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Clever Hans

By Ben Hunt | 0 Comments

Part 7 of Ben’s Notes from the Field series reminds us that you don’t break a wild horse by crushing its spirit. You nudge it into willingly surrendering its autonomy. Because once you’re trained to welcome the saddle, you’re going to take the bit. We are Clever Hans, dutifully hanging on every word or signal from the Nudging Fed and the Nudging Street as we stomp out our investment behavior.

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Hobson’s Choice

By Ben Hunt | 7 Comments

“What do you mean you don’t make side orders of toast? You make sandwiches, don’t you?”

Bobby thinks he has lots of choices, but really he only has one.

We’re all Bobby today.

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The NFL Has a Gambling Problem

By Rusty Guinn | 20 Comments

The outcomes of NFL games are inordinately influenced by officials relative to other sports. This is not new. The narrative environment faced by the NFL in 2021, however, IS new.

I’m not sure they’re ready for it.

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False Binary Choices

We seem obsessed with false binary choices. What do I mean – choices that aren’t really choices. Sort of like when your mom says do you want orange juice or apple juice? I don’t want juice. I want Soda. But that is not on the menu.

Do you want Brainard or Powell? Seems right in the zip code here. Like does this choice really matter? I don’t think so and the fact that markets are moving on these small binary choices that are meaningless seems like its becoming part of the weaponized narrative arsenal.

Take a look at what I mean.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-11-23/markets-have-overreacted-wildly-to-the-powell-brainard-fed-drama?srnd=premium&sref=9XsJozxv

And btw, we’ve talked about this before.

— Harper Hunt | November 23, 2021|

Why Am I Reading This Now? 11.22.21

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger narrative campaign.



Olympic Boycott

From the ET Forum ...

President Biden has announced that he’s thinking about a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. What does this mean? Not much.

This boycott would be in protest of the Chinese treatment of Uyghurs and the crackdown of freedoms in Hong Kong. It’s been proposed by international advocacy groups and some members of Congress. Biden saying that he’s seriously considering it is the first major attention the movement has received. Though he’s committing about as much as a contestant on the Bachelorette who could “see himself one day having feelings for you”.

A diplomatic boycott would prohibit an official US delegation from attending the games. Usually some diplomatic figures like the first lady and second gentleman are present at the games and symbolically lead the American contingent into the games. But the athletes would still be able to compete.

Let’s be honest, no one cares about the diplomats at the Olympics. It’s all about the athletes. And the US would still send a massive team to the Olympics. There would still be constant coverage of the games and China would still make money off the tourism and streaming rights. Only change is that we won’t have an article talking about Jill Biden’s fashion choice at the opening ceremony.

I’ve talked before about how the Olympics in general are a complete mess. You can check out our Cursed Knowledge podcast on the topic if you want more information. The TL;DR is that the Olympics put an incredible strain on the most vulnerable citizens in the host country. I’m all for boycotting the Olympics. But you can’t half-ass it. Just removing the diplomatic presence is a copout that achieves nothing and helps no one.

— Harper Hunt | November 19, 2021|

Why Am I Reading This Now? 11.15.21

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger narrative campaign.


It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

From the ET Forum ...

Finished your holiday shopping? I hope so or else you’re out of luck. If you wait any longer you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. Retailers around the world have announced their concern with inventory shortage and supply chain delays as we enter the most wonderful time of the year. Most people don’t start holiday shopping until at least September with most taking advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. This year that might be a problem.

Covid has already wreaked havoc on the supply chain. More people are ordering online instead of going to a store. So the shipping industry has received a massive burden it wasn’t ready to carry. New safety regulations also slow down both production and shipping. And that’s not counting labor shortages that add another spanner in the works. Of course we can’t forget about massive cargo boats getting stuck in canals. That certainly doesn’t help keep things moving.

It’s been like this for awhile, but things are about to get a lot worse.

Most American’s do the bulk of their holiday shopping in November and December. That’s what retailers have been training us to do for years. With special holiday savings events every other weekend, it’s the best time to find that PS5 on sale. These sales have always been … interesting. We all know Black Friday is pretty dang close to the Purge. This year could be less physical pain, more economic turmoil.

If people aren’t out at stores taking doorbusters a bit too literally, then they’ll be doing their shopping online. Imagine everyone who goes out for Black Friday. Double that number. That’s about how many people will be ordering online on that one day. It’ll be chaos.

News outlets have already started to report on our impending doom and you can expect to see more coverage as we get closer to holidays. I highly doubt the articles and segments will encourage people to refrain from buying. More likely the suggestion will be to buy early and expect your shipments to be late.

— Harper Hunt | November 05, 2021|

Proof of Plant: A New Vision for Crypto, Pt 1

By Ben Hunt | 39 Comments

I want to change the language of crypto from mining to growing. I do not mean this in a metaphorical sense. I mean a proof-of-plant method for literally growing cryptocurrency tokens as a representation of the value stored in the human cultivation of plants.

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In Praise of Bitcoin

By Ben Hunt | 57 Comments

What made Bitcoin special is nearly lost, and what remains is a false and constructed narrative that exists in service to Wall Street and Washington rather than in resistance.

The Bitcoin narrative must be renewed. And that will change everything.

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Through the Looking Glass, or … This is the Red Pill

By Ben Hunt | 1 Comment

The first ET note focused on Information Theory.

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Recent Notes

Critical State Theory

By Ben Hunt

This note is about the narrative process that makes it so politically difficult to say that yes, parents are responsible for their children’s education AND yes, our children should be taught the fact of embedded racism in our nation’s history.

