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Thoughts From the Frontline, July 2010

Are We There Yet?

July 30, 2010

"...[this economic condition] has been brought about by policies which the majority of economists recommended and even urged governments to pursue. We have indeed at the moment little cause for pride: as a profession we have made a mess of things."

—Friedrich August von Hayek, Nobel Speech 2010 1974

Those of us who have taken young children on long road trips to somewhere they wanted to go are familiar with the plaintive question "Are We There Yet?" As a nation and indeed the developed world,...

Some Thoughts on Deflation

July 24, 2010

The debate over whether we are in for inflation or deflation was alive and well at the Agora Symposium in Vancouver this this week. It seems that not everyone is ready to join the deflation-first, then-inflation camp I am currently resident in. So in this week's letter we look at some of the causes of deflation, the elements of deflation, if you will, and see if they are in ascendancy. For equity investors, this is an important question because, historically, periods of deflation have not been...

The Debt Supercycle

July 17, 2010

I have been writing about The End Game for some time now. And writing a book of the same title. Consequently, I have been thinking a lot about how the credit crisis evolved into the sovereign debt crisis, and how it all ends. Today we explore a few musings I have had of late, while we look at some very interesting research. What will a world look like as a variety of nations have to deal with the end of their Debt Supercycle. We'll jump right in with no "but first's" this week.

Part of this...

It’s More Than Just Birth-Death

July 9, 2010

Just how dynamic is the US job market? If I told you we created over 4 million jobs in April, would you believe me? I had a long conversation with Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO yesterday. He is openly speculating that employment may no longer be just a lagging indicator but may also be predictive. It is an interesting insight, which we will explore as we take a very deep look at US employment. And I answer a few questions about my thought that there is a 60% chance for a recession in 2011, and why...

The Dismal Science Really Is

July 2, 2010

There's a reason economics is called the dismal science, and weeks like this just give it further meaning. In economics, there is what you see and what you don't. This week we are going to examine the headline data we all see and then take a look for what most observers do not see. Then we'll try to think about what it all really means. With employment, housing, and the ISM numbers, there is a lot to cover. And this letter will print out longer than usual, as there are a lot of charts. Warning:...