September 2011 - John Mauldin's Outside the Box

John Mauldin reads hundreds of articles, reports, books, newsletters, etc. and each week he brings one essay from another analyst that should stimulate your thinking. John will not agree with all the essays, and some will make us uncomfortable, but the varied subject matter will offer thoughtful analysis that will challenge our minds to think Outside The Box.

John Mauldin's Outside the Box

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  • Absolute Zero

    It was Gary Shilling – way back in the last century – who first woke me up to the real whys and wherefores of deflation, with his 1998 best-seller, Deflation: Why it's coming, whether it's good or bad, and how it will affect your investments, business, and personal affairs. I had read various works on deflation, but nowhere was it put together as well as Gary did it. He followed it up the next year with Deflation: How to survive and thrive in the coming wave of deflation, and in that one he strongly urged his readers out of the stock market – just ahead of the 2000 dot-com bubble burst. But Gary has been so right over the past three decades. (He recently updated Deflation with The Age of Deleveraging: Investment Strategies for a Decade of Slow Growth and Deflation. It’s on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Age-Deleveraging.

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  • Obama’s Dilemma: U.S. Foreign Policy and Electoral Realities

    Folks, this piece from STRATFOR has compelled me to focus on the US for one more day before I head off to Europe. You've seen the articles and other insights I send on occasion from George Friedman, my friend and prophetic author of The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade, both bestsellers. Well, this article takes the cake. George is the founder of a geopolitical intelligence company called STRATFOR, whose focus is international affairs. But on the rare occasion when domestic politics and international affairs intersect, it's always a treat to get George's insight.

    I don't even want to give away any spoilers here. It's better to let you follow first-hand, as George builds his argument and arrives at a profound final conclusion. Let me just say: In Endgame, as you know, I predict that we will deal with the deficit in a controlled manner, or face disastrous consequences. Here, we learn how the realities of the next 14 months before the presidential election present some potential global consequences of their own.

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  • Res Politica versus Res Economica

    Today’s Outside the Box is the latest chapter in my ongoing discussion with Dr. Woody Brock on the rationale of the politics of economics. In this essay, Woody explains how political science has taken a back seat to economics, and how to redress the imbalance we find today between what he terms "Res Politica" (the rule of politics) and "Res Economica" (the rule of economics or money). Where the rubber meets the road here is that our important economic decisions are increasingly being made by politicians (who are not particularly well-schooled in either economics or political science), with consequences that are likely to be dangerous. You will have to put on your thinking cap, but this will provide you with some real insights and food for thought.

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  • Is the US Monetary System on the Verge of Collapse?

    This week we take in a piece that is somewhat outside my own box. There are a number of people who feel strongly that the US (and world governments in general) cannot pull out of the downward spiral they are in, that monetary policy is fixed on printing ever more money, and that the problems of fiat currencies are now coming to the fore.

    I was interviewed last week by David Galland and Doug Casey of Casey Research. Those of you familiar with them know they (and especially Doug) have a strong libertarian bent and a distrust of government. Not all that unusual, of course, except that they work at finding ways to invest based on their philosophy. That has meant a lot of gold and natural resources, plus new tech, which has worked at rather well overall.

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  • Portfolio: Venezuela’s Search for Economic Security

    You're familiar with my thoughts on gold: I buy it regularly as insurance, not an investment. Now here's something you didn't expect: I just watched a STRATFOR video and learned that the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, keeps an epic 60 percent of the nation's reserves in gold. Wow. Guess he sees it as insurance as well?

    Watch the video. It covers four recent moves by the ailing leader in an attempt to drum up some cash for his social programs, which can only be interpreted as a strategy to keep his waxing and waning political support strong. It all goes to show that Venezuela is a nation to watch, for better or worse, given Chavez's illness and the absence of a strong successor.

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  • Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

    I love Grant Williams and his writing in his letter Things That Make You Go Hmmm... And this week's Outside the Box is the first section from his recent post, where he starts with a brief history of Gadhafi and ends up giving us a tutorial on oil pricing. This may be "inside baseball" (too much detail) for some of you; but these details are important, as the very ground of oil pricing is shifting away from the traditional sources. What will the mainstream media do? Wonder when they will shift, which will result in a LOT higher costs for most of the world. Besides, this is a fun read, and Grant is a great writer.

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