October 12: Daily Contarian Reads

Is Bridgewater The Next Bernie Madoff?

Jim Grant, author of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, first hinted last week that not all is well when it comes to the world's biggest hedge fund, Ray Dalio's $160 billion Bridgewater (of which one half is the world's biggest risk-parity juggernaut). Speaking to Bloomberg last week, Grant said he was "bearish" on Bridgewater because founder Dalio has become "less focused on investing, while the firm lacks transparency and has produced lackluster returns." Grant slammed Dalio's transition from investor to marketer, and in a five-page critique of the world’s largest hedge fund, said Dalio has been preoccupied with his new book, sitting for media interviews and sending Tweets.

China's Next Five Year Plan: Squeezing the People To Feed The State

The state is pushing back. The logic is straightforward. Nominally communist China relies on its vibrant private sector for growth, but state-owned companies are indispensable tools for political patronage, social control and economic policy. Any financial rot in the state sector could weigh on the economy and weaken the Communist Party’s grip.

USD-denominated Debt Outside the US Hits Record----Even Junk Bonds

China announced today that it would sell $2 billion in government bonds denominated in US dollars. The offering will be China’s largest dollar-bond sale ever. The last time China sold dollar-bonds was in 2004. Investors around the globe are eager to hand China their US dollars, in exchange for a somewhat higher yield. The 10-year US Treasury yield is currently 2.34%. The 10-year yield on similar Chinese sovereign debt is 3.67%.

Mises, Rothbard And Catalonia----The Libertarian View of Succession

Many people in Catalonia wish to secede from Spain and form their own country, but the Spanish government has used force to block them from doing so. What should libertarians think of this conflict? In trying to answer this question, it is useful to seek guidance from Mises and Rothbard. Not that these two thinkers are always right, but it is a safe bet that these two giants of twentieth-century social science will have something illuminating to say.

Millennials Have Never Been More In Debt, And It Is Creating A Major Risk For The Economy

There is a seemingly unlimited number of disconnects in financial markets these days, not the least of which is the shocking divergence in recent years between the ever plunging unemployment rate in the United States and stubbornly rising delinquencies on consumer debt. In fact, according to a note published earlier today by UBS strategist Matthew Mish, that divergence continues to soar to all time highs with each passing month...but why?

Here Comes The Deluge: House Approves $36.5 Billion Disaster Relief Bill---Much More To Come

The U.S. House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee has approved $36.5 billion in emergency funding for relief and recovery from the recent devastating hurricanes and wildfires, a spokeswoman for the committee's chairman said late on Tuesday.

Why The European Union Is Doomed to Fail

The tiny Austrian village, which is situated four miles from the Danube, is utterly unremarkable, except for the fact that it sits on the border of three countries. To the east is Slovakia. To the south lies Hungary. As such, within shouting distance of one another, live three peoples speaking completely unintelligible languages. Austria belongs to the West Germanic language group, Hungary to Finno-Ugric and Slovakia to West Slavic. I thought about the exquisitely rich tapestry of European languages, cultures, customs, and nationalities as I watched the sad spectacle of Spanish riot police and Catalan separatists confronting one another on the streets of Barcelona. How on earth can the European Union unite that which history forced asunder?

1987, 1997, 2007… Just How Crash-Prone are Years Ending in 7?

Years ending in 7, such as the current year 2017, have a bad reputation among stock market participants. Large price declines tend to occur quite frequently in these years.

Russia-Gate Jumps the Shark

That is a question that the American people now face as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and virtually the entire mainstream media hype ridiculously minor allegations about Russia’s “meddling” in American politics into front-page hysteria. For instance, on Tuesday, the major news outlets were filled with the latest lurid chapter of Russia-gate, how Google, the Internet’s dominant search engine, had detected suspected “Russia-linked” accounts that bought several thousand dollars’ worth of ads.

10 Historic Reasons Why Catalonia Is Fighting For Independence

On Sunday 1st October, a referendum for independence – deemed illegal by the Spanish government – was held in Catalonia, an autonomous Spanish region, with 90% of Catalans choosing independence from Spain. So what is at the root of this intense drive for separation? Putting modern political reasons aside for just a moment, let’s delve into Catalonia’s historic past to understand why many Catalans are adamant that they will one day achieve an independent state.

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