Rolling Back 200 Years of Growth
BALTIMORE, Maryland – The press reported mixed financial news on Thursday. House sales, oil, unemployment figures… up, down… the news left investors puzzled.
Two of many symptoms of the much-bewailed “populist backlash”…
Image via economyincrisis.org
Tesla Goes Fishing
Tesla Motors is up to something remarkable. But what it is, exactly, is unclear. According to the Tesla Motors website, the company’s mission is: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.
Tesla Model 3: the company’s first “mass market” entry so to speak, which is supposed to help the world to reach the nirvana of “sustainable” transport. On the side, it is helping a number of Wall Street firms to increase their commission income.
Image credit: Tesla Motors
Not Just Wrong, but Monumentally Wrong
Massive flaws at SUNE (Sun Edison) + VRX (Valeant) were somehow missed by both of these high profile/ well resourced hedge funds.
David Einhorn (Greenlight Capital) and Bill Ackman (Pershing Square) – both fund managers had a terrible year 2015 (down about 20% each), but while Mr. Einhorn has changed his way and righted his ship so far in 2016, Mr. Ackman stubbornly stuck (and at one point even doubled down) on his biggest losing bet. As of early March, the performance spread between the two managers in 2016 had widened to 2,400 basis points in favor of Mr. Einhorn.
Photo credit: Brendan McDermid, Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
Who Cares What Voters Want?
BALTIMORE, Maryland – There were two newsworthy developments last week, neither of them really important – the first because it won’t happen, the second because it won’t matter. First, the Fed let it be known that it has “normalcy” once again in its sights.
It’s all in your head…and that’s where it shall remain!
Illustration via thesurvivalchannel.com
A Science Goes Astray
Human beings have a strong tendency to look for patterns. The natural sciences have shown that the universe is governed by laws, the effects of which are observable and measurable in an objective manner. Mostly, anyway — there is, after all, the interesting fact that observers are influencing measurements at the quantum level by the act of observation. (For our lives in the “macro” world, however, this is not relevant. An engineer does not need to take relativity or quantum physics into account to construct a machine that works.)
Is the Economy a Machine?
Gassy Hacks and Big Quacks
Today, we recall the “commencement” at the end of four years at the University of Vermont. The university itself is imposing and a little intimidating. The rest of the world works in warehouses or common office spaces. Academia labors in hallowed “halls” and prestigious “centers.”
The path to the hallowed halls of the University of Vermont
Photo via hercampus.com
Black-and-Blue Crash Alert Flag
Let us begin the week “on message.” The Diary is about money. Today, we’ll stick to the subject. Old friend Mark Hulbert has done some research on the likelihood of a crash in the stock market.
Ye olde tattered Crash Alert flag… should it be unfurled again?
Image by fmh
Scratching the Surface
Problems, as people commonly perceive them, require solutions. Broken shoelaces must get fixed. Regrettably, in today’s democracy this means the candidate who offers the most fixes – in the form of goodies – to the most people wins the election.
Three gentlemen who need a solution real fast. “Did you bring the book?” “No, I thought you had it…”
Image credit: CreateSpace
Sweet Authoritative Nothings
There is a mysterious figure making regular appearances in China’s government mouthpiece “People’s Daily”, which simply goes by the name “authoritative person” (AP). This unnamed entity always tends to show up with bad news for assorted speculators, by suggesting that various scenarios associated with monetary and/ or fiscal stimulus are actually not in China’s immediate future (the details of AP’s latest pronouncements can be found here and here).
The People’s Daily. “Authoritative Person” may be hiding somewhere in the picture to the left.
Don’t Plan on Living in St. Petersburg…
GENEVA, Switzerland – When we left you last week, we were describing why neither democracy nor planning works on a large scale. Austrian School economist Friedrich Hayek described the problem with great thoroughness in his book The Fatal Conceit.
The Fatal Conceit: central economic planning is literally impossible – there can be no centrally planned rational economy. Individual planning is distinct from central planning, in that the many individual plans pursued by self-interested individuals mesh and create a spontaneous order. This order is far superior to anything that a central planning agency can ever hope to achieve – in fact, as Mises has shown, central planning is even doomed to failure if the planners hypothetically had perfect knowledge of all facets of the economy at a given time. However, this hypothetical situation can can never be realized anyway, as knowledge is widely distributed and as Hayek argues, is often tacit and therefore not directly communicable. It only expresses itself in human action.
Trump Is Right
PARIS – On Wednesday, brick-and-mortar retailers – such as Macy’s – led U.S. stocks lower. The Dow lost about as much as it had gained the day before. Nothing much to talk about there…
Most read in the last 20 days:
- Fresh Mainstream Nonsense on Gold Demand
They Will Never Get It... We and many others have made a valiant effort over the years to explain what actually moves the gold market (as examples see e.g. our article “Misconceptions About Gold”, or Robert Blumen's excellent essay “Misunderstanding Gold Demand”). Sometimes it is a bit frustrating when we realize it has probably all been for naught. Gold wants to know what it has done now... Photo credit: Ajay Verma / Reuters This was brought home to...
