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Ben Hunt

Ben Hunt

He is the chief investment strategist at Salient, a $14 billion asset manager based in Houston and San Francisco, and the author of Epsilon Theory, a newsletter and website that examines markets through the lenses of game theory and history. Over 100,000 professional investors and allocators read Epsilon Theory for its fresh perspective into market dynamics.

Articles by Ben Hunt

Cartoon Network

2 days ago

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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Why Am I Reading This Now?

6 days ago

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.‘Game of Thrones’ creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are set to adapt the hit book trilogy for Netflix. The Senators’ accuse the streamer of “normalizing” China’s extra-judicial detention of over one million Muslims in Xinjiang, referencing past comments from the books’ author Liu Cixin supporting the program.Fact #1: The Three Body Problem book trilogy by Liu Cixin is a fantastic work of art. IMO it’s the most important work of science fiction since Asimov’s Foundation trilogy back in the 1950s, and I’m thrilled that Netflix is adapting it into a television/movie series (less

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The Beachball Theory of Volatility

8 days ago

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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The Welding Shut of the American Mind

10 days ago

Epsilon Theory PDF Download (paid subscribers only): The Welding Shut of the American MindWell, that’s one way to handle a lockdown.Oh, haha. JK! That’s not a Chinese soldier welding an apartment door shut in Wuhan in 2020 for coronavirus, that’s an Israeli soldier welding an apartment door shut in Hebron in 2015 for … well, I’m sure they had their reasons.Maybe this is more what you had in mind.Those are apartment gates that have been welded shut, and yes, this is in China. But again, it’s not the lockdown that you think it is.These are the offices of the Unirule Institute of Economics in Beijing, winner of the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty in 2012. Yes, the Cato Institute. Yes, the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty. The Unirule Institute’s claim

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The UNITED States of America

12 days ago

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.My RBG story.In March 1993, two months before she was nominated to the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the Madison Lecture at the NYU law school. I was a baby prof in the Poli Sci department at the time, and a buddy of mine was clerking for RBG, so I went over to the law school to hear the speech out of some combination of professional obligation and wanting to hang out with a friend after we got the speech out of the way. Honestly, I had never heard of Ginsburg other than through my friend’s clerkship, and I had no intrinsic interest in hearing her talk, which I

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Many People Say

15 days ago

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.TRUMP: There are a lot of people think that masks are not good.STEPHANOPOULOS: Who are those people?TRUMP: I’ll tell you who those people are … waiters. They come over and they serve you, and they have a mask. They’re playing with the mask, so the mask is over, and they’re touching it, and then they’re touching the plate. That can’t be good.The concept of a mask is good, but it also does … you’re constantly touching it, you’re touching your face, you’re touching plates. There are people that don’t think masks are good.“Trump’s ABC News town hall: Full transcript”If you ever want a

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Mailbag – Lucifer’s Hammer Edition

20 days ago

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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Invisible Threads: Matrix Edition

22 days ago

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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Adventures in Hollow Market – SoftBank

24 days ago

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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The Game of Tesla

28 days ago

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.There’s an old saying in poker: don’t just play the cards, play the players.It’s the same thing in markets. You can’t just focus on the cards you’re dealt, i.e., the fundamentals of this stock or that stock. You also have to focus on the other players who are playing these same cards, and that means understanding the behavior of a crowd of buyers and sellers in the stock market.Just like in poker, sometimes the cards/fundamentals don’t matter at all. Sometimes poker players will think they have an edge in understanding the other players sitting around the table, and before you know

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September Monitors and Election Risk

29 days ago

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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Lucifer’s Hammer

August 31, 2020

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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The Inflationary Shock Recipe

August 27, 2020

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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Webinar on Security Analysis Narrative Monitor

August 26, 2020

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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Sacrifice for Thee, Vast Wealth for Me

