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Author: ADrumlinDaisy Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 461306  
Subject: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capitalism Date: 9/9/2012 2:16 PM
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I was down in the new marsh above the pond. It used to be a meadow, but the spring storms caved in part of the ridge, interrupting the natural riparian flow, so now instead of a meadow and a pond I have two marshes, one waxing and one waning.

I was wearing high boots, long pants, a long sleeved work shirt, gloves, a Willie Nelson bandana, and the old 2nd Infantry Division cap the Colonel gave me when he came back from Korea – and trust me, when I wear that cap, I mean business; anything less would dishonor it. Those boys went up the creek and over the mountain, and I tip my hat to them even now, sixty years later.

I also had an inch of Vaseline smeared on every inch of exposed skin – my face, neck, even hair – and another bandana loosely around my neck and mouth, for breathing air unencumbered by flies and mosquitoes. Forget DEET; it is just a hors d’oeuvres for these West Virginia bloodsuckers – but even they can’t burrow through an inch of Vaseline. They try, for sure, but they suffocate; that layer of Vaseline pretty quickly becomes a sort of high-ridge cologne -- a dense layer of dead flies and mosquitoes entombed in petroleum jelly.

So I cut quite a fine figure there in the marsh, with the August sun hammering down, and I was having a good old time, swinging my mattock like there was no tomorrow, blasting through the muck and fallen rock like old John Henry. I was hotter than blazes and sweating up a storm, but the flies and mosquitoes and leeches and ticks could not get to me, and I never felt better.

And then my cell phone rang, up on the big flat rock under the beech tree. It was sitting there, buzzing and hopping around, right beside my thermos of iced lemonade. I stood there knee deep in muck, sweating and steaming, gasping for breath through my bandana under a huge black cloud of flies, wanting to keep on blasting ahead – but wanting, just a little bit more, to engage with that thermos.

So I slogged my way out of the muck and up the slimy slope, slipping and sliding and, truth be told, saying a few things I would not want my kids to hear, and I sat down on the sparse grass, with my back against that rock, and I did that lemonade proud. And that was maybe the finest minute or two in recent memory, and I recommend it to sundry and all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, before I go on, let me say something.

I do indeed have an investing thought or two of a macroeconomic nature, and I am working my way toward laying them out, but I see that my path is a bit on the meandering side. And I do not want to waste the time of the serious investors who populate these boards; on the other hand, I write these posts mostly for my children, and for them certain things are revealed in the course of a meandering path that may ultimately be more important than the investing thoughts that lie at the final destination.

So here is my effort to be fair to all: my kids have no choice, they have to read this whole post; there will be a test! But for everyone else, I will signal the beginning of the investing ideas with a bunch of capital Q’s, like this: QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ. You can skip everything up to the Q’s and not miss anything except a few random thoughts springing from life on a West Virginia ridge.

Speaking of which . . . .

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After I drained the lemonade, I sat there for a minute, pinching ticks off of my pants and contemplating the idea of a short nap, until I remembered that the whole lemonade adventure began because the phone had rung. So I climbed up on the rock and checked – and saw that it was my middle daughter, the Last American Communist, who was spending the summer studying wildlife high up in the Rockies.

I dialed her back. “Hi, LAC, this is Dad. You called?”

“Hi, Dad! Guess where I am!”

“Paris, France?”

“No! I am ON TOP OF GOTHIC MOUNTAIN -- 12,600 feet high! I hiked up this morning, and believe it or not, I am calling you on my cell phone from the summit!”

<<In 1996, Rob Hall, trapped high up on Everest and realizing he was doomed, used his radio and a base camp satellite phone to say goodbye to his wife. A farewell call from the end of the world -- from across the river Styx . . . .>>

“That is great, honey! I’ll bet the view is grand!”

“Oh, yes . . . and guess what, Dad! Yesterday morning, as I was hiking out to my observation post around 5:00 AM, I came around a rock and there on the path, maybe 20 feet away, was a huge mountain lion . . . . “

<<What are you doing hiking alone in the wilderness at 5:00 AM in lion country? Are you crazy? You are too precious to take that risk! You are a young girl, and you should leave such things to grizzled old men. >>

“. . . . He seemed pretty interested in me – I think maybe he was stalking me. But I made myself big like they teach us . . .”

<<You made yourself big? 115 pounds is not big! Do you realize that a mountain lion can leap 40 feet – that it has the strength of many men in its powerful front legs – that it can kill a full-grown deer in seconds . . . .?>>

“. . . . and pretty soon he just melted away into the bushes. It was awesome; he was unbelievable!”

