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John Mauldin's Outside the Box

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  • Ben Graham’s Curse on Gold

    This week we have a shorter Outside the Box, from my friend David Galland at Casey Research, with an interesting insight into why gold can be considered as a poor investment by some rather influential investors (like Warren Buffett) while others may see it as the core of a diversified portfolio. As usual when I use someone's material for an OTB, I include a link at the end, if you want to look deeper. The rather large team at Casey Research specializes in gold, natural resources, and energy-related investments, for those with such an investing bent.

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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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  • The End of QE2: Major Policy Shift Ahead

    This week’s Outside the Box is from my friend David Galland, an interview he did for The Casey Report, and it represents a philosophical train of thought more in line with Austrian economics and libertarianism than my own. But if we only read what we already think, then how do we learn? It is only when your ideas are challenged and you must determine why the other guys are wrong and you are right, that you can either become more firm in your beliefs, or change. And much of what David says in this interview resonates. (I wrote about the end of QE2 a few weeks ago.)

    The guys at Casey are natural resources, commodities, and precious metals investors. Yet David argues that cash might be the wise thing now, after pounding the table for years on gold. He believes that the end of QE2 will be more important and dramatic than most think. That it is coming to an end I have no doubt, so it is important to think about what the effects, if any, will be. There are those who argue that we can live without it now. I argued (and still do) that we should have never had it. The unintended consequences are the ones I worry about. We just don’t know. It was a crazy experiment, with no understanding of what would really happen. But hoping for the best is not a strategy, so let’s think about it. David provides us with some different ways to look at the process.

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  • The Doctor and the Dealman: An Energy Update

    It has been a busy day in Rome, doing the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's and the Trevi Fountain. But I have to find time to get you your Outside the Box and have I got a great one for you. David Galland of Casey Research was kind enough to let me use an interview he did with two of his energy research staff normally only available to his subscribers. A big thank you to David.

    This is a special treat for Outside the Box readers, as they talk about the future of the energy markets. I have been following their work for some time and I think they are the real deal if you are looking for an energy letter to regularly read....
  • An Insider's View of the Real Estate Train Wreck

    I have been writing for a very long time about the coming debacle that the commercial real estate problem is going to be. This week's Outside the Box is an interview that my good friend David Galland did with Andy Miller, a man on the inside of the coming commercial real estate crisis. I thought it was very revealing, as there are so many nuances to the problem. For instance, in some cases, if you default and walk away from the loan you may trigger huge taxes as the loan loss to the bank is now considered income to you. Ouch! So many strings to unravel as you figure this one out.

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  • Into the Fourth Turning

    This week for your Outside the Box reading pleasure I am pleased to offer you the beginning of a very intriguing interview with Neil Howe he did with my friend David Galland at Casey Research. I think Neil is one of the premier forward looking thinkers of our time. His book The Fourth Turning is one of the more important books of the last two decades. 12 years ago, he and the late Richard Strauss basically outlined the psycho-social dynamics of our current time and his predictions have been uncannily accurate.

    Basically, he and Strauss demonstrated that the Anglo-Saxon world has a pattern of four repeating generational types. As each generation assumes its period of dominance, the character of the various nations change in a pattern that rhymes throughout 500 years of history. We are in the beginning–middle of what he calls the Fourth Turning. This is a lengthy (17 pages) but fascinating interview but one you definitely should read. It is too long for me to put up in its entirety, but if you want to read more there is a link to the full interview at the end of the article. Just type in your email and the people from Casey will send it to you. They will also add you to their very interesting letter written by members of their research team. And of course you can easily unsubscribe if you like, but you might want to read it for a few weeks to see if you like their angle on things.

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  • A 20-Year Bear Market?

    Long time readers know that I am a huge fan of the work of Neil Howe. His book, The Fourth Turning, was one of the seminal pieces of my reading over the last 30 years. And it has turned out to be stunningly prophetic. Uncomfortably so. A roughly 80 year cycle has been repeating itself for centuries in the Anglophile world, broken up into four generations or turnings. We have begun what Howe called many years ago The Fourth Turning.

    Neil Howe is the co-author, with the late William Strauss, of a number of seminal works on the impact of generations on cycles of history. Howe is a founding partner of LifeCourse Associates (lifecourse.com) which provides research to institutions looking to capitalize on generational research.

    The June 2009 edition of The Casey Report, the flagship publication of Casey Research, featured a comprehensive 23 page interview with Neil Howe as well as suggestions on how to position your portfolio to profit during a Fourth Turning crisis. I persuaded my friend David Galland to at least summarize it for my Outside the Box this week, and he graciously did so. David is the managing editor of The Casey Report and has had a long career in the financial services industry; as a founding partner of the successful Blanchard Group of Mutual Funds and, before joining Casey Research, as a founding partner of EverBank, one of the big success stories in independent online banking....
  • What the Export Land Model Means for Energy Prices

    Goldman Sachs recently forecasted that oil would be at $141 a barrel by the end of the year, and rising to $200 a barrel in the not too distant future. I have seen other forecasts calling for oil to slip significantly under $100 a barrel before starting...
  • Why the Big Money in Gold Shares Still Lies Ahead

    Introduction This week in Outside the Box we take a quizzical gander at the gold market, its growth-to-date, and potential future investment opportunity. We have witnessed a significant rise in the gold market from a July 1999 price of $252 an once, to...