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“What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end.”— Warren Buffett

1. Ambiguity

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Bubbles gnaw at the imagination of the investor. Famously tricky to detect in the present-tense, they only really gain their tangibility in retrospect. Though they are feared — largely because of their inherent unknowability — they are not solely objects of dread. Rather, financial bubbles come wrapped up in a kind of glittering mystique which makes them attractive to muse about.

Why do I say that? They’re a little mysterious, quirky; puzzles to be solved. And temptingly, they have the potential to be gamed if one plays their cards right and collects enough clues.


Watch anyone knee-deep in their own garden and you will watch them putter about with an endearing blend of gentleness and industry. Their attentions are fully commanded by the fragile plant life in their care which they have deliberately shouldered themselves with the burden of nurturing.

They stoop low to the earth, inspect stems and leaves with a critical eye, and dig their fingers into the soil to dislodge stubborn weeds. …

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History is a uniquely human project, a collaborative means of making sense of the past. It is undeniably a product of the prefrontal cortex — an advanced neurology capable of reflection beyond the immediate moment. It is an amalgamation of subjective memory, meaning-making, and Lorenz’s butterfly effect.

History, crucially, is a wobbly combination of what happened but also what we think about what happened, so much so that the two, once peered at more closely, begin to resemble one another, overlapping and fusing.

Schoolteachers have long dealt with the frustrated moan from students, “why must we learn about the past?”…

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You know just what I mean by that title, don’t you? Like spilled ink politics has oozed over culture in the past half a decade, absorbing more and more territory as the years pass by. You will find mixed reactions to this advance. Some are heartened by this new reality, their eyes sparkling at what they deem progressive success. “Technically, everything is political,” they muse. By this logic, a political veneer translates to a veneer of enlightenment.

Others, however, do not share the same comfort and worry that the encroachment of politics into culture is a bad omen, stunting and…


The English language paints the word ‘dissent’ with the dreary negative Latin prefix “diss”. The intuition cannot help but linguistically perceive ‘dissent’ as a rebellion from what is good and proper, a hollowing out, a removal. Deceivingly, dissent is far more noble than this reductive conceptualization. As a pillar of democratic society it rinses the ideological landscape, injects a healthy tension into culture, and acts a hedge against the eternal pressure of groupthink.

In fact, within the ecosystem of democracy, an absence of dissent would not be possible — if you have no dissent, you essentially have no democracy. A…

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If you’ve caught even a whiff of the news in the past few weeks, you know that number. You know it as the sticker price unveiled on President Biden’s new spending proposal which bundles together a host of cash influxes to everything under the sun — infrastructure, health care, covid relief, you name it. Some applaud this so-called “investment in the future” and see it as a brave, bold counterattack to the malaise of the past year while others wince at the chart-topping price tag and slot the proposal under the file “road to American decadence”.

If one thing is…

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Back in the surreal days of last March, it was easy to think that the coronavirus might be a temporary inconvenience. While the hand sanitizer shortages and manic scrambling for toilet paper so emblematic of that weirdly distant era rightfully felt bizarre, the collective belief sitting underneath the chaos was that all would eventually subside and the social impact of the virus would resemble a tidy little bell curve. A hump in history, a bump in the road.

The “new normal” in those days usually referenced a makeshift reality that could be discarded at the proper time, when the tide…

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The tight grip of crumbling-and-flaring dystopia on the Western imagination is a curious product indeed of our age of unrivaled prosperity and technological progress. One might, at first glance, think all this material advancement logical grounds for heartier optimism concerning the horizon of the future. That this is, by and large, not our reaction is fascinating, albeit in a disquieting fashion.

You see, although we are enveloped in the heat of civilizational progress there exists the cold shadow of something else — the subconscious rattling of our collective existential anxieties. The vast scientific strides and technological track-laying made in the…

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There are two attitudes in America today — the classic “don’t touch me” sensibility belonging to the archetypal gun-toting, side-eyeing rural American and the “comprehensive care package” sensibility associated with the liberal urbanite. These two visions clash spectacularly, partly to blame for our present environment of sizzling political tension.

One camp believes it is government’s responsibility to try to do more of what it already does — and this is apprehended as progress. The rival camp ascribes to Ronald Reagan’s legendary manifesto, “the government is the problem.” To small-government enthusiasts, progress is the condensation of bureaucracy. Opposing, much?

Historically, the…

Lauren Reiff

Writer of economics, psychology, and lots in between.

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