Pragmatic Capitalism

Practical Views on Money, Finance & Life

‘Most Recent Stories’



It’s that time of year when millions of Americans will sit down at dinner and give thanks for mashed potatoes, turkey, loose pants and American football.  I will be somewhere in Paris continuing my attempt to go from Ironman to Dougboy in record time (in all seriousness, how is everyone in France not 800 pounds?).… Read More

Covariation Bias and the Bear Market “Genius”


Covariation bias is the tendency for people to overestimate the relationship between fearful stimuli and negative outcomes.  The classic example in scientific studies is people’s reactions to spiders.  Death from spider bites are extremely rare and there hasn’t been a recorded spider death in Australia (where spiders are most common) since 1979 (see here and here).… Read More

The Budget Deficit is (Mostly) Endogenous


People love to assign economic blame or credit to the President.  Government debt and deficits are particularly popular talking political points when one is trying to confirm their political bias.  For instance, since President Obama took over in 2008 we constantly hear Republicans talk about how he has expanded government debt.  Since 2011 he’s been widely… Read More

Why Not Just Print More Money?


With zero signs of inflation and weak economic growth we’re starting to see more comments about “printing money” to boost the economy.  For instance, the other day in the New Yorker John Cassidy discusses Adair Turner’s proposal to print more money: Adair Turner, an academic, policymaker, and member of the House of Lords, has another… Read More

When Theory Meets Reality


As a market practitioner who reads way too much academic economics and finance I often find myself disagreeing with theoretical perspectives.  This is the result of this strange disconnect on Wall Street where economists and financiers are often segregated.  Although finance and economics overlap in many ways they are viewed as two distinctly different worlds.… Read More

ISIS is About to Make the Euro Crisis a lot more Challenging


2015 has seen an increasingly challenging environment across Europe. The Greek crisis nearly boiled over to a defection earlier in the year and now the tragic attacks in Paris are likely to make things even more challenging as we head into 2016.  There are two effects from the terrorist attacks that are likely to exacerbate the… Read More

My Interview on The Investor Podcast


I did an interview earlier this month on The Investor Podcast with Preston Psyh and Stig Brodersen.  We covered a lot of different topics, but focused mainly on my white paper “Understanding the Modern Monetary System”.  We discuss: The importance of forming a sound operational understanding of the monetary system not only for investment purposes,… Read More

The Impractical Economics of Bernie Sanders


Extremist views don’t mesh well with economics.  While they often sound good in theory they don’t work well in practice.  This was the crux of much of my criticism of the Republican debates last week (see my comments on the gold standard and Rand Paul’s views).  Unfortunately, some of the same (well, very different actually) extremist… Read More