As 2021 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and reflect on an incredibly eventful year in the markets…
But we’re not just doing a simple year in review.
We’ve decided to revisit some of our favorite interviews of the year and compile the very best excerpts, just for you…
Dan recaps some amazing lessons from thinkers like Chris Camillo (Episode #192), Eric Wade (Episode #216), George Gilder (Episode #218), Bill Bonner (Episode #225), and Jaime Rogozinski (Episode #230)…
You’ll hear some big ideas, unbelievable stories, and some truly deep insights from some of the smartest folks anywhere in the world…
It’s the one episode this year you DEFINITELY don’t want to miss.
Listen to some of the most influential Investor Hour interviews of the year on this week’s episode.
Founder, The Agora
In 1978, William Bonner created what is now known as Agora Inc. What began as a small publishing company based in Washington, DC, has grown to be one of the largest and most successful consumer newsletter publishers in the world.
Since founding Agora Inc. in 1978, Bill Bonner has worked steadily to turn it into a "minimultinational," with publishing offices in eight different countries on six different continents. Bill also founded The Daily Reckoning. The Daily Reckoning is published by Agora Financial and weaves information about the financial world, investing, and everyday life into an educational and entertaining format.
Editor, Stansberry Research
Eric Wade is the editor of Crypto Capital, an investment advisory where he uses his unique strategy to find the best opportunities in the cryptocurrency space. He's also the editor of Crypto Cashflow - an advisory that focuses on high-yield, low-volatility crypto opportunities - and the tech-focused Stansberry Innovations Report.
Best Selling Author, Economist, & Co-Founder of Discovery Institute
George F. Gilder is Chairman of George Gilder Fund Management, host of the Gilder Telecosm Forum, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and a founding Member of the Board of Advisors for the Independent Institute. Described as "America's #1 Futurist," Gilder is one of the leading economic and technological thinkers of the past forty years, and author of twenty-one books, including Wealth and Poverty, Life After Television, Knowledge and Power, Life After Google, and his latest work Gaming AI: Why AI Can't Think but Can Transform Jobs.
Founder, WallStreet Bets
Jaime Rogozinski founded WallStreetBets in 2012--a large online community that yields a commanding presence in the world of finance. It has been featured in Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch as well as Bloomberg, CNBC, Money Magazine, Forbes, Vice, Business Insider, and Fortune.
Chris Camillo – Episode #192
3:08 – Chris Camillo (Episode #192) explains how social arbitrage investing helped him massively outperform in 2020… “If your head is stuck in financials, or if your head is stuck in charts, you’re not going to realize that everyone is buying webcams [during the pandemic] and it’s right in front of you. It’s not that hard!”
5:08 – Chris says one of the hardest things to learn is to trust your gut… ”Unless you’re doing it regularly, it’s hard to develop the confidence – the conviction – that you can see something before everyone else sees it…”
Eric Wade – Episode #216
11:59 – The last time we checked in with Eric Wade (Episode #216), he gave listeners an extremely useful real-world example of Ethereum’s applications… “It makes agreements not rely upon trust… Let’s say someone that you know really well – a brother, cousin, best friend – comes to you and says, ‘Hey I’m in a really bad way and I need a little bit of help. Lend me $10,000 and I can pay you back in a month...'”
13:16 – “Either you get paid back on time and everything is fine, or you don’t… If I were to enter into a contract with someone using Ethereum, what they say is going to happen, happens. The only way to not perform is to overtake the power of the entire network…”
18:32 – “All of these old-school businesses that the service provider made a little bit of money off of, a thousand times a month, now we have blockchain technology to carry that out. And I’m finding ways to scoop some of that up…”
George Gilder – Episode #218
25:35 – Dan sits down with George Gilder, who gives a fascinating view on gold you likely haven’t heard anywhere else… “Money is information comes from Hayek. Money as a measuring stick comes from Hayek. All I did was scrutinize more closely what’s the meaning of the measuring stick?“
30:11 – If the dollar doesn’t accurately measure value, then what does it measure? “It’s measuring the appetite of governments to pay off their supporters, and to endow their bureaucracies and administrative states, and their communist parties, and other parasites that inflict the world’s economy…”
34:10 – “The time it takes a worker to light a room, from the fires in the caves of the caveman, through the candles at Versailles, through whale oil lamps and kerosene, and on into fluorescent bulbs and now LEDs, the progress of light increased hundreds of thousands of times faster than any economist calculated…”
Bill Bonner – Episode #225
36:12 –Dan sits down for an interview with Bill Bonner, who gives listeners some unique insights into gold and inflation… “Right now, it looks like we’re coming onto a period of intentional, disastrous, government driven inflation, so you’d expect gold to be heading for high ground. And it’s not, so you have to wonder, is your theory wrong?”
42:55 – Bill talks about the Evergrande debt fiasco… “Evergrande promised investors 11% return. 11%! Where were they going to get 11%? They were going to have to sell a lot of apartments, which they didn’t sell…”
46:21 – What are the consequences? Bill says, “Guess what I expect?… I expect their goods – their apartments – are all going to be marked down. Our money is going to be marked down. That’s what we’ve been producing, and it shows up in speculative investments. Not industrial capacity, not in houses, not in the things that we would normally, after a period like this, expect to be deflated…”
Jaime Rogozinski – Episode #230
50:29 – Jaime Rogozinski shares what it was like when, seemingly overnight, the unassuming WallStreetBets reddit forum created massive problems for short-sellers on Wall Street… “It was overnight when GameStop happened… it became very public, very visible, and the world outside of finance found out about it…”
52:09 – When gamblers get access to commission-free options, things can go wrong very fast… “He ended up blowing up his account, and another $57,000 past that… Robinhood sent out a mass email to all of their clients saying, ‘We no longer allow box spreads on our platform’ so this individual single-handedly banned this maneuver…”
53:01 – And the gamblers didn’t stop there… One WallStreetBets poster took that strategy and began trading on margin… “One guy claims to have had like a $1 million position on a $4,000 investment…”
Announcer: Broadcasting from the Investor Hour studios and all around the world, you’re listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. [Music plays] Tune in each Thursday on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you find podcasts for the latest episodes of the Stansberry Investor Hour. Sign up for the free show archive at investorhour.com. Here’s your host, Dan Ferris.
