The fundamentals always win, in the end!
Those that know me or have followed Learning from Dogs for the last year (and thank you!) know that I am pretty pessimistic about the economic future for North America and Europe (at least!). I speak not as an economist, far from it, but as someone sufficiently old to think that many millions of individuals and their countries have been living on borrowed time for decades.
Twenty years ago I didn’t really do anything than feel uncomfortable when friends announced another new house with mortgages far in excess of the old ‘rule’ of 1.5 to 2.0 times one’s annual income.
Then I came across David Kauders of Kauders Portfolio Management who explained in fundamental ways why this was all going to end in tears, so to speak. Wasn’t he right!
Thanks to David, I am moderately more well-off than I would have been – without a doubt. Not only did David manage my private pension, he greatly influenced my modest personal investments outside his portfolio.
Where’s this heading? This Blog is an attempt to show that integrity in all that we all do is not only the best personal strategy, it is the only viable course for mankind in bringing us back from the brink of global disaster. So a couple of recent items about economic matters from people of great integrity underlined the value of mentioning them in this Blog.
The first is a talk given by Elizabeth Warren two years ago, in January 2008, entitled The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class. It’s nearly an hour long but very well worth watching especially in the way that Ms. Warren shows how counter-intuitive is our understanding of how family costs have risen over the last 30 years. Although it applies to the US, it certainly has relevance for British viewers. Do watch it.
Here’s how the video is described:
Distinguished law scholar Elizabeth Warren teaches contract law, bankruptcy, and commercial law at Harvard Law School. She is an outspoken critic of America’s credit economy, which she has linked to the continuing rise in bankruptcy among the middle-class.
Next is that stalwart Karl Denninger. How he finds the energy and enthusiasm for publishing his Market Ticker is beyond me. He’s not subtle but his personal integrity is beyond reproach in my opinion.
Karl was recently interviewed by Bill Still (Bill produced the highly acclaimed film The Money Masters) and despite the videos being heavily edited Karl says “and for the most part accurately captures my views on the topics covered.”
Again these interviews are not short but, again, if you want to understand how dangerous the fundamentals still are – then watch them.
Karl Denninger, author of Market Ticker and winner of the 2008 Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award explains the roots of the current crisis and why real economic growth is impossible. He explains why the stock market rebounded in 2009 and why that can’t continue. He explains what needs to be done with the banks and predicts that all the big banks will fail.
Finally back to David Kauders. He also publishes an opinion website Contrary View. Here’s what David wrote in February 2010.
No. 73 22nd February 2010 Predicting lost decades
There is plenty of evidence from Japan about lost decades for investments. Japan has now lost two decades in equity and property investment, during which time only Government Bonds provided any sanctuary. All policy options failed, because none tackled the real problem, which is that there is already too much debt. What lessons can be drawn for Britain?
Shares here have certainly had a lost decade. On the Japanese evidence, they may well suffer another lost decade. Property has only hit minor bumps, so the Japanese experience suggests that property may suffer a long decline for two decades. In the UK, the Bank of England’s support for mortgages will be withdrawn over the next two years, which itself threatens prices. Why, though, the hysteria about Government debt?
It is questionable whether pundits appreciate the extent of the private sector debt problem, which explains why two groups of economists can offer totally contradictory remedies. In a world with no Gold standard and therefore no anchor to the monetary system, Government debt is relatively safe. The global economy is perched on a knife edge, with a permanent loss of output that must cause income loss and therefore restrict the capacity of households to service their debts. Seeing the commercial risks, banks are still restricting lending, which means there can be no sustained recovery.
There is a misconceived demographic argument being touted at present, which completely ignores the real driver of the post-1945 expansion, namely increased credit. That credit growth has simply gone too far and now brings its own problems. For those people who neither saw the credit crunch nor the long fall in interest rates and inflation coming, to now be credible in predicting a lost decade for bonds, is itself unbelievable.
You see how it all makes sense – the fundamentals are in charge, and always will be!
You be safe out there!
By Paul Handover