Street Level

Street Level

If you had any doubts as to whether the demonstrable economic progress the US has made over the past several months counts as "substantial" in the context of the Fed's express desire to see "substantial further progress" before beginning any discussions around policy normalization, John Williams's answer is an emphatic "no." Or at least that's the way it sounded Monday, when Williams delivered remarks for a Women in Housing & Finance webinar. "The data and conditions we are seeing now are n
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12 thoughts on “Street Level

  1. Haha, as a wise man once said “it’s all vanity”. Unfortunately most of us are sucked in by the system and never figure out what really matters in life.

    1. Reminds me more of perhaps my favorite piece from Nietzsche. At least it’s opening lines, which I believe I may have posted here once before in response to similar wisdom laid down by H:
      “In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the highest and most mendacious minute of “world history”—yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.
      One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened.”

  2. Well, the pursuit of more money for those who already have money may be meaningless. But for those at the bottom, it makes a huge difference. So Powell is telling us he is more concerned about employment among the poor than he is about a minor bump in inflation, or gaining the approval of bankers. How did Trump end up appointing this guy? (Of course, he later regretted it.). Perhaps Powell and Biden together won’t make much improvement in the situation, but no progress will be made unless we pay attention to the problem and make it a priority. Powell has been growing on me.

  3. “We’re born. We live. We go about doing this or that for a while. Then we die. And that’s the end of it. Just like squirrels or birds or caterpillars.” “All of this is nothing more than a game…”
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the chuckle and for the perspective readjustment. I feel much closer to the squirrels and birds and caterpillars in my yard this morning. And thank goodness “it’ll make little difference beyond a tiny floating rock orbiting a dying star.” I am a little sad about “the fate of the planet” though, because of the fate of the squirrels, birds and caterpillars is tied to it.

  4. H, I think the biggest reason I subscribe and read your work is that you can somehow mix philosophy with analysis and it makes sense. Life is fleeting, money is meaningless, humans are some of the most flawed beings on the planet. In one sentence you sound almost Nihilistic but then you follow it up with real concern about the fate of minorities and parents who we always seem to leave behind no matter how much “progress” we think we’re making.

    I’ve come to what seems to be an obvious conclusion now (though I didn’t find it obvious in my youth), that humans really are their biases and that their biggest blind spot is that they are always biased. Biases come from a plethora of influences but I think most of them are inherently constructed from deep seeded insecurities. The key to success in life to is be able to pick up on people with power’s biases and try to play them to your advantage. That’s the real game of life, that’s the real meritocracy in the world. Merit based on playing the biases of those who can help elevate you until you die, nobody ever wins. Donald Trump is living proof that you can fake your way through everything in life and as long as you present what people want to see you can go as far as you like.

    To close on a more positive note though, money can help buy happiness but not alone, relationships are the only truly fulfilling pursuit in life. Your legacy can’t be measured in wealth but in the ways you help those around you grow into better more adapted humans. Problem solving is fun, you never truly win or lose unless you quit playing, and it is empirically impossible to learn everything there is to know so never stop pursuing knowledge.

  5. I so love it when Heisenberg drops some existential tough love. This was one of my favorite pieces of 2021. It would have been hilarious — and even more portentous — if it ended right after this line: “Jerome Powell spoke Monday too. “Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be with you today,” he told the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.”

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