Not much since 1920, except for some new inventions.
I've been reading some classic modern American novels which my high school 40 years ago negligently or intentionally did not require. That fact makes me think my education in literature then was a bit of a fraud on the students, perhaps part of an indoctrination effort by the state Board of Education.
Here's why I think I (and every other student) was gypped. The classic American novels, Main Street, Babbitt and Winesburg, Ohio bring to light social controversies of the era of 1910-1920s of women's rights, social conformity and the nature of economic growth that were huge controversies in the 1960s, too. So as a student, I and many other young persons were deprived of solid classics of literature that might have helped one better understand and cope with those trends, that were repeating after 40-50 years. It's truly ridiculous that the novels of the first American winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature were not assigned reading for high school students.
Why ? I suppose the dominant ruling classes wanted to suppress those independent thoughts. That effort failed in the 1960s and 1970s, but it had succeeded before in the Depression and World War II postwar eras. I suppose I could have found them on my own, but I was too busy learning mathematics, physics, and western philosophy and cultures. The humanities were not interesting, I think, due to the horrible literature classes where I was forced to read crap like "A Separate Peace". Oh well, I'm making up for it now.
Is the Glass Half Full Again ?
FT: “German shoppers are showing surprising strength in adversity with consumer confidence in the eurozone’s largest economy hitting its highest level for more than a year, even as evidence mounts of a credit squeeze across continental Europe. ... The unexpectedly steep increase will strengthen expectations of a significant rebound in Europe’s largest economy in the second half of this year. Last week, the German Ifo business confidence index also rose strongly, hitting the highest level since October.”
Every morning lately it seems that European stocks are strong.
You Heard It Here First
WSJ: “The Commodity Futures Trading Commission plans to issue a report next month suggesting speculators played a significant role in driving wild swings in oil prices -- a reversal of an earlier CFTC position that augurs intensifying scrutiny on investors.
In a contentious report last year, the main U.S. futures-market regulator pinned oil-price swings primarily on supply and demand. But that analysis was based on "deeply flawed data," Bart Chilton, one of four CFTC commissioners, said in an interview Monday.
The CFTC's new review, due to be released in August, adds fuel to a growing debate over financial investors who bet on the direction of commodities prices by buying contracts tied to indexes. These speculators have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in contracts that were once dominated by producers and consumers who sought to hedge against oil-market volatility.”
The old Bushite libertarians running the CFTC and SEC were knaves or fools.
Another Half Measure From a Corrupt SEC
WSJ: “The Securities and Exchange Commission issued new rules to govern short-selling, promising investors fresh information about the volume and velocity of negative bets placed against companies. ... But it dropped a requirement that hedge funds disclose details of short positions to regulators. ... Sen. Ted Kaufman (D.-Del.), who has prodded the SEC to take additional steps, said in a statement that he was disappointed it didn't go further to restrict naked short selling. "Instead of proposing action today to deal with the problem, the SEC apparently is content to let potential solutions sit on the shelf for another two months," he said.”
WSJ: "While regulators debate how to curb excessive speculation in commodities markets, exchanges are moving to impose limits on natural-gas trading, sparking outrage among traders. In the face of pending restrictions, natural-gas prices have swung wildly and trading volume has declined, highlighting the dilemma facing regulators: how to heighten oversight without introducing adverse consequences."
I sold BHP and UNP yesterday as further gains seems limited. I also exchanged some more US total stock market fund money for TIPS in Krypto Fund. Today I plan to buy some GLD with teh stock sale proceeds as my asset allocation model wishes it. Here's another dog biscuit for your fee, Krypto. Good doggie !
Word of the Day
"Planish" - verb, transitive
Planish means to flatten (sheet metal, coining metal, etc.) with a smooth faced hammer or between rollers.
Sentence: Social pressures planish much independent thinking.
"Myśleć" - verb, imperfective, conjugation 2
Myśleć means to think.
Zdanie: Myślę, dlatego jestem.
Sentence: I think, therefore I am.