Spread Betting Tips and Strategies

5 Strategies in Quant Trading Algorithms

Hey everyone, I am a former Wall Street trader and quant researcher. When I was preparing for my own interviews, I have noticed the lack of accurate information and so I will be providing my own perspectives. One common pattern I see is people building their own algorithm by blindly fitting statistical methods such as moving averages onto data.
I have published this elsewhere, but have copy pasted it entirely below for you to read to keep it in the spirit of the sub rules. Edit: Removed link.

What it was like trading on Wall Street

Right out of college, I began my trading career at an electronic hedge fund on Wall Street. Several friends pitched trading to me as being a more disciplined version of wallstreetbets that actually made money. After flopping several initial interviews, I was fortunate to land a job at a top-tier firm of the likes of Jane Street, SIG, Optiver and IMC.
On my first day, I was instantly hooked.
My primary role there was to be a market maker. To explain this, imagine that you are a merchant. Suppose you wanted to purchase a commodity such as an apple. You would need to locate an apple seller and agree on a fair price. Market makers are the middle-men that cuts out this interaction by being always willing to buy or sell at a given price.
In finance lingo, this is called providing liquidity to financial exchanges. At any given moment, you should be confident to liquidate your position for cash. To give a sense of scale, tens of trillions in dollars are processed through these firms every year.
My time trading has been one of the most transformative periods of my life. It not only taught me a lot of technical knowledge, but it also moulded me to be a self-starter, independent thinker, and hard worker. I strongly recommend anyone that loves problem solving to give trading a shot. You do not need a mathematics or finance background to get in.
The trading culture is analogous to professional sports. It is a zero sum game where there is a clear defined winner and loser — you either make or lose money. This means that both your compensation and job security is highly dependent on your performance. For those that are curious, the rough distribution of a trader’s compensation based on performance is a tenth of the annual NBA salary.
There is a mystique about trading in popular media due to the abstraction of complicated quantitative models. I will shed light on some of the fundamental principles rooted in all trading strategies, and how they might apply to you.

Arbitrage

One way traders make money is through an arbitrage or a risk free trade. Suppose you could buy an apple from Sam for $1, and then sell an apple to Megan at $3. A rational person would orchestrate both legs of these trades to gain $2 risk free.
Arbitrages are not only found in financial markets. The popular e-commerce strategy of drop-shipping is a form of arbitrage. Suppose you find a tripod selling on AliExpress at $10. You could list the same tripod on Amazon for $20. If someone buys from you, then you could simply purchase the tripod off AliExpress and take home a neat $10 profit.
The same could be applied to garage sales. If you find a baseball card for $2 that has a last sold price on EBay for $100, you have the potential to make $98. Of course this is not a perfect arbitrage as you face the risk of finding a buyer, but the upside makes this worthwhile.

Positive expected value bets

Another way traders make money is similar to the way a casino stacks the odds in their favour. Imagine you flip a fair coin. If it lands on heads you win $3, and if it lands on tails you lose $1. If you flip the coin only once, you may be unlucky and lose the dollar. However in the long run, you are expected to make a positive profit of $1 per coin flip. This is referred to as a positive expected value bet. Over the span of millions of transactions, you are almost guaranteed to make a profit.
This exact principle is why you should never gamble in casino games such as roulette. These games are all negative expected value bets, which guarantees you to lose money over the long run. Of course there are exceptions to this, such as poker or card counting in black jack.
The next time you walk into a casino, make a mental note to observe the ways it is designed to keep you there for as long as possible. Note the lack of windows and the maze like configurations. Even the free drinks and the cheap accommodation are all a farce to keep you there.

Relative Pricing

Relative pricing is a great strategy to use when there are two products that have clear causal relationships. Let us consider an apple and a carton of apple juice. Suppose there have a causal relationship where the carton is always $9 more expensive than the apple. The apple and the carton is currently trading at $1 and $10 respectively.
If the price of the apple goes up to $2, the price is not immediately reflected on the carton. There will always be a time lag. It is also important to note that there is no way we can determine if the apple is trading at fair value or if its overpriced. So how do we take advantage of this situation?
If we buy the carton for $10 and sell the apple for $2, we have essentially bought the ‘spread’ for $8. The spread is fairly valued at $9 due to the causal relationship, meaning we have made $1. The reason high frequency trading firms focus so much on latency in the nanoseconds is to be the first to scoop up these relative mispricing.
This is the backbone for delta one strategies. Common pairs that are traded against each other includes ETFs and their inverse counterpart, a particular stock against an ETF that contains the stock, or synthetic option structures.

Correlations

Correlations are mutual connections between two things. When they trend in the same direction they are said to have a positive correlation, and the vice versa is true for negative correlations. A popular example of positive correlation is the number of shark attacks with the number of ice-cream sales. It is important to note that shark attacks do not cause ice-cream sales.
Often times there are no intuitive reason for certain correlations, but they still work. The legendary Renaissance Technologies sifted through petabytes of historical data to find profitable signals. For instance, good morning weather in a city tended to predict an upward movement in its stock exchange. One could theoretically buy stock on the opening and sell at noon to make a profit.
One important piece of advice is to disregard any retail trader selling a course to you, claiming that they have a system. These are all scams. At best, these are bottom of the mill signals that are hardly profitable after transaction costs. It is also unlikely that you have the system latency, trading experience or research capabilities to do this on your own. It is possible, but very difficult.

Mean reversions

Another common strategy traders rely on is mean reversion trends. In the options world the primary focus is purchasing volatility when it is cheap compared to historical values, and vice versa. Buying options is essentially synonymous with buying volatility. Of course, it is not as simple as this so don’t go punting your savings on Robinhood using this strategy.
For most people, the most applicable mean reversion trend is interest rates. These tend to fluctuate up and down depending on if the central banks want to stimulate saving or spending. As global interest rates are next to zero or negative, it may be a good idea to lock in this low rate for your mortgages. Again, consult with a financial advisor before you do anything.
submitted by chriswugan to algotrading [link] [comments]

