Foreign Exchange (Forex) Definition - Investopedia

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
submitted by fuzzyblankeet to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

No, the British did not steal $45 trillion from India

This is an updated copy of the version on BadHistory. I plan to update it in accordance with the feedback I got.
I'd like to thank two people who will remain anonymous for helping me greatly with this post (you know who you are)
Three years ago a festschrift for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri was published by Shubhra Chakrabarti, a history teacher at the University of Delhi and Utsa Patnaik, a Marxist economist who taught at JNU until 2010.
One of the essays in the festschirt by Utsa Patnaik was an attempt to quantify the "drain" undergone by India during British Rule. Her conclusion? Britain robbed India of $45 trillion (or £9.2 trillion) during their 200 or so years of rule. This figure was immensely popular, and got republished in several major news outlets (here, here, here, here (they get the number wrong) and more recently here), got a mention from the Minister of External Affairs & returns 29,100 results on Google. There's also plenty of references to it here on Reddit.
Patnaik is not the first to calculate such a figure. Angus Maddison thought it was £100 million, Simon Digby said £1 billion, Javier Estaban said £40 million see Roy (2019). The huge range of figures should set off some alarm bells.
So how did Patnaik calculate this (shockingly large) figure? Well, even though I don't have access to the festschrift, she conveniently has written an article detailing her methodology here. Let's have a look.
How exactly did the British manage to diddle us and drain our wealth’ ? was the question that Basudev Chatterjee (later editor of a volume in the Towards Freedom project) had posed to me 50 years ago when we were fellow-students abroad.
This is begging the question.
After decades of research I find that using India’s commodity export surplus as the measure and applying an interest rate of 5%, the total drain from 1765 to 1938, compounded up to 2016, comes to £9.2 trillion; since $4.86 exchanged for £1 those days, this sum equals about $45 trillion.
This is completely meaningless. To understand why it's meaningless consider India's annual coconut exports. These are almost certainly a surplus but the surplus in trade is countered by the other country buying the product (indeed, by definition, trade surpluses contribute to the GDP of a nation which hardly plays into intuitive conceptualisations of drain).
Furthermore, Dewey (2019) critiques the 5% interest rate.
She [Patnaik] consistently adopts statistical assumptions (such as compound interest at a rate of 5% per annum over centuries) that exaggerate the magnitude of the drain
Moving on:
The exact mechanism of drain, or transfers from India to Britain was quite simple.
Convenient.
Drain theory possessed the political merit of being easily grasped by a nation of peasants. [...] No other idea could arouse people than the thought that they were being taxed so that others in far off lands might live in comfort. [...] It was, therefore, inevitable that the drain theory became the main staple of nationalist political agitation during the Gandhian era.
- Chandra et al. (1989)
The key factor was Britain’s control over our taxation revenues combined with control over India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its booming commodity export surplus with the world. Simply put, Britain used locally raised rupee tax revenues to pay for its net import of goods, a highly abnormal use of budgetary funds not seen in any sovereign country.
The issue with figures like these is they all make certain methodological assumptions that are impossible to prove. From Roy in Frankema et al. (2019):
the "drain theory" of Indian poverty cannot be tested with evidence, for several reasons. First, it rests on the counterfactual that any money saved on account of factor payments abroad would translate into domestic investment, which can never be proved. Second, it rests on "the primitive notion that all payments to foreigners are "drain"", that is, on the assumption that these payments did not contribute to domestic national income to the equivalent extent (Kumar 1985, 384; see also Chaudhuri 1968). Again, this cannot be tested. [...] Fourth, while British officers serving India did receive salaries that were many times that of the average income in India, a paper using cross-country data shows that colonies with better paid officers were governed better (Jones 2013).
Indeed, drain theory rests on some very weak foundations. This, in of itself, should be enough to dismiss any of the other figures that get thrown out. Nonetheless, I felt it would be a useful exercise to continue exploring Patnaik's take on drain theory.
The East India Company from 1765 onwards allocated every year up to one-third of Indian budgetary revenues net of collection costs, to buy a large volume of goods for direct import into Britain, far in excess of that country’s own needs.
So what's going on here? Well Roy (2019) explains it better:
Colonial India ran an export surplus, which, together with foreign investment, was used to pay for services purchased from Britain. These payments included interest on public debt, salaries, and pensions paid to government offcers who had come from Britain, salaries of managers and engineers, guaranteed profts paid to railway companies, and repatriated business profts. How do we know that any of these payments involved paying too much? The answer is we do not.
So what was really happening is the government was paying its workers for services (as well as guaranteeing profits - to promote investment - something the GoI does today Dalal (2019), and promoting business in India), and those workers were remitting some of that money to Britain. This is hardly a drain (unless, of course, Indian diaspora around the world today are "draining" it). In some cases, the remittances would take the form of goods (as described) see Chaudhuri (1983):
It is obvious that these debit items were financed through the export surplus on merchandise account, and later, when railway construction started on a large scale in India, through capital import. Until 1833 the East India Company followed a cumbersome method in remitting the annual home charges. This was to purchase export commodities in India out of revenue, which were then shipped to London and the proceeds from their sale handed over to the home treasury.
While Roy's earlier point argues better paid officers governed better, it is honestly impossible to say what part of the repatriated export surplus was a drain, and what was not. However calling all of it a drain is definitely misguided.
It's worth noting that Patnaik seems to make no attempt to quantify the benefits of the Raj either, Dewey (2019)'s 2nd criticism:
she [Patnaik] consistently ignores research that would tend to cut the economic impact of the drain down to size, such as the work on the sources of investment during the industrial revolution (which shows that industrialisation was financed by the ploughed-back profits of industrialists) or the costs of empire school (which stresses the high price of imperial defence)

Since tropical goods were highly prized in other cold temperate countries which could never produce them, in effect these free goods represented international purchasing power for Britain which kept a part for its own use and re-exported the balance to other countries in Europe and North America against import of food grains, iron and other goods in which it was deficient.
Re-exports necessarily adds value to goods when the goods are processed and when the goods are transported. The country with the largest navy at the time would presumably be in very good stead to do the latter.
The British historians Phyllis Deane and WA Cole presented an incorrect estimate of Britain’s 18th-19th century trade volume, by leaving out re-exports completely. I found that by 1800 Britain’s total trade was 62% higher than their estimate, on applying the correct definition of trade including re-exports, that is used by the United Nations and by all other international organisations.
While interesting, and certainly expected for such an old book, re-exporting necessarily adds value to goods.
When the Crown took over from the Company, from 1861 a clever system was developed under which all of India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its fast-rising commodity export surplus with the world, was intercepted and appropriated by Britain. As before up to a third of India’s rising budgetary revenues was not spent domestically but was set aside as ‘expenditure abroad’.
So, what does this mean? Britain appropriated all of India's earnings, and then spent a third of it aboard? Not exactly. She is describing home charges see Roy (2019) again:
Some of the expenditures on defense and administration were made in sterling and went out of the country. This payment by the government was known as the Home Charges. For example, interest payment on loans raised to finance construction of railways and irrigation works, pensions paid to retired officers, and purchase of stores, were payments in sterling. [...] almost all money that the government paid abroad corresponded to the purchase of a service from abroad. [...] The balance of payments system that emerged after 1800 was based on standard business principles. India bought something and paid for it. State revenues were used to pay for wages of people hired abroad, pay for interest on loans raised abroad, and repatriation of profits on foreign investments coming into India. These were legitimate market transactions.
Indeed, if paying for what you buy is drain, then several billions of us are drained every day.
The Secretary of State for India in Council, based in London, invited foreign importers to deposit with him the payment (in gold, sterling and their own currencies) for their net imports from India, and these gold and forex payments disappeared into the yawning maw of the SoS’s account in the Bank of England.
It should be noted that India having two heads was beneficial, and encouraged investment per Roy (2019):
The fact that the India Office in London managed a part of the monetary system made India creditworthy, stabilized its currency, and encouraged foreign savers to put money into railways and private enterprise in India. Current research on the history of public debt shows that stable and large colonies found it easier to borrow abroad than independent economies because the investors trusted the guarantee of the colonist powers.

Against India’s net foreign earnings he issued bills, termed Council bills (CBs), to an equivalent rupee value. The rate (between gold-linked sterling and silver rupee) at which the bills were issued, was carefully adjusted to the last farthing, so that foreigners would never find it more profitable to ship financial gold as payment directly to Indians, compared to using the CB route. Foreign importers then sent the CBs by post or by telegraph to the export houses in India, that via the exchange banks were paid out of the budgeted provision of sums under ‘expenditure abroad’, and the exporters in turn paid the producers (peasants and artisans) from whom they sourced the goods.
Sunderland (2013) argues CBs had two main roles (and neither were part of a grand plot to keep gold out of India):
Council bills had two roles. They firstly promoted trade by handing the IO some control of the rate of exchange and allowing the exchange banks to remit funds to India and to hedge currency transaction risks. They also enabled the Indian government to transfer cash to England for the payment of its UK commitments.

The United Nations (1962) historical data for 1900 to 1960, show that for three decades up to 1928 (and very likely earlier too) India posted the second highest merchandise export surplus in the world, with USA in the first position. Not only were Indians deprived of every bit of the enormous international purchasing power they had earned over 175 years, even its rupee equivalent was not issued to them since not even the colonial government was credited with any part of India’s net gold and forex earnings against which it could issue rupees. The sleight-of-hand employed, namely ‘paying’ producers out of their own taxes, made India’s export surplus unrequited and constituted a tax-financed drain to the metropolis, as had been correctly pointed out by those highly insightful classical writers, Dadabhai Naoroji and RCDutt.
It doesn't appear that others appreciate their insight Roy (2019):
K. N. Chaudhuri rightly calls such practice ‘confused’ economics ‘coloured by political feelings’.

Surplus budgets to effect such heavy tax-financed transfers had a severe employment–reducing and income-deflating effect: mass consumption was squeezed in order to release export goods. Per capita annual foodgrains absorption in British India declined from 210 kg. during the period 1904-09, to 157 kg. during 1937-41, and to only 137 kg by 1946.
Dewey (1978) points out reliability issues with Indian agriculutural statistics, however this calorie decline persists to this day. Some of it is attributed to less food being consumed at home Smith (2015), a lower infectious disease burden Duh & Spears (2016) and diversified diets Vankatesh et al. (2016).
If even a part of its enormous foreign earnings had been credited to it and not entirely siphoned off, India could have imported modern technology to build up an industrial structure as Japan was doing.
This is, unfortunately, impossible to prove. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication that India would've united (this is arguably more plausible than the given counterfactual1). Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been nuked in WW2, much like Japan. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been invaded by lizard people, much like Japan. The list continues eternally.
Nevertheless, I will charitably examine the given counterfactual anyway. Did pre-colonial India have industrial potential? The answer is a resounding no.
From Gupta (1980):
This article starts from the premise that while economic categories - the extent of commodity production, wage labour, monetarisation of the economy, etc - should be the basis for any analysis of the production relations of pre-British India, it is the nature of class struggles arising out of particular class alignments that finally gives the decisive twist to social change. Arguing on this premise, and analysing the available evidence, this article concludes that there was little potential for industrial revolution before the British arrived in India because, whatever might have been the character of economic categories of that period, the class relations had not sufficiently matured to develop productive forces and the required class struggle for a 'revolution' to take place.
A view echoed in Raychaudhuri (1983):
Yet all of this did not amount to an economic situation comparable to that of western Europe on the eve of the industrial revolution. Her technology - in agriculture as well as manufacturers - had by and large been stagnant for centuries. [...] The weakness of the Indian economy in the mid-eighteenth century, as compared to pre-industrial Europe was not simply a matter of technology and commercial and industrial organization. No scientific or geographical revolution formed part of the eighteenth-century Indian's historical experience. [...] Spontaneous movement towards industrialisation is unlikely in such a situation.
So now we've established India did not have industrial potential, was India similar to Japan just before the Meiji era? The answer, yet again, unsurprisingly, is no. Japan's economic situation was not comparable to India's, which allowed for Japan to finance its revolution. From Yasuba (1986):
All in all, the Japanese standard of living may not have been much below the English standard of living before industrialization, and both of them may have been considerably higher than the Indian standard of living. We can no longer say that Japan started from a pathetically low economic level and achieved a rapid or even "miraculous" economic growth. Japan's per capita income was almost as high as in Western Europe before industrialization, and it was possible for Japan to produce surplus in the Meiji Period to finance private and public capital formation.
The circumstances that led to Meiji Japan were extremely unique. See Tomlinson (1985):
Most modern comparisons between India and Japan, written by either Indianists or Japanese specialists, stress instead that industrial growth in Meiji Japan was the product of unique features that were not reproducible elsewhere. [...] it is undoubtably true that Japan's progress to industrialization has been unique and unrepeatable
So there you have it. Unsubstantiated statistical assumptions, calling any number you can a drain & assuming a counterfactual for no good reason gets you this $45 trillion number. Hopefully that's enough to bury it in the ground.
1. Several authors have affirmed that Indian identity is a colonial artefact. For example see Rajan 1969:
Perhaps the single greatest and most enduring impact of British rule over India is that it created an Indian nation, in the modern political sense. After centuries of rule by different dynasties overparts of the Indian sub-continent, and after about 100 years of British rule, Indians ceased to be merely Bengalis, Maharashtrians,or Tamils, linguistically and culturally.
or see Bryant 2000:
But then, it would be anachronistic to condemn eighteenth-century Indians, who served the British, as collaborators, when the notion of 'democratic' nationalism or of an Indian 'nation' did not then exist. [...] Indians who fought for them, differed from the Europeans in having a primary attachment to a non-belligerent religion, family and local chief, which was stronger than any identity they might have with a more remote prince or 'nation'.