“Wow, what an experience! But it sounds as if that might be a dangerous lion – are they doing anything about it? Trying to trap it or eliminate it?”

A pause, then LAC’s dead serious voice – “Dad, you know better than that. You can’t have it both ways. If you care about the environment – if you care about our future on this planet – then you care about apex predators. And if you want healthy apex predators, you have to be prepared to coexist with them.”

<<I don’t want it both ways – I want it *my* way, where little girls wear pink Easter dresses and cuddle faithful golden retrievers and never, ever get anywhere near a mountain lion . . . .>>

<<But I also want my daughter to find her destiny, and do great things, and live her life as she wishes . . . . And as she says, I can’t have it both ways . . . .>>

“Of course you are right, honey – and I am proud of you. But keep an eye out, OK?”

And I hung up, and sat on the rock, watching the little baby ticks and leeches crawl up my pant legs and thinking about mosquitoes and mountain lions and clean air and genetic diversity, and how nothing is simple, everything involves a balance between costs and benefits . . .

QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ

. . . and this, of course, quickly led me to think about the Invisible Hand of the Free Market, and Capitalism, and Jeremy Grantham, and – looking at a leech struggling on my boot – Ayn Rand and her (IMO) simplistic philosophy that serves mostly to insulate people from their better selves.

But enough about the related topics of leeches, ticks, mosquitoes, and Ayn Rand (I am sorry; I know many people on these boards hold Ms. Rand in great esteem, and I respect their opinions in most areas, just not this one).

Let me instead focus on the quid and the pro quo of capitalism, and the curious reception that the recent quarterly letters of Jeremy Grantham have received.

Let’s start with a brief discussion of Mr. Grantham. Frankly, it is almost impossible to imagine him mucking out a marsh in West Virginia -- he is British, almost frail, reserved and elegant in appearance, with a tiny bit of Malcolm McDowell about him (not the Clockwork Orange character played by McDowell; just McDowell the person).

Grantham is most famous for investing based on the assumption that large-scale measures of economic behavior – as embodied in metrics such S&P 500 earnings, overall market performance, asset class pricing, and the like – will typically revert to the mean. Pragmatically speaking, this emphasis has allowed him to be astonishingly accurate in spotting bubbles and avoiding the ensuing crashes – strangely, this accuracy seems unimpressive in hindsight (where his conclusions seem almost obvious), but his views were certainly less obvious prior to the events that proved them accurate, when they were typically ignored or even ridiculed by almost everyone.

For example, Grantham predicted and avoided the crashes following the Japan and real estate bubbles of the eighties, the dot.com bubble of the late nineties, and the credit-fueled bubble that exploded in 2008, in each case to the amusement of the masses, which largely ignored him.

And this brings me to another difference between Grantham and your typical West Virginia country gentleman: Grantham is very restrained in commenting upon the fact that he has been almost uniformly right in his large macro-economic predictions, whilst his critical colleagues have lost literally billions of dollars for their clients by ignoring what he had to say. (Did you notice the “whilst?” That is a tribute to Mr. Grantham’s British origins.) Grantham will occasionally drop a soft little zinger into a speech, but honestly he is pretty darned restrained in light of all the grief he has taken over the years.

Now, here in West Virginia, we would behave very differently if we were in Grantham’s shoes. For example, I would be hanging out day and night around all those naysayers, beer in hand, reminding them about how I was right and they were wrong, riffling through a wallet full of hundreds, asking them if they needed a few bucks to make it through to Friday, and just generally getting payback for all the grief they had given me.

Anyway, even though Grantham leaves something to be desired when it comes to enjoying the fruits of victory, he is a pretty impressive guy, which is probably why his nickname is “Legendary Investor Jeremy Grantham.” Do you think I am kidding? Go ahead and Google that phrase, I will wait.

(While I am waiting, let me note that here in West Virginia we do a bit better in the nickname department – for example, my neighbor’s wayward son is “Three-Peat” and one of my poker buddies is “Wet Toad”(his last name sounds a lot like “Sprocket”). I just can’t imagine sitting there at the poker table saying, “OK, Legendary Investor, it is ten to you.” But I guess they do nicknames differently in Boston and Britain.)

Did you do the Google search? See what I mean? The guy is an investing stud. To summarize, (i) he is the expert on reversion to the mean in the investing world, (ii) he has an unparalleled record of spotting long-term macroeconomic situations – bubbles and inverse bubbles, and (iii) he is a great capitalist, effectively managing almost $100 Billion through GMO (his company).