Dan Ferris: Hello and welcome to the Stansberry Investor Hour. I’m your host, Dan Ferris. I’m also the editor of Extreme Value published by Stansberry Research. This is our last podcast of 2021 and we decided to take a look back over the year and give you five excerpts from some of our favorite interviews. And we picked five that we thought represented the diverse array of the different types of guests that we’ve had throughout the year.
We’ll hear an excerpt from each of the following people: market-wizards trader Chris Camillo, cryptocurrency guru Eric Wade, technology and money philosopher George Gilder, my old friend and mentor Bill Bonner, and WallStreetBets Reddit forum founder Jaime Rogozinski. Lots of great stuff today, representative of all that we did in 2021 and, really, all that we open to do in 2022 as well. We hope to find more great guests like these and maybe even some folks who are from different sectors and represent different types of opportunities, maybe even some folks who are not even financial people.
So for now, let’s check out these five excerpts from some of our best interviews from 2021. That and more right now on the Stansberry Investor Hour. [Music ends] We’re going to start out with Chris Camillo. You may recall that Chris Camillo is one of the traders covered in Jack Schwager’s latest book, Unknown Market Wizards. And when we talked with Chris, we talked about how easy he found it to trade during the COVID crash and throughout 2020, which was not an easy year for most people.
We also talked about the influence of Peter Lynch in his life and how that helped him to learn to spot trends earlier than other investors. Chris is one of my favorite guests of all time. He is a great investor with a fantastic track record. Give this a listen. [Music plays and stops] Chris, you’re like the one and only guy – I interview a new investor every single week. You’re the one and only person who says that it was easy last year [laughs]. Like, nobody says anything remotely close to that. They’re like, “You know, worst year of my life. It was really hard,” blah blah blah.
Chris Camillo: Well, I mean as an investor. As an investor. Like, I’m just saying to trade the market. If you look at the trades, they were all hyperobvious. There’s nothing hard about realizing that everybody’s buying bicycles and everybody’s getting pets. And, you know, all that stuff – oh. You know, the printer trade. I mean, like, I traded Hewlett-Packard. Oh, my gosh. The printers are sold out everywhere. I mean, you don’t have to be a Wall Street analyst to figure out the cheapest printer you can buy is $430 because literally every single printer in the world is sold out. Oh, my gosh. Guess what did well? Webcams. How did we ever figure that one out?
I mean, I’m an investing genius. I figured out that webcam demand was up in 2020, you know? Like, this is stuff that, quite honestly – if you’re stuck – and this is why I’m just so pro what I do, like in terms of a social arb investor versus being a technical or a fundamental investor. If your head is stuck in financials or if your head is stuck in charts, you’re not going to realize that everybody’s buying webcams and it’s right in front of you [laughs]. Like, it’s not that hard. Logitech, man. Buy Logitech. Right [laughs]?
Dan Ferris: Yeah. There is one thing, Chris. There is one thing. One thing is that, like, you might just be understating just a tad, how utterly important it is to answer that one question that Howard Marks, the investor – what he would ask is, “Who doesn’t know this?” Right? That’s an important question. Because if everybody knows it, you’re in information parity you might say, and there’s no trade. And I think most people are – they have a tougher time maybe than you do establishing, “How new is this trend?” If they’re writing about it in the Wall Street Journal, “Everybody’s buying webcams,” does everybody know or not?
Chris Camillo: I’ll give you that. I will give you that. But there was a time – there’s clearly a time in each of those trades when no one’s talking about it. Right? And I see no one – maybe get a hint in a web board, you know? But for the most part, like, if you search for news for that stock and you search for anything that’s being written about that stock or talked about and there’s virtually no mention of it, you got to go – you got to get into like, you know, a Reddit board or like, you know…someone’s talking about it on some Discord channel but, for the most part, it’s just not there.
You know, every one of these trades had a moment in time before the masses saw it. And I will agree with you. Unless you’re doing it regularly, it’s hard to develop the confidence, the conviction, that you can see something before everyone else sees it. And it’s not because everyone else doesn’t see it, it’s because other people have an issue connecting the dots as quickly.
Dan Ferris: The one old-school investor you remind me of is Peter Lynch, because he always talked about, “When you go to the grocery store, pay attention." You know, what are you using? What is everyone using? What products do you like? What’s new? What are people talking about? And, you know, that’s how – buy what you understand, you know? Invest in companies you understand.
Chris Camillo: Yeah.
Dan Ferris: And you sound really similar to that, to me.
Chris Camillo: Yeah. So let me address that. Peter Lynch had a profound impact on me and my investing. I was a kid, you know, in my teens when I read his book, One Up On Wall Street. And it was the one thing that resonated with me. It was the one thing that made me realize that, you know, my style of investing had legitimacy to it. Right? But Peter Lynch, if you remember – yes, he did believe that. But he was also an amazing fundamental investor.
So he kind of mixed those worlds of fundamental and observational really well and it worked so well for him for like 20-some-odd years. You know, what I do is – and it seems really crazy and odd to most people, and I’m sure would seem odd to Peter Lynch as well. You know, I’ve always wanted to meet him and I’ve never gotten to meet him. But I would love to someday sit down with him. But I just basically do one piece of what Peter did and I only focus on the observational piece of it.
And my thesis is that if you can identify something that is meaningful enough, that is a real needle-mover for a company – meaning a shift in consumer behavior, a shift in culture, a shift in technology, a shift in government regulation – anything, any type of major change and you could connect the dots to a sector or a company that that change would have massive needle-moving impact for and you can determine that the rest of the investing public and institutional Wall Street hasn’t fully appreciated that change or isn’t even aware of it for some reason.
And you could also prove that there’s nothing else happening during your trade window with that company or sector that’s more important than that change, then that’s all I care about. So at that point, I don’t want to know what the stock is trading at. I don’t want to look at a stock chart. I don’t want to know anything about the management team, I don’t want to know about the P/E ratio, I don’t want to know anything. All I want to know is how saturated that information is in the market, and I want to trade that. And I always say – and it’s this kind of – people just think this is crazy for me.
