Since Nov 24, 2002

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As you can guess from my screen name, I live in Vegas, but I hail from the great State of Wyoming. GO WYOMING COWBOYS!!!

I work in the financial industry, and thus I love economics/finance threads. I'm continually surprised by the number of posters to FR who love to dwell in the gloom of every piece of economic news that comes out. I'm an optimist by nature, and I believe that our free market system will allow us to succeed in the long run.

I just read "PJ O'Rourke on the Wealth of Nations." Its a great summary of Adam Smith's work that I highly recommend. A couple of quotes that I found particularly interesting:

"There is no commercial country in Europe of which the approaching ruin has not frequently been foretold...from an unfavourable balance of trade. Nothing can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade." - Adam Smith

On tarrifs: "The statesman, who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would...assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatsoever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it." - Adam Smith

"Adam Smith, were he alive, would have us consider the parable of Japan in the 1980s. The Japanese kept giving us radios, TVs, stereos, and cars, and we kept giving them money. The Japanese didn't want anything American except Michael Jackson audio cassettes...So the Japanese decided to buy America itself. They bought office complexes, golf courses, and hotels. The Japanese bid up the price of American real estate until the bubble did what bubbles do. By the 1990s America had all the radios, TVs, stereos, and cars, and all the office complexes, golf courses, and hotels, and all the money, too." - PJ O'Rourke