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Spoiler Alert: Godot Never Shows Up

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Submitted by Ben Hunt of Epsilon Theory

The 18th Brumaire of Janet Yellen

One of the more painful lessons in investing is that the prudent investor (or ‘value investor’ if you prefer) almost invariably must forego plenty of fun at the top end of markets. This market is already no exception, but speculation can hurt prudence much more and probably will. Ah, that’s life. And with a Fed like ours it’s probably what we deserve.

      – Jeremy Grantham, macro fund manager and noted Bear (Nov. 19, 2013)

 

I cannot look at myself in the mirror; everything I have believed in I have had to reject. This environment only makes sense through the prism of trends.

      – Hugh Hendry, macro fund manager and noted Bear (Nov. 22, 2013)

 

The hippies, who had never really believed they were the wave of the future anyway, saw the election results as brutal confirmation of the futility of fighting the establishment on its own terms.

      – Hunter S. Thompson, “The Hashbury is the Capital of the Hippies” (1967)

 

In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.

      – Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1984)

 

The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering.’ So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.

      – Milan Kundera, “Ignorance” (2000)

 

The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships.

      – Karl Marx, “The German Ideology” (1846)

 

“Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot.”

      – Samuel Beckett, “Waiting for Godot” (1953)

Karl Marx may not have had a small-l liberal bone in his body, but he was one of the keenest observers of the human condition to ever live, and his writings are a phenomenal resource for anyone seeking to understand our lives as social animals. In 1852 Marx published an essay titled The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, recounting the 1851 coup where Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte (nephew of THE Napoleon) seized dictatorial powers in France. The essay was, Marx wrote, intended to “demonstrate how the class struggle in France created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero’s part,” and it is here that Marx describes his view of the individual’s role in history. Which is to say … not much, as individuals are almost always prisoners of the past and their class, particularly shadow or derivative individuals, as Louis-Napoleon was to his uncle and Yellen is to Bernanke. This was the essay where Marx famously said that history always repeats itself, only the second time as farce, a phenomenon I’ve written about at length as the emergency Fed policies that saved the world in 2009 have been transformed into a more or less permanent government insurance program.

I started this note with quotes from two prominently bearish money managers – Jeremy Grantham and Hugh Hendry – both of whom are throwing in the towel on the upward trajectory of the market in the face of inexorable government bond-buying. Their change of heart reflects (finally and begrudgingly) the overwhelmingly dominant Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence, that for better or worse it is central bank policy (particularly the Fed’s QE policy) that determines market outcomes. This Narrative is encapsulated in the following chart, a graph that we’ve all seen a million times in one form or another and has become a meme unto itself.

This is the Common Knowledge of our day … that so long as the Fed continues to buy, the market will continue to go up. Maybe they taper the rate of purchases or even stop expanding altogether, but if the market gets squirrelly they will just start buying again. The Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence doesn’t mean that the market will only go up; it means that central bank policy is the overwhelming causal factor for market levels. It is as powerful a Common Knowledge structure as I’ve ever measured, and it’s at the heart of Grantham and Hendry’s hand-wringing. They aren’t capitulating to the market going up, but to WHY the market is going up. It’s a market dynamic that is alien to their (formidable) talents as money managers and to their (strongly held) belief structures on the meaning of an investment.

But for both Grantham and Hendry (and I suspect every investor who has been fighting the Fed in one way or another), this is a temporary capitulation. They both cling to the notion that this, too, shall pass, that we shall someday return to a market environment where real-world business fundamentals matter more than monetary policy. Maybe the return to “normal” comes with a bang … some sort of “Minsky moment” and asset price collapse where there’s a sudden realization that the Emperor has no clothes (or no more bonds to buy) … or maybe it comes with a whimper, as the Fed slowly and calmly drains the excess reserves it has built up in the financial system with the magical “tools” that are touted every time Bernanke (and now Yellen) testifies before Congress. To which I say … maybe. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking for a market clearing Shock Ending or Happy Ending, as opposed to what seems to me to be the more likely outcome of the Entropic Ending, a long gray slog through a more or less permanently depressed world and a more or less permanently Fed-centric market.