The ideal way for me to trade is to not even know what the stock price is when I’m entering or exiting the trade, meaning if I could just look at the market and look at my news feeds and look at all my information but not see a stock price and just buy that stock or sell it, short it, based on the information I have and exit it when that – I say you have to enter – I invest when there’s an information imbalance and I exit the investment when we’ve reached information parity. OK? So if I can just keep that pure, that’s the ideal way for me to trade. Now, we all know that it’s impossible to do that. I’m just a human, right? So I can’t ignore the price. It’s very difficult for me to completely ignore it, so I get sucked in. But I know I should ignore it.
Dan Ferris: Right [laughs].
Chris Camillo: So I literally try to block everything but what I’m doing. And it’s pure. It’s very pure. You know, does it always work? No. But I think if I stick with that, that’s when I’ve done best. And I know you kind of touted the $20,000 and $2 million. And what’s so crazy is that I generated like – I’m up to like $40, $50 million, $60 million. I don’t – it’s something like that right now. Last year, I generated $25 million in trading profits. And I think I’ve generated another $4 or $5 just this month.
So it’s what – and a year ago, I only had a $6 million trading account... $6.5 – it’s because, you know, life. Like, I’m taking money out for taxes every year and I’m taking money out for life. So that $6 million trading account was like, I don’t know, $20 million or…in trading profits that has now $6 million thanks to taxes and having kids and a wife and a house and all that good stuff. But last year was insane. I mean, last year was just absolutely insane for me [music plays and stops]
Dan Ferris: Next up is Eric Wade. Eric is a friend of mine. He’s a Stansberry colleague and friend who I’ve known for some years now, and he is my absolute No. 1 go-to guy on anything to do with cryptocurrency, so we need to check in with him now and then. And the last time we checked in with him, I asked Eric if he would tell us what the cryptocurrency called Ethereum solves. And I’ve listened to this interview a couple of times. And the very last time, it just hit me that Eric said really quick at one point – he said, “That’s the difference between the computer world and the real world.” OK?
Keeping that in mind will help you understand the explanation that Eric gives. And it’s a very good explanation because he tries to keep it in very, very simple terms. But you can tell it’s a technical subject. I mean, Eric, really – he pulled off a really cool thing here. He covered a very technical subject with a very simple explanation. Give it a listen right now [music plays and stops]. You know, we’ve solved – I think bitcoin – we’ve made the case…it’s been made over and over again, it kind of solves inflation as you alluded to. Let’s talk about other problems that get solved. Like, what does Ethereum solve? What has been solved there?
Eric Wade: OK. The fastest, easiest way to answer that for me is, it makes agreements not rely upon trust. And for people who may be listening to this right now, thinking, “What do I need that for,” I used to have an analogy I loved, which was, let’s say someone that you know really well or brother, cousin, best friend, college friend – etc. – comes to you and says, “Hey. I’m in a bad way. I need a little bit of help, but I can cover the – lend me $10,000 and I can cover it in a month once my property sells,” or something like that. And we’ve all been in that position.
And if you haven’t, then bless you, you’ve lived a wonderful life. The next thing that usually happens is, either you get paid back on time and everything’s fine, or you don’t. And with Ethereum, if I was to enter into a contract with someone using Ethereum, what they say is going to happen happens. And the only way to not perform is to overtake the power of the entire network. So, you know, if I have a smart contract that I say – and that’s what is good about Ethereum, is it allows you to write a smart contract – and that would be like that deal I make with my friend. Right? “If I lend you $10,000, then you pay me back $10,000 in 30 days” kind of thing.
And I get it. We’re mixing the real world and the computer world in here with this. But I hope everybody has this notion in their head of the best-laid plans – I can lend out money or I can borrow money or – at some point, somebody has to perform on that. They have to deliver. And if it’s somebody that I operate with a level of trust – brother, friend, college roommate, etc. – I can get really hammered on that one [laughs]. Right? There’s a reason that, when I go to a bank, they say, “I’m going to lend you the $10,000, but here’s the terms and here’s the paperwork and here’s the contract.”
Well, with Ethereum everything that happens has to have that level of contract. There is no best friend who can just kind of come by, pick up $10,000, and not sign his life away. The contracts, the "if thens," the borrowings, the – everything that happens is in writing or it didn’t happen. Period. And in order to change that, you have to have all the parties agree or overcome the power of the entire network. So someone can’t come in and say – let’s go back to that friend who borrowed money from you.
And when they say – you know, a month later you’re saying, “Hey. You told me you’d have that money back in a month." And we’ve all been there, right? And if you haven’t, bless you. “Hey, you told me you’d have that money back in a month,” and they say whatever they say. Right? It’s, “Oh, man. Well, I didn’t know you meant like one month literally,” etc. Those arguments stop when it comes to dealing with the blockchain. If someone says it’s going to be – and I know I’m biting off a big one here.
But the reason why those arguments stop when you’re coming to the blockchain is because, if you ask me for money for a month, the blockchain doesn’t write down a month. It says, “30 days, specifically. Right? And if you agree to the terms, you’re agreeing to specific terms or it doesn’t get into Ethereum network. And that’s where, when I say we’ve found ways to beat inflation and we found ways to invest solidly for people who were just planning to live out their retirement comfortably, etc., that’s what I’m talking about.
I’m not talking about lending a little bit of money to a friend. I’m talking about we’re in a position now where Joe investor can say, “I personally have never been that good at lending out money to people. But I know there’s folks out there who are willing to pay six, seven, eight, nine, 10% to borrow a little bit of money. If I can deal with this using blockchain, then I know the agreement is sound.” Or it doesn’t get put on the blockchain [laughs]. Right? We know the terms, and we know the terms can’t be haggled or renegotiated or changed, etc. So if I lend my college roommate two Ethereums on a contract that expires in 30 days, they come back to me in 30 days, period, or it doesn’t happen. And there’s a lot of value in that.
