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Tag Archives: In Brief

The Drum Major Instinct

On February 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a powerful sermon about the greatness-seeking impulses that are the source of many types of conflict, racism, bigotry and greed – impulses which are precisely those appealed to by social institutions in order to create the Long Now we all inhabit. He also delivered the antidote. The sermon is called “The Drum Major Instinct” and was delivered to the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. (h/t to occasional ET reader Pastor Don for...

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That Which We Call a Law School

Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook when I was in college. I used it – everyone used it. Today, like most people born after 1970, I only go to Facebook for two reasons: to ensure I don’t miss a single glorious specimen of my extended family’s boomer memes, and to post just enough pictures of my kids to stave off someone actually calling me on the phone. What can I say? I refuse to be labeled as a millennial, but I will cop to being an adult with millennial characteristics. And...

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An Experiment

There is a chart I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and I want to tell you about it. Before I do, I also wanted to show it to you, along with a simple request: Tell me what you think that it is. Put it in the comments if you’re a subscriber. If you’re not, send your guesses to [email protected] First one – if anyone can manage it – to guess remotely correctly gets a care package of Epsilon Theory swag. All other guesses will almost certainly make an appearance in...

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Mailbag: By Our Own Petard

Sometimes we get enough good responses to a note from pack-members that we think it’s worth publishing them on their own. Our readers had some especially useful thoughts on our note about principal-agent problems and the meme of alignment! in the hiring of advisers, consultants and fund managers. Thank you! This is one of the things that I have been trying to explain to clients and regulators ever since the Department of Labor released its Fiduciary Standard. There is no such thing...

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Hyakujos Fox

Once when Hyakujo delivered some Zen lectures an old man attended them, unseen by the monks. At the end of each talk when the monks left so did he. But one day he remained after they had gone, and Hyakujo asked him: `Who are you?’The old man replied: `I am not a human being, but I was a human being when the Kashapa Buddha preached in this world. I was a Zen master and lived on this mountain. At that time one of my students asked me whether the enlightened man is subject to the law...

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A Cycle of Addiction

PDF Download (Paid Subscription Required):  A Cycle of Addiction Requiem for a Dream (2000) A 35-year Secular Trend Two of the world’s major central banks – namely the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the European Central Bank (ECB) – have created what is akin to a cycle of addiction to negative interest rates. Moreover, even those developed economies with positive rates appear addicted to near-zero rates. Without them, developed market economies seemingly begin to slip back into...

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Yeah, It’s Still Water

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?” David Foster Wallace (2005) It’s a note about financialization … the zombiefication of our economy and the oligarchification of our society....

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Guest Post – A Conservative’s Take on The Pack

Every now and then we come across an article or blog post that’s directly relevant to what we’re trying to say on Epsilon Theory, but is too big and thoughtful to be carved up for a Mailbag note or Zeitgeist post. Steve Soukup has been writing for The Political Forum for many years now (@thepolforum), and I always enjoy reading his weekly emails ([email protected]). This note hit home for Rusty and me (in different ways!), and Steve was kind enough to let us publish it in...

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The Stereogram

The free world has been dunking on LeBron James for more than a week now and it has not gotten old. Still, something about it has made me uneasy. Am I uneasy because King James requires some special grace, because I’m worried that we aren’t being full-hearted enough in our criticisms of him? No. Good God, no. Knock yourselves out, y’all. I’m uneasy because once you see clearly the influence the Chinese Communist Party can wield arbitrarily over you and me as citizens of the free...

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On The Great Jihad And Other Possible Futures

PDF Download (Paid Subscription Required): On the Great Jihad And Other Possible Futures “He had seen two main branchings along the way ahead—in one he confronted an evil old Baron and said: “Hello, Grandfather.” The thought of that path and what lay along it sickened him. The other path held long patches of gray obscurity except for peaks of violence. He had seen a warrior religion there, a fire spreading across the universe with the Atreides green and black banner waving at...

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