Author Archives: Notable Quotable

Notable Quotable

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“The first step in theorizing correctly about money is to understand that the value of money, like that of commodities, is never fixed and unchanging. Chinese philosophers who published the earlier Mohist Canons(468 B.C.~376 B.C.) grasped this crucial point. They recognized that metallic money, such as the ‘knife coins’ then in wide circulation, was valued and exchanged by weight and argued that the real value of money, despite its fixed face value, was not stable but fluctuated inversely with the prices of commodities. When commodity prices were high, money was ‘light’ or its purchasing power low; when prices were low, money was ‘heavy’ or its purchasing power high. Thus, if monetary conditions were such that the nominal prices of commodities were abnormally high, the real prices of commodities were not high but rather money was ‘light’ or depreciated.”

Joseph T. Salerno
The Mises Institute

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Notable Quotable

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“John Locke, the British philosopher whose ideas fuelled the American Revolution, had a theory of knowledge and perception, which I always found annoying. Asked if we have an idea of the substance behind our perceptions, he said we had ‘no such clear idea at all, and therefore signify nothing by the word substance but only an uncertain supposition of we know not what’. The philosophical debate has moved on in the centuries since Locke wrote. But his idea captures well the uneasy state of the world’s financial markets. They are driven in the short run by perceptions, not reality. If many have the wrong impression, markets will move on that. But in the long run, markets move on matters of substance. And at present the economic substance is a ‘something we know not what.'”

John Authers
Financial Times

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Notable Quotable

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“Ask anyone in Germany what they associate with gold and, more often than not, they will say that it is synonymous with enduring value and economic prosperity. Ask us at the Bundesbank what our gold holdings mean for us and we will tell you that, first and foremost, they make up a very large share of Germany’s reserve assets … [and they] are a major anchor underpinning confidence in the intrinsic value of the Bundesbank’s balance sheet. The Bundesbank produced this publication to give a detailed account, the first of its kind, of how gold has grown in importance over the course of history, first as medium of payment, later as the bedrock of stability for the international monetary system.”

Jens Wiedmann
President, Bundesbank

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Notable Quotable

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“The population of the world is increasing at the rate of five thousand four hundred every hour. A small percentage of these people will become gold hoarders, people who are frightened of currencies, who like to bury some sovereigns in the garden or under the bed. Another percentage needs gold fillings for their teeth. Others need gold-rimmed spectacles, jewelry, engagement rings. All these new people will be taking tons of gold off the market every year. New industries need gold wire, gold plating, amalgams of gold. It is brilliant, malleable, ductile, almost unalterable and more dense than any of the common metals except platinum. There’s no end to its uses. But it has two defects. It isn’t hard enough. It wears out quickly, leaving itself on the linings of our pockets, and in the sweat of our skin. Every year, the world’s stock is invisibly reduced by friction. I said that gold has two defects…The other, and by far the major defect, is that it is the talisman of fear. Fear, Mr Bond, takes gold out of circulation and hoards it against the evil day. In a period of history when every tomorrow may be the evil day, it is fair enough to say that a fat proportion of the gold that is taken out of one corner of the Earth is at once buried again in another corner.”

Ian Fleming
Goldfinger

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Notable Quotable

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“I don’t buy gold, I own it. I don’t buy gold at $1,100 because I think it’s going to go to $1,200. I buy it for what it does, not what the price is, the price is the last consideration for me. I think the way the picture has been developing over the last eight years, it’s like when you take a polaroid, you take a picture and you sit there and you watch this thing and it slowly comes into focus, and that’s what it’s been like for me watching gold, we’re watching this picture slowly develop. We’re getting to the point where people are going to be able to see the picture, and at that point gold is the answer. It’s not just an asset anymore. It’s the answer to a lot of people’s questions. . .The picture is becoming clearer, and everything the central banks are doing is bringing that day forward a little bit.”

Grant Williams
Vulpes Investment Management
June 2016

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Notable Quotable

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“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”

Ernest Hemingway
 Notes on the Next War: A Serious Topical Letter 
Esquire magazine
September 1935

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Notable Quotable

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“Rome fell because the dictators ruined the Roman economy and the institutions that had made it prosperous. Rome was falling apart before the barbarian invasions. How did the Caesars do that? They were profligate spenders. As emperors with absolute power usually do, they thought big: infrastructure (roads, temples, palaces), a huge bureaucracy, and, as the key to maintaining their power they had a very large, loyal, and well-paid army. As a consequence, massive government spending far outstripped revenue. They had what today we call a deficit problem.”

Jeffrey Harding
Mises Institute

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“When you think of the color gold, images of grandeur and extravagance are likely to come to mind. For millennia, the metal has adorned crowns and hilts of swords. It has been used to enhance paintings and ornaments to increase their value. In some cultures, gold is a predominant feature of festivals and celebrations. In Eastern cultures, the metal is an integral part of auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals by way of gifts and sacred rituals. Gold also features heavily on the attires of brides and grooms throughout South Asia. Humans’ fascination with gold is as old as time itself. The scarce material has a certain appeal to it. Empires have flourished by possessing gold, wars have been fought to control regions harboring rich deposits of the metal and treasure hunters and explorers have spent a lifetime in search of it.”