Economic Symbiogenesis

Visuals
Economic Evolution Thomas J Novak
Disclaimers 1. I wish to contend that Micro and Macro Economics each constitute a hidden branch of evolution. To be clear, I’m not arguing for an analogy, ​I’m arguing each branch is an evolutionary process; and with this comes the mathematical framework needed to scientifically ​objectify success (major goal for every Capitalist). 2. The quantitative aspects are partially rooted in Game Theoretic Evolution. I do not expect this theory will garner majority support or ​understanding. It is only an esoteric theoretical ideal; but it is my hope that this will gradually change until one-day we have a Utopia. 3. The mechanism is voluntary through rational self-incentives. It advocates for a change in perspective for optimal decision making purposes. 4. Dollars and other fiat currencies are still completely necessary. Fiat currency constitutes a valuable technology that eliminates the need for ​bartering, yielding considerable savings in life’s prime asset - TIME. 5. I apologize to the reader in advance for the long essay. I hope it is "worth" your time.
Key Conclusions
Present day humanity is full of capitalists that have the right idea but are missing some key math. This is causing them to behave inefficiently in the context of their own self-interests. Ideal Capitalism is Pareto Optimal and should be practiced by all; and it should lead to maximal economic growth. I also wish to conjecture that a new Nash Equilibrium is available to our race: Perpetual peacetime under the individual Pareto Optimal Strategy of Ideal Capitalism as every individual looks to maximize their self-fortune and troll farms are voluntarily dismantled. If this sounds too good to be true, note that it very well may have been for all of human-history save the last few decades. Key developments are nuclear weapons and the internet. Discussed more in the last section.
Introduction
The "science" of Economics is not yet a science. Don't get me wrong - micro-economics is just about there; but macro-econ is a totally different story. Some call it “The Dismal Science” because it makes many quantitative claims that are inconsistent with empirical data. An example is the claim that John Rockefeller’s fortune could be made comparable to contemporary fortunes by adjusting his dollars for inflation and real growth. In fact only adjusting his hours for real growth does the trick.
In general macro-econ has a zero-sum-dollar-centric structure that does not allow for input of things like maternity and child rearing - two fundamentally "valuable" human activities. Another problem is that planetary-wide risks like war, (and that which is assured by "Mutually Assured Destruction" (MAD)), are not naturally measurable in dollars.
Some concepts from financial mathematics and science can generalize economic measurements into a co-compatible theory that almost seems too simple to be necessary. Basic results agree with common sense in every way. Some conclusions are so obvious the calculation seems pointless. Others might be beyond common sense similar to the notion that the Earth on which one walks is anything but flat. The former supports credence for the latter. All examples of human stupidity supports a need for all of it.
Ideal Capitalism
Most powers past through present can be thought cold, "calculating”, and self-interested; and most presently embrace association with Capitalism. Paradoxically, human history, (even recent), is a litany of fighting and stupidity and hurt feelings. These are inefficiencies from the Capitalist perspective, so something must be wrong with these “calculations”.
The argument will start with a Micro-Economic exercise intended to provide quantitative framework to measure just how unCapitalistic many present-day capitalists are acting, by unitizing all their actions in a scientific manner. Any Capitalist wishing to maximize their net-worth will be made more materialistically rich simply by maintaining complete indifference about others, understanding the entire picture, and trusting numbers. Wall Street can confirm this is its goal.
“Complete indifference” means precisely 0 concern for anything other than material-self-worth and 100% concern for material-self-worth. Nonzero concern for others, positive or negative, is suboptimal since it distracts from the objective of maximizing self-worth. Footnote 1: “Others” does not include the friends and family category. All intentional altruism can be represented easily by having those individuals' interests summed and grouped together so as to be viewed as part of the Capitalist’s “self-interest”. All reasoning forward is unaffected by how many friends and family are now implied to be included.
The results can empower all decision makers to calculate in the only way possible: with actual mathematics. The numbers will sometimes disagree with intuition; but the numbers will always be correct. The optimal strategy will hardly change except for sufficiently wealthy individuals. The proof can be seen empirically by back-testing the model in history on the domain in which all success is measured: quality-weighted-time (qwt). The definition of qwt will leverage Game Theoretic Evolution and is discussed more below.
Some conclusions may be counterintuitive similar to the way natural selection favored Symbiogenesis; but maximum profit calls for absolute “trust” in numbers above all else - exactly as exhibited in microbial evolution. Any call for “selfless” acting resulting in benefits to others is strictly incidental; and any less is unselfishly selfish in that it renders this inefficient capitalist less wealthy than maximally possible.
Step 1 - Any political bias about aiding others should be deleted. An “Ideal Capitalist” expresses precisely 0 concern for others and what others think - no more, no less. As long as an individual is correctly acting in their own best interests, they are acting as a Capitalist. Contra-positively one can claim to be a capitalist and act inefficiently against their own interests as many “capitalists” will be shown are doing today. I suggest a new term “Maximalist” to mean an Ideal Capitalist and avoid the need for case sensitivity.
Step 2 - Success Spawns Success. What is meant by quality-weighted-time? The definition comes from the only objective arbiter possible: Evolution through Survival of the Fittest. Something is “fit”, or “successful”, if it results in more quantity (Q) or more quality (q), where more quality means it produced more Quantity faster - which renders it more successful. This is The Tautology of Evolutionary Game Theory (The Tautology). For any evolutionary process, quantity is the metric which quantifies success. Quality is measured in quantity per unit of time (q=Q/t). Note that multiplying q=Q/t with t yields Q=qwt: the metric of success that necessarily satisfies The Tautology. Footnote 2: The word “tautology” is meant in the propositional logic sense. No negative connotation should be inferred.
Step 3 - How to connect economics with evolution?
Micro-economic decision strategy for trading time (t) for dollars ($), (or $ for t), amounts to a “phenotype”, (or observable trait), coded for by genetics inherited or mutated, and ideas learned or created. Respectively: - Inherited genetics constrain every rational human to be “risk averse”, regardless of self-perception, because natural selection favored and continues to favor risk aversion. Defined below and proven further below. - Mutated genes are almost never favorable for a human so this case will be discarded (although this force is quite powerful over quintillions of human-hours). - Richard Dawkins creatively postulated ideas to be “memes”: new evolutionarily viable packets of information, subject to selection forces, as they spread from person to person with varying levels of success overtime. Respectively gene inheritance and mutation is analogous to meme learning and creation. Furthermore the economy can be seen as a subsection of the biosphere governed primarily by evolution through forces of selection. The economy evolves through selection of both genes and memes, and memes are more abstract; but this should not change anything about the evolutionary game theory. After all humanity itself is naturally occurring, so Artificial Selection of Genes and Memes can be seen as a more complex extended phenotype coded for by the evolution of genes through Natural Selection. Any argument that “Artificial Selection” constitutes a meaningful difference from “Natural Selection” must first come to terms with the observation that humanity is itself, naturally occurring.
Step 4 - What is the definition of “risk averse”? The mathematical definition of risk averse simply requires diminishing returns to be experienced on assets like dollars. For example: an additional $1M adds less “utility” if you presently have $2B, compared to if you presently have $2M. If a person is not risk averse, then more success encourages more risky behavior. This is inconsistent with the observation that more success means one has more to lose. Therefore any risk-inclined individual cannot be an Ideal Capitalist as they will almost surely go broke gambling.
Step 5 - What is “utility”? Utility is the abstract micro-economic concept that, by definition, quantifies value. The unsettled question of how to actually do this is addressed below.
Total Utility = True Material Self-Worth = “well-offness”. All have one-to-one correspondence with each other. All are “mutually inclusive”. For example: twice the quantity of utility, by definition, means twice material self-worth; and so, the individual is exactly twice better-off. Diminishing returns do not apply to quantities of utility.
Step 6 - How to define an objective function to maximize utility? Per Wikipedia: “Consider a set of alternatives facing an individual, and over which the individual has a preference ordering. A ‘utility function’ is able to represent those preferences if it is possible to assign a real number to each alternative, in such a way that alternative A is assigned a number greater than alternative B if, and only if, the individual prefers alternative A to alternative B.”
Keynote: dollars are not material wealth, dollars buy material wealth, with diminishing returns, limited by genes, memes, and the quality and Quantity of the Marketplace (respectively qQMP).
To illustrate this, consider how rich you would be with $1T cash on Mars in the present day marketplace. Personally as an oxygen breathing Capitalist, I would view my self-worth as constituting a liability - measurable in my personal subjective frame of reference in units of time, weighted by some self-knowable quality of life representing the quantity of misery per hour that I experience dying alone. Presently the quality of the marketplace on Mars is exactly 0 because 0 quantity is available for purchase. Footnote 3: The quality of life purchasable given the Time and Place is shown below to be bounded from above, although it is by no means bounded from below.
Back to Earth. If sufficiently rich, then maximizing material wealth calls for buying everything in desired amounts to maximize present quality of Life (qoL), holding ample dollars in reserve to spend on future qoL (like new inventions) and future quantity (like new medicine), and allocating the rest to increase future qQ which is not presently available for purchase. In keeping with The Tautology, qoL enhancements will provide for faster consumption of Quantity (Q=qwt). Note how perfectly this fits with The Tautology.
Ideally a good Capitalist with sufficient dollars would employ a strategy so as to maximize qoL at every point in time by exhausting most/all dollars by death. Any argument that an individual cannot meaningfully increase future qQMP fails. As an example: a medical breakthrough for genetic predispositions could yield considerably more time for any one capitalist, with expected returns modeled via actuarial mathematics. Consider just how far Humanity has come since the birth of The Enlightenment - it is easy to see how the not-so-distant future may include considerably more qQoL for sale. (Conversely the future may include far less qQoL if macro-decision-public-policy modeling continues to fail to quantify/unitize the cost of war - discussed more in the Macro Economic qwt section below.)
qQ enhancements, although more subjective, can be substantially accelerated by one talented individual. Examples include Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. All are responsible for inventing and/or producing new things which I personally enjoy - the qQoL that I can purchase is greater as a result of their work. My time and money could not purchase such things if they were not invented. As discussed next, micro-economic quality weights are quality of Life (qoL) weights. They have an upper bound that can be “objectively” unitized and measured by the self-interested party's own frame of reference.
Step 7 - How can an individual objectively define an upper bound for these inherently subjective quality weights with any mathematical rigor? Is it possible that more dollars does not always result in more utility? Yes!
Proof Reductio ad Absurdum
Ripping off an idea from one of the greatest thinkers ever - I propose a financial thought experiment: pretend it is possible for you to pause all of society and gamble once at the “Name Your Winnings Casino”.
Here you can choose entering into an even bet: 50% of the time you win the largest number of dollars you can mathematically express = $P; or 50% of the time you suffer absolute ruin: the casino takes everything of material value and your dollars and returns you to the real world where no insurance policies exist for you and no friends or family are able to ease your loss by lending a couch to sleep on or pulling strings for a job offeinterview. If you lose you reenter the world a naked homeless person “worth” exactly $0.
Four observations follow:
  1. The decision to bet is made independent of any consideration of others, consistent with the Ideal Capitalist.
  2. Any sane human with the smallest capacity for self-honestly could conservatively estimate a walk-away number A, (denominated in dollars), such that if present “net worth” is greater than $A then no bet.
  3. No rational person choosing to bet would play more than once because either they’d lose or they’d win $P and have received the payout they named. “Letting it ride” constitutes an obviously dumb decision born out of the unwillingness to simply express the larger number in the first bet; however, a risk-inclined individual always values more over what they have and so they would be compelled to keep betting. Therefore rationality is mutually exclusive with risk-inclination. Furthermore if the betting person is risk averse, then $A is strictly less than $P for some minimum value of $P.
  4. Some confident rational individual might argue no such number $A exists for them because they’re so good they can start all over if they lose and earn a new fortune; and it would at first glance seem this individual is correct.
Many logical conclusions result:
A. An honest estimate for $A irrefutably reveals a hidden upper bound for this individual’s “Utility Curve”. Specifically if the function A’($A) = A’ maps to utility derived by $A dollar denominated “wealth”, then no amount of dollars even exists for this individual to choose to bet. Mathematically: “Net worth” > “Bet value” => “Net worth” > “50% times upside minus 50% times downside” => A’($A) > .5A’($A+$P) - .5A’($A) => 1.5A’($A) > .5A’($A+$P) => 3A’($A) > A’($A+$P) for all values of $P (The left hand-side must be greater or the bet would not be declined by a rational individual.)
B. 3A’ is not presently purchasable with any amount of dollars. 3A’ may be purchased in some future marketplace, (possibly with less than A future dollars), in the form of a medical breakthrough or buying future children birthday presents, but it is not currently purchasable in the present as demonstrated by the individual’s refusal to bet. Conversely A future dollars may lose “purchasing power” of just A’ if the future marketplace is inferior. Therefore true material-worth is fundamentally a function of the marketplace and cannot even be expressed in terms of dollars.
C. Most choosing to bet would logically express the upside payout $P as a sequence of 9s. Many more would know to use powers of powers. Knowledge of Knuth’s Up Arrow Notation could simultaneously save time and yield considerably “more upside”. Due consideration for exactly how much time should be spent writing out fantastically large numbers reveals an irrefutably objective hidden limiting factor: this person’s lifetime - measurable in units of time. This reveals one of two hidden domains on which value must be measured - TIME!
D. From this it directly follows that the confident individual in (4) is wrong. Some number $A<$P must exist, EVEN FOR THEM. However this individual is sure $A doesn’t and keeps writing numbers out for $P until they die. Therefore $A for them equals the number they have written out at time of death, never having played the game. I believe this is the definition of a Darwinian unfit capitalist - completely inconsistent with the Ideal Capitalist.
Analysis
The argument above establishes a horizontal bound for utility – lifetime measurable in units of time. It also establishes a finite upper bound for utility itself (represented by the area of the “utility rectangle” - see spreadsheet). This implies a finite upper bound for the rectangle’s height must exist; and this is empirically supported by the observation that billionaires are not known to blow through their life fortune in any short-period of time.
So why does any sufficiently wealthy capitalist focus on earning more dollars and die before exhausting most/all of their dollars (last death if family inheritance involved)? If sufficiently wealthy, material wealth is necessarily a bounded function of The Time Period, or the “quality and Quantity of the Marketplace”. TTP = qQMP >= qQoL. In other words, the marketplace itself is secretly an asset for every Capitalist!
qMP(TTP) = Max quality of life, or “max utility per hour” available for purchase in TTP QMP(TTP) = Max Quantity of life, or “max utility” for purchase in TTP (IE a longer vacation or medicine)
Thus on the micro level, quality weights are utility weights; and utility weights are capped by The Time Period. Thus it is the case that for every (finite) individual, a finite upper bound for utility is self-measurable in Time Period-Weighted Time (qwt = TPWT). For example: 2020 hours have far more value to any sufficiently rational and wealthy individual (SRWI) than 1920 hours. And as the earlier questionnaire (hopefully) shows, this is realizable by most middle-class people today. In other words, today’s middle class is sufficiently wealthy to the extent TPWT resolves the Rockefeller paradox. Footnote8: The size of the middle class itself is unfortunately shrinking. This has potential to result in negative externalities for all.
Since an Ideal Capitalist maximizes self-material-wealth above all else, then if they were also sufficiently wealthy, they would measure value in Time-Period-Weighted Hours since they would always purchase maximum utility per hour. This is by definition, since any SRWI has all necessary means to purchase max utility available per hour. (Note just how important quick access to true information would be.) Footnote 9: Neuroscience could use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to objectively measure the Micro-Economic utility unit as “Neurotransmitter-Molecular-Count Weighted Hours”. Consideration for how to weight different neurotransmitters (like Serotonin vs Dopamine) would be necessary. For now, we are all similar enough for “time” to suffice, at least for short run measurements. For example: what is the penalty for severe crimes? “Time in jail” or death (all the person’s time).
Quantifying the Marketplace
Given the average life expectancy now is more than twice that of prehistoric man, the marketplace itself is worth strictly more than 50% of any sufficiently wealthy individual’s “asset portfolio”. Just note “time is money”. Footnote 10: They need not be rational to "realize" this time, so long as their doctor is sufficiently competent. "Realization" will come in the form of living longer, quite consistent with the accounting definition of gain/loss realization.
Keynote - a Maximalist will do more than just maximize present qQ purchased. They will also divert unneeded dollars to maximize future qQMP so that more qQ is available for purchase. Thus the Maximalist calculation includes due consideration for additional dollars that will be needed given future qQ becomes available.
Squaring Theory with Reality
Most already know most of this, at least on the common-sense level. So why don’t sufficiently wealthy Capitalists invest maximum dollars with less strings attached to maximize the future? Is it because that would help everyone else and constitute socialism? No! In this context socialism is Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”. A good Capitalist aims for precisely 0 concern about others, and any concern for implied socialism would constitute nonzero concern. Such concern would amount to incomprehensible irrationality far beneath any good Capitalist. So what else could it be?
Perhaps it’s simply the fact that much of humanity is still measuring their net-worth in the wrong dimension for the inefficient purpose of feeling superior to others with less money. Anyone currently doing this quite literally knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, not even their own self fortune, because they are using the wrong dimension of measurement. quality-weighted-time is the objectively correct way in which real value should be measured, and quality weighting is limited only by The Time Period in which time and money are being spent.
More noteworthy, any human mistaking dollars for qwt for this scorekeeping reason is still violating the prime rule of being a good Capitalist - they are demonstrating nonzero-concern for what others think of them. Implicitly and inefficiently, these individuals are expressing negative concern for others, as now is measurable by how worse off they are in units of their time. Specifically this is calculable as the opportunity cost of not investing more dollars for an enhanced future marketplace, measurable by others in said marketplace by the cost to this imperfect capitalist’s life expectancy, (all unitized in units of time).
Equity Miracle Swap Instruments
Perhaps the above explanations are not exhaustive of the full truth. Maybe some sufficiently wealthy Capitalists simply do not have the means to invest their dollars in a way that can reliably pay greater dividends. Therefore I propose a new type of financial derivative instrument called an “Equity Miracle Swap”. These would be voluntarily issued as contracts from the mega-wealthy. Here is a hypothetical example:
Rational (and thus risk averse) Billionaire-G (BG) possessing $100B in dollar-denominated-capital can now do research and will likely find they are genetically predisposed to a (presently) incurable illness (let’s say Small Cell Lung Cancer = SCLC). BG could use the chancy math in the proof above and might determine that Billions $91-$100 have minimal true value to him/herself when converted to qwt. Therefore BG could decide to start up an enterprise to find a cure for SCLC and use a $10B Equity Miracle Swap = EMSSCLC-$10B, or just “EMS” for short. The purpose is to maximally incent the researchers, who might otherwise just be employees. The contract would stipulate that all equity in the enterprise transfers over to the research team only upon successful development of the cure.
When measured in dollars, the payoff for BG is represented by the performance of the stock, which is greater than -$10B if no cure; or -$10B if the miracle cure is found. The former is greater than the latter. Which do you think BG will prefer? Obviously the latter, especially if they wind up contracting SCLC in the future! But the former was greater measured in dollars? How to reconcile?
This can be quantitatively reconciled by using the correct unit of measurement - qwt. Here is how: the newly discovered cure might empower their remaining dollars to purchase considerably more qwt in the future. The real expected return on investment for BG could be calculated actuarially as follows: Expected ROI = { Expected Return }/{ Investment } = { E(Δqwt | Miracle) * [ P(Miracle | EMS) - P(Miracle | no EMS) ] }/{ A’($100B) - A’($90B) } Where: 1. A’($D) maps to utility measured in quality-weighted-time presently purchasable by D dollars 2. E(Δqwt | Miracle) = Expected change in purchasable qwt given miracle cure occurs in lifetime 3. P(Miracle | Event X) = Probability of Miracle given Event X
Note that because BG is risk averse, diminishing returns render billions $91-$100 worth very little qwt. Therefore the cost in the denominator = A’($100B) - A’($90B) constitutes a very small amount of qwt, rendering the expected ROI very large, even for relatively small changes to P(Miracle). Obviously the lawyers could tinker with the terms of the contract. Finally note that society is incidentally made better off if the cure is found.
Macro-Economic qwt
Please now consider the benefit of a qwt-centric model from a Macro-Economic standpoint in the context of the Doomsday Clock, where as always, economics can objectively measure value (or “GDP”) in units of quality-weighted-time. On this Macro scale, the quantity unit will be "Healthy Human Hours", calculated as always by multiplying quality weights of presently healthy humans, with units of time, where any human is healthy if he/she produces more future human hours. Note how naturally maternity and child-raising now fit into GDP.
This may also help resolve the argument over which crimes should be punishable with incarceration - specifically only crimes where the individual is deemed likely to contribute less negative future qwt to GDP when in jail vs when out of jail. Also there is a natural extension of this for the death penalty, although I do not wish to make such moral judgements. Footnote 10: Any argument that population overgrowth leads to mass death is correct. Policy models need only step back and estimate healthy human hours in the more distant future. Calculus can be used to model public policy decisions from present-day infinitely far into the future and compare infinite relativities for different policy options.
Also consider that actuarial modeling could be used to objectively estimate the cost of disinformation posed to every Capitalist on the planet, measurable of course, in units of time. Specifically calculated as expected changes to Humanity’s Expectation of Life on the Doomsday Clock, plus individual life expectancy given Midnight, times the probability of midnight. Also observe the need and means for due discount in modeling the "decrease" in the future qQMP (which might include radiation).
The Emergence of Economic Symbiogenesis
Try to arrive at the conclusion any good Capitalist must. Here is a hint - genetic Symbiogenesis resulted in the planetary-wide cooperation of all plant and animal life to regulate Earth’s Oxygen concentration. Note the immense success is, of course, measured in qwt. Weighting in this context needs to satisfy the same tautology as always. Therefore the final answer on this Mega-Macro scale comes in organism-count-weighted units of time. This is the current game strategy that genetic Evolution has concluded on Earth to date. It came from pitting individual selfish microbial interests against one another in the 0-rules game of survival of the fittest. The result is the current marriage between the Plant and Animal Kingdoms! (Like all great marriages there are still a few mentionable skirmishes.)
Also observe the micro-macro relational analogue between Chloroplasts and Mitochondria with Plants and Animals. Consider how this might analogize individual decision making with the marketplace as a whole.
If you are religious, consider just how correct this implies your understanding of God’s wish for the general wellbeing of every individual to be.
My conclusion is that there is a trail of breadcrumbs for our species to follow and we’ve had the right idea all along. We’ve just been doing the math wrong. Now every decision maker can better understand how to measure their own self-fortune and get to growing it faster!
Also interesting is the game theoretic argument for why every person must be allowed full forgiveness - it is the only way world leaders who are concerned for their own wellbeing could possibly embrace such a model. Astonishingly full forgiveness is 100% consistent with every major religion’s claim of what God hopes all of us can achieve. In economics, any desire for revenge can now be seen as The Sunk Cost Fallacy, measurable as always in units of qwt.
Finally, I wish to conjecture that a new Nash Equilibrium is available to our race: Perpetual peacetime under the individual Pareto Optimal Strategy of Ideal Capitalism as every individual looks to maximize their self-fortune and troll farms are voluntarily dismantled. If this sounds too good to be true, note that it very well may have been for all of human-history save the last few decades.
Key Technological Developments 1. The advent of nuclear weapons which align all of humanity's interests in a way which never used to exist. Even survivors of a nuclear war will be far worse off, now as measurable by decreases to the quality and Quantity of any future radioactive marketplace. Less qwt for purchase! 2. The advent of the internet renders information around the globe nearly free and instantaneous. If we can learn to be more self-interested, the only conclusion which rationally follows is to dismantle all troll farms for the simple purpose of maximizing Macro Time until Doomsday. The New Nash Equilibrium available to our race could be quantitatively modeled with actuarial techniques, and the optimal solution is to push Midnight infinitely far into the future by allowing every rational decision maker the means to make rational decisions with 100% true information. The internet sets up a worldwide analogy with our nervous system.
Footnote 11 - The Micro-Economic Model is now consistent with John Lennon's definition of life success: happiness. When asked what he wanted to “be” when he grew up, John responded "happy". John’s teacher thought he misunderstood the question. If John's teacher had instead followed up with the question to quantify: "How happy do you want to be?" - John could have replied: "as happy as possible for all my years.”
Footnote 12 - Warren Buffet's advice to "do what you love so you never work a day in your life" is quantified naturally by the model. I hope that more will start to take this advice. The qwt-centric-micro-model shows they will quite literally be made richer as a result. Given that richer people tend to contribute more to GDP, society will be made incidentally better off as a result. Star Trek almost had it but missed two words: “we work to better ourselves, and incidentally, the rest of mankind”.
submitted by tjn50351 to evolutionReddit [link] [comments]