So we go – you’ve got those people who are saying, “It’s all intangible,” and, “What’s the value in that?” Well, here’s some of it. Imagine if you were a large trader or a Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan or somebody. Right? And you start thinking, “Wait a minute. I’m already doing this kind of business. And if I wanted to lend some money to El Salvador or something like that, I can enter into a smart contract or I can – I’ll know the terms going into it and I’m scooping up some business that I’m already doing, but now I’m using blockchain technology to carry it out. And I think this is the lesson for the next year, for standard folks out there is, “I know there’s money to be made out there. "
But when we get these traditional borrowing and lending’s or getting between two people who are doing a trade, I can use blockchain to be a third party between you and your buyer or seller or something and maybe take 50 basis points on that transaction as your third party. Now I’m starting to talk about stuff that Dan Ferris is thinking, “Wait a minute. Like a market maker or like I could be an escrow agent perhaps?” Right? All of these old-school businesses that the service provider made a little bit of money off of 1,000 times a month.
Now we have blockchain technology to carry that out. And I’m finding ways to scoop some of that up and investors who have money that they’re willing to put aside for a little bit can make money using blockchain technology to get in between these. Right? The lendings, the market makings, stuff like that. We can get in between these and make 50 basis points on our money all day, every day. And if you do that – hey. Some of the things I’m recommending were making 5 basis points, but we’re doing it 1,000 times a day, every day of the year. It adds up, right? You can make a living off of that.
And in the environment we’re in where Treasury’s 1.5% – I got that wrong. What is it today, 1.4, 1.6? 1.5%. Junk bonds, 2, 3, 4%. Who planned their retirement around junk paper making 3 or 4%? This is ridiculous. So that’s why we’re looking at blockchain, is because we know there’s opportunities out there. And that’s what the – that’s really what we just launched, was inflation 5%... junk bonds, 3, 4, 5%, that’s not right [laughs]. You used to be able to make a spread between inflation and junk bonds.
Dan Ferris: This seems really hard to me, is what I’m getting at. It seems really hard. But are there principles? Like, do we have any – are there any simple principles that can help me, you know, cut out the 8,000 cryptos that I probably should be looking at or something?
Eric Wade: There are. And the first step everybody should take is try to make it look and feel and act like a stock that – I mean, we don’t have boards, and on most of them we don’t have earnings announcements. We don’t have even general accounting, let alone revenue or profits or any of those. And a lot of that could be because cryptocurrencies don’t want to look like that. So that’s your first step to take, is, think of it as structured as a computer person’s creative mind can go.
And they have to behave specific ways to fit into, you know, computers working with them, so they’re digital, etc., but we’re even trying to bridge that gap now. I don’t want to go too far off on the side of that but – so they have to have that much structure, of being, “Can I computerize this? Can I digitize this? Can it be something that I can pass around over the Internet” – or maybe not over the Internet, satellite or ham radio in some cases. And that’s pretty much the only restriction. So it doesn’t need to have all of these aspects like a stock or even like a bond where you say a maturity date and what assets back it up, etc., things like that.
Can have some aspects like a real estate, you know, limited supply, etc., or maybe not. Cryptocurrencies, some of them have limited supply, some of them don’t. So a lot of people tend to think of it a little bit like gold-type properties because it’s hard to pin down, “Well, is gold an element or is it a currency or do we use it for jewelry?” So that one seems to have a little bit of staying power in that gold is a little harder to define exactly what it is, and cryptocurrencies are similar to that. But then when I’m looking at – those are the broad strokes.
When I’m looking at what it is that makes something interesting to me to invest in, I start looking for users. I start looking for a use case. Like, “What does this do? Who needs this?” And that’s the first test that I try to match, is, “Is there a use and users that are going to want this?” So that’s how you turn the corner from something that’s, you know, the first half of our conversation today – exciting and interesting and anything can happen – and then you turn the corner towards, “Well, what if – can I use this technology for solving a problem and being a good investment?”
So yeah. When you try and turn the corner into making it a "solve a problem and be a good investment," that’s where I come in – is, I say, “OK. I’ve got this amazing technology that maybe can solve inflation for people,” for example. That’s what it – that’s what we’re going to be – the way we just released last night is, we’ve come up with ways to turn this, “Anything can happen,” technology into solving inflation or to solving for people who have real needs in their investment portfolio. [Music plays and stops]
Dan Ferris: This is your Melt Down warning, coming from my long-term colleague Dr. Steve Sjuggerud. With COVID cases still surging around the country and a historic market rally of over 100% since the COVID-19 market crash, well, no matter where you think stocks could go next Steve is urging to prepare for a Melt Down in stocks. Now, Steve doesn’t think you need to go out and sell all of your stocks right away, but he does believe it’s time to make sure you have an exit plan in place. He also doesn’t care what stocks you own or whose investment recommendations you follow.
But please, if you don’t know when you are going to sell your stocks, Steve urges you to watch his presentation – totally free of charge – at www.meltdownprediction.com. He’s urging my investor radio audience to listen closely to his message. You see, the Melt Down will arrive at the exact moment you least expect, which is why Steve recently put together his own plan for when he will personally exit stocks.
And you should know this same plan can work on any portfolio of stocks. If you do just one thing in 2022 to improve your financial health, let this be it. Watch Steve’s presentation online free of charge at www.meltdownprediction.com. That website again, is meltdownprediction.com. [Music plays and stops] Next, we come to the great George Gilder. I’ve been looking forward to interviewing George Gilder since the day they told me they wanted me to take over the podcast a couple years ago.
And I finally met him – oh, I guess a year and a half ago or so. And he’s a wonderful guy. He’s one of the great geniuses, one of the great intellects, of our time in my opinion. And he – back in the ‘70s and ‘80s and ‘90s, he was talking about things that have happened just in the past several years, the rise of the Internet being one of them. So George has a lot of views about technology, but he also has some very important views about gold and money. And that’s what I wanted to talk about. So that’s what we talked about.
