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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

How a Narrative Goes Viral

By Rusty Guinn

It is a fact that migrants here illegally have spread, are spreading, and will spread Covid-19.

It is also a narrative. A dangerous, seductive, rapidly spreading narrative that will cause many of us to shut off our minds to other facts, which is what narratives DO.

How do we parse the two?

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Sauron Remains Undefeated

By Ben Hunt

Here’s my take on this weekend’s Senate wrangling over the infrastructure bill, and the implications for crypto.

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.

And Sauron remains undefeated.

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Nudging State, Noble Lies

By Ben Hunt

In the world of Nudge, everyone is an ad man, and the government is just the biggest, baddest ad man of them all.

I’m not so naive as to think this isn’t a good description of what modern government is.

But it’s a terrible prescription for what modern government should be.

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Cursed Knowledge #3: The Molassacre

By Harper Hunt

The Boston Molassacre was one of the great tragedies of the early 20th century. So why isn’t it treated like one?

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Ever Grande

By Marc Rubinstein

The Chinese real estate developer Evergrande is the epitome of Too Big To Fail. It is truly Ever Grande.

So what happens if it does, in fact, fail?

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Enemies Real and Imagined

By Rusty Guinn

I think there’s a non-zero chance that the delta-variant becomes something that markets really are focused on. Maybe that happens months from now. Maybe days.

But until that happens, the delta-variant narrative explaining markets is a wall of worry, an artificially easy hurdle to climb for a market that only really cares about a dovish Fed sticking to its transitory inflation story.

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Welcome to Metaworld

By Rusty Guinn

The language of practically every topic of any social importance is now defined by people discussing how other people are discussing it. It’s true for the environment, race, politics and now – violent crime.

Welcome to Metaworld.

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ET Podcast #12 – Proof of Plant

By Ben Hunt

I think this is how crypto can change the world. Not as “money” and not as Bitcoin! TM and not as a security and not as this speculative coin versus that speculative coin. Not by facilitating a market of goods, but by facilitating a market of GOOD.

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What is Robinhood?

By Marc Rubinstein

What is Robinhood? It’s the conflation of gambling and investing. Which is … fine. I guess. But spare me the “we’re democratizing finance” BS.

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Cursed Knowledge #2: Weinstein and the Oscars

By Harper Hunt

Harvey Weinstein is a terrible person who did terrible things. But he doesn’t get nearly enough credit, or more accurately blame, for his role in destroying the integrity of the Academy Awards and fundamentally altering how Hollywood makes movies.

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I’m So Tired of the Transitory Inflation “Debate”

By Ben Hunt

When a famous person shakes his or her finger at you, they’re not telling you a fact.

They’re telling you how to think about a fact.

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Litigation Finance

By Bruce Packard

The formation of new “asset classes” and their associated narratives is a fascinating sight.

Using Burford Capital as a case study, new ET contributor Bruce Packard gives us a great primer on litigation-finance-as-an-asset-class.

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Day-One Advice for New Hedge Fund Portfolio Managers

By Brent Donnelly

Over the last 6 months, there’s been a mass influx of new hedge fund PMs, many from bank trading seats leaving for greener (?) pastures. I’ve been in both seats. I’ve had good years and disappointing years. So I present this advice with the utmost humility …

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

By Ben Hunt

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.

Read more

Cursed Knowledge #1: The Fast Saga

By Harper Hunt

The Fast and Furious movies are famous for intense action and ridiculous plots. But the truth about how these stories get made has more to do with the drama happening behind the camera than in front of it.

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ET Podcast #11 – A Working Narrative

By Ben Hunt

We write a LOT about work. And the responses we get are … weird.

Once again, the most important narratives are the ones we tell ourselves.

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Reinventing the Financial System

By Marc Rubinstein

If you’re like me, you’ve been put off from digging deeper into DeFi by the terrible signal-to-noise ratio of anything crypto-related on the interwebs. That’s why I found this DeFi primer (using Maker DAO as a specific example) by ET contributor and banking analyst Marc Rubinstein to be so fantastic.

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A Working Narrative

By Rusty Guinn

The future of remote work after the pandemic ends has been a part of the zeitgeist for more than a year.

Now it IS the zeitgeist. It is also a narrative battlefield being actively conflated with a half dozen other major social and policy topics.

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ET Zeitgeist: Deadly Theatre

By Ben Hunt

What is Deadly Theatre?

It’s corporate logos for Pride Month. It’s speaking gigs for Deborah Birx. It’s the cover up for Leon Black.

#BITFD

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ET Zeitgeist: Raccoons Never Sleep

By Ben Hunt

Lemonade (LMND) isn’t just an insurance company. No, no … they’re an AI Company! ™.

Plus Chamath is up to his old tricks.

I hate raccoons.

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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.