Louis-Napoleon’s reign may have been a farcical shadow of his uncle’s Emperorship, but the truth is that Napoleon I set into motion structural changes in the world that dominate our lives still. Napoleon changed the meaning of nationalism. He changed the meaning of war. He changed what it means to live as a human animal in a mass society. I mean, the entire concept of mass society really begins with Napoleon and the levée en masse, the Napoleonic Code, the notion of Total War, and the authoritarian co-opting of revolutionary ideals. Put the political inventions of Napoleon (and his Prussian and English opponents) together with the mechanical inventions of the Industrial Revolution and you have … the modern nation-state, a massive and entrenched insurance company attached to an equally massive and entrenched standing army.

I think it’s likely that government policy initiatives of the past ten years, particularly monetary policy and particularly US monetary policy, have created a structural shift in the meaning of capital markets and the global economy that rivals what Napoleon did almost exactly 200 years ago. I think Larry Summers is right – we are mired in a world of secular stagnation and a more or less permanent liquidity trap. The degree to which ZIRP and QE and bubble-promoting monetary policy creates that secular stagnation by delaying the deleveraging, loss assignment, and creative destruction that vibrant growth requires is ludicrously underappreciated in Summers’ speech, but as a statement of economic reality it’s pretty spot-on. I think Paul Krugman is right, too – in for a penny, in for a pound. Central bankers have come this far. Do you really think they’re going to back down now? I’m not saying that Krugman’s argument is “right” in terms of being intellectually honest or even very smart. I’m saying that I believe it is an accurate representation of the world as it is.

Here’s the crucial part of what Summers and Krugman are saying: this is not a temporary gig. This isn’t going to just “get better” on its own over time. This really is, as Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO would call it, the New Normal. And if you’re Jeremy Grantham or anyone for whom a stock has meaning as a fractional ownership stake in a real-world company rather than as a casino chip that gives you “market exposure” … well, that’s really bad news.

So what’s the point of all this?

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, and alienation ain’t just a movie with Mandy Patinkin in heavy make-up. For my money, the smartest thing Marx ever wrote was on the concept of alienation, the separation of a worker from the meaning of his labor. Marx believed that the greatest theft that capitalism perpetrated on the working class was psychological. The Industrial Revolution and the assembly line crushed a worker’s spirit by eliminating the sense of pride, the sense of accomplishment, the sense of place and meaning that an honest day’s work previously imbued. Instead of seeing, feeling, and knowing the object of his labor, the modern worker made … a widget. He made a cog and he was a cog.

What traditional value investors like Grantham are experiencing today is alienation in the traditional Marxist sense. In today’s context it’s not the separation of a worker from the meaning of his labor, but the separation of an investor from the meaning of his investment. Sure, you can go on investing on the basis of your discounted cash-flow model or your earnings margin reversion-to-the-mean model or whatever it is that floats your boat, but it’s just going to be a continuing exercise in frustration so long as we live in a Fed-centric universe. As Hugh Hendry says, it’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror every morning when everything that you’ve held dear as your investment belief structure doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. Nostalgia, as Milan Kundera points out, is a form of suffering. Life’s way too short to wallow in those waters.

Marx has an answer to the alienation problem … end it, don’t amend it. Take your ball and go home, or at least find a different game. For the alienated proletariat, this is easier said than done. You’ve got to throw off your chains, rise up in violent class struggle, create a vanguard political party that maintains the necessary ideological discipline, watch out for counter-revolutionaries … creating a worker’s paradise is hard work! For the alienated value investor, on the other hand, the portability of capital makes the road to greener pastures quite a bit easier -- just get out of public markets. Go buy a farm … or an apartment building … or a fleet of tankers … or a portfolio of bank loans … anything where your investment process has meaning again and isn’t hijacked by the game-playing and trend-following that dominates public capital markets. If you have to stay in public securities, at least move into areas of the market where you are not dominated by the game-players and where there remains a critical mass of your fellow value investors to make a community of sorts … small and mid-cap industrials, say, or maybe activist targets. Just don’t kid yourself into thinking that your deep dive into the value fundamentals of some large-cap bank has any predictive value whatsoever for the bank’s stock price, or that a return to the happy days of yesteryear is just around the corner. It doesn’t and it’s not, and even if you’re making money you’re going to be miserable and ornery while you wait nostalgically for what you do and what you’re good at to matter again. Spoiler Alert: Godot never shows up.

But maybe you’re not a dyed-in-the-wool value investor wracked by feelings of severe alienation. Maybe you’re pretty agnostic about the whole investment style box thing and you’re just looking to grow your wealth as quickly as possible with the least risk as possible. If you don’t really care WHY the markets are going up, only that they ARE going up; if you don’t feel an existential angst about Fed policy, but are actually quite happy that they’ve got your back; if you’re looking to play the investment game better, regardless of what the rule changes might be … well, Marx has some good advice for you, too. Think for yourself.