And why it’s so important that we do so, anyway.

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Cursed Knowledge #6: F*ck Almonds

By Harper Hunt

Move over Hollywood! Almonds are one of the most lucrative and fastest growing industries in California. Unfortunately they’re not as good for us as you’d think.

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Prime Time in Crypto

By Marc Rubinstein

No one gives a clearer explanation of how financial institutions work than ET contributor Marc Rubinstein, and his primer on prime brokerage services (and its extension into crypto) is no exception.

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The NFL Has a Gambling Problem

By Rusty Guinn

The outcomes of NFL games are inordinately influenced by officials relative to other sports. This is not new. The narrative environment faced by the NFL in 2021, however, IS new.

I’m not sure they’re ready for it.

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The Mandarin Class

By Ben Hunt

I don’t think there’s anything illegal in how Fed governors trade their personal accounts.

No, I think it’s much worse than that.

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When Narrative Takes Flight

By Rusty Guinn

We find ourselves together now at the stage of the Widening Gyre in which your political identity now determines the reality you wish to accept about three days of moderate operational difficulties at the ninth largest global airline, as measured by passenger-miles.

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No Time to Die: China Banks Edition

By Marc Rubinstein

With $300+ billion of assets, Evergrande is big, but if you want REALLY big, take a look at the balance sheets of Chinese banks.

ET contributor Marc Rubinstein was there at the beginning when Chinese banks went public, and he’s here now to review the sector.

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How Lucky You Are To Be Alive Right Now

By David Salem

ET friend and contributor David Salem is back!

Here with his Constitution Day address at Middlebury College, David makes the rich tradition of academic speeches richer still, with nods to the Founders and Vitalik Buterin alike.

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The Uncontained Spark

By Ben Hunt

There is an uncontained spark in the financial world today, a spark that emerged from the unlikeliest of places, a federal courthouse in Florida.

It’s a spark with the potential to light a searing bonfire under Robinhood and Citadel.

#BITFD

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Zeroism and the Allocator Status Quo

By Matthew Edwards

ET contributor Matthew Edwards pushes back on seven rules that allocators often apply to new managers.

1) We don’t do crypto.
2) We only invest in what we know.
3) We never pay full fees.
4) We prefer fundamental investment strategies.
5) We seek strong alignment of interests.
6) We cannot be greater than x% of a fund’s total assets under management.
7) We require a minimum track record of X years.

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Unanchored

By Brent Donnelly

ET contributor Brent Donnelly starts up where he left off, with a new launch of AM/FX and a new riff on the classic ET note, “Snip!”.

In the immortal words of Hunter S. Thompson, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro!

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Whitestone Bridge

By Ben Hunt

Our true enemies on 9/11 – the Deep State of Saudi Arabia and the Deep State of Pakistan – are our true enemies still.

And we won’t defeat them until we bridge our petty divides.

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The Green Protocol: A New Vision for Crypto, Pt 2

By Ben Hunt

The Green Protocol is a set of rules for the tokenization of symbolic betting markets in positive social good.

I think this is how crypto saves the world.

Our first step on this new path? Let’s plant one billion new trees in North America over the next ten years.

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Cursed Knowledge #5: Hot Coffee

By Harper Hunt

The McDonalds Hot Coffee lawsuit is the archetypal example of nonsense litigation. But there’s a lot more to the story than most people know.

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Notes from Camp Kotok 2021

By Brent Donnelly

ET contributor Brent Donnelly with an end-of-summer compilation of the top–of-mind topics at Camp Kotok!

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Prophet of the Pandemic

By Luke Burgis

Sophocles knew it. Dostoevsky knew it.

Disruption to the biological order and disruption to the social order are one and the same.

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Afghanistan and the Common Knowledge Game

By Ben Hunt

When the State Department announced on August 12th that it was removing all remaining non-essential personnel from Kabul within 3 days and was considering a relocation of the US embassy to the more defensible airport, the fall of the Afghani government became common knowledge.

And that’s when everything fell apart.

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The Afghanistan Narratives

By Rusty Guinn

We are in the very early innings of the narrative formation around responsibility for the outcome in Afghanistan. Steel yourselves for weeks of gaslighting from every angle. Hooray.

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ET Podcast #13 – Wanting

By Ben Hunt

It’s the only question that really matters here in the Age of Nudge: why do we want what we want?

A conversation with Luke Burgis, author of “Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life”.

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Cursed Knowledge #4: The Olympics

By Harper Hunt

The Olympic games are known as a time of triumph and glory. The truth is that a lot more work goes into creating and maintaining that narrative than you’d expect.

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ZG-item-cap-black

False Binary Choices

We seem obsessed with false binary choices. What do I mean – choices that aren’t really choices. Sort of like when your mom says do you want orange juice or apple juice? I don’t want juice. I want Soda. But that is not on the menu.

Do you want Brainard or Powell? Seems right in the zip code here. Like does this choice really matter? I don’t think so and the fact that markets are moving on these small binary choices that are meaningless seems like its becoming part of the weaponized narrative arsenal.

Take a look at what I mean.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-11-23/markets-have-overreacted-wildly-to-the-powell-brainard-fed-drama?srnd=premium&sref=9XsJozxv

And btw, we’ve talked about this before.

— Harper Hunt | November 23, 2021|

Why Am I Reading This Now? 11.22.21

Recent major media stories that feel to us like they’re part of a larger narrative campaign.