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Trump Didn’t Kill the Global Trade System. He Split It in Two.

This article is taken from the Wall Street Journal written about nine months ago and sits behind a a paywall, so I decided to copy and paste it here. This article explains Trump's policies toward global trade and what has actually happened so far. I think the article does a decent job of explaining the Trade War. While alot has happenedsince the article was written, I still think its relevant.
However, what is lacking in the article, like many articles on the trade war, is it doesn't really explain the history of US trade policy, the laws that the US administration is using to place tariffs on China and the official justification for the US President in enacting tariffs against China. In my analysis I will cover those points.

SUMMARY

When Trump entered the White House people feared he would dismantle the global system the US and its allies had built over the last 75 years, but he hasn't. He has realign into two systems. One between the US and its allies which looks similar to the one built since the 1980s with a few of quota and tariffs. As the article points out
Today, Korus and Nafta have been replaced by updated agreements(one not yet ratified) that look much like the originals. South Korea accepted quotas on steel. Mexico and Canada agreed to higher wages, North American content requirements and quotas for autos. Furthermore, the article points out Douglas Irwin, an economist and trade historian at Dartmouth College, calls these results the “status quo with Trumpian tweaks: a little more managed trade sprinkled about for favored industries. It’s not good, but it’s not the destruction of the system.” Mr. Trump’s actions so far affect only 12% of U.S. imports, according to Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In 1984, 21% of imports were covered by similar restraints, many imposed by Mr. Reagan, such as on cars, steel, motorcycles and clothing. Protectionist instincts go so far in the US, there are strong lobby groups for both protectionist and freetrade in the US.
The second reflects a emerging rivalry between the US and China. Undo some of the integration that followed China accession to the WTO. Two questions 1) How far is the US willing to decouple with China 2) Can it persuade allies to join.
The second is going to be difficult because China's economic ties are greater than they were between the Soviets, and China isn't waging an ideological struggle. Trump lacks Reagan commitment to alliance and free trade. The status quo with China is crumbling Dan Sullivan, a Republican senator from Alaska, personifies these broader forces reshaping the U.S. approach to the world. When Mr. Xi visited the U.S. in 2015, Mr. Sullivan urged his colleagues to pay more attention to China’s rise. On the Senate floor, he quoted the political scientist Graham Allison: “War between the U.S. and China is more likely than recognized at the moment.” Last spring, Mr. Sullivan went to China and met officials including Vice President Wang Qishan. They seemed to think tensions with the U.S. will fade after Mr. Trump leaves the scene, Mr. Sullivan recalled. “I just said, ‘You are completely misreading this.’” The mistrust, he told them, is bipartisan, and will outlast Mr. Trump. both Bush II and Obama tried to change dialogue and engagement, but by the end of his term, Obama was questioning the approach. Trump has declared engagement. “We don’t like it when our allies steal our ideas either, but it’s a much less dangerous situation,” said Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute whose views align with the administration’s more hawkish officials. “We’re not worried about the war-fighting capability of Japan and Korea because they’re our friends.”
The article also points out unlike George Kennan in 1946 who made a case for containing the Soviet Union, the US hasn't explicitly made a case for containing the Soviets, Trump's administration hasn't, because as the the article explains its divided Michael Pillsbury a Hudson Institute scholar close to the Trump team, see 3 scenarios
Pillsbury thinks the third is most likely to happen, even though the administration hasn't said that it has adopted that policy. The US is stepping efforts to draw in other trading partners. The US, EU and Japan have launched a WTO effort to crack down on domestic subsidies and technology transfers requirement. US and Domestic concerns with prompted some countries to restrict Huawei. The US is also seeking to walloff China from other trade deals. However, there are risk with this strategy

ARTICLE

Trump Didn’t Kill the Global Trade System. He Split It in Two.

INTRODUCTION

My main criticism of this article is it tries like the vast majority of articles to fit US trade actions in the larger context of US geopolitical strategy. Even the author isn't certain "The first goes to the heart of Mr. Trump’s goal. If his aim is to hold back China’s advance, economists predict he will fail.". If you try to treat the trade "war" and US geopolitical strategy toward China as one, you will find yourself quickly frustrated and confused. If you treat them separately with their different set of stakeholders and histories, were they intersect with regards to China, but diverge. During the Cold War, trade policy toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc was subordinated to geopolitical concerns. For Trump, the trade issues are more important than geopolitical strategy. His protectionist trade rhetoric has been fairly consistent since 1980s. In his administration, the top cabinet members holding economic portfolios, those of Commerce, Treasury and US Trade Representative are the same people he picked when he first took office. The Director of the Economic Council has changed hands once, its role isn't as important as the National Security Advisor. While State, Defense, CIA, Homeland Security, UN Ambassador, National Security Advisor have changed hands at least once. Only the Director of National Intelligence hasn't changed.
International Trade makes up 1/4 of the US economy, and like national security its primarily the responsibility of the Federal government. States in the US don't implement their own tariffs. If you add the impact of Treasury policy and how it relates to capital flows in and out of the US, the amounts easily exceed the size of the US economy. Furthermore, because of US Dollar role as the reserve currency and US control of over global system the impact of Treasury are global. Trade policy and investment flows runs through two federal departments Commerce and Treasury and for trade also USTR. Defense spending makes up 3.3% of GDP, and if you add in related homeland security its at most 4%. Why would anyone assume that these two realms be integrated let alone trade policy subordinate to whims of a national security bureaucracy in most instances? With North Korea or Iran, trade and investment subordinate themselves to national security, because to Treasury and Commerce bureaucrats and their affiliated interest groups, Iran and the DPRK are well, economic midgets, but China is a different matter.
The analysis will be divided into four sections. The first will be to provide a brief overview of US trade policy since 1914. The second section will discuss why the US is going after China on trade issues, and why the US has resorted using a bilateral approach as opposed to going through the WTO. The third section we will talk about how relations with China is hashed out in the US.
The reason why I submitted this article, because there aren't many post trying to explain US-China Trade War from a trade perspective. Here is a post titled "What is the Reasons for America's Trade War with China, and not one person mentioned Article 301 or China's WTO Commitments. You get numerous post saying that Huawei is at heart of the trade war. Its fine, but if you don't know what was inside the USTR Investigative report that lead to the tariffs. its like skipping dinner and only having dessert When the US President, Donald J Trump, says he wants to negotiate a better trade deal with other countries, and has been going on about for the last 35 years, longer than many of you have been alive, why do people think that the key issues with China aren't primarily about trade at the moment.

OVERVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE ORIENTATION

Before 1940s, the US could be categorized as a free market protectionist economy. For many this may seem like oxymoron, how can an economy be free market and protectionist? In 1913, government spending made up about 7.5% of US GDP, in the UK it was 13%, and for Germany 18% (Public Spending in the 20th Century A Global Perspective: Ludger Schuknecht and Vito Tanzi - 2000). UK had virtual zero tariffs, while for manufactured goods in France it was 20%, 13% Germany, 9% Belgium and 4% Netherlands. For raw materials and agricultural products, it was almost zero. In contrast, for the likes of United States, Russia and Japan it was 44%, 84% and 30% respectively. Even though in 1900 United States was an economic powerhouse along with Germany, manufactured exports only made up 30% of exports, and the US government saw tariffs as exclusively a domestic policy matter and didn't see tariffs as something to be negotiated with other nations. The US didn't have the large constituency to push the government for lower tariffs abroad for their exports like in Britain in the 1830-40s (Reluctant Partners: A History of Multilateral Trade Cooperation, 1850-2000).
The Underwood Tariffs Act of 1913 which legislated the income tax, dropped the tariffs to 1850 levels levels.Until 16th amendment was ratified in 1913 making income tax legal, all US federal revenue came from excise and tariffs. In contrast before 1914, about 50% of UK revenue came from income taxes. The reason for US reluctance to introduced income tax was ideological and the United State's relative weak government compared to those in Europe. After the First World War, the US introduced the Emergency Tariff Act of 1921, than the Fordney–McCumber Tariff of 1922 followed by a Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930. Contrary to popular opinion, the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 had a small negative impact on the economy, since imports and exports played a small part of the US economy, and the tariffs were lower than the average that existed from 1850-1914.
Immediately after the Second World War, when the US economy was the only industrialized economy left standing, the economic focus was on rehabilitation and monetary stability. There was no grandiose and ideological design. Bretton Woods system linked the US dollar to gold to create monetary stability, and to avoid competitive devaluation and tariffs that plagued the world economy after Britain took itself off the gold in 1931. The US$ was the natural choice, because in 1944 2/3 of the world's gold was in the US. One reason why the Marshall Plan was created was to alleviate the chronic deficits Europeans countries had with the US between 1945-50. It was to rebuild their economies so they could start exports good to the US. Even before it was full implemented in 1959, it was already facing problems, the trade surpluses that the US was running in the 1940s, turned to deficits as European and Japanese economies recovered. By 1959, Federal Reserves foreign liabilities had already exceeded its gold reserves. There were fears of a run on the US gold supply and arbitrage. A secondary policy of the Bretton woods system was curbs on capital outflows to reduce speculation on currency pegs, and this had a negative impact on foreign investment until it was abandoned in 1971. It wasn't until the 1980s, where foreign investment recovered to levels prior to 1914. Factoring out the big spike in global oil prices as a result of the OPEC cartel, it most likely wasn't until the mid-1990s that exports as a % of GDP had reached 1914 levels.
Until the 1980s, the US record regarding free trade and markets was mediocre. The impetus to remove trade barriers in Europe after the Second World War was driven by the Europeans themselves. The EEC already had a custom union in 1968, Canada and the US have yet to even discuss implementing one. Even with Canada it took the US over 50 years to get a Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA was inspired by the success of the EEC. NAFTA was very much an elite driven project. If the Americans put the NAFTA to a referendum like the British did with the EEC in the seventies, it most likely wouldn't pass. People often look at segregation in the US South as a political issue, but it was economic issue as well. How could the US preach free trade, when it didn't have free trade in its own country. Segregation was a internal non-tariff barrier. In the first election after the end of the Cold War in 1992, Ross Perot' based most of independent run for the Presidency on opposition to NAFTA. He won 19% of the vote. Like Ross Perot before him, Donald Trump is not the exception in how America has handled tariffs since the founding of the Republic, but more the norm.
The embrace of free trade by the business and political elite can be attributed to two events. After the end of Bretton Woods in 1971, a strong vested interest in the US in the form of multinationals and Wall Street emerged advocating for removal of tariffs and more importantly the removal of restrictions on free flow of capital, whether direct foreign investment in portfolio investment. However, the political class embrace of free trade and capital only really took off after the collapse of the Soviet Union propelled by Cold War triumphalism.
As mentioned by the article, the US is reverting back to a pre-WTO relations with China. As Robert Lighthizer said in speech in 2000
I guess my prescription, really, is to move back to more of a negotiating kind of a settlement. Return to WTO and what it really was meant to be. Something where you have somebody make a decision but have it not be binding.
The US is using financial and legal instruments developed during the Cold War like its extradition treaties (with Canada and Europe), and Section 301. Here is a very good recent article about enforcement commitment that China will make.‘Painful’ enforcement ahead for China if trade war deal is reached with US insisting on unilateral terms
NOTE: It is very difficult to talk about US-China trade war without a basic knowledge of global economic history since 1914. What a lot of people do is politicize or subordinate the economic history to the political. Some commentators think US power was just handed to them after the Second World War, when the US was the only industrialized economy left standing. The dominant position of the US was temporary and in reality its like having 10 tonnes of Gold sitting in your house, it doesn't automatically translate to influence. The US from 1945-1989 was slowly and gradually build her influence in the non-Communist world. For example, US influence in Canada in the 1960s wasn't as strong as it is now. Only 50% of Canadian exports went to the US in 1960s vs 80% at the present moment.

BASIS OF THE US TRADE DISCUSSION WITH CHINA

According to preliminary agreement between China and the US based on unnamed sources in the Wall Street Journal article US, China close in on Trade Deal. In this article it divides the deal in two sections. The first aspects have largely to do with deficits and is political.
As part of a deal, China is pledging to help level the playing field, including speeding up the timetable for removing foreign-ownership limitations on car ventures and reducing tariffs on imported vehicles to below the current auto tariff of 15%. Beijing would also step up purchases of U.S. goods—a tactic designed to appeal to President Trump, who campaigned on closing the bilateral trade deficit with China. One of the sweeteners would be an $18 billion natural-gas purchase from Cheniere Energy Inc., people familiar with the transaction said.
The second part will involve the following.
  1. Commitment Regarding Industrial Policy
  2. Provisions to protect IP
  3. Mechanism which complaints by US companies can be addressed
  4. Bilateral meetings adjudicate disputes. If talks don't produce agreement than US can raise tariffs unilaterally
This grouping of conditions is similar to the points filled under the 301 investigation which serve the basis for initiating the tariffs. I have been reading some sources that say this discussion on this second group of broader issues could only be finalized later
The official justifications for placing the tariffs on Chinese goods is found under the March 2018 investigation submitted by the office of the President to Congress titled FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO CHINA’S ACTS, POLICIES, AND PRACTICES RELATED TO TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, AND INNOVATION UNDER SECTION 301 OF THE TRADE ACT OF 1974. From this investigation the United States Trade Representative (USTR) place US Tariffs on Chinese goods as per Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Here is a press release by the USTR listing the reasons for placing tariffs, and the key section from the press release. Specifically, the Section 301 investigation revealed:
In the bigger context of trade relations between US and China, China is not honoring its WTO commitments, and the USTR issued its yearly report to Congress in early February about the status of China compliance with its WTO commitments. The points that served as a basis for applying Section 301, also deviate from her commitments as Clinton's Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky paving the way for a trade war. Barshefsky argues that China's back sliding was happening as early as 2006-07, and believes the trade war could have been avoided has those commitments been enforced by previous administrations.
I will provide a brief overview of WTO membership and China's process of getting into the WTO.
WTO members can be divided into two groups, first are countries that joined in 1995-97, and were members of GATT, than there are the second group that joined after 1997. China joined in 2001. There is an argument that when China joined in 2001, she faced more stringent conditions than other developing countries that joined before, because the vast majority of developing countries were members of GATT, and were admitted to the WTO based on that previous membership in GATT. Here is Brookings Institute article published in 2001 titled "Issues in China’s WTO Accession"
This question is all the more puzzling because the scope and depth of demands placed on entrants into the formal international trading system have increased substantially since the formal conclusion of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in 1994, which expanded the agenda considerably by covering many services, agriculture, intellectual property, and certain aspects of foreign direct investment. Since 1994, the international community has added agreements covering information technology, basic telecommunications services, and financial services. WTO membership now entails liberalization of a much broader range of domestic economic activity, including areas that traditionally have been regarded by most countries as among the most sensitive, than was required of countries entering the WTO’s predecessor organization the GATT.
The terms of China’s protocol of accession to the World Trade Organization reflect the developments just described and more. China’s market access commitments are much more far-reaching than those that governed the accession of countries only a decade ago. And, as a condition for membership, China was required to make protocol commitments that substantially exceed those made by any other member of the World Trade Organization, including those that have joined since 1995. The broader and deeper commitments China has made inevitably will entail substantial short-term economic costs.
What are the WTO commitments Barshefsky goes on about? When countries join the WTO, particularly those countries that weren't members of GATT and joined after 1997, they have to work toward fulfilling certain commitments. There are 4 key documents when countries make an accession to WTO membership, the working party report, the accession protocol paper, the goods schedule and service schedule.
In the working party report as part of the conclusion which specifies the commitment of each member country what they will do in areas that aren't compliant with WTO regulations on the date they joined. The problem there is no good enforcement mechanism for other members to force China to comply with these commitments. And WTO punishments are weak.
Here is the commitment paragraph for China
"The Working Party took note of the explanations and statements of China concerning its foreign trade regime, as reflected in this Report. The Working Party took note of the commitments given by China in relation to certain specific matters which are reproduced in paragraphs 18-19, 22-23, 35-36, 40, 42, 46-47, 49, 60, 62, 64, 68, 70, 73, 75, 78-79, 83-84, 86, 91-93, 96, 100-103, 107, 111, 115-117, 119-120, 122-123, 126-132, 136, 138, 140, 143, 145, 146, 148, 152, 154, 157, 162, 165, 167-168, 170-174, 177-178, 180, 182, 184-185, 187, 190-197, 199-200, 203-207, 210, 212-213, 215, 217, 222-223, 225, 227-228, 231-235, 238, 240-242, 252, 256, 259, 263, 265, 270, 275, 284, 286, 288, 291, 292, 296, 299, 302, 304-305, 307-310, 312-318, 320, 322, 331-334, 336, 339 and 341 of this Report and noted that these commitments are incorporated in paragraph 1.2 of the Draft Protocol. "
This is a tool by the WTO that list all the WTO commitment of each country in the working paper. In the goods and service schedule they have commitments for particular sectors. Here is the a press release by the WTO in September 2001, after successfully concluding talks for accession, and brief summary of key areas in which China hasn't fulfilled her commitments. Most of the commitments made by China were made to address its legacy as a non-market economy and involvement of state owned enterprises. In my opinion, I think the US government and investors grew increasingly frustrated with China, after 2007 not just because of China's back sliding, but relative to other countries who joined after 1997 like Vietnam, another non-market Leninist dictatorship. When comparing China's commitments to the WTO its best to compare her progress with those that joined after 1997, which were mostly ex-Soviet Republics.
NOTE: The Chinese media have for two decades compared any time the US has talked about China's currency manipulation or any other issue as a pretext for imposing tariffs on China to the Plaza Accords. I am very sure people will raise it here. My criticism of this view is fourfold. First, the US targeted not just Japan, but France, Britain and the UK as well. Secondly, the causes of the Japan lost decade were due largely to internal factors. Thirdly, Japan, UK, Britain and France in the 1980s, the Yuan isn't undervalued today. Lastly, in the USTR investigation, its China's practices that are the concern, not so much the trade deficit.

