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Rusty Guinn

Rusty Guinn

Executive Vice President of Asset Management, Salient. Rusty Guinn is the executive vice president of asset management at Salient. He oversees Salient’s retail and institutional asset management business, including investment teams, products, and strategy. Rusty shares his perspective and experience as an investor on the Epsilon Theory website.

Articles by Rusty Guinn

We are all MMTers (Still)

9 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.I don’t think it would be especially insightful for us to point out that everybody knows everybody knows stimulus talks are what market participants are paying attention to. At this point, I think the idea that this is common knowledge is, well, common knowledge.We did, however, think that it would be interesting to see how different patterns of language were more or less common among stimulus-related news reports. In other words, we thought it would be fascinating to see which Fiat News expression of “what the stimulus is really about” was the most connected and which was the

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Knowledge Takes the Sword Away

15 days ago

Not yet the wise of heart would cease    To hold his hope thro’ shame and guilt,    But with his hand against the hilt,Would pace the troubled land, like Peace;Not less, tho’ dogs of Faction bay,    Would serve his kind in deed and word,    Certain, if knowledge bring the sword,That knowledge takes the sword away—‘Love thou thy land, with love far-brought’, by Alfred, Lord TennysonFrom time to time, these pages refer back to the piece that Ben wrote for Epsilon Theory before the election in 2016. In it, we argued that Clinton’s candidacy was in trouble. That piece included a phrase that to this day confounds and frustrates a lot of readers. Ben wrote that Trump would break us. Trump, on the other hand … I think he breaks us. Maybe he already has. He breaks us because he transforms every

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ET Live! – 10.13.2020

18 days ago

2+ ET Live! is our interactive feature that is all about the narratives that infect financialYou have reached the maximum number of free, long-form articles for the month. Please join here to read the rest of this content. Paid Members can log in here.

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Hook, Line and Sinker

October 1, 2020

In the Long Now, we have argued, the single most important executive skill is not talent identification and development. It is not strategic vision. It is not logistical or subject matter expertise. It is not organizational design and process management. You know, all the things B-School management professors who have never actually, y’know, managed anything have been teaching for decades.In the Long Now, the single most important executive skill is the ability to shape the external narrative of the company.That is a shame for all of us. This exchange robs our collective future of the manifold promises of productivity, ingenuity and growth that come from investing in that first group of things. Instead it offers us a mess of pottage that is short-term stock price appreciation. For airline

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TLDR: The Projection Racket (Part 2)

September 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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The Projection Racket, Pt. 2

September 28, 2020

This is Part 2 of The Projection Racket, a series of notes detailing the civic arguments underlying a movement to both (1) make our lives less dependent on political, social and financial institutions with structurally broken features and (2) to protect the rights of our fellow-citizens to do the same by eliminating the source of those structural breaks so that these institutions can serve both the collective and individual good. It is an explanation of what we mean when we say to “Burn it the $!#* down.”You can read Part 1 here. This is a long essay, and its arguments are best understood in full. But it’s 2020, so we’ve put together a TLDR, too.You can read our Executive Summary here.Source: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)Arthur (reverently): Camelot!Galahad (reverently):

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ET Live! – 9.15.2020

September 15, 2020

4+ In today’s episode, it’s all about BITFD and the almost hilarious extremes to wYou have reached the maximum number of free, long-form articles for the month. Please join here to read the rest of this content. Paid Members can log in here.

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The Projection Racket (Part 1)

September 14, 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 Cartoon Put

September 1, 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.Source: The Dungeonmaster (1984)Mestema: In a future reality I shall destroy you!Paul: I reject your reality and substitute my own!The Dungeonmaster (1984)We write a lot about how governments and businesses desperately want Official Numbers to be treated as synonymous with the real-world feature they are used to describe. You might say it’s kind of our thing here at Epsilon Theory. We even have a word we use for it: cartoons.We have written about COVID-19 cartoons being promoted by the Chinese Communist Party.And pension obligation cartoons.And top-line revenue cartoons.And labor

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Cheesing

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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The Fujiwhara Effect

August 22, 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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Can’t Fight This Feeling

