Terrifying Economics: Diary, 2/11 to 2/12/22

Remember what you learn, by Will Schroder, including the Feynman technique; Charlie Munger quote; Richard Wolff interviewed by Chris Hedges, on the coming collapse of the US economy, pretty convincing; skinny pens; Hemlock Club psych and The Yin of Self-Mastery. Isn’t that enough

Economist Richard Wolff

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved


Saw a fabulous video on YouTube, “How to Remember Everything You Learn,” by Will Schroder.  The three basic points:

  1. Recall.  That is, pause during your reading or at the end of a chapter and try to remember the main points of the new material.  I’ve often told myself to do this, but never really was systematic about it.
  2. The Feynman Technique.  1) Pick something you want to learn; 2) Write an explanation for someone who doesn’t understand it; 3) Go back to the source material to fill in gaps, and keep doing that until you no longer need to go back; 4) Simplify your explanation, perhaps by using analogies, to remove technical terms and tortured logic.
  3. Spaced Repetition.  Review the material periodically.  My idea:  create a schedule for when to revisit it (Bullet Journal methods are ideal for this).  If the schedule becomes a burden, perhaps you don’t really need (aren’t using) the material.

Also:  “Think about one important thing at a time, rather than trying to absorb as much information as possible.”

And:  a quote from Charlie Munger:  “Our job is to find a few intelligent things to do, not keep up with every damn thing in the world.”  This is important advice for me, I think.


New horrors and terrors keep on coming.  Today is was Chris Hedges:  On Contact, interviewing economist Richard Wolff, warning of coming catastrophe in the U.S. economy.  Business debt, household debt, student debt, and government debt all at all-time highs.  The economy has been in an iron lung [my words] for a couple of decades, and now the power company is warning of rolling blackouts.  Wolff didn’t go much into the long-term causes, but it’s pretty obvious: 600+ billionaires in the U.S., $750 billion military budget, and a broken government because of the billionaires, thanks to repugliKKKans [and democraps] and the Supreme Court they gave us (“Citizens United”).  The current 7.5% inflation is a major warning sign.  The decades-long (im)balance of payments is eroding the economy; we have that because, again, billionaires controlling corporations, insatiable for more and more profits, squeezing the American worker (and thus the middle class) by shipping jobs overseas, crushing the unions (starting with Reagan), etc.

Of course, we’ve been living high on the hog because we got a running head-start over the rest of the world because we’re geographically isolated and so avoided most of the horrors of WWII.  But China is catching up, has caught up, and Wolff points out that the trillion dollars of debt China holds is, through yearly interest payments, financing their buildup of arms.  It would be interesting to see the numbers for world and US manu­facturing and exports, but I doubt that I’ll bother.

The effects on me personally aren’t likely to be serious for a while, but the inevitable collapse of the US economy will take me down along with everyone else, sooner than the climate catastrophe, if inflation gets horrific.  You see, the COLAs I get lag behind inflation by a year.

On Contact is available through a number of alternative media; this show isn’t on YouTube tonight, but will be soon.  You can catch it also on RT (Russian TV cable channel), KPFK.org.  But perhaps you don’t want to listen to a communist.  Your loss.

Now to the trivial:  lost a pen today, which I discovered at the Hemlock Club meeting.  This wouldn’t be important except that it had a separate triangular grip that I’ll need to replace.  Office Depot doesn’t have them.  The whole world seems to love the skinniest possible pens; I need a fat pen, or the stupid little overpriced pen grips that it seems I can only get online.

Good conversation at the HC today.  I actually got in a lecture of about twenty minutes to an audience of one (Nog) about habits and self-guidance, which I’m now calling “The Tao of Self-Mastery,” or perhaps “The Yin of Self-Mastery.”  Peanut read a loud from a book on conversation, giving me information she was enthusiastic about but which I’d heard decades ago—different learning styles and how one might adjust one’s talk to suit the audience.  The thing is, I don’t know the learning styles even of people I’ve known for years.  I don’t even know my own, though at a guess it might be a modest preference for visual.  I also told Nog about Karen Horney’s book on neuroses (Our Inner Conflicts from 1945) and Fritz Perls’s ideas about blind spots, which apparently amused him.  I suggested that Pablo “has no ears,” and that Nog might be suffering from the “moving away from people” neurotic pattern described by Horney.  In retrospect, I said some offensive things to him; but he was good natured about it, as usual.  I knew I was pushing my luck, but he seemed receptive as I was talking…

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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