gosman, how the US or Cuba? Ay? Cuba has one of the best health systems in the world (not that Ive been there but that is what I have been reliably informed). You see – it is about looking after your own. A society which lets their people rot in the streets after being subjected to market forces is a rotting society.

            • Dr Terry 5.3.1.2.1.4

              For which people to live? Undoubtedly “decent blokes” like you.

        • karol 5.3.1.3

          Once the market economy has produced enough pencils for those who need them, businesses will produce pencils with egg timers on them so that those who can afford the more expensive ones can feel superior.

          And while some people in the wealthiest countries cannot afford healthy food, massive amounts are wasted.

          Very efficient this market economy business.

        • bad12 5.3.1.4

          Utter Bullshit!!! fully 40% of the foods produced by market economies never sees a buyer, keep up the idiocy tho i need someone to laugh at on Wellington’s bad weather days…

        • KJT 5.3.1.5

          I am however aware of apparent attempts to implement truly MARKET economies. Usually, it has involved many people starving to death and/of being killed by the state.

          Fixed it for you.

          How many more kids do we have in poverty since the “free market” fanatics took over?

          Indonesia, Chile, Philippines, USA and now the UK with NZ to follow.

          I can think of more than a few States that were, or are, authoritarian dictatorships that claimed to be socialist. In reality most Scandinavian countries, New Zealand and even the USA, 50’s to 70’s, were much more socialist than any of them. National socialists anyone!

          However I am fine with a market economy, on a micro level, that is democratically regulated so that cheats and thieves do not prosper and increased wealth does not automatically go to those who already have it.

          The mistake that Hooten makes, is to think that what works on a local level can be extrapolated to a national or international level..

          Failing right now, in Somalia.

          A democracy has the right to decide if producing pencils is a priority, or not!

          • Gosman 5.3.1.5.1

            “A democracy has the right to decide if producing pencils is a priority, or not!”

            So very funny.

            I suggest that one of the NZ political party’s on the left adopt this as their next election slogan.

        • Colonial Viper 5.3.1.6

          Yes, I do. I can’t imagine how democratic mechanisms will know how many pencils to produce in any given year, but the market economy manages to work this out.

          Simple. Have the workers in the pencil supply chain gather information, discuss it, then vote on what they think is appropriate pencil production for the next month.

          Not that hard now was it, Matthew?

  6. felixviper 6

    Shouldn’t we sack all the stockbrokers and turn the process over to random number generators? I know, better idea, why don’t we come up with an alternative to this mad, speculative system which exists to facilitate value extraction, and replace it with something that supports value creation instead?

    No no no, just put more cats in charge ;)

  7. Kevin Welsh 7

    Why are we not surprised?

    My niece has a holiday job cleaning toilets at the Milford Sound visitor terminal to pay for her first year at university, and with the shit (NO pun intended) she has to deal with on a daily basis, I can see who makes the more valuable contribution to society.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      There was that study a couple of years ago that showed that cleaners are paid only an 11th of the value that they produce. Meanwhile, for all the millions that banksters and currency traders get paid they actually destroy seven times the value.

      • Gosman 7.1.1

        I’m sure there was such a study, however a link is always helpful ;-)

        • One Tāne Huna 7.1.1.1

          Learn to use bloody Google, Gosman.

          The study is called “A Bit Rich – Calculating the real value to society of different professions” and was published in 2009 by the New Economics Foundation.

          • TheContrarian 7.1.1.1.1

            It is tasked upon the person making the claim to provide the link

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Here ya go.

              BTW, I couldn’t remember which study but knew I had linked to it before on this site.

              • KJT

                Bankers lose 7 times more money than they earn. Which means that, like most politicians, and many other managers, it would be more economically efficient to pay them to stay home,

                so those of us who can actually do something useful can get on with it..

                • muzza

                  Bankers lose 7 times more money than they earn.

                  Remembering of course that the money is not actually lost, it is simply *redistributed* to another bank, hedge fund or similar corrupted entity, maybe sponsoring another *kinetic intervention*. Either way the same people *win*!

                • Colonial Viper

                  Yep. Over the 2007-2009 financial crisis the financial/banking industry lost more money than they ever made in their history. And bank executives did not have to return a single dollar of the bonuses that they “earnt” up to that point.

            • Frank Macskasy 7.1.1.1.1.2

              @ Contrarian; a suggestion that applies equally to Gosman, going by past record.

              Link: http://tinyurl.com/aqohgou

  8. tracey 8

    “and could end up choosing shares which really take off this year,” he said.”… Telling that he thought a cat flinging a mouse at aboard equates to a choice!? ;)

    In some ways it’s similar to how Key and English make decisions.

    • Macro 8.1

      I could tell a story about a Cabinet Economic Committee in the early 80’s I once attended in which a certain Prime Minister was …. Nah I better not.

  9. erentz 9

    Next an experiment to see if the size of the cat has a relationship to the success on the market.

  10. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 10

    This is actually a problem for the people who think you can plan an economy.

    • felixviper 10.1

      Don’t confuse market with economy, they’re not synonymous.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        And from what I see of the HFT techniques and dark pool exchanges in use in the financial markets, the markets are planned.

    • Matthew Hooton 10.2

      Absolutely right Gormless. But you shouldn’t expect anyone here to believe (or have heard of) efficient market theory. Of course a cat will be competitive with “a team of experts”. That’s the whole point of markets. They always know better than “the experts”.

      • johnm 10.2.1

        Hi Matthew Hooton
        The market says: You’re deficient in the Intelligence department being a well paid idiot, time for you to fold mate!