And I promise you, you have never heard anyone talk about gold the way George Gilder talks about gold. This guy is a great intellect. This is a real treat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. [Music plays and stops] As I read your work on gold, it seemed to me I had always thought of time as just another of the ingredients in the cost of bringing gold out of the ground. But you’ve separated it into something altogether on its own and made it the most important feature of that cost. And I’ve just never heard of anyone do [laughs] that before. It’s very interesting to me.
George Gilder: Well, I mean, Hayek really wrote the – “money is information,” really comes from Hayek, and “money is a measuring stick” comes from Hayek. All I did was scrutinize more closely “What’s the meaning of a measuring stick?” Because in technology, what makes trade work around the world are all the measuring sticks and Système International in Paris – the second, the meter, the kilogram, the lumen, the ampere – all those measuring sticks that allow you to make a microchip in Taiwan and have it assembled in Shenzhen and made into a system in Tel Aviv and built into a computer.
And all measuring sticks ultimately rely on a frequency really, the speed of light limit is the foundation of all the measuring sticks. And money is another measuring stock, as Hayek and von Mises both pointed out. And the great debauch of money in recent years is to turn money into a sovereign – to an instrument of sovereignty. That’s what people claim. This is bizarre. Money was gold, which was available anywhere in the world. You could screw up your money in relation to gold and you paid the penalty. But money always had that root in gold which derived its consistency as money from its continuity of the time to extract it. That’s my thesis.
Dan Ferris: So if fiat is a bat measuring stick, we’re saying, I want to immediately jump to the idea of Wittgenstein’s ruler. Right? Are we measuring a table with a ruler or is the table measuring the ruler? And I think that gets where, the worse the measuring stick, I think the worse that gets. So what is it – lots of people used dollars. They’ve used them for a long time. It must be – it must be OK at measuring. But if it’s bad, what is it that is being measured? You see where I’m headed with this Wittgenstein's thing? What is the problem with the dollar? We think it’s supposed to be measuring time, it’s supposed to be measuring value. Right? But what is really being measured here?
George Gilder: It’s measuring the appetites of governments to pay off their supporters and to endow their bureaucracies and their administrative states and their communist parties and other parasites that afflict the world economy. That’s what money has become. This illusion grew that it was an instrument of sovereignty. Everybody says this as if it’s plausible. And a monetary measuring stick cannot be an instrument of sovereignty. It’s a measuring stick. It’s a reflection of reality.
And money – what’s amazing to me – I have two points. One is that the dollar and all the other currencies have been manipulated and twisted and debauched, as an instrument of central banks and governments. But at the same time, amazingly, the entrepreneurs of the world have seen through the veils of money, the fogs of war, to actually continually advance technology. And technology is continuing to advance.
And all these indices that you read about in the newspapers and that are calculated by huge buildings full of accountant economists in Washington and New York and London around the world, these purchasing power parities, these inflation adjustments, these GDP deflators, these CPIs – all give way to a single concept of time prices. And the time prices show interesting realities. And measured by the time it takes for a worker to earn the 50 key commodities that sustain human life, the growth of the Chinese economy for the last 20 years has been about 12% a year in time prices.
Almost twice as fast as even the Chinese government has claimed. The Chinese communists don’t have any idea of the real vibrancy of their entrepreneurial economy that they’re now attempting to suppress. And our economy as well has outgrown, you know, about one-third or to one-fourth as fast as China. But still, it’s been growing a lot faster than our CPIs have estimated. And William Nordhaus of Yale, who won the Nobel Prize a couple of years ago for his worst idea – which was taxing carbon. But he actually showed how all these efforts to measure economic growth are just vastly misconceived.
When they studied the real price of light in time prices – the time a worker has to spend to light a room from the time of the fires and the caves of the caveman, through the candles at Versailles through whale oil lamps and kerosene and on into fluorescent bulbs and now LEDs, the progress of light increased hundreds of thousands of times faster than any economist calculated. They just – well, they wrote about dark, Satanic mills and dismal projections of Malthusian exhaustion. Technology advanced just hugely faster than anybody estimated. And the amazing thing is that that continues today.
So we have – I have an upside story, but we are – but governments are really pressing the envelope today. They’re provoking needless wars, they’re fining and punishing leading tech companies for illusory, privacy invasion and other – we’re just abusing – both China and the U.S. are now abusing their technology sector wantonly because their political power is what…their prime motivation beyond –- rather than the welfare and prosperity of the world [music plays and stops].
Dan Ferris: Well, next we have an excerpt from my interview with Bill Bonner. Bill Bonner, who hired me off the street – as he likes to say [laughs] – back in November of 1997. And he gave me a job and he really gave me a whole career and a whole life direction. And it was a real pleasure and just a real treat to interview him finally on the show. Bill had a lot to say. He talks a lot, and has talked a lot since I met him, about inflation and gold.
And in particular, he focused on the ramifications of the Evergrande debt crisis, the Chinese real estate company and the debt crisis surrounding that company and whether or not we should expect a period of deflation. This is what you always get with Bill. It’s always classic Bill Bonner. And a real joy to hear from him. I know you’ll enjoy this. I know my listeners and I know you’ll enjoy this [music plays and stops].
When we first got together, my first job was writing about real assets. You know, mining companies and the odd sort of real estate company and things like that. But really, over the long term since then an interesting thing has happened... at least since the dot-com crash, which happened a couple years later after you and I first spoke. And that interesting thing is that, indeed, since this century – let’s just say, since 2001 – gold has indeed – the ultimate real asset has indeed outperformed stocks.
Bill Bonner: Yeah.
Dan Ferris: Roughly two to one, if you measure by the S&P 500.
Bill Bonner: Right.
Dan Ferris: So, nice call. What next?
Bill Bonner: Yeah. That’s a good question. And I don’t follow it, really, enough to know. But, you know, everything surprises you. If it didn’t surprise you, it wouldn’t be – it really wouldn’t be very interesting. So everything surprises you. And what now? Looks like we’re coming into a period of intentional, disastrous government-driven inflation. So you’d expect gold to sense – you know, like animals before a tsunami, you’d expect it to be heading for high ground.
