howard marks

Social Isolation, Disease, Depression And MMT: Sorting Through The Latest From Howard Marks

"Today the range of negative outcomes seems much wider"...

Amid characteristically dour (some might even say "alarmist") comments from the likes of Nouriel Roubini (who on Wednesday suggested New York may soon witness "mass looting" and "food riots") and Jeff Gundlach (who is concerned about "mile long lines at Costco"), it's always refreshing to hear from the handful of folks you can count on to, at the least, adopt a thoughtful, pensive tone. One of those folks is Howard Marks, who, while striking a cautious chord in his latest memo, doesn't fret too much about overtly dour outcomes like rampant pestilence and the possibility that large swaths of the populace will go Jack Torrance-style mad after being housebound for two months under virus protocol. Oh, wait, actually he does. "Social isolation, disease and death, economic contraction, enormous reliance on government action, and uncertainty about the long-term effects are all with us", Marks says, towards the end of his latest missive, which closes with two words: "Stay safe!" So much for consoling everybody. Marks has a section dedicated to the "positive case", but I'm going to confine my summary and analysis to "the negative case" portion of his memo, not because I'm trying to spr
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8 comments on “Social Isolation, Disease, Depression And MMT: Sorting Through The Latest From Howard Marks

    • calh0025 says:

      MMT is here and the thing that should. Most concern us is whether we will use it to actually accomplish anything or just make numbers go up in a few people’s accounts. Another decade of QE dollars into the hands of the wealthy while the country decays into a wasteland is an option that appeals to some. Just put humpty dumpty together again…

  1. Emptynester says:

    AV (anno vaccine), if manufacturing and other jobs that have been sent offshore return to USA in a meaningful way, the USA can replace some service jobs currently held by minimum wage workers with technology/anti-viral screens and also improve the caliber of jobs available for our domestic workforce ( i.e. skilled manufacturing/labor/technology with healthcare and retirement savings).

    This will allow the USA to significantly reduce the trade deficit ( USA imports almost $.6 T more than we export) and get our “financial house” in order- reduce deficits and start to fund unfunded liabilities.

    Hopefully, Americans are not even going to want all the “crap” we imported from China BV (before virus), anyway.

    • Mr. Lucky says:

      Need to be careful about shunning all that Chinese crap. Around 90% of our drugs and a similar percentage of the materials we use to make the rest of our drugs are all part of that Chinese crap and imported from the PRC.

  2. Anaximander says:

    We are about to realize how much of our economy is actually essential, versus discretionary. It will probably come as a shock to the technocrats. They don’t seem to realize yet that with two traumatic economic crises in 12 years, combined with things like debt servitude, disaster capitalism, and all manner of loss prevention for existing asset holders at the expense of future asset holders, they have unwittingly been training an entire millennial generation, probably also now an entire Gen-Z generation, to simply not desire so much of the discretionary (or useless) materialism peddled by corporations. Many of you, like me, may have had parents or grandparents who have experienced extend periods of poverty, in the Great Depression or otherwise–it’s something that never leaves you, it changes behavior permanently. And it does not bode well for the growth prospects of our consumption-driven economy.

    • Michael says:

      Your point about the permanent change in behavior is an under appreciated. During graduate school I lived with my grandmother – who grew up in the depression era – to save money. She amassed a small fortune over her life due largely to the habits she and her parents adopted out of necessity in her childhood and despite having the means, she never felt compelled to chase any ends.

      On several occasions I watched her do things that would be unthinkable for the ‘average’ person today. One day I watched her digging through her neighbors trash for items that could be bought at the store for a few dollars so she could “save money.” During a period of a few weeks I noticed she would never let me see the left side of her face when we were in the living room together. One day I finally got up and walked around her to see what she was hiding. The ear piece on the left side of her eyeglasses was missing, but she didn’t want to get new glasses so she just hid that side of her face from me so I wouldn’t say anything about it. When the keyboard on her laptop broke she bought a USB keyboard and placed it on top of the laptop. She used that set up for years. The list goes on, but it’s all to say that the behaviors she learned early in life stuck with her long after she had the money to change them. Many people of my generation will do the same.

  3. joesailboat says:

    MMT began when we went to Iraq. I call that moment the beginning of the end of the American Empire.

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