Outside the Box, June 2008


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The End of the Inflation Scare?

June 30, 2008

I mentioned in last Saturday's letter a report by Louis Gave of GaveKal fame on whether inflation may be waning and its importance. Louis gave me permission to use it as this week's Outside the Box. It is typical of the thoughtful analytical work they do.

Louis and his partners and associates at GaveKal write some of the more thought-provoking material I read. They really challenge my position on numerous matters, causing me to look at many items from a different view. That of course, makes...

Intelligence Guidance

June 26, 2008

This week I want to share with you one of the more important tools in my arsenal for keeping up with what is going on in the world. As I've told you before, George Friedman and his team at Stratfor are my go-to guys for geopolitical intelligence. Their insights into this facet of the world are simply without peer. Now I want you to see their Intelligence Guidance which they publish each Friday for the upcoming week; last week's edition is below.

The Intelligence Guidance is an internal...

A Kind Word for Inflation

June 23, 2008

This week's Outside the Box will challenge a few of your base assumptions. Paul McCulley, the managing director at PIMCO, offers us a kind word for inflation and the reasons that the Fed will be on hold for a lot longer than the markets currently think. And part of that is to avoid a real recession or even a depression. Getting this debate right is important.

These are indeed interesting times we live in. I look forward to being with Paul at the end of July on our Maine fishing expedition,...

The Road To Revulsion

June 16, 2008

What does a bubble look like and how do they end? In this week's Outside the Box, James Montier of Societe Generale in London looks at not only the psychological analysis, but also at the propensity for commentators to continually proclaim the end of the problem and a resumption of business as usual. He includes a fascinating piece from Marc Faber documenting the various quotes about how well the economy was doing from 1928-32. This makes for fun, if a little sobering, reading.

To quote from...

The Geopolitics Of China

June 12, 2008

No matter where in the world I am, in South Africa, in Europe, in La Jolla, there's one question I get asked over and over, "What about China?" And small wonder. The increasing impact of China in the last generation is just staggering and seemingly accelerating every day. If you're in the market for oil, minerals, arable land, equities or debt, you're bidding against Chinese government-sponsored entities with a $1 trillion warchest. And the list of markets where China is a key player grows...

Fooling With Inflation

June 9, 2008

This week in Outside the Box we look at Bill Gross's recent essay on measuring inflation. How you measure inflation makes a difference not only in social security payments but also in what your real returns on bonds are. As Bill notes, there is a significant difference in how the world measures inflation and how it is done in the US. He gives us some insights that are very thought-provoking.

In the last decade economists regularly argued the CPI over-stated inflation by 1%. Now Gross suggests...

The Mean Season

June 2, 2008

Regular readers of Outside the Box will be familiar with Michael Lewitt's thoughtful commentary. Today, he reminds us that much of the turmoil we are in could have been avoided with proper regulatory structures and then does a very poignant analysis of various sectors of the economy. I agree with him that we have not seen the worst and that we will continue to see this mild recession/slow recovery for longer than we should without true structural reform.

On a side note, I will be on CNBC...