"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rule by Rentiers by Krugman

The Decline of PIMCO Macro by Krugman
I first talked to the Pimco people in, I think, 1991, when I was asked (and paid) to talk to them about economic issues; don’t remember the subject. It was a striking experience, sartorially: I showed up in Newport Beach in my gray business suit, and they were all in casual shirts and slacks, some (as I remember it) with fashionable stubble.

Since then, of course, Pimco has continued to be a huge success; Bill Gross is without doubt a great investor. I have often found the economic analyses coming out of Pimco deeply enlightening. And in 2009-2010 the firm won big by betting, correctly, on interest rates staying low.

For the past year or so, however, Pimco seems to me to have been making less and less sense. Gross bet big on the idea that rates would spike when quantitative easing ends; I guess he has three weeks to be vindicated, but it sure doesn’t look like it. And the economic logic was all wrong. Now Mohamed El-Erian is claiming that inflation in China and Brazil is Bernanke’s fault; again, the economic logic is all wrong.

What’s strange about this is that nobody was better at laying out the logic of deleveraging and its consequences than Pimco’s Paul McCulley. But maybe that’s the explanation: McCulley has moved on.

Anyway, El-Erian’s latest sort of shocked me; it sounds as if he’s making up his own version of macroeconomics. And that’s not something you should do unless the existing models have failed -- which they haven’t.