No, this is not going to be a post about an investing theory. A definition from Wikipedia…Random Walk: a mathematical object, known as a stochastic or random process, that describes a path that consists of a succession of random steps on some mathematical space such as the integers.
People have the right to try to buy goods and services as inexpensively as possible, but like all behavioral paradigms the obsession with “cheap” for so many Americans is not optimal as it makes the country vulnerable. To the extent possible it would be advantageous, in my opinion, to de-couple from China economically. We are very far from the extent possible.
The value of US exports to China–which adds to US GDP–is only about a third of the value of Chinese imports to the US–which subtracts from US GDP. In 2019, the US had a trade deficit with China of almost $309 billion. That accounts for half of the total US trade deficit, which itself was about 3% of US GDP.
By the way, even using PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) as a measure–which skews the analysis in favor of less developed countries–China’s per capita GDP doesn’t rank among the top 100 countries in the world. Botswana’s per capita GDP is higher than China’s.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer has called China “a paper tiger.” I have written here many times that the Chinese government is engaged in a desperate battle against time, trying to bring China to something approaching first-world wealth before its demographics implode. I won’t be alive to see it, but I think their mission will fail.
Maybe my calling for de-coupling doesn’t seem consistent with my belief that China’s economic power is overrated and that the country will face a real crisis, largely due to its demographics. It is still not in the best interests of the US to have such a large trade deficit with one country, both economically and in terms of national security.
For not the first time, a medical professional has asked me if I am a doctor or have attended medical school or have a medical background. Last Friday, I met my new gastroenterologist, Dr. T, for the first time. At one point while he was taking my history, he asked me if I had a medical background. He then said, “You correctly use terms not used by lay people.”
I just smiled and said, “I have a lot of friends who are doctors.” I am under no illusion that I am remotely qualified to practice medicine. It is apparent, however, that my medical knowledge must be orders of magnitude greater than the vast majority of lay people.
No, my arm didn’t break from patting myself on the back.
David Banner (not his real name, but
formerly a real doctor–I should have written formerly a practicing physician) has suggested a feature called “Family of Three” where I would pick three cars for a garage. Implicit in his own picks (maybe I’m adding two and two and getting five) seems to be the notion that they wouldn’t all be sports cars, but a mix of vehicles.
As every regular reader knows, I am not a fan of SUVs, pickup trucks, and 99.9% of four-door sedans. Besides, how many car companies are still offering a broad product mix? Lincoln, Lincoln!, is only selling SUVs. Of course, my focus on one make is my own. A three-vehicle selection could come from three different companies.
Anyway, just wanted to float that balloon and gather input from readers. My three-car garage?
I guess these three are the crème de la crème of the crème de la crème.
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20 thoughts on “A Random Walk…”
Hey! I’m still a real doctor, I just don’t charge for my advice anymore! I am reminded of the old joke, “Madam we’ve established what you are, we’re now haggling over the price!”
“It is apparent, however, that my medical knowledge must be orders of magnitude greater than the vast majority of lay people.” And that of many practitioners. It sucks that the medical profession has fallen so far. But that’s another story for another time.
The three car garage can be whatever one wants it to be. As a new grandpa, I will need a minivan/SUV/tank to protect my precious cargo. My wife demands a sports car/convertible, so much so that our kitchen remodel almost did not happen. You can also do the TCG at different price points: for example, a Ford GT, a Bentley Flying Spur, and a Lamborghini Urus vs a Mazda Miata, a Lexus ES 350, and a Toyota FourRunner.
My apologies, Doc. You are still a real doctor. Disheartening to read your view of the medical profession, but you are far more qualified than I to make such a statement.
Thanks for your amplification of the Three Car Garage, or TCG. TCG sounds like a defunct British make of automobiles.
No apology needed. I understand what you meant. And I wish that I did not have such a bad opinion of my colleagues. We need health care providers; we just need better ones in terms of compassion and curiosity. I hope your new doc isn’t threatened by your knowledge.
Thanks again, Doc. My first impression of my new GI “guy” is very good.
Do you think many people who go to medical school are motivated by potential earnings above all else?