With this background, let us look at the three main things that Grantham is saying these days. These have been recurring themes in his recent quarterly letters, which can be accessed here:

https://www.gmo.com/America/MyHome/default

First, Grantham has reached a remarkable conclusion – the High Priest of Mean Reversion has announced, after massive research and analysis (done in the trenches by GMO’s elite corps of brilliant young economists and analysts), that this time, things are different, at least in one key area.

Specifically, the long-term trend in commodity prices is broken; there will be no reversion to the mean. Instead, many key commodities will rapidly become scarce as the world population grows and third world economies mature, and this scarcity will both (i) make long-term investments in such commodities highly profitable and (ii) result in wide-scale human suffering.

Perhaps you have a knee-jerk reaction as you read this, thinking “he is ignoring the consequences of technological innovation,” or “he does not understand the long term importance of solar energy,” or “sure, the five most dangerous words in the English language – ‘this time things are different!’”

Well, you can of course think anything you want, but decades of experience demonstrate that it is a bit foolish to take Grantham lightly in this area where he is the undisputed expert. He is not speaking lightly, and he has not ignored anything. He might be wrong, but he is certainly not being cavalier. So we ignore him at our peril.

Second, Grantham has suggested an investing strategy flowing from the above conclusion. Specifically, he recommends that people invest in stuff in the ground – much of which is admittedly expensive and even inflated at today’s prices, but which over the long term Grantham expects to rise dramatically in price. So, buy a little now and add opportunistically over time. When Grantham speaks of stuff in the ground, he means timber, farm land, certain key commodities (especially certain fertilizers), and commodities such as oil, metal ores, etc.

How has this Grantham advice been received? Well, it has gotten *a lot* of attention – when this great investor speaks about investing, people listen. For example, a quick Google search of “Grantham in the ground” gives 2,730,000 hits.

Finally – the third of the three main things Grantham is saying these days – Grantham states another conclusion resulting from his first point outlined above. Recall that his first point was that there is a new paradigm under which certain key commodities will become increasingly scarce, with large consequences for both commodity prices and human suffering.

Grantham’s third idea -- the point that this great capitalist clearly believes is the most important thing he has to say to us – is that capitalism, as excellent a system as it undoubtedly is, is completely unable to deal with the long term consequences of commodity scarcity (or, put another way, with the long term consequences of burgeoning population and profligate consumption).

The gist of Grantham’s analysis – which again is not off-the-cuff rhetoric, but instead is based upon massive research by scores of brilliant gnomes working in dimly light sub-basements (OK, I admit I am guessing just a bit about the GMO work force and working conditions) – is that capitalism weighs the *present values* of various alternatives in deciding on the appropriate course of action. As a result of this process of discounting future consequences to arrive at a present value, even the most disastrous possible consequences do not have much impact on a capitalistic calculation if those consequences are sufficiently far out in the future -- even the certainty of a disaster in 100 years has little present weight.

Grantham uses farming examples and catch phrases such as “your grandchildren have no value” to make these points, but they are not really all that hard to understand. In a sense, if we emphasize our self-interest by largely discounting future consequences (which will happen to others or from which we will be insulated by the accumulation of wealth prior to facing such consequences), it is not surprising that we are fouling the pond for our grandchildren.

And how have these thoughts – from old “Legendary Investor” himself -- been received? Well, as far as I can tell, they have not been received at all. It is as if Grantham’s quarterly letters suddenly start being written in Tasmanian or something when they get to this point – no one even talks about this stuff. For example, a Google search of “Grantham capitalism” turns up only about 1/5 of the hits of the prior search (about “in the ground”), and many of these are unrelated to this topic. And I never see any discussion of Grantham’s urgent points on any of the investing forums that I frequent.

What is going on here?

Well, first, when people read Grantham’s essays, they are looking specifically for investing advice – they are not in philosophy mode. So it is understandable that many readers will just skip the material that does not provide specific investing tips.

But this is not the whole story, not when one of the most acclaimed investors in the world speaks repeatedly and emphatically about something, and no one pays attention. Something else is going on.

My best guess – a guess that sort of explains the inattentiveness to Grantham’s key message and maybe also the peculiar staying power of Ms. Rand – is this: for many, capitalism is not a system, or a theory, or a method; it is instead a religion. And being a religion – a “true belief” in the Eric Hoffer sense -- it is immune from comment, criticism or analysis. Faith means ignoring evidence to the contrary – that is really all that it can ever mean (if there is no evidence to the contrary, there is no need for faith; reason will take you to the same place) – and apparently many people have “faith” in capitalism.

