Archive for September 22, 2010

Curing Your Nostalgia: 2

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Bonus Army

The self-named Bonus Expeditionary Force was an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups – who protested in Washington, D.C., in spring and summer of 1932. Called the Bonus March by the news media, the Bonus Marchers were more popularly known as the Bonus Army. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant. The veterans were encouraged in their demand for immediate cash-payment redemption of their service certificates by retired U.S.M.C. Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time.

The war veterans, many of whom had been out of work since the beginning of the Great Depression, sought immediate cash payment of Service Certificates granted to them eight years earlier via the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924. Each Service Certificate, issued to a qualified veteran soldier, bore a face value equal to the soldier’s promised payment, plus compound interest. The problem was that the certificates (like bonds), matured twenty years from the date of original issuance, thus, under extant law, the Service Certificates could not be redeemed until 1945.

March of the Bonus Army- part I

March of the Bonus Army- part II

March of the Bonus Army- part III


So, What is Your ‘Plan B’?

September 22, 2010 4 comments

During times of unprecedented socio-economic changes, most people believe only type of outcome is possible. However their certainty about the eventual outcome comes in two flavors.

Nostalgia– They either wish, hope or yearn for a simpler time.


Linearization– Think that the scam can continue without system evolution.

While both beliefs might appear to be different, they are derived from the same base assumption- “neither the game, nor its rules, have changed” aka the ‘steady state assumption’.

Strategies to cope based on a ‘steady state’ world-view can be seen as ‘Plan A’.

There have been periods in human history characterized by negligible change for hundreds or even thousands of years. However the pace, nature and extent of changes in the last 200 years has no real equivalent in human history- since or before the invention of writing and record keeping.

The only thing we have learned from the last 200 years is that the future can be more bizzare, unpredictable, full of opportunities and dangers than we could have foreseen, in our wildest dreams. Therefore, any belief in a steady state world borders on stupidity irrespective of how intelligent it sounds.

The real question then is-

How can you adapt to a system which you do not fully understand? How do you make decisions in a changing world, with less than optimal information? What is your ‘Plan B’ irrespective of its flavour?


NSFW Links: Sep 22, 2010

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment
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