And it’s not, so it’s not really moving that much. So you have to wonder, “Well, is your theory wrong? That’s not the way it works or what?” [Laughs] And right now, I’m still in the “or what” stage to that because I don’t really know except that, when gold moved up so much in the first decade of the 21st century, it developed a powerful base. And I’ve been thinking about this too, the way this Evergrande thing is in the news, by the way.
Dan Ferris: Right.
Bill Bonner: And the Evergrande story is very enlightening. Because Evergrande invested very, very heavily in probably the surest thing in the world which was that all those Chinese people who come from the rice paddies, they needed places to live.
Dan Ferris: Yeah.
Bill Bonner: And the economy was booming, the salaries. I just saw the numbers in 1990. I think the average – the GDP per capita of China was about $390. Now, it’s $10,000.
Dan Ferris: Wow.
Bill Bonner: So the purchasing power of these people who came from the rice patties has gone way, way up. And Evergrande, correctly seeing this trend, borrowed money from just about everybody in order to build a lot of apartment buildings. And in fact, they actually sold something like 1.2 million apartments that they never built [laughs]. You know, they planned to and they promised to, but they haven’t done it yet. So in this story, you see all the elements of a real boom-bubble situation... of correctly seeing a trend, correctly investing for it, overdoing it, becoming irrationally exuberant, taking on too much debt and then the bottom falls out and they can’t pay the debt. But what happens then?
So I take this as kind of the story that will help us understand what would happen, say, to the whole U.S. economy. Because they’re essentially the same thing. You know, you’re getting a lot of money – and by the way, the source of the money was the same. The ultimate source of the Chinese bubble was the U.S. government taking away gold-backed currency and replacing it with a currency that they can produce at will, which had the effect of increasing American’s purchasing power of the world market so they could buy Chinese goods and then the money going into China, ending up in U.S. Treasury bonds – anyway. That’s a long story. We don’t want to bore you and your listeners with it. But the source of the money is the same.
And so now, we see it blowing up in China. And my guess is, this blowup is very similar to the blowup in Japan in 1989. There, too, they had gotten a lot of money in by selling a lot of product to a lot of foreigners and they had used that money in very similar ways. They used it to create additional industrial capacity. Those huge Japanese firms were just turning out all kinds of things – cars, TVs and everything. And China playing pretty much by the same script, taking in all this money, borrowing more money and investing in capital development projects like 50% of its GDP or some number like that.
Dan Ferris: Right.
Bill Bonner: It was just a phenomenal number at one point. Unbelievable number. And when I went there – last time I was there in 2014 – you could see it. It was all over... the buildings, empty buildings, all over... highways with no traffic on them, trains with no passengers in them. The capacity was huge, huge, huge. All right? So now, we get to the end of that trend. We get to the point where that kind of blows up and people look around and say, “Well, where are the customers? Where are the revenues that you’re going to use to pay this debt?”
And by the way, Evergrande promised investors 11% return... 11%. Where were they going to get 11%? They had to sell a lot of apartments, which they didn’t sell. So now, it blows up. So what happens? Well, like Japan – and I should say also like the United States in 1929, very similar, an economy which was the growth story of the world, producing automobiles like crazy, ventilator fans, refrigerator – all these things that the people didn’t –
Dan Ferris: Radios.
Bill Bonner: And a huge quantity of these things, and then the ’29 crash comes along and what happens? Well, in Japan and in America in 1929 deflation happened. Deflation happened because they had invested hugely in capacity, and then all of a sudden they didn’t need the capacity, didn’t have enough buyers. And my guess is, that’s what’s going on in China now, a deflation in prices for apartments, really. Because that’s what they built.
They built – and malls and cities and all those things, trains, and all those things that they built, they overbuilt. And now, you’d expect a deflation in prices. But in America, we don’t expect a deflation. and so, we have to wonder. “Is that idea – is that idea wrong?” And what is gold telling us? Is gold telling us that that idea is wrong? Is it telling us that we, in America – the year 2021 – are not that dissimilar from China 2021, Japan 1989, U.S. 1929 – that we should expect a deflation? Well, I think that, yeah, it is different.
Because while the Evergrande and the Japanese and the Americans in 1929 were investing huge amounts of money in capacity, America wasn’t. That whole time, the whole – since we last [laughs] saw each other, that investment in America has mostly been in stock buybacks. It’s been in cryptos, you know, or it’s been all over the place. And the tech stocks are just, just phenomenal, but it’s not been in capacity. We don’t make things. You know, we don’t have that kind of – we don’t have that problem.
And by the way. Housing has gone way down. the construction of housing – I saw this one amazing figure where, in the 1950s, we produced – I think I’ve got this right. The U.S. produced 6 million new houses. No, that was 1950s. In the 1960s, it was maybe 7 million. In the 1980s, it was maybe 8 million or something or other. And now, it’s something like 900,0000. I mean, I’ve got those figures wrong, but the sense of them is correct. That it now is a fraction of the houses that we produced 50 years ago. So it’s not that America has overdone the house thing hasn’t overdone the house thing.
And by the way. Industrial net cap investment has gone down, which is the opposite of China. We were – they were producing stuff, you know? Goods and services and apartments and everything. We were producing money. Now, guess what I expect? And you can [laughs] jump ahead of me. But I expect their goods, their apartments, are all going to be marked down. Our money is going to be marked down. That’s what we’ve been producing, and it shows up in speculative investments. Not in industrial capacity, not in houses, not in the things that we would normally – after a period like this – expect to be deflated. [Music plays and stops]
Dan Ferris: Today, I want to bring up Matt McCall’s exclusive interview. He recently filmed this for everyday investors. And since I’m the host of Investor Hour radio, I want you to learn more about Matt and what his presentation is all about. Matt has decided to step forward with some much-needed clarity on the markets and a huge prediction about the stock market that most media outlets are completely overlooking. As the world goes crazy for speculations, thousands are turning to Matt McCall for his latest thoughts.