DKNG - Fundamental DD Part II - DKNG

Not Financial Advice (NFA)
Warning: Wall of Text. If you hate reading just skim through the bolded/italicized
Ever since I publicized my findings on DKNG, the stock has underperformed & probably has fucked a lot of people here, especially given the overly bullish stance back in June. Unless you took my advice & got into Puts then, congrats, welcome to tendie town. For the ADHD retards, here’s what the next wall of text is going to summarize: I believe at the current price of ~$30, the stock is oversold.
A tech-focused, high-growth Company that has made sports betting easy to understand with an aesthetically pleasing interface similar to how Robinhood has neatly laid out stock market gimmicks so even high-schoolers can make sense of it I believe, is underpriced at these levels.
Let’s get into some details as to why the stock has underperformed:
First off, the news slate revolving sports with the rumored delay/cancellation of the MLB season & the NFL watching from the sidelines is in my view, just a part of why the stock has underperformed. We’ll revisit this later in this post, but I want to focus on the drivers of the stock’s recent underperformance, & why these factors are now in the rearview mirror.
Part I – The Past Has Passed – SPAC-related Equity Dilution
History lesson first: DKNG went public via a SPAC merger, which has exploded in popularity recently. Anyone serious about analyzing stocks going forward needs to do their homework on this, Google is your friend.
A feature of most SPAC merger to public listings that creates a headwind to near-term share prices are embedded equity dilution events, usually in the form of earn-outs (stock bonuses to execs, the SPAC sponsor) & conversion of Warrants.
On 5/24, the earn-outs were triggered, adding 6m shares to the share count.
On 6/26, 16.3m warrants converted to DKNG, netting them ~$188m of cash.
Stepping back a little, in addition to the above, on 6/18 DKNG launched a follow-on equity offering of 16M shares @ $40/Share [1], receiving $621M in proceeds.
The last part is tricky to understand from a dilution perspective. To simplify, historically it’s almost a coin toss whether a Company’s shares outperform on the onset of an equity offering. While issuing shares does dilute the existing shareholder base, it theoretically shouldn’t, if the proceeds from the offering are earmarked for investments/projects that yield outsized returns. This is the reality for the long term, theory for the short-term. For the short-term, the ‘reality’ isn’t that the proceeds will be used for investments/projects that yield outsized returns, it is more about how convincing management is to investors that the investments they intend to pursue with the proceeds will outweigh the dilutive effects of issuing incremental shares. That’s a mouthful, but hopefully you get what I’m trying to convey.
All of this stuff put together – the Company has increased its share count by ~39M, but now has a whopping ~$1.4Bn of cash [2]. More on this in the next section.
Part II – MLB News Should Not Fucking Matter & DKNG Is Positioned As the Leading Online/Mobile Sports Platform
DKNG should not be so tied to MLB news or any of this shit as the ongoing success of the NBA/NHL season + Soccer in Europe has effectively created a blueprint on how to regulate player behavior so that they maintain professionalism amidst the pandemic. I’m going out on a whim here, but I truly think the MLB threatening a cancellation of the season is pure posturing to get these fuckers to behave appropriately. Maybe a ‘bubble’ is what it takes to get these players to focus on their jobs instead of going out & contracting COVID, but I argue that isn’t necessarily required given Soccer in Europe. So there’s already a proven path here without the need for a bubble in Soccer, so MLB/NFL should be fine, and execs need to study how they got it done in Europe. Okay, back to some facts.
Anecdotally, I’ve kept in touch with a handful of sports bookies from California to New York & even internationally about what they’re seeing – all of them say that since the NBA season started on 7/30 & since Soccer (especially the Premier League) resumed in June, along with other leagues like La Liga & Serie A, they’ve seen massive increases in betting.
These numbers are also showing up in the official data [3]:
REMEMBER: This is for June only! No NBA, No NHL, No MLB, just Soccer, Golf, NASCAR & UFC.
The data clearly shows that there was a ton of pent-up sports betting demand, which leads one Wall St. analyst to think that betting on the NBA/NHL could ABSORB the MLB’s sports betting handle (handle = total $ size of sports bet) [5]. Remember, the MLB season is still ongoing, with games being played. The entire focus is on the Miami Marlins & St. Louis Cardinals. Fucking retards.
Additionally, I want to remind everyone that DraftKings.com is the #1 Fantasy sports website in the U.S. [6]. Also, since April 2020 site visitations are up +86% [7] & Google Search Trends for “Draft Kings” is up ~3x compared to PRE-COVID levels [8]. What does this mean? They are piquing more people’s curiosity than prior to COVID/ongoing slate of sports.
This is important because remember that ~$1.4Bn chest full of cash I mentioned DKNG had assembled earlier? Well, that money is being put to work & results are already coming in, which is exactly what DKNG intended to do with it.
Part III – Legalization of Sports Betting in the U.S.
I could write a fucking bible on this topic alone, but for now we’ll stick to some basics. Due to COVID, it’s easy to understand that each State’s financial situation is clearly in shit. Because of this, you better believe that these guys are going to start taking a hard look at how they can extract additional tax revenues, & what’s one of the easiest ways to do this? Legalization & taxation of gambling.
The big players: CA, TX, FL & NY. First, CA pushing its legislation out to 2023 was fucked up, but here’s a twist I want to add to this: Anything that has to do with gambling in CA you better believe is lobbied against by not just the Tribal casino owners in CA, but by the deep pockets of Las Vegas money. Similar thing can be said for FL, but let’s take a look at some actions by LV/nationwide gambling companies that are starting to align financial incentives with guys like DKNG.
So it’s safe to say going forward, nationwide legalization of sports betting will reap rewards for everyone involved, & no longer be something LV money is completely focused on safeguarding.
Let’s also not forget that DKNG didn’t become the Company they are today because of their fancy app, but because their management team has a HISTORY of navigating the U.S.’s legal framework to get what they want out of it.
These guys are at the cutting edge of creating legal frameworks to successfully launch their products & now with more of their ‘competitors’ financially aligned with them, combined with financial deterioration of State budgets, we should see an overweighting of good news vs. bad on the legal front.
Final Part – Share Price Targets
Under-fucking priced at anything below $42.50
Near-term catalysts:
8/14: DKNG files 2Q’20 results, might be shitty, but you can bet that the Earnings Call is going to contain rhetoric on how massive the uptick in sports betting has been since late June/July.
Sometime from now until November: NY releases ‘study’ by Spectrum Gaming on online/mobile sports betting.
8/20 – 9/7: PGA Championship for FedEx Cup Title
9/5 – KY Derby
9/10: NFL KickOff Game
9/17: PGA U.S. Open Start Date
Month of October: NBA/NHL Playoffs
10/1: Estimated launch of online sports betting in TN
11/1: Estimated launch of online sports betting in VA
[1] https://draftkings.gcs-web.com/news-releases/news-release-details/draftkings-announces-proposed-public-offering-class-common-stock
[2] Wall St. Research – DKNG on 6/29/20
[3] https://www.legalsportsreport.com/sports-betting/revenue/
[4] https://gaming.nv.gov/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=16984; Note: Nevada did not break out April/May figures but from the Revenue difference of 3 month ended June 30 of 4,950 vs. month of June of 2,297 for a total difference of 2,653 spread evenly over April/May for a base case April estimate of 1,327.
[5] Wall St. Research - 7/27/20
[6] https://www.similarweb.com/top-websites/category/sports/fantasy-sports/
[7] https://www.similarweb.com/website/draftkings.com/#overview
[8] https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=US&q=draft%20kings Feb 23-29, 2020 vs. Current Aug 2 – Aug 8, 2020
[9] https://www.legalsportsreport.com/42314/draftkings-illinois-sports-betting-market-access/
submitted by IAMB4TMAN to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Lost in the Sauce: DHS hides intelligence that reveals Trump using Russia's playbook, again

Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis.
Housekeeping:

Trump’s playbook is Russia’s playbook

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in July withheld an intelligence bulletin warning of a Russian plot to spread misinformation regarding Joe Biden's mental health. The bulletin, titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of U.S. Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,” was blocked by the office of acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf on July 9.
  • The bulletin states that analysts had “high confidence” in their conclusion. However, a DHS spokesperson tried to defend the “delay” in issuing the document by saying it did not meet the agency’s standards. This is curious because just a week later, on July 16, DHS circulated a bulletin on anarchists in Portland that officers admitted they had “low confidence” in. Why was the Russia memo held back but the Portland one released?
  • Trump has been pushing the same line of attack against Biden for months - yet another instance of Russia and Trump operating from the same playbook. For instance, in March Trump said there was “something going on” with Biden; in June Trump ran selectively edited ads asserting that Biden is “unfit to serve as Commander in Chief”; last month Trump ran a digital ad portraying Biden as perpetually confused and mentally unstable. Most recently, Trump said questions about his own health are only in the news because “they want to try and get me to be on Biden's physical level."
DHS is just the latest agency in the Trump administration to erode election security, following actions by the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) last month. DNI John Ratcliffe announced he was ending in-person congressional briefings on election security ahead of November and AG Bill Barr removed a leading career official at the Justice Department’s national security division, replacing him with an inexperienced political appointee.
The ODNI’s decision to halt congressional election briefs may have been influenced by top White House officials. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, among others, have repeatedly discussed in meetings with staff and with Trump “how to restrict and control the flow of information on such sensitive topics to Capitol Hill.”
One White House official told The Daily Beast that Meadows has for months been wary of the type of briefings on Capitol Hill that Democratic sources can potentially use to try to make Trump look bad through surreptitious leaks to media outlets.
Meanwhile, interim Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio (R-FL) said last week that his committee will be granted an exception to the ODNI’s new policy and continue to receive in-person briefings from top U.S. intelligence officials about election-security issues. This essentially means that only Democrat-led committees have been cut out of the process ensuring election security.
House Democrats wrote to Ratcliffe insinuating if his office does not provide the previously scheduled briefings this month they will issue subpoenas and/or defund the ODNI in the appropriations bill due by the end of the month. Read the letter here.
In addition to attacks on Biden’s health, DHS has determined that Russia is seeking to “amplify” concerns over the integrity of U.S. elections by promoting allegations that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud. Intelligence analysts say this strategy has been underway since at least March, coinciding with Trump’s own assaults on mail-in voting.
  • For instance, in March Trump said if he agreed to funding vote-by-mail expansions in the first coronavirus stimulus bill, the U.S. would see “levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” (clip). Fact check: Neither party has historically benefited. On April 7, at the White House press briefing, Trump claimed: "Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they're cheaters… They're fraudulent in many cases" (clip). Fact check: There is no evidence that mail ballots are dangerous or fraudulent.
At a White House press briefing on Friday, Trump denied there is any proof that Russia poisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Instead of backing the German government's analysis of Nalvany's illness, Trump then redirected the criticism from Russia to China (clip).
"I don't know exactly what happened. I think it's tragic. It's terrible; it shouldn't happen. We haven't had any proof yet, but I will take a look. It is interesting that everybody is always mentioning Russia - and I don't mind you mentioning Russia - but I think probably China, at this point, is a nation that you should be talking about much more so than Russia. Because the things that China's doing are far worse.”
Trump then went on to say he’s “taken stronger action against Russia than any other country in the world,” but added “I do get along with President Putin” (clip).
  • RELATED: Leaked notes obtained by the Telegraph say that when Theresa May asked for Trump to take a strong stand after Russia poisoned Sergei Skripal, Trump replied “I’d rather follow than lead.” He pushed May to “put together a coalition” first.
The Trump administration plans to deport a Russian national living in America, a move experts say is in response to a politically motivated request by Russia. Gregory Duralev was persecuted by the Russian state for exposing corruption. He fled to America and applied for asylum in 2015. While waiting for a decision on his application, he was arrested by ICE and jailed for nearly 18 months. His case is now in court.
“DHS has acted no better than the Russian authorities,” Duralev said. “They simply fabricated charges against me for violations I never committed — and if DHS can trump up charges against immigrants with impunity, nobody can guarantee they won’t start doing it” to regular Americans. “So that’s the main message I now hope to send.”

