Friday, February 10, 2006

** How we got here by Andy Kessler

How we got here by Andy Kessler

Just about every bank in existence today is basically bankrupt. A deposit made in a bank is an asset for you, but it's a liability for the bank, since it owes you the money. But then bank lends out the depositor's money as loans, and those loans are the bank's assets. Bank always have fewer 'assets' than 'liabilities', and therefore a negative net worth. p91

In 1939, Grace Hopper was given the task of programming one of the first IBM computers (the Mark 2-4 series at Harvard). When trying to figure out why one of her programs didn't work, she actually found a moth caught in one of the electronic relays. No myth, she pasted the moth into the logbook of Mark 2 (now at the Smithsonian). Hence the name computer bug. p124

The US is a huge exporter of intellectual property, although these exports are hard to quantify and measure. Often, an entire architecture of a chip, valued at $1 billion can be emailed to a factory in Taiwan, without a cash register ringing or a Commerce Dept employee around to measure the export. That IP is combined with low margin labor, plastic, and power supplies and turned into a laptop or DVD player. This margin surplus run by the US is the way to run an economy with declining price products. p193

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