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Episode: Distraction, Day Trading, Singapore & Vietnam

Synopsis: Michael Covel comes to today from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam after spending several weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and a few days in Singapore. Covel talks about some of his experiences is Singapore and Vietnam, but first he shares a quote from legendary trend following trader Ed Seykota regarding day trading: “Traders use it medicinally as distraction from deeper issues.” Seykota has a remarkable ability to take complicated thoughts and reduce them down to only a few words, holding a mirror up to you and your life in the process. Covel talks about the “screen watchers” who have to look at their trades all day long and questions their performance. Where are all the day traders’ performance data? They simply don’t exist with only a few exceptions for big traders like Steve Cohen. Take that and compare it to trend following which has the performance data to prove its success. Without that data Covel’s “Trend Following” book would have simply been opinion with no foundation. Covel digs deeper into the Seykota quote and discusses the core issues of what he’s really talking about: is day trading simply the answer to your other problems? It’s very similar to the lottery mentality regardless of how people try and talk it up: there’s a very small chance of you winning big in the end. Covel also recounts some of his experiences abroad and compares it to the situation in America today. Compared to Singapore America simply can’t compete with what they are able to get done. Singapore has great economic freedom and there’s a wide desire there to make money–not just live off the State nipple. Economic freedom and the desire to make money, however crass, leads to a better life. Covel mentions a book he’s currently reading about how the Russian oligarchs came to power and made their billions. It’s really rooted in the system that was the old Soviet Union system: the state-run economy and taking advantage of that. Everything was run by the state: the banks, the delivery of bread, the production of produce, etc. Covel brings it up because he’s currently in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Today, there’s nothing that feels remotely communist to Covel. He saw a couple of flags on some government buildings, but that’s about it. Instead, it’s mostly commerce and entrepreneurs. There’s an energy there and people are clearly ready to make something happen. Ultimately, this brings Covel back to America. America does not have the ability to build a Singapore right now. Covel discusses the voting process and whether it’s better to have a system where you know you don’t have certain rights and freedoms (like Vietnam) or to have a system that gives you those rights and freedoms, but it’s more akin to a fantasy. He’s not some angry ex-pat: Covel simply wants to point out that the American system was founded on pure and noble ideals, but the bureaucracy has gotten so big and so unwieldy that the average vote makes no difference. Even a change in political leadership doesn’t make a difference, and those on the right and left have more in common than not in common. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to http://www.trendfollowing.com/win.

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