As usual, his prediction is not what you’d expect. Matt says, “There’s a big lie infiltrating the mainstream financial media right now and I’m hellbent on exposing it.” Matt believes we’re at a pivotal moment in financial history where fortunes will be made and lost. But the right story about exactly how to make money in the stock market today is not being told. So to get the story out, Matt McCall went in front of a live audience to reveal likely the best way to make money in America right now and exactly how to position yourself properly.
During the presentation, you also get the name of the No. 1 stock Matt McCall says to buy right now. The last time he gave away a free recommendation like this, it soared over 300%, so you want to pay attention. To watch the exclusive interview free for a limited time only, visit www.messagefromdan.com. The website, again, is messagefromdan.com. [Music plays and stops] Finally, this week we’ll play an excerpt from our interview from Jaime Rogozinski, the creator of the WallStreetBets Reddit forum.
This forum became very popular, especially earlier this year, due to the meme stock phenomenon, stocks like GameStop and AMC Theaters. Because those stocks really became super popular primarily because they were popular on the WallStreetBets Reddit forum. And then, they caught fire elsewhere, and of course you know what happened next. They went straight up, and they bankrupted the people who were selling them short [laughs]. Well, they put one hedge fund out of business, and they made life very difficult for another one. They didn’t bankrupt them, but they sure made [laughs] life difficult.
And it was really great to talk with the guy who created the Reddit forum and understands the dynamic of it better than anyone. I know you’ll enjoy this. I certainly did. Give it a listen [music plays and stops]. This sounds very cool to me. You know, you’re openly saying, “I want to take some flyers, you know? I want to do some trades and I want to have a little community where we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” But the reason I asked, “How long did that last,” is because obviously, like – and you tell me. Was it really overnight? because it seems like overnight I never heard of WallStreetBets before GameStop in January. What was happening before that? Had you achieved any notoriety? Had it grown substantially?
Jaime Rogozinski: Yeah. You know, it was an overnight – whatever word we attached to it when GameStop happened. Right? It became very public, very visible, and the world’s found out about it the world outside of finance. Prior to GameStop, the world of finance knew very well who we were, you know? We had been featured on the cover of Businessweek magazine, which is owned by Bloomberg, about a year before the GameStop – and we had been covered maybe six months before that all over the news for pulling similar maneuvers. So if you look at GameStop, not as a short squeeze but as an inefficiency that was exploited – or, arguably, created in this case, meaning the inefficiency was created – that’s not something new to WallStreetBets.
It’s retailers saying, “I want to make some money. I want to have fun doing this – I want to have fun doing this, and this is my idea. Guys, what do you think if we do this?” And we’ve seen some really crazy things. In fact, if you go to Wikipedia and you look up box spreads – right, box spreads is like an options strategy – there’s a dedicated section to WallStreetBets inside of that article because one individual who learned about box spreads in their finance class were like, “These things” – too complicated to explain right now. But in theory, this is delta neutral options thing, where you buy and sell and do the crazy things –
Dan Ferris: And it’s a risk-free trade.
Jaime Rogozinski: There it is. That’s the key word, right? Risk-free trade. and this guy goes, “You know, Mr. Professor, why is it risk-free and nobody’s doing it?” And the professor’s answer was, “Well, if you wanted to do this, the thing that’s not factored into this is commissions. Commissions cost a lot of money to have to buy and sell puts and calls, and that’s going to eat the little profit that you get risk-free.” So this guy turned around and said, “Ah. Robinhood doesn’t have commissions.” So he decided to do this risk-free trade and learn the hard way that, in textbook, finance does not necessarily translate to the real world because he ended up blowing his account and then another $57,000 past it.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. And wasn’t that guy’s original account – it was like $5,000 or –
Jaime Rogozinski: It was. You actually know that story. That’s good. That’s exactly what it was. And what’s funny about this…he had $5,000. And then after his trade began, he withdrew $10,000 – so he made a profit – and then it blew up.
Dan Ferris: That sounded crazy to me. Because – yeah. Well actually, the way you explain it makes sense. But the way I read the story, I thought, “How was he allowed to withdraw the $10,000?” But obviously, you got the order right. The original story I read did not. And from that point on, what did Robinhood say about box spreads?
Jaime Rogozinski: Robinhood [laughs] Sent out a mass e-mail to all of their clients saying, “We no longer allow box spreads on our platform.” So this individual single-handedly banned this maneuver from this platform.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. One guy claims to have had like a $1-million position on a $4,000 –
Jaime Rogozinski: That’s correct, actually. That was the "version two" iteration on that. So we get the box spread things that happens – I lose track of time, somewhere around 2018. About a year later, someone decides to kind of modify that theory and add the fact that you have margin because the first round didn’t have margin, and they took out a $1 million position with $5,000.
Dan Ferris: I mean – well, you know, look. Anybody can make a mistake. But wow. I mean, I just – either that or I’m stupid. I feel like I’m a little stupid because I can’t find those glitches. You know, I have all these online accounts and I’m like – you know, even when I think all the numbers are lined up, they still won’t let me do the trade. But gosh. What a crazy – yeah. I want to say what a crazy nine years you’ve had. But the nine years wasn’t crazy. It’s just the, you know, one month, really, January of 2021. Right?
Jaime Rogozinski: I mean, I think the climax could be interpreted as – at least, I’m guessing that’s the climax. Who knows if it will or won’t [laughs] be – because I don’t cease to be amazed by it. But now. It’s this progressive thing, right? You start off with newsworthy story about how some underage 17-year-old using his parent’s account from high school taking $900 or $1,000, turning it into – what – $55,000 in a period of a week? That’s huge news. “How does this guy do it? He’s about to go to college. This is great,” blah blah blah. And that was buzz-worthy at the time. And it was. It sounds like a great story. And then as years go by, then you start seeing different things that happened. And so, I start becoming kind of accustomed and people start becoming accustomed of, “Oh. What’s going on on WallStreetBets? You know, this guy took out a $1 million margin YOLO trade with $5,000 collateral. What’s happening today?”