Bibliography

Chakrabarti, Shubra & Patnaik, Utsa (2018). Agrarian and other histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri. Colombia University Press
Hickel, Jason (2018). How the British stole $45 trillion from India. The Guardian
Bhuyan, Aroonim & Sharma, Krishan (2019). The Great Loot: How the British stole $45 trillion from India. Indiapost
Monbiot, George (2020). English Landowners have stolen our rights. It is time to reclaim them. The Guardian
Tsjeng, Zing (2020). How Britain Stole $45 trillion from India with trains | Empires of Dirt. Vice
Chaudhury, Dipanjan (2019). British looted $45 trillion from India in today’s value: Jaishankar. The Economic Times
Roy, Tirthankar (2019). How British rule changed India's economy: The Paradox of the Raj. Palgrave Macmillan
Patnaik, Utsa (2018). How the British impoverished India. Hindustan Times
Tuovila, Alicia (2019). Expenditure method. Investopedia
Dewey, Clive (2019). Changing the guard: The dissolution of the nationalist–Marxist orthodoxy in the agrarian and agricultural history of India. The Indian Economic & Social History Review
Chandra, Bipan et al. (1989). India's Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947. Penguin Books
Frankema, Ewout & Booth, Anne (2019). Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, c. 1850-1960. Cambridge University Press
Dalal, Sucheta (2019). IL&FS Controversy: Centre is Paying Up on Sovereign Guarantees to ADB, KfW for Group's Loan. TheWire
Chaudhuri, K.N. (1983). X - Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments (1757–1947). Cambridge University Press
Sunderland, David (2013). Financing the Raj: The City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940. Boydell Press
Dewey, Clive (1978). Patwari and Chaukidar: Subordinate officials and the reliability of India’s agricultural statistics. Athlone Press
Smith, Lisa (2015). The great Indian calorie debate: Explaining rising undernourishment during India’s rapid economic growth. Food Policy
Duh, Josephine & Spears, Dean (2016). Health and Hunger: Disease, Energy Needs, and the Indian Calorie Consumption Puzzle. The Economic Journal
Vankatesh, P. et al. (2016). Relationship between Food Production and Consumption Diversity in India – Empirical Evidences from Cross Section Analysis. Agricultural Economics Research Review
Gupta, Shaibal (1980). Potential of Industrial Revolution in Pre-British India. Economic and Political Weekly
Raychaudhuri, Tapan (1983). I - The mid-eighteenth-century background. Cambridge University Press
Yasuba, Yasukichi (1986). Standard of Living in Japan Before Industrialization: From what Level did Japan Begin? A Comment. The Journal of Economic History
Tomblinson, B.R. (1985). Writing History Sideways: Lessons for Indian Economic Historians from Meiji Japan. Cambridge University Press
Rajan, M.S. (1969). The Impact of British Rule in India. Journal of Contemporary History
Bryant, G.J. (2000). Indigenous Mercenaries in the Service of European Imperialists: The Case of the Sepoys in the Early British Indian Army, 1750-1800. War in History
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The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market

The Next Crypto Wave: The Rise of Stablecoins and its Entry to the U.S. Dollar Market

Author: Christian Hsieh, CEO of Tokenomy
This paper examines some explanations for the continual global market demand for the U.S. dollar, the rise of stablecoins, and the utility and opportunities that crypto dollars can offer to both the cryptocurrency and traditional markets.
The U.S. dollar, dominant in world trade since the establishment of the 1944 Bretton Woods System, is unequivocally the world’s most demanded reserve currency. Today, more than 61% of foreign bank reserves and nearly 40% of the entire world’s debt is denominated in U.S. dollars1.
However, there is a massive supply and demand imbalance in the U.S. dollar market. On the supply side, central banks throughout the world have implemented more than a decade-long accommodative monetary policy since the 2008 global financial crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the need for central banks to provide necessary liquidity and keep staggering economies moving. While the Federal Reserve leads the effort of “money printing” and stimulus programs, the current money supply still cannot meet the constant high demand for the U.S. dollar2. Let us review some of the reasons for this constant dollar demand from a few economic fundamentals.

Demand for U.S. Dollars

Firstly, most of the world’s trade is denominated in U.S. dollars. Chief Economist of the IMF, Gita Gopinath, has compiled data reflecting that the U.S. dollar’s share of invoicing was 4.7 times larger than America’s share of the value of imports, and 3.1 times its share of world exports3. The U.S. dollar is the dominant “invoicing currency” in most developing countries4.

https://preview.redd.it/d4xalwdyz8p51.png?width=535&format=png&auto=webp&s=9f0556c6aa6b29016c9b135f3279e8337dfee2a6

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This U.S. dollar preference also directly impacts the world’s debt. According to the Bank of International Settlements, there is over $67 trillion in U.S. dollar denominated debt globally, and borrowing outside of the U.S. accounted for $12.5 trillion in Q1 20205. There is an immense demand for U.S. dollars every year just to service these dollar debts. The annual U.S. dollar buying demand is easily over $1 trillion assuming the borrowing cost is at 1.5% (1 year LIBOR + 1%) per year, a conservative estimate.

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Secondly, since the U.S. has a much stronger economy compared to its global peers, a higher return on investments draws U.S. dollar demand from everywhere in the world, to invest in companies both in the public and private markets. The U.S. hosts the largest stock markets in the world with more than $33 trillion in public market capitalization (combined both NYSE and NASDAQ)6. For the private market, North America’s total share is well over 60% of the $6.5 trillion global assets under management across private equity, real assets, and private debt investments7. The demand for higher quality investments extends to the fixed income market as well. As countries like Japan and Switzerland currently have negative-yielding interest rates8, fixed income investors’ quest for yield in the developed economies leads them back to the U.S. debt market. As of July 2020, there are $15 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt securities globally (see chart). In comparison, the positive, low-yielding U.S. debt remains a sound fixed income strategy for conservative investors in uncertain market conditions.

Source: Bloomberg
Last, but not least, there are many developing economies experiencing failing monetary policies, where hyperinflation has become a real national disaster. A classic example is Venezuela, where the currency Bolivar became practically worthless as the inflation rate skyrocketed to 10,000,000% in 20199. The recent Beirut port explosion in Lebanon caused a sudden economic meltdown and compounded its already troubled financial market, where inflation has soared to over 112% year on year10. For citizens living in unstable regions such as these, the only reliable store of value is the U.S. dollar. According to the Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, Venezuela has become one of the most active cryptocurrency trading countries11. The demand for cryptocurrency surges as a flight to safety mentality drives Venezuelans to acquire U.S. dollars to preserve savings that they might otherwise lose. The growth for cryptocurrency activities in those regions is fueled by these desperate citizens using cryptocurrencies as rails to access the U.S. dollar, on top of acquiring actual Bitcoin or other underlying crypto assets.

The Rise of Crypto Dollars

Due to the highly volatile nature of cryptocurrencies, USD stablecoin, a crypto-powered blockchain token that pegs its value to the U.S. dollar, was introduced to provide stable dollar exposure in the crypto trading sphere. Tether is the first of its kind. Issued in 2014 on the bitcoin blockchain (Omni layer protocol), under the token symbol USDT, it attempts to provide crypto traders with a stable settlement currency while they trade in and out of various crypto assets. The reason behind the stablecoin creation was to address the inefficient and burdensome aspects of having to move fiat U.S. dollars between the legacy banking system and crypto exchanges. Because one USDT is theoretically backed by one U.S. dollar, traders can use USDT to trade and settle to fiat dollars. It was not until 2017 that the majority of traders seemed to realize Tether’s intended utility and started using it widely. As of April 2019, USDT trading volume started exceeding the trading volume of bitcoina12, and it now dominates the crypto trading sphere with over $50 billion average daily trading volume13.

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An interesting aspect of USDT is that although the claimed 1:1 backing with U.S. dollar collateral is in question, and the Tether company is in reality running fractional reserves through a loose offshore corporate structure, Tether’s trading volume and adoption continues to grow rapidly14. Perhaps in comparison to fiat U.S. dollars, which is not really backed by anything, Tether still has cash equivalents in reserves and crypto traders favor its liquidity and convenience over its lack of legitimacy. For those who are concerned about Tether’s solvency, they can now purchase credit default swaps for downside protection15. On the other hand, USDC, the more compliant contender, takes a distant second spot with total coin circulation of $1.8 billion, versus USDT at $14.5 billion (at the time of publication). It is still too early to tell who is the ultimate leader in the stablecoin arena, as more and more stablecoins are launching to offer various functions and supporting mechanisms. There are three main categories of stablecoin: fiat-backed, crypto-collateralized, and non-collateralized algorithm based stablecoins. Most of these are still at an experimental phase, and readers can learn more about them here. With the continuous innovation of stablecoin development, the utility stablecoins provide in the overall crypto market will become more apparent.

Institutional Developments

In addition to trade settlement, stablecoins can be applied in many other areas. Cross-border payments and remittances is an inefficient market that desperately needs innovation. In 2020, the average cost of sending money across the world is around 7%16, and it takes days to settle. The World Bank aims to reduce remittance fees to 3% by 2030. With the implementation of blockchain technology, this cost could be further reduced close to zero.
J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has created an Interbank Information Network (IIN) with 416 global Institutions to transform the speed of payment flows through its own JPM Coin, another type of crypto dollar17. Although people argue that JPM Coin is not considered a cryptocurrency as it cannot trade openly on a public blockchain, it is by far the largest scale experiment with all the institutional participants trading within the “permissioned” blockchain. It might be more accurate to refer to it as the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) instead of “blockchain” in this context. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that as J.P. Morgan currently moves $6 trillion U.S. dollars per day18, the scale of this experiment would create a considerable impact in the international payment and remittance market if it were successful. Potentially the day will come when regulated crypto exchanges become participants of IIN, and the link between public and private crypto assets can be instantly connected, unlocking greater possibilities in blockchain applications.
Many central banks are also in talks about developing their own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Although this idea was not new, the discussion was brought to the forefront due to Facebook’s aggressive Libra project announcement in June 2019 and the public attention that followed. As of July 2020, at least 36 central banks have published some sort of CBDC framework. While each nation has a slightly different motivation behind its currency digitization initiative, ranging from payment safety, transaction efficiency, easy monetary implementation, or financial inclusion, these central banks are committed to deploying a new digital payment infrastructure. When it comes to the technical architectures, research from BIS indicates that most of the current proofs-of-concept tend to be based upon distributed ledger technology (permissioned blockchain)19.

https://preview.redd.it/lgb1f2rw19p51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=040bb0deed0499df6bf08a072fd7c4a442a826a0
These institutional experiments are laying an essential foundation for an improved global payment infrastructure, where instant and frictionless cross-border settlements can take place with minimal costs. Of course, the interoperability of private DLT tokens and public blockchain stablecoins has yet to be explored, but the innovation with both public and private blockchain efforts could eventually merge. This was highlighted recently by the Governor of the Bank of England who stated that “stablecoins and CBDC could sit alongside each other20”. One thing for certain is that crypto dollars (or other fiat-linked digital currencies) are going to play a significant role in our future economy.

Future Opportunities

There is never a dull moment in the crypto sector. The industry narratives constantly shift as innovation continues to evolve. Twelve years since its inception, Bitcoin has evolved from an abstract subject to a familiar concept. Its role as a secured, scarce, decentralized digital store of value has continued to gain acceptance, and it is well on its way to becoming an investable asset class as a portfolio hedge against asset price inflation and fiat currency depreciation. Stablecoins have proven to be useful as proxy dollars in the crypto world, similar to how dollars are essential in the traditional world. It is only a matter of time before stablecoins or private digital tokens dominate the cross-border payments and global remittances industry.
There are no shortages of hypes and experiments that draw new participants into the crypto space, such as smart contracts, new blockchains, ICOs, tokenization of things, or the most recent trends on DeFi tokens. These projects highlight the possibilities for a much more robust digital future, but the market also needs time to test and adopt. A reliable digital payment infrastructure must be built first in order to allow these experiments to flourish.
In this paper we examined the historical background and economic reasons for the U.S. dollar’s dominance in the world, and the probable conclusion is that the demand for U.S. dollars will likely continue, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, accompanied by a worldwide economic slowdown. The current monetary system is far from perfect, but there are no better alternatives for replacement at least in the near term. Incremental improvements are being made in both the public and private sectors, and stablecoins have a definite role to play in both the traditional and the new crypto world.
Thank you.

