I finished up listening to your podcast with Mike Lofgren on “The Deep State” and felt the urge to just thank you for a very interesting, informative, provocative, but essential discussion. Ironically, the issues you discussed are standard dinner table topics for me and my family (I’d consider ourselves different from the norm in a good way). Unfortunately, today’s farrago of reality TV shows, sports, and social issues have become red herrings to the more important topics. Why discuss the vexing and complicated issues when we can just talk about the Kardashians or whether bathrooms should be genderless?… At any rate, look forward to more discussions on your podcast.
PS: I have also been working in investments for a couple years but would could consider myself a “new” trader. At the end of your podcast you mentioned you’d send some trend following steps. I currently use a nuanced Tom Demark Indicator system, but I’m always open to learning something new.
Michael Covel interviews Ben Hunt. Ben is the Chief Risk Officer at Salient Partners and the author of “Epsilon Theory.” This is his second time on Trend Following Radio. He has an interesting way of looking at capital markets–through the lens of game theory.
Michael and Ben start the podcast off talking about buy and hold and why the strategy does so poorly. Ben moves on to break apart monetary policy and domestic politics and how they are intimately intertwined. When you have a world of massive debt, like we do today, then deleveraging naturally should take place. Instead, in today’s world you have the ownership of that debt shifted from private entities taking responsibility of it, to the government.
Central bank policies are always a direct reflection of the politics that are going on in the big four economies that drive the world; U.S., China, Europe, and Japan. The domestic political interactions going on in those countries are what you see in the world’s economics. This leads to cooperation during economic crashes, for example, during the great recession. Countries inflate their economy to get out of economic crashes. Going to a lower or negative interest rate is a perfect way to devalue a countries currency. Right now, we are moving from a positive sum on trade, to a zero sum on trade and Ben says that the outcome is very predictable. He says that we have seen this movie before and it isn’t hard to see how it is going to play out.
Michael brings up Ray Dalio and asks the question, “Why are all these companies putting their money in one place, with one company and with the same model?” Ben notes Ray Dalio’s massive amount of money that he manages and what Bridgewater (his company) has created is an easy process that is implemented in an automated and quantitative system. The whole notion of having a rigorous process and managing clients money within that process is Bridgewater and Dalio’s most widely spread influence. Bottom line, instead of trying to predict what is going to happen we need to try and react quickly to circumstances.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
What drives the value of currency?
Economics in recessions
Policy controlled markets
Expectations of the public markets
“Markets are too important to be left to investors.” – Ben Hunt
“It goes back to what I was saying about the overwhelming debt that sloshes around in the world and there are only three ways to get out of that: You can grow your way out, you can inflate your way out or you can assign losses and try to reset.” – Ben Hunt
You know, if we’re going to argue about the 1990’s instead of talking about the future, which I’d much prefer because I think every election is about the future, and you all deserve to know what we will do to help you have a brighter future — but, if we are going to talk about the 1990’s I think it’s only fair to say that at the end of the 1990’s, after two terms of my husband’s presidency, the unemployment rate in Michigan was 4.4 percent.
The 1990s were the biggest stock market bubble in USA history. And now 16 years later, via slight of hand and a fantasy timeline, shes brag about the then great economy that magically only concluded at the tail end of her husband’s Presidency.
Bottom line, politicians are never the path to wealth and their words never tell anywhere close to a full story. Here are the 1990s in Nasdaq chart form:
You might not be willing to devote the time and energy to understand how electricity actually works, or the mechanisms of your democracy, or the insights behind irrational decision making. More likely, you don’t want to expend the emotional labor to push through feeling dumb as you dig deep on your way to getting smart.
That’s always been an option. You can just use the tool without understanding it, copy the leader without realizing where she’s going, follow instructions without questioning them.
You can choose to be a cog in a machine you don’t understand.
If that’s working for you, no need to change it.