Michael Cohen & Peter Strzok

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok has a book coming out called “Compromised.” In it, he alleges that FBI investigators came to believe it was “conceivable, if unlikely” that Russia was secretly controlling President Trump after he took office:
“We certainly had evidence that this was the case: that Trump, while gleefully wreaking havoc on America’s political institutions and norms, was pulling his punches when it came to our historic adversary, Russia,” Strzok writes. “Given what we knew or had cause to suspect about Trump’s compromising behavior in the weeks, months, and years leading up to the election, moreover, it also seemed conceivable, if unlikely, that Moscow had indeed pulled off the most stunning intelligence achievement in human history: secretly controlling the president of the United States — a Manchurian candidate elected.”
He now says he doesn’t believe that Trump is literally a Russian spy: “I don’t think that Trump, when he meets with Putin, receives a task list for the next quarter,” Strzok said, referencing the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. “But I do think the president is compromised, that he is unable to put the interests of our nation first, that he acts from hidden motives, because there is leverage over him, held specifically by the Russians but potentially others as well.”
In an interview with Politico, Strzok confirms that he and then-deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, opened a counterintelligence case on the president, but that it likely was never pursued. Two weeks ago, NYT reported that Rosenstein secretly closed it.
As if there weren’t enough political books coming out this summefall, Michael Cohen is releasing his, called “Disloyal: A Memoir.” The following a couple of quick takeaways:
Cohen says that he, Trump, Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov, and others, watched a strip show in Las Vegas where one performer simulated peeing on another performer, who pretended to drink it. Trump reportedly reacted with “delight.” Aras Agalarov, a Russian real estate mogul, is a trusted associate of Putin and reportedly served as a liaison between Trump and the Russian president during Trump’s trip to Moscow.
WaPo:
On Russia, Cohen writes that the cause behind Trump’s admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is simpler than many of his critics assume. Above all, he writes, Trump loves money — and he wrongly identified Putin as “the richest man in the world by a multiple.” Trump loved Putin, Cohen wrote, because the Russian leader had the ability “to take over an entire nation and run it like it was his personal company — like the Trump Organization, in fact.”
...According to Cohen, Trump’s sycophantic praise of the Russian leader during the 2016 campaign began as a way to suck up and ensure access to the oligarch’s money after he lost the election. But he claims Trump came to understand that Putin’s hatred of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, dating to her support for the 2011 protest movement in Russia, could also help Trump amass more power in the United States.

USPS & mail voting

According to a Washington Post report yesterday, Postmaster Louis DeJoy engaged in campaign money laundering, also called a straw-donor scheme, at his former logistics business. Five of his former employees told WaPo that they were “urged” to donate to politicians in North Carolina and would be paid back through bonuses from DeJoy. Such a plan would allow DeJoy to illegally circumvent campaign donation limits.
“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” said David Young, DeJoy’s longtime director of human resources, who had access to payroll records at New Breed from the late 1990s to 2013 and is now retired.
“He would ask employees to make contributions at the same time that he would say, ‘I’ll get it back to you down the road,’ ” said [another] former employee.
...A Washington Post analysis of federal and state campaign finance records found a pattern of extensive donations by New Breed employees to Republican candidates, with the same amount often given by multiple people on the same day. Between 2000 and 2014, 124 individuals who worked for the company together gave more than $1 million to federal and state GOP candidates. Many had not previously made political donations, and have not made any since leaving the company, public records show.
More than one million mail-in ballots were sent late to voters during the 2020 primary elections, an audit by the USPS IG’s office determined. Most of the ballots were late, the USPS says, because local election boards sent the ballots to voters at the last minute. Official press release.
[The audit] found the problems during primaries had been most pronounced in Kentucky and New York, where a combined 628,000 ballots were sent out late. In 17 states, the audit found, more than 589,000 ballots were sent from election boards to voters after the state’s ballot mailing deadline. In 11 states, more than 44,000 ballots were sent from election boards to voters the day of or the day before the state’s primary election.
One particularly troubling situation, auditors found, unfolded in Pennsylvania, where 500 ballots were sent to voters the day after the election.
Furthermore, only 13% of the ballots were mailed with the recommended bar code tracking technology.
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) was blocked from attending two scheduled tours of USPS facilities last week. Local Postal Service officials informed her and union leaders waiting to accompany her into the building that national USPS leadership had directed them to bar the group from the building. A Postal Service spokeswoman said they simply needed more notice for a tour.
Many states, including important battleground states, are not legally permitted to process mail-in/absentee ballots until Election Day, leading to concern that results will be delayed by days or weeks. For instance, in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan election officials cannot even begin processing ballots until Election Day. Processing involves opening envelopes, flattening ballots to run through the scanning machine, and prepping for the scanning.
"When voters have to wait so long for results, it erodes trust in the process and leaves room for partisan bad actors to dispute the will of the people," said Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, a nonprofit organization.
AG Bill Barr made three stunning false claims about mail voting during an interview with Wolf Blitzer last week. First, Barr wouldn’t even acknowledge that voting twice is a crime - because just hours earlier, Trump encouraged his North Carolina supporters to vote twice to “test” the state’s mail-in voting system (clip).
BLITZER: It sounds like he’s encouraging people to break the law and try to vote twice.
BARR: It seems to me what he’s saying is, he’s trying to make the point that the ability to monitor this system is not good. And it was so good, if you tried to vote a second time you would be caught if you voted in person.
BLITZER: That would be illegal if they did that. If somebody mailed in a ballot and then actually showed up to vote in person, that would be illegal.
BARR: "I don't know what the law in the particular state says.”
BLITZER: You can’t vote twice.
BARR: "I don't know what the law in the particular state says.”
Then, Barr tried to assert that foreign countries could fake ballots, but when challenged he admitted he had no evidence (clip).
BLITZER: You’ve said you were worried that a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people that it might be impossible to detect. What are you basing that on?
BARR: I’m basing — as I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic.
BLITZER: Pardon?
BARR: Logic.
Finally, Barr cited a supposed incident of mail-in voting fraud in Texas. Too bad it doesn’t exist.

The payroll

Charles Rettig, the Trump-appointed IRS Commissioner who has refused to release President Trump’s tax returns, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars renting out Trump properties while in office. Rettig makes $100,000 - $200,000 a year from two units at Trump International Waikiki. When first nominated, Rettig failed to disclose his financial ties to Trump Waikiki. When questioned by Congress, he did not directly answer concerns about the properties.
CREW: With Trump’s name removed from some buildings as it began to hurt property values, we can only imagine how toxic it would become if a bombshell in his tax returns were released. Which means the IRS Commissioner has a vested interest in the success of the Trump brand—and of preventing anything that could damage it.
Voice of America staffers say Trump appointee Michael Pack is threatening to wash away legal protections intended to insulate their news reports from political meddling. Since arriving, Pack has fired the network's leaders, pushed out agency executives, refused to approve allotted budgets, and refused to renew visas for foreign employees.
  • Further reading: “Deleted Biden video sets off a crisis at Voice of America,” Politico.
Pack suggested the staff he fired and foreign journalists he essentially kicked out may have been foreign spies, without offering any evidence to support his claim. A group of 14 senior VOA journalists are openly disputing his explanation:
“Mr. Pack has made a thin excuse that his actions are meant to protect national security, but just as was the case with the McCarthy ‘Red Scare,’ which targeted VOA and other government organizations in the mid-1950s, there has not been a single demonstrable case of any individual working for VOA — as the USAGM CEO puts it — ‘posing as a spy,’ ” they wrote.
The White House is searching for a replacement for Federal Trade Commission Chair Joe Simons, a Republican who has publicly resisted President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on social media companies. Simons, a veteran antitrust lawyer, cannot legally be removed by the president except in cases of gross negligence. But the White House has already interviewed at least one candidate for the post.
  • RELATED: The Justice Department plans to bring an antitrust case against Google as soon as this month, after Attorney General William P. Barr overruled career lawyers who said they needed more time to build a strong case.
Richard Grenell, formerly the highest-ranking out gay official in the Trump administration, has joined a law firm founded by Pat Robertson that has a history of opposing LGBTQ+ rights. Grenell also recently joined the Republican National Committee to do outreach to LGBTQ+ voters.
The Trump administration has quietly named a new acting State Department inspector general. Matthew Klimow, the U.S. ambassador to Turkmenistan since mid-2019, is the third acting IG since Trump and Pompeo ousted Senate-confirmed IG Steve Linick in May.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s current special envoy to Northern Ireland, former Chief of Staff, and former acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is starting a hedge fund focused on financial services regulation. Ethics experts say Mulvaney explicitly using his knowledge of CFPB to place bets for and against companies gives him an unfair and perhaps illegal advantage.

Court and DOJ matters

Court cases
The Trump administration must, for now, stop winding down in-person counting efforts for the 2020 census, a federal judge in California ordered.
The three-judge panel hearing a challenge to Trump’s new anti-immigrant census policy seemed hostile to the government’s arguments in a hearing last week.
A federal judge has stopped the Trump administration from enforcing a rule change that would let health care providers deny medical services to LGBTQ patients on the grounds of religion.
Justice Department
Federal prosecutors are preparing to charge longtime GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy in connection with efforts to influence the U.S. government on behalf of foreign interests. Broidy helped raise millions for Donald Trump’s election and the Republican Party.
Barr ordered another round of changes to FISA rules, tightening the use of government surveillance on political candidates or their staffers — a move conservatives will likely cheer, as they have long criticized how the FBI investigated the Trump campaign in 2016.
Before conducting physical searches or wiretaps of a federal election official, members of the official's staff, candidates for federal office, or their staff or advisers, the FBI must now consider giving them a "defensive briefing," to tell them that they could be the target of foreign influence.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

Basic Quant Trading Strategies

I am a former Wall Street quantitative trader and researcher in NYC. I have often seen people aspiring to be quants build projects themselves, but fall into the trap of blindly fitting statistical models to the data. I have written an article to give people a better insight into strategies deployed on the Street.

Arbitrage

One way traders make money is through an arbitrage or a risk free trade. Suppose you could buy an apple from Sam for $1, and then sell an apple to Megan at $3. A rational person would orchestrate both legs of these trades to gain $2 risk free.
Arbitrages are not only found in financial markets. The popular e-commerce strategy of drop-shipping is a form of arbitrage. Suppose you find a tripod selling on AliExpress at $10. You could list the same tripod on Amazon for $20. If someone buys from you, then you could simply purchase the tripod off AliExpress and take home a neat $10 profit.
The same could be applied to garage sales. If you find a baseball card for $2 that has a last sold price on EBay for $100, you have the potential to make $98. Of course this is not a perfect arbitrage as you face the risk of finding a buyer, but the upside makes this worthwhile.

Positive expected value bets

Another way traders make money is similar to the way a casino stacks the odds in their favour. Imagine you flip a fair coin. If it lands on heads you win $3, and if it lands on tails you lose $1. If you flip the coin only once, you may be unlucky and lose the dollar. However in the long run, you are expected to make a positive profit of $1 per coin flip. This is referred to as a positive expected value bet. Over the span of millions of transactions, you are almost guaranteed to make a profit.
This exact principle is why you should never gamble in casino games such as roulette. These games are all negative expected value bets, which guarantees you to lose money over the long run. Of course there are exceptions to this, such as poker or card counting in black jack.
The next time you walk into a casino, make a mental note to observe the ways it is designed to keep you there for as long as possible. Note the lack of windows and the maze like configurations. Even the free drinks and the cheap accommodation are all a farce to keep you there.

Relative Pricing

Relative pricing is a great strategy to use when there are two products that have clear causal relationships. Let us consider an apple and a carton of apple juice. Suppose there have a causal relationship where the carton is always $9 more expensive than the apple. The apple and the carton is currently trading at $1 and $10 respectively.
If the price of the apple goes up to $2, the price is not immediately reflected on the carton. There will always be a time lag. It is also important to note that there is no way we can determine if the apple is trading at fair value or if its overpriced. So how do we take advantage of this situation?
If we buy the carton for $10 and sell the apple for $2, we have essentially bought the ‘spread’ for $8. The spread is fairly valued at $9 due to the causal relationship, meaning we have made $1. The reason high frequency trading firms focus so much on latency in the nanoseconds is to be the first to scoop up these relative mispricing.
This is the backbone for delta one strategies. Common pairs that are traded against each other includes ETFs and their inverse counterpart, a particular stock against an ETF that contains the stock, or synthetic option structures.

Correlations

Correlations are mutual connections between two things. When they trend in the same direction they are said to have a positive correlation, and the vice versa is true for negative correlations. A popular example of positive correlation is the number of shark attacks with the number of ice-cream sales. It is important to note that shark attacks do not cause ice-cream sales.
Often times there are no intuitive reason for certain correlations, but they still work. The legendary Renaissance Technologies sifted through petabytes of historical data to find profitable signals. For instance, good morning weather in a city tended to predict an upward movement in its stock exchange. One could theoretically buy stock on the opening and sell at noon to make a profit.
One important piece of advice is to disregard any retail trader selling a course to you, claiming that they have a system. These are all scams. At best, these are bottom of the mill signals that are hardly profitable after transaction costs. It is also unlikely that you have the system latency, trading experience or research capabilities to do this on your own. It is possible, but very difficult.

