Monthly Shorts 12/​22

Link post

The hell, Ukranian one-year bond market?

Firstly, we can establish that nobody listened to the President of the United States and the White House clearly, explicitly, and repeatedly saying that the Russians would invade. On April 5, 2021, rates were 11.7%, in February 14th 2022 they were 13.6%, lower than their January peak.

Secondly, it’s impressive to see how fast the financial markets updated that the Ukranians actually had a pretty good shot at winning this. Remember that even in the world where Ukraine wins, repayment will still be pretty difficult. And countries have a strong incentive not to repay the lenders to their opponent, in order to incentivize not lending to their opponent, so if the Russians win you *certainly* shouldn’t expect repayment.

Thirdly, I don’t do anything other than broad stock market investing as a matter of professional practice, but I suspect you could do worse with your money, both ethically and pragmatically, than Ukranian war bonds. This is not investing advice! That’s the magic incantation to take what I just said and make what I did legal. Why does that work? What follows is pure theorizing.

Well, firstly, because the SEC is not all that interested in locking me up. If they locked up every fool who spouted about money, they would have to expand the jails even further.

Secondly, by having to say “this is not investing advice”, I make it clear that I am not a Licensed Professional. If someone who pretends to expertise has to make that disclaimer, their audience can notice, wonder why, and perhaps avoid being drawn into the scam.

Hey, Japan! Glad to see you’re doing better.

Image courtesy of a critique of YIMBY usage of Japanese house prices, and more broadly easy international comparisons (which I have some meta-objections to, but it’s a good piece and worth integrating).

Systematic review on the experiences of grad students

AI Alignment horror story, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Happy new year! It’s been another good year of blogging. There was a temporary burst in viewership, which has since entirely returned to normal. I look forward to continuing next year.