It made me ponder: trust the Fed, trust buy and hold, etc. If it’s working for you, no need to change it.
Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Jim Rogers. Jim is a famed American investor based in Singapore. He was co-founder of the Quantum Fund, and has authored numerous books. Today’s conversation is geared toward the central banking system and the direction Michael and Jim think the world’s economy is headed.
Michael starts the podcast off talking about negative interest rates and if that is a possibility in the U.S. Jim brings up a study published in 2007 that said, “We have the Federal Reserve, we have 1,000 of the most brilliant economists in the world how can we be wrong? How can people say that we are wrong?” Jim says that for the last 30 years the Fed has done just that. They have gotten just about everything wrong. Janet Yellen has been getting everything wrong since before she was even head of the Fed. She blames her blunders on the market being wrong or the public being wrong. According to Jim, every head of the Fed has been an academic and political hack.
Michael posits, “Everyone should be able to imagine another stock crash, we have had enough of them.” Jim says that the debt is staggering right now so when we have a crash it is going to be utter chaos. When we have extreme economic problems a war usually follows as well as someone coming in on a white horse to save the day. That white horse person will also cause more debt and make things even worse. This is the first time in history that government is actually out to destroy the people who have saved and set away for retirement. The middle and saving class has been destroyed before, but that was because of war or inflation. Jim says that it is mind boggling that the government’s solution to clearing up debt is to create more debt.
Next, Michael asks, “How do you see China right now?” Jim says that when they had their big market crash they chose to invest in the future with money they had saved. In America, we did the opposite. We chose to bail out the bureaucrats and make sure the rich didn’t go poor. The European and Japanese central banks have come out saying that they will practice unlimited QE funding. They will print unlimited amounts of money to solve their economic problems. Most do not question this because most people have no idea who or want the central bank is.
Lastly, Michael asks Jim what the best way is to prepare for potential problems that may unfold in the future. Jim says the first thing is to not listen to the news or what you may read on the internet. Stay with what you know and if you don’t think you know something, do nothing..
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
Negative interest rates
Central banking systems
The impact of unintended consequences
Preparing for the future
“For the last 30 years look at who we have had down there [as the head of the Federal Reserve]. They have all been academic and political hacks.” – Jim Rogers
Today on Trend Following Radio Michael Covel discusses three topics: the idea of two Americas, crowds, and his recent Barry Ritholtz interview. Michael starts off reading from an article titled “Two Americas.” The article focuses on people who contribute, and those who do not. People who work and those who do not. The article disagrees with the notion that all incomes should be equal. Different choices lead to different consequences. Those who choose wisely have a greater degree of success and should not have their success taken from them because others chose unwisely. The article goes on to say, “Entitlement has replaced effort in American society.” Just because you went to college doesn’t mean you are entitled to a certain level of income. On the other hand, those that do not have an education or work hard to make something happen are also not entitled to a certain level of income. Achievers do not want a pat on the head or a fake handout. Free money doesn’t work. You need passionate effort for there to be a desirable end result. If the drive is not there then the result is there.
Michael then reads from a blog post by Seth Godin titled “The crowd, your work, and a choice.” Seth dives into crowd mentality. He says that the public would rather, “Watch a movie than read a book, stand in lines for the popular attractions…likes explosions, resolved plots and ample lighting…Crowds only care about fast, easy, cheap, fun, now and simple.” Crowds demand that they are told how much they will make and in what markets. When it comes to investing and trading there are no deadlines. Trends come and go, there is no timeline.