Puja Bhattacharjee
Independent Journalist

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Notable Quotable

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“I’m adamant that even the most diehard gold bug should have some capital in the US stock market, bonds, and real estate. Even if it’s just 10% of a gold bug’s portfolio, it’s important for all investors to hedge their bets.”

Stewart Thompson
321Gold

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Notable Quotable

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“Why own gold? Because it makes sense, within a properly diversified portfolio, to have portfolio insurance. If you own a home, it makes sense to have fire insurance. Your investments are no different. And gold is now back, more relevant than ever. Since the start of the millennium gold, as expressed across a wide variety of currencies, has generated average annualised returns of over 9%.”

Tim Price
Master Investor

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Notable Quotable

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“Cash over the long run is the worst-performing asset class and therefore the riskiest asset class. So where do you go? To me, going to any one asset increases risk. So the best way to deal with the challenging environment I foresee is by diversifying well. . . [G]old is just an alternative currency to fiat paper currencies. If your portfolio is likely to perform poorly in the adverse environment I’ve been describing – less effective monetary policy, the need to run larger fiscal deficits and monetize them, and challenging politics – the behavior of gold as alternative cash has some diversifying merit.”

Ray Dalio
Bridgewater Associates

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Notable Quotable

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“Gold has been around for thousands of years. Bitcoin has been around for 20 years.”

Dennis Gartman
Markets analyst

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Notable Quotable

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“If we observe the empires of the world that have existed over the millennia, we see a consistent history of collapse without renewal. Whether we’re looking at the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Spanish Empire, or any other that’s existed at one time, history is remarkably consistent: The decline and fall of any empire never reverses itself; nor does the empire return, once it’s fallen.”

Jeff Thomas
International Man

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Notable Quotable

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“My studies of the 17 major financial crises since the founding of the Republic reveal that over-optimism is an important driver of the bubbles that eventually become busts. As the legendary investor, Sir John Templeton, once said, ‘The four most dangerous words in investing are ‘This time is different.’ Such was the mind-set that real estate prices could only rise (2008), dot-com companies would forever grow and be profitable (2001), or that the Russian government would never default (1998). “

Robert F. Bruner,
The Hill

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Notable Quotable

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“We need to put this [global economic inequality] alongside the financial crash, which brought home to people that a very few individuals working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed leads us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.”

Stephen Hawking
Cambridge University

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Notable Quotable

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“We believe 2020 marked the secular low point for inflation and interest rates. The 40-year bull market in bonds is over.’”

Michael Hartnett
Bank of America

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Notable Quotable

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“Such moves would signal the beginning of the very last and most disruptive stage of the long-term debt cycle. So, watch central bankers’ actions – i.e., see if they increase their bond buying when interest rates are rising led by long-term interest rates and when the markets and economy are strong – because that action would signal that they are experiencing supply/demand problems. Also, watch the rates of change in the injections of these stimulants in relation to the effects they are having on the economy’s vigor because the more stimulants that are being applied per unit of growth, the less effective they are and the more serious the situation is. I know this all sounds crazy to you. It sounds pretty crazy to me, too. However, I have seen this confluence of circumstances leading to this sort of dynamic many times in my study of markets and economies over the last several hundred years and I experienced this dynamic myself (in 1970-80).”

Ray Dalio
Bridgewater Securities

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Notable Quotable

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“But this bubble will burst in due time, no matter how hard the Fed tries to support it, with consequent damaging effects on the economy and on portfolios. Make no mistake – for the majority of investors today, this could very well be the most important event of your investing lives. Speaking as an old student and historian of markets, it is intellectually exciting and terrifying at the same time. It is a privilege to ride through a market like this one more time.”

Jeremy Grantham
GMO

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Notable Quotable

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“My studies of the 17 major financial crises since the founding of the Republic reveal that over-optimism is an important driver of the bubbles that eventually become busts. As the legendary investor, Sir John Templeton, once said, ‘The four most dangerous words in investing are ‘This time is different.’ Such was the mind-set that real estate prices could only rise (2008), dot-com companies would forever grow and be profitable (2001), or that the Russian government would never default (1998). “

Robert F. Bruner
The Hill

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Notable Quotable

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“I expect that the coming decade – and possibly even the next 12 months – will be a disaster for the U.S. stock market. … Measured from current extremes, I expect that the unwinding of this bubble will drag S&P 500 total returns below Treasury bill returns for least a decade, and possibly two. Yet like other bubbles, I expect that most of the damage will come off the top, resulting in market conditions that are reasonably investable within a year or two. Presently, the valuation measures we find best correlated with actual subsequent market returns are at the most extreme levels in U.S. history. Moreover, as I’ve detailed before, the low level of interest rates does nothing to improve those prospective returns.”

John Hussman
Hussman Funds
(November 2021)

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