        • Gosman 10.2.1.1

          If he is being well paid for being an idiot why is it time for him to fold?

          There seems to be some real crazy leftist logic at work there. ‘You are successful so you must stop it now’.

          • Dr Terry 10.2.1.1.1

            Take great care Gosman, there is a leftist hiding behind every corner, and they all possess dangerous crazy logic!

      • Rhinoviper 10.2.2

        Of course a cat will be competitive with “a team of experts”. That’s the whole point of markets. They always know better than “the experts”.

        The cat is effectively random, not “wise”. The market, according to Friedman et al is supposed to represent the average of people making reasonable self-interested choices based on their full knowledge not only of present circumstances but also future outcomes.

        Either Hooton is trying to make a “joke”, in which case, not even being enlightening satire, his remark is flippantly worthless or, he believes that a random “oracle” is equivalent to the “rational observer” of the ideology he subscribes to… but then there was all this talk about rational choice and so on, so which is it?

        What’s the truth (I know that word is very tricky for you and an explanation to you might be as difficult as an explanation of… well, anything to an embryo)? Is the market “rational” as a collective, or are “experts” such as yourself, no more reliable than housecats?

        More to the point, since you are one of these “experts”, should you not be replaced by Twinkle the fluffy kitten?

        What should Twinkle the kitten charge its clients versus what you charge yours? Answer, abiding by market rules, remember.

        [Aside: no, I don’t think that I’m satirising Hooton, instead, I think that since he obviously thinks that he’s such a great wit, he should be challenged to acknowledge that wit is more than just smartarsed comebacks a la John Key. Real wit displays knowledge and intelligence, but Hooton actually has none, hence his persistent inability to support his bullshit.]

        • Rhinoviper 10.2.2.1

          …and Hooton again is notable for his silence.

          “Now”, he asks himself, “if only I could invoice my clients for saying absolutely nothing… then I’d be on to a winner and I could sleep in every morning”.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.3

        But you shouldn’t expect anyone here to believe (or have heard of) efficient market theory.

        OMFG Hooten.

        Do you even know what a High Frequency Trading algorithm is? Get with the 2000’s please before you keep uttering this crap.

  11. framu 11

    i prefer headless chickens to the cat technique

  12. Gosman 12

    Who is this ‘we’ you write of when it comes to sacking stockbrokers?

    I very much doubt they are employed by you. If the people that do employ them are unhappy with their performance then they are able to get rid of them. If the investors are unhappy with them then they are entitled to remove their money and invest it somewhere else.

    This seems to be just another example of leftists thinking they should be able to dictate how the world works.

    • vto 12.1

      Not at all. It is merely exposing the fraud that is this game. These brokers claim something which doesn’t exist, namely an expertise.

      But as mentioned above, the wider public has cottoned onto this long before the cat and they have scarpered. The funny thing is that Key and Joyce and English and the NZX thinks this is due to something else and that the NZX needs government welfare to improve its performance. Ha ha ha what blindness and ignorance. The conservatives are always the last to cotton onto new realities.

      • Gosman 12.1.1

        They have an expertise. They have the ability to manage to convince people to let them invest their money for them even if they don’t end to beat random chance a lot of the time. That is quite a talent in my book.

        Encouraging investment in the Sharemarket isn’t a bad thing in my book. I cewrtainly would want more investment in that than say the property market.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1

          What you describe would normally be called fraud.

        • vto 12.1.1.2

          A talent to convince people of something that doesn’t exist is a fraud. It is a talent like a talent to burgle homes without detection is a talent – a worthless, destructive, dishonest and fraudulent one.

          • Gosman 12.1.1.2.1

            Less fraudalent and more cognitive dissonance. I’m sure the investment advisers think they are offering good advice.

            Really not much different to someone offering a good or service that the other party doesn’t like or does not get as much advantage out of it as they could have. So long as the party offers in good faith I doubt you could prove fraud.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.2.1.1

              Less fraudalent and more cognitive dissonance. I’m sure the investment advisers think they are offering good advice.

              If they truly thought they were offering good advice, it’s just evidence of professional self-delusion and incompetence/ignorance.

              • Gosman

                Quite possibly correct. Just as many people here think they are offering useful advice to others when really they just spout nonsense (myself included at times).

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.3

          They have an expertise. They have the ability to manage to convince people to let them invest their money for them even if they don’t end to beat random chance a lot of the time. That is quite a talent in my book.

          Indeed. It’s called being a Confidence Man. Or con-man for short.

          • Gosman 12.1.1.3.1

            No, a con-man is well aware of the con they are pulling. Someone who thinks they are helping when they are not is not a con-man. Delusional perhaps but not a con-man.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.3.1.1

              Get a grip mate. Investment banks have been caught multiple times deliberately dumping their shitty inventory on deadbeat millionaire clients (eg by paying ratings agencies to rate securities at AAA when they should have been rated junk), and also taking the other side of losing trades that they recommend to those same clients.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      We created the position. If we’re unhappy with that position then we can get rid of it.

      The “market” is a social construct that is defined by the laws that govern it.

      • Gosman 12.2.1

        As they thought in the Soviet Union and looked how right they were.

        What is your explanation for the black market then?

        • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1

          The Soviet Union always had markets and stores, you ning-nong. Plus see Russia now. They’ve given the fingers to the western free market concept and now they are doing capitalism with a Russian style.

          also, the black and grey markets are a small but crucial part of any economy.

          • Gosman 12.2.1.1.1

            You haven’t explained what a black market actually is though.