Reference:
[1] How the US dollar became the world’s reserve currency, Investopedia
[2] The dollar is in high demand, prone to dangerous appreciation, The Economist
[3] Dollar dominance in trade and finance, Gita Gopinath
[4] Global trades dependence on dollars, The Economist & IMF working papers
[5] Total credit to non-bank borrowers by currency of denomination, BIS
[6] Biggest stock exchanges in the world, Business Insider
[7] McKinsey Global Private Market Review 2020, McKinsey & Company
[8] Central banks current interest rates, Global Rates
[9] Venezuela hyperinflation hits 10 million percent, CNBC
[10] Lebanon inflation crisis, Reuters
[11] Venezuela cryptocurrency market, Chainalysis
[12] The most used cryptocurrency isn’t Bitcoin, Bloomberg
[13] Trading volume of all crypto assets, coinmarketcap.com
[14] Tether US dollar peg is no longer credible, Forbes
[15] New crypto derivatives let you bet on (or against) Tether’s solvency, Coindesk
[16] Remittance Price Worldwide, The World Bank
[17] Interbank Information Network, J.P. Morgan
[18] Jamie Dimon interview, CBS News
[19] Rise of the central bank digital currency, BIS
[20] Speech by Andrew Bailey, 3 September 2020, Bank of England
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What Is Capitalism?

Capitalism is an economic system in which private individuals or businesses own capital goods. The production of goods and services is based on supply and demand in the general market—known as a market economy—rather than through central planning—known as a planned economy or command economy.
The purest form of capitalism is free market or laissez-faire capitalism. Here, private individuals are unrestrained. They may determine where to invest, what to produce or sell, and at which prices to exchange goods and services. The laissez-faire marketplace operates without checks or controls.
Today, most countries practice a mixed capitalist system that includes some degree of government regulation of business and ownership of select industries.
Volume 75% 2:05

Capitalism

Understanding Capitalism

Functionally speaking, capitalism is one process by which the problems of economic production and resource distribution might be resolved. Instead of planning economic decisions through centralized political methods, as with socialism or feudalism, economic planning under capitalism occurs via decentralized and voluntary decisions.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private ownership of the means of production, especially in the industrial sector.
  • Capitalism depends on the enforcement of private property rights, which provide incentives for investment in and productive use of productive capital.
  • Capitalism developed historically out of previous systems of feudalism and mercantilism in Europe, and dramatically expanded industrialization and the large-scale availability of mass-market consumer goods.
  • Pure capitalism can be contrasted with pure socialism (where all means of production are collective or state-owned) and mixed economies (which lie on a continuum between pure capitalism and pure socialism).
  • The real-world practice of capitalism typically involves some degree of so-called “crony capitalism” due to demands from business for favorable government intervention and governments’ incentive to intervene in the economy.

Capitalism and Private Property

Private property rights are fundamental to capitalism. Most modern concepts of private property stem from John Locke's theory of homesteading, in which human beings claim ownership through mixing their labor with unclaimed resources. Once owned, the only legitimate means of transferring property are through voluntary exchange, gifts, inheritance, or re-homesteading of abandoned property.
Private property promotes efficiency by giving the owner of resources an incentive to maximize the value of their property. So, the more valuable the resource is, the more trading power it provides the owner. In a capitalist system, the person who owns the property is entitled to any value associated with that property.
For individuals or businesses to deploy their capital goods confidently, a system must exist that protects their legal right to own or transfer private property. A capitalist society will rely on the use of contracts, fair dealing, and tort law to facilitate and enforce these private property rights.
When a property is not privately owned but shared by the public, a problem known as the tragedy of the commons can emerge. With a common pool resource, which all people can use, and none can limit access to, all individuals have an incentive to extract as much use value as they can and no incentive to conserve or reinvest in the resource. Privatizing the resource is one possible solution to this problem, along with various voluntary or involuntary collective action approaches.

Capitalism, Profits, and Losses

Profits are closely associated with the concept of private property. By definition, an individual only enters into a voluntary exchange of private property when they believe the exchange benefits them in some psychic or material way. In such trades, each party gains extra subjective value, or profit, from the transaction.
Voluntary trade is the mechanism that drives activity in a capitalist system. The owners of resources compete with one another over consumers, who in turn, compete with other consumers over goods and services. All of this activity is built into the price system, which balances supply and demand to coordinate the distribution of resources.
A capitalist earns the highest profit by using capital goods most efficiently while producing the highest-value good or service. In this system, information about what is highest-valued is transmitted through those prices at which another individual voluntarily purchases the capitalist's good or service. Profits are an indication that less valuable inputs have been transformed into more valuable outputs. By contrast, the capitalist suffers losses when capital resources are not used efficiently and instead create less valuable outputs.

Free Enterprise or Capitalism?

Capitalism and free enterprise are often seen as synonymous. In truth, they are closely related yet distinct terms with overlapping features. It is possible to have a capitalist economy without complete free enterprise, and possible to have a free market without capitalism.
Any economy is capitalist as long as private individuals control the factors of production. However, a capitalist system can still be regulated by government laws, and the profits of capitalist endeavors can still be taxed heavily.
"Free enterprise" can roughly be understood to mean economic exchanges free of coercive government influence. Although unlikely, it is possible to conceive of a system where individuals choose to hold all property rights in common. Private property rights still exist in a free enterprise system, although the private property may be voluntarily treated as communal without a government mandate.
Many Native American tribes existed with elements of these arrangements, and within a broader capitalist economic family, clubs, co-ops, and joint-stock business firms like partnerships or corporations are all examples of common property institutions.
If accumulation, ownership, and profiting from capital is the central principle of capitalism, then freedom from state coercion is the central principle of free enterprise.

Feudalism the Root of Capitalism

Capitalism grew out of European feudalism. Up until the 12th century, less than 5% of the population of Europe lived in towns. Skilled workers lived in the city but received their keep from feudal lords rather than a real wage, and most workers were serfs for landed nobles. However, by the late Middle Ages rising urbanism, with cities as centers of industry and trade, become more and more economically important.
The advent of true wages offered by the trades encouraged more people to move into towns where they could get money rather than subsistence in exchange for labor. Families’ extra sons and daughters who needed to be put to work, could find new sources of income in the trade towns. Child labor was as much a part of the town's economic development as serfdom was part of the rural life.

Mercantilism Replaces Feudalism

Mercantilism gradually replaced the feudal economic system in Western Europe and became the primary economic system of commerce during the 16th to 18th centuries. Mercantilism started as trade between towns, but it was not necessarily competitive trade. Initially, each town had vastly different products and services that were slowly homogenized by demand over time.
After the homogenization of goods, trade was carried out in broader and broader circles: town to town, county to county, province to province, and, finally, nation to nation. When too many nations were offering similar goods for trade, the trade took on a competitive edge that was sharpened by strong feelings of nationalism in a continent that was constantly embroiled in wars.
Colonialism flourished alongside mercantilism, but the nations seeding the world with settlements were not trying to increase trade. Most colonies were set up with an economic system that smacked of feudalism, with their raw goods going back to the motherland and, in the case of the British colonies in North America, being forced to repurchase the finished product with a pseudo-currency that prevented them from trading with other nations.
It was Adam Smith who noticed that mercantilism was not a force of development and change, but a regressive system that was creating trade imbalances between nations and keeping them from advancing. His ideas for a free market opened the world to capitalism.

Growth of Industrial Capitalism

Smith's ideas were well-timed, as the Industrial Revolution was starting to cause tremors that would soon shake the Western world. The (often literal) gold mine of colonialism had brought new wealth and new demand for the products of domestic industries, which drove the expansion and mechanization of production. As technology leaped ahead and factories no longer had to be built near waterways or windmills to function, industrialists began building in the cities where there were now thousands of people to supply ready labor.
Industrial tycoons were the first people to amass their wealth in their lifetimes, often outstripping both the landed nobles and many of the money lending/banking families. For the first time in history, common people could have hopes of becoming wealthy. The new money crowd built more factories that required more labor, while also producing more goods for people to purchase.
During this period, the term "capitalism"—originating from the Latin word "capitalis," which means "head of cattle"—was first used by French socialist Louis Blanc in 1850, to signify a system of exclusive ownership of industrial means of production by private individuals rather than shared ownership.
Contrary to popular belief, Karl Marx did not coin the word "capitalism," although he certainly contributed to the rise of its use.

Industrial Capitalism's Effects

Industrial capitalism tended to benefit more levels of society rather than just the aristocratic class. Wages increased, helped greatly by the formation of unions. The standard of living also increased with the glut of affordable products being mass-produced. This growth led to the formation of a middle class and began to lift more and more people from the lower classes to swell its ranks.
The economic freedoms of capitalism matured alongside democratic political freedoms, liberal individualism, and the theory of natural rights. This unified maturity is not to say, however, that all capitalist systems are politically free or encourage individual liberty. Economist Milton Friedman, an advocate of capitalism and individual liberty, wrote in Capitalism and Freedom (1962) that "capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. It is not a sufficient condition."
A dramatic expansion of the financial sector accompanied the rise of industrial capitalism. Banks had previously served as warehouses for valuables, clearinghouses for long-distance trade, or lenders to nobles and governments. Now they came to serve the needs of everyday commerce and the intermediation of credit for large, long-term investment projects. By the 20th century, as stock exchanges became increasingly public and investment vehicles opened up to more individuals, some economists identified a variation on the system: financial capitalism.

Capitalism and Economic Growth

By creating incentives for entrepreneurs to reallocate away resources from unprofitable channels and into areas where consumers value them more highly, capitalism has proven a highly effective vehicle for economic growth.
Before the rise of capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries, rapid economic growth occurred primarily through conquest and extraction of resources from conquered peoples. In general, this was a localized, zero-sum process. Research suggests average global per-capita income was unchanged between the rise of agricultural societies through approximately 1750 when the roots of the first Industrial Revolution took hold.
In subsequent centuries, capitalist production processes have greatly enhanced productive capacity. More and better goods became cheaply accessible to wide populations, raising standards of living in previously unthinkable ways. As a result, most political theorists and nearly all economists argue that capitalism is the most efficient and productive system of exchange.

Capitalism vs. Socialism

In terms of political economy, capitalism is often pitted against socialism. The fundamental difference between capitalism and socialism is the ownership and control of the means of production. In a capitalist economy, property and businesses are owned and controlled by individuals. In a socialist economy, the state owns and manages the vital means of production. However, other differences also exist in the form of equity, efficiency, and employment.

Equity

The capitalist economy is unconcerned about equitable arrangements. The argument is that inequality is the driving force that encourages innovation, which then pushes economic development. The primary concern of the socialist model is the redistribution of wealth and resources from the rich to the poor, out of fairness, and to ensure equality in opportunity and equality of outcome. Equality is valued above high achievement, and the collective good is viewed above the opportunity for individuals to advance.

Efficiency

The capitalist argument is that the profit incentive drives corporations to develop innovative new products that are desired by the consumer and have demand in the marketplace. It is argued that the state ownership of the means of production leads to inefficiency because, without the motivation to earn more money, management, workers, and developers are less likely to put forth the extra effort to push new ideas or products.

Employment

In a capitalist economy, the state does not directly employ the workforce. This lack of government-run employment can lead to unemployment during economic recessions and depressions. In a socialist economy, the state is the primary employer. During times of economic hardship, the socialist state can order hiring, so there is full employment. Also, there tends to be a stronger "safety net" in socialist systems for workers who are injured or permanently disabled. Those who can no longer work have fewer options available to help them in capitalist societies.

