Notes From the Field

Ben’s originally from Alabama but now lives out in the wilds of Fairfield County, Connecticut, on a “farm” of 44 acres. While his pre-electrification, dairy farmer grandfather may’ve laughed at his calling his modest spread a farm, Ben’s learned a few things over the years from the farm and its animals, and they’ve helped him become a better investor. Here are his notes from the field in this regular Epsilon Theory feature.

Author: W. Ben Hunt, Ph.D.
Date: August 23, 2017
Category: Notes From the Field
Tags: Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Brutus, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Steve Bannon, Spiro Agnew, Silent Majority, meta-game, statues, Stag Hunt, Competition Game, Cooperation Game, dog whistle, obedience collar, fiat news

It’s the best advice I can give: always go to the funeral. Nothing morbid about it. Whether it’s our personal lives, our investing lives, or our political lives, the meta-game revolves around a proper funeral, well attended. You’ll want to be there.

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RECENT ACTIVITY

The Arborist

Author: W. Ben Hunt, Ph.D.
Date: August 10, 2017
Category: Notes From the Field
Tags: bonsai, Mr. Miyagi, Jim Bullard, Oriental Bittersweet, lianas, Garlon 4, Lao Tzu, tessellation, fractals, catenary curves, robo-advisors

Identifying the natural lines of a tree and shaping the tree to follow those lines over time is a lot like shaping a portfolio. Or an economy. We’ve got plenty of good arborists on the portfolio side, both in good old-fashioned financial advisors and in new-fangled robo-advisors, although there are important differences in the approach they take to shaping your investment tree. Unfortunately, we are arborist poor in the broader realms of politics and economics. Instead we are overrun with clinging vines, invasive species that crowd out the small-l liberal virtues of free markets and free elections. The courage is in the cut.

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Horsepower

Author: W. Ben Hunt, Ph.D.
Date: August 3, 2017
Category: Notes From the Field
Tags: horse, horse collar, Cartier, pearls, productivity, tractor, Ibn al-Muqaffa, leverage, financialization, Cato the Elder, experiential consumption, experiential production, Maker Faire

Nothing shapes history like advances in productivity. For example, the horse and horse collar revolutionized European agriculture in the 10th and 11th centuries, a phenomenon that lives on in words like “horsepower”, and that revolution led directly to the ascendency of Western Civilization. Today we are struggling with a productivity devolution, and there is nothing more important for our investments and our politics and our future than understanding its causes and remedies.

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The Goldfinch in Winter

Author: W. Ben Hunt, Ph.D.
Date: July 14, 2017
Category: Notes From the Field
Tags: Maya Angelou, goldfinch, seasons, winter, Game of Thrones, value, growth, momentum, diversification, portfolio

There’s a season for all things, and the investment styles that comprise a portfolio are no exception. What’s often missed in that portfolio construction process, however, is how those investment styles make us feel when they’re working and not working. Because as Maya Angelou so brilliantly said, how you make people feel is ALL they remember.

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Notes From the Field

Author: W. Ben Hunt, Ph.D.
Date: July 7, 2017
Category: Notes From the Field
Tags: Emily Dickinson, Jim Harrison, Daniel Boone, Robert Frost, Green Acres, monoculture, bees, chickens, eggs, honey, ETF, fingernail clean, algorithm, Central Bank Omnipotence

I’m originally from Alabama but now live out in the wilds of Fairfield County, Connecticut, on a “farm” of 44 acres. I put that word in quotations because although we have horses and sheep and goats and chickens and bees, my grandfather – who owned a pre-electrification, pre-refrigeration, pre-pasteurization dairy farm in the 1930s – would surely enjoy a good belly laugh at my calling this a farm. Still, I’ve learned a few things over the years from the farm and its animals, and they’ve helped me to become a better investor. Those are the notes from the field that I want to share in this regular Epsilon Theory feature.

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