Love this post! I also like the first car choice. My first would be a new Tesla! Second I think would be a Ferrari but don’t ask me what year / I would ask you for that help if I ever got there
Thanks, Eileen. I am proud of this post as well.
Only 3? “Looks around my shop(s), scratches head, ponders what to get rid of”.
But I actually do get the point. I would have to try to narrow down the “Starter Garage” I sent you a few weeks ago.
“I picked the wrong week to give up drinking”. 🙂
I think David Banner’s (not his real name) intention was to focus on a real-world scenario, more or less. Where anyone is on the “more or less” spectrum is up to them.
I understand the theory of the 3 car garage as it’s something most folks don’t have. I know I’m the exception in having shop/garage space that is bigger than many businesses. Which is why many of my friends come use my shop, they have a 2 car garage and a 10 car garage appetite.
Speaking of 3 cars, how’s the “grocery getter” doing?
“…a 2 car garage and a 10 car appetite…” You could be describing me except I have a 3-car garage and an unknown car garage appetite. I tell my friends all the time: I have a 3-car garage, but I want a 4-car, if I had a 4-car I’d want a 6-car, etc. Spring Mountain Racetrack in Nevada, where my wonderful wife got to race on the track in a C7 Corvette after buying her first new one, is now building homes adjacent to the track. None of the homes come with anything smaller than a 4-car garage and some have a 6-car.
The 2015 Cadillac ATS is, so far, pleasantly surprising us. It’s never been overwhelmed by grocery volume, has served as a functional 4-person car on at least two occasions, and is far more fun to drive than one would think. It’s built on the same platform as the current generation Camaro and it is quite nimble. The 321 HP V-6 gives it some oomph–an automotive technical term–as well. A shame the car went out of production in 2019 and that, apparently, the Camaro is soon to follow.
Your reply is the thinking behind the TCG. Husband and wife who like cars, each wanting their own car, but need a THIRD car for various reasons: kids, side gig like woodworking/antiquing, camping/boating. In your previous life you had a small SUV and a “go kart”, while your wonderful wife had the Vette. I could see a change in your garage to an Aston Martin Rapide-for the groceries/C8/and a GTO.
Many thanks, Doc. I fully understand that the TCG exercise is not necessarily about a person’s three most favorite cars. In our situation, though, my three most favorite might actually work since the Longchamp is supposed to be able to seat four.
I am a “4-door sedan” kinda guy for long-distance road travel and just completed a 2,000 mile summer trip, but I enjoy something a little more “sporty” for around town. Unfortunately, my budget allows me only one such toy, an aging Mustang convertible that I keep in Arizona.
For my virtual TCG, I would like something all-electric, but the logistics of my lifestyle wouldn’t support it. I originally thought in my imagination that I’d like the electric Mustang, but it’s really an SUV and early reviews on charging issues leave me cold. Maybe that electric vehicle might just have to be a bicycle with electric assist. 🙂
Different strokes for different folks–DSFDF. I personally think calling an SUV a Mustang is blasphemy. I wonder what I’ll think when the Corvette SUV is introduced, as an all-electric vehicle?!
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OK, JS. To what, exactly, is “Indeed!” a response?
The comment that an SUV could be called a Mustang being blasphemy. 🙂
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My three car garage would be fairly simple – a sedan (which I already drive), an old car (which I have) and a pick up (which I’ll have to add). Although I guess I can modify for this exercise…
I currently drive a 2013 Fusion which I like. But I’d shop around for something new… what I don’t know, since sedans seem to be dropping from rosters. I’ve had Hondas so, maybe an Acura TLX.
I enjoy my Grand Prix but I think I’d want a convertible. My dad had a 64 Electra. So I’m going with a 1964 Buick Electra 225 convertible as a comfortable summer cruiser.
We’ve recently picked up some items and I’ve had to rent a van, so something is telling me I should get a truck again. Third vehicle is a pick up, I’ll go with a 1967 Ford F100 long box, something a little different from the very popular Chevys and GMCs.
Thanks, Mark. I am very fond of Buick convertibles from that era.
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