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Monday, January 16, 2012

Waiting for an Assignment: A Purdue 1st Week

As you probably guessed, I am an impatient sort. Waiting is not something I do well - it leaves me too much time to think, to mull, or otherwise, to wish things otherwise. (Can't imagine why.) Living in the moment is something I am still discovering anew without my mom's presence in this world.

That said, I have been relatively patient at the start of my first semester in 16 years. While I do the readings, and work better to do note-taking this time, I have been pressing to do something more active.

So I did.

I wrote a 3,000+ word research paper on mortgage-backed securities and the impending cycle of recession to hit China soon over the last few days. I explain the history of the American growth in housing, the hurricane that swallowed a few investment banks (Lehman, Bear, Merrill Lynch) and the investment boom that will shatter China's economic dreams very soon. The parallels are there - shadow banking, overconfidence, a need to make numbers (profits) - but the differences are present too: top-down China edicts and local corruption versus bottom-up hyper-driven consumerism in the USA with politicians buying votes; a growing and flexing of the muscles in China versus the stagnating perils of middle-class America. The long cultural desire to renew the power of traditional China versus the America whining that we were once (a very short while ago) number one, but now, are reaching for mediocrity.

This is a very informal analysis of the paper. I will post the link to the actual one later, after the prof offers a grade, or tells me to cut 1,000 words so she will not have to read too much. Or reorganize the thesis to be a very specific instance - which is a part of writing to satisfy a college template. Not much can be said in 1,500 words where you cannot delve into the back history. (Which I did exceedingly too much of, I presume in this paper, but cutting is easier than adding too.)

For my bet, pros and cons or for-against papers can be sliced and diced anyway you want them. Whether you take an economic, social norms, or ethical path, the audience can ignore it, no matter how fluidly you frame the argument. Long papers give you challenges of finding more data, supporting a pronged argument, and the quest for what is to come. Because, really, if you cannot surmise, or give an example of the destiny of humanity via the present problem discussed, what does it matter?

I write this too to satisfy the requirement of blogging. Not that it has ever been hard to put something down for me. Life misadventures, book reviews, movies, sports, economics, history, and whatever catches my wandering eye shows up in the blog over the past six to seven years.

But the real assignments will come soon enough. And I'll ferret out the details; flush out the crap I suppose still lives inside my ho-hum life; and determine what angle is appropriate given the templates that are a college writing.

Just be patient...

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