Mean reversions

Another common strategy traders rely on is mean reversion trends. In the options world the primary focus is purchasing volatility when it is cheap compared to historical values, and vice versa. Buying options is essentially synonymous with buying volatility. Of course, it is not as simple as this so don’t go punting your savings on Robinhood using this strategy.
For most people, the most applicable mean reversion trend is interest rates. These tend to fluctuate up and down depending on if the central banks want to stimulate saving or spending. As global interest rates are next to zero or negative, it may be a good idea to lock in this low rate for your mortgages. Again, consult with a financial advisor before you do anything.
submitted by chriswugan to quant [link] [comments]

MEGATHREAD!! Trump Signs Coronavirus Relief Orders! WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

President Donald Trump signed executive orders on Saturday providing additional financial support to Americans hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, after negotiators failed to reach a deal with Congress.
Important things to take away from this:
The news media needs to stop calling it a payroll tax "holiday". It isn't a holiday. It is a deferment. Yes. The President has the ability to instruct the IRS to defer tax payments for up to a year but that doesn't mean the bill disappears. It is deferred. The President does not have the ability to unilaterally forgive taxes. Only Congress does.
No business in their right mind would ever take that gamble and actually defer those taxes. If they aren't forgiven they will not only be on the hook for their 7.65% they owe but also the 7.65% they failed to withhold from their employees. So the business would owe the IRS 15.3% of their entire operating payroll for six months. Any company would be out of their mind to do that and risk further financial ruin on the promise that it may be forgiven at a later date.
Not to mention that a payroll tax cut is a backdoor method of cutting social security and medicare.
Text:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/memorandum-authorizing-needs-assistance-program-major-disaster-declarations-related-coronavirus-disease-2019/
https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/memorandum-deferring-payroll-tax-obligations-light-ongoing-covid-19-disaste
https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-fighting-spread-covid-19-providing-assistance-renters-homeowners/
https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/memorandum-continued-student-loan-payment-relief-covid-19-pandemic/
Article:
From Washington Post Twitter: "White House confirms ppl getting less than $100/week in state UI will NOT qualify for unilateral $300 federal benefit WH says it’s 2 prevent “fraud and abuse” "
Source: https://twitter.com/JStein_WaPo/status/1292572126034235392
Cnet:
Executive order for Covid releif, explained. What all 4 directives mean for you.
https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/executive-orders-for-covid-relief-explained-what-all-4-new-directives-mean-for-you/
ABCnews:
NY Governer call Trump executive order 'laughable'
https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/ny-governor-calls-trump-benefits-executive-order-laughable-72271491
FOXnews:
David Asman calls Trump Covid relief orders politically smart, says Dems must 'argue against' safety net.
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/david-asman-trump-relief-orders-politically-smart
NPR
California Gov says Trump Unemployment executive action spells disaster for budget.
https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/08/10/901167803/california-gov-says-trump-unemployment-executive-order-spells-disaster-for-budge
CNN
Jobless may only see $300 Federal boost under new Labor Department guidance.
https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/10/politics/unemployment-benefits-executive-action-states/index.html
REDDIT:
At first glance, Trump's executive orders regarding unemployment and extending benefits to those affected by COVID seems really great, but all it takes is scratching away the superficial paintjob to see what a piece of crap this actually is.
First and foremost: The Executive has NO LEGAL OR CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO Fu(% WITH THE TREASURY OR THE US BUDGET. None. Absolutely zero. So rid yourself of the notion that the President is rising above Congress with this action. This is simply a way to work around the Congressional debate and put Democrats in a bind.
  1. The money that is going to cover these extended benefits is coming straight out of the DHS's Disaster Relief Fund, effectively bleeding FEMA dry. Right as hurricane season is about to start. That's how he's able to circumvent the House of Reps on funding--he's taking it directly from another federal agency.
  2. The payroll tax suspension primarily benefits businesses over workers. Sure, you're going to see a ~7% increase in your wages, but that money isn't free. The Executive branch cannot issue tax cuts, or forgive taxes. That power resides with Congress. So the money that you'll be getting will be owed back in next year's taxes, unless Congress forgives the loan. That's what this is. A loan. To businesses. And the debt is being passed on to you, the workers.
  3. The payroll tax cut directly affects welfare programs. Specifically, Social Security and Medicare. These two programs, which Trump has already explicitly stated he would be targeting to eliminate in a second term, are funded primarily through the federal payroll tax. In giving you back a little bit of money, the fund that supports millions of retirees and low-income Americans who can't afford private healthcare (people like my father, in the final stages of his life) is also being bled dry.
  4. The "extended moratorium" on evictions is a farce. Rather, they are making surplus funds from the CARES act available to renters and homeowners as a support to help make payments on time. But there's no telling just how much funding is left in that pool, how long it'll take to apply for assistance, how long it will take to receive assistance, and if landlords/management companies will even forgive the missed payments. Furthermore, given the way in which billionaires and large corporations looted and pillaged the fund that was supposed to be dedicated to small businesses impacted by COVID, I would bet money that giant management companies are about to loot this fund to offset losses in rent payments on their properties over the past 3 months.
  5. The direction to extend the relief for student loans is quite possibly the only legitimately impactful action of these EOs, but with Betsy Devos as the Secretary of Education there's no telling the ways in which she'll exact her pound of flesh in repayment down the line.

UPDATES:
McConnell: Time to restart coronavirus talks
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mcconnell-time-to-restart-coronavirus-talks/ar-BB17QfS7?li=BBnb7Kz

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ANNOUNCES GUIDANCE FOR THE LOST WAGES ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO PROVIDE NEEDED RELIEF TO AMERICANS

https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200812-0


Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Tracker************\*

Track every state's implementation of the LWA executive order providing up to $400 per week additional benefits

https://www.unemploymentpua.com/articles/lwatracker.html

submitted by Habitualkushups- to Unemployment [link] [comments]

/r/thetagang needs a FAQ/wiki so I wrote one

EDIT: Wiki now exists

Overview

What is this place? What is theta gang?

/thetagang is a sub for traders who are interested in selling options.

An option? What's that?

Options are derivative financial instruments, which means they derive their value from an underlying, such a stock or commodity. Options are a contract in which the buyer has the right but not the obligation to buy or sell the underlying at an agreed upon price on or by a certain date.
All options have an expiration date after which they stop trading. Because they eventually expire they are also wasting assets, which means they lose extrinsic value as time passes. This is where theta gang comes in.

Uh huh... I don't really understand anything you just said, but I'm curious, why would anyone want to trade options?

There are two main reason why someone would want to trade options: hedging and speculation.
Consider an investor who buys a stock but is worried about a price decline. They can purchase options (put contracts) to protect themselves if the stock's price were to fall. And if they think a stock is overvalued and want to short it, they can purchase options (call contracts) to protect them should the price rise. In both cases the investor is hedging their trade because they are trying to profit from the stock and not the options.
The other reason is speculation. Options allow someone to make a directional bet on a stock without buying or selling the actual stock (the underlying).

Why would someone bother with trading options when they can just trade the underlying?

Leverage. Equity option contracts are standardized and each contract (also called a "lot") is for 100 shares of the underlying. It's a way to have exposure to the underlying without needing the capital to buy or sell 100 shares for each contract. In other words a smaller amount of money controls a higher valued asset.
Options allow a buyer to make amazing profits. If a trade goes incredibly well, they could see profits anywhere from 100% to 10,000% (a few are even lucky enough to get 100,000%). And despite being leveraged the most amount of money they can lose is what they paid to buy the options. This is known as the premium and is paid to the seller.
The option buyer's losses are limited to the premium and their profits are potentially unlimited, whereas for the seller the losses are potentially unlimited and the profits are limited to the premium.

WHAT?!? Why on Earth would anyone sell options with a payout like that? Especially when you could become rich so easily?

If only it were that simple.
The reality is most options expire worthless. If you buy options not only do you have to get the directional bet right, but you have to get the timing right as well.
If you buy a stock and it goes nowhere for a while and then suddenly takes off in price, you make money from this trade. Not necessarily for options. They eventually expire and if the stock soars after the option expires, tough luck. You get nothing and lose all your money.
All of the incredible gains you see with options happen because the underlying made a huge move in a relatively short period. In other words, you have to take an immense amount of risk to make a boatload of money. It's far more likely that the options expire worthless and you lose everything.
And if getting the direction and timing right wasn't hard enough, it gets even worse. Options are priced to lose. Recall that options are a wasting asset. An option slowly loses extrinsic value as time passes. This is referred to as theta decay. If the underlying doesn't move in price fast enough (in the right direction, of course) to offset the loss in theta, you lose money.
This leads to an interesting outcome: an options buyer can be right and still lose money, and an options seller can be wrong and still make money.

WHAT?!?! How can someone be wrong in a trade and still make money?

The value an option has can be split into two parts: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Remember how options have an agreed upon price to trade the underlying at? That's called the strike price. As an example, if a call option has a strike of $10, and the stock is trading at $10.50, the option has $0.50 of intrinsic value.
The extrinsic value is also known as the time value of an option. It's the risk premium the seller receives for taking on the risk of selling options. Using the same example as earlier, if the option is trading for $1.10, the extrinsic value is $0.60.
The intrinsic and extrinsic value combined are the option's premium, and the seller receives this premium in full. So if at the date of the option's expiration the stock is trading at $10.70, the option is worth $0.70. The seller's $0.40 profit is the buyer's loss. And if the underlying is at $10 or less on expiration? It expires worthless and the buyer loses 100%.

This sounds too good to be true. If most options expire worthless why doesn't everyone sell options and get rich?

If only it were that simple.
It's true options are priced to lose and that most expire worthless. What is a wasting asset for the buyer is a wasting liability for the seller. However, it's still a liability and sometimes that liability can end up being a real loser.
It's not just a matter of a win/loss ratio. The magnitude of the wins vs. losses must be considered. The most an option seller can make is the premium, but they can lose far more than that if the underlying moves against them. It's possible for a seller's loss to be multiples of the premium they received for selling an option. If an option seller is really unfortunate, they can experience a loss on a single trade that wipes out months of profits.
There's no easy money to be made trading options.

The Greeks

Let's pretend that I know what options are. How do the Greeks apply to option sellers?

Delta

Delta has multiple meanings:
  1. How much the option's price changes relative to a change in the underlying's price.
  2. The option's equivalent of a position in the underlying (a directional bet).
  3. The probability the option expires in-the-money.
Definition #2 is important to understand when making delta neutral bets (discussed later). These profit from a decrease in volatility along with collecting theta. It's possible to construct a trade where a movement in the underlying does not change the position's value (or by much).
Definition #3 is an approximation. Many option sellers like to sell out-of-the-money options with a delta of 0.30, which means they have an approximately 30% chance of expiring ITM.

Gamma

Delta is not a constant. An option's delta changes as the underlying's price changes. Gamma measures how much delta changes relative to a change in the underlying's price. Option buyers have positive gamma, whereas sellers have negative gamma.
Long (positive) gamma works in favor of the buyer. As the underlying moves further ITM, gamma increases delta and profits accelerate. As the underlying moves further out-of-the-money, gamma decreases delta and losses decelerate.
Short (negative) gamma works against the seller. As the underlying moves further ITM, gamma increases delta and losses accelerate. As the underlying moves further OTM, gamma decreases delta and profits decelerate.
Gamma is bad news for sellers. Theta gang has always been at war with gamma gang. Gamma is also the reason that delta hedging is so difficult when it comes to being delta neutral.

Theta

Beloved theta. The namesake of /thetagang. It's why we're here all here and why you're reading this.
Theta represents the time value of an option. It's the extrinsic value of an option, and as each day ticks away the time value decreases a little. That amount is determined by theta. Theta decay is nonlinear and accelerates as expiration approaches.
The goal of an option seller is to profit from collecting theta. One could sell an option that's ITM and profit from the underlying moving OTM, but that's not a theta bet, that's a directional bet. ITM options also have less time value than at-the-money options. ATM options have the most time value and so the most theta to collect, but are at a greater risk of expiring ITM compared to OTM options.
The more days to expiration an option has the slower the theta decay. 30-45 DTE is a very popular period to sell. Others prefer weeklies.

Vega

Vega measures how much an option's price changes relative to a change in implied volatility.
The IV of an option is the market's estimate of how volatile the underlying will be in the future. The higher the IV the greater the time value of an option, which means options with higher IVs are more expensive.
Option buyers want to buy when volatility is low because options are cheaper. Sellers want to sell when volatility is high because options are more expensive.
The best time to sell options is during the gut-wrenching periods when no one wants to sell because volatility is so high (such as the March 2020 crash). Options become extremely expensive and there are juicy premiums to collect. Look for large spikes in IV.

Vomma

Vomma (or volga) is a much lesser known Greek. It measures how much an option's vega changes as the implied volatility changes.
Out-of-the-money options have the most vomma. This detail will be discussed later in a horror story of option selling gone wrong.

Rho

Rho measures how much an option's price changes as interest rate changes.
No one cares about rho anymore thanks to interest rates being stuck at rock bottom for over a decade.

Volatility

What are some basic details about volatility that are important to know?

Both option buyers and sellers care about volatility (at least they should). Buyers want to purchase when IV is low and sellers want to sell when IV is high.
An option's IV in isolation does not actually tell you if IV is high or low. It must be compared to the historical IV for that option. Two popular methods are IV rank and IV percentile.
For example, if options on XYZ have an IV of 35% and options on ABC have an IV of 45%, on the surface ABC has higher IV. But if XYZ has an IV rank of 75% and ABC only 40%, XYZ's IV is actually higher relative to its historical IV and may be better suited for selling.
There are different ways of measuring volatility and it's important to not mix them up:

What is volatility skew?

To understand what volatility skew is we have to go back to the 1970s.
You may have heard of a theoretical options pricing model called the Black-Scholes or Black-Scholes-Merton model. This model was published in 1973 and became very popular. It was widely adopted in the options market.
The original Black-Scholes model predicts that the IV curve is flat among the various strike prices with the same expiration. It didn't matter if the strike price was OTM, ATM, or ITM, they all had the same IV.
IV stayed this way until the stock market crash of 1987, where the DJIA dropped 22.6% in a single day. This single event changed the options market forever. The IV curve was no longer flat but instead demonstrated a volatility smile (conceptual graph). Strike prices further from ATM started trading at higher IVs.
The crash was a gut punch to investors that taught them extreme moves in markets were more common than you would expect, and options started being priced accordingly. But the volatility smile is not symmetrical, it's actually skewed.
OTM puts have a higher IV than OTM calls. This is due to markets falling much faster than they rise (they take the escalator up and the elevator down). This causes more demand for OTM puts to protect long portfolio positions. Most investors are long the market, and some will sell covered calls which increases the supply for OTM calls.
Note that this is true for equity markets. Commodity markets behave differently. Normally there is a floor in commodity prices (although for commodities with storage or delivery constraints, as we learned in April 2020 they can dip below zero) and IV is higher for OTM calls compared to puts, because commodities can suddenly spike in price due to supply side shocks.
In equity markets IV is inversely correlated with price, that is, IV rises when prices fall (reverse or negative skew). This isn't necessarily true for commodities where rising prices can mean an increase in IV (forward or positive skew).

