Odd Lots

Odd Lots

Bloomberg
Bloomberg's Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway explore the most interesting topics in finance, markets and economics. Join the conversation every Monday and Thursday.
Lots More on JD Vance and the Future of the US Dollar
When people talk about the special role that the US dollar plays in the global economy, that's often characterized as a privilege for the United States. It's seen as giving the government in Washington a great amount of fiscal flexibility, and it can be used as a means of punishing adversaries, by cutting them off from our banking system. But could it be that the currency dominance is actually a burden? JD Vance, the Republican nominee for vice president, has made comments to this effect that dollar dominance doesn't serve America's interests well. On this episode of Lots More, we speak with Matthew C. Klein, co-author of the book, Trade Wars Are Class Wars, which helped popularize this line of thinking. We talk about the drawbacks to the dollar's strength, how it can hurt the US economy, and what policy measures might ameliorate these effects. We also talk about trade policy more broadly, and what effects a more aggressive tariff regime might have under a second Trump administration.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 19
26 min
A Guggenheim Executive's Radical Plan to Build Millions of New Homes
According to numerous estimates, the US is massively short of housing. Zillow, for instance, says America needs to build 4.5 million new homes to climb out of this deficit. But right now we're not coming anywhere near to closing that gap. And in fact, the efforts by the Federal Reserve to tame inflation have likely made things worse, with higher interest rates slowing the construction of multi-family dwellings. So is there a way to create more homes, even in a time of high rates? In this episode, we speak with Jim Millstein, co-chair of Guggenheim Securities and a former Treasury Department official who managed the restructuring of AIG after the 2008 financial crisis. Millstein has drawn up a plan whereby Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac can enter the market for construction finance and re-start it. He walks us through how — with their existing legal authority — these two entities could make hundreds of thousands of new affordable homes come to the market each year.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 18
1 hr 9 min
Stephen Roach Warns of Disaster From Our 'Sinophobic' China Policy
One of the rare areas of bipartisan consensus in the US right now is taking a tough line on China. We saw President Trump put tariffs on Chinese goods, and the Biden administration has only added to them. A second Trump administration may add to them even further. Meanwhile, we're increasingly placing export restrictions on various technologies, such as semiconductors. Stephen Roach, the former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and now a fellow at Yale Law School, foresees disaster from this. He sees an explosion of Sinophobia, with policymakers misreading China and ushering us into a new Cold War, where the risk of some kind of accidental conflict will inevitably rise. In this episode of the podcast, we talk about the current tensions, how they compare to the US-Japan trade tensions in the 1980s, and how things could go bad.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 15
51 min
James van Geelen on Thematic Investing Right Now
James van Geelen, founder of Citrini Research, scored big when he made his weight loss drug-related investments last year. He was also early into artificial intelligence investments, making bets on picks and shovels plays, like Nvidia. So what's interesting him right now? And how does a thematic investor grapple with uncertainty from things like the upcoming US election? We talk about the next stage of AI investing, constructing election-related portfolios, going long water, and more.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 12
47 min
Joseph Stiglitz on How to Build Shock-Proof Supply Chains
Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize-winning economist known for his groundbreaking work on information gaps and risk-taking in markets. But he's recently turned his attention to supply chains and how to make them more resilient in the face of shocks like the 2020 pandemic. In this episode, we discuss why companies often hesitate to maintain extra inventories — and why this tends to be the case even during stable economic periods. We talk about possible solutions to incentivize firms to invest in larger capacity buffers and promote better long-term economic practices. The conversation also touches on industrial policy, the role of international institutions in the global economy, and strategies to ensure that economic growth benefits everyone more fairly. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 11
56 min
MMT's Godfather Says the US Government Is Spending Like a Drunken Sailor
Modern Monetary Theory has gained prominence over the last several years by offering an alternative view on the constraints to fiscal policy. The basic gist is that the size of the deficit is not per se problematic. What matters are real resource constraints, and that if government spending gets too high — or is spent in unproductive ways — then inflation can materialize as too much money collides with insufficient supply. Another argument that some MMT adherents make is that the conventional path to fighting inflation (higher interest rates by the Federal Reserve) can actually be inflationary, because the coupon payments made by the government to Treasury holders constitute a form of government spending or fiscal expansion. In this episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak with Warren Mosler, the intellectual godfather of MMT, to explain the mechanisms at play and assess the current macro environment. Perhaps surprisingly, Mosler is concerned with the combination of high government debt loads, high deficits (which he characterizes as spending like a drunken sailor), and the orthodox approach the Fed is taking to fighting inflation. With debt as high as it is, the annual interest payments due to these rate hikes has gone up significantly, creating a situation that mainstream economists might call Fiscal Dominance. He explains how this environment is a recipe for consistently higher and sustained inflation in the years ahead.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 8
50 min
Lots More With Stinson Dean on Crashing Lumber Prices
Lumber prices have tumbled dramatically in recent weeks, with benchmark futures falling about 20% in the past four months alone. What's more, this is happening at the height of the summer homebuilding season, when there should theoretically be lots of demand for construction materials. In this episode of Lots More, we speak to one of our favorite guests about what's going on in the lumber market right now, and what falling prices might say about this important part of the US economy. Stinson Dean is the founder and owner of Deacon Lumber and he talks to us about why prices are crashing, what he's seeing in the market right now, and how the current environment differs from 2020 and 2021, when lumber prices went parabolic and mills couldn't keep up with demand.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 5
27 min
How Brazil Gave Birth to One of the World's Greatest Jet Makers
There aren't many advanced manufacturing success stories in Latin America. And globally, there aren't many companies that can build commercial planes at scale. Yet somehow, one of the world's leading jet makers is Brazilian. Embraer is the third largest maker of commercial planes worldwide after Boeing and Airbus. On this episode, we talk about how the company came to be, what its opportunities are, and what lessons in economic development we can learn from its rise. We speak with two guests for the show. First, is Richard Aboulafia, a managing director at AeroDynamic Advisory, to understand the company's role in the aviation ecosystem. Then we speak with Juan David Rojas, a writer on Latin America, to understand the political conditions in Brazilian history that allowed the company to emerge and thrive.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 4
57 min
How Brad Jacobs Will Invest $4.5 Billion to Reshape Building Supplies
Brad Jacobs has made a career of starting, consolidating, and growing whole industries. He did a trucking company. He did a warehouse company. He has a freight brokerage. He created an equipment rental company. His new venture, dubbed QXO, aims to reshape the big and sprawling market for building supplies, which can encompass residential, infrastructure and commercial real estate. And he has $4.5 billion of his and his investors' money to go out and buy and build. In this special episode of the Odd Lots podcast, recorded live at the Bloomberg Invest conference in New York City, he talks about where he is in the new process, and what he plans to do once he's made his acquisitions.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 2
48 min
The Theory That Explains Why Everyone Went Crazy
Does it feel to you like society has gone crazy? Well, you're not alone. There's a general view that all around the world, in the realms of politics, culture, business, and so forth, a lot of people are losing their minds. So if this is true, what's the reason for it? On this episode we speak with Dan Davies, the author of the new book The Unaccountability Machine: Why Big Systems Make Terrible Decisions - And How The World Lost Its Mind. Dan talks about the field of study known as cybernetics, and the inevitable outcomes of systems that grow more and more complex. This complexity -- which describes many things in the modern world, and leads to what Dan calls "accountability sinks," or entities that basically exist just to be blamed for things that have gone wrong. Dan walks us through how these emerged in the modern world, where things are headed, and how the trend could theoretically be reversed.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 1
50 min
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