Marx is most famous for his concept of “the means of production”, the notion that human history is best seen and understood through an economic lens, that what we have been told is a story of Great Men and Empires and Discovery is really just a byproduct of class struggle for the control of those economic means of production. But what’s less appreciated is that Marx made a distinction between material production (all the stuff that we characterize as economic activity) and what he described as “mental production” – the creation of “the ruling ideas” that do all the heavy lifting in maintaining control over the proletariat. Now Marx wrote this in the 1840’s (!), so it’s going to need some contextual updating to speak clearly to us 170 years later. To wit: in the same way that Marx’s concept of alienation is more relevant today to capitalist investors than it is to labor, so, too, is this concept of mental production and ruling ideas. We investors – big or small, retail or institutional – are the proles. A well-to-do and content proletariat, to be sure, kind of like professional athletes, but a proletariat nonetheless. We control neither the means of material production (the public capital markets in which we labor) nor, more importantly, the means of mental production – the creation of the ruling ideas that drive our behavior and are taken for granted. We are ALL suckers for a good story that has more truthiness (to use Stephen Colbert’s word) than truthfulness, and you don’t have to be a raving Marxist to believe that the institutions that do in fact control the means of material and mental production depend on this central truth about human nature to maintain their position.

What are the ruling ideas in investment theory and practice today? There are plenty, but I’ll highlight two: “stocks for the long haul” and Modern Portfolio Theory. I’m not going to go into a long critique of either ruling idea, as I’ve written on this topic here, and I have lots more planned for the future. But for now I’ll just ask this: does the Narrative of Stocks For the Long Haul or the Narrative of Modern Portfolio Theory serve your best interests and your clients’ best interests … or theirs? It’s a question that deserves to be asked and explored again and again, and that’s what I’ll keep doing with Epsilon Theory.

 


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Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:27 | Link to Comment The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

He shows... you just don't see him.  Beware of Maya!

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:28 | Link to Comment NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

I believe this article tapped into something I've felt for a while now.  Even the "investing class" has become worried their skills are becoming irrelevant.  Not so much that they fear a crash, which is how they usually present their advice and predictions, but more a quiet undercurrent of "we can no longer provide value, if we ever did in the first place.  Please give us our importance back."

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:56 | Link to Comment uncle.bigs
uncle.bigs's picture

Sort of.  The winners aren't content with everyone winning.  They want losers.  They want to see some of their peers go up in flames.  The current environment is too easy.  Just go balls to the walls long and mint money.  Everybody wins and it's too hard getting into the best restaurants, the best secret societies, the waiting list is too long for the best cars and bidding wars on the best real estate.  

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:58 | Link to Comment rocker
rocker's picture

No Worry.  Big Ben is behind.  The S&P is outperforming the FED.  Call it the "Carter Gap"

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 07:45 | Link to Comment Doña K
Doña K's picture

<<<< Go buy a farm … or an apartment building … or a fleet of tankers … or a portfolio of bank loans … anything where your investment process has meaning again and isn’t hijacked by the game-playing and trend-following that dominates public capital markets. >>>

Funds and individuals are already doing that and that market is already crowded. We need what you eluded to: "Take your marbles and go home." Refuse to play the game.

However, if you invest in land in Africa, (Namibia, Botsuana, Ghana and perhaps RSA) you may do very well in the long run. Think of antelopes, kudu, springbok, ostrich and even wilderbeast as organic food product. Monsanto revenge?

 

 

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 13:43 | Link to Comment mkhs
mkhs's picture

Or Rhodesia. 

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:32 | Link to Comment lewy14
lewy14's picture

It's even worse than what the post represents.

I've assumed for some time that the way forward is with productive assets - not to buy them, but to create them. Which I've been trying to do - or at least play my part in their creation.

But arbitrage creates this webbing between everything - the price of the liquid public markets and the less liquid private markets isn't directly coupled, but it is yoked in some sense. 

And that yoke is dragging everything up - up to levels that just don't make sense on a cash flow basis or any other fundamental basis.

The Fed is penalizing the creators of real wealth worse than the professional gamblers of the public market. The latter always have a chance of unloading about 70 ms after the top is in. The former will be crushed by their lack of liquidity.

