Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

    Support MFO

  • Donate through PayPal

GMO Letter: Speculation and Investment

This passage from Ben Inker's letter really struck me as a sign of the times in more ways than one:
Something odd happened to me the other night. My cellphone rang at 2 AM, from a number I didn’t recognize. I let it go to voicemail, because there was no one I knew in Washington state that had a good reason to speak to me at that hour. I was not put out that the phone had rung in the middle of the night – I had to get up anyway so I could take our new puppy1 out for her nighttime walk. When I woke up the next morning, I was somewhat surprised to see that the caller left a voicemail, which I of course listened to. To be honest, it consisted mostly of expletives, but as near as I could tell the caller is quite angry with me for having suggested that retail investors would be left holding the bag when the market falls. I will admit to feeling a bit honored to be considered consequential enough to be a focus of some random person’s wrath, even if I’m a little confused as to why he singled me out as I hadn’t meant to pick on retail in the way he implied. So, to clarify to whomever it is that I offended by implying that retail investors might be left holding the bag when a speculative bubble bursts, the reason I mentioned retail investors is not because they are uniquely likely to lose money in the bursting of a speculative bubble. Lots of people and entities lose money when speculative bubbles burst. I mentioned retail investors because they are generally the only people who lose money in the bursting of a speculative bubble who are deserving of much sympathy. As the Archegos saga showed a few weeks ago, both sophisticated institutional investors and sophisticated financial institutions are more than capable of losing large sums of money when their speculative bets go bad. It’s just extremely hard to feel bad for them when it happens. When it happens to small investors who lost money they were counting on, however, it is hard not to feel sympathy even if they were doing the exact same thing as the big guys.


  • The caller probably doesn't like Democratic governor Jay Inslee either and may be suffering from BDS-Biden Derangement Syndrome !
  • Although that is possible, I think what is interesting is just how angry people in general get about almost everything now and the fact that he called him at 2 AM! No sense of boundaries.
  • Although that is possible, I think what is interesting is just how angry people in general get about almost everything now and the fact that he called him at 2 AM! No sense of boundaries.

    Isn’t that when the bars close?
  • Or is that when the mostly peaceful protests start?

    Said it before. We know, we know these markets are artificially propped up and way overvalued. But, we can't stop playing the game.

    Play stupid games win stupid prizes, no matter who you are.

    Please advise the class right before the music stops so we can all safely get off the dance floor.

    Baseball Fan
  • edited May 2021
    I’m thinking this might be an allusion to the fable Cinderella, published in earliest form in Italy in the 17th century; republished in a modern day collection by Brothers Grimm.

    Synopsis: “A kind fairy goddess adorns Cinderella in elegant cloths and sends her to a ball in a lavishly adorned horse drawn coach. She tells Cinderella she will need to be back at home before the clock strikes midnight, for then, her fine dress will turn into rags and the coach and servants will become what they were before … “

    It seems to me that Ben Inker (in addition to the observations already noted) is conveying through symbolism his view that the fabulously rich and unrealistic asset markets (a.k.a. “the bubble”) we’ve enjoyed for decades is now two hours beyond the stroke of midnight - ready to turn riches to rags, we to servants.
Sign In or Register to comment.