[FoRK] The Alpha Strategy

Karl Anderson kra at monkey.org
Thu Jul 23 16:08:14 PDT 2009

I found the writing style too annoying to do more than skim, but I'd
summarize it like this:
Financial service providers, politicians, and big union bosses aren't
working in your interest.  Duh.

You aren't going to get a consistent 10% return on your investments.
 Obvious if you never believed Jim Cramer, or FoRK circa 1998.

If you have money, invest in things which make you more productive and help
you earn, like tools or education.  OK.

If you have any money left over, buy diverse physical commodities and
consumables - to avoid inflation only, don't be a
speculator.  For instance, a lifetime supply of lightbulbs.  Oops.
Traps and firearms skills to
guard your
stash aren't mentioned explicitly, but I presume that's covered under
tools and education.

In other words: underpants gnomes.

Seriously, has the safe end of the investment spectrum (FDIC-insured
savings, Treasuries, bond ladders or bond index funds) ever lost to
inflation over the long run?  And if it has, and you do want to prepare for
Weimar-class inflation, shouldn't you stop reading tech-oriented mailing
lists and start getting bike mechanic experience or something similar?

On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 5:17 AM, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:

> (Poking my head out of semi-retirement / reclusiveness solely to plug a
> book I recently and coincidentally stumbled across...)
> Required reading:
>    The Alpha Strategy:  The Ultimate Plan of Financial Self-Defense
>      by John A. Pugsley
> Perhaps the single best / most clear and concise / important book I've ever
> read on general economics, monetary economics, inflation, banking, the
> market, socio-economics and politics, the nature of wealth, wealth
> preservation and investing, etc.  Out of print (c. 1981) but you can find
> copies floating around here and there.  Despite its age, or perhaps because
> of it, it's quite interesting:  many of the economic topics that preoccupied
> folks in the late 1970s are rather frighteningly appropriate today;
>  particularly in light of nearly-three decades of further data, it looks
> positively prescient.  I can't say I completely agree with *all* of the
> conclusions and / or strategy, but particularly when coupled with (the
> previously-mentioned) Barton Biggs' _Wealth, War, and Wisdom_ it tells an
> interesting and highly relevant if slightly unsettling story.  (Beberg, even
> if the sky isn't falling, you're looking more and more sane every day.  Now
> if you'd just stop listening to Alex Jones you'd be in much better shape.
> ;-)
> The print book runs to a little over 200+ pages, but I found a PDF copy
> (unsure of the copyright status) that upon random inspection appears to be
> complete (sans appendix, etc.) though formatted to run only 99 pages:
>    http://www.biorationalinstitute.com/zcontent/alpha_strategy.pdf
> The basic strategy is easily summarized as four "levels":
>  I.     Invest in production
>  II.    Save consumables
>  III.   Save *Real* Money (my emphasis)
>  IV.  Toward a Theft-Free Future
> That last one is obviously the difficult part particularly today, but if
> you want a clear, econ-mumbo-jumbo free motivation of it, this is the book
> for you.
> Jeff Bob sez "check it out."
> $0.02,
> jb
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