REASONS FOR TRUMPS UNILATERAL APPROACH

I feel that people shouldn't dismiss Trump's unilateral approach toward China for several reasons.
  1. The multilateral approach won't work in many issues such as the trade deficit, commercial espionage and intellectual property, because US and her allies have different interest with regard to these issues. Germany and Japan and trade surpluses with China, while the US runs a deficit. In order to reach a consensus means the West has to compromise among themselves, and the end result if the type of toothless resolutions you commonly find in ASEAN regarding the SCS. Does America want to "compromise" its interest to appease a politician like Justin Trudeau? Not to mention opposition from domestic interest. TPP was opposed by both Clinton and Trump during the election.
  2. You can't launch a geopolitical front against China using a newly formed trade block like the TPP. Some of the existing TPP members are in economic groups with China, like Malaysia and Australia.
  3. China has joined a multitude of international bodies, and at least in trade, these bodies haven't changed its behavior.
  4. Dealing with China, its a no win situation whether you use a tough multilateral / unilateral approach. If the US endorse a tough unilateral approach gives the impression that the US is acting like the British during the Opium War. If you take a concerted Western approach you are accused of acting like the 8 Powers Alliance in 1900.
  5. Trump was elected to deal with China which he and his supporters believe was responsible for the loss of millions manufacturing jobs when China joined the WTO in 2001. It is estimate the US lost 6 Million jobs, about 1/4 of US manufacturing Jobs. This has been subsequently advanced by some economists. The ball got rolling when Bill Clinton decided to grant China Most Favored Nation status in 1999, just a decade after Tiananmen.
  6. China hasn't dealt with issues like IP protection, market access, subsidies to state own companies and state funded industrial spying.
To his credit, Trump has said his aim was not to overthrow authoritarian governments, and that even applies to the likes of Iran. The Arab spring scared Russia and China, because the US for a brief moment placed the spread of democracy over its security interest.

UNDERSTANDING HOW THE US MAKES DECISIONS REGARDING CHINA

At this moment, China or the trade war isn't an area of great concern for the American public, among international issues it ranks lower than international terrorism, North Korea and Iran's nuclear program.
According to the survey, 39 percent of the country views China’s growing power as a “critical threat” to Americans. That ranked it only eighth among 12 potential threats listed and placed China well behind the perceived threats from international terrorism (66 percent), North Korea’s nuclear program (59 percent) and Iran’s nuclear program (52 percent). It’s also considerably lower than when the same question was asked during the 1990s, when more than half of those polled listed China as a critical threat. That broadly tracks with a recent poll from the Pew Research Center that found concern about U.S.-China economic issues had decreased since 2012.
In looking at how US conducts relations foreign policy with China, we should look at it from the three areas of most concern - economic, national security and ideology. Each sphere has their interest groups, and sometimes groups can occupy two spheres at once. Security experts are concerned with some aspects of China's economic actions like IP theft and industrial policy (China 2025), because they are related to security. In these sphere there are your hawks and dove. And each sphere is dominated by certain interest groups. That is why US policy toward China can often appear contradictory. You have Trump want to reduce the trade deficit, but security experts advocating for restrictions on dual use technology who are buttressed by people who want export restrictions on China, as a way of getting market access.
Right now the economic concerns are most dominant, and the hawks seem to dominate. The economic hawks traditionally have been domestic manufacturing companies and economic nationalist. In reality the hawks aren't dominant, but the groups like US Companies with large investment in China and Wall Street are no longer defending China, and some have turned hawkish against China. These US companies are the main conduit in which China's lobby Congress, since China only spends 50% of what Taiwan spends lobbying Congress.
THE ANGLO SAXON WORLD AND CHINA
I don't think many Chinese even those that speak English, have a good understanding Anglo-Saxon society mindset. Anglo Saxons countries, whether US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are commerce driven society governed by sanctity of contracts. The English great philosophical contributions to Western philosophy have primarily to do with economics and politics like Adam Smith, John Locke, David Hume and Thomas Hobbes. This contrast with the French and Germans. Politics in the UK and to a lesser extent the US, is centered around economics, while in Mainland Europe its religion. When the Americans revolted against the British Empire in 1776, the initial source of the grievances were taxes.
Outside of East Asia, the rest of the World's relationship with China was largely commercial, and for United States, being an Anglosaxon country, even more so. In Southeast Asia, Chinese aren't known for high culture, but for trade and commerce. Outside Vietnam, most of Chinese loans words in Southeast Asian languages involve either food or money. The influence is akin to Yiddish in English.
Some people point to the Mao and Nixon meeting as great strategic breakthrough and symbol of what great power politics should look like. The reality is that the Mao-Nixon meeting was an anomaly in the long history of relations with China and the West. Much of China-Western relations over the last 500 years was conducted by multitudes of nameless Chinese and Western traders. The period from 1949-1979 was the only period were strategic concerns triumphed trade, because China had little to offer except instability and revolution. Even in this period, China's attempt to spread revolution in Southeast Asia was a threat to Western investments and corporate interest in the region. During the nadir of both the Qing Dynasty and Republican period, China was still engaged in its traditional commercial role. Throughout much of history of their relations with China, the goals of Britain and the United States were primarily economic,
IMAGINE JUST 10% OF CHINA BOUGHT MY PRODUCT
From the beginning, the allure of China to Western businesses and traders has been its sheer size I. One of the points that the USTR mentions is lack of market access for US companies operating in China, while Chinese companies face much less restrictions operating in the US.
This is supported by remarks by Henry Paulson and Charlene Barshefsky. As Paulson remarked
Trade with China has hurt some American workers. And they have expressed their grievances at the ballot box.
So while many attribute this shift to the Trump Administration, I do not. What we are now seeing will likely endure for some time within the American policy establishment. China is viewed—by a growing consensus—not just as a strategic challenge to the United States but as a country whose rise has come at America’s expense. In this environment, it would be helpful if the US-China relationship had more advocates. That it does not reflects another failure:
In large part because China has been slow to open its economy since it joined the WTO, the American business community has turned from advocate to skeptic and even opponent of past US policies toward China. American business doesn’t want a tariff war but it does want a more aggressive approach from our government. How can it be that those who know China best, work there, do business there, make money there, and have advocated for productive relations in the past, are among those now arguing for more confrontation? The answer lies in the story of stalled competition policy, and the slow pace of opening, over nearly two decades. This has discouraged and fragmented the American business community. And it has reinforced the negative attitudinal shift among our political and expert classes. In short, even though many American businesses continue to prosper in China, a growing number of firms have given up hope that the playing field will ever be level. Some have accepted the Faustian bargain of maximizing today’s earnings per share while operating under restrictions that jeopardize their future competitiveness. But that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it. Nor does it mean they aren’t acutely aware of the risks — or thinking harder than ever before about how to diversify their risks away from, and beyond, China.
What is interesting about Paulson's speech is he spend only one sentence about displaced US workers, and a whole paragraph about US business operating in China. While Kissinger writes books about China, how much does he contribute to both Democrats and the Republicans during the election cycle? China is increasingly makING it more difficult for US companies operating and those exporting products to China.

CONTINUED

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[Table] IAmA: We Are the Hosts of the Let's Talk Bitcoin! Show! We just spent 4 days at Bitcoin2013, Ask Us Anything!