Mixed System vs. Pure Capitalism

When the government owns some but not all of the means of production, but government interests may legally circumvent, replace, limit, or otherwise regulate private economic interests, that is said to be a mixed economy or mixed economic system. A mixed economy respects property rights, but places limits on them.
Property owners are restricted with regards to how they exchange with one another. These restrictions come in many forms, such as minimum wage laws, tariffs, quotas, windfall taxes, license restrictions, prohibited products or contracts, direct public expropriation, anti-trust legislation, legal tender laws, subsidies, and eminent domain. Governments in mixed economies also fully or partly own and operate certain industries, especially those considered public goods, often enforcing legally binding monopolies in those industries to prohibit competition by private entities.
In contrast, pure capitalism, also known as laissez-faire capitalism or anarcho-capitalism, (such as professed by Murray N. Rothbard) all industries are left up to private ownership and operation, including public goods, and no central government authority provides regulation or supervision of economic activity in general.
The standard spectrum of economic systems places laissez-faire capitalism at one extreme and a complete planned economy—such as communism—at the other. Everything in the middle could be said to be a mixed economy. The mixed economy has elements of both central planning and unplanned private business.
By this definition, nearly every country in the world has a mixed economy, but contemporary mixed economies range in their levels of government intervention. The U.S. and the U.K. have a relatively pure type of capitalism with a minimum of federal regulation in financial and labor markets—sometimes known as Anglo-Saxon capitalism—while Canada and the Nordic countries have created a balance between socialism and capitalism.
Many European nations practice welfare capitalism, a system that is concerned with the social welfare of the worker, and includes such policies as state pensions, universal healthcare, collective bargaining, and industrial safety codes.

Crony Capitalism

Crony capitalism refers to a capitalist society that is based on the close relationships between business people and the state. Instead of success being determined by a free market and the rule of law, the success of a business is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the government in the form of tax breaks, government grants, and other incentives.
In practice, this is the dominant form of capitalism worldwide due to the powerful incentives both faced by governments to extract resources by taxing, regulating, and fostering rent-seeking activity, and those faced by capitalist businesses to increase profits by obtaining subsidies, limiting competition, and erecting barriers to entry. In effect, these forces represent a kind of supply and demand for government intervention in the economy, which arises from the economic system itself.
Crony capitalism is widely blamed for a range of social and economic woes. Both socialists and capitalists blame each other for the rise of crony capitalism. Socialists believe that crony capitalism is the inevitable result of pure capitalism. On the other hand, capitalists believe that crony capitalism arises from the need of socialist governments to control the economy.
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CRYPTOCURRENCY BITCOIN

CRYPTOCURRENCY BITCOIN
Bitcoin Table of contents expand: 1. What is Bitcoin? 2. Understanding Bitcoin 3. How Bitcoin Works 4. What's a Bitcoin Worth? 5. How Bitcoin Began 6. Who Invented Bitcoin? 7. Before Satoshi 8. Why Is Satoshi Anonymous? 9. The Suspects 10. Can Satoshi's Identity Be Proven? 11. Receiving Bitcoins As Payment 12. Working For Bitcoins 13. Bitcoin From Interest Payments 14. Bitcoins From Gambling 15. Investing in Bitcoins 16. Risks of Bitcoin Investing 17. Bitcoin Regulatory Risk 18. Security Risk of Bitcoins 19. Insurance Risk 20. Risk of Bitcoin Fraud 21. Market Risk 22. Bitcoin's Tax Risk What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital currency created in January 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity is yet to be verified. Bitcoin offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike government-issued currencies.
There are no physical bitcoins, only balances kept on a public ledger in the cloud, that – along with all Bitcoin transactions – is verified by a massive amount of computing power. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity. Despite it not being legal tender, Bitcoin charts high on popularity, and has triggered the launch of other virtual currencies collectively referred to as Altcoins.
Understanding Bitcoin Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency: Balances are kept using public and private "keys," which are long strings of numbers and letters linked through the mathematical encryption algorithm that was used to create them. The public key (comparable to a bank account number) serves as the address which is published to the world and to which others may send bitcoins. The private key (comparable to an ATM PIN) is meant to be a guarded secret and only used to authorize Bitcoin transmissions. Style notes: According to the official Bitcoin Foundation, the word "Bitcoin" is capitalized in the context of referring to the entity or concept, whereas "bitcoin" is written in the lower case when referring to a quantity of the currency (e.g. "I traded 20 bitcoin") or the units themselves. The plural form can be either "bitcoin" or "bitcoins."
How Bitcoin Works Bitcoin is one of the first digital currencies to use peer-to-peer technology to facilitate instant payments. The independent individuals and companies who own the governing computing power and participate in the Bitcoin network, also known as "miners," are motivated by rewards (the release of new bitcoin) and transaction fees paid in bitcoin. These miners can be thought of as the decentralized authority enforcing the credibility of the Bitcoin network. New bitcoin is being released to the miners at a fixed, but periodically declining rate, such that the total supply of bitcoins approaches 21 million. One bitcoin is divisible to eight decimal places (100 millionths of one bitcoin), and this smallest unit is referred to as a Satoshi. If necessary, and if the participating miners accept the change, Bitcoin could eventually be made divisible to even more decimal places. Bitcoin mining is the process through which bitcoins are released to come into circulation. Basically, it involves solving a computationally difficult puzzle to discover a new block, which is added to the blockchain and receiving a reward in the form of a few bitcoins. The block reward was 50 new bitcoins in 2009; it decreases every four years. As more and more bitcoins are created, the difficulty of the mining process – that is, the amount of computing power involved – increases. The mining difficulty began at 1.0 with Bitcoin's debut back in 2009; at the end of the year, it was only 1.18. As of February 2019, the mining difficulty is over 6.06 billion. Once, an ordinary desktop computer sufficed for the mining process; now, to combat the difficulty level, miners must use faster hardware like Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), more advanced processing units like Graphic Processing Units (GPUs), etc.
What's a Bitcoin Worth? In 2017 alone, the price of Bitcoin rose from a little under $1,000 at the beginning of the year to close to $19,000, ending the year more than 1,400% higher. Bitcoin's price is also quite dependent on the size of its mining network since the larger the network is, the more difficult – and thus more costly – it is to produce new bitcoins. As a result, the price of bitcoin has to increase as its cost of production also rises. The Bitcoin mining network's aggregate power has more than tripled over the past twelve months.
How Bitcoin Began
Aug. 18, 2008: The domain name bitcoin.org is registered. Today, at least, this domain is "WhoisGuard Protected," meaning the identity of the person who registered it is not public information.
Oct. 31, 2008: Someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto makes an announcement on The Cryptography Mailing list at metzdowd.com: "I've been working on a new electronic cash system that's fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party. The paper is available at http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf." This link leads to the now-famous white paper published on bitcoin.org entitled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." This paper would become the Magna Carta for how Bitcoin operates today.
Jan. 3, 2009: The first Bitcoin block is mined, Block 0. This is also known as the "genesis block" and contains the text: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks," perhaps as proof that the block was mined on or after that date, and perhaps also as relevant political commentary.
Jan. 8, 2009: The first version of the Bitcoin software is announced on The Cryptography Mailing list.
Jan. 9, 2009: Block 1 is mined, and Bitcoin mining commences in earnest.
Who Invented Bitcoin?
No one knows. Not conclusively, at any rate. Satoshi Nakamoto is the name associated with the person or group of people who released the original Bitcoin white paper in 2008 and worked on the original Bitcoin software that was released in 2009. The Bitcoin protocol requires users to enter a birthday upon signup, and we know that an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto registered and put down April 5 as a birth date. And that's about it.
Before Satoshi
Though it is tempting to believe the media's spin that Satoshi Nakamoto is a solitary, quixotic genius who created Bitcoin out of thin air, such innovations do not happen in a vacuum. All major scientific discoveries, no matter how original-seeming, were built on previously existing research. There are precursors to Bitcoin: Adam Back’s Hashcash, invented in 1997, and subsequently Wei Dai’s b-money, Nick Szabo’s bit gold and Hal Finney’s Reusable Proof of Work. The Bitcoin white paper itself cites Hashcash and b-money, as well as various other works spanning several research fields.
Why Is Satoshi Anonymous?
There are two primary motivations for keeping Bitcoin's inventor keeping his or her or their identity secret. One is privacy. As Bitcoin has gained in popularity – becoming something of a worldwide phenomenon – Satoshi Nakamoto would likely garner a lot of attention from the media and from governments.
The other reason is safety. Looking at 2009 alone, 32,489 blocks were mined; at the then-reward rate of 50 BTC per block, the total payout in 2009 was 1,624,500 BTC, which at today’s prices is over $900 million. One may conclude that only Satoshi and perhaps a few other people were mining through 2009 and that they possess a majority of that $900 million worth of BTC. Someone in possession of that much BTC could become a target of criminals, especially since bitcoins are less like stocks and more like cash, where the private keys needed to authorize spending could be printed out and literally kept under a mattress. While it's likely the inventor of Bitcoin would take precautions to make any extortion-induced transfers traceable, remaining anonymous is a good way for Satoshi to limit exposure.
The Suspects
Numerous people have been suggested as possible Satoshi Nakamoto by major media outlets. Oct. 10, 2011, The New Yorker published an article speculating that Nakamoto might be Irish cryptography student Michael Clear or economic sociologist Vili Lehdonvirta. A day later, Fast Company suggested that Nakamoto could be a group of three people – Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry – who together appear on a patent related to secure communications that were filed two months before bitcoin.org was registered. A Vice article published in May 2013 added more suspects to the list, including Gavin Andresen, the Bitcoin project’s lead developer; Jed McCaleb, co-founder of now-defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox; and famed Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki.
In December 2013, Techcrunch published an interview with researcher Skye Grey who claimed textual analysis of published writings shows a link between Satoshi and bit-gold creator Nick Szabo. And perhaps most famously, in March 2014, Newsweek ran a cover article claiming that Satoshi is actually an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto – a 64-year-old Japanese-American engineer living in California. The list of suspects is long, and all the individuals deny being Satoshi.
Can Satoshi's Identity Be Proven?
It would seem even early collaborators on the project don’t have verifiable proof of Satoshi’s identity. To reveal conclusively who Satoshi Nakamoto is, a definitive link would need to be made between his/her activity with Bitcoin and his/her identity. That could come in the form of linking the party behind the domain registration of bitcoin.org, email and forum accounts used by Satoshi Nakamoto, or ownership of some portion of the earliest mined bitcoins. Even though the bitcoins Satoshi likely possesses are traceable on the blockchain, it seems he/she has yet to cash them out in a way that reveals his/her identity. If Satoshi were to move his/her bitcoins to an exchange today, this might attract attention, but it seems unlikely that a well-funded and successful exchange would betray a customer's privacy.
Receiving Bitcoins As Payment
Bitcoins can be accepted as a means of payment for products sold or services provided. If you have a brick and mortar store, just display a sign saying “Bitcoin Accepted Here” and many of your customers may well take you up on it; the transactions can be handled with the requisite hardware terminal or wallet address through QR codes and touch screen apps. An online business can easily accept bitcoins by just adding this payment option to the others it offers, like credit cards, PayPal, etc. Online payments will require a Bitcoin merchant tool (an external processor like Coinbase or BitPay).
Working For Bitcoins
Those who are self-employed can get paid for a job in bitcoins. There are several websites/job boards which are dedicated to the digital currency:
Work For Bitcoin brings together work seekers and prospective employers through its websiteCoinality features jobs – freelance, part-time and full-time – that offer payment in bitcoins, as well as Dogecoin and LitecoinJobs4Bitcoins, part of reddit.comBitGigs
Bitcoin From Interest Payments
Another interesting way (literally) to earn bitcoins is by lending them out and being repaid in the currency. Lending can take three forms – direct lending to someone you know; through a website which facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, pairing borrowers and lenders; or depositing bitcoins in a virtual bank that offers a certain interest rate for Bitcoin accounts. Some such sites are Bitbond, BitLendingClub, and BTCjam. Obviously, you should do due diligence on any third-party site.
Bitcoins From Gambling
It’s possible to play at casinos that cater to Bitcoin aficionados, with options like online lotteries, jackpots, spread betting, and other games. Of course, the pros and cons and risks that apply to any sort of gambling and betting endeavors are in force here too.
Investing in Bitcoins
There are many Bitcoin supporters who believe that digital currency is the future. Those who endorse it are of the view that it facilitates a much faster, no-fee payment system for transactions across the globe. Although it is not itself any backed by any government or central bank, bitcoin can be exchanged for traditional currencies; in fact, its exchange rate against the dollar attracts potential investors and traders interested in currency plays. Indeed, one of the primary reasons for the growth of digital currencies like Bitcoin is that they can act as an alternative to national fiat money and traditional commodities like gold.
In March 2014, the IRS stated that all virtual currencies, including bitcoins, would be taxed as property rather than currency. Gains or losses from bitcoins held as capital will be realized as capital gains or losses, while bitcoins held as inventory will incur ordinary gains or losses.
Like any other asset, the principle of buying low and selling high applies to bitcoins. The most popular way of amassing the currency is through buying on a Bitcoin exchange, but there are many other ways to earn and own bitcoins. Here are a few options which Bitcoin enthusiasts can explore.
Risks of Bitcoin Investing
Though Bitcoin was not designed as a normal equity investment (no shares have been issued), some speculative investors were drawn to the digital money after it appreciated rapidly in May 2011 and again in November 2013. Thus, many people purchase bitcoin for its investment value rather than as a medium of exchange.
However, their lack of guaranteed value and digital nature means the purchase and use of bitcoins carries several inherent risks. Many investor alerts have been issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and other agencies.
The concept of a virtual currency is still novel and, compared to traditional investments, Bitcoin doesn't have much of a long-term track record or history of credibility to back it. With their increasing use, bitcoins are becoming less experimental every day, of course; still, after eight years, they (like all digital currencies) remain in a development phase, still evolving. "It is pretty much the highest-risk, highest-return investment that you can possibly make,” says Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group, which builds and invests in Bitcoin and blockchain companies.
Bitcoin Regulatory Risk
Investing money into Bitcoin in any of its many guises is not for the risk-averse. Bitcoins are a rival to government currency and may be used for black market transactions, money laundering, illegal activities or tax evasion. As a result, governments may seek to regulate, restrict or ban the use and sale of bitcoins, and some already have. Others are coming up with various rules. For example, in 2015, the New York State Department of Financial Services finalized regulations that would require companies dealing with the buy, sell, transfer or storage of bitcoins to record the identity of customers, have a compliance officer and maintain capital reserves. The transactions worth $10,000 or more will have to be recorded and reported.
Although more agencies will follow suit, issuing rules and guidelines, the lack of uniform regulations about bitcoins (and other virtual currency) raises questions over their longevity, liquidity, and universality.
Security Risk of Bitcoins
Bitcoin exchanges are entirely digital and, as with any virtual system, are at risk from hackers, malware and operational glitches. If a thief gains access to a Bitcoin owner's computer hard drive and steals his private encryption key, he could transfer the stolen Bitcoins to another account. (Users can prevent this only if bitcoins are stored on a computer which is not connected to the internet, or else by choosing to use a paper wallet – printing out the Bitcoin private keys and addresses, and not keeping them on a computer at all.) Hackers can also target Bitcoin exchanges, gaining access to thousands of accounts and digital wallets where bitcoins are stored. One especially notorious hacking incident took place in 2014, when Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange in Japan, was forced to close down after millions of dollars worth of bitcoins were stolen.
This is particularly problematic once you remember that all Bitcoin transactions are permanent and irreversible. It's like dealing with cash: Any transaction carried out with bitcoins can only be reversed if the person who has received them refunds them. There is no third party or a payment processor, as in the case of a debit or credit card – hence, no source of protection or appeal if there is a problem.
Insurance Risk
Some investments are insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. Normal bank accounts are insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to a certain amount depending on the jurisdiction. Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin accounts are not insured by any type of federal or government program.
Risk of Bitcoin Fraud
While Bitcoin uses private key encryption to verify owners and register transactions, fraudsters and scammers may attempt to sell false bitcoins. For instance, in July 2013, the SEC brought legal action against an operator of a Bitcoin-related Ponzi scheme.
Market Risk
Like with any investment, Bitcoin values can fluctuate. Indeed, the value of the currency has seen wild swings in price over its short existence. Subject to high volume buying and selling on exchanges, it has a high sensitivity to “news." According to the CFPB, the price of bitcoins fell by 61% in a single day in 2013, while the one-day price drop in 2014 has been as big as 80%.
If fewer people begin to accept Bitcoin as a currency, these digital units may lose value and could become worthless. There is already plenty of competition, and though Bitcoin has a huge lead over the other 100-odd digital currencies that have sprung up, thanks to its brand recognition and venture capital money, a technological break-through in the form of a better virtual coin is always a threat.
Bitcoin's Tax Risk
As bitcoin is ineligible to be included in any tax-advantaged retirement accounts, there are no good, legal options to shield investments from taxation.
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Related Terms
Satoshi
The satoshi is the smallest unit of the bitcoin cryptocurrency. It is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of the protocol used in block chains and the bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Chartalism Chartalism is a non-mainstream theory of money that emphasizes the impact of government policies and activities on the value of money.
Satoshi Nakamoto The name used by the unknown creator of the protocol used in the bitcoin cryptocurrency. Satoshi Nakamoto is closely-associated with blockchain technology.
Bitcoin Mining, Explained Breaking down everything you need to know about Bitcoin Mining, from Blockchain and Block Rewards to Proof-of-Work and Mining Pools.
Understanding Bitcoin Unlimited Bitcoin Unlimited is a proposed upgrade to Bitcoin Core that allows larger block sizes. The upgrade is designed to improve transaction speed through scale.
Blockchain Explained
A guide to help you understand what blockchain is and how it can be used by industries. You've probably encountered a definition like this: “blockchain is a distributed, decentralized, public ledger." But blockchain is easier to understand than it sounds.
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By Satoshi Nakamoto
Read it once, go read other crypto stuff, read it again… keep doing this until the whole document makes sense. It’ll take a while, but you’ll get there. This is the original whitepaper introducing and explaining Bitcoin, and there’s really nothing better out there to understand on the subject.
“What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party