August 26, 2020

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.Doug Parker, American Airlines CEO and Chairman, flashing his winning smile“American Airlines Group Inc. said it would shed 19,000 workers by Oct. 1 as the carrier prepares to downsize to cope with the coronavirus pandemic’s blow to travel demand, which isn’t expected to rebound for years.The reductions include 17,500 furloughs of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and others, as well as 1,500 cuts from management and administrative ranks.Airlines received $25 billion in federal aid to pay workers through the end of September to avoid mass layoffs.Unions and airline officials

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Facebook Delenda Est

August 20, 2020

Epsilon Theory PDF Download (paid subscribers only): Facebook Delenda Est“President Donald Trump hosted a previously undisclosed dinner with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook board member Peter Thiel at the White House in October, the company told NBC News on Wednesday.Zuckerberg also gave a speech at Georgetown University the week before, detailing his company’s commitment to free speech, and its resistance to calls for the company to crack down on misinformation in political advertisements.It is unclear why the meeting was not made public or what Trump, Zuckerberg and Thiel discussed.The White House declined to comment.““The company’s top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to Mr. Singh and at least three other Hindu

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Carny Barkers

August 13, 2020

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.“I think the idea of getting newer, younger people involved into the stock market who aren’t just brainwashed to put money into index funds is terrific.” “If you want the market to keep climbing, these ten companies — and many more — need to start taking their cue from Tim Cook and Elon Musk,” Cramer said. “Remember, the size of the price tag matters with this crowd.”Sometimes you have to work hard to divine the Zeitgeist of the modern age.And other times the Zeitgeist just walks right up and smacks you with a 2 x 4.Or a sack of oranges.I understand from my exhaustive research

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The Grifters, Chapter 2 – N95 Masks

August 11, 2020

Epsilon Theory PDF Download (paid subscribers only): The Grifters, chapter 2 – N95 MasksThe Grifters (1990)Pat Hingle as Bobo and Angelica Huston as LillyBobo Justus: Tell me about the oranges, Lilly…[kicks over a bag of oranges]Bobo Justus: While you put those in the towel.Lilly Dillon: [kneels on the floor and starts picking them up] You hit a person with the oranges wrapped in a towel… they get big, ugly looking bruises. But they don’t really get hurt, not if you do it right. It’s for working scams against insurance companies.Bobo Justus: And if you do it wrong?Lilly Dillon: [terrified] It can louse up your insides. You can get p… p… p-p-p-p-pBobo Justus: What?Lilly Dillon: P-permanent damage.The best movie about con games is The Grifters, and the best scene in that movie is “Bobo and

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Deep Sociopathy

August 6, 2020

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.“We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.“That’s Leona Helmsley, New York City hotelier and billionaire by marriage, pictured and quoted above. Not a direct quote, mind you, but what one of her housekeepers testified to hearing at Leona’s tax evasion trial.Leona – who, among many other infamous Queen of Mean escapades, sued her son’s estate for the cost of flying his casket back to New York after he died of a heart attack at age 42 (and evicted her daughter-in-law and four grandchildren from their Helmsley-owned home) – may have been the most flamboyantly villainous

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A Banner Day

August 3, 2020

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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The Grifters, chapter 1 – Kodak

July 30, 2020

Epsilon Theory PDF Download (paid subscribers only): The Grifters, chapter 1 – KodakThe Grifters (1990)Pat Hingle as Bobo and Angelica Huston as LillyBobo Justus: Tell me about the oranges, Lilly…[kicks over a bag of oranges]Bobo Justus: While you put those in the towel.Lilly Dillon: [kneels on the floor and starts picking them up] You hit a person with the oranges wrapped in a towel… they get big, ugly looking bruises. But they don’t really get hurt, not if you do it right. It’s for working scams against insurance companies.Bobo Justus: And if you do it wrong?Lilly Dillon: [terrified] It can louse up your insides. You can get p… p… p-p-p-p-pBobo Justus: What?Lilly Dillon: P-permanent damage.The best movie about con games is The Grifters, and the best scene in that movie is “Bobo and the

