"As I Look Into The Future, I See Anarchy"

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Oct 05, 2023 - 11:00 PM

Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance

One of my favorite investors that I love reading and following, Harris Kupperman, has offered up his thoughts on what his next big bet could be.

Harris is the founder of Praetorian Capital, a hedge fund focused on using macro trends to guide stock selection.

Harris is one of my favorite follows and I find his opinions - especially on macro and commodities - to be extremely resourceful. I’m certain my readers will find the same. I was excited when he offered up his latest thoughts, published below (slightly edited for grammar, bold emphasis is QTR’s).

Please be sure to read both my and Harris’ disclaimers, located at the bottom of this post.

The Great Macro Dreamscape Part 1

In late March of 2020, one of the greatest wealth transfers of my lifetime began. It remade our world—or at least it remade my world. Those who recognized Covid as a hoax, were there to reap the rewards. Others who cowered in fear, were my victims. While I pressed the accelerator on exposure and risk, others sought safety in rapidly depreciating cash, or worse, shorted risk assets while they hid from benign germs. Our disparate account statements stand witness to the decisions we each made.

Now, as we enter the great macro dreamscape, I realize that Covid was simply a warm-up for what seems almost inevitable. Rarely has the world’s only superpower undergone a self-immolation of its multi-faceted role in the global order.

Gone are our desires to be the global hegemon, support the world’s reserve currency, or even be seen as a respected adult. As we’re increasingly banished to the kid’s table of global discourse, the macro landscape is spiraling at an ever-faster pace. Our bond market is drifting off, doomed by our precarious fiscal balances. Our place in the world is questioned after Afghan goat herders and then Russian convicts faced off against our military machine with great success.

Meanwhile, our institutions, long hailed globally, descend into corruption, nepotism and incompetence. America isn’t dead, but it needs to be totally reinvented. However, that’s all in the future; as macro investors, we only deal in the present. Nothing is carved in stone, but the outcomes, while path-dependent are increasingly becoming unavoidable.

Empires rise and fall. They follow an arc. The path downward can be graceful, or clumsy—gradual or sudden. This uncertainty is what creates the current opportunity. Meanwhile, the inevitability of this path, sets in action one of those rare wealth transfers that comes along only once or twice in an investor’s career.

I intend to take more than my fair share. I intend to be a pig at the trough.

As an inflection trader, with a focus on second-tier macro trends, I suffered through the 2010s. It was a miserable time for investors like me. Sure, I made a bunch of money, I cannot cry too hard, but it was tough to squeeze Alpha from stone. The trends were mere whispers, and the rewards weren’t always discernable.

I had to hop around, scavenge at opportunities, and suffer through long periods with little to do. It was frustrating—especially as the Globalist Cucks hid out in large cap tech stocks, that seemed to appreciate endlessly, with single-digit realized volatility.

Then Covid came along, awakening all the dormant imbalances in the global order. The overreaction of governments finally tipped things out of stasis. For a fleeting moment, there was a fissure in the universe. They opened the skies and money rained down upon my portfolio. I grabbed it until my arms grew so tired that I couldn’t reach out and grab any more. I literally had to force myself to stay in the game, to stay engaged, to focus and push the envelope—especially after the boredom of the prior decade. I also knew it wouldn’t last—I had to maximize the opportunity.

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Then, the mana became scarce. Opportunity disappeared. Tech resumed its dominance and inflections became rare. I’ve spent the past six quarters wondering if we’re back in the narrative of the past decade, or just traipsing through an extended intermission.

I’m increasingly of the view that we’re in the eye of the storm, a moment to catch one’s bearings and reassess everything that was previously upheld as the truth. The rules are no longer the rules.

The Globalists have tried to resurrect their eminence following the Peak Globalist cluster-fuckery that was Covid. Yet, in the process, they’ve shattered their own image, while not realizing it. That revelation is still oncoming. Now freed from a need to uphold their aura of magnanimity, they’ll unleash their most insidious and aggressive attacks on the natural order.

This will be their final undoing, accompanied first by great suffering for those who are not part of their clique. There is no retreat for the Davos Crowd, they will only push forward, their evil will metastasize. Fortunately, it’s impossible to be a diabolical leader when the peasants laugh at your acronyms and meme your propaganda. The world simply will not congeal to their mold. The tussle to win at all costs will consume them and the nations that they represent.

Today’s malaise in equity markets is simply an echo bubble; peak beneficent Globalism has already passed us by. Soon, it all comes crumbling down. There’s nothing to replace it. Rather, there’s a fight amongst those who’d gladly inherit the world—yet none are particularly ready to bear that mantle.

Now, as I look into the future, I see anarchy. Said another way, I see opportunity. Covid was the dry run. Now we’re into the main event. Will the US go down in a supernova of stupid? Or will we stand and fight?

Will we cower from carbon and affix rainbows to every physical structure, defying the laws of progress? Or will we get on with it and try our best to avert the tailspin? I have no answers, but I know storm clouds when I see them; the storm wall is visible and approaching. How our leaders face these demons, or incite them in fury, will set the tone for this decade’s capital markets.