Now, it is clear that capitalism has great strengths. But it is neither scripture nor a natural law – it is not one of the Ten Commandments, or general relativity – it is simply a tool, a set of rules for regulating human behavior. And like any tool, it must be evaluated for the specific task at hand, whatever that task may be.

For example, should the military forces be established and regulated under the rules of a free market? Well, history can help us here; Rome had private armies, and we all know what happened -- in 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon and the Roman Republic was soon history. So perhaps for the military a different approach makes sense – few would dispute that idea, I expect.

Similarly, we should not recoil reflexively and close our ears when someone suggests that we need to take a different approach to addressing our long term economic problems – when someone suggests that capitalism is not up to that particular task.

Now, through a process of self-selection, the people on these Motley Fool boards tend to be self-sufficient and individualistic – they have decided to at least some extent to take financial matters into their own hands. As a result, they embody some of the best virtues of capitalism – they tend to shoulder their own loads without expectation that others will help, and they are probably more productive than the average person. And, they expect such behavior of others.

As noted, I admire these virtues and attitudes; they are important foundations of the greatest society our world has ever known. But they are not the only virtues, and they are not the only foundations upon which our society is built. We are also characterized by generosity of spirit and concern for our fellow man – and, Ayn Rand notwithstanding, most of us understand the benefits of cooperative action for our common benefit, and even for eleemosynary ends.

So, although our common attitude on these boards may be a certain disinterest in, or even disdain for, long term concerns about our shared future when manifested in the form of environmentalism (and Grantham is, no doubt, an environmentalist), it probably would not hurt to abandon preconceptions – especially preconceptions based on something as insubstantial as an overweening faith in the superiority of free market capitalism in all circumstances – and give Grantham’s ideas a fair reading. (Of course, Grantham may well be wrong, although I am not expert enough to identify errors in his thinking – but a fair reading is by no means the same thing as concurrence.)

Anyway, I do not want to get into the specifics of Grantham’s points – he is much smarter than I; he is and should be a trusted source; and he has gone to great length and expense to articulate his thinking carefully in letters that are accessible at the above link.

Instead, let me just instruct my children (and suggest to any other unfortunate soul who has actually read this far) to go ahead and read Grantham’s last four quarterly letters with an open mind.

And now I have to get back to my muck raking . . . .

Rich

A Drumlin Daisy

who has developed a test that helps me evaluate people -- basically, it involves trying to imagine their reaction to watching the movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. This is just one data point; you should probably seek at least one more independent data point before reaching a final conclusion about someone.

Let’s try it, just for fun: imagine the reactions to the following movie scenes by various politicians, business leaders, Ayn Rand . . . .


Buckaroo Banzai : Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

Buckaroo Banzai: I've been ionized, but I'm okay now.

Mission Control: Buckaroo, The White House wants to know is everything ok with the alien space craft from Planet 10 or should we just go ahead and destroy Russia?
Buckaroo Banzai : Tell him yes on one and no on two.
Mission Control : Which one was yes, go ahead and destroy Russia... or number 2?


Buckaroo Banzai : You remind me of someone I once knew.
Penny Priddy : Was she... very beautiful?
Buckaroo Banzai : She was... Queen of the Netherlands
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Author: TMFMurph Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Home Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403442 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/9/2012 2:46 PM
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Hi Rich!

Cool! Channeling Buckaroo Banzai!!!

I expect to hear from you about Time Bandits and the nature of evil:

"...Never talk to me like that again. No one created me. I am evil. Evil existed long before good. I made myself. I cannot be unmade. I am all-powerful."


and perhaps some Monty Python physics lessons too ;-)

"...It's not a question of where he grips it! It's a simple
question of weight ratios! "



Thanks for a thoughtful ( and entertaining ) post.

Cheers!
Murph
Home Fool

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Author: desertdaveataol Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403447 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/9/2012 4:12 PM
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.

who has developed a test that helps me evaluate people -- basically, it involves trying to imagine their reaction to watching the movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension.

Ah yes! How would the passengers react upon overhearing THIS exchange?

(As the space ship careens through the air at breakneck speeds)
Buckaroo Banzai: "John Parker, take this wheel. Just, just hold on, that's good. It flies like a truck."

John Parker: "Good. What is a truck?"

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Author: namkato Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403458 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/9/2012 6:41 PM
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Interesting juxtaposition between the Very Impressive Last American Communist Facing Down A Lion While Scaling A Mountain Peak and.......


(from the deep, dark, slimy swamp) "....looking at a leech struggling on my boot – Ayn Rand and her (IMO) simplistic philosophy that serves mostly to insulate people from their better selves.

