One of the many oddities of our current American culture is its fascination with zombies. The number of TV shows, movies and computer games devoted to these mythical creatures is nearly endless.
I asked myself that very question as the price of Bitcoin doubled from $200 USD to $400 USD over the first two weeks of November 2013. My conclusion was to stick to the investing principle I had been taught by my father at a very young age: never buy into something that is hype-driven.
As I’ve expressed in previous EVAs, Anatole Kaletsky is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. While he’s not well known in the US, his star shines brightly in Europe where government and financial leaders seek out his guidance. He’s also the “kal” in our partner firm, Gavekal, which was recently the subject of a glowing article in Barron’s, interviewing one of my closest friends, Louis Gave.
Conform or reform? In human terms, 500 years is a very long time. Yet, that’s how far back one of the most renowned Fed watchers is taking us in this edition of our Guest Evergreen Virtual Advisor (EVA). Danielle DiMartino Booth has previously been highlighted in these pages and she graciously gave us permission to run her recent missive: “Destination Reformation: The Dawn of a New Era in Central Banking”.
Cornelius Vanderbilt died in 1877. His fortune was built in the railroad and shipping industry. At the time of his death, he had amassed a fortune worth an estimated $215 billion in today’s dollars (that’s more wealth than Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos combined). In 1977, roughly three generations later, the family gathered at Vanderbilt University (named in his honor) for a family reunion. One family member remarked that there wasn’t a millionaire left among all of the descendants. On the other hand, the Rockefeller empire chugged on like a freight train, becoming one of the gold standards in preserving legacy wealth. Obviously, two families starting with fortunes took very different paths.