submitted by adrian_morrison to BlockchainNews [link] [comments]

What I learned: Introduction to investing

Valuable information for new investors
Warning. Looooong post. TL:DR in the bottom.
Recently I have been chatting a ton with people who are very new to investing. I don’t claim to have mastered anything, however I have been able to help a lot of people through chats and messages. I’ve given advice and answered questions, and through that I found out a lot of problems new people run into, and decided to compile some of the points I found important. I will start this with the primary compiled information I usually give people when prompted, and then move on to specific questions I found important. A final note is that this is my own opinion and views, so feel free to disagree! I’d love input, even if I feel confident about this advice.
First off I’d recommend searching for posts about starting out & learning the basics, both here and on other investing/trading subreddits. The question has been asked hundreds of times, and you’ll find some amazing answers if you look.
The first thing you need to understand is that finance is all about information. If you want to learn, you need to take in information. All of the information. Books, news, financial statements, press releases and earning calls. Read everything. You will find hundreds of words you don’t understand, so look them up (investopedia have a majority of them). In the beginning you will struggle, however, as time goes by, you will start to understand. If you do not like reading, learn to like it. There is no way around this. If you find yourself investing without reading tons, you are going to lose.
Books to recommend: Anything written by Warren Buffet, A random walk down wall street by Burton Malkiel (how I started), Stress test by Timothy Geithner & The intelligent investor (“thick” but all important).
Pick out your favorite company in the world, and check if they are public. If they are, head over to their investor relations page and read the transcript to their latest earnings call. Read their financial statement (10-Q). If you don’t understand a word, look it up. This is frustrating but required. This method of reading, finding things you do not understand and looking it up (and learning it), will be the absolute unavoidable key to improvement.
There are 3 things you should consider buying as your first investment:
Large cap companies. These are the most risky you should consider buying. These large companies (Apple, Banks, Microsoft, 3M, JnJ, Walmart and the like) are stable, but can for sure give you a great return.
Specific ETFs. An ETF is a basket of stocks, often with some sort of focus. It gives you instant diversification. The specific ETFs are less risky than the single stocks, but hold risk nonetheless. Specific ETFs are baskets of stocks of varying number, letting you buy one security, and get a tiny portion of many companies. This lets you bet on a sector. Say you think that robotics and automation is the future, you can bet on that by investing in $ROBO. Other examples of these are $KWEB, chinese e-com, $FNG, media and tech, $ITA, aerospace and defence and $SOXX, semiconductors. These let you invest in a promising industry, without having the risk of a single company failing.
Lastly, and by far the best choice, is indexing. These are ETFS like $VOO, $VTI, $VWO and $VOOG, and is a way to take on the least amount of risk while still gaining along with the market. You get a wide basket of stocks, focusing on things like the S&P500 ($VOO), which is an index of large (minimum 6.1 billion USD) US companies. Historically , you can expect 7% annual gain here. That’s realistic. Anything offering much more than that without risk has tons of risk without disclosing it, per definition. $VOOG indexes growth companies, focusing less on the giants and more on the up and coming. $VWO focuses on emerging markets, getting places like brazil, russia and all over asia. Indexing is by far the best choice, and will very often gain you a steady growth. The final and great choice is $VTI, which is the global basket which contains the market as a whole.
Remember, if you have to ask simple questions, you should be indexing. Asking questions is very important and a great way to learn, however, you should not make specific investments unless you can make the call 100% yourself with confidence. If you are not sure, you are making a mistake in purchasing.
Lastly, and honestly most importantly, here is a list of things you should ALWAYS be able to answer before buying a security, equity or derivative:
  • Why am I getting this instead of an index? Where is the upside?
  • If the stock goes up, what action do I take? When do I sell? At what price or % gain.
  • If the stock goes down, when do I sell? At what % loss or a price.
  • What risks are there? How does the worst case realistic scenario look like?
  • Why am I making this investment right now? Is there a better time?
  • What exactly am I buying?*
And finally, always, without exception, perform your own Due Diligence. Don’t take advice from other people without understanding the situation yourself. If you have to ask questions, you should not own the equity. Ask about what you do not own. If you have to ask questions about an equity you already own, you have messed up, and should rethink your strategy.
A last but VITAL note is to keep a journal. You should note down every stock purchase you make or decided to not make, noting down the stock, price, date and answers to the 6 questions. This will help massively over time, where you can look back how you felt before and why you made decisions. It helps to keep temporary emotion out, as well as self reflecting which is the most vital learning method of any craft.
Q&A
Should I buy cheap stocks like $XXX for 4 dollars per share, or expensive stocks like $YYY for 500 dollars per share? IT DOES NOT MATTER. The price of the individual share have no effect whatsoever on the price of the company, how much you will gain or how much risk there is. If you buy 10 A-stocks for 1 dollashare, and if you buy 1 B-stock for 10 dollars/share, both these purchases are EXACTLY the same, in practice. If stock A gains 10% you earn $1.00, if stock B gains 10% you earn $1.00. Then the stocks are valued at $1.1 and $11 respectively. But there is no different. Don’t let the price of the share fool you. The only thing that matters is the market cap, which is the (number of shares*price of 1 share). The market cap is the cost of ALL the shares in the entire company. Some stocks like being expensive to seem exclusive and expensive, but it’s really the company's choice.
What numbers matter the most for the companies so I can compare? Well, that's complicated. DIfferent investors value different things. Some value P/E (price per earnings) and some value margin changes. You have to decide for yourself what matters, which leads to tons and tons of reading. Really, if you don't like reading and analyzing, this isn't something for you. Look at ETFs then. As a rule of thumb, 1 or 2 numbers is not enough to gauge the HUGE and COMPLEX being that is a corporation, so don’t get caught on something like P/E. Compare everything.
Will I be able to profit? Probably. As a new investor, especially a young one, will see both success and failure over time. This is natural. I recommend investing a smaller amount of money. Either you will gain a few % and be excited to learn and continue, or you will lose a few % and you find the ultimate opportunity to analyze what your mistake was.
Is $XXX enough money? Probably. It depends on your broker and fees. Any amount invested into the market is great, and a 10% increase is a 10% increase no matter how much you invest. Depending on your broker though, it might be easier or harder. With high commission, a smaller amount will be eaten by fees. With smaller amount, some expensive stocks (see $BRK.A) might be out of your reach. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem though.
What broker should I use? The best one for you! Hard question. It is country dependent. Look around. You want low commission and any perks you require. To start out, depending on how much money you have to invest, look for low-commission brokers. $0 - $3 is a good range per stock purchase. If you pay more than 2% on your investment, you lose 2% to buy in. This would generally cause stock to not be worth to buy. So do some thinking on your own, to invest you will have to get used to it. Some brokers let you buy partial shares as well, which might be a plus if your capital is low to buy the more expensive stocks.
What should I invest in? There are so many things! Like said above, cheap funds and common stock are good places to start. They are the core of investing, and should be your start. After that, move on and understand bonds. It will be all important during your career in investing. On top of that there are warrants, options, forex, commodities, and all kinds of additional derivatives. Stay clear of those completely until you can confidently make the call to try it out.
My stock increased/decreased in value. Should I sell?
Asking this question means that you weren’t thorough enough when you made the purchase. You should always have it written down on a paper. When do you get out? A valid answer is never. If you believe in the business and they prove themself strong, why ever sell? Some people like selling if they gain 30% or lose 30%. Some do the same on 15% respective 10%. It comes down to how much long term faith you have in the company, when you’ll need the money and what your risk tolerance is. Personally, when I buy a company, I will ignore it until something changes in the core business. I re-analyze each company each earning. It takes a lot of time, but its my method. If I buy something more high risk, I will sell at a set loss-% (20-40% loss) and the same on gain.
How does taxes work and how should I plan for taxes? Taxes are hard and complicated, but it is something you must understand how it works. Capital gains taxes are vital to understand. Sadly, they work differently in each country, so there is no easy answer except for you to look up it yourself. But know it, it is vital.
To end, these are the most important 4 rules of learning how to do all this:
  • Read. Everything.
  • Keep a journal and record the answers to all 6 questions each time you make a purchase, or decided in the end to not.
  • Each time in your reading if you come over a concept, word or idea that you do not understand, get used to looking it up and learning what it is. It’s key.
  • When you succeed, analyze if you got lucky or if your actual reasoning was the correct call. When you fail, analyze what your mistake was and write it down in your journal. Both are vital.
TL:DR: Investing is about reading. You should probably start by reading this now or give up. If you read it all, success! Keep going!
Disclaimer: Don't invest money that you can't afford to lose. You might lose all your funds. Probably don't.
lykosen11
submitted by lykosen11 to StockMarket [link] [comments]

