Ray Dalio: Don't Assume That Germany Will Bail Europe Out; Consider The "Fat Tail" A Significant Possibility
Lately, more and more professional investment "advisors" and newsletter recommendations boil down to just one catalyst: wait for either Germany, the ECB or the Fed to step in, as usual, and bail the world out, because, well, they have to, and any additional thought is rendered moot as fundamental analysis is meaningless under central planning (plus it is actually more work than just repeating the same stuff over and over while charging $29.95/month for it). Of course, when these same snakeoil salesmen are asked the simple question: what if said bailout does not happen, or if it happens late (for the purposes of this exercise let's assume one is not a central bank that can print its own money, have an infinite balance sheet, and can afford to be wrong almost into perpetuity), they give a blank stare, start mumbling something and walk away, especially if one mentions Lehman brothers and the simple detail that, oh, it failed. Which is why if Ray Dalio, head of the world's largest hedge fund, is correct, it may time to summarily fire and stop subscribing to each and every broken record Oracle whose template is "X will bailout Y" for the simple reason that it is wrong.
From Bridgewater's Daily Observations:
Be Careful When Betting Against Human Nature
Alliances are shifting in a logical manner. The German-French alliance is breaking down in favor of contributor (higher rated credit) countries aligning against recipient (lower rated credit) countries. Similarly, the terminology to describe who is reasonable and who is unreasonable reflects these parties' respective interests. Those who don't have to contribute use terms like "inflexible" and "irresponsible" to describe the contributors' reluctance to "do enough" to prevent collapse by lending more to recipients who can't service their existing debts, while those who have to contribute use terms like "inflexible" and "irresponsible" to describe the recipients' reluctance to "do enough" cutting of their spending and borrowing to service their debts. Students of human nature and deleveragings know that this is to be expected.
Similarly, talk of a fiscal union to resolve these problems has to be looked at in light of the question of whether it is in the interest of fiscally strong contributors to have a fiscal union with fiscally weak recipients in which the majority rules how the money is divided.
For this reason, we think the popular assumption that the Germans and the ECB (which requires agreement of the key factions within it) will come through with the money to make all these debts good should not be taken for granted. Said differently, we think there are good reasons to doubt that European bank and sovereign deleveragings will be prevented from progressing to the next stage in a disorderly way, without a Plan B in place. This "fat tail" event must be considered a significant possibility.