The story of James "Rogue Wave" Cordier of OptionSellers.com: A tragic lesson in how not to sell options

James Cordier is a former money manager who has the dubious honor of not only losing all the money of his clients by selling options, but even leaving them with a debt because the losses were so staggering.
James was a proponent of selling options and had even written a book about it. He had a now defunct website, OptionSellers.com, which targeted individuals with a high net worth. His strategy was simple: he was selling naked options on crude oil and natural gas. For years he made he made his clients plenty of money. Things were great. Until they weren't... and the results were catastrophic. His clients lost everything and even owed money to their broker, INTL FCStone. Where did James go so wrong?
James was selling naked strangles on natural gas and crude oil. In November 2018, both markets moved against him, but the real losses came from his naked natgas calls. He sent an email with the subject line "Catastrophic Loss Event" to his clients on November 15th, dropping the bombshell that not only was all their money gone, but they may be facing a negative balance.
If you look at a chart of natgas you can see why his accounts blew up. Natgas experienced a huge spike in November and his broker liquidated their positions at an absolutely massive loss.
What mistakes did he make and what can we learn from them?
1. Picking up pennies in front of a steamroller
Part of his strategy involved selling deep OTM naked calls on natgas (call leg of short strangles). Deep OTM options typically don't sell for very much, so in order to collect more money you sell a bunch of them to make it worth the trade.
This is a terrible idea and no one should ever sell a bunch of deep OTM naked options. It can work great for years, until one day it blows up your account. In order to collect a decent premium you have to overleverage yourself. This is extremely risky and you will eventually experience a major loss one day. The odds are not in your favor.
The underlying does not even need to cross the strike price for you to lose money. The underlying's price simply needs to move significantly closer to the strike price and you'll be deep in the red. This is made even worse if volatility spikes, which increases the option's price and your losses (discussed in detail in the next point).
Notice what happened the following months: natgas prices crashed back to what they were before the spike. Had James not overleveraged his positions, he could've ridden the losses out to a profit. In fact, all those options probably would've expired worthless.
There is another reason not to sell deep OTM naked options. Imagine you're a speculator with a small account (e.g., /wallstreetbets). They want to trade but they can't afford to buy ATM or slightly OTM options, so what do they do? Buy deep OTM options, bidding the price up. When a market moves big and the small-time speculators want to trade it, all they can afford are the cheap options, which are deep OTM. This is bad news when you're short them.
2. Not understanding the relationship between price and volatility
Remember how for commodities volatility can be positively correlated with price? Natgas is one of them, and when the price spiked so did volatility. James did not understand the consequences of this.
When you are short options, you have negative vega. As the price spiked so did volatility, and the short vega position piled up his losses in addition to being short delta.
But vega is not a constant. We finally get to discuss vomma now. Vomma measures how much an option's vega changes as IV changes. In other words, as IV increases, so does vega thanks to vomma. When you're short vega and vomma, this is bad news.
Remember which options have the highest vomma? That's right, OTM. So as IV increased, not only did his losses increase due to rising IV, but vega itself started increasing thanks to vomma, further accelerating his losses.
He got wrecked four different ways: being on the wrong side of delta, gamma adding to delta, being on the wrong side of vega, and vomma adding to vega.
3. A total absence of risk management
Risk management is essential when it comes to trading, and selling options is no exception. Selling naked options can expose you to extreme risks, and to ignore it is simply reckless. It's more important to avoid a huge loss than to make a huge profit, because all it takes is one big loss on a trade to make recovering from it impossible, ending your career in theta gang.
Tail risk is a very real concern in trading, and those "rare" events actually happen more frequently than traders expect (fat tails). Look at a price chart of natgas over the past twenty years. You can see random spikes sprinkled throughout the chart. James never stopped to think, what would happen to the value of my positions if natgas were to suddenly spike in price, which I know has happened in the past, and will happen again someday? How could I protect myself against this scenario?
It's pretty obvious that if a one-day or even few weeks move manages to blow up your account and completely undo years of profits, you have zero risk management in place. This stems from not understanding how the natgas market works, and trading it with no regard to risk.
Selling naked calls on natgas is a terrible strategy because natgas can have sudden price spikes, and IV will spike with it. A much better strategy would've been selling a call backspread. You sell an ATM or OTM call, and you buy two or more calls that are further OTM. That way if natgas did spike your losses are limited, and you might even turn a profit on the spike.
Spend the time necessary to learn about the underlying. And don't neglect risk management. If you're going to sell options, you absolutely must understand how the underlying behaves and its relationship with volatility, otherwise you cannot have proper risk controls in place.

Miscellaneous

What are some popular option selling strategies?

The most popular would be covered calls and cash secured puts.
CCs involve selling OTM calls on a stock you own. The short call position is covered by owning the underlying, hence the name (opposite of naked). A single equity options contract is for 100 shares, so an investor sells one call for every 100 shares they own. If the stock price rises beyond the strike price, the seller keeps the premium, but the options will get exercised and the shares called away. They sell them at the strike price, missing out on the extra gains beyond the strike. The seller still makes money on the sale, just not as much as they would have if they sold them at market price. If the stock grinds sideways, the options expire worthless. And if the stock falls in price, the options will also expire worthless, but the seller will lose money on their long stock position. Chances are they will lose more money than the premium they collected from selling the CCs.
A CSP is a naked put that's sold either ATM or OTM with enough money in the account to cover the stock purchase if the option gets exercised. If the stock grinds sideways or rises in price, the puts expire worthless. However, if the stock falls in price the options will get exercised, and the seller will be forced to buy the stock from the options buyer at the strike price, most likely suffering a loss greater than the premium they received.
A CC has the same downside risk as a naked put. If the stock declines in either scenario the investor risks losing far more money than the premium received. If you are comfortable with the risk of selling CCs you should also be comfortable with the risk of selling CSPs. However, you can lose more money in the CSP scenario if you buy back the put before expiration if IV rises enough, vs. holding it to expiration.
Selling a CSP always means selling a naked put. It is not a covered put because you have cash to buy the stock. Whether or not you have enough money in the account to buy the shares at the strike price is irrelevant. A CP means you are also short the underlying, hence it is covered. It's the same idea as a CC, except it has unlimited risk due to there being no theoretical limit the price the stock could increase to, whereas a long stock position can't go below zero (not a guarantee for certain commodities).
Other common strategies are wheeling and volatility crush.
The wheel is similar to selling a strangle but not quite the same. You sell CSPs on a stock you wouldn't be opposed to owning, and in the unfortunate case of being assigned, you then sell CCs to recoup your losses. If you've been selling CSPs for a while you may still be net up when assigned, but if the stock craters you're looking at a significant loss. You hope the stock slowly climbs while selling CCs, but if the stock suddenly spikes your shares may get called away and you miss out on recovering your losses on the upside.
There are variations to the wheel before being assigned. A jade lizard is selling an OTM call spread where the max loss on it is less than the premium collected from selling the CSP. Ideally the stock will trade in between the short put and call strikes and all options expire worthless. You can also trade a ratio put spread instead of just a put.
The volatility crush trade is a delta neutral strategy. It profits not from a change in the underlying's price, but from IV decreasing. It's very popular right before earnings. IV on a stock can spike just before an earnings report is released due to uncertainty (vol rush). Unless you have insider information, you can only guess what the results will be. After the report is released, IV crashes because the uncertainty is gone (vol crush). Everyone knows the results.
You find a company who's about to report earnings and the IV on their options has spiked. You then sell expensive ATM calls, and because ATM options have a delta of about 0.5 you buy 50 shares for every call sold. Your net delta is zero (delta neutral) because you've offset the negative delta from the short call position by buying shares which gives you positive delta. By hedging your delta you've eliminated directional risk. After earnings are released, IV craters and you buy back the options at a cheaper price and sell your shares.
In theory this sounds like an easy way to profit. In reality it's not due to our archnemesis gamma gang. Delta is not a constant and as the underlying's price changes so does delta. If the stock soars after earnings, the call option's delta will increase and your delta exposure will become increasingly negative as the stock rises in price. If the stock tanks, your delta exposure will become increasing positive as the stock falls in price. In either scenario you start losing money from your changing delta position, and the amount you make from IV decreasing must be greater, otherwise you lose money overall on the trade.
You can try to nudge your delta in a direction to hedge against this. If you're bullish on the stock you can overweight your exposure and buy more shares so that you have a positive delta. If you're bearish you can underweight your exposure and buy fewer shares so that you have a negative delta. If you're correct, good news for you. But if you're wrong, you lose more money than if you were delta neutral.
Then you have a plethora of spread trades, such as vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and ratio, some with creative names. There are far too many to cover in this guide in detail. All of them have at least two legs (each leg is a component of the options trade) to the trade where you are both long and short options.

How does assignment work?

There are two main types of option styles: European and American. European options can be exercised only on the expiration date. American options can be exercised at any time before (and of course on) the expiration date.
When an option is exercised, the Options Clearing Corporation randomly selects a member firm that is short the option, and the firm uses an exchange-approved method to select a customer that is short the option. The OCC processes all assignments after market close, and because it processes closing buys before assignments, there is no possibility of assignment if you buy back your short position during the day's trading hours.
An option buyer can exercise their option even if it makes no sense financially and they would lose money. It's their right to do so and you are obligated to fulfill it if assigned. Even if an option expires worthless it can still be exercised. The buyer may be speculating that major news gets released after hours (some options trade until 4:15 PM ET) and when the market opens again the underlying has moved favorably and their gamble paid off. To avoid risking this scenario simply close out the day of expiration.
Only about 7% of options get exercised and the majority occur close to expiration. This is because options still have extrinsic value before they expire, and once exercised the buyer loses the extrinsic value. It makes more sense for them to sell it.
Be aware that if you are assigned you may see a large negative balance or buying power in your account. This may be because the underlying stock trade has not settled yet. It normally takes T + 2 (trade date plus two business days) to settle. Settlement means an exchange of money and securities. Payment is made from the buyer's account to the seller's, and the seller's securities are transferred to the buyer's account. The other reason would be the value of the new stock position. If you have a small account and are now long or short hundreds or thousands of shares, the market value could far exceed the cash value of your account. You'll be forced to close out by your broker. Once either the trade settles or you close out the large negative balance disappears.

What are some scenarios I can expect assignment, especially early assignment?

If an option expires ITM you can expect it to be exercised. Unless instructed otherwise, the OCC will automatically exercise any option that expires at least $0.01 ITM.
Deep ITM options about to expire are candidates for being exercised. They start behaving like the stock itself since there's zero real chance of them not expiring ITM. They have no extrinsic value and in fact may trade slightly below their intrinsic value (at a discount to parity, parity being the intrinsic value). This is because no one really has any incentive to trade the option anymore, especially when they could trade the stock instead, which has more liquidity. A market maker would agree to buy it at a discount and at the same time open a position on the stock and exercise the option, profiting from the discount arbitrage. For example, XYZ is trading at $50, and a 45 call is trading at $4.95. A MM buys the call while simultaneously shorting 100 shares, exercises the option and collects the risk-free profit of $0.05:
(50 - 45) - 4.95 = 0.05
Selling spreads is a very common theta gang strategy, so let's examine the case of early assignment and assignment after expiration.
You sold a 50/55 vertical call spread for $1.40 on XYZ that's trading at $53. It expires in a few days but for whatever reason the buyer decided to exercise early and you were assigned. You're now short 100 shares at $50 while still long the 55 call. Because vertical spreads are risk defined trades, this isn't a big deal. You're still long the 55 call, so you have upside protection which will cap your losses at $360 (500-140) should the stock move past $55. You could take the risk of riding it out and hoping the stock falls or you can close out the trade, accept your losses and move on.
The other scenario is assignment at expiration. This is actually the more dangerous case of the two. Imagine the same circumstances except it's expiration day (Friday). The stock closes at $53, the short call expires ITM, and the long call expires worthless. The short call is exercised and you're assigned. Because you no longer have upside protection anymore, this is not a defined risk trade but instead undefined. You're short the stock over the weekend and no one knows what the opening price will be Monday. If major news gets published Sunday the stock could soar. Or it could crater. This is not the kind of risk theta gang likes to take. You should always close out of your short options on the day of expiration if there's a real chance of them expiring ITM, especially when your long options will expire OTM. Otherwise at that point you're now delta gang.
If both the short and long options are ITM at expiration, the most you can lose is the spread minus the premium received. You might as well close out to avoid the hassle of being assigned and exercising your long options.
The specter of early assignment gets raised quite a bit around the time dividends are paid. The scenarios are different for calls and puts.
You may have read that if the time value of an ITM call is less than the dividend, the call is at risk of being exercised early. This is not because the investor will make money from exercising. Let's illustrate with an example. To be paid a dividend you must own the stock before the ex-dividend date. Call owners do not receive dividends. If you buy the shares on or after the ex-date you won't be paid the dividend, so the call owner will exercise it the day before the ex-date.
XYZ is trading at $50, and a 45 call is trading for $5.25. It's paying a $1 dividend and the ex-date is tomorrow so the buyer exercises the call. They're now long XYZ at $45. The ex-date arrives, the dividend is paid, and the stock is discounted by the amount of the dividend, and is trading at $49. They sell and wind up losing $0.25. What happened? Simply add up the numbers:
(49 - 45) + 1 - 5.25 = -0.25
Whenever you exercise an option you throw away the extrinsic value. It doesn't matter how large the dividend is, since the stock's price is discounted by it on the ex-date. This is a losing trade. The only way the trade could make money is if the stock isn't discounted by the full amount. Sometimes this happens (other news gets published) but this is nothing more than a gamble if attempted. It's not an arbitrage opportunity.
In fact, as the ex-date approaches you may see ITM call options trading at parity. This occurs because the stock's price will be discounted by the dividend, and so the option's intrinsic value will decrease as well. Buyers don't want to be left holding it going into the ex-date because they're going to lose money, so the selling pressure drives down the option's price to parity. It may even trade at a discount, presenting the earlier discount arbitrage opportunity.
If the corresponding put with the same strike price as the call is trading for a price less than the dividend minus interest, then the call would be exercised and you would be assigned early. The trader long the call would exercise their call and buy the put, since this has the effect of recreating the same trade, except they receive the dividend.
It's actually puts that offer a dividend arbitrage opportunity if the time value is less than the dividend. Using the example from earlier, a 55 put is trading at $5.25. You buy 100 shares of the stock at $50. Ex-date arrives, the stock is discounted to $49. You exercise the put, selling the stock for $55, collect the $1 dividend and profit a risk-free $0.75. Add up the numbers again:
(55 - 50) + 1 - 5.25 = 0.75
You may already be guessing what happens to ITM puts as the ex-date approaches. Their price increases due to buying pressure, since the option's intrinsic value is about to increase by the dividend's amount. Once the time value at least matches the dividend the arbitrage opportunity no longer exists.
One other scenario where you may be assigned is when the underlying is trading close to the option's strike price on expiration day. You don't know if it will expire ITM or not. This is called pin risk. What should you do if you're short? Close out. It's not worth the risk if the underlying moves adversely after market close and the options are now ITM. Just close out.