            If a market is a social construct that is defined by the laws that govern it as suggested then black markets shouldn’t exist as the laws that govern it explicitedly forbid them.

            • Bill 12.2.1.1.1.1

              If the acceptability of certain recreational drugs is a social construct then unacceptable recreational drugs shouldn’t exist as laws exist that explicitly forbid them.

              Except there’s a difference – because it’s not as though you’re liable to be completely shut out from access to sanctioned drugsand so be compelled to turn to illegal ones in the way you can so easily be shut out from the market economy and be forced to rely on the informal economy or black market.

              • Gosman

                I don’t follow your analogy. You seem to think that sanctioned and unsanctioned drugs are the same market. They may or may not be.

            • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1.1.2

              So you accept that the old USSR had markets (including black and grey ones), Gossie?

              • Gosman

                They had disfuntional markets grossly distorted by state intervention. No society that I am aware of doesn’t have markets in some form or other.

                • vto

                  Every society has markets of course.

                  And no society has free markets. Distortions created by partisan intervention is rife and the rhetoric of adherence to free markets is a con. For example, the dairy farming market is distorted by Nationals govt intervention in irrigation by stealing the consents and provision of taxpayer money to the farmers.Oh, and little old lady ratepayers of Selwyn District to pay for the wealthy farmers business. Obscene. Further example, the NZX itself, surely the bastion of free market enterprise is awaiting with drool the intervention of the government by way of provision of taxpayer electricity companies to bolster their uselessness. Further example, the investment sector has been well and truly distorted by way of the retail deposit guarantee scheme, eg south canterbury finance.

                  Free markets? pffft. Lies and more lies.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Every society has markets of course.

                    Nope. In fact, most societies throughout history haven’t had them (See 5000 Years of Debt).

                    • Matthew Hooton

                      Draco, try not to be totally insane. Markets exist whenever two individuals exchange things for mutual benefit. A society can’t exist until markets do.

                    • Gosman

                      You can redefine Markets to be as narrow as you like. It doesn’t make your opinion valid though.

                      Your argument is similar to stating the cloudless sky isn’t usually blue during the day because you redefine blue to mean a particular shade.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Markets exist whenever two individuals exchange things for mutual benefit.

                      Not all societies use ownership as a basis for their society.

                      You can redefine Markets to be as narrow as you like.

                      I didn’t define them at all.

                    • Rhinoviper

                      And Hooton’s reply, typically, is disingenuous bullshit… mind you, the evidence for him being a complete fucking moron with delusions of competence is pretty compelling and he could actually, seriously, I’m not kidding you, mean some of what he says.

                      Anyway, if “market” denotes any “exchange” then its denotation is so broad as to be meaningless. So, bullshit. In terms of semiotics, if the signifier signifies almost everything it is therefore is no signifier at all.

                      if someone tries to stretch a signifier to mean everything including what they want it to mean, then you can be assured that they are trying to shift it to mean what they want it to mean. Ie., they are corrupting language. Orwell had a lot to say about that.

                      If “market” denotes “exchange with mutual benefit”, then it does not in fact really describe the operation of the market that Hooton implies is described by the rules that by a bit of jiggery-pokery, self-delusion and assorted hallucinogens are supposed to describe the financial markets as the true exemplar of any trade in good faith between individuals with full consent blah blah blah… then again, bullshit.

                      Nor is their any justification that financial markets indicate the nature of real exchange. Indeed, economists have thrown up their hands in defeat at explaining this and use the word “externalities” to mean “Jeez, I don’t understand any of this shit, so I’ll pretend that a wizard did it”… or as the great science cartoonist Sidney Harris put it:

                      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3lnaeVhyfHk/TrFUmH3bizI/AAAAAAAAACM/mwPgMY7wOVE/s1600/Sidney-Harris-Miracle.jpg

                      It never ceases to amuse me that economists pretend that what they do, unlike astrology and phrenology, is a “science”.

                      It’s also rather amusing to see someone who pretends to be so cynical (he calls it being “realistic” and “accurate”, no doubt) being so naive and simplistic about human nature as it really works in the real world, but then as Arthur Conan Doyle once said, mediocrity imagines nothing higher than itself. Hooton, an idiot who manages to bilk other idiots imagines himself to be a comedian (dead baby jokes – hilarious!), a political scientist (the Labour party are democratic – they deserve to be “crushed”/the Labour party are democratic, Shearer is good) a gynaecologist (you don’t work when pregnant), an anthropologist and God knows what else (I await his pronouncements on string theory).

                      Of course at one level, Hooton is a joke, but on the other, considering the very unsavoury nature of his work, he’s not very funny at all.

                      However, keep going Hooton. Your pomposity adds to the (black) comedy. I like merkwürdigliebe even more than schadenfreude.

                    • Gosman

                      True, all you did was link to an article about a book which didn’t support your view about markets at all.

                  • Gosman

                    Congratulations, you have discovered the reality of our economic system.

                    The question then becomes whether you are comfortable with more or less distortions in the functioning of the various markets in the economy.

                    The process of deciding this is called politics.

                    • vto

                      That is a question that is premature and of less importance, imo, at this stage.

                      What gets me the most about this particular issue is the way politicians say one thing and then do another. They are liars and deceivers and those examples are evidence of the lies and deceit of this government. I don’t want lying pricks deciding on what the level of intervention should be. They cannot be trusted.

                      Why do people believe what politicians say?

          • Populuxe1 12.2.1.1.2

            And what, pray, is “capitalism with a Russian style” – except that the these days the oligarchs are in bed with a corrupt and authoritarian state?

            • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1.2.1

              except that the these days the oligarchs are in bed with a corrupt and authoritarian state?

              You’re referring to Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan executives, along side the US Fed and White House?

        • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.2

          The USSR was exactly the same as the system we have now – top down control of everyone else.

          What is your explanation for the black market then?

          Greed and it’s just as destructive as any other market.

          • Gosman 12.2.1.2.1

            But they shouldn’t exist according to your own definition of what a market is. How do you explain this?

            • Bill 12.2.1.2.1.1

              See above.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.2.1.2

              No, they’re still a social construct and work by rules – just not ones that set by the PTB and are often in response to the rules that the PTB set.

              • Gosman

                Explain DTB rather than just regurgitating the quasi-Marxist theory you have swallowed hook line and sinker.

      • Gosman 12.2.2

        Your idea is as wrongheaded as someone claiming a river is defined by the man made riverbanks and flood prtection devices put in place to control it and fix it’s course.

        • Colonial Viper 12.2.2.1

          Which by the way work to secure farm land and cities across the world, instead of having the uncompassionate vagaries of natural forces have their way.

      • Matthew Hooton 12.2.3

        No laws govern markets except those which are developed after the markets develop. And of course they are “social constructs” in the sense they take at least two people to create but they ate far less a “social construct” than the absence of markets. Markets develop whenever human beings meet and interact. The complete absence of markets requires a Pol Pot to start killing people, and I bet ever he didn’t eliminate markets. Markets are so universally beneficial to society that they always develop whatever communists, fascists or karol have to say.

        • vto 12.2.3.1

          ” Markets are so universally beneficial to society ”

          That is from far far away land that one.

          You describe how markets arise whenever there is a meeting and exchange, and that is certainly a correct broad definition. However, what about when a strong dominant party and a weaker less resourced party meet and an exchange is required lest the weaker is killed by the stornger?

          What happens then is that an exchange takes place (the market), because without that exchange death results from being killed, but that exchange is so terribly one-sided that the weaker is taken to a point just above death, when they should be left alone. This market exchange is clearly detrimental. And of course all exchanges sit on a spectrum with the killing example at one end with myriad others in between.

          So markets are absolutely not universally beneficial to society.

          Or, to put another way, if you were correct and every exchange is of benefit to society then of course society would be amazingly superior and wonderful and heavenly by now due to the continual upward trajectory of hundres of thousands of years of market exchange. This is clearly rubbish.

          (I am reminded of that saying ‘better to remain quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt’)

        • Pete 12.2.3.2

          Well, yes. But even Adam Smith, the champion of the free market recognised the importance of a living wage and fair treatment of working people by capitalists:

          “A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more, otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation.”

          He went on to write:

          “Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favor of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favor of the masters. ”

          So a little more support for working people and little less propping up of monied interests might not be such a bad thing (e.g. the brouhaha over the Commerce Commission’s ruling on Chorus).

        • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.3

          No laws govern markets except those which are developed after the markets develop.

          Bullshit.

          If you talk about “laws”, then me a proof from an actual scientist. A real scientist.

          Have you actually even heard of anthropology, ethnology or even psychology (which at least draws, post-Freud, on neurology?

          Stop pronouncing as pseudo-scientific facts that spring from what is really no more than a vague mush of pseudoscience as if it were as fixed and as resilient to (ha!) “externalities” as physics.

          Stop trying to pretend that you have a Grand Unified Theory (you can look that phrase up, moron) of human behaviour that is as simple and as direct as, say, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.

          The fact is that you’re a fanboy as devoted to the “market” as any trekkie is devoted to their fantasy. That other idiots in suits pay you to spout it means not a whit.

          Otherwise it’s masturbation.

        • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.4

          The complete absence of markets requires a Pol Pot to start killing people, and I bet ever he didn’t eliminate markets. Markets are so universally beneficial to society that they always develop whatever communists, fascists or karol have to say.

          Wow, what an amazing mish-mash of gibberish and non-sequiturs from Doctor Hooton. However did he get his professorship at the Ivy League institution he teaches at?

          First there are markets everywhere, governing everything and that anyone who receives a benefit from someone by an exchange is participating in a market… but then Pol Pot was doing things that somehow didn’t involve benefits between participating individuals – oh, so those who supported him didn’t receive some benefit for their support? So that wasn’t a market? But you said that any exchange with a mutual benefit was a market?

          Hooton, you really are a fuckwit, aren’t you?

          • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.4.1

            I suppose there’s a bit of a Godwin involved there too with the Pol Pot stuff – another sign of Hoots’ intellectual weakness.

            • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.4.1.1

              …waiting… waiting… but once again Hooton scuttles away under the fridge when the light is turned on – just like the cockroach he is.

          • QoT 12.2.3.4.2

            If you define “market” as “any time one person has a thing they don’t need and exchanges it with something someone else has which they also don’t need” then Matthew Hooten is absolutely correct. And I participated in a hell of a lot of unregulated shiny-sticker markets as a six-year-old.

            • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.4.2.1

              The funny thing is, when talking about these markets, idiots like Hoots tend not to think so very deeply about why anyone would desire the things that they have or be willing to exchange the things that they desire less, or what would determine their own judgment of the relative value of these things. Those value judgements are all… uh… “rational”, meaning that they met exactly one criterion: economic worth (which is a a bit of a tautology, if you ask me) – and of course completely without coercion, as if that answered it.

              Still, the cockroach has scuttled away and is well and truly hidden under the fridge, so we’re unlikely to see any answer now.