The post was brilliant and confirmed for me something that I feared: the creation of real assets is being penalized. I am a sucker.

Someday when the markets clear and the "strong hands" give the OK, every real and prodictive asset will be devalued, and will be acquired for a pittance. I'm growing crops on a plantation and the harvest will be confiscated.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 02:48 | Link to Comment TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

I think you raise some great points, but your post is incomplete in part.

Worse than punishing many creators of real wealth & rewarding (at least for now) speculators, gamblers & the most reckless of participants at the tables of that which is essentially a casino economy that QE & ZIRP have created, which would have been bad enough by far, central bank monetary policy the world over has created a lumpy, spotty, disheveled economy, where it's truly impossible to formulate any rational intermediate term or long term investment decisions, regardless as to who and which asset classes are benefiting from perverse monetary policy today -

- and the end result of this, which is already clearly a process underway, with momentum that will be difficult to stop, let alone reverse -

- is catatonia on the part of truly liquid AND productive economic actors.

So, as things stand currently, it's my opinion that many of the least productive, most reckless, and most destructive economic forces and participants have been energized by current central bank monetary policies, their collective activities are what the bulk of nominal economic activity is being driven by, and such a condition is precisely the kind that sets the stage for huge economic crashes (historically large; maybe generational).

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 02:21 | Link to Comment SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

I agree with the article; I even salute it. it's good journalism. this is what the people need to know; and they're certainly not going to anounce it on CNBC.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 02:25 | Link to Comment SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

Very true. A lot of big names are making losses instead of gains; "their luck ran out". A lot of financial consultants and money managers are getting "nervous in the service"; they're getting gun shy.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 09:35 | Link to Comment Nothing but the...
Nothing but the truth.'s picture

The whole system is out of whack , thanks to the Fed's QE bullshit. The three inputs of production , namely labor , materials and capital are totally misalligned. Capital inputs ( QE ) have overwhelmed the other two , resulting in a huge disparity in values. The owners of capital have destroyed the middle classes leading to a galloping chasm between the haves and have not's . Without a healthy middle class , no country can be economically sound. And once you  lose your manufacturing base , you lose the bedrock of a healthy and vibrant economy. The owners of capital , with the Fed's help , have turned the world upside down. This QE experiment has gone horribly wrong and the Fed has created a monster that they simply no longer can control.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:53 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

The-Fifth-Plank, with a fascist twist...bitchez.

////////////

What?

You are hungry, the Fed will feed you.

You are cold, the Fed will warm you.

You have no shelter, the Fed will provide you shelter.

Just submit.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:05 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

this might not be National Socialism...but it sure feels like an echo of it. not that the Germans are impressed of course...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilXVkgmJk2E that would be the British Ambassador taking his hat off in shock and awe of course. me as well. http://seekingalpha.com/symbol/twc stick that in your "nostalgia pipe" and smoke it.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:38 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

Sure feels like it to me too.

Lets throw a trillion at propping up malfeasant state governments, a few roads & bridges & some CEO "green crony" donors. Then (because everyone cheered us on with the Sieg Heil so rabidly) lets force everyone to buy "health care" from these other crony corporations who got left out last go around, its only fair...to them.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 02:31 | Link to Comment SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

What you observe is true; In my little world, IMHO; world economic "growth" is done; finished, kaput, morte. Not going to wake up again; in the same condition as John Cleese's famous parrot; "not just taking a nap". Of course, there's research and statistics and etc, that lie behind this; but be warned it's just my analysis; and I'm so far out in left field, I'm out in the parking lot someplace. But that's what I see. Growth was fun; it was an interesting phase of the modern economy; and now it's over. Built out/ over installed capacity; etc.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:31 | Link to Comment 0b1knob
0b1knob's picture

< Waiting for Godot.

< Waiting for Barack to leave.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:36 | Link to Comment NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re;  Waiting for Barack to leave.

And then what?    Like The Fed cares one way or the other.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:12 | Link to Comment NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

"And then what?"

Don't know.  Why don't we try it anyway and see how it goes from there.