But enough about the related topics of leeches, ticks, mosquitoes, and Ayn Rand"


central planning for the next hundred years, yes!

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Author: WendyBG Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403468 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/9/2012 10:45 PM
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ADrumlinDaisy added to your Favorite Fools list.

Anecdote, alliteration, metaphor, macroeconomics...who could ask for more?

Wendy

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Author: flyerboys Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403472 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 12:30 AM
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The Banzai test!

My favorite would be: "It'a makes the ganglia TWITCH!"

Great post, keep going! Insightful Macro-E crossed with toothsome literature is a rare beautiful hybrid.


david fb

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Author: namkato Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403478 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 3:38 AM
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Great post, keep going! Insightful Macro-E crossed with toothsome literature is a rare beautiful hybrid.


david fb
=====================================

which part is the macro? all i see is a well disguised political screed, swallowed whole by gullible adoring fans

the daughter, and the hike in the swamp, are pure fiction; the praise of communism and hatred of Ayn Rand are true

whatever happened to critical reading skills? didn't anyone here go to college?

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Author: namkato Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403479 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 3:48 AM
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I was wearing high boots, long pants, a long sleeved work shirt, gloves, a Willie Nelson bandana, and the old 2nd Infantry Division cap the Colonel gave me when he came back from Korea – and trust me, when I wear that cap, I mean business; anything less would dishonor it. Those boys went up the creek and over the mountain, and I tip my hat to them even now, sixty years later.
======================================

Your communism dishonors all the troops who fought and died opposing communism in Korea. The Colonel is gyrating furiously in his grave.

I get it; Capitalists are Leeches, and Communists are Pumas. The Best Of crowds from PA are coming over to pile on the recs.

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Author: VitaBevis Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403481 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 7:54 AM
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Buckaroo: Give her your jacket.

Peter Perfect: Why?

Buckaroo: Because you're perfect.

PP (removing jacket): "Oh, right."





Also Juhn Worphin: "Laugh-a while you can, Monkey-Boy! I'm a-going home!"

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Author: rubberthinking Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403485 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 9:41 AM
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Records For Jeremy Grantham | InstantCheckmate.com
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I donno about this......

seriously I had skipped this post as it is a missive.......then this morning I went back and took the time to read it in depth.....great post.....

Grantham's conclusion that capitalism is not perfect is old. And new it makes more sense. I was raised in a liberal neighborhood, Bloomfield, CT. Bloomfield high was one third black, a third Jewish, and the last third was Christian white. Our high school was ranked second in the state. And yes I did graduate. WE were clearly taught at a young age during the 1970s that capitalism was not perfect.

I too linked the expensive energy costs of today with the lack of industrial might the US once enjoyed. Grantham I am sure has done it with more expertise. Keep in mind it is a relative thing and not a permanent thing necessarily.

We will in the next few years come into the efficient solar age. Copying nature's methods with nano tech will allow for a new age.

As for Rand? And her religionists? She is not the heart of the matter. Most people dont vote based on Ayn Rand. They vote based on something different that is changing.

Currently WE the people have been told for three decades that the rich give you jobs and that they need to do better in order to afford to give us jobs. Now it is becoming clear that the rich, the wealthy, will walk off without paying taxes while the workers pick up the entire bill. This is not what all of the wealthy want to do. But the political hacks of yesteryear are still on a mission to have a tax free world....not for us, but for themselves. We have been had.

America is waking up.

Grantham is a human? Gold has always been on the scarce side with the exception of the Spanish conquests in the new world. Gold can come down in price.

Qaz on these boards is writing some interesting ideas on what will happen if the world's population peaks. Notice that China a country where the popluation growth is more stagnate and is where western powers brought in their most recent trading partner. If we did not do so over the last few decades, then would we have been able to do so after WW III? As China might have militarized instead of industrializing if we did not cut them into the first world. We did rebuild Germany and Japan after WW II, would we have rebuilt a China that started some form of WW III? We probably would not have been here or able to do it.

The only major problem I have with Grantham is his lumping Ban Bernanke in with ML. They are two very different entities. I dont believe the powers that be are not knowledgeable or indifferent or unable to see what they need to deal with over long periods of time. I see them as managing quite well.

The theory that because we had massive imbalances we need to ride this current economic mess out permeates all of what Washington has been doing. I even think the obstinacy in the house of representatives has been useful to letting time pass before taking any action. Others recklessly call this kicking the can down the road. Somehow the dumber naysayers get all the public attention as opposed to the Granthams who dont live for the spot light. We live in a world where most reporters dont get out of bed in the morning. Assigning trust to the reporters and other assorted charlatans is beyond me.

