Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Inflation is Very Selective

We often hear gripes about the cost of gasoline or upper scale foods.  And the price of a college education is very high.  Most of those items have increased about 10 times in the past 40-50 years.  Some items have gotten cheap, though.  I won't point to the easy pickings in technology, but this blog points to one cheap, but highly cultured and intellectual good:  the classics.

A few weeks ago I reviewed an excellent book that can help one learn ancient Greek [July 14:  Learn Ancient Greek, by Peter Jones, costing about $15]. Now I will point out where one can use that knowledge ... cheaply.

The Loeb Classic Library offered by Harvard University Press offers wonderful books containing classic writings and their translations on facing pages.  The cost per book?  $25 hardcover.  Amazingly cheap.  I can remember buying textbooks in college in the early 1970s for around the same price.  40 years later and the price of great classic knowledge is not 10x more, but the same !!!

As I write this book, I have a copy of the Loeb Classic Library edition of Aristotle's, Nichomachean Ethics, which is certainly one of the greatest books on political philosophy and social values of human history.  For $25 you can read it in English and use the original Greek language to check intriguing passages.  What a great bargain !!!

Here's the value analysis:  a year at Harvard costs about $50,000 per year.  The standard course load is four courses per term for two terms, thus 8 courses per year.  [Fyi, Harvard does not do 'credit hours']  The cost thus is $6,250 per course.  The cost proved on this blog for a basic course in ancient Greek plus reading material is $40.  With the same amount of work by yourself, you can gain $6,250 of knowledge for $40, a return of 156x.  What a great investment in your human capital !!!

The cost is about the same as it was 40 years ago:  $40 of material and your own human effort - an investment in yourself.

And more:  all the classics are available for free on the Internet (copyrights don't exist for them), as are all the great writings done before the 20th century (copyrights have expired).  That is a great benefit of modern technology.  People should take advantage of these grand bargains.


None.  I didn't get very good prices for my buys yesterday as the beefers front-ran me.  Grrrr ...  Since I had a lot more existing positions than I was buying, all those went up strongly, I suppose should not complain.  But I strive for the best, and am annoyed.  Too bad one can't get a price equal to the average price of the day.  Now that would be a good product for an institution to offer.

Word of the Day

"Prevenient" - adjective [$10] formal
Prevenient means preceding something else.
Sentence:  Prevenient buying after reading this blog yesterday gave some hedge funds easy profits and raised the closing prices I paid for my index fund buys.  Grrrr. 


Spin-em said...

you missed ur girl molatova

mfl59 said...

Bunkerman is a college education worth the price nowadays? The avg private institution cost comes to about $60k per year....seems a bit silly almost...

Spin-em said...

did mike just tell lil nicholas when the time comes... get a haircut and get a real job???

mfl59 said...

Nicholas is currently training for a wrestling scholarship...lolololol

Bunkerman said...

nope, I saw her in the nbasement while I was lifting weights.

Later heard Cramer thank her for the great buying time she gave us for munis.


Bunkerman said...

For many, my honest answer is no.

College educators are overpaid and their administration is a joke that its so overpaid.

With modern technology [DVD courses downloadable, etc.] a self-motivated person with a bit of guidance could really get a good education for peanuts.

Unfortunately in the credentialism binge of the times, I wonder if a young person could get a chance without a diploma.

No easy answer.

Bud said...

what the heck is today's post about Bman ???

Bud said...

from wsj today

The Fed had hoped that boosting asset prices would create "wealth effects," or an increase in spending that accompanies an increase in perceived wealth. But the Fed can't dictate which asset prices will rise, and liquidity flowed into commodities as well as stocks.

Thus any wealth effect was offset by negative "income effects" as Americans suffered a decline in real income from paying more for food and energy because of the commodity-price bubble. Economic growth has decelerated over the past year despite QE2, so we wonder what good Mr. Bernanke thinks it did. We're hard-pressed to see what good QE3 would do as well.

so they agree with me.............QE2 didn't work

'keep firing Ben'

Spin-em said...


Bunkerman said...

"The Fed had hoped that boosting asset prices would create "wealth effects," or an increase in spending that accompanies an increase in perceived wealth. "

That is NOT what the Fed wanted to accomplish with QE2. WSJ creating a straw man to slash at. The Fed wanted inflation to tick up and for long term interest rates to go lower. That did work.

The problem is now administration policy errors. The Fed can only stay the course, which is bascially what they said Tuesday.

Bunkerman said...

"what the heck is today's post about Bman ???"

Sheesh, Bud ... you are always griping about inflation.

Here I show you how to get something valuable for almost free and you miss it.

Brains for Free .... Brains for Free ... Come and get
em !!!

Bunkerman said...

machine trading & SEC are destroying the stock market for the public.