The Prussian military strategist's school of love
Bill Bonner Aug 17, 2012
The night of the shooting stars...
"There's another one - make a wish!" said Elizabeth.
"But I don't know what to wish for," Maria replied.
France has turned into France. The days are warm, with blue skies and long evenings. The nights are clear, with millions of stars.
Every night brings more meteor showers - shooting stars zipping across the night sky. One fires over to the left. The other to the right.
We are in a house full of 20 and 30-somethings. Young people: our children, their friends, and friends of friends. Some American, some French, some Dutch.
That is the advantage of a rambling country house; it takes in young hearts like a wetland absorbing a spring flood. At night, well after midnight, they sit outside and talk; they laugh; they yearn.
Yesterday, another day passed on Wall Street with nothing much to show for it. Stocks rose; gold added $12. No one seemed to have much of an idea what is going on.
Two of the world's best investors - George Soros and John Paulson - are buying gold heavily. What do they know? Maybe nothing, maybe they're wrong.
Who knows? Nobody.
Our guess is that they will look like idiots for a while, and then look like geniuses. As we told a radio interviewer yesterday - Tokyo today; Buenos Aires tomorrow.
Speaking of Buenos Aires - and moonshine - Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz gave a speech in Argentina this week. The orator was equal to his audience. He spoke nonsense; the Cristina government was happy to hear it. The Buenos Aires Herald reports:
During his speech, Stiglitz praised the government's export duties policies, assuring that thanks to them benefits that went for the exporters as a consequence of leaving the crisis behind, helped in the process of income distribution."
The Nobel Prize winner also warned about a slowing down of global growth. When asked byAmbito.com on his opinion on the alleged "stagflation" that according to some local economists Argentina is entering, Stiglitz replied: "I have no detailed information on what is going on in Argentina. Growth is slowing down on a global scale. Europe is in a recession, China and India are seeing less growth, which will lead Argentina into implementing good policies to avoid such deceleration. And if the wrong policies are implemented, the slowing down of the economy could be even more severe."
However, when asked what those "wrong policies" could be, the economist avoided a straight answer: "that would demand getting into details about policy and I don't feel in any condition to exercise an opinion on it."
When faced with questions regarding how state intervention affects a country, Stiglitz replied that "there isn't a single action that can measure the level of intervention. Governments always intervene. Markets only exist in a context of laws, regulations, rules and policies. There will always be rules in regulations and what matters is having the correct regulations available."
Has Mr. Stiglitz learned nothing? There are rules. There are regulations. But there are no 'correct' regulations. That is to say, no one can ever know what is the correct regulation is. Every manipulation has unforeseen consequences that cannot be foretold. Why? They are unforeseen!
The only real choice is 'more' or 'less'. And 'less' is almost always the right answer. Interference is an expense. The less of it you have, the better off you are.
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Life is not easy.
"Why does it have to be so hard?" Elizabeth asked, late at night.
"It was hard getting them through school, and then getting the children into college. But this is harder. Maybe it's because the stakes are higher. This is more serious. It may not matter very much what school they go to, but it matters a lot who they marry."
On a light summer evening, Elizabeth feels the heavy burden of parenthood. It is not enough to feed, clothe, and educate your children. You must also help to guide them into careers and to families of their own.
"There's only so much you can do", said a neighbour. "You can give your opinion, you can try to raise questions, but once you see that your child has made a choice, you have to be quiet."
"I don't know about that", we replied, "Sometimes you really do know something your children don't know. You can't hold back."
"Oh la la, Daddy, I need to talk to you", said one of the children yesterday. "I just don't know what to do. I mean, I like Robert. He's a lot of fun. But I don't think he's 'the one', if you know what I mean."
We knew just what she meant. There are six or seven (we lost count) young people in the house. They are all looking for 'the one'. That is, they are all looking for someone else. One has just broken up with a boyfriend. Another had hoped to marry, but the wedding never took place. One is timid. Another is bold. All are watching the shooting stars; wishing, looking, searching, dreaming of moving on to the next stage of their lives.
Love is in the air, and at the dinner table - and who knows where else.
"Well", said father-knows-best, "nobody can know what you want but you. But you need to figure out what you really want. You've got to figure out where you have the 'main chance'. And go for it. But don't get distracted by temptations. If you're gonna try to take Moscow, don't send your troops to St. Petersburg."
"Oh Daddy, this isn't war."
"No, but a lot of the same principles apply. If you want something, don't let other things distract you from the 'main chance'."
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