Manifold Markets is a prediction market platform where I’ve been trading since September. This post will compare it to other prediction markets that I’ve used.

Play Money

The most important fact about Manifold is that traders bet mana, which is for most purposes not real money. You can buy mana, and use mana to donate real money to charity. That’s not attractive enough for most of us to treat it as anything other than play money.

Play money has the important advantage of not being subject to CFTC regulation or gambling laws. That enables a good deal of innovation that is stifled in real-money platforms that are open to US residents.

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Book review: The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder, by Peter Zeihan.

Are you looking for an entertaining set of geopolitical forecasts that will nudge you out of the frameworks of mainstream pundits? This might be just the right book for you.

Zeihan often sounds more like a real estate salesman than a scholar: The US has more miles of internal waterways than the rest of the world combined! US mountain ranges have passes that are easy enough to use that the mountains barely impede traffic. Transportation options like that guarantee sufficient political unity!

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Book review: How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth, by Mark Koyama and Jared Rubin.

This is a well-written review of why different countries have different wealth, i.e. mostly about the industrial revolution.

The authors predominantly adopt an economist’s perspective, and somewhat neglect the perspective of historians, but manage to fairly present most major viewpoints.

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This week we saw two interesting bank collapses: Silvergate Capital Corporation, and SVB Financial Group.

This is a reminder that diversification is important.

The most basic problem in both cases is that they got money from a rather undiverse set of depositors, who experienced unusually large fluctuations in their deposits and withdrawals. They also made overly large bets on the safety of government bonds.

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I recently noticed similarities between how I decide what stock market evidence to look at, and how the legal system decides what lawyers are allowed to tell juries.

This post will elaborate on Eliezer’s Scientific Evidence, Legal Evidence, Rational Evidence. In particular, I’ll try to generalize about why there’s a large class of information that I actively avoid treating as Bayesian evidence.

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AI looks likely to cause major changes to society over the next decade.

Financial markets have mostly not reacted to this forecast yet. I expect it will be at least a few months, maybe even years, before markets have a large reaction to AI. I’d much rather buy too early than too late, so I’m trying to reposition my investments this winter to prepare for AI.

This post will focus on scenarios where AI reaches roughly human levels sometime around 2030 to 2035, and has effects that are at most 10 times as dramatic as the industrial revolution. I’m not confident that such scenarios are realistic. I’m only saying that they’re plausible enough to affect my investment strategies.

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Book review: Investing Amid Low Expected Returns: Making the Most When Markets Offer the Least, by Antti Ilmanen.

This book is a follow-up to Ilmanen’s prior book, Expected Returns. Ilmanen has gotten nerdier in the decade between the two books. This book is for professional investors who want more extensive analysis than what Expected Returns provided. This review is also written for professional investors. Skip this review if you don’t aspire to be one.

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A conflict is brewing between China and the West.

Beijing is determined to reassert control over Taiwan. The US, and likely most of NATO, seem likely to respond by, among other things, boycotting China.

We should, of course, worry that this will lead to war between China and the US. I don’t have much insight into that risk. I’ll focus in this post on risks about which I have some insight, without meaning to imply that they’re the most important risks.

Such a boycott would be more costly than the current boycott of Russia, and the benefits would likely be smaller.

How can I predict whether the reaction to China’s action against Taiwan will be a rerun of the response to the recent Russian attack on Ukraine?

I’ll start by trying to guess the main forces that led to the boycott of Russia.

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