Outside the Box, August 2017

China: Q2 Early Look Brief

August 30, 2017

Leland Miller is a leading expert on China’s financial system and a good friend. He and his colleagues publish the China Beige Book, which is actually a whole series of distinct products. They regularly interview (if memory serves correctly) about 2000 large Chinese companies in every sector to get a good idea of what is actually happening in the Chinese economy. There is nothing else like their work, and anybody who is investing large sums or who just does business in China gladly pays the...

Doesn’t Matter, Doesn’t Matter, Matters!

August 23, 2017

In Outside the Box today, good friend and at various times business partner Steve Blumenthal reveals a very useful character flaw and follows up our shared experience at Camp Kotok with some perceptive observations about things he heard there that matter. He also shares his notes on a recent interview of Ray Dalio by Bloomberg’s Tom Keene and Mike McKee. Here, he says, is the stuff that matters most!

I really liked the theme he developed about matters and does not matter. When he writes the...

Wages vs. Jobs

August 16, 2017

In Outside the Box today, my good friend Gary Shilling draws some crucial distinctions with respect to wage and jobs and explains why our perplexing US labor market is actually quite rational. Gary shares with me a fundamental optimism regarding our prospects for long-term economic growth, and in this report he tells us why.

This kind of in-depth dissection of macro trends is what Gary is known for. You can learn more about subscribing to his monthly Insight report and take advantage of a...

Amazon and Walmart Battle for Retail’s Future

August 9, 2017

In true Outside the Box fashion, my good friend Neil Howe has reconsidered the escalating war between Amazon and Walmart for the future of retail, and in true Neil fashion he has come up with some surprising insights. One of the takeaways here, he says, is that market “duopolies” can save consumers money – so you and I had better hope the battle isn’t resolved anytime soon. Did you know that one in five US consumers is now an Amazon Prime member? But don’t count Walmart out, Neil warns.

Neil...

Camp Kotok, Here We Come!

August 2, 2017

Tomorrow I head for the backwoods of Maine and Camp Kotok – always one of the high points of my year. Most of my readers know by now that Camp Kotok is the annual fishing trip cum economics gab-fest hosted by David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors. It’s an invitation-only event that has been compared to Jackson Hole and even Davos – except that here you get to catch your own lunch.

David hatched the idea after surviving the attack on the World Trade Center, where he was attending a conference on...