Five Viral Lessons

Five Lessons
Changes Coming
Around the World from My Home

We live in truly historic times. “There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks when decades happen,” says a quote usually attributed to Vladimir Lenin. It certainly fits now.

For thousands of years, people who lived through what we call “history” didn’t realize it. We are the exceptions. We’re seeing history and we know it. The Vietnam War was certainly historic, but the coronavirus killed more Americans in the last two months than died in that long conflict. The Great Depression was historic but by some indicators we are well on the way to matching it. The Manhattan Project and the Apollo missions were historic, but right now even more massive, world-changing technology and biotechnology are being hastily developed under pressure.

What will future generations say of 2020? What clever term will they devise for this period? And what dramatic events will they recall that we, in our time, still haven’t seen? These are unknowable questions for now. We can only speculate.

I’m thinking of history because last week I ran across a powerful essay by Morgan Housel, whom I knew when he wrote for The Motley Fool. He is now a partner at The Collaborative Fund and still writing. His article looks at five lessons from history that, on the surface, have nothing to do with coronavirus, Trump, China, the Fed, or any of our other usual topics. But at the same time, it has everything to do with them.

Today, I’ll share a little of that essay with you, using Morgan’s five points to review the big events unfolding around us. As you’ll see, they aren’t so surprising once you step back and take a long view.

And speaking of the long view, next week it’s finally here: the 2020 Virtual Strategic Investment Conference, which instead of happening live in Scottsdale will be live on the same screen you are looking at right now or even on your TV.

We’ll start Monday morning with the famed Dave Rosenberg, followed by Samuel Rines and Lacy Hunt—a kind of economists’ trifecta. Then after a lunch break we’ll hear from Matt Ridley, Bruce Bartlett, and Bruce Mehlman. Then we’ll go into the political panel featuring Bartlett and Mehlman plus David Bahnsen and Ben Hunt, moderated by Rob Arnott.

After a quick break we’ll hear from top Wall Street trader Renè Aninao, then Ben Hunt will come back for his own presentation that promises to be, ahem, colorful. And that’s just Monday. We have four more days of equally impressive analysis and debate. Here’s just a few names:

The whole team from Gavekal, Louis and Charles Gave, and Anatole Kaletsky. One of their other associates will be doing the emerging market presentation. George Friedman, Felix Zulauf, and Ian Bremmer. What a powerful European panel and geopolitical focus.

Woody Brock and Jim Bianco will join Lacy and Sam for the ultimate monetary panel moderated by Renè Aninao (you’re going to become very familiar with that name over the next decade).

Then we turn to China. Michael Pettis, for 15 years a professor at Beijing University, is joined by the enormously influential Jonathan Ward.

Of course we look at technology. Peter Diamandis, Karen Harris, the director of the Macro Trend Group at Bain, technology superstar Cathie Wood interviewed by Barry Ritholtz. We are finalizing what is going to be a powerful energy panel on Tuesday the 19th. On that same day we will hear from Felix Zulauf, David McWilliams, and Niall Ferguson, as well as the ever-popular Mark Yusko.

The final day has Leon Cooperman, top mortgage analyst Barry Habib, Doug Kass, Jeff Saut, and Peter Diamandis (with a very powerful presentation on the wonderful future in front of us).

One nice feature: Since no one has to travel, we’re able to extend the experience a bit. The program occurs on May 11, 13, 15, 19, and 21. I think those open days in between will let us absorb the information better and make the whole experience more enjoyable and useful.

Your pass also includes audio recordings you can download for later listening (when you get to start commuting again, for instance), video you can watch at your leisure and written transcripts of every session. So you’re getting weeks and maybe months of enlightenment. Join us. You know you want to. My week has been packed with dozens of calls with speakers and panels. I am simply blown away. Already there’s so much to absorb. Be there.