Jan

14

 Leo Jia's "Thoughts on Investing " for the apocalypse has got me thinking.

This is like tossing out a brick to get a jade gem (拋磚引玉/抛砖引玉, Pāo zhuān yǐn yù)

"Bait someone by making him believe he gains something or just make him react to it ("toss out a brick") and obtain something valuable from him in return ("get a jade gem")."

This proverb is based on a story involving two famous poets of the Tang Dynasty. There was a great poet named Zhao Gu (趙嘏) and another lesser poet by the name of Chang Jian (常建). While Chang Jian was traveling in Suzhou, he heard news that Zhao Gu would be visiting a temple in the area. Chang Jian wished to learn from the master poet, so he devised a plan and went to the temple in advance, then wrote a poem on the temple walls with only two of the four lines completed, hoping Zhao Gu would see it and finish the poem. Zhao Gu acted as Chang Jian foresaw, and from this story came the proverb.

Apologies, I have no precious jade or gem to offer. But note that what you note about how some consumption will see large increases in both price and volume, including entertainment, pleasure, food-drinks, tourism, transportation, luxurism, exoticism, etc, is already happening in quite a few places around the world, especially in some parts of Asia as recipients of 'hot money' inflows or at least, as perceived relative safe havens. And in a perverse sort of way, I actually welcome your expectation of a depressing trend. This should apply to real-estate, arts, antiques, many commodities, and the overall stock markets., especially here in my little city (Spore).

Hopefully, a puncturing of the ballooned-up wealth effect here can rein in the luxury consumption which is currently very blatantly on display here. Too many Porsches, Maseratis and even 'boy-racer' GTRs roaring around the neighbourhood at unearthly hours. Just last night, a long line of candy-coloured Gallardos were blocking the entire front street. I shudder to think if this "consumption will continue to see large increase in volume."

One may interpret the 'recursive' words above as a little tongue-in-cheek illustration of the non-linearity of the utility function in action.


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