Should I close out of a position after collecting most of the premium earlier than expected?

This is a good idea. A lot of people follow a rule where if they've collected at least 50-80% of the premium they close out of the trade and move on to the next. They especially follow the rule when it happens much sooner than expected.
Collecting the last tiny bit of premium isn't worth what you're risking (a relatively large amount of money to make a small amount). You're picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. What will happen one day is the underlying will make a dramatic adverse move, eliminating all of your profit and even putting you at a loss. You'll be cursing yourself for being greedy and not closing out earlier.
A lot of brokers will even let you close out of a short options trade for no commission if you can buy it back for only five or ten cents.

My position moved against me. What can I do about it?

You have a few choices.
1. Close out
Close the trade. Accept your losses and move on. How do you decide if it's a good idea to close? Ask yourself, if you didn't already have this position would you do it now? Would you open the position now given the current price and market circumstances? If not, close out.
You're going to end up on the wrong side of trades sometimes. It happens to everyone. Sometimes closing out is the right idea. Other times it's not. You can't predict the future, so don't beat yourself up when you make the wrong decision. But always be mindful of risk management and keep your losses small.
2. Ride it out
It's not unusual for option prices to spike only to collapse in price later on. If you haven't overleveraged yourself you have the funds available to ride out the trade. If the answer to the earlier question about opening the trade now is yes, it's reasonable to ride it out. You might even consider selling more contracts, but remember to never overleverage.
Just make sure the HAPI (hope and pray index) isn't high, otherwise it's a sign you should close out.
3. Roll
Rolling is a good idea when you think the trade in the short term is a bad idea, but long term will make money. You close out of your existing position and open a new one. This is ideally done simultaneously so you don't trade into the position one leg at a time, risking a poorer fill on price (slippage) or only getting only a partial execution and your positions are now wrong.
Rolling up is rolling to a higher strike price. Rolling down is rolling to a lower strike price. And rolling out or forward is rolling to a later expiration date. Typically you roll out, and possibly up or down. Whatever you decide, the goal is to roll to a new position that you can sell for more than the loss on the old position. That way you can at least recover your losses, and if you're fortunate, still turn a profit.

I'm doing great! I'm winning on all my trades collecting that sweet, sweet, theta. I want to sell even MOAR!

Slow down there, speed racer.
The second worst thing that happens to new traders is they have a series of winning trades (the worst being they lose all their money). They become overconfident, think they have it all figured out, and place a trade that's way too big for their account. They of course don't realize how clueless they are, discover to their horror the trade was completely wrong, and end up digging through the remains of their now smoldering account.
You've made a bunch of winning trades. Great. Don't let it go to your head. Don't start scaling up massively simply because you've been winning lately. A better strategy is to risk a fixed percentage (e.g., 1-2%) of your account on each trade. As you make more money the dollar value of each trade increases but the percentage stays the same. That way when a trade ends up being a loser, which will happen, the damage is minor and you can still recover.
Theta gang is not a get-rich-quick scheme. If you're going to commit to this you're going to be doing it long-term, which means slowly making money.

I like to sell options on stock indexes like the S&P 500. Anything I should know?

SPY is extremely popular for trading options but there is a much better alternative: SPX. Why?
If you like to trade options on other indexes (or commodities), you should consider futures options. Both futures and futures options are 1256 contracts and receive favorable tax treatment.
EDIT: Hit character limit, rest of post here
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Economic Symbiogenesis