Dave

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Author: whafa Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403495 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 10:35 AM
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which part is the macro? all i see is a well disguised political screed, swallowed whole by gullible adoring fans

the daughter, and the hike in the swamp, are pure fiction; the praise of communism and hatred of Ayn Rand are true

whatever happened to critical reading skills? didn't anyone here go to college?



We're trying to up our standards here, man. Up yours.

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Author: rubberthinking Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403500 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 11:22 AM
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We're trying to up our standards here, man. Up yours.

I took the liberty of highlighting the best part....

Dave

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Author: RockyTopBob Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Pro Community Winner Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403504 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 12:42 PM
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the daughter, and the hike in the swamp, are pure fiction

I do not condone the "up yours" comments on the TMF boards but you do not know the author, or his daughter as I do.

Read again the thoughts from one of the most honest people and family in this country.

Regards,

Bob

Vietnam vet and proud American

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Author: mzee20 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403512 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 5:19 PM
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Hi from a frequent lurker,

I really enjoyed the financial substance and the literary aspects of the original posts and most of the comments. I hate to bring this back on topic with a naive and prosaic question, but I wonder if anyone else sees the conflict between the recommendation to invest in scarce commodities and the recognition that pure capitalism will be inadequate to allocate these resources as scarcity becomes critical? I suppose that when this comes to a head, all bets will be off anyway, so we should really invest in canned tuna and tomato seeds, but how do we know that countries like China or the US won't simply nationalize those resources, rendering the investments worthless or nearly so? I'm thinking specifically of rare earths mined in China, and water supplies in the US.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts...

MZ

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Author: desertdaveataol Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403514 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 5:51 PM
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.

I hate to bring this back on topic with a naive and prosaic question, but I wonder if anyone else sees the conflict between the recommendation to invest in scarce commodities and the recognition that pure capitalism will be inadequate to allocate these resources as scarcity becomes critical?

In order to understand these rantings and ravings you need to inject the implied unspoken (unwritten) words in the sentence.

Here it is again in politically correcteze:

... but I wonder if anyone else sees the conflict between the recommendation to invest in scarce commodities and the recognition that pure capitalism will be inadequate to allocate these resources (in a socially responsible manner) as scarcity becomes critical?

Capitalism will always be able to allocate resources, it's just a matter of price whether "price" consists of fiat paper bills for bananas, silver coins for a goat or gold bars for cans of tuna fish.

The "evil" of capitalism is that it doesn't recognize that resources "should" be evenly distributed in a socially responsible manner so that all may enjoy the bounty of resources.

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Author: mzee20 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403516 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 6:40 PM
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Hi DesertDave,

I agree that capitalism isn't good at morality, but I need to know if scarce commodities will be a good long-term investment. Prices will go up, so over the short term, investments will be profitable. I assume that at some point, though, governments will recognize the injustice of private holding of essential commodities (most likely responding to pressure from the polity) and nationalize resources to keep prices artificially low and the resources directed to the common good, whatever that might be.

I might even agree that such action is the best thing for the world as a whole. But I also need to support myself in old age, so if push comes to shove in the next 30 years or so, I want my investments to retain value. Will the governments pay me for my stake in the mines and aquifers I've purchased or will I have to keep my finger on the pulse to sell before the pressure on the government is too great to resist? Or will things be so far gone by that point that no other investment would fare any better and we're thrown into a dark, post apocalyptic age? I'm optimistic by nature, so I'm not sure that even water will be scarce given technology improvements that are likely. But I won't have much wiggle room if I'm wrong...

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Author: desertdaveataol Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403517 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 7:18 PM
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I assume that at some point, though, governments will recognize the injustice of private holding of essential commodities ...

Why would private holdings of essential commodities be an injustice?

If you're worried about governments nationalizing the companies you own stock in you are layers away from safety.

You have a paper printout showing you own stock in a company. The share of stock (not even printed anymore) represents ownership of a tiny percentage of a company. Try to buy a bag of beans with that printout and see what happens.

If you want ultimate security own/live in a farm house next to a spring by a gold mine. Own guns. Have lots of friends/family with guns living there with you. Be sure the farm is large enough to feed all of you or produces enough stuff for y'all to buy/barter for what y'all need.

Oh wait! I've just described a small farming town.

Desert (Got Cows?) Dave

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Author: desertdaveataol Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403519 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 7:30 PM
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... and nationalize resources to keep prices artificially low and the resources directed to the common good, whatever that might be.

I might even agree that such action is the best thing for the world as a whole.