I’m not here to say what’s right or wrong. I’m merely focused on the mission at hand. I’m an observer of events, a trader of markets. I believe we’re now entering the golden age of global macro.

Old orders are collapsing, pulled down by the weight of their hubris. New orders aren’t yet ready to take their place. Chaos is the eager ally of traders with an open mind. Great traders have a fluidity that adjusts to new realities, while conjuring visions of tail events. I expect a proper clusterfuck, full of fury, violence and volatility. While I recognize the suffering that this will bring, I also know that my mission is to stretch my arms out wide and grab as much as I can.

It’s about to rain opportunity for Macro traders. Unfortunately, it won’t be wealth creation, it will be a wealth transfer. This isn’t my choice, I’m simply a creature of the environment thrust upon me. Those who are ill prepared, are about to be victimized by those who not only understand what’s coming but have educated themselves on how to profit from it. This is my moment!

War, famine, pestilence, and other biblical plagues are mere phenomena when compared to the pernicious nature of inflation. Unless you’ve lived in a country with persistent inflation, you cannot understand how it works, how it infects society, or how it re-orients prior relationships amongst the political class, the economy and capital assets. Books are mere curios; they cannot really explain the social effects of inflation, the lives destroyed by bad decisions, nor those who profited through it. You need to see it yourself; you need to experience it. Inflation is the great leveler.

My focus in college was late Roman decline. I am a fatalist at heart—Gibbon was the relative optimist. At the same time, I see opportunity everywhere. Many will say, “then why don’t you just buy gold?” That’s the lazy man’s hedge for what’s coming. Hugo Stinnes is the man to study, not the parasites selling you collapsing mining schemes.

Come along on this journey into the abyss of the socialist nation-state in its death-rattle. New worlds will be formed. New rules invented. A new hope. But first, the walls must tumble around us. We cannot get too many steps ahead in this adventure. The extreme amplitude of opportunities, the binary nature of bad decisions, they all haunt me, as I know what’s coming.

When you’re treading on the quicksand of a collapsing global order, every trade may be your last. One cannot get distracted—one must stay focused. A better world will come out of the ashes. I want to invest in that world. Investing in chaos has a melancholy to it. However, I’m a trader—I trade the world that I see. That world is shifting and fast. Castles are crumbling. Everything we’ve held sacred in finance is turning upside down. The pace of change will now accelerate, the oddity, the confusion, the old rules vaporizing—they’ll bury speculators who cannot adapt. I plan to prosper.

The next few years will be when winners simply keep winning, because they’re grounded in history, with a healthy dose of cynicism and libertarian ethos. The many will grab for wealth, yet mostly end up with fistfuls of rapidly depreciating sand. Last generation’s winners will surrender everything. The laws of finance and even nature itself will be re-invented. Open your mind to the possibilities. You are on this phantasmal voyage; even if you try and disembark—the choice isn’t yours. It’s simply part of the cycle. Instead, embrace it. Prepare for it. Love it.

It’s about to get wild…

I’ve waited my whole life for this. I’ve studied. I’ve prepared. I’m ready. Bring it on!

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QTR’s Disclaimer: I am an idiot and often get things wrong and lose money. I may own or transact in any names mentioned in this piece at any time without warning. Contributor posts and aggregated posts have not been fact checked and are the opinions of their authors. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any stocks or securities, just my opinions. I often lose money on positions I trade/invest in. I may add any name mentioned in this article and sell any name mentioned in this piece at any time, without further warning. None of this is a solicitation to buy or sell securities. These positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this page. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I did my best to be honest about my disclosures but can’t guarantee I am right; I write these posts after a couple beers sometimes. Also, I just straight up get shit wrong a lot. I mention it twice because it’s that important.

Harris’ Disclaimer: Past performance of Praetorian Capital Fund LLC and its feeder fund Praetorian Capital Offshore Ltd. (collectively, the “Funds”) is not indicative of future results. No representations or warranties of any kind are made or intended, and none should be inferred, with respect to the economic return or the tax consequences from a potential investment in the Funds. Each investor should consult their own counsel and accountant for advice concerning the various legal, tax and economic matters concerning their investment. The information provided herein does not constitute an offer to sell an interest in the Funds. Such offer can only be made to qualified investors pursuant to the Funds’ Confidential Private Placement Memorandum (“Offering Memorandum”), the Subscription Documents relating thereto and the Limited Liability Company Agreement, as applicable, which set forth the complete terms of the offer. 

No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made or can be given with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information found within this website. Certain information constitutes “forward-looking statements” about potential future results. Those results may not be achieved, due to implementation lag, other timing factors, portfolio management decision-making, economic or market conditions or other unanticipated factors. Nothing contained herein shall be relied upon as a promise or representation whether as to past or future performance or otherwise. Please read Harris’ full disclaimer here.