In fact, I'm all for him leaving right now, actually.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:12 | Link to Comment Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

 Maybe Ben is opting out of the Fed so he can run for Potus? Oh, sorry....dinner hour.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:48 | Link to Comment socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

<- Champ

<- Chump

Hugh Hendry.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 02:33 | Link to Comment SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

Surprisingly, Barack leaving isn't going to help anything. The problems are deep and fundamental and we inheriting a whirlwind that we sowed over forty years; chickens do come home to rooost; and both payback and reality are a bitch.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:34 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

As an epitaph to this post, all drenched in Kunderian nostalgia and Marxist portrayal of farcical repetition of the Brumaire of little big man,  lets leave the last word to a man who knew the West better than most, its romantic and violent origins, its thirst for "can do",  "cut and run" trail blazing that created the land of Oligarchs : 

"This is the West, young man. Here at the FED when the legend becomes fact, we PRINT the legend...

Amen.

 

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:36 | Link to Comment NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Good post.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:41 | Link to Comment uncle.bigs
uncle.bigs's picture

What a bunch of nonsense.  If there was a hard link between all stocks and the Fed's balance sheet irrespective of fundamentals then gold stocks would be hitting all-time highs too even as the commodity tanks.

Fundamentals matter.  The naysayers are angry that they missed a fantastic money making opportunity and are now trying to rationalize their stupidity by blaming someone else.  LOL

 

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:36 | Link to Comment Sawgill
Sawgill's picture

Strong evidence of market manipulation on every front, starting with interest rates....gold/silver no exception. All in service to the status quo.

So, LOL, the article above was about how fundamentals do NOT matter here.

What hard links do you offer to support your assertion that fundamentals do matter in this current environment? Blame assessed here is inward-towards themselves...

Methinks you need to back up a step or two to see the bigger picture this article tries to present.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:10 | Link to Comment Nick Jihad
Nick Jihad's picture

You haven't made money til you cash out. Who is ready to convert their equity to fiat?

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 02:41 | Link to Comment SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

did you forget that the fiat is very convenient to convert into precious metals? Not too many bullion dealers take stocks in payment.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:20 | Link to Comment lewy14
lewy14's picture

On the move from 666 to 1350, you have a point.

On the move from 1350 to 1800, bullshit.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:46 | Link to Comment rp1
rp1's picture

BTFD!

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:49 | Link to Comment tradewithdave
tradewithdave's picture

"In today’s context it’s not the separation of a worker from the meaning of his labor, but the separation of an investor from the meaning of his investment."

It's the separation of the dog from his family jewelry. 

 

http://tradewithdave.com/?p=19232

 

 

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:52 | Link to Comment Redneck Hippy
Redneck Hippy's picture

What would Marx make of the poor "alienated investor" so full of existential angst?  He would laugh and laugh and laugh some more.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:13 | Link to Comment Nick Jihad
Nick Jihad's picture

Marx lacked imagination - he could only see two colors - oppressor and oppressed. Stalin was the visionary who arranged oppression in a circle.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:17 | Link to Comment acetinker
acetinker's picture

That ain't no shit, RH.  Those anxious alienated investors should remain true to their core beliefs, 'cos if they don't, the entire productive economy spirals down the shitter.  They've been chasing shiny things (facebook, twitter, et, al) so long they wouldn't recognize real value if it jumped up and bit them in the ass. 

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:53 | Link to Comment Rehab Willie
Rehab Willie's picture

when omnipotence turns to impotence, that's when things get interesting.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:53 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

here's your ruling theory: "the rulers follow the market higher" not the other way around...and that chart proves it beyond ANY doubt. once the market stops surging...QE will cease...and you will get a reaction just like this summer...dollar pop, gold drop...commodity plays absolutely annihilated. this whole hyperinflation meme...once which i firmly believed but never acted upon back in 2008...is simply not coming to fruition. Marx SHOULD teach us that PRIVATE capital holds the "psychological sway" not the State...instead he went off the deep end with his whole "proletarian revolution" thing. He did live in an interesting time...but there was a Napoleon III as well. The irony that it may be the Government least looking out for its own interests here should be lost on no one. so my question is this....what if we actually do get a market correction for the first time in a couple of years and QE is "ceased and desisted" as happened the last time ("the Twist")? the assumption according to this "private view" is that the market will correct massively...some type of collapse will occur. all right, fine...bitcoin drops 90% in one day. how is that the end of the world? What if Tesla starts going back up again on that news? What if Home Depot and Lowes really do start selling home solar instals for a thousand bucks? What if Los Angeles really does become a net energy exporting "Super City" within two years? don't tell me it's not possible when interest rates have never been lower...ever....let alone the spread between what a bank borrows and and what it charges for interest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmNJ03s2ZuM

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 20:59 | Link to Comment chump666
chump666's picture

Great post ZH

Most social/economic/scientific academics are not historians, and history is repeating to a T.  This is the denial, that somehow, somewhere we are smarter.  We can overcome economic turmoil, beat social inequity all with a utopian idealism.  Problem is these fools are doing exactly what occurred in 1900.  The same thing, a brave new world, except 12 years later we had world war one, inflation, widespread cronynism, injustice then world war two.  Humanity is stuck in a wash cycle.  But the machine will break, that or an asteroid hits, the ring of fire volcanoes erupt and a massive pandemic ravages humanity or we simply do a world war again.