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Date: 2013-05-24
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Hi all! I was wondering, what do you think it would take to get bitcoin from a niche currency used mainly by internet denizens to go mainstraim? I know the slow creep of more small companies accepting bitcoin helps, but what do you think that final cusp will be, and will it ever come to that? Thanks for taking the time to do this! There are several potential tipping points, but my favorite one is a large corporation accepting Bitcoin.
Amazon has an incredibly small operating margin, less than 1% - They have more than that in transaction costs, so if they were to accept Bitcoins for product and offer Bitcoins as payment to their affiliates it would cause a rush of other companies to jump onboard for the same reasons.
Once that happens with one large company, it sets a precedent. Doing something new is scary, and when the regulatory environment is uncertain like it is with Bitcoin the choice to accept could potentially cost you a lot of money later if it's retroactively made not OK and the value of the currency plummets.
But once a company like Amazon or Google jumps in, they have enough political swing and momentum that attacking Bitcoin becomes attacking them, and they'll fight that tooth and nail if it's saving them money.
Another example of a tipping point would be a country, ANY country, adopting it as their formal currency OR issuing a new currency with Bitcoins as the transparent backing of it. With bitcoin you can have a functional gold standard, because the gold doesn't need to be hidden from sight.
It is the hiding that makes gold standards dangerous - The people who issue currency with the gold as backing have no reason to issue the correct amount when only they know how much is out there, and how much gold they have.
I guess the Supreme Court has decided this does not apply to taxes, which is crap. Or are you talking about other countries? Thank you :) I actually mean something along the lines of "It is illegal to trade dollars for any cryptocurrency that does not have a real name and social security associated with it"
Will bitcoins ever be able to be traded like other recognized currencies in similar ways to Forex? More specifically, will there ever be retail brokers offering margin trading accounts that allow you to buy and sell bitcoin with leverage? There are already really small niche sites you can trade Bitcoin at leverage with, but it's just a bad idea. With a "normal" commodity market, like say chickens, if you think chickens are undervalued and want to profit from them you can buy forward production of say, a million chickens. Then when the option comes due, if you're on the profitable side of the trade you can essentially sell it for cash and the chickens never need to be delivered. In that way, it almost doesn't matter if the chickens ever existed to begin with because you never intended to take posession. With Bitcoin, it's different - Converting a bitcoin options contract into US dollars, yen, whatever actually is more expensive and time consuming than just "accepting delivery" of the bitcoins themselves. You can still sell them for whatever currency you want, but it is at the time of your choosing rather than at the point of settlement. What that means is that if you sell an option and the Bitcoins don't really exist, you could be screwed. You either default or buy them at market price which can be very painful given how volatile the pricing is right now. It is a bad idea to play with leverage in Bitcoin because if you lose, you potentially lose very big. Additionally, it's bad to buy an option because you introduce the possibility of the counterparty (supply) not being able to deliver, whereas if you just bought Bitcoins you have the Bitcoins.
Do you believe bitcoin is important locally as well as on the internet? If so, how are you promoting bitcoin in your local communities? Cryptocurrencies (of which Bitcoin is the most prominent) are the first real competition to the types of money we've used all our lives. With Dollars, Yen, Whatever - Ultimately there are a handful of people who get to decide how and why the currency should be managed.
If they did a good job, it might be fine - But the reality is the decision made affecting all users of the currency are to the benefit of a very few , at the cost of the many.
Bitcoin is different - The rules that govern it, are the rules that govern it. Nobody can break them, and if they're ever broken it's because more than 51% of the distributed power in the system (anyone can buy a mining rig and join this group). For me, that's incredibly important. Rules should apply evenly to everyone because otherwise they're not rules at all.
Local communities can benefit because it removes payment processors from merchant relationships, removes chargeback risk, and basically acts like Cash on the internet.
What are some of the more exciting things you (each of you?) envision for Bitcoin in the short to medium term? Discounts :) We've been talking about the deflationary business model, and during this period where the value is going to go up pretty fast (over the next several years) as adoption ramps up, businesses are going to be giving major discounts to those who choose to spend them.
From the merchants perspective, this is actually a huge win - They get to have lower prices than their US Dollar (or local currency) competitors, and the value of the Bitcoins they receive goes up over time instead of going down with printed currencies. Once this becomes pervasive in the Bitcoin economy, it will mean that even at those discounted prices they are STILL profitable because their suppliers are also offering them discounts to pay in Bitcoin.
Right now we're at the beginning of this cycle, you can see BitcoinStore.com is attempting it (Disclosure - They have sponsored us in the past, we run a 30s advertisement for them per show) but it's hard to be the first one doing it because it looks like you're sacrificing yourself when really it's just the model that makes the most sense.
Not to be the doom and gloom person but in the future what do you think will/would be the "last nail in the coffin" for Bitcoin? It depends what you mean by "last nail in the coffin"
How did you meet/find Andreas and Stephanie and how did you persuade them to be part of your show? I put out a call for staff several months ago, Andreas found me through that and joined the team initially as a correspondent providing expertise and commentary while Mt.Gox was having a lot of problems. Once we re-started the show as a twice-weekly, he graciously offered to join the hosting staff and gladly took him up on it.
I found Stephanie through her show Porc therapy, and a listener named Justus - He mentioned she did voicework, and I hired her to do some of our early introductions and advertising spots. When we went through the re-organization I offered her an occasional hosting role, and never bothered finding other hosts because I was so happy with our dynamic and varied viewpoints.
Both of the other hosts on the show are real professionals, and it's been my distinct pleasure to work with them.
Thanks for responding! Andreas is my fave (though I enjoy yours and Stephanie's comments too). Everybody has their favorite :) I think the fact that we all have people disagreeing with us at times means we're doing the job, and providing multiple and varied perspectives.
What recording tools are you using? We started off using Skype, Virtual Audio Cables (VAC) and Adobe Audition (creative suite)
Now we use Mumble instead of Skype, but the rest is the same.
I edit the host segments for content (sometimes we go on and on and on) and I edit the interviews for presentation, rarely removing any content. Many times the skillset that enables you to have a really smart idea is not the same skillset that lets you present that idea, perfectly, the first time. Our interview subjects tell me all the time "I love how smart I sound" and I get to say "You are smart, I just removed the brain processing noises"
Assuming bitcoin reaches critical mass, how does bitcoin cope with the criticism of rewarding early adopters? Do you see a potential uproar about inequity? Is there outrage against people who bought Apple stock at $30? Bitcoin is a currency that right now, and for the next few years, acting like an IPO. People who got in early got in cheap, but there was a whole lot of risk because people weren't using it much, there wern't vendors accepting it, so the use case is much more speculative.
We're very much still in the early adoption phase right now - Less than %.01 of internet users are Bitcoin users, as that number grows while the number of coins being added to the total pool grows at a much slower rate, the price per coin has to go up. If Bitcoin fails and everybody abandons it, this works the opposite way - but it actually solves a number of problems (microtransactions, fees, international money transfers, automated payment systems) so I'm not super concerned about that.
One of my favorite quotes, by Douglas Adams.
>It is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent >blindingly obvious. The cry 'I could have thought of that' is a very >popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn't, and a very >significant and revealing fact it is too.
What do you make of the download trend of the bitcoin client software in China? Isn't this a big story? China has lots of restrictive controls on their local currency, so Bitcoin has a real use case there. This is one of many scenarios where given even 1% adoption, the price must go very much above where it is now.
You commented on a recent episode about how Satochi Dice was going to block US traffic to the site due to uncertain regulations. Can't bitcoin work around that? If you send bitcoin to the addresses of the various bets - it still works right? Thanks for your show - I await each new podcast. Yes, if you already have the specific betting addresses it doesn't matter where you are in the world. It is only the website that does not allow US IPs, they did this to be very clear they were trying to respect the US gambling laws.