August 12, 2020

Source: The historically bad video to REO Speedwagon’s 1985 hit power ballad “Can’t Fight This Feeling”When I left home for college, the dot-com bubble was bursting.The unfortunate events of March 2000 were already in the rear-view mirror, but the summer months gave at least some renewed hope to speculators and investors alike. That was the certainly the spirit on-campus at Wharton, anyway, where it seemed that just about every other undergrad was still supplementing work-study income (or draws from mommy and daddy’s trust fund) with stock speculation using the miracle of E*Trade on university-provided high speed internet.Not me. Not really. Sure, I sold the shares of stock in the way-too-boring-for-1999 Dow Chemical Company I had gotten from them as part of a scholarship when I graduated

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ET Live! – 8.13.2020

August 11, 2020

10+ In today’s episode…will the boys overcome the basic perils of 21st century neYou have reached the maximum number of free, long-form articles for the month. Please join here to read the rest of this content. Paid Members can log in here.

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Get Me Tools and a Beer!

August 10, 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.Homer: That’s it. They have awoken a sleeping giant!Marge: Homey, what are you going to do?Bart: Crazy scheme, crazy scheme, crazy scheme…Homer: Get me tools and a beer!The Simpsons, Season 13, Episode 15 “Blame it on Lisa”The crazy Kodak scheme we wrote about a week and a half ago is still an influential part of the Zeitgeist.It sits atop the Zeitgeist this week for two reasons. First, there has been another event in this absurd saga, and coverage of it has been significant. To wit, on Friday, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation announced that it was putting

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The Mountain and the Molehill

August 4, 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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That’s the Thing I’m Sensitive About!

July 29, 2020

Thirteen-year-olds are the meanest people in the world. They terrify me to this day. If I’m on the street on like a Friday at 3PM and I see a group of eighth graders on one side of the street, I will cross to the other side of the street. Because eighth graders will make fun of you, but in an accurate way.They will get to the thing that you don’t like about you. They don’t even need to look at you for long. They’ll just be like, “Ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! Hey, look at that high-waisted man, he got feminine hips!”And I’m like, “NO! That’s the thing I’m sensitive about!”John Mulaney: New in Town (2012)Yesterday I read a social media post from Dana Carvey, who played a version of the recently departed Regis Philbin on SNL in the early 90s. Darrell Hammond did a later version that – like

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The Stupid War

July 19, 2020

You are now homeland, Chaco,of the dead deep in your bellyin search of the soul that does not exist at the bottom of your wells.Sangre de Mestizos, by Augusto Cespedes (1936)

There are proxy wars. And then there is the Chaco War.

Una guerra estupida, as Bolivian war journalist Augusto Cespedes would later call it.

And it was.

It was not a stupid war only in the way that all wars are stupid, in the way that precious few of the things we are told are worth dying for truly require us to do so. Neither was it stupid because the rights and claims of the belligerents were somehow false or illegitimate. They were not. The Chaco War was a stupid war because it was an unnecessary war, exploiting the claims of the people to further the unrelated aims of others. It was a stupid

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An Advantageous Contagion

July 14, 2020

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A few weeks ago, we published a Zeitgeist called Never Forget about the protests and the narratives being promoted about them. It was a little brief that Ben ended with this flourish:

This isn’t a threat to democracy. This IS democracy.Never forget.Never Forget

We got a lot of comments and emails about this one.

Most were supportive. Still, there were enough that fell into two less-than-supportive camps to make us feel they were worthy of mention. The first, if I can paraphrase, wondered why Ben couldn’t see how important it was that so many of the protests

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July 2020 Epsilon Theory Narrative Monitors

July 8, 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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Harrumph!

July 7, 2020

Governor William J. Le Petomane: We’ve got to protect our phony baloney jobs, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Room Full of Supporters / Cronies: Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!Le Petomane (pointing at one silent crony): I didn’t get a harrumph outta that guy. Hedley Lamarr: Give the governor harrumph!Frightened Crony: Harrumph!Le Petomane: You watch your ass.Blazing Saddles (1974)

Theatre and film make their way into the pages of Epsilon Theory quite a lot.

