Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
How to read the news to predict the course of nations (delvenews.com)
55 points by andrewwhalen on Feb 22, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

Wow, this is just really really great. I am biased because I do this too, read all sorts of stuff, put articles together, make silly predictions to myself about how that will affect the world and then watch to see if I was close.

When you do this for a while it becomes habituated. And then you start seeing not the data points, but the connections. Stories that seem to cluster around certain events, or predict them. Some really obvious ones like in California when ever there is a call to 'cut spending' in the legislature, just like clockwork there will be 6 to 12 stories appearing about how important it is to keep teachers well paid and how they have already sacrificed so much. These sorts of 'dots' become predictive of future events, and knowing the future can tell you other things (like other people who are doing the same thing you are)

I explained it to a guy on the train once, if you ride a train from point A to point B, it is full of strangers. If you ride it every day for 6 months from point A to point B (and you are at all observant) you notice "That person works in Palo Alto and lives in Mtn View, that person only sits facing opposite the rest of the car, those two people are in a relationship but trying not to be obvious about it, that guy hates his job or wants a new job" etc. Because each day you right gives you a 'dot' and after a while some of those dots coalesce into meaning.

Something else to watch for, whenever there's a really important piece of negative news about the government, there's almost always a piece of really trivial news about the entertainment industry or about a dramatic, but commonplace natural phenomenon (that's usually not reported at all) or a tragic death of an otherwise unremarkable, but photogenic young person, that will get far more news coverage and push the important bit off the front page.

I've found Western media is fairly subtle at it, but in some countries the media monopoly is such that it's done almost so ham-handedly as to be almost absurd. There's a few in the U.S. that are pretty clumsy about it too.

It's literally watching the shitty supermarket tabloids jump up from next to the candy bars to the number one national news story.

What's even more interesting is that the media, in a sort of faux meta-analysis, will acknowledge ways that stories are buried or minimized, that have nothing to do with the ways they actually bury and minimize important news -- the Friday bombshell press conference for example.

Isn't that just basic market analysis? All he does is applying Porter's good old five forces (Competition, Substitutes, Buyer Power, Supply (Chain), Rivalry) and modifying it to the Oil market.

I don't really see there the "new" component, but thankfully he clarifies that is intention is not to be predictive. When talking about Geo Politics I just can not resist recommending "Essence Of Decision"[1], in my opinion one of the most excellent books on that subject.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essence_of_Decision "the founding study of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and in doing so revolutionized the field of international relations"

Paging Hari Seldon...

It'd be fascinating to see psychohistory come to be, and at smaller scales than the dozens of billions Asimov used.

Anyone know a quick way to add who someone is following to a twitter account? I'd love to set one up and follow who he's following.

Hi Ralph - I interviewed Steve and submitted the post. One easy way to read what Steve is reading is to sign up for our social news reader at www.delvenews.com We built a news feed based on what Steve reads called "Wonk Lens: Steve Levine." If you sign up, you'll be able to follow it from the "Edit My Channels" page. Cheers!

This is good stuff and he covers a lot of important indicators.

One thing I discovered in 2001, and validated from 2002-2007 is that monetary policy is a massive indicator of the direction of countries. Once you understand economics (Economics in one lesson by henry hazlitt is a very readable place to start, but Austrian business cycle theory is the real deal) you can see how things are going to go pretty clearly. Which is why in 2001 when the mises institute was predicting a housing bubble (long before even Krugman advocated creating a housing bubble) ABCT let me know that it would eventually pop. I put this theory into practice with a variety of financial instruments and profited from it.

The thing about real science is it lets you make predictions. Oil is very critical and this guy is onto some really good stuff... but economics in a broader sense and monetary theory in specific, is also hugely relevant.

The biggest tragedy of this kind of knowledge, though, is watching people make bad decisions (like buying houses they couldn't afford) based on nonsense they were told (essentially propaganda). Even someone who knows you a long time and thinks your a genius will believe CNN, politicians and their own desire to buy a house and "get in on the action" over wise counsel.

Which ultimately left me with this conclusion: People get the world they create, and they are complicit in its creation. How many people who hate the PATRIOT ACT and NDAA voted for Obama? How many should have known? How many people who wanted prudent financial management voted for Bush? How many should have known they would get deficit spending? How many were tricked into voting for one of these guys with the idea that the alternative was so much worse...when in retrospect they aren't that bad (Bush, for instance, never cracked down on abortion like we were told to fear in 2000, and he was in office 8 years.)

What if everybody actually demanded their government was honest, prudent, and abided by the constitution?

So, yes, use everything you can to understand geopolitics, because we're in a time of great upheaval- or close to it. The future for the USA is dimmer than the past, unfortunately, no matter which major party wins the next several elections.

>The future for the USA is dimmer than the past, unfortunately, no matter which major party wins the next several elections.

Hardly. I fail to see how the domestic oil boom is a liability, technologically superior energy sources will win in the long run more quickly with a stable economy in the west. Which political party wins is practically irrelevant in the long term as today's liberal morphs into tomorrow's conservative in an unstoppable march of progress.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact