Re: AGING: perhaps we are over the hump

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 09:22:08 MST


> Robert, have you done any kind of survey of investing habits in our
> community?

Actually, no. So I may be drawing conclusions where there aren't
many facts in evidence. I do wonder though if there isn't an implicit
assumption that the NanoSantas or the SysOp or the Singularity will
arrive so soon that we don't need to prepare for the alternatives.

As many I'm sure know, I've devoted a lot of time to considering what
our hazard function(s) really are and how one might push them lower.
For example, the general trend in the U.S. accident rates, if continued
for this century, pushes expected longevity from ~2000 to ~6000 years.
But getting it to tens of thousands of years as was mentioned in the Spike
seems *really* difficult.

> Perhaps you have not seen evidence because you have not asked for it.
> Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

Point taken.

> though I did have the foresight to be building two other more stable reserves.
> As Hal noted, it really is *not* safe in the long run to invest and forgot.

Agreed. That was why I mentioned both a mutual fund and a savings account.
Obviously, one could lose fortunes if one doesn't pay attention to both
the markets and the currency valuations. I believe classic economic
theory predicts that the U.S. dollar should depreciate over time due to
the U.S. trade deficit, but it seems that rule has been suspended over
the last several decades. So how one "manages" this effectively isn't
exactly clear.

It used to be that you needed to devote real human resources to managing
this type of thing, but I'd suspect now that the computer programs for
asset allocation are giving the human managers a run for their money.
The only problem comes up when computers cannot include in their models
events that have never happened before (e.g. will or will not the Japanese
banking system go belly up?).

> Almost every country has been through periods where you were likely to lose
> everything.

Of course, all the more reason to not optimize for yield, but to optimize
for security.

> Saving heavily in early years of relatively low income may not be optimal.
> On the other hand I would argue that (almost) *always* saving gets you into
> a healthy habit.

Clearly! If one does believe the NanoSantas, SysOps or Singularity will
arrive in the next 15-30 years, then investing of any type at all
may be rather foolish. On the other hand if one has a life-philosophy
of being prepared in case "shit happens", then it makes good sense.

> Robert, do you want to suggest wording for an ExI-Community poll?

I'll give it some thought and see what I can come up with.


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