• Editorials
  • In The News
  • -->

    Outside the Box, October 2010

    U.S. Midterm Elections, Obama and Iran

    October 28, 2010

    With midterm elections quickly approaching, the media is full of sordid details about candidates and good old-fashioned mudslinging. Few take a giant step back, and consequentially the high road, to recognize the big picture. As my friend George states in the piece below - whether we see overwhelming Republican victory or surprising Democratic saves next week, the end result is the same. Democrats will no longer hold a decisive majority, and any Republican majority will still face the...

    China and the Future of Rare Earth Elements - Outside the Box Special

    October 28, 2010

    With midterm elections quickly approaching, the media is full of sordid details about candidates and good old-fashioned mudslinging. Few take a giant step back, and consequentially the high road, to recognize the big picture. As my friend George states in the piece below - whether we see overwhelming Republican victory or surprising Democratic saves next week, the end result is the same. Democrats will no longer hold a decisive majority, and any Republican majority will still face the...

    How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America

    October 26, 2010

    I am in New York this afternoon attending and speaking at the Bank Credit Analyst Conference. I have to say that the panel on emerging markets gave me some real food for thought and an idea or two for a future e-letter. I have been a fan of emerging markets in general (with some exceptions) for some time but I should become even more so I think.

    For today’s Outside the Box I have something a little different. Michael Hudson has written a book called The Monster about the Mortgage industry, and...

    O Canada!

    October 18, 2010

    There are those who say the US is doomed, that there is no way out from our problems with deficits, future entitlement promises, and a dysfunctional political system. And in my darker moments I worry that they are right.

    I get the problems, probably more than most. But there is a way out. Hopefully, it does not entail collapse first, as some suggest. But it will require a lot of hard decisions. Some will be very hard.

    For example, many point to the unfunded Medicare liabilities of some $70...

    China and the Future of Rare Earth Elements

    October 15, 2010

    My internet went out today, and after chewing out my service provider for a good half-hour, I got to thinking about how we accomplished work in the good old days, before the age of information, when a mouse was just a furry varmint chased by cats. My thoughts snowballed, as they often do, and I began considering technology - the hard reality that makes the soft, virtual world possible. What is a laptop made of?

    In a miracle I can't begin to understand, my connection to the world wide web was...

    Time Loves A Hero

    October 11, 2010

    As long time readers know, I am a big fan of Greg Weldon. This week he has very graciously allowed me to reproduce his client letter from last Thursday on some of the issues of Bernanke and Quantitative Easing 2. It prints a little longer than usual because of his format and all the charts, but this is one letter you should take the time to read.

    You can get a free trial (his service is not cheap but if you are a global macro fund or trader, you really should have it!) by going to...

    Insolvency Too

    October 5, 2010

    As readers know, I was in Europe a few weeks ago, making a LOT of presentations. My London-based partners seem to feel that an hour or two of down time is wasted and only for sissies. I learn as much as I impart, and come away with lots of interesting information. Every now and then I learn something that gets into the category of what in the wide, wide world of (multiple expletives deleted) economics is going on? Subprime was like that when I first read about it. Could you really design CDOs...

    Pakistan and the U.S. Exit From Afghanistan

    October 1, 2010

    In the wake of the newly appointed heir to the North Korean dictatorship position, I've been thinking about the 'cult of personality'. Traditional reporting will often focus on the personality of leaders or, in the case of democracy, the details of leaders' interactions. While it's interesting to think about, some would call it one-sided, even topical. When I've got investments on the line, those are two words I don't want to describe my research.

    The decisions of a single personality seem...