Their modeling systems are based on nature, humans are in someways completely indifferent to nature.  That is why we are failing.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:02 | Link to Comment uncle.bigs
uncle.bigs's picture

If you're so smart, what happens next and when?  LOL

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:05 | Link to Comment chump666
chump666's picture

war. when? who knows.  but it's close.

thats all i got. sorry

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:28 | Link to Comment Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

"If you're so smart, what happens next and when?  LOL"

 

  Hot tip;

 The market will fluctuate, beginning with tomorrows open.

 You're welcome.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:25 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

if you believe history itself is deterministic...and i do...then when the market starts dropping the Fed will start extending its maturity baseline but stick the asset purchase program into neutral "and let the market fall." in other words they'll let the market determine the short end of the curve but they'll move heaven and earth to keep duration risk at a minimum. not good for commodities, not good for growth, not good for profits, not good for carry. while I give a nod to the sentiment vis a vis Marx below if both interest rates stay low enough and duration risk is taken off the table (curve flattening)...that would "green light the war machine" from that point of view. of course...there is no war right now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxIzMr2Ekpo

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:50 | Link to Comment chump666
chump666's picture

My worry is the preparation for war, which can be seen in the bond markets. whether we say this is pre-ordained or not, or just by historic cyclical terms an abnormality that occurs before a major conflict.  ZH had the 'markets crack up boom to war' charts a week or so back.   So yes you are right the low interest rates and any duration risk has been removed and  Japan has done this almost point for point (which is a major worry), they are very close at owning the whole short end, to keep the market somewhat liquid, they don't come to auction (long dated 40s etc) from time to time - then you see a slight rise, which the banks/funds then buy.  This is not market anymore.

I have been a USD bull for awhile, now, forget it, Asia clearly is running down USD reserves, which will effect the UST market too.  Which will put the pressure on the FED to increase purchases.  If this is a play from China then we should see further rises in stock prices, if a war does break out and bonds, stocks, USD are all sold - it will be the liquidation sell off that we have never seen before.

Chian jawboning USD selling:

*Zhou also reiterating EUR important part of Chinese reserve management

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:38 | Link to Comment Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

That scenario would put Defense Industry Stocks back into fundamentals based performance. Unfortunately.

 

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 00:52 | Link to Comment GottaBKiddn
GottaBKiddn's picture

When the Rothschilds decide to have war, we have war. Only always.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:01 | Link to Comment jean paul marat
jean paul marat's picture

Fuck marx

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 07:34 | Link to Comment Czar of Defenes...
Czar of Defenestration's picture

EXACTLY.  Hard as the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (Berlin-Brandenburg Akademie der Wissenschaft) may try to apply legitimization to writings of this Societal Mental Retard with their Marx-Engels Complete Collection (Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe), he was no "keen observer of the human condition."  His writings [which Engels had to work so hard to make QUASI-comprehensible, as Marx himself wrote so poorly] are "a phenomenal resource for anyone seeking to understand our lives as social animals" *only* if one looks upon humans as animals...hence its claimed "abuse" (oh, it wasn't done correctly/completely, bla bla bla) every time one dictator or another throughout the past 150 years has applied it...AS INTENDED.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:08 | Link to Comment Cloud9.5
Cloud9.5's picture

There is a real danger that the players in this rigged game may stop playing.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:14 | Link to Comment NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Nobody ever gets tired of free money, friend.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:21 | Link to Comment lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

i kept and keep thinking that jamie or lloyd will pull the plug, it's a game of chicken, who has the most shorts and cds in place first.  but, it hasn't happened.

they to my mind are really the only players left.  and that was the game, blow up ml, bear, lehman, morgan stanley is nothing now (or let them blow up).  BOA is just a begger really, sure they trade, but you stop the 85 billion and they and citi are toast.

 

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:13 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Look, its very simple, there is a new game in town. And there is no going back, the Event Horizon has been crossed. There will be no return to sanity until the purge complete and there is no guarantee that there will be sanity afterwards...

