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    Outside the Box, July 2012

    Joan Sees Red

    July 31, 2012

    It seems like the whole world is expecting Ben and Mario to ride in and save the day with yet more stimulus. But to what effect, I wonder. Is a short-term rise in the market a cure for the basic disease of too much debt? And, as today’s Outside the Box hilariously points out, it can even make things worse.

    Joan McCullough is perhaps my favorite curmudgeon. She writes so freely and with such style and feeling, but she also gives us such exquisite bits of...

    Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook

    July 24, 2012

    The relationship between high total public debt and interest rates is controversial (to some); and in today’s Outside the Box Van Hoisington and Dr. Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management tackle the subject head-on, in their “Quarterly Review and Outlook” for Q2 2012. They bring important new evidence to the debate, citing three academic studies (including an April 2012 paper coauthored by Rogoff and Reinhart) and an historical retrospective that focuses on the debt-disequilibrium panic...

    Stratfor Third Quarter Forecast

    July 19, 2012

    There are plenty of forecasts out there, but today I send you one you can trust. Stratfor, a geopolitical analysis company, has one of the most rigorous methodologies out there, and their forecasts provide excellent insight into the outcome of world events in the coming quarter.

    Europe, Syria, and China are the big three to watch the next three to six months.

But if you are looking for a much longer forecast, Stratfor's founder – and my friend – George Friedman has boldly written one for...

    Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

    July 16, 2012

    In today's Outside the Box, the ever-philosophical Grant Williams introduces us to the ancient and profound art and science of alchemy – "the original 12-step program," as he calls it, the avid pursuit of übernerds from Hermes Trismegistus to Isaac Newton to (believe it or not) John Maynard Keynes, who referred to certain early works of econometrics as statistical alchemy (and some still are!). And we should not forget Carl Jung, who wrote the seminal work Psychology and Alchemy (for those who...

    The Tragic Decline of Gibraltar’s Spanish Neighbor

    July 10, 2012

    I was on the ground in Spain a few weeks back, and then I ran into this piece in Spiegel Online about a small, struggling town on the Spanish border with (British) Gibraltar. This essay resonates in some of the same ways as the Michael Lewis piece on Greece. This is just one town, and Spain has many regions, some more prosperous than others; but in a country where there is 23% unemployment and 50% among youth, there is plenty of suffering everywhere. The general story is one of deep problems,...

    A Random Walk Through My Inbox

    July 3, 2012

    Even while here in Tuscany I go on reading my email, albeit at a pace that is somewhat less maniacal than usual. I can't help myself; I find it fascinating to "surf" my emails and other sources. I get several hundred emails a day and about 40-50 that get more than a cursory notice. (I always try to read emails sent to me personally!) Today, for your Outside the Box, I am going to do something rather different. Rather than posting one or two essays, I am going to cut and paste snippets that I...