COMPREHENSIVE Forex Trading SOLUTION/ANSWER; FEEDBACK NEEDED

The following is a comprehensive response outlining a viable, reasonable, scalable, and sustainable solution for achieving financial independence/prosperity. Please let me know what you think as I would appreciate your feedback.
Trade the financial markets, specifically Forex trading. It's a fkin trillion dollar industry! There are a plethora of businesses online that sell software to meet the trading/investment needs of various demanding clients.
Just look up online EAs (Expert Advisor, which is automated/algorithmic trading, for Meta Trader 4), verify results using the myfxbook website (i.e. a reputable independent third-party website that certifies and tracks the record/performance of various trading strategies/systems, including commercial EAs), purchase the EA, verify results again by running/performing both a backtest and a forward test (i.e. paper trading on a demo account), and then, and only then can/should you use the EA with real money trading on a live/real account.
You can verify the EA's reliability by performing a backtest for a "significant" time period (for example 5-10 years; or depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA) coupled with 2-3 months of forward testing (i.e. paper trading on a demo account) and if the results are "consistently" profitable (i.e. "overall consistent" "monthly" profits from both backtesting and forward testing) with drawdowns being not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent", then you can go live and trade using real money.
It's okay to expect a particular trading strategy/system to expire (i.e. lose its edge, or for profits to weaken/deteriorate/diminish). When that time comes, simply go onto the next “hot/trendy” EA or if you were fortunate enough to accumulate significant profits, you can store those profits in an interest-savings account and receive periodic income that way.
The purpose of backtesting and forward testing is to ensure drawdowns are not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent", AND that there is proper risk management "embedded within the EA", thus minimizing/avoiding the risk of "extreme" drawdown or "extreme" losses when using real money.
Note: The switch to "another" hot/trendy EA should be made when the profits earned from the "current" EA have reached a point/level where it no longer appeals to the individual's interest/preference. However, if there is an "unusual/unexpected/unanticipated" "significant" drawdown (according to the performed backtest and forward test), then that would unfortunately represent an actual/real risk/loss incurred by the individual (and would still require a switch to another hot/trendy EA). This risk can be "mitigated/minimized" by performing a backtest "AND" a forward test (both for a "significant" time period, i.e. depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA), AND by conducting a proper psychological evaluation of the EA seller (as an "individual" entity), i.e. evaluating their reliability, logic, and confidence when it comes to addressing/answering relevant/crucial questions pertaining to Forex/Finance/Trading/Investing (rather than asking for or needing specific details regarding their intellectual property or proprietary strategy/system/software, i.e. their source code or trading methodology).
Ultimately, it comes down to “risk tolerance” while taking into account the results obtained from backtesting and forward testing, as well as the level of confidence and trust you impart/place on the person/group selling/distributing the EA.
Note: refer to the Investopedia website for definitions on the following terminology/vocabulary: backtesting, forward testing (i.e. paper trading on a demo account), drawdown (DD), maximum drawdown (MDD or MaxDD), and monthly/annual ROI (return on investment, as a percentage).
Also, note: "focus" on testing for maximum drawdown (MDD or MaxDD) (making sure drawdowns are not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent"; for example, not greater than 30%-50%, depending on your risk tolerance or preference) and looking for a "track-record" of "overall consistent" "monthly" profits from both backtesting and forward testing, i.e. paper trading on a demo account (both for a "significant" time period, depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA). This "track-record" can be "verified" either through the "myfxbook" website or through the combined use of backtesting and forward testing.
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Each and every year, students graduate from college and university. How is it "economically feasible" to provide jobs for all or most of these people? My understanding is that people need to display a good understanding of the psychology of first impression, which includes genuine/authentic personality, trustworthiness, and competency (reflected in education); in other words, honest, reliable, and competent in relevant matters, or integrity, energy, and intelligence.
Problem: The individual's attainment of their “desired dream/career job", which is their ultimate purpose for pursuing "rigorous" higher education (i.e. college or university) or "rigorous" professional education (i.e. apprenticeship or trades).
I believe that a lot of people attend college and university with the hope that they will obtain a job after they graduate, a job that will support them financially. If money is the primary reason for their pursuing higheprofessional education, shouldn't they be "informed" (as part of a global/collective civic/social responsibility) that there are alternative ways of making money (personally, namely, trading the financial markets), ones that will actually lead them to, or at least have a higher probability of leading them to, financial independence/prosperity, since the chances of them achieving such goal upon graduation from college/university is realistically slim – if not the problem of difficulty finding employment related to their “desired careedream job”, then the problem of a dead-end mediocre job with a “fixed” “small” salary?
Should we, as a society, steer people away from college/university, often temporarily, since, let's be honest, our society is currently producing "a lot" of "mediocre" individuals with no real chance of obtaining a job that they were initially in pursuit of? Can we, as a society, do a better job of "realizing" and "maximizing" the talents/skills of these "mediocre" individuals, i.e. individuals who have no real chance of obtaining a job which they had been (or currently are) pursuing/studying rigorously for?
After going through a proper evaluation of current circumstances and current options, I've realized that people need to get certain things in their life straight "before" working on pursuing higheprofessional education – i.e. Health > Wealth > Education/”Prestige”.
The mass of people who pursue college and university because their program is in high demand are ones that are studying the program not for its unique intricacies, but rather only for graduation with the expectation that they "deserve" to be rewarded a job. As opposed to, respect and appreciation to the language their subject takes on (whether that be Accounting language or Computer Programming language, etc.). Respect and appreciation for a subject or field is displayed when the person engages with the subject or field with a “critical thinking” mindset, with the main purpose/goal of analyzing and critiquing thoroughly the accuracy of any statement presented to them that is related to their chosen subject or field, i.e. effectively utilizing journaling and documentation (see relevant section below, point #1 of 2 under “ESSENTIAL/CRUCIAL” for more details); this main purpose/goal is often rooted from a genuine desire/interest/passion for pursuing/studying their chosen subject or field.
The simple fact remains that it is simply not economically feasible to provide jobs to meet the constant influx of supply being produced by colleges and universities, "each" and "every" year. As a result, why are people making the foolish decision to incur immense amount of “DEBT” (keyword) while pursuing higheprofessional education when the economic reality simply does not provide enough jobs for society, i.e. jobs that are specifically expected of from college and university graduates?
Quoted from someone else: "Our societies have for so long told us that education can and should equate to professional success, which should equate to economic success, yet we are entering a period where that simply can't occur. The foundation that those notions were created upon doesn't exist any longer, given how we have evolved and grown as a species, and we have yet to make the transition to a new set of notions."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Some ESSENTIAL/CRUCIAL characteristics of an individual who exhibits genuine desire/interest/passion for pursuing/studying their chosen subject/field (especially at the higher education or professional education level) are as follows:
1) Effective "Information Management" strategy (utilizing journaling and documentation). The individual had made it a priority to create and compile personal notes or online documents for the purpose of future-reference and documentation – for potential revision, self-reflection, self-correction, or discovery, as this is crucial for knowledge retrieval, knowledge retention, as well as knowledge synthesis and creating/generating new knowledge. Note: information becomes knowledge when you regard the information as valuable and when you make the conscious decision to keep it as part of your notes with the expectation/option of using it in the future; knowledge is information in action, so actually using the information, instead of dismissing it as irrelevant.
Response from another individual/writer:
  • I don't mean that all information has to be kept as notes, nor that other strategies/tactics of finding/retrieving information aren't valuable. I don't even mean that it's impossible for someone to exist/operate without ever taking any notes. Most saliently, I'm more saying that to categorically omit note-taking from one's information management capabilities/strategy is to invite unnecessary trouble, likely to the point of dysfunction, unless one happens to never be doing anything that involves any significantly elusive information to begin with.
  • My bias toward this assessment is reinforced by 25+ years of highly-technical work that has resulted in literally thousands (or tens-of-thousands) of pieces of information, extremely valuable to me, that can't be readily found anywhere but in my notes.
  • Some of it is information specifically originating with myself – there's no one or nowhere else from which it can be gotten. Some of it is information that took me immense amounts of time, thought, and effort to find/acquire, and I would never want to have to try to find it again. Most of these things are in my notes because they have either already disappeared, or are likely to disappear, off of the internet, or don't lend themselves well to simple bookmark-able reference.
  • Another way of saying this is that personally-kept notes are a reflection of the time/effort/insight one has had to put into acquiring the information, combined with the value of retrieval efficiency (organized for one's own retrieval needs). To subject yourself to relying on reproduction of that time/effort and self-organization is to either admit that the time/effort isn't significant (i.e. the information is rather trivial or ubiquitous in nature), or that your own time/effort spent isn't worth much (if you're willing to repeat it).
  • Also, if one assumes that the information is always going to be right where you can easily find it, or even right where you found it before, that's actually just naive.
  • While its true you still need to expend time/effort into locating the info, it has been organized specifically how YOU determine it should be, and thus truncates any actual "overhead" involved in the typical "location" process, not to mention the guarantee that it's actually there to find. Note: overhead expense refers to an ongoing expense of operating a business; it is also known as an "operating expense".
  • As a simple/clear example: if you've never spent hours sifting through the deluge from the Google sewer pipe flooding into your browser, just to find anything remotely relevant to the fairly elusive technical scenario you're trying to resolve, then you're probably not acquainted with really anything I'm talking about, and your dismissal would then represent simply being unaware.
2) The individual is ASSERTIVE and NOT PASSIVE towards the subject they are studying. They are WILLING to articulate and share important ideas and concepts from the subject they are studying. The individual is not seen as someone who is under the spell/act (i.e. false and disingenuous impression of superior intelligence) of mindless regurgitation but rather, the individual is able to offer their OWN UNIQUE interpretation on the subject they are studying, while also citing important concepts or ideas where citation is necessary. In other words, the individual demonstrates "individual competency" THROUGH the subject they are studying and are ultimately/inherently passionate about. The individual's competency (i.e. his/her opinion or interpretation of what is relevant or accurate information) is demonstrated through the individual's pattern of logical and coherent thinking, as well as through the individual's writing style (which displays "CONFIDENCE" in what the individual is presenting as relevant or accurate information).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Relevant response from another individual:
Decide where you fall on the self-directed spectrum.
Highly self-directed: technical books and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
Average: an online community + curriculum like Free Code Camp or theodinproject.com
Not very self-directed: An in-person coding boot camp like Hack Reactor or App Academy; similar to “subpamediocre” college/university “classroom” learning.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There are only so many ways of acquiring wealth (with only some methods actually leading to long-term/sustainable financial independence/prosperity):
1) Real Estate
2) Owning a business; being an entrepreneur
3) Career Job requiring higher education (i.e. college or university) or professional education (i.e. apprenticeship or trades)
4) Minimum Wage Jobs
5) Trading the financial markets; making financial “investments” (stocks, forex, futures, options, equities, commodities, etc.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pseudo-Intellectual versus Intellectual (the following is a response from another individual/writer):
An intellectual follows the values and attitudes of Critical Thinking, and exercises good thinking habits. Their interest lies in discovery and self-correction.
The traits of a true intellectual are as follows:
  • intellectual humility – recognizing the limits and sensitivities of one's experience.
  • intellectual courage – ability to examine things and/or state results or potentialities, even if it may be costly/risky to your personal beliefs, or social acceptance, established norms or theories. The ability to put things at risk. Even if they are your own cherished ideas or beliefs that you are putting at risk.
  • intellectual empathy – knowing that you have to imaginatively put yourself in the place of others in order to understand them.
  • intellectual autonomy – being able to think independently, to carry through without constant guidance from others, and sometimes even to come to different conclusions.
  • intellectual integrity – holding yourself to the same standards you hold others, and holding all beliefs to the same standards.
  • intellectual honesty – being willing to admit discrepancies and avoid overlooking exceptions, even to oneself.
  • intellectual perseverance – having the patience to struggle through difficult or complex problems.
  • confidence in reason – willingness to follow the logic where-ever it leads.
  • fair-mindedness – avoiding making unjustified special exceptions or privileges. Holding all viewpoints to the same standards. This does not mean that all views are equal; it means they all are held to the same universal standards. They might end up meeting those standards very unequally. For instance: the theory of evolution vs the fable of creation, or climate change vs science denialism.
A pseudo-intellectual does not do these things. Their interest lies not in discovery and self-correction, but in confirmation of what is already believed. Confirmation Bias. Their "thinking" style is characterized by cognitive biases, a lack of self-reflection/self-correction, a lack of rigor and completeness, and applying woefully different standards to beliefs/ideas that they cherish, and any information that calls them into question.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
submitted by gentlestream to Forex [link] [comments]