I spoke with Erik Voorhees about this among other things at the conference, you can find that interview here Link to letstalkbitcoin.com
I'd like to thank all three of you for doing this podcast, it's always thought provoking and fun to listen to. Plus, Stephanie does have a very sexy voice... But I do have a question, Right now, I don't know the answer to that question.
How do miners determine which transactions will be confirmed first and which get put to the back of the line? Shouldn't they be confirmed in a 'first come, first serve' basis? But the development team has made it clear they're moving towards a market-based mechanism where Miners set the minimum transaction fee they will accept, and process on a first-come/highest-fee model. People who want their transaction to process fast will put a higher fee and it will be prioritized, while people who don't care about delivery time will be able to send no fee and be subsidized by those paying higher fees.
*edit: As well, do you still plan on using some time on the show to go into more detail about mining? I think it was mentioned a few weeks ago that the topic might be explored in further detail. There will be fewer miners who accept free or very low fee transactions, so there you go.
How would Bitcoin change our financial system as we know it? In the same way the automobile changed the horse-and-buggy system as they knew it. If you play out the logic, one functionally obsoletes the other. I was talking with a financial reporter the other day who has been coming around to bitcoin, and he said to me "You know, if they were building the banking system from scratch today I think this is pretty close to what it would look like"
Andreas answered a question below about bitcoin and self driving cars, fixing spam on the internet by using Bitcoin addresses with tiny amounts of BTC in them to prove you're a real person and not a single-use bot, there are so many crazy and impossible things that become actually probable when you're talking in the context of a world built on decentralized, rules-based, cryptographically secured, instantly transmittable, person to person internet cash.
I have never been so hopeful for our future as I am now that I've thrown my days into bitcoin. Bitcoin 2013 was a fine conference and a wonderful experiance, so many very smart people have quit their jobs or left their studies to do the same thing I have.
We know we're building the future, and it's a better one than we have today.
Have any of you heard about how in Africa much of the exchange in value is done with mobile phone minutes? It seems to me - whatever the US attempts to do with Bitcoin - there will be other places that it will bubble up in. What about Argentina and other places where they actually understand what damage a desperate government can do to a currency? I would agree with you. Until recently it's been impossible to use Bitcoins on a "dumb cell phone" - That changed recently with Link to phoneacoin.com and others.
Bitcoin solves problems that the world has had for decades, it takes the power to destroy the currency away from government so they cannot do it no matter how much they want to, or how desperately they think they need to.
No government wants to destroy a currency, they just don't want to acknowledge they've trapped themselves with debt and have no way out.
Who invented Bitcoin? What is to stop whoever did so initially issuing themselves the equivalent of $79 zillion in Bitcoin currency prior to it taking off? Is there commission charged on each transaction that occurs? If so, how much, and who receives this? The true creator is not known, he went by a false name "Satoshi".
He actually holds about 250,000 coins if I recall correctly because he was the first miner. Bitcoin is a protocol, a set of rules. It's open source, and anyone who wants to look at it can see that there is not a mechanism to just create more coins by typing in a magic word. There are no commissions, although there are fees that go to the miners who process and verify transactions.
Great podcast, can't wait for the next one! It depends on the mesh. If the mesh was never connected to the internet, it would be a parralel Bitcoin network able to transact with itself but if it was ever connected to the larger network any conflicting transactions would be "lost" as the two ledgers (the big one, and the disconnected one) try to reckon their differences. Only one winner, so that means there is a loser.
You discussed mesh networks in 3rd world countries and how bitcoin could be used in such a scenario. If the [mesh] network is disconnected from the internet, how would transactions on the blockchain be verified? Couldn't the time the mesh network was disconnected make it vulnerable to hacking the [mesh network's] blockchain? More interesting might be disconnected communities running their own fork or version of Bitcoin, that way if they're ever connected it can be an exchange process (trading their coins for "bitcoins" rather than a reckoning (Seeing who has a bigger network and canceling out transactions on the smaller one that conflict)
1) The price for one Bitcoin seems to fluctuate quite a bit. The most successful currencies remain relatively stable over time (e.g. the Dollar). Will Bitcoin ever need to reach a certain level of stability to be a successful unit of trade? and if so, what do you think needs to happen before then? 1 - Yes! Once everyone who has purchased Bitcoin has purchased them, the price will stabilize. In practice this will start happening long before absolute stability, and as soon as people start thinking about prices in terms of BTC instead of their local currency it almost doesn't matter.
2) If Bitcoin ever becomes a widely accepted form of payment (seems a lot of businesses already accept it), how do you think the US government will proceed/react/regulate/etc. considering that technically only the feds can issue currency? 2 - "The Feds" are not the only ones who can issue currency - They have legal tender laws which mean people MUST accept their money, but nothing prevents you from circulating a voluntary currency like Bitcoin.
Do you foresee companies like paypal incorporating bitcoin into their businesses in the future as a more credible exchange than these ones that are currently running? No. Paypal again is the proverbial horse-drawn-buggy manufacturer- Sure they might go to the worlds faire and while observing the new fangled automobiles say to themselves 'we might integrate this into our existing machines!' when the fact is that it obsoletes those existing machines.
Paypal makes their money by standing in the middle of transactions collecting fees, Bitcoin serves its function by connecting people who want to do commerce directly to one-another, and what fees are paid are a tiny fraction of what Paypal does. If paypal accepted Bitcoin, it would not be Bitcoin any more because they would have mechanisms to freeze accounts at the very least to mitigate risk. That is not possible with Bitcoin by itself.
Thanks for the well thought out response, I genuinely appreciated that you took the time for this! I do have a follow up question, how does one get bit coin in an easy way? Lets say I have 300$ that I want in bit coin.. whats the best way to approach this? Probably a company like bitinstant.com, bitstamp.com, or btcquick.com - For larger amounts they don't make too much sense but at that level its your best bet.
Not to be rude, but how do you expect for a currency without a standard like gold silver etc. to not crash down in a blaze of glory? What standard is your currency backed by?
Hi There. I was at the San Jose convention hall last weekend attending Big Wow Comicfest and that's where I saw Bitcoin2013! Mostly Bitcoin 2013 was an opportunity for people building the future of Bitcoin to meet each other and network. There were speakers talking about a wide variety of issues, and vendors of Bitcoin services who were showing their latest innovations and systems.
What information was presented at this event that couldn't be done justice disseminated over the internet? The information will eventually be online, but the probably 200 people I got to meet in real life will not (in real life)
What resources do you think I should review as a total newbie to bitcoin? Or if possible, what's the one sentence pitch to get a newb involved? For people brand new, www.weusecoins.com is a good place to start For people who want to learn how it works, www.letstalkbitcoin.com/learn will direct you to the Bitcoin Education Project, which is a series of free and very high quality lectures that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know and more about Bitcoin, How it works, and all the little sub-topics that you'll eventually want to learn about.
The pitch is "It's like cash that lives on the internet, and is as easy to spend on the internet as buying a candybar in a store with a dollar"
Would any of you hazard a guess at the bitcoin exchange rate at the end of 2013? Sure, i'll make a wild guess.
$1000.
If and when a large user comes onboard, I think thats the next price at which we'll bounce around for a while, just like 100 became the sticky point after the last major bout of adoption.
How do bitcoins relate to the law? For example, what would be the crime if somone hacked your account and stole your bitcoins? It's not exactly theft of money, or is it? Bitcoins are your property, it's illegal for someone to steal your property whether it is money or not. Right now there is little that can be done about theft, but eventually I expect a class of "Blockchain Forensic Investigators" to emerge who will track down your stolen coins for a % based fee.
On your last show you mentioned the diversity of the Bitcoiners who attended BitCoin2013 - which nation was most represented in your opinion? Were there any Chinese nationals present (we've heard that they've suddenly gotten the bitcoin bug in the last month)? Did the other nations talk about regulatory problems or is that just a US concern? I met the gentleman from BTC-China, but other than that I actually didn't see any obvious chinese nationals. We saw lots of eastern europeans and south americans.
Other nations are not talking about the regulatory issue as far as I can tell, it seems like everyone is waiting to see what the US does, which is not abnormal in a very new situation like this.