Greetings Comrade! Now be a good slave and get to work, it's for the public good you know:

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
-- Karl Marx

Desert (not good for much, but needs a lot) Dave

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Author: desertdaveataol Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403521 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 7:42 PM
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But I also need to support myself in old age, so if push comes to shove in the next 30 years or so, I want my investments to retain value.

Me too! But the guys who guarantee our investments will be safe for 30 years tend to end up being jailed for fraud.

Best advice (worth every cent you paid for it) I can give is to spread your investments out over many dividend paying stocks that have a track record of paying out dividends over many years. Here's a list:

U.S. Dividend Champions
U.S. Companies with 25+ Straight Years of Higher Dividends
Excel Spreadsheet or PDF Format Updated monthly.
http://dripinvesting.org/Tools/Tools.asp

I tend towards dividend paying US utilities, but your mileage may vary.

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403523 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 7:55 PM
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I really enjoyed the financial substance and the literary aspects of the original posts and most of the comments. I hate to bring this back on topic with a naive and prosaic question, but I wonder if anyone else sees the conflict between the recommendation to invest in scarce commodities and the recognition that pure capitalism will be inadequate to allocate these resources as scarcity becomes critical?

If politicians worldwide will just stay out of the way, capitalism on its own will do an excellent job of allocating those resources as they become scarcer - and steering people into less dear alternatives, as well - so the scarcity never becomes critical.

I'd rate the chance that politicians will stay out of the way, at very close to zero.

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Author: mzee20 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403524 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 8:17 PM
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Re: I'd rate the chance that politicians will stay out of the way, at very close to zero.

Ha! I guess this is implicit in my question. The variable is how soon and with what warning is this likely to happen? I hope that China would resist the temptation because their other investments would suffer, but Who knows? In any case, after a bit of research, I find that rare earths are sold privately anyway, so unless I want to become a dealer, there's no way to play this.

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Author: mzee20 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403525 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 8:26 PM
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Re:Why would private holdings of essential commodities be an injustice

It wouldn't necessarily, but if the market decided that rare commodities should go to video games for rich kids in China, but that would mean that medical monitors for surgery on middle class Chinese was unafordable, The middle class might find the result to be injust. Life vs. video games looks easy. If the society at large agitated for use in medical monitors, and if there was enough political will to decree it, it would happen.

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Author: yttire Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403526 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 8:26 PM
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If politicians worldwide will just stay out of the way, capitalism on its own will do an excellent job of allocating those resources as they become scarcer - and steering people into less dear alternatives, as well - so the scarcity never becomes critical.

If the humane individuals will just stay out of the way, and let the unlucky and weak just die off, we can finally reach our utopian ideal where only the rich and connected live and thrive.

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Author: mzee20 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403527 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 8:28 PM
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Greetings Comrade! Now be a good slave and get to work, it's for the public good you know

Ha,

No, I'm leaning toward hoarding cans of tuna and growing my own tomatoes!

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Author: warrl Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403529 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 8:59 PM
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If politicians worldwide will just stay out of the way, capitalism on its own will do an excellent job of allocating those resources as they become scarcer - and steering people into less dear alternatives, as well - so the scarcity never becomes critical.

If the humane individuals will just stay out of the way, and let the unlucky and weak just die off, we can finally reach our utopian ideal where only the rich and connected live and thrive.


The problem with that is that the "humane" individuals act in ways that discourage the development of new sources of the scarce materials and alternatives to the scarce materials.

So then everyone proceeds as if there is no shortage... until the crisis hits, and the price soars if you can find any to buy.

And then these same "humane" individuals step in and seize power to allocate the limited resources, which of course makes them rich and powerful - while the people who need the scarce resource for its "most important" uses have to pay through the nose for it, and those who need it for some "less important" uses don't get any at all which negatively impacts their lives and possibly the lives of millions of other people.

Whereas if the "humane" individuals stay out of the way, the price *slowly* rises. Which encourages some entrepreneurs to find more of the scarce resource, and other entrepreneurs to find substitutes for the scarce resource, and yet other entrepreneurs to do things that use a lot of the scarce resource while using only a little bit - or none at all. All of these activities, of course, help push the price down. Because there is no shortage of anything indispensable.

Who is better: the person who humanely and compassionately causes deprivation and misery while seizing wealth and power for himself? Or the person who greedily gives millions of people more wealth and more power over their own lives while making a profit himself?

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Author: qazulight Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403530 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 9:13 PM
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Who is better: the person who humanely and compassionately causes deprivation and misery while seizing wealth and power for himself? Or the person who greedily gives millions of people more wealth and more power over their own lives while making a profit himself?