              • Colonial Viper

                “Markets” are a kind of supernatural diety worshipped by these types, you can hear it in their voice….The Goddess “Market” was the forerunner of all that is good and just in human civilisation, all kneel before her magnificence and tremble!

        • MrSmith 12.2.3.5

          “No laws govern markets except those which are developed after the markets develop.”

          Every market that develops has to abide by the laws of the land it which it develops Matthew.

          • Gosman 12.2.3.5.1

            Quite wrong as evidenced by the existence of black markets.

            • Rhinoviper 12.2.3.5.1.1

              Bullshit. Black markets have their rules too. They might be called “externalities”, which are measures of peoples’ willingness to accept intimidation, the availability of guns and so forth, but the suggestion that these too are not subject to rules (explicit to implicit) is, politely put, naive.

              You just assume that because these factors can’t be quantified in terms of dollars on the open market, they aren’t rules. That’s simply idiotic.

      • @ Draco : “The “market” is a social construct that is defined by the laws that govern it.”

        Correct.

        • Gosman 12.2.4.1

          Explain the Black market then Frank using Draco’s definition.

          • TheContrarian 12.2.4.1.1

            Gosman, I am usually sympathetic to you but in this case…

            …The black market runs using the same laws as a legal market. The black market usually pertains to illegal goods being sold and bought by the same methods as legal goods. The same laws of exchange, willing buyer/willing seller generally apply.

          • Pascal's bookie 12.2.4.1.2

            “Explain the Black market then Frank using Draco’s definition.”

            A ‘black market’ is one that society has said will be not protected by the courts, and that participation in it may well be punished by the courts.

            For example, a society might say that the market for some drugs will be a ‘black market’, and that participating in it will risk jail time or fines. These aspects of the market will shape and mold it in various ways that absent society constructing it as a ‘black market’, it would not otherwise take.

            ergo, black markets, like all markets, are socially constructed outcomes of laws.

    • framu 12.3

      isnt the “we” part of a pretty generalised hypothetical statement?

      you know how it goes on to mention random number generators?

      overly precious much?

      the term “we” is used in all sorts of statements all the time to illustrate a desire, concept whatever – especially when talking of societal, or large group, level stuff.

      Do you seriously think that anytime “we” is used in this manner the person using it is claiming a definitive legal right or ownership?

      overly precious, deliberate manipulation or village idiot? – you decide gossie

      • Gosman 12.3.1

        No, the term ‘we’ here implies to me that the author thinks that they have a valid case to interefere with what someone chooses to do with his or her work life and money just because they think what they do is pointless. It is this mindset which I have a problem with.

        • framu 12.3.1.1

          i see youve chosen village idiot

          you seem to think the author thinks they have a legal claim over the employment status of someone they dont employ – when its far far more likely they are speaking in a pretty generalised way about what we should do as a society

          normally you try a bit harder than this – whats up?

          • Gosman 12.3.1.1.1

            No, the mindset that society should dictate what people should and shouldn’t do economically is what is at issue here.

            If someone chooses to use investment advisers, even though it probably doesn’t give them greater returns than pure chance, then that is there right. ‘We’ don’t have to tell them to do anything.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.3.1.1.1.1

              And we wouldn’t be. We would just be setting out new rules that bring about better use of our resources – rules that preclude the use of financial advisers, banksters and currency traders.

              • Gosman

                As far as I’m concerned you are living in a dream land DTB. Some practical examples to back your case might help though.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Go read some books with actual research rather than the delusional BS that RWNJs usually read.

                  • Gosman

                    So your ideas are all theoretical then. Good stuff. I look forward to them never coming to fruition then.

                    • McFlock

                      because markets work so well in practise?

                    • Gosman

                      Markets simply do what markets do. Whether they ‘work’ or not is a value judgement.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah. It’s not like markets have objective measure for efficiency, like whether people are spending resources for “services” that are actually less effective at fulfilling investment objectives than a cat is.

                    • Gosman

                      There is a market for Homeopathic remedies. The people who provide these remedies claim they are effective at helping people with various aliments. The evidence suggests that they don’t in fact do much, if anything. However the market still exists for them. I presume you would regard that as an example of market ‘failure’ would you?

                    • McFlock

                      Nah.

                      Regulation fail.

                    • Gosman

                      Blame the Greens then. The last time there were moves to tighten the regulation in this area they jumped up and down and tried to stop it happening.

                    • McFlock

                      I do.

                      Just as I blame nats, lab, and most of the european and north american government for not regulating against financial actors who long ago ceased being facilitators and are now just parasites sucking the teat of a corrupt and almost neo-feudal system.

                  • TheContrarian

                    Ahh Draco, you are my favourite person to read on The Standard.

                    Never change.

            • framu 12.3.1.1.1.2

              “No, the mindset that society should dictate what people should and shouldn’t do economically is what is at issue here. ”

              maybe in your conversations with others on this topic – im only talking about your assertion that the author thinks they have a legal ability to hire and fire people they dont directly employ. Which i might point out, as far as the discussion between us is concerned is based solely on your INTERPRETATION of one line in the post.

              whats your position on people who conduct economic activity that is legal currently, but damaging to society – cowboy loan operations for example?

              problem with you market purists – theres always far too many examples where the ideology doesnt fit and a decision is required from the majority (or the govt given powers to represent) to enforce change and rules

              for christs sake – theres lots of things you could do, but weve deemed them illegal, or restricted who can do them, for one reason or another

              • Gosman

                “for christs sake – theres lots of things you could do, but weve deemed them illegal, or restricted who can do them, for one reason or another”

                Such as?