Michael moves on to discuss his recent interview in New York with Barry Ritholtz. He talks about himself and Barry as a piece of media and how media is becoming more individualized with the help of social media. There are so many outlets to get your name out whether it be your blog, podcast, or news column. All these places are just distribution outlets. Places like twitter and Instagram give you a platform to contribute value and feedback to people. It is now easier than ever to build a one man media conglomerate.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
“The crowds favorite words include fast, easy, cheap, fun, now, and simple.” – Seth Godin
“One group will preach equality of outcome as a right while completely ignoring inequality of effort.” – Source Unknown
I like what Lou Holtz says here, but it’s better IMO without “names”. So I made that edit:
The [name] are right, there are two Americas. The America that works and the America that doesn’t. The America that contributes and the America that doesn’t. It’s not the haves and the have nots, it’s the dos and the don’ts. Some people do their duty as Americans, obey the law, support themselves, contribute to society and others don’t. That’s the divide in America.
It’s not about income inequality, it’s about civic irresponsibility. It’s about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in order to win elective office. It’s about a political party that loves power more than it loves its country.
That’s not invective, that’s truth, and it’s about time someone said it.
The politics of envy was on proud display a couple weeks ago when [name] pledged the rest of [name] term to fighting “income inequality.” [name] noted that some people make more than other people, that some people have higher incomes than others, and [name] says that’s not just. That is the rationale of thievery.
The other guy has it, you want it, [name] will take it for you. Vote [name]. That is the philosophy that produced [name].
It is the electoral philosophy that is destroying America. It conceals a fundamental deviation from American values and common sense because it ends up not benefiting the people who support it, but a betrayal.
The [name] have not empowered their followers, they have enslaved them in a culture of dependence and entitlement, of victim-hood and anger instead of ability and hope. The [name] premise – that you reduce income inequality by debasing the successful–seeks to deny the successful the consequences of their choices and spare the unsuccessful the consequences of their choices. Because, by and large, income variations in society are a result of different choices leading to different consequences.
Those who choose wisely and responsibly have a far greater likelihood of success, while those who choose foolishly and irresponsibly have a far greater likelihood of failure.
Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family income. You choose to drop out of high school or to skip college – and you are apt to have a different outcome than someone who gets a diploma and pushes on with purposeful education.
You have your children out of wedlock and life is apt to take one course; you have them within a marriage and life is apt to take another course. Most often in life our destination is determined by the course we take.
My doctor, for example, makes far more than I do. There is significant income inequality between us. Our lives have had an inequality of outcome, but, our lives also have had an in equality of effort. While my doctor went to college and then devoted his young adulthood to medical school and residency, I got a job in a restaurant. He made a choice, I made a choice, and our choices led us to different outcomes. His outcome pays a lot better than mine. Does that mean he cheated and [name] needs to take away his wealth? No, it means we are both free men in a free society where free choices lead to different outcomes.
It is not inequality [name] intends to take away, it is freedom. The freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail. There is no true option for success if there is no true option for failure. The pursuit of happiness means a whole lot less when you face the punitive hand of government if your pursuit brings you more happiness than the other guy. Even if the other guy sat on his arse and did nothing. Even if the other guy made a lifetime’s worth of asinine and short sighted decisions.
[name] and the [name] preach equality of outcome as a right, while completely ignoring inequality of effort. The simple Law of the Harvest – as ye sow, so shall ye reap – is sometimes applied as, “The harder you work, the more you get.”
[name] would turn that upside down. Those who achieve are to be punished as enemies of society and those who fail are to be rewarded as wards of society. Entitlement will replace effort as the key to upward mobility in American society if [name] gets his way. [name] seeks a lowest common denominator society in which the government besieges the successful and productive to foster equality through mediocrity. [name] and [name] party speak of two Americas, and their grip on power is based on using the votes of one to sap the productivity of the other. America is not divided by the differences in our outcomes, it is divided by the differences in our efforts.
It is a false philosophy to say one man’s success comes about unavoidably as the result of another man’s victimization.
What [name] offered was not a solution, but a separatism. [name] fomented division and strife, pitted one set of Americans against another for [name] own political benefit. That’s what socialists offer. Marxist class warfare wrapped up with a bow. Two Americas, coming closer each day to proving the truth to Lincoln’s maxim that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”