Feedback Needed

The following is a comprehensive response outlining a viable, reasonable, scalable, and sustainable solution for achieving financial independence/prosperity. Please let me know what you think as I would appreciate your feedback.
Trade the financial markets, specifically Forex trading. It's a fkin trillion dollar industry! There are a plethora of businesses online that sell software to meet the trading/investment needs of various demanding clients.
Just look up online EAs (Expert Advisor, which is automated/algorithmic trading, for Meta Trader 4), verify results using the myfxbook website (i.e. a reputable independent third-party website that certifies and tracks the record/performance of various trading strategies/systems, including commercial EAs), purchase the EA, verify results again by running/performing both a backtest and a forward test (i.e. paper trading on a demo account), and then, and only then can/should you use the EA with real money trading on a live/real account.
You can verify the EA's reliability by performing a backtest for a "significant" time period (for example 5-10 years; or depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA) coupled with 2-3 months of forward testing (i.e. paper trading on a demo account) and if the results are "consistently" profitable (i.e. "overall consistent" "monthly" profits from both backtesting and forward testing) with drawdowns being not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent", then you can go live and trade using real money.
It's okay to expect a particular trading strategy/system to expire (i.e. lose its edge, or for profits to weaken/deteriorate/diminish). When that time comes, simply go onto the next “hot/trendy” EA or if you were fortunate enough to accumulate significant profits, you can store those profits in an interest-savings account and receive periodic income that way.
The purpose of backtesting and forward testing is to ensure drawdowns are not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent", AND that there is proper risk management "embedded within the EA", thus minimizing/avoiding the risk of "extreme" drawdown or "extreme" losses when using real money.
Note: The switch to "another" hot/trendy EA should be made when the profits earned from the "current" EA have reached a point/level where it no longer appeals to the individual's interest/preference. However, if there is an "unusual/unexpected/unanticipated" "significant" drawdown (according to the performed backtest and forward test), then that would unfortunately represent an actual/real risk/loss incurred by the individual (and would still require a switch to another hot/trendy EA). This risk can be "mitigated/minimized" by performing a backtest "AND" a forward test (both for a "significant" time period, i.e. depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA), AND by conducting a proper psychological evaluation of the EA seller (as an "individual" entity), i.e. evaluating their reliability, logic, and confidence when it comes to addressing/answering relevant/crucial questions pertaining to Forex/Finance/Trading/Investing (rather than asking for or needing specific details regarding their intellectual property or proprietary strategy/system/software, i.e. their source code or trading methodology).
Ultimately, it comes down to “risk tolerance” while taking into account the results obtained from backtesting and forward testing, as well as the level of confidence and trust you impart/place on the person/group selling/distributing the EA.
Note: refer to the Investopedia website for definitions on the following terminology/vocabulary: backtesting, forward testing (i.e. paper trading on a demo account), drawdown (DD), maximum drawdown (MDD or MaxDD), and monthly/annual ROI (return on investment, as a percentage).
Also, note: "focus" on testing for maximum drawdown (MDD or MaxDD) (making sure drawdowns are not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent"; for example, not greater than 30%-50%, depending on your risk tolerance or preference) and looking for a "track-record" of "overall consistent" "monthly" profits from both backtesting and forward testing, i.e. paper trading on a demo account (both for a "significant" time period, depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA). This "track-record" can be "verified" either through the "myfxbook" website or through the combined use of backtesting and forward testing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Each and every year, students graduate from college and university. How is it "economically feasible" to provide jobs for all or most of these people? My understanding is that people need to display a good understanding of the psychology of first impression, which includes genuine/authentic personality, trustworthiness, and competency (reflected in education); in other words, honest, reliable, and competent in relevant matters, or integrity, energy, and intelligence.
Problem: The individual's attainment of their “desired dream/career job", which is their ultimate purpose for pursuing "rigorous" higher education (i.e. college or university) or "rigorous" professional education (i.e. apprenticeship or trades).
I believe that a lot of people attend college and university with the hope that they will obtain a job after they graduate, a job that will support them financially. If money is the primary reason for their pursuing higheprofessional education, shouldn't they be "informed" (as part of a global/collective civic/social responsibility) that there are alternative ways of making money (personally, namely, trading the financial markets), ones that will actually lead them to, or at least have a higher probability of leading them to, financial independence/prosperity, since the chances of them achieving such goal upon graduation from college/university is realistically slim – if not the problem of difficulty finding employment related to their “desired careedream job”, then the problem of a dead-end mediocre job with a “fixed” “small” salary?
Should we, as a society, steer people away from college/university, often temporarily, since, let's be honest, our society is currently producing "a lot" of "mediocre" individuals with no real chance of obtaining a job that they were initially in pursuit of? Can we, as a society, do a better job of "realizing" and "maximizing" the talents/skills of these "mediocre" individuals, i.e. individuals who have no real chance of obtaining a job which they had been (or currently are) pursuing/studying rigorously for?
After going through a proper evaluation of current circumstances and current options, I've realized that people need to get certain things in their life straight "before" working on pursuing higheprofessional education – i.e. Health > Wealth > Education/”Prestige”.
The mass of people who pursue college and university because their program is in high demand are ones that are studying the program not for its unique intricacies, but rather only for graduation with the expectation that they "deserve" to be rewarded a job. As opposed to, respect and appreciation to the language their subject takes on (whether that be Accounting language or Computer Programming language, etc.). Respect and appreciation for a subject or field is displayed when the person engages with the subject or field with a “critical thinking” mindset, with the main purpose/goal of analyzing and critiquing thoroughly the accuracy of any statement presented to them that is related to their chosen subject or field, i.e. effectively utilizing journaling and documentation (see relevant section below, point #1 of 2 under “ESSENTIAL/CRUCIAL” for more details); this main purpose/goal is often rooted from a genuine desire/interest/passion for pursuing/studying their chosen subject or field.
The simple fact remains that it is simply not economically feasible to provide jobs to meet the constant influx of supply being produced by colleges and universities, "each" and "every" year. As a result, why are people making the foolish decision to incur immense amount of “DEBT” (keyword) while pursuing higheprofessional education when the economic reality simply does not provide enough jobs for society, i.e. jobs that are specifically expected of from college and university graduates?
Quoted from someone else: "Our societies have for so long told us that education can and should equate to professional success, which should equate to economic success, yet we are entering a period where that simply can't occur. The foundation that those notions were created upon doesn't exist any longer, given how we have evolved and grown as a species, and we have yet to make the transition to a new set of notions."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Some ESSENTIAL/CRUCIAL characteristics of an individual who exhibits genuine desire/interest/passion for pursuing/studying their chosen subject/field (especially at the higher education or professional education level) are as follows:
1) Effective "Information Management" strategy (utilizing journaling and documentation). The individual had made it a priority to create and compile personal notes or online documents for the purpose of future-reference and documentation – for potential revision, self-reflection, self-correction, or discovery, as this is crucial for knowledge retrieval, knowledge retention, as well as knowledge synthesis and creating/generating new knowledge. Note: information becomes knowledge when you regard the information as valuable and when you make the conscious decision to keep it as part of your notes with the expectation/option of using it in the future; knowledge is information in action, so actually using the information, instead of dismissing it as irrelevant.
Response from another individual/writer:
  • I don't mean that all information has to be kept as notes, nor that other strategies/tactics of finding/retrieving information aren't valuable. I don't even mean that it's impossible for someone to exist/operate without ever taking any notes. Most saliently, I'm more saying that to categorically omit note-taking from one's information management capabilities/strategy is to invite unnecessary trouble, likely to the point of dysfunction, unless one happens to never be doing anything that involves any significantly elusive information to begin with.
  • My bias toward this assessment is reinforced by 25+ years of highly-technical work that has resulted in literally thousands (or tens-of-thousands) of pieces of information, extremely valuable to me, that can't be readily found anywhere but in my notes.
  • Some of it is information specifically originating with myself – there's no one or nowhere else from which it can be gotten. Some of it is information that took me immense amounts of time, thought, and effort to find/acquire, and I would never want to have to try to find it again. Most of these things are in my notes because they have either already disappeared, or are likely to disappear, off of the internet, or don't lend themselves well to simple bookmark-able reference.
  • Another way of saying this is that personally-kept notes are a reflection of the time/effort/insight one has had to put into acquiring the information, combined with the value of retrieval efficiency (organized for one's own retrieval needs). To subject yourself to relying on reproduction of that time/effort and self-organization is to either admit that the time/effort isn't significant (i.e. the information is rather trivial or ubiquitous in nature), or that your own time/effort spent isn't worth much (if you're willing to repeat it).
  • Also, if one assumes that the information is always going to be right where you can easily find it, or even right where you found it before, that's actually just naive.
  • While its true you still need to expend time/effort into locating the info, it has been organized specifically how YOU determine it should be, and thus truncates any actual "overhead" involved in the typical "location" process, not to mention the guarantee that it's actually there to find. Note: overhead expense refers to an ongoing expense of operating a business; it is also known as an "operating expense".
  • As a simple/clear example: if you've never spent hours sifting through the deluge from the Google sewer pipe flooding into your browser, just to find anything remotely relevant to the fairly elusive technical scenario you're trying to resolve, then you're probably not acquainted with really anything I'm talking about, and your dismissal would then represent simply being unaware.
2) The individual is ASSERTIVE and NOT PASSIVE towards the subject they are studying. They are WILLING to articulate and share important ideas and concepts from the subject they are studying. The individual is not seen as someone who is under the spell/act (i.e. false and disingenuous impression of superior intelligence) of mindless regurgitation but rather, the individual is able to offer their OWN UNIQUE interpretation on the subject they are studying, while also citing important concepts or ideas where citation is necessary. In other words, the individual demonstrates "individual competency" THROUGH the subject they are studying and are ultimately/inherently passionate about. The individual's competency (i.e. his/her opinion or interpretation of what is relevant or accurate information) is demonstrated through the individual's pattern of logical and coherent thinking, as well as through the individual's writing style (which displays "CONFIDENCE" in what the individual is presenting as relevant or accurate information).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Relevant response from another individual:
Decide where you fall on the self-directed spectrum.
Highly self-directed: technical books and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
Average: an online community + curriculum like Free Code Camp or theodinproject.com
Not very self-directed: An in-person coding boot camp like Hack Reactor or App Academy; similar to “subpamediocre” college/university “classroom” learning.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There are only so many ways of acquiring wealth (with only some methods actually leading to long-term/sustainable financial independence/prosperity):
1) Real Estate
2) Owning a business; being an entrepreneur
3) Career Job requiring higher education (i.e. college or university) or professional education (i.e. apprenticeship or trades)
4) Minimum Wage Jobs
5) Trading the financial markets; making financial “investments” (stocks, forex, futures, options, equities, commodities, etc.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pseudo-Intellectual versus Intellectual (the following is a response from another individual/writer):
An intellectual follows the values and attitudes of Critical Thinking, and exercises good thinking habits. Their interest lies in discovery and self-correction.
The traits of a true intellectual are as follows:
  • intellectual humility – recognizing the limits and sensitivities of one's experience.
  • intellectual courage – ability to examine things and/or state results or potentialities, even if it may be costly/risky to your personal beliefs, or social acceptance, established norms or theories. The ability to put things at risk. Even if they are your own cherished ideas or beliefs that you are putting at risk.
  • intellectual empathy – knowing that you have to imaginatively put yourself in the place of others in order to understand them.
  • intellectual autonomy – being able to think independently, to carry through without constant guidance from others, and sometimes even to come to different conclusions.
  • intellectual integrity – holding yourself to the same standards you hold others, and holding all beliefs to the same standards.
  • intellectual honesty – being willing to admit discrepancies and avoid overlooking exceptions, even to oneself.
  • intellectual perseverance – having the patience to struggle through difficult or complex problems.
  • confidence in reason – willingness to follow the logic where-ever it leads.
  • fair-mindedness – avoiding making unjustified special exceptions or privileges. Holding all viewpoints to the same standards. This does not mean that all views are equal; it means they all are held to the same universal standards. They might end up meeting those standards very unequally. For instance: the theory of evolution vs the fable of creation, or climate change vs science denialism.
A pseudo-intellectual does not do these things. Their interest lies not in discovery and self-correction, but in confirmation of what is already believed. Confirmation Bias. Their "thinking" style is characterized by cognitive biases, a lack of self-reflection/self-correction, a lack of rigor and completeness, and applying woefully different standards to beliefs/ideas that they cherish, and any information that calls them into question.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
submitted by gentlestream to algotrading [link] [comments]

