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.
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.
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.
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.
Jamie Dimon is the rake.
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 …
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.
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.
The missionaries are out, and guess what? They want you to do a lot of trading and portfolio repositioning. How thoughtful!
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What happens when profitless-growth-forever narratives start breaking?
We need a new drug.
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.