Saturday, January 10, 2015

Spirit of '76

The following chart shows the interest rate that $12.9 trillion in MZM money stock is currently earning.

Click to enlarge.

As seen in the blue commentary, that's 5 straight months at 0.076%. We may have found the bottom! Woohoo!

Like all economic parabolic trends, the trend in red is guaranteed to fail at some point, but how will it fail?

1. The optimists might suggest that the rate is like a submarine that gently dove and is now preparing to gently surface. At best, any failure will be many years away. If they are right, then savers can expect more of the same until at least 2020.

2. The pessimists (especially Japanese pessimists) might suggest that the rate is like the Titanic. That ship found the ocean floor in 1912 and remains there to this day.

In spite of a rapidly falling unemployment rate, I lean towards the latter camp. Might get it to budge off the bottom in the short-term, but over the long-term? Let's just say that I'm not optimistic. Interest rates have generally been falling for 30+ years. It's hard for me to imagine how weak hourly earnings growth and an aging population will reverse the trend.

Spirit of '76 (sentiment)

Jefferson and the Second Continental Congress believed the Spirit of '76 "included the 'self-evident' truths of being 'created equal' and being 'endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights' including 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'"

If the pursuit of happiness includes earning 76 cents in annual interest on each $1,000 deposited, then savers might want to stick to life and liberty.

All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the Corps! A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade! I LOVE the Corps! - Apone, Aliens (1986)

Embrace the interest rate corps(e).

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: MZM Own Rate


Stagflationary Mark said...

Young Money: Recent articles of interest

Check it out! Good stuff again!

Stagflationary Mark said...

Apologies for not posting much in 2015 so far. This may be a permanent change in behavior.

Blame my phone. There are fewer and fewer reasons for me to boot my obsolete computer. Except for charting, the phone is so much better/faster at nearly everything the computer can do.

That's especially true regarding boot times. I can turn the phone on, surf the FRED datatbase, check my email, and turn it back off long before my computer has even booted. And one wonders why the desktop personal computing industry is struggling?

This comment was typed from my phone. I have little desire to ever upgrade my desktop computer now. The only purpose it has left is to create charts for this blog. Go figure.

I also don't have much desire to buy a new gaming comsole. I'm having a blast playing phone games.

How many American jobs is my new activity creating over the long-term? Will we all just be writing games for each other? Somehow I don't think that's going to work, although I'd have no complaints if it did, lol. Sigh.

Mr Slippery said...

I think phones are great, but desktop computers can't be beat for content creation.

I can't write and debug a 10000 line program on my phone. Or do serious photo or video editing. Or play the best games. There are only a few kinds of games I like playing on my phone. Just opinions.

Rob Dawg said...

Battle Cats or battle the stupidity out on the net? Make a choice.

AllanF said...

Seen the movie Brazil? I keep waiting for a docking station w/ magnifying glass to create the impression of a bigger screen.

It doesn't seem so outlandish. I bet for many us our first professional computer monitor in a windowing environment was 1024x768@15.5" diagonal. That is a pixel size of 0.3076 mm/pixel.

The iPhone 6+ is 1920x1080 @ 5.5" diagonal. That is a pixel size of 0.0634 mm/pixel.

A simple 5x magnifying glass and you're back in business circa early to mid 1990's. That's not so bad. Those guys practically invented the Web as we know it.

Of course, it's more likely we'll just get a cable to plug our phone into a larger monitor. I bet that would cover 80% of people's needs. Anyone know how many MIPS a low-end Chromebook has vs. the latest iPhones? I'm a little surprised it hasn't happened yet.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery (& AllanF),

You can't debug a 10000 line program on your phone yet but AllanF makes a great point about the future. This phone has more than enough horsepower to do it.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Rob Dawg,

So many fun games, so little time! :)

Stagflationary Mark said...


I think one of your earlier comments got caught by blogger's nearly useless spam filter. I made an effort to rescue it but I fear that I accidentally deleted it instead. Sorry about that. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...

As for raw horsepower, I remember being told at my company that our games had to run on a 386sx (in the mid 1990s!). Might just as well have been running on hamster power.

We "lovingly" referred to the 386sx (the stripped down version of the 386) as the 386sux, lol.

One wonders how many orders of magnitude this phone's computing power is relative to it. I doubt it's even in the same ballpark.

AllanF said...

fear that I accidentally deleted it instead.

Meh, it was a 1/2 hearted attempt to share some performance specs. Long story short, I suspect the lack of a mini-displayport connector is marketing driven rather than engineering driven.

It would certainly complicate a few things, like getting power in and heat out. But ruining the Chi of Steve's masterfully closed box is not an engineering problem.

AllanF said...

Actually, it looks like there are Lightning to HDMI connectors. So there you go, let us know how it works. :)

Wisdom Seeker said...

Brookstone has a projector that you plug into your phone, so you can show your phone's movies to your buddies instead of having them breathing down your neck while looking over your shoulder.

I like the magnifier option.