Isn't having an inherently deflationary currency a terrible idea? How is bitcoin different from geeky goldbuggery? Because you can't divide a gold coin into .0001 without incurring cost and expense. That's not the case with Bitcoin, so the deflationary aspect of it is largely moot.
There is a tendency to listen to modern "economics" which makes this arguement, saying that the money supply must expand because otherwise it drives down profitability in a race to the bottom.
I think in practice we'll find that people don't work against their own best interest, and while during the initial adoptions stages of Bitcoin there will be significant discounts offered to those who pay with Bitcoin vs. legacy currency, once the market becomes saturated and the price levels out those discounts will be scaled way back.
Right now it makes sense to heavily discount, because the expectation is that the value of the Bitcoins will go up during this period of adoption, that won't always be true and the discount is a reflection of anticipated future returns.
Was it bad when people saved money in banks that paid 10% interest? No, that's called capital formation. There is a thought that given a deflationary currency nobody will spend any money, that's nonsense. Just because your currency gains value over time doesn't mean that you no longer have costs that must be paid for. What Deflationary currencies do is say "Ok, you could spend it on that, but is it worth it relative to what you'll gain by not?"
That's a good thing. Our system right now works on the opposite theory - Spend money NOW because if you're dumb enough to keep it in the bank it will actually lose value over time between the couple points of "official" inflation and less than 1% artifical interest rates. The situation is like this now because the fed is trying to make people spend as much money as possible with the hope that the flows will "restart the economic engine"
Too bad this isn't how things work, not that it'll stop us from trying it over and over again.
In the 2008 financial crash, govts bailed out the banks because there was no other way to maintain the whole financial ecosystems of payrolls, invoices and trade, all of which go through the banking system. Honestly? No. Bitcoin would be great in this role, but governments around the world rely on their ability to expand the money supply (print money, or sell debt) in order to fund their deficits. They also manipulate interest rates to be low so that debt is very inexpensive.
Can you envisage another financial crash in the future where govt says, "We don't need to do a bailout, as we've got this alternative payment system" and then instructs businesses and employees to just get themselves a bitcoin address and work through the Bitcoin system? Bitcoin doesn't have a central control mechanism, so there is no group or person who can say "OK - the interest rate is 1%" - If that's really what the interest rate wants to be based on market forces, it'll be that - But if not, there isn't much anyone can do to stop it.
What type of notes and agenda does the team coordinate on before a show? We use Basecamp, and it really depends. Right now we have a show prep thread that has 30+ posts in it for episode 11, we'll probably use 5 of those.
The agenda is really basic - As we get near recording time topics are selected (generally by me, but I like to get the other hosts to do it since they provide most of the commentary in Host segments) and I form a schedule, then we run through the recording session hitting each topic.
Over the last weeks we've brought two researchers onto the team, so that has helped a TON.
I first learned about Bitcoins on an episode of The Good Wife. The one with Jason Biggs as the creator of BitCoin. Have you watched that episode and how accurate does that episode portray what's happening with Bitcoin in terms of legal stuff? Not having seen it but knowing TV, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say "not very well" Satoshi has not been identified, was a throw-away identity that was cryptographically secured, so probably never will.
Are there any conferences in Chicago anytime soon? I think a Q&A in public would be helpful for your show as well as bitcoin. I'll be speaking at an event in NYC on July 30, there will be one or two meetups while I'm there. There is also an event in October in Atlanta. I remember talking with a guy at Bitcoin2013 wearing a shirt that said "BitcoinChicago" so I'd suggest looking for a user-group.
We're planning on doing Q&As often, but none of us are really near Chicago so it's tough. Happy to do virtual Q&As over skype, live or recorded.
Oh dear. You're not all perfectly grammatical orators on the first try? I'm crushed! I really value my own time, and I know other people out there do too. I try to make the show as information dense as possible, thats the criteria we've been operating under from really day one.
We're actually talking about cutting the show in half and releasing it more often (still recording the same amount) because people can get tired of listening to such dense content for an hour or more.
US Treasury recently issued a directive stating they would be monitoring any entity attempting to exchange virtual currency for USD (or any other currency, goods, or services), indicating that federal authorities take a dim view of what amounts to private coinage. Do you anticipate a Supreme Court case here defining what is and is not private coinage? 2.And given bitcoin's noted extra-legal uses, do you have any indication it is being decrypted by NSA? 3.Taking it a step further, do you think it could be a national security-sponsored international sieve for money laundering? It may eventually go to Supreme Court.
I think the market has done fine for bitcoin so far. I think the market will continue to take care of bitcoin. The idea of giving in willingly to regulation makes me cringe. There are two camps. Some people think that regulation is inevitable, and since it's going to happen anyways it's better to participate in the process and try to make it less bad. The other side thinks that by participating, you accept their authority to regulate it when really they have no right to regulate money and have proven to do a very bad job at it now for quite a number of years.
Thanks so much for doing this, I love the Bitcoin system, but hate the volatility. How do you recommend dealing with that? I've heard to convert it quickly to the currency of choice after any exchange has been made to avoid any more changes to the price. The easy solution is just buy and hold - If you need to buy something, do it when you need to and not before. Do not pre-order anything.
What is your prediction of the price for 1 btc in USD, exactly one year from now? Just for fun, since I know it is impossible to even guess the day to day price swings. As a wild guess number I'd say $1000 or less than a dollar. Very little middleground because if it's regulated out of existence it will still exist, but be hard to find and cheap - If adoption continues to path the price should accelerate with wild spikes up and down.
My partner is buying into bitcoin as well as litecoin. Any advice for him? (I personally don't understand it) Don't panic, invest for the long term, and don't buy any more than you can afford to lose 100% of because there are still things that could dramatically reduce the price of bitcoin (mostly regulatory stuff, I answered this elsewhere in the thread)
Hello, I just wrote a long post about the functions of using BTC to facilitate a 'free bank' using the principals of free money, similar to the WIR bank. Link to en.wikipedia.org Do you think that something like this would be possible using Bitcoin? Probably. Not really my area of expertise.
Why did bits take a dive at the same time gold took a tank? I don't pay attention to price, sorry.
We take full credit for any rise and blame others for any decline. Feel free to tip us from your gains! Lol.
Just wanted to say I love your show. I encourage you to please continue making high-quality podcast episodes. Thank you. I'm really excited to be able to be a journalist in such an exciting field in a time when journalism is under attack. Not sure if you've been following the so-called "AP scandal" but now is a weird time to be trying to report the truth in this world, and we couldn't have picked a more controversial topic to the global macro picture.
Bitcoins are the stupidest investment anyone could ever make. Pass. Link to static.quickmeme.com
Unfortunately, quickmeme doesn't let you copy image urls directly. Link to i.qkme.me
Yes, but they started being worth a set value. bitcoin was never backed by anything so its value was kind of made up. how do you expect to make a non goverment currency anybody with a computer can print to retain value? Because the pie is only so large, the more people who have computers devoted to the work just each get a smaller and smaller piece.
The rate of issuance for Bitcoin is currently 25 bitcoins every 10 minutes. Only one person or pool gets the whole 25 bitcoins, it's a race to find them. If there are 10 people looking, chances are pretty good you'll find some. If there are 100,000,000 people looking, chances are much less good that you'll find them first, but if there are that many people looking those 25 coins are probably worth a whole lot more.
The system is self balancing in this way, unlike the government currency system where they create 65 billion USD worth of new value every month to buy mortgage backed securities for face value to try and prop up the market. With more than a trillion USD being added in this way each year, how can a government currency retain its value?
Because the governments "pie" does infact have limits to making it, and only dropped gold standard after over 150 years of the doller having a defined worth, unlike bitcoin, where a random hacker can just print endless money. I'd direct you to security researcher Dan Kaminsky. Link to www.businessinsider.com
You'll find it's a little harder than you're describing. Like, impossible.
Last updated: 2013-05-29 11:06 UTC
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[Table] IAmA: I am Timothy Sykes: Ask Me Anything

