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With price-to-earnings ratios so high and interest rates so low, there is a compelling case for entering alternative investments, but where does one start?

Donald Chambers literally designed the course for CAIA, the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association, and he will be releasing his next book at the upcoming CFA conference in Hong Kong. He holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he is professor emeritus at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

In particular, he promotes diversification, with 10-30 percent of one’s holdings in alternative investments. He also recommends utilizing established markets to verify pricing, as opposed to many private-equity offerings, which are less liquid and less transparent.

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discussions

  • There are some ways in which buying a house can be a path to independent living.   On the other hand, we’re expecting currency devaluation and the housing market is propped up on limbo rates. Is it worth taking on debt to buy? Will inflation eat away at the principal, or would you have been better off in PMs?   Have you bought recently? What factored into your decision?

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  • Perhaps you will find this magnificent BBC documentary interesting. It tells the story of the ancient city of Caral, a little north of Lima on the coast of Peru, which is arguably the oldest city in and the beginning of civilization in the Americas. The Lost Pyramids Of Caral There are two points I would like to make about the story told therein of Caral which I think are relevant to libertarians. 1) The early civilization of Caral apparently arose purely out of commerce. This confirms the insights of the Austrian school of economics. And it may be an example of a commercially organized cooperative human society that antedates the rise of any state. 2) This contradicts the presumptions brought to the study by the archaeologists. For one example, at 7:20 one states the following. You can’t build … on the basis of consensus. You have to have leaders and followers. You have to have specialists. You have to have people who are in charge. People who can tell individual groups, alright, today you will be doing this. This group you are going to be doing something different. In other words, in his academic world, the possibility is inconceivable of that human cooperation could be organized by trade — the marketplace — rather than authority.

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  • In the, now famous, clip above Milton Friedman makes the argument that the market imposes costs to discrimination where ‘equal work’ laws would not. Is there a name for this economic insight? Can this be applied to other aspects of life, and if so, how?

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