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Every day, Epsilon Theory runs the world's financial news through natural language processing-based cluster analysis to identify the most on-narrative stories. We scan for those with the most similarity to all other stories as well as those with the most interconnectivity to multiple different key topics.

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One Narrative Keeps on Trucking

By Rusty Guinn | December 9, 2019 | 2 Comments

Trucking is dying and truckers are suffering along with it. The fact that the latter is the framing being chosen for the issue should pique your interest.

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Presented Without Comment

By Ben Hunt | December 4, 2019 | 1 Comment

Regardless of your personal views pro or con, if you don’t see that a powerful narrative backlash is forming against corporate management enrichment, you’re just not paying attention.

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Our Dumb World

By Rusty Guinn | December 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

Sometimes you really have to wonder how on earth an article makes its way into the Zeitgeist. Sometimes it’s best not to know.

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The Rent Is Too Damn Low

By Ben Hunt | November 25, 2019 | 8 Comments

It’s so weird that everyone who would throw an unholy temper tantrum at – gasp! – rent-controlled apartments is just fine with rent-controlled money.

“Yay, crumbs!”

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OK, Boomer

By Ben Hunt | November 18, 2019 | 4 Comments

I’m a fan of FedEx the company and Fred Smith the founder. I think they are both crown jewels of Western capitalism.

But if I hear another lecture from Fred Smith and his fellow billionaires on trickle-down tax cuts and the “benefits to the United States economy, especially lower and middle class wage earners”, I’m going to lose it.

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The Rake

By Ben Hunt | November 12, 2019 | 10 Comments

Jamie Dimon is the rake.

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Bye, Alexa…

By Rusty Guinn | November 11, 2019 | 3 Comments

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever. Leave aside the question of whether you care about wealth concentration or believe in any socially deleterious effects it …

Read moreBye, Alexa…

The Age of the High-Functioning Sociopath

By Ben Hunt | November 8, 2019 | 5 Comments

I’m old enough to remember when Donald Trump, the President-elect of the United States, and Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank, had an impromptu press conference in the Trump Tower lobby to trumpet the FIFTY THOUSAND JOBS and FIFTY BILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT that Softbank would be bringing to the US.

All based on a powerpoint deck.

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When Was I Radicalized? (Boeing edition)

By Ben Hunt | November 5, 2019 | 16 Comments

I believe it is impossible to separate the modern management practice of self-enrichment through massive levels of stock-based comp from the modern management practice of investor placation through massive levels of stock buybacks … without regulating one or the other practice.

But I’m all ears for any ideas.

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The Return of the Rotation Missionaries

By Rusty Guinn | November 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

The missionaries are out, and guess what? They want you to do a lot of trading and portfolio repositioning. How thoughtful!

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The Road to Reykjavík

By Rusty Guinn | October 29, 2019 | 8 Comments

Today’s Zeitgeist brought back a blast from the past, an early encounter with the distinction between narrative and other, more common, measures of what the crowd thinks.

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Was That Wrong?

By Ben Hunt | October 21, 2019 | 2 Comments

If Carl Icahn calls up the CEO of GM and asks her how the UAW talks are going, it is illegal for Mary Barra to tell him anything that she does not also tell everyone else.

If Carl Icahn calls up the President of the United States and asks him how the China talks are going, it is perfectly legal for Donald Trump to tell him whatever he likes without obligation to tell anyone else.

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To My Fellow Billionaires …

By Ben Hunt | October 15, 2019 | 8 Comments

Marc Benioff, the billionaire CEO of Salesforce.com, says we need a New Capitalism … a kinder and gentler capitalism to rectify our modern culture of greed and massive wealth inequality.

Ray Dalio, the billionaire CIO of Bridgewater, says the same thing.

I think they’re both right.

I also think they should STFU.

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The Common Knowledge of Inflation

By Ben Hunt | October 11, 2019 | 5 Comments

“Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.”

That’s my fave Arthur Miller quote, from The Crucible.

Our Devil is inflation, and today we think him beautiful in Heaven. You’re not ready for the Fall.

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In Chinese, the Emphasis is on the Second Syllable

By Ben Hunt | October 9, 2019 | 4 Comments

Every US company with Chinese consumer-facing products is going to be forced to make a choice. Do you want to preserve your authenticity and your brand, or do you want to preserve your earnings guidance and share price?

Choose one. You can’t have both.

No one will believe me when I say this, but it’s the truth: this is bigger than tariffs.

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Imagine That.

By Ben Hunt | October 7, 2019 | 6 Comments

They keep us sick, you know.

They keep us hooked on this framing of something-something Republicans vs. Democrats.

The cure? Take back your distance.

You’ll find your local library to be the perfect place to start.

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Fear Factor

By Ben Hunt | October 4, 2019 | 4 Comments

Yeah, yeah … I know that the Deep State is a powerful adversary. Or at least that’s what my MAGA buddies on twitter keep shouting at me.

But I’ll take the Deep State as an enemy any day compared to Steve Schwarzman and the rest of the Private Equity Tong looking to keep their carried interest tax treatment.

I bet Elizabeth Warren feels the same way.

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When the Product is Free, You’re the Product

By Ben Hunt | October 2, 2019 | 3 Comments

This isn’t a note about Facebook. It’s a note about online brokerage fees. And it’s a note about Facebook.

As a consumer … don’t cry for Argentina, and don’t cry for the online brokerages who are taking their commission fees down to zero. As an investor in or an employee of ANY financial services company, on the other hand … maybe it’s time for a good cry and a hard look at your future prospects.

“Yay, free!”

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The Emerging Market Zeitgeist is Broken

By Ben Hunt | September 30, 2019 | 2 Comments

Yes, Deadwood is the greatest HBO series ever. Don’t @ me. I’m not having it. David Milch is MY President.

And while Al Swearengen is the greatest character of that greatest show, the fact is that it’s another character – George Hearst – who drives the narrative arc for the entire series (and movie).

You see, Deadwood is a show about property rights.

So is the Argentina – IMF show.

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The Right Price of Money

By Ben Hunt | September 27, 2019 | 16 Comments

Overnight repo is where the interest rates that central banks SET meet the interest rates that real economic actors USE.

So what happens when the setting of interest rates becomes a disembodied symbol of governmental will rather than a clearing price of money in the real world? This.

It’s a new common knowledge about central banks, and it changes EVERYTHING.

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