Visuals
KEYNOTE - Below includes an original proof that for every rational individual, The Von Neumann-Morgenstern Utility Function is bounded from above. The proof starts below: “Proof Reductio ad Absurdum”.
The proof directly translates to: “a person wishing to be as rich as possible should not always be after more money.” A new question needs to be answered: “exactly how much money should that person be after?”
Economic Symbiogenesis
Thomas J Novak
Disclaimers 1. I wish to contend that Micro and Macro Economics each constitute a hidden branch of evolution. To be clear, I’m not arguing for an analogy, ​I’m arguing each branch is an evolutionary process; and with this comes the mathematical framework needed to scientifically ​objectify success (major goal for every Capitalist). 2. The quantitative aspects are partially rooted in Game Theoretic Evolution. I do not expect this theory will garner majority support or ​understanding. It is only an esoteric theoretical ideal; but it is my hope that this will gradually change until one-day we have a Utopia. 3. The mechanism is voluntary through rational self-incentives. It advocates for a change in perspective for optimal decision making purposes. 4. Dollars and other fiat currencies are still completely necessary. Fiat currency constitutes a valuable technology that eliminates the need for ​bartering, yielding considerable savings in life’s prime asset - TIME. 5. I apologize to the reader in advance for the long essay. I hope it is "worth" your time.
Key Conclusions
Present day humanity is full of capitalists that have the right idea but are missing some key math. This is causing them to behave inefficiently in the context of their own self-interests. Ideal Capitalism is Pareto Optimal and should be practiced by all; and it should lead to maximal economic growth. I also wish to conjecture that a new Nash Equilibrium is available to our race: Perpetual peacetime under the individual Pareto Optimal Strategy of Ideal Capitalism as every individual looks to maximize their self-fortune and troll farms are voluntarily dismantled. If this sounds too good to be true, note that it very well may have been for all of human-history save the last few decades. Key developments are nuclear weapons and the internet. Discussed more in the last section.
Introduction
The "science" of Economics is not yet a science. Don't get me wrong - micro-economics is just about there; but macro-econ is a totally different story. Some call it “The Dismal Science” because it makes many quantitative claims that are inconsistent with empirical data. An example is the claim that John Rockefeller’s fortune could be made comparable to contemporary fortunes by adjusting his dollars for inflation and real growth. In fact only adjusting his hours for real growth does the trick.
In general macro-econ has a zero-sum-dollar-centric structure that does not allow for input of things like maternity and child rearing - two fundamentally "valuable" human activities. Another problem is that planetary-wide risks like war, (and that which is assured by "Mutually Assured Destruction" (MAD)), are not naturally measurable in dollars.
Some concepts from financial mathematics and science can generalize economic measurements into a co-compatible theory that almost seems too simple to be necessary. Basic results agree with common sense in every way. Some conclusions are so obvious the calculation seems pointless. Others might be beyond common sense similar to the notion that the Earth on which one walks is anything but flat. The former supports credence for the latter. All examples of human stupidity supports a need for all of it.
Ideal Capitalism
Most powers past through present can be thought cold, "calculating”, and self-interested; and most presently embrace association with Capitalism. Paradoxically, human history, (even recent), is a litany of fighting and stupidity and hurt feelings. These are inefficiencies from the Capitalist perspective, so something must be wrong with these “calculations”.
The argument will start with a Micro-Economic exercise intended to provide quantitative framework to measure just how unCapitalistic many present-day capitalists are acting, by unitizing all their actions in a scientific manner. Any Capitalist wishing to maximize their net-worth will be made more materialistically rich simply by maintaining complete indifference about others, understanding the entire picture, and trusting numbers. Wall Street can confirm this is its goal.
“Complete indifference” means precisely 0 concern for anything other than material-self-worth and 100% concern for material-self-worth. Nonzero concern for others, positive or negative, is suboptimal since it distracts from the objective of maximizing self-worth. Footnote 1: “Others” does not include the friends and family category. All intentional altruism can be represented easily by having those individuals' interests summed and grouped together so as to be viewed as part of the Capitalist’s “self-interest”. All reasoning forward is unaffected by how many friends and family are now implied to be included.
The results can empower all decision makers to calculate in the only way possible: with actual mathematics. The numbers will sometimes disagree with intuition; but the numbers will always be correct. The optimal strategy will hardly change except for sufficiently wealthy individuals. The proof can be seen empirically by back-testing the model in history on the domain in which all success is measured: quality-weighted-time (qwt). The definition of qwt will leverage Game Theoretic Evolution and is discussed more below.
Some conclusions may be counterintuitive similar to the way natural selection favored Symbiogenesis; but maximum profit calls for absolute “trust” in numbers above all else - exactly as exhibited in microbial evolution. Any call for “selfless” acting resulting in benefits to others is strictly incidental; and any less is unselfishly selfish in that it renders this inefficient capitalist less wealthy than maximally possible.
Step 1 - Any political bias about aiding others should be deleted. An “Ideal Capitalist” expresses precisely 0 concern for others and what others think - no more, no less. As long as an individual is correctly acting in their own best interests, they are acting as a Capitalist. Contra-positively one can claim to be a capitalist and act inefficiently against their own interests as many “capitalists” will be shown are doing today. I suggest a new term “Maximalist” to mean an Ideal Capitalist and avoid the need for case sensitivity.
Step 2 - Success Spawns Success. What is meant by quality-weighted-time? The definition comes from the only objective arbiter possible: Evolution through Survival of the Fittest. Something is “fit”, or “successful”, if it results in more quantity (Q) or more quality (q), where more quality means it produced more Quantity faster - which renders it more successful. This is The Tautology of Evolutionary Game Theory (The Tautology). For any evolutionary process, quantity is the metric which quantifies success. Quality is measured in quantity per unit of time (q=Q/t). Note that multiplying q=Q/t with t yields Q=qwt: the metric of success that necessarily satisfies The Tautology. Footnote 2: The word “tautology” is meant in the propositional logic sense. No negative connotation should be inferred.
Step 3 - How to connect economics with evolution?
Micro-economic decision strategy for trading time (t) for dollars ($), (or $ for t), amounts to a “phenotype”, (or observable trait), coded for by genetics inherited or mutated, and ideas learned or created. Respectively: - Inherited genetics constrain every rational human to be “risk averse”, regardless of self-perception, because natural selection favored and continues to favor risk aversion. Defined below and proven further below. - Mutated genes are almost never favorable for a human so this case will be discarded (although this force is quite powerful over quintillions of human-hours). - Richard Dawkins creatively postulated ideas to be “memes”: new evolutionarily viable packets of information, subject to selection forces, as they spread from person to person with varying levels of success overtime. Respectively gene inheritance and mutation is analogous to meme learning and creation. Furthermore the economy can be seen as a subsection of the biosphere governed primarily by evolution through forces of selection. The economy evolves through selection of both genes and memes, and memes are more abstract; but this should not change anything about the evolutionary game theory. After all humanity itself is naturally occurring, so Artificial Selection of Genes and Memes can be seen as a more complex extended phenotype coded for by the evolution of genes through Natural Selection. Any argument that “Artificial Selection” constitutes a meaningful difference from “Natural Selection” must first come to terms with the observation that humanity is itself, naturally occurring.
Step 4 - What is the definition of “risk averse”? The mathematical definition of risk averse simply requires diminishing returns to be experienced on assets like dollars. For example: an additional $1M adds less “utility” if you presently have $2B, compared to if you presently have $2M. If a person is not risk averse, then more success encourages more risky behavior. This is inconsistent with the observation that more success means one has more to lose. Therefore any risk-inclined individual cannot be an Ideal Capitalist as they will almost surely go broke gambling.
Step 5 - What is “utility”? Utility is the abstract micro-economic concept that, by definition, quantifies value. The unsettled question of how to actually do this is addressed below.
Total Utility = True Material Self-Worth = “well-offness”. All have one-to-one correspondence with each other. All are “mutually inclusive”. For example: twice the quantity of utility, by definition, means twice material self-worth; and so, the individual is exactly twice better-off. Diminishing returns do not apply to quantities of utility.
Step 6 - How to define an objective function to maximize utility? Per Wikipedia: “Consider a set of alternatives facing an individual, and over which the individual has a preference ordering. A ‘utility function’ is able to represent those preferences if it is possible to assign a real number to each alternative, in such a way that alternative A is assigned a number greater than alternative B if, and only if, the individual prefers alternative A to alternative B.”
Keynote: dollars are not material wealth, dollars buy material wealth, with diminishing returns, limited by genes, memes, and the quality and Quantity of the Marketplace (respectively qQMP).
To illustrate this, consider how rich you would be with $1T cash on Mars in the present day marketplace. Personally as an oxygen breathing Capitalist, I would view my self-worth as constituting a liability - measurable in my personal subjective frame of reference in units of time, weighted by some self-knowable quality of life representing the quantity of misery per hour that I experience dying alone. Presently the quality of the marketplace on Mars is exactly 0 because 0 quantity is available for purchase. Footnote 3: The quality of life purchasable given the Time and Place is shown below to be bounded from above, although it is by no means bounded from below.
Back to Earth. If sufficiently rich, then maximizing material wealth calls for buying everything in desired amounts to maximize present quality of Life (qoL), holding ample dollars in reserve to spend on future quality (like a fancier vacation) and future quantity (like a longer vacation), and allocating the rest to increase future qQ which is not presently available for purchase (any new invention). In keeping with The Tautology, quality enhancements will provide for faster consumption of Quantity (Q=qwt). Note how perfectly this fits with The Tautology.
Ideally a good Capitalist with sufficient dollars would employ a strategy so as to maximize qoL at every point in time by exhausting most/all dollars by death. Any argument that an individual cannot meaningfully increase future qQMP fails. As an example: a medical breakthrough for genetic predispositions could yield considerably more time for any one capitalist, with expected returns modeled via actuarial mathematics. Consider just how far Humanity has come since the birth of The Enlightenment - it is easy to see how the not-so-distant future may include considerably more qQoL for sale. (Conversely the future may include far less qQoL if macro-decision-public-policy modeling continues to fail to quantify/unitize the cost of war - discussed more in the Macro Economic qwt section below.)
Quality enhancements, although more subjective, can be substantially accelerated by one talented individual. Examples include Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. All are responsible for inventing and/or producing new things which I personally enjoy - the qQoL that I can purchase is greater as a result of their work. My time and money could not purchase such things if they were not invented. As discussed next, micro-economic quality weights are quality of Life (qoL) weights. They have an upper bound that can be “objectively” unitized and measured by the self-interested party's own frame of reference.
Step 7 - How can an individual objectively define an upper bound for these inherently subjective quality weights with any mathematical rigor? Is it possible to prove dollars can only buy so much utility? Yes!
Proof Reductio ad Absurdum
Ripping off an idea from one of the greatest thinkers ever - I propose a financial thought experiment: pretend it is possible for you to pause all of society and gamble at the “Name Your Winnings Casino”.
Here you can choose entering into an even bet: 50% of the time you win the largest number of dollars you can mathematically express = $P; or 50% of the time you suffer absolute ruin: the casino takes everything of material value and your dollars and returns you to the real world where no insurance policies exist for you and no friends or family are able to ease your loss by lending a couch to sleep on or pulling strings for a job offeinterview. If you lose you reenter the world a naked homeless person “worth” exactly $0 and you can never play again.
Four observations follow:
  1. The decision to bet is made independent of any consideration of others, consistent with the Ideal Capitalist.
  2. Any sane human with the smallest capacity for self-honestly could conservatively estimate a walk-away number A, (denominated in dollars), such that if present “net worth” is greater than $A then no bet.
  3. No rational person choosing to bet would play more than once because either they’d lose or they’d win $P and have received the payout they named. “Letting it ride” constitutes an obviously dumb decision born out of the unwillingness to simply express the larger number in the first bet; however, a risk-inclined individual always values more over what they have and so they would be compelled to keep betting. Therefore rationality is mutually exclusive with risk-inclination. Furthermore if the betting person is risk averse, then $A is strictly less than $P for some minimum value of $P.
  4. Some confident rational individual might argue no such number $A exists for them because they’re so good they can start all over if they lose and earn a new fortune; and it would at first glance seem this individual is correct.
Many logical conclusions result:
A. An honest estimate for $A irrefutably reveals a hidden upper bound for this individual’s “Utility Curve”. Specifically if the function A’($A) = A’ maps to utility derived by $A dollar denominated “wealth”, then no amount of dollars even exists for this individual to choose to bet. Mathematically: “Net worth” > “Bet value” => “Net worth” > “50% times upside minus 50% times downside” => A’($A) > .5A’($A+$P) - .5A’($A) => 1.5A’($A) > .5A’($A+$P) => 3A’($A) > A’($A+$P) for all values of $P (The left hand-side must be greater or the bet would not be declined by a rational individual.)
B. 3A’ is not presently purchasable with any amount of dollars. 3A’ may be purchased in some future marketplace, (possibly with less than A future dollars), in the form of a medical breakthrough or buying future children birthday presents, but it is not currently purchasable in the present as demonstrated by the individual’s refusal to bet. Conversely A future dollars may lose “purchasing power” of just A’ if the future marketplace is inferior. Therefore true material-worth is fundamentally a function of the marketplace and cannot even be expressed in terms of dollars.
C. Most choosing to bet would logically express the upside payout $P as a sequence of 9s. Many more would know to use powers of powers. Knowledge of Knuth’s Up Arrow Notation could simultaneously save time and yield considerably “more upside”. Due consideration for exactly how much time should be spent writing out fantastically large numbers reveals an irrefutably objective hidden limiting factor: this person’s lifetime - measurable in units of time. This reveals one of two hidden domains on which value must be measured - TIME!
D. From this it directly follows that the confident individual in (4) is wrong. Some number $A greater than $P must exist, EVEN FOR THEM. However this individual is sure $A doesn’t and keeps writing numbers out for $P until they die. Therefore $A for them equals the number they have written out at time of death, never having played the game. I believe this is the definition of a Darwinian unfit capitalist - completely inconsistent with the Ideal Capitalist.
Analysis
The argument above establishes a horizontal bound for utility – lifetime measurable in units of time. It also establishes a finite upper bound for utility itself (represented by the area of the “utility rectangle” - see spreadsheet). This implies a finite upper bound for the rectangle’s height must exist; and this is empirically supported by the observation that billionaires are not known to blow through their life fortune in any short-period of time.
So why does any sufficiently wealthy capitalist focus on earning more dollars and die before exhausting most/all of their dollars (last death if family inheritance involved)? If sufficiently wealthy, material wealth is necessarily a bounded function of The Time Period, or the “quality and Quantity of the Marketplace”. TTP = qQMP >= qQoL. In other words, the marketplace itself is secretly an asset for every Capitalist!
qMP(TTP) = Max quality of life, or “max utility per hour” available for purchase in TTP QMP(TTP) = Max Quantity of life, or “max utility” for purchase in TTP (IE a longer vacation or medicine)
Thus on the micro level, quality weights are utility weights; and utility weights are capped by The Time Period. Thus it is the case that for every (finite) individual, a finite upper bound for utility is self-measurable in Time Period-Weighted Time (qwt = TPWT). For example: 2020 hours have far more value to any sufficiently rational and wealthy individual (SRWI) than 1920 hours. And as the earlier questionnaire (hopefully) shows, this is realizable by most middle-class people today. In other words, today’s middle class is sufficiently wealthy to the extent TPWT resolves the Rockefeller paradox. Footnote8: The size of the middle class itself is unfortunately shrinking. This has potential to result in negative externalities for all.
Since an Ideal Capitalist maximizes self-material-wealth above all else, then if they were also sufficiently wealthy, they would measure value in Time-Period-Weighted Hours since they would always purchase maximum utility per hour. This is by definition, since any SRWI has all necessary means to purchase max utility available per hour. (Note just how important quick access to true information would be.) Footnote 9: Neuroscience could use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to objectively measure the Micro-Economic utility unit as “Neurotransmitter-Molecular-Count Weighted Hours”. Consideration for how to weight different neurotransmitters (like Serotonin vs Dopamine) would be necessary. For now, we are all similar enough for “time” to suffice, at least for short run measurements. For example: what is the penalty for severe crimes? “Time in jail” or death (all the person’s time).
Quantifying the Marketplace
Given the average life expectancy now is more than twice that of prehistoric man, the marketplace itself is worth strictly more than 50% of any sufficiently wealthy individual’s “asset portfolio”. Just note “time is money”. Footnote 10: They need not be rational to "realize" this time, so long as their doctor is sufficiently competent. "Realization" will come in the form of living longer, quite consistent with the accounting definition of gain/loss realization.
Keynote - a Maximalist will do more than just maximize present qQ purchased. They will also divert unneeded dollars to maximize future qQMP so that more qQ is available for purchase. Thus the Maximalist calculation includes due consideration for additional dollars that will be needed given future qQ becomes available.
Squaring Theory with Reality
Most already know most of this, at least on the common-sense level. So why don’t sufficiently wealthy Capitalists invest maximum dollars with less strings attached to maximize the future? Is it because that would help everyone else and constitute socialism? No! In this context socialism is Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”. A good Capitalist aims for precisely 0 concern about others, and any concern for implied socialism would constitute nonzero concern. Such concern would amount to incomprehensible irrationality far beneath any good Capitalist. So what else could it be?
Perhaps it’s simply the fact that much of humanity is still measuring their net-worth in the wrong dimension for the inefficient purpose of feeling superior to others with less money. Anyone currently doing this quite literally knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, not even their own self fortune, because they are using the wrong dimension of measurement. quality-weighted-time is the objectively correct way in which real value should be measured, and quality weighting is limited only by The Time Period in which time and money are being spent.
More noteworthy, any human mistaking dollars for qwt for this scorekeeping reason is still violating the prime rule of being a good Capitalist - they are demonstrating nonzero-concern for what others think of them. Implicitly and inefficiently, these individuals are expressing negative concern for others, as now is measurable by how worse off they are in units of their time. Specifically this is calculable as the opportunity cost of not investing more dollars for an enhanced future marketplace, measurable by others in said marketplace by the cost to this imperfect capitalist’s life expectancy, (all unitized in units of time).
Equity Miracle Swap Instruments
Perhaps the above explanations are not exhaustive of the full truth. Maybe some sufficiently wealthy Capitalists simply do not have the means to invest their dollars in a way that can reliably pay greater dividends. Therefore I propose a new type of financial derivative instrument called an “Equity Miracle Swap”. These would be voluntarily issued as contracts from the mega-wealthy. Here is a hypothetical example:
Rational (and thus risk averse) Billionaire-G (BG) possessing $100B in dollar-denominated-capital can now do research and will likely find they are genetically predisposed to a (presently) incurable illness (let’s say Small Cell Lung Cancer = SCLC). BG could use the chancy math in the proof above and might determine that Billions $91-$100 have minimal true value to him/herself when converted to qwt. Therefore BG could decide to start up an enterprise to find a cure for SCLC and use a $10B Equity Miracle Swap = EMSSCLC-$10B, or just “EMS” for short. The purpose is to maximally incent the researchers, who might otherwise just be employees. The contract would stipulate that all equity in the enterprise transfers over to the research team only upon successful development of the cure.
When measured in dollars, the payoff for BG is represented by the performance of the stock, which is greater than -$10B if no cure; or -$10B if the miracle cure is found. The former is greater than the latter. Which do you think BG will prefer? Obviously the latter, especially if they wind up contracting SCLC in the future! But the former was greater measured in dollars? How to reconcile?
This can be quantitatively reconciled by using the correct unit of measurement - qwt. Here is how: the newly discovered cure might empower their remaining dollars to purchase considerably more qwt in the future. The real expected return on investment for BG could be calculated actuarially as follows: Expected ROI = { Expected Return }/{ Investment } = { E(Δqwt | Miracle) * [ P(Miracle | EMS) - P(Miracle | no EMS) ] }/{ A’($100B) - A’($90B) } Where: 1. A’($D) maps to utility measured in quality-weighted-time presently purchasable by D dollars 2. E(Δqwt | Miracle) = Expected change in purchasable qwt given miracle cure occurs in lifetime 3. P(Miracle | Event X) = Probability of Miracle given Event X
Note that because BG is risk averse, diminishing returns render billions $91-$100 worth very little qwt. Therefore the cost in the denominator = A’($100B) - A’($90B) constitutes a very small amount of qwt, rendering the expected ROI very large, even for relatively small changes to P(Miracle). Obviously the lawyers could tinker with the terms of the contract. Finally note that society is incidentally made better off if the cure is found.
Macro-Economic qwt
Please now consider the benefit of a qwt-centric model from a Macro-Economic standpoint in the context of the Doomsday Clock, where as always, economics can objectively measure value (or “GDP”) in units of quality-weighted-time. On this Macro scale, the quantity unit will be "Healthy Human Hours", calculated as always by multiplying quality weights of presently healthy humans, with units of time, where any human is healthy if he/she produces more future human hours. Note how naturally maternity and child-raising now fit into GDP.
This may also help resolve the argument over which crimes should be punishable with incarceration - specifically only crimes where the individual is deemed likely to contribute less negative future qwt to GDP when in jail vs when out of jail. Also there is a natural extension of this for the death penalty, although I do not wish to make such moral judgements. Footnote 10: Any argument that population overgrowth leads to mass death is correct. Policy models need only step back and estimate healthy human hours in the more distant future. Calculus can be used to model public policy decisions from present-day infinitely far into the future and compare infinite relativities for different policy options.
Also consider that actuarial modeling could be used to objectively estimate the cost of disinformation posed to every Capitalist on the planet, measurable of course, in units of time. Specifically calculated as expected changes to Humanity’s Expectation of Life on the Doomsday Clock, plus individual life expectancy given Midnight, times the probability of midnight. Also observe the need and means for due discount in modeling the "decrease" in the future qQMP (which might include radiation).
The Emergence of Economic Symbiogenesis
Try to arrive at the conclusion any good Capitalist must. Here is a hint - genetic Symbiogenesis resulted in the planetary-wide cooperation of all plant and animal life to regulate Earth’s Oxygen concentration. Note the immense success is, of course, measured in qwt. Weighting in this context needs to satisfy the same tautology as always. Therefore the final answer on this Mega-Macro scale comes in organism-count-weighted units of time. This is the current game strategy that genetic Evolution has concluded on Earth to date. It came from pitting individual selfish microbial interests against one another in the 0-rules game of survival of the fittest. The result is the current marriage between the Plant and Animal Kingdoms! (Like all great marriages there are still a few mentionable skirmishes.)
Also observe the micro-macro relational analogue between Chloroplasts and Mitochondria with Plants and Animals. Consider how this might analogize individual decision making with the marketplace as a whole.
If you are religious, consider just how correct this implies your understanding of God’s wish for the general wellbeing of every individual to be.
My conclusion is that there is a trail of breadcrumbs for our species to follow and we’ve had the right idea all along. We’ve just been doing the math wrong. Now every decision maker can better understand how to measure their own self-fortune and get to growing it faster!
Also interesting is the game theoretic argument for why every person must be allowed full forgiveness - it is the only way world leaders who are concerned for their own wellbeing could possibly embrace such a model. Astonishingly full forgiveness is 100% consistent with every major religion’s claim of what God hopes all of us can achieve. In economics, any desire for revenge can now be seen as The Sunk Cost Fallacy, measurable as always in units of qwt.
Finally, I wish to conjecture that a new Nash Equilibrium is available to our race: Perpetual peacetime under the individual Pareto Optimal Strategy of Ideal Capitalism as every individual looks to maximize their self-fortune and troll farms are voluntarily dismantled. If this sounds too good to be true, note that it very well may have been for all of human-history save the last few decades.
Key Technological Developments 1. The advent of nuclear weapons which align all of humanity's interests in a way which never used to exist. Even survivors of a nuclear war will be far worse off, now as measurable by decreases to the quality and Quantity of any future radioactive marketplace. Less qwt for purchase! 2. The advent of the internet renders information around the globe nearly free and instantaneous. If we can learn to be more self-interested, the only conclusion which rationally follows is to dismantle all troll farms for the simple purpose of maximizing Macro Time until Doomsday. The New Nash Equilibrium available to our race could be quantitatively modeled with actuarial techniques, and the optimal solution is to push Midnight infinitely far into the future by allowing every rational decision maker the means to make rational decisions with 100% true information. The internet sets up a worldwide analogy with our nervous system.
Footnote 11 - The Micro-Economic Model is now consistent with John Lennon's definition of life success: happiness. When asked what he wanted to “be” when he grew up, John responded "happy". John’s teacher thought he misunderstood the question. If John's teacher had instead followed up with the question to quantify: "How happy do you want to be?" - John could have replied: "as happy as possible for all my years.”
Footnote 12 - Warren Buffet's advice to "do what you love so you never work a day in your life" is quantified naturally by the model. I hope that more will start to take this advice. The qwt-centric-micro-model shows they will quite literally be made richer as a result. Given that richer people tend to contribute more to GDP, society will be made incidentally better off as a result. Star Trek almost had it but missed two words: “we work to better ourselves, and incidentally, the rest of mankind”.
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