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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.

The Common Knowledge of Inflation

By Ben Hunt | October 11, 2019 | 3 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 | 3 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 | 15 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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Politics Trump Economics Redux

By Rusty Guinn | September 23, 2019 | 4 Comments

It’s the most internally consistent Zeitgeist we have seen in 2019. And it just happens to be consistent with everything we’re reading in political / electoral news.

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As Good Once As It Ever Was

By Rusty Guinn | September 20, 2019 | 2 Comments

What happens when profitless-growth-forever narratives start breaking?

We need a new drug.

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Narrative is not a Disease. Narrative is Us.

By Ben Hunt | September 16, 2019 | 3 Comments

Robert Shiller’s new book, “Narrative Economics”, will be out soon, and the publicity effort is kicking into gear. I am SO HAPPY that the rigorous study of narratives is finally being taken seriously, and grateful to Shiller for making that happen.

I am also SO DEPRESSED about how Shiller’s central metaphor, that narrative = infectious disease, will be used against us. Because the “cure” is the Nudge.

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Sparks, Arcs and Trademarks

By Rusty Guinn | September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

I’m not sure if electric buses are really a national security risk. Even if they are, I’m not sure characterizing them that way is really an escalation of the trade war into existential rhetoric land.

But it’s worth watching.

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When Meta-Analysis Goes Meta

By Rusty Guinn | September 9, 2019 | 4 Comments

What does it mean when it becomes common knowledge that other investors are focused on evaluating common knowledge?

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I’ve Got a Secret

By Ben Hunt | September 6, 2019 | 8 Comments

Is there a bubble in passive investing? Honestly, I’m not even sure what that question is asking.

I DO think there’s a bubble in markets today – a behavioral bubble I’ll call ABB.

Always. Be. Buying.

And the Common Knowledge around passive investing is what blows this bubble. That’s MY secret.

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The Industrially Necessary Egg

By Ben Hunt | September 5, 2019 | 1 Comment

In modern farming and in modern investing, we have become prisoners of the monoculture. It’s efficient. It’s necessary for a mass society of ever-increasing Desire.

But here’s the thing …

In the investment monoculture, you’re not the farmer.

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Gell-Mann Gravity

By Rusty Guinn | September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

It’s the Monday Zeitgeist, including all known lanthanides and actinides.

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LEEROY JENKINS!!!

By Ben Hunt | August 29, 2019 | 18 Comments

There are four non-exclusive Occam’s-razorish explanations for Bill Dudley’s recent article inciting the Fed to get involved in the 2020 election:

A) Bill Dudley is a technocratic fascist.

B) Bill Dudley has lost his mind. In a sad clinical sense.

C) Bill Dudley is a MAGA sleeper agent.

D) Bill Dudley is Leeroy Jenkins.

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When Non-News Becomes Fiat News

By Rusty Guinn | August 28, 2019 | 3 Comments

IT’S A DISASTER. IT’S A CATASTROPHE. IT’S A PERFECT STORM. It’s today’s Zeitgeist.

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You Can’t Take It Back

By Rusty Guinn | August 26, 2019 | 21 Comments

Every morning, we run the Narrative Machine on the past 24 hours worth of financial media to find the most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected and central) stories in financial media. On the weekend, however, we run the same analysis on…well, everything else. It’s not a list of best articles or articles we think are most interesting …

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My Dinner with Neel

By Ben Hunt | August 26, 2019 | 8 Comments

I haven’t been very nice to Neel Kashkari.

But he was nice enough to engage in a twitter exchange with me the other day. Well, sort of.

Here’s a record of that exchange. I’ll leave it to you to decide who’s the prisoner and who’s the guard.

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Nuke ‘Em From Orbit. It’s the Only Way To Be Sure.

By Ben Hunt | August 24, 2019 | 4 Comments

Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

It’s the best line from a movie full of them.

I couldn’t help but think about nuking inhuman monsters from orbit, when I read the PR releases from Prince Andrew and Les Wexner about their “relationship” with Jeffrey Epstein.

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