                • framu

                  illegal – well “meth cook” springs to mind

                  restricted…
                  lawyers
                  doctors
                  financial advisors
                  fire arms dealers
                  drivers (public transport and HT for example)
                  nurses
                  teachers
                  builders
                  gas fitters
                  inspectors of many varieties
                  and on and on and on

                  the point being we already exercise some controls as a society over what people might choose to do in an economic sense

                  its not that hard to get – for most of us

                  • Gosman

                    Noone here is arguing for an entirely unregulated market environment. You seem to have created a strawman argument so you can show how clever you think you are.

                    • framu

                      you are – *ahem* –

                      “No, the mindset that society should dictate what people should and shouldn’t do economically is what is at issue here. ”

                      no straw man at all – you made the purist claim that that society attempting to dictate what people did in an economic sense was bad – i simply showed that we already do it for some obvious reasons. Which leads us away from your rather black and white statement to something with many shades of grey

                      and its not hard to look clever when talking to you – you do make it pretty easy afterall

                • McFlock

                  selling mung beans as cancer cures.

                  • Gosman

                    Like many proponents of CAM do then. They seem to get away with some of their claims. Should we crack down hard on them as well?

                    • McFlock

                      when they go to far in their claims, fair trading act comes in. Or, indeed, practising medicine without a license.

    • Dr Terry 12.4

      Gosman, have you ever thought to look up the word “paranoid”?

  13. tracey 13

    Gosman you may well consider it a talent… It is a pointless and empty one however.

    • Gosman 13.1

      As are many professions. Take Chiropractors for example. There is little evidence that they do any good yet there are thousands of them around the world earning good money.

      • One Tāne Huna 13.1.1

        Have to disagree there, Gosman. Ever had treatment for sciatica? Anecdotes are not data, sure.

        When you say there is “little evidence” – and Wikipedia says there is “moderate quality evidence” – and includes a citation, who should I believe?

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1

          surgeons who work on knees make a pretty good living too…but look – knee surgery may be no better than other much cheaper treatments. Are they going to stop doing knee surgeries for arthritis now?

          http://www.healio.com/orthopedics/arthritis/news/print/orthopedics-today/%7B2481EF40-E016-4426-A808-437C567F52CA%7D/Research-disputes-effectiveness-of-arthroscopic-surgery-for-knee-OA

        • Gosman 13.1.1.2

          You are a good reason why investment advisers and Chiropractors sttill have jobs and earn good money. Just as you wouldn’t want someone taking your right to visit a Chiropractor so to shouldn’t people be denied the right to use the services of investment advisers.

          • Bill 13.1.1.2.1

            Except that unlike the chiropractor, investment advisors are engaged in an activity that has the effect of (metaphorically) breaking people’s legs by promoting and condoning as ‘good’ the vast disparities in wealth and access to resources they help to bring about. And then they tout themselves as a solution to a lack of wealth and access to resources.

            • McFlock 13.1.1.2.1.1

              like retro-phrenology, to drop a Pratchett :)

            • Matthew Hooton 13.1.1.2.1.2

              Bill says “investment advisors are engaged in an activity that has the effect of (metaphorically) breaking people’s legs by promoting and condoning as ‘good’ the vast disparities in wealth and access to resources they help to bring about.”

              But that’s not true is it?

              In fact, it’s the opposite of what the initial post was all about.

              The post suggested that financial markets lead to a transfer of wealth from clients of investment advisors to cat owners.

              (Incidentally, this is what most financial market theory would predict and is evidence of why markets are so efficient.)

              • felixviper

                “The post suggested that financial markets lead to a transfer of wealth from clients of investment advisors to cat owners.”

                It’s ok Matthyawn, no-one expected you to understand the post.

                • Matthew Hooton

                  Do you have a point of should lprent refer you to the rules?

                  • TheContrarian

                    Matthew, you should know the rules don’t apply to the lackeys

                  • felixviper

                    Yes Matt, there is a point. It might take you a couple of goes though.

                    • Gosman

                      Are you going to change your moniker at any stage soon? It is just it seems a little redundant. Kind of like wearing a ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ t-shirt now. Unless you are using it in an ironical way.

                    • felixviper

                      I don’t know who Nelson Mandela is, sorry.

                  • Rhinoviper

                    …and when defeated by it being pointed out that he’s deliberately missed the point, Hooton gets all prissy about his privilege. Funny, that.

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  Matthew, changing peoples handles in an amusing way is Felix’s particular shtick. It is indulged here by the moderators in much the same way as a doting parent indulges a slow child’s love of finger painting.

                  I often chuckle when I recall the day he called me “Oleoleshitbucket”. Oh, how we laughed.

                  • felixviper

                    lolz, that’s a good one but I don’t think it was me, was it? I think your name is awesome enough already.

                    edit: it WAS me! I remember now. What a day, what fun we had.

            • Gosman 13.1.1.2.1.3

              As the people who use investment advisers are generally the one with surplus capital it could be argued that they are merely redistributing wealth away from those that have it to the wealth advisers themselves. That is not the same as what you claim they are doing.

              EDIT: Mr Hooten has put this far more eloquently than I.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.2.2

            You are a good reason why investment advisers and Chiropractors and bank economists sttill have jobs

            FIFY

          • One Tāne Huna 13.1.1.2.3

            Gosman, except that I haven’t needed one since about 1998. My sciatica was associated with mis-alignment of vertebrae (clearly visible in X-rays) and therefore it is hardly surprising that direct manipulation of said vertebrae was an effective remedy.

            I don’t know what you imagine a chiropractor does though. Perhaps you think it’s some sort of faith healing.