I will get junked, but the best thing you can do know is build the infrastuctrure for the 21st century, debt be damned...

And hang a few bankers while you are at it...

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:30 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Louis_XIV_of_France besides "i am the State" (disputed) he also apparently said "i almost had to wait" (disputed.)

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:59 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

There's this little thing called contracts though...are you advising government to knowingly welsh on "future generational obligations" they are party to or asking the people to become an accomplice in a fraud to be perpetrated against thieves?

There are a few pols I'd like to hang alongside the bankers ya know, while we're all entrapped in this moral & ethical dilemma they have set ;-)

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:14 | Link to Comment Stanley Lord
Stanley Lord's picture

Druckenmiller said it before Hendry that he felt in these markets he has no skill or edge like in the past.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:31 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

is they in the running for next Mayor of Detroit?

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:01 | Link to Comment BandGap
BandGap's picture

One of the RA's from my dorm is now the mayor of Detroit. First white male running the city since, well, forever.

So no.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:18 | Link to Comment lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

i have a 30 day holding period.  i would LOVE to be in this market.  within that 30 day holding period, there will be a 20 to 30% wipeout - if not worse.  which means that a year of gains will be gone because of being stuck watching the losses.  so, it's not worth trying to trade.  especially options.  options RULE in this market, if you can get in and out everyday.

but - if i could day trade, it really is obvious, you simply buy every frikking dip.  every dip. especially the friday dip, because the weekend, they will jawbone.

i don't know why hendry is complaining.  he's figured it out, it's rigged.  tough.  it was always trying to be rigged, sometimes were worse than others, this is the worst rigging.  being the most rigged should make it easier to profit.

however i complain - i do reap the benefits of uncle bennie's beneficiane.  'employment'.  i'm at a bank and gainfully employed, and with out 85 big banging billions, most of us would be begging for a walmart job.  so, you have to keep it in perspective.  i'm getting robbed a lot worse than most.

 

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:20 | Link to Comment LostAtSea
LostAtSea's picture

real value investors aren't concerned about stock price.  They view their investment as literally owning a company.  At the end of the day, a company still has to produce something of value to have long-term viabiility, regardless of what games the monetary rulers play.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:27 | Link to Comment acetinker
acetinker's picture

That must mean that "real value investors" are extinct, then.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:16 | Link to Comment thisandthat
thisandthat's picture

Never mind scumbag Godot, good guy Grouchy is our man... Where is Grouchy? - YouTube

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 21:57 | Link to Comment Laughing Stock
Laughing Stock's picture

Oustanding post!

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:00 | Link to Comment Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

memento mori

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 11:01 | Link to Comment ToNYC
ToNYC's picture

Godot is Free Guinness Tomorrow.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:19 | Link to Comment chump666
chump666's picture

Ludwig von Mises wrote in 1919

"One can say without exaggeration that inflation is an indispensable means of militarism. Without it, the repercussions of war on welfare become obvious much more quickly and penetratingly; war weariness would set in much earlier."

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 22:26 | Link to Comment robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

Some of us haven't seen the movie yet!

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 23:35 | Link to Comment wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

This dude is way overthinking this shiot. All ya gotta do is scalp off a couple hundred bucks from these assholes in the morning, and then try not to get too fucked up the rest of the day to do again tomorrow.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 23:47 | Link to Comment robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

I will read more Marx. I'm not making any money anyways. I liked this article.

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 23:40 | Link to Comment blindman
blindman's picture

godot never shows up because good poetry
is never redundant.
just a guess.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 00:16 | Link to Comment cape_royds
cape_royds's picture

The process by which the proletariat is alienated from their labour continues even to the point at which most of the former bourgeoisie has also been alienated from their labour. Under capitalism, most of the petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie end up as proles.

If one's labour is resource/investment allocation, one can alienated from one's labour the same way that anyone else has ever gotten alienated from their labour.

Since the end of the big geopolitical conflicts of the 20th cent. we've seen capitalism gradually and inexorably become more global, more centralized, more perfect in every way. The more perfect it becomes, the better it resembles what Marx described.

Remember that Marx wrote very little about Communism. Almost all of his career was dedicated to observing, describing and explaining Capitalism. As an analyst of the history and tendencies of capitalism, Marx has no equal.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 00:34 | Link to Comment wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

People in this country need most to understand the history and tendencies of marxism.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 00:44 | Link to Comment GottaBKiddn
GottaBKiddn's picture

Sorry Ben, but I think that you may have forgotten to post the graph that evidences the fact that "Godot never shows up".