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Extend and Pretend

July 28, 2020

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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Taiwan is now Arrakis

July 27, 2020

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.He who controls the spice controls the universe.Yep, that’s the plot of Dune, by Frank Herbert.It is, in fact, the plot of the entire Dune series of books, one of the ur-texts of modern science fiction. There’s this galactic empire, see, and interstellar travel requires access to a certain narcotic drug, colloquially called “spice”, which only exists on one barren world – Arrakis. So if you want to control the empire, you have to control the supply of spice. And if you want to control the supply of spice, you have to control Arrakis.I thought about all this when I read this little

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Is This The Real Life?

July 23, 2020

DISCLOSURESThis commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market

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Overserved

July 20, 2020

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever.

A friend of mine came into a meeting one morning looking a tad worse for wear and tear after a night out frequenting some Houston bars. Someone asked him how he was feeling. His response: “Clearly I was overserved.”

I thought about that line – which I have enthusiastically stolen – while reading an email I got this morning from a multi-billion dollar asset manager promoting their new special purpose vehicle (SPV) to buy shares in SpaceX, shares which this asset manager will receive at the end of July as part of the SpaceX Series N funding round.

Yes, Series N. The

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The New Monitors Are Here!

July 16, 2020

DISCLOSURES

This commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the

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Snip!

July 16, 2020

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Last December, we published a note titled The Long Now, Pt. 4 – SNIP! , as part of the Long Now series, which is still, I think, the best entry point for someone new to Epsilon Theory to figure out what all the fuss is about.

The note is about the cutting of the cord between taxes and spending, which is pretty much the last thing that keeps us citizen astronauts tethered to the spaceship of non-totalitarian government. And in that note I wrote this:

I think that whoever is elected in 2020, we will see a $2 trillion spending plan enacted in 2021.If it’s a

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We the People? We the Pack.

July 14, 2020

Back in early April, I wrote this about our battle with the coronavirus:

There is no country in the world that mobilizes for war more effectively than the United States. And I know you won’t believe me, but I tell you it is true:This will be #OurFinestHour.

Since then, our leaders have totally botched the Covid-19 war-fighting effort. I mean our leaders at every level of government and of every political stripe, and I mean that it has been spectacularly botched. Covid-19 is now endemic within the United States, meaning that it is neither effectively contained nor effectively mitigated. Meaning that it is uncontrolled and uncontrollable. Meaning that tens of thousands of Americans get sick with this disease every day, and between 500 and 1,000 Americans die. Every day.

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The Anti-Anarchist Cookbook

July 8, 2020

Epsilon Theory PDF Download (paid subscription required): The Anti-Anarchist Cookbook

Back when I was in 9th grade – so this would have been 1978 – the older brother of a friend of mine had a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook. I remember the thrill I had just holding it. Such forbidden fruit! I only had a chance to flip through it then, but clearly this was the stuff of legend. This was the stuff of dangerous and powerful men.

I found a copy many years later, when I was in grad school. Of course I bought it. I took it back to my apartment, so excited to read this masterpiece at leisure, on my own.

LOL. What a let-down. Here I was expecting the most insanely great revolution-porn of all time, and it was like a Playboy from the 1950s. THIS is what got so many people like

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Sideways: Observations on Pain and Privilege

June 29, 2020

Scenes from Whiplash (2014)No doubt you’ve seen a movie or TV show where a sudden cataclysmic t-bone car crash happens without warning. It’s a really effective way to shock the audience, kind of a horror film technique applied to regular dramatic scripts, and it’s become so common that it’s now a trope. I think it’s so effective because we’ve all experienced a situation where something hits us with a WHAM! … totally out of the blue, physically or emotionally … and our lives suddenly go sideways.

Sometimes that WHAM! hits us collectively. Covid-19 is just that sort of shock, a global car crash that has turned billions of lives sideways. Sometimes that WHAM! hits us individually.

A little more than two weeks ago I wrote this note about a personal healthcare issue I was having.

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