Sanctions vs. war [vs. trade]

Dave Long
Tue, 21 Jan 2003 11:23:34 -0800

> I'm beginning to think trading with an enemy, particularly a totalitarian
> one, is the easiest way to kick his ass.

That is what worries me the most about
the current situation.  If two players
play an even game, the greater bankroll
has a much stronger position, and the
larger the bankroll difference relative
to the variance of the game, the better
the position.

So, if one "carries a big stick" (acts
from a position of strength), it is
much better to "speak softly" [0] (act
to reduce variances).

Conversely, if one starts in the weaker
position, then it is better to act to
increase variances. [1]

Now, I'd thought we were supposed to be
a superpower, and that war is a higher
variance activity than commerce -- but
when we rattle sabers, it makes me think
the administration believes at least one
of those two to be false.


:: :: ::

[0] TR learned to drive a team to impress
a certain young lady, so he certainly had
first-hand experience with his metaphors.

[1] which explains why it is a foul to bump
in an America's Cup race: the presumption is
that the bumper is trying to make up for a
weakness relative to the bumpee by shaking
things up a bit.

>                        ... mergers and acquisitions are God's way of
> telling you your stock price is too high...

Does hybris invite Nemesis, or do 1D random
walks return to zero with probability one?