Economic Analysis

The Geopolitical Foundations of Blackwater

Outside the Box

October 11, 2007

This week in the Special Outside the Box, good friend George Friedman addresses the lax governance and control of Blackwater, a private security firm recently embroiled in the accusation of firing upon Iraqi civilians without provocation. George shows us that private security contractors' working beside the military is not a recent mode of operation but rather one that has long been employed by the US military.

Furthermore, that private security firms serve a necessary role in US military...

A Trip Back in Time to Profit from the Unfolding Crisis Today

Outside the Box

October 8, 2007

I get more questions about gold than other single topic. The fascination for the "barbarous relic" among my readers is clear. This week in Outside the Box we take a look at the gold market, its growth-to-date, and potential future investment opportunity. Doug Casey and David Galland of Casey Research provide an intriguing analysis of the gold market today.

I have known Doug and David a very long time. They take their research on gold stocks very seriously, and have been quite successful over...

The Slow Motion Recession

Thoughts from the Frontline

October 5, 2007

The market certainly seemed pleased with the new jobs number. The glass is more than half full - or is it? Fed Vice-chairman seemed to suggest that the economy was getting better and the Fed might not need to make any further rate cuts. Is it now "One (Cut) and Done?" This week we look at what employment growth tells us about the growth of the US economy, spend some more time looking at how a fall in home prices will affect consumer spending, and muse on whether the Fed is indeed done cutting....

What Do They Know?

Outside the Box

October 1, 2007

We are in a world far different than the one I learned about in economic text books. As I have written, the shadow banking system of hedge funds and CDOs, CLOs, PIPES, etc. have created a new financing economic reality far different than the traditional banking system was just 20 years ago. Does the Fed have the tools in its toolkit to deal with the new reality?

This week, Bill Gross of Pimco fame looks at the problem in a manner that is truly Outside the Box. Bill Gross has been called "the...

Israel, Syria and the Glaring Secret

Outside the Box

September 28, 2007

One of the things I found out in my recent survey of readers is that many of you really like the special Outside the Box I send every now and then from George Friedman and Stratfor. I share your enthusiasm for the really unique world view that George and his team bring to us. This week's special Outside the Box is no exception to the quality and uniqueness of analysis that George brings to us.

I have found it very strange that no government is talking about the air strike that Israel did a...

The Return of Muddle Through

Thoughts from the Frontline

September 28, 2007

The dollar reaches new lows. The housing market shows no sign of a bottom. Oil almost touches $84 before backing off. Interest rates go up after the Fed cuts. So naturally the stock market keeps climbing. But then, consumer spending came in strong, employment looks like it may be ok, inflation (at least by one measure) came in below 2%. This week we look at the question of whether you could have a continued bull market and a recession. (Maybe.) We look at the bigger picture for the...

Do Not Forget About Changes in Velocity

Outside the Box

September 24, 2007

This week in Outside the Box, Louis-Vincent Gave, Charles Gave, Anatole Kaletsky, and company of GaveKal Research delve into the underlying misconceptions that presumes money velocity is and will remain constant, in the equation that says MV = PQ (Money*Velocity = Prices*Quantity) when M is increased. GaveKal Research strive to show that in application this relationship does not hold, and that investors ought to look to velocity to rebound to gauge market recovery or further...

Sea Change at the Fed

Thoughts from the Frontline

September 21, 2007

"Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea change
Into something rich and strange"
(The Tempest - Shakespeare)

The term "sea change" has come to mean a profound transformation ever since Will Shakespeare used it in The Tempest. I think this week we witnessed a true sea change in central bank policy, on both sides of the Atlantic. The stock market rejoiced over a 50 basis point cut from the Fed, assuming that it...

Here Comes A Whale

Outside the Box

September 17, 2007

My friends have at GaveKal have been whale watching for some time. But not for Blue whales or in an ocean. There theory is that Central banks keep throwing dynamite (in terms of liquidity) into the ocean during credit problems, watching little fish die and don't stop until a whale floats to the surface, thereby giving a signal that the credit crisis is close to being over. They think they have spotted that whale.

This week in a very interesting and decidedly different Outside the...

The Black Swan

Thoughts from the Frontline

September 14, 2007

"A similar effect is taking place in economic life. I spoke about globalization in Chapter 3; it is here, but it is not all for the good: it creates interlocking fragility, while reducing volatility and giving the appearance of stability. In other words it creates devastating Black Swans. We have never lived before under the threat of a global collapse. Financial institutions have been merging into a smaller number of very large banks. Almost all banks are now interrelated. So the financial...