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    Outside the Box, November 2010

    The Rational Optimist

    November 29, 2010

    One of my great and increasing pleasures is the Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition. I have grown to really look forward to reading Peggy Noonan, maybe my generation's most gifted essayist. That would be enough reason to pay the subscription price. To read her wordsmithery (is that a word?) is a sublime joy to this humble journeyman writer.

    And the Review section in the WSJ has become a revelation over the last few years. The essays are getting better and better. And the book...

    Shadow over Asia

    November 23, 2010

    This week we look over the Pacific pond to China and Japan, in an interview with my friend Vitaliy Katsenelson by David Galland, who is the managing editor of The Casey Report. Vitaliy is the chief investment officer of Investment Management Associates, Inc., and author of Active Value Investing. Profiled in Barron’s in September 2009, Vitaliy, who was born in Murmansk, Russia, and moved to the U.S. in 1991, is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Colorado at Denver’s Graduate School...

    The Age of Deleveraging

    November 15, 2010

    Before we get into this week’s outstanding Outside the Box, I want to comment on QE2 and the efforts by some Republican economists to urge legislators to get involved to stop it (see the front page of Monday’s Wall Street Journal). That pushes my comfort zone a little too much.

    First, I am not a fan of QE2. Never have been. If it had been my call, I would have punted and told the guys in the Capital that the ball was in their court to get their fiscal house in order, because that is the main...

    Geopolitical Journey, Part I: The Traveler

    November 11, 2010

    My friend and fishing buddy George Friedman travels as much as I do. Yet even when we visit the same place, it's like we're in two different countries. I see a river and think about fishing. George sees a river and explains a geographical reality that's shaped that nation's history. I read the menu at a gourmet restaurant and draw conclusions about my appetite; George observes what kind of shoes the children wear and draws conclusions about the country's future. No joke.

    George has developed a...

    Keynesian Confusion

    November 1, 2010

    Michael Lewitt is one of the most provocative writers I know. He consistently gives me something to chew on with his monthly letter. How he comes up with all those quotes (usually from sources I have never read but should have) amazes me. He has a unique view of the markets as he run Collateralized Debt Obligation funds and really understand the nitty-gritty of the bond and credit markets.

    His work is subscription only, but he has graciously allowed me to use his latest piece as this week’s...