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2014-04-22
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
So you've managed to be in the green during the years when any idiot could throw darts at a dart board for stock picks and derive gains. What happens when a bear market comes along? LOL I love my haters/doubters, why are u all so inept? I do BETTER IN BEAR MARKETS, I'M A SHORT SELLER YOU MORON! LOLOLOLOLOL.
You also manage less than $4M and only have $1M in your trading accounts right now. I wouldn't trust a lot of the people I know with more than that in their accounts for advice (and neither would they, that's why their money is managed by others). So, what exactly is it that makes you qualified to give advice for long term success for other investors to follow you? I could trade with $20 million and probly make $10-15 mil/year but then i wouldnt be able to teach which i love more.
Do you know the success rate of all of your subscribers as a whole, including the ones that didn't stick through your "program", do you have any stats? Not just the two millionaires? U can see alll my students trades, add up the profits, go fetch, Link to profit.ly
LOL I love my haters/doubters, why are u all so inept? I do BETTER IN BEAR MARKETS, I'M A SHORT SELLER YOU MORON! LOLOLOLOLOL. As a sell-side analyst who has worked on Wall Street for several years and has met analysts and portfolio managers at the largest hedge funds and investment banks in the world, I'd like to ask everyone reading this a question: would you entrust your life savings to a guy who talks like this? Do you think the people at Goldman Sachs or Third Point talk like this? The good thing is i dont manage other people's money, all i do is teach lessons i've learned over 15 years...ignore my rules at your own risk, nobody forces u to learn them...
How did that hedge fund you started work out? I was the #1 ranked short bias hedge fund for 3 years and then tried investing as i got too greedy...overall made 2%/year over 4 years, still #1 ranked in my category, see details Link to tim.ly i accept your apology for your laziness.
I do BETTER IN BEAR MARKETS. Have you traded in a bear market before? Because to me it looks like you started trading shortly after the crash. i could trade with $20 million and probly make $10-15 mil/year. Then why not put more money into your trading account, it's not like holding more than half your in assets in cash is somehow going to improve your awesome performance? but then i wouldnt be able to teach which i love more. If you love it so much, why don't you offer it at a more discounted rate than $1200/year per person? For that much money most people could buy all the best investing books on the shelves. Are yours somehow better than everyone who has come before you? As well, at $1200/year, if you only have 10k in your account, that's 12%/year. For 12% a year you could hire some of the best money managers in the world, or even for a flat rate fee, you could find at least a half-decent financial planner. What advantages do you offer over those people? u can see alll my students trades, add up the profits. After factoring in relative risk, and performance relative to the market, how does this fare? I mean if all your students at so successful why not display that front and center on your page, I'm sure it'd draw in more customers and there would be more faith in your advice. Your own success and the success of a few hand picked students isn't a lot to go on. How do you become a better sprinter, do you ask the world's fastest sprinter, or their coaches? Do you judge these coaches based on the performance of the most skilled students (who likely had an innate ability to begin with), or do you assess them based on the sustained increase in performance across the board, relative to other coaches? Generally the guy with $500k in his bank account is going to have an easier time making 1M than the guy with $5k in his account is. I'm not hating on you, I'm just asking why some of this data hasn't been gathered to show just how successful your students have been, relative to the rest of the people in the markets they've been trading in. go fetch. Are you aware of what selection bias and survivorship bias are? Also have you considered offering a full refund for people who have blown up their account after buying your books? Where do you see your investment future headed with these sizable gains so quick in your short career? Do you think your performance will compare to that of Berkshire Hathaway, or the Medallion Fund in the long term? Yes i've traded bear markets, i made my 2nd million dollars 2000-2002, u have a long comment but u didnt bother researching me so i have no time for lazy people, sorry!
In the wake of Flash Boys, if you could recreate the market to your specs how would you want it? Single exchange? No maketaker? No darks? Trading pauses? Cancel fees? No Internalization? People whine too much, i could care less about HFTs.
Why does google have more scam accusations than success stories when I search your name? Because i expose scams and those scammers spread lies...already sued one penny stock promoter and won, but their skillset is spreading misinformation on the internet so it works well to smear me...but they couldnt stop Link to tim.ly or Link to tim.ly and as i create more millionaires, more people will realize i'm 100% right...until then let the haterade flowww.
I love how so many of the people asking questions here are ~5 hour old accounts...Got a bunch of your students pumping and dumping your AMA too? I just sent the link out to everyone we dont give a crap about reddit, stupid hater.
My question keeps disappearing for some reason. ??? On a $15,000 account, what position size ($) would you risk, max, and what % gain target would you shoot for to minimize risk in partial fills/no-fills? I know this depends greatly on volume. I answered it in long before, no time for double questions.
You are quite the heartless prick. You publicly laugh at all the traders when your short brigade tanks a stock price. Has anyone recognized you in public, walked up and threatened you? Nah actually everyone who meets me is very thankful for my tireless work and EDUCATION...anyone who hates on education deserves to be poor.
Do you want to eventually settle down with a wife and have kids and get out of the spotlight?? And do you ever get tired of the fame? Of course but i never get tired of trading/teaching.
What indicators do you use to find earnings/contract winners? What news sources do you read through? How do you find them? Go watch Link to timothysykes.com
2pac or biggie? Eminem.
If you're so fucking rich why do you need to sell shit? Why did you make this AMA? To get more customers. Those who can't do, teach. Link to www.timothysykes.com
You're a typical lazy, inept hater, u accuse before u do research, sad.
Tim, big fan, love the instagram photos. Quick question, why not use options to position for trades (assuming they are availalbe in a particular name at all), rather than long/short? I've had problems getting margin approval (long story) even though i make six figures a year, so buying calls and puts is where im at right now. thoughts? Less serious question, "on a scale of Moses to Hitler" (Andy Samburg quote), how Jewish do you consider yourself? Favorite brand of coffee? Favorite toy? My stocks arent usually optionable, oh how i wish they were :) i dont drink coffee and no time for toys.
TIM SYKES. If you had a son or daughter, which majors would you want them to study? STEM field? Liberal arts? Other. Pic related: Link to i.imgur.com. College is useless, I'd want them to live and learn in the real world.
How was the conversation with Wolf when you guys ended the little Twitter war? What caused that whole mess? It was me probing whether he was a stock promoter or not and i'm confident that he's just a naive newbie.
Are you familiar with BullsOnWallstreet? What do you think of their trading education, chatroom, and hedgefund? Yah, nice guys but i dont know their teachings/track record, try to get them to post publicly on profitly.
What % of your income is from trading, what % from subscribers/dvds/marketing etc.? Link to mixergy.com
Hi Tim, what advice would you give a new trader with a very small account ~$500. on the best way to grow the account over time? Focus on volatile stocks and realize my top student started with just $1500 and turned it into $1.71 million in 3 years...anything is possible if u study and work ahrd.
Tim, what is the tech analysis software you use in all of your video lessons. Is it thinkorswim? Its Etrade PRO but I don't recommend them -- I only use them as I'm superstitious and have made too many millions of dollars with them over 15 years...Otherwise I'd recommend Link to stockstotrade.co as it has great scanning/screening tools too.
Tim, as happy as I've been with my Silver sub so far, I was a day trader for four years in forex and am a bit burned out on it. But I do love swing and positional trading and have really fallen in love with options over the last six months. Right now I am thisclose to buying Tim Longterm. Do you get a lot of optional stocks in the TL program? Cool yes timlongterm has more optional stocks.
How did you become interested in the stock market? Read Link to timothysykes.com
How has your self-made wealth changed your lifestyle? Yes i live very well now :)
Where do you see yourself in five years? Depends how many millionaire students i can create.
Was trading stocks your first career choice? I never thought about careers, i just made a ton of $ when i was young and liked doing that so i wanted to do it more.
Tim, I've been a silver sub for about three weeks now and have made some nice trades and done well so far, including a sweet +13% on ARTX (would have made more if I'd waited for it to break support). But I haven't seen any of the big-spike penny pumps happening so far. How often do you see them happening? Cool, big spike penny pumps were every day in dec, jan, feb...they'll be back but u just missed the busiest season in 15 years.
How would you invest / what would you buy for $100 ? I'd buy a good sushi lunch for that amount, it's too low for stocks.
How much does it cost to become one of your students? Go look Link to timothysykes.com prices rising soon too so i'd lock in current prices for life if i were u.
I should've clarified, how much is it to become one of your millionaire challenge students? Depends, we offer different options, gotta apply and be accepted first anyway.
Differences between the Tim Sykes Challenge and the silver membership? See Link to timothysykes.com
Do you regularly give talks/seminars at colleges and universities. Would you ever consider coming to a smaller university to give a lecture on stock trading and smart investing? Yes hit up Link to timothysykes.com
What do you think about forex? I just started larning about forex, because here in méxico there is not much information about penny stocks; and As i said before I want to make the amount to take you challenge. Too low odds of success for me to care.
How backed up are your email responses for trader challenge requests? And what is the difference between silver and being accepted into the challenge. And by differences i'm referring to benefits. 75,000 emails or so.
Thoughts on fspm? Below technical resistance so its irrelevant.
When you were growing up Tim, in your teens, did you look into the future and want to be wealthy? Was it a dream of yours to be where you are today or did you decide so much later on? Always wanted to be wealthy, thought i needed to go to a good school & get job on wall street to make it happen.
When you first started out.. How did you handle the stress when you weren't trading? I'm having some crazy up days $12k+ and then when I make a shitty trade and lose $3k I wanna throw something... No stress if u stick to rules...i didnt have rules at first and that was stressful...i didnt have a mentor either...luckily for u with me in the picture u now have both :)
Dear Tim, I have a dream of making an automated trading machine out of your system, I have experience and the trading floor access. In your opinion, why shouldn't it work ? (I can automate: market research, stock picks, technical indicators, risk management, money management etc.) Do it up, i'm sure it would work I just havent had the time and I'm more interested in teaching people to be self-sufficient.
When did you start trading? Go read Link to timothysykes.com and stop being so lazy.
Would you accept a deal to start being your student? I sent an email but i'd like to know what do you think, if the answer is not, it's ok; but i want to know what do you think; No time for deals, only looking for dedicated students.
Any plans to expand the conference / speaking opportunities for you and your other gurus? I loved the Vegas event and think there is a large opportunity for smaller, regional Saturday events. Thoughts? Ha nah in person events are a biatch, focus on online teaching is better.
