Not more than a dozen years ago it took weeks to get to the deep upper Amazon jungle. There used to be terrorists here. Now in two days by plane, bus and motor canoe we reached the upper Tambopata research station in the headwaters of the Amazon rain forest. We saw six species of monkeys, macaws, poisonous spiders 6 inches across that can jump a meter, snakes, frogs. tapir tracks, vultures, hawks, otters and more. The guide wrestled a small Caiman and brought it into the canoe.

The jungle has the greatest biodiversity with thousands of species each occupying a specific niche. The only direct conflicts we saw were between two spiders, and two monkeys fighting over the same niche. The forest had three main levels, first at the ground to 15 meters, 15-35 m and the canopy above 35 m.

Some market ideas from the learning experience involve the separation of the levels and the specialization within each level of the forest. The occupants and action at the bottom of the forest are much different than those in the middle or top. As in markets different techniques are needed at tops, middles, and bottoms. It is hard for one species of trader to hope to avoid death at all the levels. It is very hard to start on the bottom of a market and survive to the top.

Extreme specialization is the rule in the jungle. There is no reason that same type of specialization would not be required in the market jungle.

However in many ways, current markets lack real diversity. The correlation among markets has been a result of this lack of diversity. Too many in the same niche or trade. The lack of diversity causes inability to absorb market shocks.

In the jungle, when a large 800 years old kapok tree falls, a huge gap is created. Many species rush in to fill the gap, but due to the rush, the vegetation is weak. Similar action may occur in market gaps when a shock hits. The initial occupiers of the gap are weak holders.

More reports later from Cuzco, Peru, in the Andes…

On May 30, Jim Sogi added:

Jim SogiNavigating the jungle:  The jungle canopy is 35 or more meters high and cuts out most of the light. The jungle floor is dense and dark filled with creepy crawlers. It would be easy to get lost and survival would be hard. We wondered what tactics could be used if lost in the jungle. The only way out is to find the river. Overland travel is impossible.

We learned that the macaws travel at dawn to the clay licks which are located on the riverbanks. The macaws are large, brightly colored and make noise. At dawn one could look to see the direction of their travel to determine the location of the lick. Kennerhoffer grads might recognize the trade navigation information in the dawn trade direction as a navigation tool for the days trade.

in the jungles there are small streams that caiman like to use. One might use the flow direction to determine the direction of the larger river and follow that. The obvious trade parallel is to follow the flow of the orders of the bid or ask

The tapir makes vague paths through the undergrowth through habitual use. There are meals for life in following well worn trading price paths as well as they tend to be habitually used. in the market jungle.

I would welcome other trades ideas arising out of such navigation ideas. We've discussed open ocean non instrument navigation some years ago. Its a jungle out there and every advantage is needed.

Nigel Davies reports:

Coincidentally, the Independent newspaper featured the following story today on a tribe that has only recently been discovered. I can't help but think that it is they who possess the real secrets of Amazonian survival.

BTW, a thought keeps coming to mind since my investigation of the game of Go. This tends to have pockets of recognisable patterns scattered across the board's landscape with chess, by comparison, being much more 'homogenous'. Perhaps the key to the jungle lies is analogous to Go, with intuition being required to recognise these more disparate patterns.

Pitt T Maner III reminisces:

Daniel LudwigThe difficulties encountered of one of the early billionaires (and richest man in the world), Daniel K. Ludwig, when he attempted an ambitious development project in the Amazon come to mind.  He failed to anticipate problems associated with the fragile, thin, Amazonian jungle topsoil– and how the jungle's existence involves a continual recycling of organic materials from the canopies mentioned. It  made for a strong cautionary business tale back in the late 70s and early 80s. Beware the "Amazon factor".

"A touch of hubris without humus" you might say…. Mr. Ludwig was, however, by many accounts a very charitable fellow— and his intentions may have been good. Perhaps the story relates (as suggested in the articles below) to taking on too big a project in advanced age… at some point you need to enjoy your wealth and partially retire. Eschew eccentricity, listen to others, give up a bit of control. Then again maybe some people make it to old age because they thrive on these type of struggles.

The "before" story:

Time Magazine

Ludwig is a restless recluse at 80 and, some employees suggest, is seeking to build a pyramid to himself, a monument to his ten-year quest to tame a stretch of jungle almost the size of Connecticut and make it productive. Says an associate, Luis Antonio Oliveira: "Mr. Ludwig is nearing the end of his life, and he is more interested in undertaking something of great socioeconomic significance than in earning quick profits." Still, Ludwig is betting that a worldwide paper shortage is coming by 1985 and will make his gamble pay off.

"After" stories:

Wikipedia[Jari project]

Problems also begun to increase due to so-called Amazon Factor - the combined effects of soil, insects, humidity and tropical disease. Workers contracted malaria. Insects devoured the harvest and supplies. Then Brazilian government officials began to criticize Ludwig's methods and the extent of his land ownership. They also questioned the project's exemption from taxes, not to mention his methods - he had fired twenty-nine directors during the thirteen years of the project and preferred to decide everything essential by himself.

Time Magazine

Ludwig threw money and manpower at problems thrown up by the jungle. But in many cases he made costly mistakes. In attempting to start his lumber and paper business, for example, he had to clear the land to plant new trees. Several Caterpillar "jungle crushers," giant bulldozers costing $250,000 each, were brought in to do the job, but the machines proved inappropriate because they damaged the unexpectedly delicate Amazon topsoil.

I believe Forbes Magazine wrote a good article, about 30 years ago, on Ludwig's venture that may still be available with a bit more digging.


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