            PS: I haven’t said boo about anyone using investment advisers. Please stay away from Mr. Strawman.

            • Gosman 13.1.1.2.3.1

              Chiropractic care is esssentially the same as faith healing. There is little evidence that they can re-align vertebrae beyond only a very small and temproarily manner.

              • McFlock

                So they provide a small and temporary benefit for their service.

                As opposed to financial speculators, who are paid to provide a less effective service than pure luck.

                A bit like if chiropractors were less effective than just randomly twisting your own back in the hope things will improve. You might have a point about them, in that case.

              • One Tāne Huna

                little evidence [citation needed]

                I repeat: “There is moderate quality evidence that spinal manipulation is effective…”

                “very small and temproarily (sic) manner.”

                The acute pain and stiffness which I was experiencing, and subsequent alleviation of said stiffness and pain after one twenty minute treatment, were anything but “small”. The loud noises the Chiro got out of my back were similarly marked by their non-smallness.

                The advice given, that I would be back unless I started doing something to strengthen my back, lends weight to your assertion of temporary relief. Which is what I wanted. The back-strengthening exercise did the rest.

      • Dr Terry 13.1.2

        If you can’t beat them, join them!

  14. McFlock 14

    Actually, and I hate to agree with Gos, I think the religious delusion of stock market speculation is evident from this experiment. Not because of the actual results, but because stock market professionals participated. And even allowed publication of their firm’s name.

    Basically, there was little benefit in it for them (“yay, you beat kids and a cat”), but a real risk that they could have been beaten by both. As it is they’ve simply advertised that hiring their firm is less effective than tossing a coin.

    But basically, they believed that they did add more value than just random picks. So they participated, and thought it would be good advertising for the company.

    But they’re still touting for a pyramid scheme.

    • Gosman 14.1

      It isn’t a pyramid scheme. They aren’t suggesting you only get a return after you get more people to join in.

      All this really proves is that the return is far more dependent on factors such as the underlying state of the market and the economy than anything complex that requires interpretation by specialists over a short term basis.

      • McFlock 14.1.1

        Actually, you only get a return on the market if people constantly put more money, resources and ultimately more energy in.

        It’s not a simple pyramid scheme, or a small one, but it has the same problem: eventually it hits a limit where it can’t fool enough people into putting more resources in, then collapses. And then everyone loses (except the 0.0x% of people who are big enough after the fact to be near the top of the next pyramid – funnily enough, most of them are similar to the people who were at the top of the previous pyramid).

        • Gosman 14.1.1.1

          You can make returns ona Share market via a number of methods beyond more people putting up more capital in the market. Ultimately it is underpinned by the real economy. Changes in that will flow through to the various values on the Share market at some level. If the economy is doing well then share prices will tend to go up and vice versa.

          • McFlock 14.1.1.1.1

            But the changes to the real economy are not as significant as people’s perceptions of what other investors perceive the sharemarket will do.

            Solidly investing long term in reliable companies where the only return expected is share dividend revenue paid out on the basis of the company’s success: what percentage is that of share market activity? As opposed to buy now because you think it will be worth more in a little while? Don’t even get me started on short-selling.

  15. erentz 15

    To be honest this is an experiment that only attempts to demonstrate that speculating on the markets is stupid. They were changing their portfolio every three months, they were only in the market for one year. They weren’t investing in the long term success or failure of a business. If you want to invest in a company because you believe it’s a good company that will be successful, grow, and you want to reap the rewards of that in dividends, and capital gains, then the idea of a stock market isn’t unreasonable. (Though truth is that by the time a company makes it to the stock market, it’s probably a dinosaur anyway and best avoided.) Problem with all of our markets these days is purely down to speculation about how the market will behave itself. It’s nothing short of gambling really, but the game is really huge.

    • tc 15.1

      Good points and also with globalisation/consolidation cashing out on an acquisition/takeover has proved pretty fruitful also.
      Moa was a good float because that’s just what Geoff Ross and co will do, a repeat of 42 below, grow the brand sell to the big players.
      However this reduces the players and the diversity/competition, the NZX will always be a cowboys club for those reasons. It’ll never ever have the scale or integrity as the horse has long gone. New game time people.

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    More market means more welfare state

    Few conservative misconceptions are more deeply rooted than the idea than the welfare state competes with the market for resources. In fact, modern business and the modern welfare state have grown up together – and both have grown at the expense of the family.

    The alternative to passing on the costs of elder care and child care, in an industrialized society in which most people are wage earners, not family farmers, is to socialize them. While the breadwinner wage system passes the costs of care on to consumers, the welfare state passes those costs of care on to taxpayers.

    Can’t say that I agree with all of it but it certainly something to think about.

    When it comes to retirement security, progressives stand for honest, efficient, low-cost socialism, while conservatives stand for dishonest, inefficient, high-cost “middleman socialism” that would further enrich mutual fund managers and other rent-extracting financiers.

    That is something I certainly agree with though.

    • kiwi_prometheus 16.1

      “further enrich mutual fund managers”

      And the NZ finance industry has about the lowest international performance rate for fund growth. I remember one of the fund managers was quoted as making the quip “We manage your money until there is none left” – referring to the fees they siphon off so they can live in Remuera and send their spoiled brats to private school.

  17. kiwi_prometheus 17

    Which brings up the issue of kiwisaver – compulsory worker savings handed over to the under regulated blood sucking NZ finance sector – described by Gareth Morgan as a nest of snakes.