And they’re like, “Well, it’s a Tuesday.” Right? “This is what happens on WallStreetBets. They’re constantly on the lookout. And to your point, it is very sophisticated. People that wanted to copy this impudent margin – this "free money" cheat code, it requires some pretty important knowledge of the mechanics of all these components to pull it off right. It’s not just “Hey. Click this button over and over.” It’s “You got to pick a stock with these properties and this, that and the other.” And so, that’s when – even though they use memes to express themselves and they call themselves degenerate or apes or whatever it is to self-deprecate, they’re actually quite sophisticated.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. They hide their sophistication very well, I have to say.
Jaime Rogozinski: You know, they do the opposite. So you have the veil of sophistication for the – let’s call them – insiders in Wall Street. These are the talking heads that work at some of these big investment banks or on TV all the time and say, “Oh. Yeah. Well, this is according to,” blah blah blah, and they use really multisyllabic words to make it seem complicated, which it can be. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but it’s just this artificial barrier of entry into, “Yeah. You could try this but you’re going to lose your money.” They’ve taken the opposite approach in saying, “Yeah. We’re dumb but look what I just did.” Right? “Can you do that? I didn’t think so.”
Dan Ferris: Right. Yeah. I kind of like that better, you know? It’s like, “You’re smart, but I’m rich.” It’s like, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?”
Jaime Rogozinski: That’s a really great example. During the pandemic when the whole world gets shut down and everybody’s locked into the stock market, there’s a couple of really fun, notable examples. One is Hertz, the rental car company, declared bankruptcy. And their stock started to plunge, and then you see people on WallStreetBets saying, “Well, you’re supposed to buy low and sell high. Hertz is pretty darn close to zero, so that’s low. Right? So it can only go up.” Right? Very sound logic. Believe it or not, it worked.
So many people went to buy it that the stock, you know, went up hundreds of percent – I don’t remember the number. The stocks went up by so much that Hertz went to a judge and said, “Hey, judge. These maniacs” – he put in the request. He said, “These maniacs are buying the stocks because they think it’s funny. But if we were to do an additional offering right now, we could actually pay off our debtors and get out of bankruptcy.” Right? The judge said yes but then FINRA said no. But the people made money because the stock went up.
The other example, which is really cool too, when they announced everyone was going to be locked down, people said, “All right. Well, the new way that we’re going to work is going to be through teleconferencing and Zoom,” and whatnot. And so, they all ran to a company called Zoom, whose ticker symbol is ZM. However, [laughs] as luck would have it, there was another company that was also telecommunications that had the ticker ZOOM – the word Zoom spelled out – so that people that go open their broker and they would search the search bar for Zoom, they didn’t realize that they were actually typing the ticker symbol – so they invested a ton of money into this thing and this stock – the stock price shot up.
But you had the sophisticated observers that were correctly criticizing this entire thing saying, “Haha. You children don’t know what you’re doing because, first your investment thesis is wrong. Just because a lot of people may have to use Zoom does not make it a sound investment.” Right? “There is a situation in which they have a per-unit economics where their per-user is actually negative. You don’t know where they earn their J-curve or if they even have a J-curve, so your logic is wrong. Because demand that goes up does not mean that” –
Dan Ferris: The fundamentals are wrong.
Jaime Rogozinski: Yeah – the approach is wrong. And the second thing is, “You’re buying the wrong company here.” Right? And so, these guys are liked, “Yeah. So? Even if I bought the right company, I’m making more money with the wrong one because it was a smaller-cap company so the price was easier to put up. So they made more money being wrong. But they’re like, “If the name of the game is making money, then who’s laughing?” [Music plays and stops]
Dan Ferris: Well, I hope you enjoyed those excerpts as much as I did. I had a great time just listening to them all over again. And what we heard there – it was really a good range of the type of guests that we have. Right? George Gilder and Bill Bonner are very philosophical-type folks. They have a lot of big ideas and, frankly, just some very deep insights into financial markets and into the topic of money and inflation and gold. Eric Wade, of course, is – I mean, gosh. He’s a cryptocurrency guru and I don’t ever want to really try to dig into anything about cryptocurrency until I talk with him, and I think this excerpt kind of showed off his ability to explain complicated technical subject with simple language.
And of course, we couldn’t fail to include an excerpt from some of the incredible investors and the great traders, and that’s why we had Chris Camillo. He was a pleasure to talk with, he’s not like anybody else we’ve ever interviewed, his style is not fundamental, it’s not technical – it’s what he calls social arbitrage. And so, I think that was a great one to include because it’s a style of investing that I think is going to become a lot more popular. And in some ways, it’s a lot easier and a lot more intuitive. And so, I think a lot of people are going to benefit from it starting right about now. And of course, Jaime Rogozinski is a guy with a wonderful perspective [laughs]on a crazy phenomenon.
We live in these very interesting times, the markets are highly influenced by rampant speculation, and it was really great to just drill down into some of the dynamic that preceded the runup in the meme stocks. the first meme stocks, anyway. GameStop, AMC Theaters. Great to talk with Jaime and great to do it in Las Vegas. We talked with him in Las Vegas at our Stansberry annual conference and it was a lot of fun. All right. That’s it for this week and that’s it for this year. Have a great holiday and I just want to thank you from everyone at the Stansberry Investor Hour for listening every week. You make this possible. If you didn’t listen every week, we wouldn’t [laughs] be able to do it. and so, I thank you very much.
We have a fantastic 2022 lined up. We’ve got a lot of guests that we’re going after that I think you’ll find very interesting, great investors, financial philosophers, money gurus, all kinds of people that we’re going to get on the show and talk with, just like we did in 2021. So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And that’s another episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. We provide a transcript for every episode. Just go to www.investorhour.com. Click on the episode you want, scroll all the way down, click on the word "transcript" and enjoy.
[Music starts] If you liked this episode and know anybody who might enjoy listening to the show, tell them to check it out on their podcast app or at investorhour.com. Do me a favor. subscribe to the show on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And while you’re there, help us grow with a rate and a review. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Our handle is @InvestorHour. On Twitter, our handle is @Investor_Hour. Have a guest you want me to interview? Well, drop me a note at [email protected] or call the feedback line at 800-381-2357. Tell me what’s on your mind and hear your voice on the show. Till next week and next year. I’m Dan Ferris. Thanks for listening.
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