For your sake, He'd better not show up pissed. Just sayin'.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 06:14 | Link to Comment ZH11
ZH11's picture

Marx is going to set the 'proletariat hedge fund managers' free?

This site is getting weirder and weirder by the day.

Just for the record there is more than a slight bit of misrepresentation of Marx again in this piece but that's nothing new.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 08:48 | Link to Comment yourfather
yourfather's picture

no you fucking neanderthal what he is saying is that the current political economy is viewed from a krugmanite paradigm and to cut through ideology that you need alternative lenses for examining reality.

marx is just a vessel for the author to explain to the reader that there are alternative perspectives on reality and that you have to decide what kind of existence you want to live.

IN THE PAST it used to be about keeping up appearances and traditional values. Ideology was dead like Fukuyama said with the end of communism.

From Zizek:

Today appearances no longer have to be protected. We all know the innocent child from Andersen’s "The Emperors New Clothes" who publicly proclaims the fact that the emperor is naked – today, in our cynical era, such a strategy no longer works, it lost its disturbing power, since everyone is publicly saying all the time that the emperor is naked (that Western democracies are torturing terrorist suspects, that wars are fought for profit, etc. etc.), and nothing happens, nobody seems to mind, the system just goes on functioning as if the emperor has his clothes on...

 

 


Thats what the author is saying. We know that something is wrong, the emperor is naked, and no one gives a fuck, we just keep blindly marching our economy to the zero point of collapse.

Will our really existing capitalist system survive ?

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 11:01 | Link to Comment Czar of Defenes...
Czar of Defenestration's picture

No, YOU "fucking neanderthal," the author indeed *does* attempt in a feeble, pseudo-intellectual way (yeah, like the way he hits on half-drunk chicks at the bar) to legitimize Marx...who *may* have had a meager sociological insight here and there in his hate-filled, semi-sober life...but dry-humped them into economics, of which he had no fucking idea whatsoever.

 

Is "herd mentality" REALLY such a profound concept to you...and do you REALLY think a destructive imbecile like Karl Marx is necessary to discuss it?!

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 13:47 | Link to Comment ZH11
ZH11's picture

Bit strong ain't it?

If the author of this piece had actually applied himself to the works of Marx, which is of course a long and arduous task with very little payoff, he may well of realised he could never have used the words 'alienation' and 'proletariat' in connection with idea he was getting at with regards hedge-fund managers. In capitalism, under Marx's analysis, the owners of capital never cease in owning capital, capital equivalent or the final valorized capital,  thus, how can they ever be feel alienation given they are always in posession of something whatever the stage within the production or circulation process of which they didn't have any hand in producing, bit odd eh? 

I think the term that he needed to examine was superintendence of labour wage which is more fitting given that it seems he's stating that maybe the fund managers are now at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind. What a shame it must be for them realising after all the big swinging dick stories that they were nothing other than well paid administrators used as cover for the real bosses, poor things!

Nonetheless, hedge fund managers are just parasites outside of the production sphere, the seekers of capital-interest within the 'Trinity Formula' at the expense of any associated risk to their own money. Their labour is non productive, immaterial labour thus it cannot be alienated from a product because it never had one.

He could have used the word 'Gattungswesen' and their complete lack of that, but again to get to that point you have to do more than search for quotes on the internet.

Now please excuse me, I have a fire to get lighting inside my cave, bye bye.

 

 

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 08:41 | Link to Comment yourfather
yourfather's picture

This post is great.

I contrast it with the cries of "what do I buy to make money" that I hear around my desk all day. 

"Oh every metric is stretched, every ounce of value has been found, what do I buy?"

Its pretty simple, if you believe that Krugmans "it is what we say it is" approach just buy the fucking dip. The rest is immaterial.

 

But it is comforting that everyone else feels what I feel too.

Tue, 11/26/2013 - 12:54 | Link to Comment moneybots
moneybots's picture

" Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking for a market clearing Shock Ending or Happy Ending, as opposed to what seems to me to be the more likely outcome of the Entropic Ending, a long gray slog through a more or less permanently depressed world and a more or less permanently Fed-centric market."

 

The death of equities. It wasn't.  There isn't a more or less permanently depressed world, either.

There will be a market clearing- math demands it.

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