Erik: Joining me now is Vikram Mansharamani, Harvard University lecturer and author of, first, the book Boombustology. But Vikram also has a new book coming out next week called Think for Yourself. We’ll find out a little bit more about that at the end of the interview.
Vikram, I want to start with what’s on everybody’s mind. Okay, seems like, at least for the first wave, the worst is behind us in this COVID-19 crisis.
So what does the economic recovery look like? Is it V-shaped, U-shaped, L-shaped, W-shaped, some-other-symbol-shaped? What should we expect in terms of what happens next economically?
Vikram: Well, it’s a great question, Erik. And, of course, the alphabet soup of describing economic activity today has become quite the rage. One letter that I’ve recently heard, which I think is quite fascinating, is a lower-case h – meaning that we went straight down, we’re bouncing and sort of rolling over, only to go back down, and no apparent sign of return at that stage.
My sense is that we’re probably more towards a W-type trajectory. And the rationale is as follows: We obviously had a big downdraft. And when I start talking to a bunch of people about the fact that consumers are saving money – they haven’t had a chance to spend money and the support from the government unemployment, more money in people’s pockets without the expenditure rate that they used to have means that they have effectively been saving.
And folks are really chomping at the bit to go out and do something. And so I think that there is some possibility of a bounce.
Ronni is best known as the principle author of “In Gold We Trust,” which – it’s almost bragging rights, Ronni. I can say that I remember the old days when IGWT wasn’t that big of a deal. But it’s really taken on a huge following in the last few years. You’re up to about 350 pages of heavy-duty research. And it’s free.
So tell us a little bit about how this came about. Why is it free? Why are you giving it away? And how did you get to the point of doing this?
Ronni: Hi Erik.
Thanks for having me again. I’m publishing this report for 14 years now already.
I started writing it when I was an analyst at a bank. Back then, I kind of felt like the vegetarian in the big butchery. Because, you know, sitting in a bank and then writing about the gold standard and being bullish on gold is kind of weird.
Then we set up our own company, Incrementum, based in Lichtenstein. And then the reports got bigger and bigger.
Erik: Joining me now is Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis and author of the new book Freedom or Equality. Daniel has prepared a chart book to accompany today’s interview. You’ll find the download link in your Research Roundup email. If you don’t have a Research Roundup email, just go to our home page at macrovoices.com, look for the red button that says Looking for the Downloads?
Daniel, the question that’s on everybody’s mind, okay, coronavirus crisis, it seems like the worst of the first wave is behind us now.
So what does that mean for financial markets? Can we expect the V-shaped recovery that a lot of people are hoping for? Or is it more likely to be U-shaped or L-shaped? Or what do we expect?
Daniel: Thank you very much, Erik, and thanks for having me.
I think that what we are seeing right now in financial markets is the stage of what I call central bank hope. I think that the idea that we have seen the worst of the coronavirus crisis and that we have embedded in our macro and earnings assumptions are lost to 2020 is driving markets to think of a bottom and expect that the combination of very aggressive monetary policy plus very strong stimulus packages from governments is going to drive to a very rapid level of growth in 2021.
Ben, it’s great to have you back on MacroVoices.
It’s so good, because you know we’ve done a lot of coverage of the COVID-19 crisis with a lot of really smart people. We had Dr. Chris Martenson on. And, you know, we’re diving in to the nitty gritty of, okay, what’s R0 and what’s the transmissibility going to tell us about the virus mutation? And what’s the difference between antibody testing and contact testing? We’ve covered all that.
Something I’ve noticed from Day One of this crisis is you’ve always been the guy who’s thinking five steps ahead. Not just to what’s on the table right now in front of us but what are the long term implications on society going to be as we go through – as the entire world goes through something that it hasn’t gone through in more than 100 years?
I just think of you as the big-picture guy who’s got a better perspective on the coronavirus crisis, what it means economically, but also what it means for society.
Ben, we spoke off the air about three narratives that you talk about as they pertain to this crisis. Let’s start with those. What’s the first narrative?
Lak has prepared a terrific slide deck to accompany today’s interview. I encourage you to download it. You’ll find the download link in your Research Roundup email. Now, if you don’t have a Research Roundup email, that means you haven’t yet registered for a free account at macrovoices.com. Just go to our home page at macrovoices.com, look for the red button that says Looking for the Downloads? just above Lak’s picture on the home page.
Lak, it’s great to have you back on the show. You are Mr. Economic Cycles. Your whole career has focused on economic cycles. I’m at a loss here as to even where to start, because how does a cycles guy look at the current situation?
Do you look at the virus cycle of what happened in the 1918 Spanish flu? Or do you look at this in terms of what we know about economic cycles affecting recessions, which we’re clearly in now? Or some other way? How do you even approach this?