Ben Hunt

Ben Hunt

Co-Founder and CIO


Ben Hunt is the creator of Epsilon Theory and inspiration behind Second Foundation Partners, which he co-founded with Rusty Guinn in June 2018.

Epsilon Theory, Second Foundation’s principal publishing brand, is a newsletter and website that examines markets through the lenses of game theory and history. Over 100,000 professional investors and allocators across 180 countries read Epsilon Theory for its fresh perspective and novel insights into market dynamics. As Chief Investment Officer, Ben bears primary responsibility for determining the Company’s investment views and positioning of model portfolios. He is also the primary author of materials distributed through Epsilon Theory.

Ben taught political science for 10 years: at New York University from 1991 until 1997 and (with tenure) at Southern Methodist University from 1997 until 2000. He also wrote two academic books: Getting to War (Univ. of Michigan Press, 1997) and Policy and Party Competition (Routledge, 1992), which he co-authored with Michael Laver. Ben is the founder of two technology companies and the co-founder of SmartEquip, Inc., a software company for the construction equipment industry that provides intelligent schematics and parts diagrams to facilitate e-commerce in spare parts.

He began his investment career in 2003, first in venture capital and subsequently on two long/short equity hedge funds. He worked at Iridian Asset Management from 2006 until 2011 and TIG Advisors from 2012 until 2013. He joined Rusty at Salient in 2013, where he combined his background as a portfolio manager, risk manager, and entrepreneur with academic experience in game theory and econometrics to work with Salient’s own portfolio managers and its financial advisor clients to improve client outcomes.

Ben is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (1986) and earned his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 1991. He lives in the wilds of Redding, CT on Little River Farm, where he personifies the dilettante farmer that has been a stock comedic character since Cicero's day. Luckily his wife, Jennifer, and four daughters, Harper, Hannah, Haven and Halle, are always there to save the day. Ben's hobbies include comic books, Alabama football, beekeeping, and humoring Rusty in trivia "competitions".

Articles by Ben:

The Widening Gyre

By Ben Hunt | September 19, 2022 | 30 Comments

The widening gyre is eating America alive. It is the instrument of the Beast, a three-headed hydra of Big Politics, Big Media and Big Tech.

A third political party can be our weapon to slay the Beast, but not in the way you think.

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Sauron Remains Undefeated

By Ben Hunt | August 25, 2022 | 45 Comments

The US Treasury is the Eye of Sauron — a gigantic panopticon tower that sweeps the world with its unblinking gaze, seeking out the owners of power, i.e. money.

What Treasury did to Tornado Cash and its developers is just the beginning.

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Lehman Moments, Tepper Moments, and German Economic Collapse

By Ben Hunt | August 23, 2022 | 0 Comments

Could the German situation get worse? Of course it could. Have we had a “Lehman moment” yet? No, we have not. But I don’t think we are that far away from a Lehman moment in Germany, after which further bets on the system breaking down become much less attractive as existential system risk grows much higher. I don’t think we are that far away from a Tepper moment in Germany, where risk/reward asymmetry becomes infinitely skewed to going long for those who are going to be wiped out if the system fails anyway.

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Narrative and Metaverse, Pt. 4 – Carrying the Fire

By Ben Hunt | August 17, 2022 | 16 Comments

This is how we resist the Long Now, how we find an alternative world to the endless present where the Party is always right. By connecting the human past to the human present to the human future. By carrying the fire of our own stories in our own words across the weave of time and space. By building an ark and an arc.

This is my faith.

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Hostage Situation

By Ben Hunt | August 9, 2022 | 0 Comments

In times of profound informational need – like today when we *really* need to know if inflation is embedded in the real economy – we are desperate for data that will allow us to act with conviction. But the nature of our macro data construction guarantees we will get less accurate results during these times where we need accuracy the most.

As the kids would say, it’s just math.

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A Tale of Two Inversions

By Ben Hunt | July 27, 2022 | 0 Comments

Multiple not-seen-in-a-quarter-century events have occurred over the past six weeks in rates-world. The lack of narrative attention is striking, as are the implications for the next few quarters across markets.

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Mailbag! Hollow Men Edition

By Ben Hunt | July 21, 2022 | 1 Comment

The Epsilon Theory commentariat is the best thing on the Internet today. Watch from a distance if you like, but when you’re ready … join us!

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Hollow Men, Hollow Markets, Hollow World

By Ben Hunt | July 9, 2022 | 92 Comments

Over the past 25 years, our leaders have intentionally constructed an Apocalypse Now world of proclamation and fiat, where our wealth has grown much faster than our economy.

The bill is due for their hubris, and inflation is here to collect it.

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One Narrative To Rule Them All

By Ben Hunt | July 7, 2022 | 0 Comments

I believe that it is impossible in a robust, ie, non-financialized and non-levered macroeconomic world, for a nation’s people to be a lot richer than their economy grows.

But that’s where we are.

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Weimar, War, and the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence

By Ben Hunt | June 21, 2022 | 0 Comments

It feels weird to be rooting for a Volcker-esque recession and long bear market as the best potential outcome for where we are today. But there are worse outcomes, like Weimar or war. And it feels like those much worse outcomes are squarely on the path of least political resistance.

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