- Switzerland About to Vote on “Free Lunch” for Everyone
Will the Swiss Guarantee CHF 75,000 for Every Family? In early June the Swiss will be called upon to make a historic decision. Switzerland is the first country worldwide to put the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income to a vote and the outcome of this referendum will set a strong precedent and establish a landmark in the evolution of this debate. The Swiss Basic Income Initiative in a demonstration in front of parliament. As we have previously reported (see “Swiss...
- Drowning the Fir
Presidential Duties Our editor recently stumbled upon an image in one of the more obscure corners of the intertubes which we felt we had to share with our readers. It provides us with a nice metaphor for the meaningfulness of government activity. First, here is a look at the picture – just quietly contemplate it for while and let it work its magic on you: Yes, these two gentlemen are actually watering a tree in the middle of a downpour... Photo via...
- Gold – The Commitments of Traders
Commercial and Non-Commercial Market Participants The commitments of traders in gold futures are beginning to look a bit concerning these days – we will explain further below why this is so. Some readers may well be wondering why an explanation is even needed. Isn't it obvious? Superficially, it sure looks that way. As the following chart of the net position of commercial hedgers illustrates, their position is currently at quite an extended...
- Heretical Thoughts and Doing the Unthinkable
Heresy! NORMANDY, France – The Dow rose 222 points on Tuesday – or just over 1%. But we agree with hedge-fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller: This is not a good time to be a U.S. stock market bull. Legendary former hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller at the Ira Sohn conference – not an optimist at present, to put it mildly. Photo credit: David A. Grogan / CNBC Speaking at an investment conference in New York last week, George Soros’ former partner...
- Staying Home on Election Day
Pretenses and Conceits The markets are eerily quiet… like an angry man with something on his mind and a shotgun in his hand. We will leave them to brood… and return to the spectacle of the U.S. presidential primaries. On display are all the pretenses, conceits, and absurdities of modern government. And now, the race narrows to the two most widely distrusted and loathed candidates. US election circus: Deep State Rep vs. Rage Channeller The first, a loose...
- How the Deep State’s Cronies Steal From You
Expanding in Ireland DUNMORE EAST, Ireland – We came down the coast from Dublin to check on our new office building. For this visit, we wanted to stay somewhere different than we normally do. So we chose a small hotel on the coast, called the Strand Inn. Irish landscape with alien landing pads. Even the guys from Rigel II have heard about Ireland's corporate tax rate. Photo credit: Tourism Ireland It is an excellent place for seafood and soda bread on a...
- The World's 100 Most Influential Hacks, Yahoos and Monkey Shiners
Hacks and Has-Beens NORMANDY, France – What has happened to TIME magazine? Henry Luce, who started TIME – the first weekly news magazine in the U.S. – would be appalled to see what it has become. Time cover featuring the sunburned mummy heading the globalist IMF bureaucracy (which inter alia advocates that governments should confiscate a portion of the wealth of their citizens overnight, even while its own employees don't have to pay a single cent in taxes). Once you...
- The Japanese Popsicle Affair
Policy-Induced Contrition in Japan As we keep saying, there really is no point in trying to make people richer by making them poorer – which is what Shinzo Abe and Haruhiko Kuroda have been trying to do for the past several years. Not surprisingly, they have so to speak only succeeded in achieving the second part of the equation: they have certainly managed to impoverish their fellow Japanese citizens. Shinzo Abe and Haruhiko Kuroda, professional yen assassins Photo credit:...
- Kuroda-San in the Mouth of Madness
Deluded Central Planners Zerohedge recently reported on an interview given by Lithuanian ECB council member Vitas Vasiliauskas, which demonstrates how utterly deluded the central planners in the so-called “capitalist” economies of the West have become. His statements are nothing short of bizarre (“we are magic guys!”) – although he is of course correct when he states that a central bank can never “run out of ammunition”. BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda Photo credit:...
- Revolution at the Ranch
Alarming News BALTIMORE, Maryland – An alarming email came on Tuesday from our ranch in Argentina: “Bad things going on… We thought we had the originarios problem settled. Not at all. They just invaded the ranch.” Originarios on the march... Photo credit: cta.org.ar To bring new readers fully into the picture, Northwest Argentina, where we have our ranch, has a revolution going on. Some of the indigenous people – that is, people with Native...
- The Long-Buried Secret of Napoleon Bonaparte
Family Secrets DUBLIN – The smart money is getting out while the gettin’ is still good. That’s the message we get from reading the recent headlines. Here’s the Financial Times: Redemptions from stock funds have hit nearly $90 billion this year as portfolio managers and hedge funds struggle to navigate a market that no longer seems driven by radical central bank policy. S&P 500 Index: causing navigational problems - click to...