The Zeitgeist – 4.8.2019

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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. It’s not a list of best articles or articles we think are most interesting … often far from it.

But for whatever reason these are articles that are representative of some sort of chord that has been struck in Narrative-world.


April 8, 2019 Narrative Map – US Equities

Source: Quid, Epsilon Theory

How to Invest in Coffee Stocks [Motley Fool]

It isn’t until you start really digging into the meta-data of financial media on a daily basis that you realize just how dominated these channels are with book report-style articles which mix slightly dated facts and vanilla qualitative assessments with headlines that indicate that those things are guides on how to invest.

I know, I know, it’s Motley Fool, but there’s a reason this was such an interconnected topic. There is a lot of this kind of content out there, from a lot of publishers.


Whatever it takes, Part 2?: Five questions for the ECB [Reuters]

Anyone who caught the most recent ET Live!, and any ET Pro subscribers who have read our March monitors update know where Ben and I come out on this. The return of the central bank put is now part of common knowledge. We think a hawkish deviation on any of these questions would be treated as a meaningful surprise.


No, you don’t need 20 percent; How Chicago millennials are buying first homes with down payment programs [Chicago Tribune]

So stay with me here. We’re going to finance this customer in our sophisticated new lending structure, in which they’d just make the principal payments that would have been a down payment over time. No, no, it’s not a 100 LTV loan, it’s an 80 LTV loan, but where the down payment is made in installments over time…why are you looking at me like that, it’s genius!

More seriously, I am rarely certain how often the author of an article like this knows that their piece is just being used as an advertisement. This guy wants to open his origination funnel, and he found someone willing to print an ad without charging him for it. More power to him, I suppose.

Outside of the advertising portion of the piece, how about the meat of the topic? The intersection of student loan debt, housing prices and lifestyles available to Millennials relative to their parents’ generations is incredibly and consistently central to all media we review. Perhaps the only theme which weaves its way into more social, cultural and financial topics (other than pro- and anti-Trump politics) is health care and drug costs.


Namaste, Now Pay [New York Times]

This article scored near the top of our (1) list of interconnected financial services stories, (2) centrality ranking of Weekend Zeitgeist non-financial stories and (3) social engagement rankings of highly central stories over the last week. It really seems to touch a lot of nerves at once.

What I find most interesting, however, is that the response to discovering a MLM scheme is almost always the same: I can’t believe it would happen here, to something as pure as [Fill in the blank here]. Y’all, that’s the only way these things work in the first place. Can’t get your old high school friends to swallow their pride and hit you and rest of the class of 1994 up for money if they don’t believe in their heart-of-hearts that introducing you to this amazing new program is really an act of service to you.


Suspected Rhino Poacher Trampled by Elephants and Eaten by Lions in South Africa [Slate]

A white rhino is seen at the Kruger National Park on August 20, 2018.

Something, something, circle of life.


Ray Dalio: Wealth gap a “national emergency” [CBS News]

I know we are all supposed to hate billionaires now, and yes, I think it was just as big of a meta-game gaffe for Dalio to stick his head up at this place and time as I thought it was when Schultz did it.

But I like Ray. I like Howard, too, for that matter.

Still, you don’t get to argue for the easy money / easy credit policies necessary to facilitate a beautiful deleveraging, and then go on national television to decry the most direct result of those policies as a national emergency. I mean, you get to, but not if believability is something you still care about.

Principle 31.

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The Daily Zeitgeist

We Didn’t Say it WASN’T a Press Release

By Rusty Guinn | June 24, 2019 | 1 Comment

It isn’t just that cannabis always seems to make the top of the Zeitgeist. It’s why – and sometimes the answer is, “Because people are paying for it to be at the top.”

Read more

The ANDs of Asylum

By Rusty Guinn | June 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

In the midst of a complicated issue, an article from a small regional outlet manages to remind us of the power of AND in storytelling and connecting the understanding of those across the widening gyre.

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Zeitgeist Narrative Map – Week of June 16 in Review

By Rusty Guinn | June 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

This is our graph of the narrative structure of the last full week in financial markets news.

Read more


That Time I Bought Blockbuster Debt

By Ben Hunt | June 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

Management is not lying to you. It’s probably a really good turn-around plan. It could probably work out fine … IF they are given enough time. But they won’t be. Particularly when it’s the second turn-around plan.

Secularly declining companies ALWAYS run out of time.

It was one of the most expensive lessons of my investing career. And worth every penny.

Read more

Democracy Dies with Dancing

By Rusty Guinn | June 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

There’s a critical, indispensable feature of a free nation we call a free press. And then there’s the meme of free press!. The latter is a pure narrative construction, and a thing well supplied in the DC market.

Read more

The Not-So-Much War

By Rusty Guinn | June 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

A tug-of-war is only a tug-of-war if both sides, y’know, are capable of pulling on the rope.

Read more

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Mark Kahn
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Mark Kahn

I’m surprised that “weak Q1 earnings” didn’t show up in the narrative map as that “story” seemed to be all over the media the past several days.

“Down payments are made over time -” great opportunity to use the best of all “The Princess Bride” quotes:

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

And one more on the “new” downpayment model – technology has sped everything up, even the time it takes for our society to forget the mistakes it made that led to the last financial crisis.

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DaHoj
Member
DaHoj

Just nudge it a little bit: “Ray Dalio: I play probabilities. And I would say it’s probably 60-40, 65-35 that it will probably be done badly and that it would be a bad path. But I’m saying it doesn’t have to be that way. by realizing that it is a juncture maybe we can nudge just a little bit the probabilities so that we can have a better outcome.”

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