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Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

By Peter L. Bernstein

With the inventory marketplace breaking documents nearly day-by-day, leaving longtime marketplace analysts shaking their heads and revising their forecasts, a examine of the concept that of chance turns out fairly well timed. Peter Bernstein has written a finished background of man's efforts to appreciate danger and chance, starting with early gamblers in historic Greece, carrying on with throughout the 17th-century French mathematicians Pascal and Fermat and as much as sleek chaos conception. alongside the way in which he demonstrates that figuring out possibility underlies every little thing from online game concept to bridge-building to winemaking.

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Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk

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At some point it will become necessary to set up subsidiary establishments at other locations, meaning that the advantages of large-scale production will be momentarily suspended. However, there is an even more important factor limiting the advantages of large businesses over their smaller competitors and that is the rising cost of administration. Whereas a medium-sized entrepreneur may still have a fairly good picture of where his business stands, larger enterprises will require huge administrative departments to do this.

Nonetheless, it would undoubtedly be wrong to consider speculative profits simply as an unjust means for wealthy capitalists to enrich themselves. After all, speculators also take risks, namely when prices develop differently from what they expected. And by taking these risks they may even be reducing those of other market participants, for instance those of the consumers! Let us assume that a speculator buys up large quantities of wheat after a good harvest. This will drive up the price of wheat and mean that consumption will remain within certain limits.

Should the supply curve in Marshall’s diagram not be sloping downwards instead of upwards? Without question, there is some truth in these frequently expressed arguments. When output increases it is possible to use otherwise unprofitable machines and installations because the costs of such installations can be spread over an increasing number of units produced. Consequently, the greater the output, the lower unit costs will be. This law of mass production was advocated above all by the American economist Joe Bain (born 1912).

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