Thursday, January 29, 2009
There is a theory in particle physics, known as the many-worlds hypothesis, which posits that there are an inifinite number of universes, with a new one created whenever a particle's qunatum wave function "collapses." Readers of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy will be familiar with one "practical" interpretation of the hypothesis, wherein similar but slightly different universes overlap each other.
Macro Man can confirm that this is in fact the case, as he possesses a rather unique newswire that feeds in from one of the alternative universes. He usually keeps it under wraps in the bottom of a drawer, but sometimes feels compelled to have a look at it when real-world news headlines leave him scratching his head. He finds that the alternative universe newswire sometimes offers a fresh, more truthful perspective on events than his everyday sources of news.
Recently, he's taken to looking at the alternative newswire with depressing frequency. Consider the following real-world headlines that have crossed his screen recently, and compare them with the alternative-universe newsfeed:
Our world newsfeed(OWN): Russia, China blame woes on capitalism
Alternative world newswire (AWN): Wen, Putin admit Martingale forex strategies "misguided".
In gambling, a Martingale strategy is one in which one's stake is doubled after every losing bet until he finally wins (or loses all his money.) If one possesses infinite wealth, this strategy will deliver a profit of the original stake when one finally wins; in the real world, however, its practitioners usually bust before finally winning.
In markets, the term refers to adding to a losing trade to "improve your average". Unsurprisingly, market punters usually achieve similar results to roulette players in using the strategy.
And in macroeconomics, it has come to mean an endless cycle of buying foreign exchange reserves to maintain an artificially weak exchange rate, regardless of the negative externalities of such a policy. To be sure, the US is culpable for a great deal of the current global economic stress, but this does not absolve either China or Russia for pursuing their own misguided policies which have generated a collosal misallocation of resources.
That the ongoing travails of the rouble has impaired the kleptocrats' financial standing in some small degree provides at least one small rainbow in an otherwise never-ending torrent of doom and gloom.
OWN: Brown says UK was right to sell gold in 1999, says UK bought euros by selling gold
AWN: Brown admits selling XAU/EUR below 300 was "collossally stupid"
The high print in XAU/EUR in 1999 was 270. It is now 632. Macro Man isn't sure what is worse: that Gordon Brown is too stupid to understand that that is a bad trade, or that he thinks that YOU are too stupid to understand that that is a bad trade.
OWN: "We foresaw economic downturn," Trichet says.
AWN: Trichet reveals ECB forecast model (pictured, below.)
OWN: Brown defends economic record, blames global crisis for downturn
AWN: Brown admits that UK is buggered
OK, maybe it's not fair to pick on Gordon twice. But the gold headline above was literally unbelievable, and the graphic below (which amde the rounds yesterday) is too good not to share.