  18. millsy 18

    Personally I see nothing wrong with people just putting their savings in the bank and earning interest. It worked for our parents and grandparents. It was kicked off from an early aged with school banking. We set up savings banks and trustee banks for that purpose. At least the money would be lent out to first-home buyers or businesses instead of feeding KP’s nest of snakes.

    • kiwi_prometheus 18.1

      Problem is that you need more ROI than an interest bearing bank account – think of inflation / hidden inflation + bank fees + tax on interest eroding that savings. Especially if it suppose to be your retirement fund.

      Savers are getting punished by low interest rates – “financial repression” – no sign of interest rates going up anytime soon, luckily inflation is staying low.

  19. PlanetOrphan 19

    The Cat is contributing to “Good Inflation” ?

    Financial advisors are contributing to “Bad Inflation” ?

    And the School Kids are learning how to donate to inflation ?

    • McFlock 19.1

      the school kids are learning that even if they try their best, they’ll be fucked by financial professionals and blind luck.

      A harsh lesson, but probably better for them in the end.

  20. Saarbo 20

    Remember when we had TV7 (not the shithouse TV1 plus 1 hour, but the awesome public service TV7!, I miss it), on Thursday nights at 10pm there was a programme with Michael Sandel called Justice discussing topics with a large audience, those were the good old days…anyway, I havent got around to buying his book “What money cant buy”, but this is a link
    (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/may/27/michael-sandel-reason-values-bodies) to a review on it and the excerpt below which for me explains one of the major fuck ups of the market economy.

    Excerpt from the review in The Guardian by D Aitkenhead.

    Sandel leads us through a dizzying array of examples, from schools paying children to read – $2 (£1.20) a book in Dallas – to commuters buying the right to drive solo in car pool lanes ($10 in many US cities), to lobbyists in Washington paying line-standers to hold their place in the queue for Congressional hearings; in effect, queue-jumping members of the public. Drug addicts in North Carolina can be paid $300 to be sterilised, immigrants can buy a green card for $500,000, best man’s speeches are for sale on the internet, and even body parts are openly traded in a financial market for kidneys, blood and surrogate wombs. Even the space on your forehead can be up for sale. Air New Zealand has paid people to shave their heads and walk around wearing temporary tattoos advertising the airline.

    According to the logic of the market, the matter of whether these transactions are right or wrong is literally meaningless. They simply represent efficient arrangements, incentivising desirable behaviour and “improving social utility by making underpriced goods available to those most willing to pay for them”. To Sandel, however, the two important questions we should be asking in every instance are: Is it fair to buy and sell this activity or product? And does doing so degrade it? Almost invariably, his answers are no, and yes…….

    ……..A fascinating question he addresses is why the financial crisis appears to have scarcely put a dent in public faith in market solutions. “One would have thought that this would be an occasion for critical reflection on the role of markets in our lives. I think the persistent hold of markets and market values – even in the face of the financial crisis – suggests that the source of that faith runs very deep; deeper than the conviction that markets deliver the goods. I don’t think that’s the most powerful allure of markets. One of the appeals of markets, as a public philosophy, is they seem to spare us the need to engage in public arguments about the meaning of goods. So markets seem to enable us to be non-judgmental about values. But I think that’s a mistake.”

    Putting a price on a flat-screen TV or a toaster is, he says, quite sensible. “But how to value pregnancy, procreation, our bodies, human dignity, the value and meaning of teaching and learning – we do need to reason about the value of goods. The markets give us no framework for having that conversation. And we’re tempted to avoid that conversation, because we know we will disagree about how to value bodies, or pregnancy, or sex, or education, or military service; we know we will disagree. So letting markets decide seems to be a non-judgmental, neutral way. And that’s the deepest part of the allure; that it seems to provide a value-neutral, non-judgmental way of determining the value of all goods. But the folly of that promise is – though it may be true enough for toasters and flat-screen televisions – it’s not true for kidneys.”

    Sandel makes the illuminating observation that what he calls the “market triumphalism” in western politics over the past 30 years has coincided with a “moral vacancy” at the heart of public discourse, which has been reduced in the media to meaningless shouting matches on cable TV – what might be called the Foxification of debate – and among elected politicians to disagreements so technocratic and timid that citizens despair of politics ever addressing the questions that matter most.

    “There is an internal connection between the two, and the internal connection has to do with this flight from judgment in public discourse, or the aspiration to value neutrality in public discourse. And it’s connected to the way economics has cast itself as a value-neutral science when, in fact, it should probably be seen – as it once was – as a branch of moral and political philosophy.”

    • Olwyn 20.1

      I used to love those Sandel lectures on TV 7 – I think you can still find the on the internet. “Market triumphalism” I think is the key to the problem. When one major feature (they used to be called estates) of a society becomes dominant, it tends to become tyrannical, whether it is commerce, bureaucracy, the military or the church. The people who shout “well socialism didn’t work did it!” are usually pointing to societies that came to be dominated by a central bureaucracy, but their own favourite, commerce, is at least as bad in an overly dominant position.

  21. Afewknowthetruth 21

    The present Ponzi scheme is dependent on:

    1.ever greater extraction of fossil fuels (particularly oil) from underground and conversion of the carbon into CO2 which is wrecking the fundamental systems that make life on Earth possible for humans

    2. an ever expanding population

    3. ever faster ‘printing’ of money’

    Anyone who thinks any of those is possible is either a madman, a banker, an economist or a politician.

    Needless to say, the Ponzi scheme is collapsing (along with the environment). However, the trickle up system is still working fine. Indeed, as conditions deteriorate rapidly for most inhabitants of this planet the members of the looters-and polluters club will ensure that the poor and powerless get driven off the cliff first.

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