Feedback Needed

The following is a comprehensive response outlining a viable, reasonable, scalable, and sustainable solution for achieving financial independence/prosperity. Please let me know what you think as I would appreciate your feedback.
Trade the financial markets, specifically Forex trading. It's a fkin trillion dollar industry! There are a plethora of businesses online that sell software to meet the trading/investment needs of various demanding clients.
Just look up online EAs (Expert Advisor, which is automated/algorithmic trading, for Meta Trader 4), verify results using the myfxbook website (i.e. a reputable independent third-party website that certifies and tracks the record/performance of various trading strategies/systems, including commercial EAs), purchase the EA, verify results again by running/performing both a backtest and a forward test (i.e. paper trading on a demo account), and then, and only then can/should you use the EA with real money trading on a live/real account.
You can verify the EA's reliability by performing a backtest for a "significant" time period (for example 5-10 years; or depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA) coupled with 2-3 months of forward testing (i.e. paper trading on a demo account) and if the results are "consistently" profitable (i.e. "overall consistent" "monthly" profits from both backtesting and forward testing) with drawdowns being not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent", then you can go live and trade using real money.
It's okay to expect a particular trading strategy/system to expire (i.e. lose its edge, or for profits to weaken/deteriorate/diminish). When that time comes, simply go onto the next “hot/trendy” EA or if you were fortunate enough to accumulate significant profits, you can store those profits in an interest-savings account and receive periodic income that way.
The purpose of backtesting and forward testing is to ensure drawdowns are not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent", AND that there is proper risk management "embedded within the EA", thus minimizing/avoiding the risk of "extreme" drawdown or "extreme" losses when using real money.
Note: The switch to "another" hot/trendy EA should be made when the profits earned from the "current" EA have reached a point/level where it no longer appeals to the individual's interest/preference. However, if there is an "unusual/unexpected/unanticipated" "significant" drawdown (according to the performed backtest and forward test), then that would unfortunately represent an actual/real risk/loss incurred by the individual (and would still require a switch to another hot/trendy EA). This risk can be "mitigated/minimized" by performing a backtest "AND" a forward test (both for a "significant" time period, i.e. depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA), AND by conducting a proper psychological evaluation of the EA seller (as an "individual" entity), i.e. evaluating their reliability, logic, and confidence when it comes to addressing/answering relevant/crucial questions pertaining to Forex/Finance/Trading/Investing (rather than asking for or needing specific details regarding their intellectual property or proprietary strategy/system/software, i.e. their source code or trading methodology).
Ultimately, it comes down to “risk tolerance” while taking into account the results obtained from backtesting and forward testing, as well as the level of confidence and trust you impart/place on the person/group selling/distributing the EA.
Note: refer to the Investopedia website for definitions on the following terminology/vocabulary: backtesting, forward testing (i.e. paper trading on a demo account), drawdown (DD), maximum drawdown (MDD or MaxDD), and monthly/annual ROI (return on investment, as a percentage).
Also, note: "focus" on testing for maximum drawdown (MDD or MaxDD) (making sure drawdowns are not "too much/high/extreme" AND not "too frequent"; for example, not greater than 30%-50%, depending on your risk tolerance or preference) and looking for a "track-record" of "overall consistent" "monthly" profits from both backtesting and forward testing, i.e. paper trading on a demo account (both for a "significant" time period, depending on the "frequency" of trades placed from the EA). This "track-record" can be "verified" either through the "myfxbook" website or through the combined use of backtesting and forward testing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Each and every year, students graduate from college and university. How is it "economically feasible" to provide jobs for all or most of these people? My understanding is that people need to display a good understanding of the psychology of first impression, which includes genuine/authentic personality, trustworthiness, and competency (reflected in education); in other words, honest, reliable, and competent in relevant matters, or integrity, energy, and intelligence.
Problem: The individual's attainment of their “desired dream/career job", which is their ultimate purpose for pursuing "rigorous" higher education (i.e. college or university) or "rigorous" professional education (i.e. apprenticeship or trades).
I believe that a lot of people attend college and university with the hope that they will obtain a job after they graduate, a job that will support them financially. If money is the primary reason for their pursuing higheprofessional education, shouldn't they be "informed" (as part of a global/collective civic/social responsibility) that there are alternative ways of making money (personally, namely, trading the financial markets), ones that will actually lead them to, or at least have a higher probability of leading them to, financial independence/prosperity, since the chances of them achieving such goal upon graduation from college/university is realistically slim – if not the problem of difficulty finding employment related to their “desired careedream job”, then the problem of a dead-end mediocre job with a “fixed” “small” salary?
Should we, as a society, steer people away from college/university, often temporarily, since, let's be honest, our society is currently producing "a lot" of "mediocre" individuals with no real chance of obtaining a job that they were initially in pursuit of? Can we, as a society, do a better job of "realizing" and "maximizing" the talents/skills of these "mediocre" individuals, i.e. individuals who have no real chance of obtaining a job which they had been (or currently are) pursuing/studying rigorously for?
After going through a proper evaluation of current circumstances and current options, I've realized that people need to get certain things in their life straight "before" working on pursuing higheprofessional education – i.e. Health > Wealth > Education/”Prestige”.
The mass of people who pursue college and university because their program is in high demand are ones that are studying the program not for its unique intricacies, but rather only for graduation with the expectation that they "deserve" to be rewarded a job. As opposed to, respect and appreciation to the language their subject takes on (whether that be Accounting language or Computer Programming language, etc.). Respect and appreciation for a subject or field is displayed when the person engages with the subject or field with a “critical thinking” mindset, with the main purpose/goal of analyzing and critiquing thoroughly the accuracy of any statement presented to them that is related to their chosen subject or field, i.e. effectively utilizing journaling and documentation (see relevant section below, point #1 of 2 under “ESSENTIAL/CRUCIAL” for more details); this main purpose/goal is often rooted from a genuine desire/interest/passion for pursuing/studying their chosen subject or field.
The simple fact remains that it is simply not economically feasible to provide jobs to meet the constant influx of supply being produced by colleges and universities, "each" and "every" year. As a result, why are people making the foolish decision to incur immense amount of “DEBT” (keyword) while pursuing higheprofessional education when the economic reality simply does not provide enough jobs for society, i.e. jobs that are specifically expected of from college and university graduates?
Quoted from someone else: "Our societies have for so long told us that education can and should equate to professional success, which should equate to economic success, yet we are entering a period where that simply can't occur. The foundation that those notions were created upon doesn't exist any longer, given how we have evolved and grown as a species, and we have yet to make the transition to a new set of notions."
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Some ESSENTIAL/CRUCIAL characteristics of an individual who exhibits genuine desire/interest/passion for pursuing/studying their chosen subject/field (especially at the higher education or professional education level) are as follows:
1) Effective "Information Management" strategy (utilizing journaling and documentation). The individual had made it a priority to create and compile personal notes or online documents for the purpose of future-reference and documentation – for potential revision, self-reflection, self-correction, or discovery, as this is crucial for knowledge retrieval, knowledge retention, as well as knowledge synthesis and creating/generating new knowledge. Note: information becomes knowledge when you regard the information as valuable and when you make the conscious decision to keep it as part of your notes with the expectation/option of using it in the future; knowledge is information in action, so actually using the information, instead of dismissing it as irrelevant.
Response from another individual/writer:
  • I don't mean that all information has to be kept as notes, nor that other strategies/tactics of finding/retrieving information aren't valuable. I don't even mean that it's impossible for someone to exist/operate without ever taking any notes. Most saliently, I'm more saying that to categorically omit note-taking from one's information management capabilities/strategy is to invite unnecessary trouble, likely to the point of dysfunction, unless one happens to never be doing anything that involves any significantly elusive information to begin with.
  • My bias toward this assessment is reinforced by 25+ years of highly-technical work that has resulted in literally thousands (or tens-of-thousands) of pieces of information, extremely valuable to me, that can't be readily found anywhere but in my notes.
  • Some of it is information specifically originating with myself – there's no one or nowhere else from which it can be gotten. Some of it is information that took me immense amounts of time, thought, and effort to find/acquire, and I would never want to have to try to find it again. Most of these things are in my notes because they have either already disappeared, or are likely to disappear, off of the internet, or don't lend themselves well to simple bookmark-able reference.
  • Another way of saying this is that personally-kept notes are a reflection of the time/effort/insight one has had to put into acquiring the information, combined with the value of retrieval efficiency (organized for one's own retrieval needs). To subject yourself to relying on reproduction of that time/effort and self-organization is to either admit that the time/effort isn't significant (i.e. the information is rather trivial or ubiquitous in nature), or that your own time/effort spent isn't worth much (if you're willing to repeat it).
  • Also, if one assumes that the information is always going to be right where you can easily find it, or even right where you found it before, that's actually just naive.
  • While its true you still need to expend time/effort into locating the info, it has been organized specifically how YOU determine it should be, and thus truncates any actual "overhead" involved in the typical "location" process, not to mention the guarantee that it's actually there to find. Note: overhead expense refers to an ongoing expense of operating a business; it is also known as an "operating expense".
  • As a simple/clear example: if you've never spent hours sifting through the deluge from the Google sewer pipe flooding into your browser, just to find anything remotely relevant to the fairly elusive technical scenario you're trying to resolve, then you're probably not acquainted with really anything I'm talking about, and your dismissal would then represent simply being unaware.
2) The individual is ASSERTIVE and NOT PASSIVE towards the subject they are studying. They are WILLING to articulate and share important ideas and concepts from the subject they are studying. The individual is not seen as someone who is under the spell/act (i.e. false and disingenuous impression of superior intelligence) of mindless regurgitation but rather, the individual is able to offer their OWN UNIQUE interpretation on the subject they are studying, while also citing important concepts or ideas where citation is necessary. In other words, the individual demonstrates "individual competency" THROUGH the subject they are studying and are ultimately/inherently passionate about. The individual's competency (i.e. his/her opinion or interpretation of what is relevant or accurate information) is demonstrated through the individual's pattern of logical and coherent thinking, as well as through the individual's writing style (which displays "CONFIDENCE" in what the individual is presenting as relevant or accurate information).
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Relevant response from another individual:
Decide where you fall on the self-directed spectrum.
Highly self-directed: technical books and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
Average: an online community + curriculum like Free Code Camp or theodinproject.com
Not very self-directed: An in-person coding boot camp like Hack Reactor or App Academy; similar to “subpamediocre” college/university “classroom” learning.
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There are only so many ways of acquiring wealth (with only some methods actually leading to long-term/sustainable financial independence/prosperity):
1) Real Estate
2) Owning a business; being an entrepreneur
3) Career Job requiring higher education (i.e. college or university) or professional education (i.e. apprenticeship or trades)
4) Minimum Wage Jobs
5) Trading the financial markets; making financial “investments” (stocks, forex, futures, options, equities, commodities, etc.)
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Pseudo-Intellectual versus Intellectual (the following is a response from another individual/writer):
An intellectual follows the values and attitudes of Critical Thinking, and exercises good thinking habits. Their interest lies in discovery and self-correction.
The traits of a true intellectual are as follows:
  • intellectual humility – recognizing the limits and sensitivities of one's experience.
  • intellectual courage – ability to examine things and/or state results or potentialities, even if it may be costly/risky to your personal beliefs, or social acceptance, established norms or theories. The ability to put things at risk. Even if they are your own cherished ideas or beliefs that you are putting at risk.
  • intellectual empathy – knowing that you have to imaginatively put yourself in the place of others in order to understand them.
  • intellectual autonomy – being able to think independently, to carry through without constant guidance from others, and sometimes even to come to different conclusions.
  • intellectual integrity – holding yourself to the same standards you hold others, and holding all beliefs to the same standards.
  • intellectual honesty – being willing to admit discrepancies and avoid overlooking exceptions, even to oneself.
  • intellectual perseverance – having the patience to struggle through difficult or complex problems.
  • confidence in reason – willingness to follow the logic where-ever it leads.
  • fair-mindedness – avoiding making unjustified special exceptions or privileges. Holding all viewpoints to the same standards. This does not mean that all views are equal; it means they all are held to the same universal standards. They might end up meeting those standards very unequally. For instance: the theory of evolution vs the fable of creation, or climate change vs science denialism.
A pseudo-intellectual does not do these things. Their interest lies not in discovery and self-correction, but in confirmation of what is already believed. Confirmation Bias. Their "thinking" style is characterized by cognitive biases, a lack of self-reflection/self-correction, a lack of rigor and completeness, and applying woefully different standards to beliefs/ideas that they cherish, and any information that calls them into question.
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