But I have to question this part of Mark's original post: "long before my computer has even booted". WTF? No one reboots computers these days, AFAIK. I haven't rebooted a computer in ages except when I'm about to do something that will take all the RAM so I want it in a fresh state. Sleep and wake on the Mac can be done in the time it takes to sit down at the keyboard. (I suppose that's still a bit slower than just pulling the phone out of your pocket…) Also, at least on my phone, making any kind of custom graph is brutally painful. Surfing a standard set of graphs isn't too bad (but the viewable detail is painfully limited without a magnifier), but doing anything that requires detailed input is still pretty tough.

Maybe when the voice controls get better, the keyboard will become obsolete?

AllanF said...

WTF? No one reboots computers these days, AFAIK. I haven't rebooted a computer in ages

Yeah, I didn't want to call anyone out about it, but I was thinking the same thing. :) Heck, I don't even power-down for the FAA.

I'm guessing it's a generational thing. ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...

Back in my day we turned our computers all the way off and we liked it.

You crazy kids get off my lawn before I call the police! ;)

My computer is ancient. It's a miracle it runs at all.

And in all seriousness, as an anal retentive prohrammer type, I would always want my computer running in a clean state. Tracking down memory leaks was ingrained in my soul. It goes back to the dayd when the Mac only had so much memory to run a given program. Any memory leak, no matter how small, would eventually cause a crash.

Windoes ptogrammers were apparently allowed to be more sloppy. They could rely on virtual memory to bail them out to some degree. Makes me cringe to this day. So yeah, it probably is a generational thing.

I also have these thoughts any time I hear of servers are down for maintenance. Some of them are probably excess virtual dirt, lol.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Typing on the iPhone is still im the learning curve phase as seen in my last comment. Late night fat finger syndrome!

Stagflationary Mark said...

In a related story...

I was hited to get a mostly completed Mac educational game completed and shipped.

That first night I launched the game on every Mac and let them all run overnight. The founder asked me why I was doing it and I said I wanted an easy first look to see how stable the game was.

When I came in the next day, I was told that most, if not every, computer had crashed. I could tell it was going to be a long week. The game wasn't stable even when not being played!

It was a good start to a job though. Everyone thought it was stsble until I did that.

The memory problems in the game were widespread but at least the programmer who wrote it was consistent and wrote fairly readable and structured code. Gave me brownie points to have the vast majority of the memory bugs fixed shortly and everyone seemed so thrilled to see the game start to survive the overnight testing. Whew!

Stagflationary Mark said...

One more thought based on an old joke...

If I was driving Microsoft Car then you can bet that I would always reboot it before leaving the garage, and at every rest stop, and parking lot, and...

That will never change for me more than likely. It's probably a bit like those who grew up during the Great Depression not taking food gor granted. *shrug shoulders*

AllanF said...

Funny you mention a Microsoft car. My first job was diesel engine controllers. You'll probably be relieve to learn that 'malloc' was forbidden. And they meant it! IT pulled the library from the compiler. In fact, they pulled all of the C standard lib. "#include " that every C programmer types out of habit from their very first helloworld.c program would not even compile.

I still get twitchy and a bit of a funny feeling anytime I use malloc.

AllanF said...

Whoops, that should be "#include <stdio.h>"

But everyone here already knew that. ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...

I hear you!

I ended up overriding the memory allocation in our programs just to make sure every programmer on my team was deleting everything that had been allocated.

After running the game in debug mode, it would spit out a report showing the file names and line numbers of all the offenders. Very usrful! Tended to catch more than just memory bugs. The memory I handed them had a buffer on each end to catch overwrites. I'd check that too.

Memory management was such a big deal that it was often my first interview question. What would you do to catch memory lesks? If the person glazed over that was about it for them as far as I was concerned.

When I was in college, nobody ever cared. Either the program ran or it didn't. As is often the case, the real world is much less forgiving.

Wisdom Seeker said...

Yeah, the good old days of Mac memory leaks!! I didn't get the joy of programming but I suspect I enjoyed the fruits of your labors at some point. And I certainly used to reboot habitually. But not anymore.

I do agree about rebooting a a Microsoft Car. In fact, I avoid any car with enough electronics in it to require a Microsoft OS.

But I still think a keyboard and large screen add a lot of value.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Wisdom Seeker,

I've been using a wireless keybosrd and wireless mouse for more thsn a decade, Add on a wireless big screen TV and the phone could easily replace the desktop computer for me.

My new phone has more than enough processing power to replace my PC. That's why I think desktop computers may/should become an endangered species.

Further, I doubt the median PC is doing much more than Facebook, gaming, and bill paying. I can't speak for others, but my PC won't be doing any of those things soon (not that I've ever desired to be on Facebook).

My girlfriend has a PC that hasn't been turned on for years and her laptop is only turned on when I need it.

Her iPhone 6+ does everything she needs.

And speaking of magnifying the screen, I'm playing a game called Pavific Fleet on my phone. The font is so tiny on the radar that I have to use the magnifying lens on my swiss army knife to read it. Fortunately, it's a turn based. game! Hahaha! :)