Some of that is admittedly because Ben just really, really likes The Godfather. Most of it, however, is because the same tools that are designed to steer emotional and intellectual responses in theatre are the tools of narrative. The same memes, the same forms, the same

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The Lost Art of the Jawbone

July 7, 2020

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Duke (in his head): If so – well, we’ll just have to cut his head off and bury him somewhere.  Because it goes without saying that we can’t turn him loose. He’d report us at once to some kind of outback Nazi law enforcement agency, and they’ll run us down like dogs.Duke (out loud): Jesus. Did I say that? Duke (in his head): Or just think it. Was I talking? Did they hear me? Gonzo (to the hitchhiker): It’s okay. He’s admiring the shape of your skull. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

When Ben writes “They’re not even pretending anymore!” it is usually because he is

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ET Live! – 6.30.2020

June 30, 2020

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What is Permissible

June 24, 2020

PDF Download (Paid Subscription Required):  What is Permissible

Jamie Dimon and Mt. Kisco Chase branch employees take a knee to protest injustice. (Not pictured: Chase actually doing business in minority communities)Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. The Bible, 1 Corinthians 10:23

It happens once every decade or so.

Around then – more often if they are accidentally paying attention – investors get a glimpse into the hellish roundelay that is the charade of corporate governance. This time around maybe it was Hertz or Toys ‘R Us being used as leveraged bets and piggy banks for the purposes of a small minority of short-term flip-oriented investors and captive management. Maybe it was Whiting Petroleum‘s board deciding to throw caution and even the

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The Lystrosaurus

June 17, 2020

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An illustration of a particularly dapper-looking Lystrosaurus georgi specimenOne of the foundational ideas of the Zeitgeist is that measuring linguistic similarity is a powerful way to observe what we are being told matters by those who publish most of the words we read in a given day.

It should be intuitive that the source of that similarity is sometimes reducible to topics. If a single event is dominating headlines, then language that describes that event is going to cause measures of similarity to rise. This is useful, but not especially interesting. You don’t need

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No Accident

June 3, 2020

Source: Christianity Today

Both Ben and I have struggled somewhat with how to write about the murder of George Floyd last week.

The most important reason we haven’t written much should be pretty obvious. In short, there are a lot of voices telling you how they feel about his death and the protests that have followed it. There are plenty trying to tell you how you should think and feel about it, too. In both cases, most of those voices are more worth listening to than those of two middle-aged, upper middle class white guys in Connecticut.

But if you are like either of us, you have probably also noticed something else. As you learned more about George’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, maybe you felt and thought a lot of different things at once. About the

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ET Live! – 6.2.2020

June 2, 2020

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A New Gilded Age

May 24, 2020

Source: Library of CongressHistory never repeats itself, but the Kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed out of the broken fragments of antique legends.The Gilded Age: A Tale of To-Day, by Mark Twain (1874)

Winston Churchill has probably since eclipsed him in this regard, but for decades Mark Twain was the person to whom you attributed a quotation if you didn’t know who said it.

That whole bit he did about history rhyming but not repeating? It’s probably apocryphal, too, but at least Twain actually did write the thing that spawned the briefer expression. Strangely, it comes from what is probably his worst book, an attempted collaboration with another author that never really works. Yet even the title of this forgettable novel managed to

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Hateful Memes and Election Season

May 13, 2020

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As the core COVID-19 narrative shifts from the mixture of human and economic tolls that dominated news over the past few weeks to the coverage of lockdown relaxation across the United States, we are starting to observe other topics and language creeping back into the Zeitgeist for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, most of them have still been tangentially related to the pandemic.

For example, we are observing a lot of shared language in the ether about direct sales and e-commerce (a term I thought had gone out of vogue years ago, to be honest). The framing of these

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Too Connected to Fail

May 4, 2020

If you owe the bank $100 that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem. Attributed to J. Paul Getty in The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing

I don’t know how much life wisdom it is possible to extract from the life of J. Paul Getty.

On the one hand, Getty became fabulously wealthy by taking actual risk and doing things (like, say, learning Arabic) that no one else was willing to do at the time. On the other hand, he famously bartered for the life of his abducted grandson, seeking to whittle down the ransom demands to an amount that would be fully tax-deductible. Gee thanks, Gramps.

The Ridley Scott film chronicling this affair is a pretty fascinating story in its own right. Filmed and nearly ready for distribution right before

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ET Live! – 4.28.2020

April 28, 2020

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