It is kind of like complaining about mosquitoes, better to just sell DEET.

Cheers
Qazulight

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Author: desertdaveataol Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403531 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 9:28 PM
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Re:Why would private holdings of essential commodities be an injustice

It wouldn't necessarily, but if the market decided that rare commodities should go to video games for rich kids in China, but that would mean that medical monitors for surgery on middle class Chinese was unafordable, The middle class might find the result to be injust. Life vs. video games looks easy. If the society at large agitated for use in medical monitors, and if there was enough political will to decree it, it would happen.


So, Comrade, you think government holding of essential commodities would lead to medical monitors being available for surgery on middle class and even the proletariat?

Instead of selling them abroad for more rubles to those rich running Yankee dogs overseas?

Come now Comrade, surely you jest! How will party members pay for their dachas without that graft er... income?

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Author: mzee20 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403535 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 10:14 PM
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Instead of selling them abroad for more rubles to those rich running Yankee dogs overseas?

I assume that by this time, China has already stopped exporting and
the USians are hoarding canned tuna.

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403537 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 11:15 PM
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I assume that by this time, China has already stopped exporting and
the USians are hoarding canned tuna.



Wow did this thread ever go downhill!!!

So much drama?

I feed my cat canned tuna, hate the stuff myself.

Scheesch guys every time y'all have an election everyone gets all maudlin and starts checking out TEOTWAWKI board. I've had two or three (one of them didn't sound serious) private emails so far asking if it is possible for them to emigrate to Canada if their candidate loses. That is actually down from last time but still almost two months to go. }};-()


Speaking of which, a few of them tried to scam the system.


Tim

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-revoking...

Ottawa revoking citizenship of more than 3,000 after fraud investigation

Gloria Galloway

Ottawa — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Sep. 10 2012, 10:03 AM EDT

The Canadian citizenship of more than 3,000 people is being revoked and thousands of others who hold permanent resident’s status will be denied the chance to swear allegiance to this country as the federal government cracks down on fraudsters who have not met the basic requirements to become a citizen.

The Canadian citizenship of more than 3,000 people is being revoked and thousands of others who hold permanent resident’s status will be denied the chance to swear allegiance to this country as the federal government cracks down on fraudsters who have not met the basic requirements to become a citizen.

...

“This is an economic calculation for many of them,” he said. “If you can make big money in a tax haven while letting your kids go to McGill [University] for a fraction of a non-resident fee, and if you can come to Canada for expensive surgery when you need it, why wouldn’t you do it?”

Some of the schemes for fabricating Canadian residency have been easy to expose as fraudulent. Mr. Kenney said his favourite trick was one concocted by a Montreal consultant who literally created a fake address for his clients. “There was a door and a post box, but if you opened the door, there was a brick wall behind it,” he said.


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Author: qazulight Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403538 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 11:19 PM
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Scheesch guys every time y'all have an election everyone gets all maudlin and starts checking out TEOTWAWKI board. I've had two or three (one of them didn't sound serious) private emails so far asking if it is possible for them to emigrate to Canada if their candidate loses. That is actually down from last time but still almost two months to go. }};-()

Scheeesch Tim, I don't need no stinkin' election, all I need is the spring equinox to ask.

Cheers
Qazulight (The Autumn equinox looms, so no Canada this year.)

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Author: rubberthinking Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403539 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 11:20 PM
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.
You will not be able to recommend any more posts today

ah Tim,

you try and try to straighten out this board....and it always goes back to the end of the world as we know it......

home is home....

Dave

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403540 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/10/2012 11:25 PM
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you try and try to straighten out this board....and it always goes back to the end of the world as we know it....


Yeah, I find myself quite trying at time. }};-D

Tim

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Author: steve203 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403544 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/11/2012 12:15 AM
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...you try and try to straighten out this board....and it always goes back to the end of the world as we know it......

Think "job security". I set myself the task of cleaning up the language of the girls I worked with.....I knew the guys were beyond redemption. I knew I would be working on that until I retired.....I was.

Steve...retired

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Author: crassfool Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403545 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/11/2012 1:30 AM
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Thanks for a thoughtful and beautifully written post.

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Author: markr33 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 403591 of 461306
Subject: Re: A Tad OT: Leeches; Pumas; Grantham & Capital Date: 9/11/2012 11:45 PM
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If the humane individuals will just stay out of the way, and let the unlucky and weak just die off, we can finally reach our utopian ideal where only the rich and connected live and thrive.

I wonder what happens to a species that attempts to repeal Darwin's Law? It's never happened before.

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