I have to ask how often do you check twitter for hot news/tips? Also have you heard of Mark Gomes he is more like long term investor. I can't do margin on my ira so lose out on a lot of opportunities when trading. Gotta let the funds settle. I could care less about news/tips, I'm ALWAYS searching for good patterns though.
Amazing call on artx I'm now number 1 in my finance class stock game Nice!
I'm 23 years old, looking for stock investment options. What type of stocks should I be looking at with about $500 to spend? Nothing, forget about investing with $500 and learn trading, watch these free videos Link to tim.ly
On a $15,000 account, what position size ($) would you risk, max, and what % gain target would you shoot for to minimize risk in partial fills/no-fills? I know this depends greatly on volume. I am more aggressive in my trading when my account is small, I'd use 30-50% per play but watch the play like a hawk...for example I shorted ARTX yesterday at 4.50, today it dropped to 3.90...if i had $15k I would've shorted 1,500 at 4.50 and tried to cover at 4ish today to lock in $750 profit...then rinse and repeat and gradually grow the account.
How much money do you have in your checking account right now? I dunno exactly, a few million last time I checked.
How often do you take money out of your trading account to spend? monthly, quarterly, annually or as needed? Annually.
Hey Tim I am a big follower of yours on twitter and am considering purchasing your news letter. I got lucky and got in some marijuana stock in November and pretty much didn't look at it until February when I sold. I quickly found out how lucky I was afterwards by not taking profits on other stocks I had purchased. I was looking for another 10 bagger and quickly realized how rare it is for that to happen. My question for you is what type of percentage gains do you look for before securing profit? Nice, normally i go for 10-30% gains, watch Link to tim.ly
What is the best product on your site to strictly see your stock picks? The best bang for my buck? My newsletters at Link to timothysykes.com but picks do little good without knowledge/education behind WHY I am trading them.
Last one from me. I know you say to not be long before ERs but what do you think about Facebook with their upcoming ER ? Last time they jumped $10 but with the WhatsApp acquisition their stock has fallen back to where it was before last ER. Don't guess on earnings.
You say college is useless, and I agree. What do you think should change in the education system to make it more relevant? I'm doing EXACTLY what i think more teachers and their students should be doing.
What's the douchiest thing you've ever seen? Too many characters needed, basically any Wall Street/Murray Hill party/event.
What would happen if too many people caught on to your short sale strategy? What strategy would you then adopt? I was hoping that would happen when I first got into teaching so I could get more sleep! Sadly only a few people take the time to learn...I also buy and am up 100% in 4 months in 2014 mostly buying too.
Where can I find more information about the event in Harvard? Just moved to Boston. U cant it sold out within minutes but we'll have it recorded for ya!
Thank you for the AMA and your reply. I bought your DVDs recently, but haven't finished. What ratio would you say your income is based on, trading vs. teaching? I ask because I think I would prefer teaching, but I need to learn first. So should I be learning to teach, or learning to just invest personally? Teaching vs trading is something like 10-1...the cool thing is EVERYONE wants to be rich, the sad part is not many are willing to study hard to get there.
Hey TIM, I am a Pennystocking Silver member for about 2 months now and have been trying to figure out what is the maximum size position you can take when long on a stock? How do you know when to buy 100 shares or 100,000 shares? I have been making sure not to buy more than 2% of a stocks daily trading volume, I think I heard that in one of your DVDs, is that accurate? There is no set maximum or minimum, every play is different...just gotta be comfortable and understand your risk/reward BEFORE making the trade and then stick to the rules during the trade.
Any recommendation to control overtrading? Btw I am flying all the way from Miami to Boston to be at Harvard on saturday, someday not too far I will be one of your top students :) As I say in my Link to timothysykes.com DVDs, I try to think of myself as a retired trader who only comes out of retirement for the perfect setups when I know I'll feel guilty missing...otherwise I'm retired ALL the time, understand?
In An American Hedge Fund you mention that you met a trading coach at a large hedge fund you were interviewing for. Later you said you bought all his books. Would reccommend his books/ mind sharing his name? It was Dr. Ari Kiev, sadly he died, but he's written some great books, use Google.
Besides your book that I enjoyed, do you have a few other books you would recommend? Yes go read Link to investimonials.com
How did you know to short it since it gapped down right at open? I shorted yesterday, see my video lesson I sent out mid-day yesterday too.
How long do you think BIOF will stay up before it will start going down? and what is holding it so far? Irrelevant chart pattern, gotta focus on Link to tim.ly patterns if you want better odds.
Tim! Which actress do you think is the hottest? I like Scarlett Johansson a lot! (and thanks for changing my life!) Nobody can compete with my girlfriend :)
Make sure she reads that post ;) I will :)
Who would win in a fight you or superman(supertrades)? Superman, he's strong and fit, I'm overworked and out of shape.
Here's my question: What is your favourite stock? Also you should come into this chat: Link to webchat.freenode.net. It is the official unofficial chat for /wallstreetbets -- a sub which adores your trading style. Thanks for taking the time. Link to tim.ly
Hey Tim, huge fan, ive watched ALL of your DvD's expect for the how to read SEC filings. And i've been following your exact strategy for finding stock picks that you showed in your TIMfundamentals part deux DvD but i never find the same one's that you trade, for example ARTX did not come up on my watchlist. Did you change your strategy on finding stock picks? If so, what's new? Link to profit.ly
Have you ever considered world domination? Nah thats boring, my focus is world education.
I haven't read all about the challenge information yet, but how much is the amount I have to bring in ? Different for everyone first u need to apply and get accepted Link to tim.ly
Can you make a gif animation of you flying to da moon and post it every time you tell us your stock picks? Sure I'll put it on my to do list.
Tim I am I college student and I started trading this year mostly because of your story. I have bought into the company TWD (tweed marijuana inc.) Do you have any suggestions for me? Ps, they're all just haters. Cool, the companies don't matter and TWD's chart is a mess, focus on Link to tim.ly patterns.
Right on, is the Vegas conference going to be a DVD also this year or is that the video you are talking about? BTW can't wait for the conference this year hopefully its the best one yet. Nah brand new DVD going over all the basics.
I'm low on funds so more newsletters or getting equity feed? About the same price so just pick one Data is cheap, good information from newsletters is more useful, use Link to tim.ly sale while its still on.
Hey Tim, I was accepted to your challenge but was unaware about needing $7500 to begin. Any way around that? I think what you do and how you help people is great. I'm guessing you have someone answering your emails so I thought this was the best way. Thanks. Gotta invest in your financial education, my program is a steal given the value of what u learn...skimp out on everything in life, but not education.
To start off, you are my biggest inspiration for trading stocks. That being said, in the future I would love to trade with you like Tim G and your other students in the Maldives or other crazy places you go. I currently trade my own strategies and am making pretty good money. Do I need to become one of your challenge students to hang out/trade with you? Yup Link to tim.ly students get first dibs on everything.
Hi Tim, TimAlerts subscriber here, When you started out with $12,500 what was the lowest your account went to in the beginning, did your ever drop below $10,000 ? Go and look at the first 1,000 blog posts on Link to timothysykes.co i tracked EVERY trade.
Hello Tim, Big fan here & Silver Subscriber! Been watching a lot of your videos and I've read your book. I live in Denmark, so a lot of brokers won't accept me as a customer. Only broker I can find is SureTrader. What do you think? Cool i use suretrader they have shorts every now and then.
Do you lift? I used to, no time now.
Tim! I've been following you now for a while and have learned a great deal from you! I live in Boston and would love to come see your talk! Is there ANY WAY I can get a ticket?? Cool, sorry my Harvard talk sold out within minutes, but it'll be recorded.
What trading platform do you use? Read Link to tim.ly multiple brokers.
What is the best path i should take if i want to be sitting beside you on your next yacht adventure? Apply at Link to tim.ly then study your butt off!
Do you watch game of thrones? If not you should get on it. Yes its great, wish I had more time to watch them all a second time.
What do you think about the wild west of cannabis stock trading and do you think that it stands apart from the internet .com boom since it is ACTUAL product as opposed to a dozen guys in an office? Are they good for long term investments aside from possible law retractions being an obvious danger? Just the latest stock market sector craze, little different from nanotechs, 3d printing oil, gold, ethanol, alternative energy...pump and dump, NOT longterm holds.
How long will your 60% off newsletter be on? I want to buy it but my money is locked up in the market and will take about a week for me to have enough to get it. tia Just a few days more we cant have Link to tim.ly sale last forever!
Thanks for doing your AMA Tim! I currently am a TimAlerts subscriber and saving money to start trading some day as a (succesfull) European student of yours. I saw you are going to speak at Harvard in a few days, will there be a video of it afterwards? Cool yes my Harvard speech will be recorded!
Why are they not longterm holds? because its the early stages of the industries development? Theyre mostly scams and pump and dumps, development my ass LOL.
Any plans on doing a seminar anywhere on the West Coast some time soon? Yes hit up Link to timothysykes.com to be added to the earlybird list.
Question - how did you manage to post losses of almost 40% in '06/07 when the market was doing so incredibly well? I'm a short seller for one and second read Link to tim.ly I detail my losses in depth.
Timothy. My mentor. Why your loosing trades show profit in your page ? 4/10 MDBX $23.25 $22.1 $4365. Tell me how you enter at 23.25 and exit at 22.1 making $4365 in profit please. You have to teach me this magic !! It's called short selling you incredible nitwit.
How much money do you make in a year from your DVDs, trading challenge, and subscriber alerts? Link to mixergy.com
I lost 70% on SPLI, 40% on ERBB, and, 40% on MYEC, and 30% on MINE, should i hold? Sorry to hear, they can always come back, but I wouldn't bet on it...gotta learn my Link to tim.ly rule #1 cut losses quickly.
I'm a college senior. Would you recommend me working at an investment bank or tech startup? Do both, make connections everywhere.
What characteristics do you look for when people apply to your "Tim Challenge?" Dedication, ability to follow instructions, hunger for immense wealth.
How many cars do you have? I have 2, a Lamborghini and Porsche.
Is e-gear hard to drive? I have a automatic setup on my cayman s. Nah its easy.
Can you annotate a chart of any instrument with price action or indicators? Yes.
Tim, you have mentioned you have students from outside the US. Have you recommended them any brokers in particular or do you happen to know witch they use? Trading the OTC seems to be a common problem for us folks outside the US. Any input on this would be appreciated. My preferred Link to tim.ly all accept international customers.
Hi Tim, NEWBIE. What brokerage account do you recommend? Thanks Read Link to tim.ly
Actually didn't know that. Thank you for your time Tim. YES!
Can my girlfriend borrow $500 to adopt her dog? Nope.
Hey Tim, I am a Pennystocking Silver subscriber and newbie to trading, and have been studying your teachings for about a month. Thank you for doing this AMA. In your book you say that the most valuable classes you took in college were micro and macro economics. I am an econ major and am curious as to how you apply econ theory to trading. Why do you value those classes so much, and what is the most important economic concept you apply to trading? Cool always important to know supply/demand, that basically sums up all of penny stocks.
Last updated: 2014-04-26 15:42 UTC
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