Dream of: 06 March 1996 (2) "Economic Indicators"

It was early in the morning and I was thinking about what I was going to do all day. I knew that the following day I was going to have a test in an economics class which I was taking. I hadn't yet prepared for the test and I knew I needed to study. But there were so many other things which I would rather do than study; I just didn't want to do it.

But almost impulsively I decided I was just going to start right then and devote the whole day to studying economics. I immediately began thinking about the topic, trying to decide what I should study first. I knew that I had a large text book which I hadn't yet read. However I had talked with some other students about the readings, and they had told me that the first part of the book was not important. That part contained old legal cases which were supposed to give an overview of the subject. It was the latter part of the book which was more important. I thought that was the part I should read.

But instead of reading, I decided the first thing I should do was to simply think about the subject. I had often discovered that I could learn more about a subject by simply thinking and putting my own thoughts together, instead of simply reading what someone else had to say.

Where would I begin? I knew that there were things called "economic indicators," although I wasn't exactly sure what they were. However it occurred to me that the two most important economic indicators were inflation and unemployment. I also knew that there was a general consensus that inflation and unemployment were inversely related, but not necessarily so. Although it was usually true that if one went up, the other went down, that didn't always happen.

I also knew that economists not only measured inflation, but that they compared the inflation rates of different years to determine the rate of the change of inflation. Thus, even though inflation might be rising, the economists, or politicians (Bill Clinton came to mind) could claim that the rate of the change of inflation had slowed down. This could be deceptive because inflation could still be increasing, but it could be claimed that the rate of increase was slowing.

I wondered where I could get more information about these subjects. I thought the government regularly posted new economic indicators, and that information was extremely useful in buying stock. I wondered if I could find the information on the Internet. I had been increasingly amazed at the amount of information I had been able to find on the Internet. If I could find where the economic indicators were posted, I could possibly instantaneously know what they were. With that information I could make quick decisions about buying or selling stock.

Here I saw somewhat of a problem. I knew that I also sometimes traded stock through an on-line broker. However I only had one modem so I couldn't be connected to the Internet and getting the information and trading stock at the same time. But I knew if I were going to trade stock based on economic indicator information, I would need to already have my trade ready, and then be able to execute it immediately when the information came over the Internet. It looked as if I might need to have two computers with two modems to do that successfully. Thus I could get the economic indicator information over one computer, then immediately execute a trade on the other computer.

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