I’m not into hero worship.
You might say that this is one time where I agree with Donald Trump who, when asked about heroes last month, hilariously said the following:
I don’t like the concept of heroes. The concept of heroes is never great.
Indeed it’s not, because do you know what the “non-great” concept of heroes does? It puts you in a weird position where, when you disagree with one of your heroes on a particular point, you have decide whether you yourself are full of sh*t on that point, or whether your hero is.
I’d rather not do that. I’d rather just say that I admire certain people for their views on certain things and leave it at that. Take Nassim Nicholas Taleb for instance. Some readers were surprised (judging by the e-mails I received) when I criticized “The Black Swan” author earlier this week.
Well guess what? Just because I harbor an almost religious zeal for his views on how the market habitually misprices tail events, doesn’t mean I have to agree that he’s the second coming of Karl Popper. Just like I don’t have to believe that because Taleb has on- the-ground experience with the horrors of sectarian conflict in the Mid-East, he’s thereby one of the greatest political scientists to ever live (even though he doesn’t like political scientists).
The same goes for SocGen’s Albert Edwards, who I greatly enjoy reading. But, as the following passages make clear, we don’t agree on some things. Which is why, as Trump would put it, “the concept of heroes is never great.”
Via SocGen’s Albert Edwards
The Donald Administration might be a neo-liberal nightmare, but stripping away some of his more controversial rhetoric on immigration, a lot of what he says on the economic front makes perfect sense to me. We have long written on these pages that Germany is one of the biggest currency manipulators in the world. Germany aggressively refutes any criticism, let alone does anything about it (unlike China). Continued intransigence will have huge implications for both financial markets and the sustainability of the eurozone. Trump’s attack on excess regulation on US corporates also rings true. US corporate competitiveness is poor and deteriorating. The World Bank, for example, ranks the US a derisory 51st on how easy it is to start a business! Donald Trump is arousing as much passion in office as he did on the campaign trail. Agree with him or not, unlike most politicians he seems determined to actually enact the things he promised the electorate. Until the last couple of weeks the markets had embraced only the good bits of his campaign rhetoric and only now they are reappraising, among other things, the likelihood of a trade war, with the Administration turning on Germany.
The US trade chief Peter Navarro, in an interview with the Financial Times, unpicked some scabs regarding whether Germany is a currency manipulator. This is not a new issue and it has bubbled to the surface a number of times in recent years. But whereas both the US Treasury and the EU Commission have merely grumbled but then done absolutely nothing, the Trump Administration seems far more willing to act assertively.
For those readers who agree with Edwards – you’re welcome.