Crossing The Grand Canyon of Coronavirus

Published on
July 15th, 2020
57 minutes

Crossing The Grand Canyon of Coronavirus

Danielle DiMartino Booth ·
Featuring David Kotok

Published on: July 15th, 2020 • Duration: 57 minutes

Much of the discussion surrounding the economic fallout from COVID-19 has been focused on the shape of the recovery. Will it be V, U, or L shaped? In this interview with longtime friend and confidant Danielle DiMartino Booth of Quill Intelligence, David Kotok, CIO of Cumberland Advisors, argues that it will be Grand Canyon shaped, with a steep fall and an equally steep rise that reaches a plateau well below where we were when we descended into the canyon. As well, they touch on WWII as a valuable historical reference point, Kotok’s frustration with the policy decisions and messaging surrounding COVID-19 and the inevitable political consequences, and his strong views on globalization and the economic harm that the acceleration of trends in de-globalization could cause. Filmed on July 13, 2020.



  • ES
    Edward S.
    5 August 2020 @ 20:42
    Past his prime. Not up to RV standards, in my opinion.
  • TR
    Thomas R.
    18 July 2020 @ 11:34
    I’m questioning depicted GDP levels on the Chart of Debt to GDP. Inflation Adjusted “Real GDP” is roughly $19T according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis (FRED Economic Data) and reports the Debt to GDP currently at about 107%. The US Commerce Department Bureau of Economic Analysis appears to report Nominal GDP at $21.5T and validates the GDP at 2012 dollars at $19T. The Debt clock (I love this website) reports US National Debt at roughly $26.5T and GDP at $20T – and US Federal Debt to GDP at 132.57%. All figures above suggest that the chart presented does not properly reflect our debt to GDP level. Debt is actually higher than presented.
    • GH
      Gregory H.
      20 July 2020 @ 04:38
      That roughly $6 trillion difference you reference is the amount that one part of the federal government owes another part of the federal government. This amount is not traded but is still a liability...
    • GH
      Gregory H.
      20 July 2020 @ 04:42
      Here is the link for the daily running amount breaking down the difference you referenced...
    • TR
      Thomas R.
      30 July 2020 @ 10:31
      Thanks Gregory. I'm looking at your link and the definition of Intragovernmental Holdings "Intragovernmental Holdings are Government Account Series securities held by Government trust funds, revolving funds, and special funds; and Federal Financing Bank securities. A small amount of marketable securities are held by government accounts. " I've not dug further, but it would seem that Intragovernmental Holdings would include treasuries on the Fed's Balance Sheet. If true and we exclude that in consideration of total debt, are we basically not acknowledging the monetization of the debt?
  • PE
    Paul E.
    28 July 2020 @ 20:15
    I don't believe this guy is as smart as he thinks he is. Not impressed.
  • DW
    Denton W.
    28 July 2020 @ 00:36
    Kotok just couldn't let politics go throughout the entire interview. It wasn't even interesting political commentary. Just pure ranting.
  • WM
    Will M.
    25 July 2020 @ 15:06
    Not the best video on Rvt by far but there was some good info there. I am pretty sure taxes are going to rise. Like many here I am not at all sure about his views about China. I am not blind to US faults, but China is not a friend and have long game bent on domination. history always works this way and war is very likely.
  • LP
    Lauri P.
    23 July 2020 @ 22:16
    Strongly disagree on the China apologist narrative, and too much ranting for my taste, but still somewhat enjoyable watch.
  • SG
    Stuart G.
    20 July 2020 @ 05:26
    A lot to digest, but my main takeaway: regardless of beliefs about politics, virus or whatever, spending won’t return to normal until people feel safe.
  • BT
    Brian T.
    15 July 2020 @ 22:04
    He’s wrong on trade. If we don’t decouple from China our kids are going to be in big trouble. Kyle Bass is right. CCP is evil and we need to move away. Very painful in short run, but necessary. There are winners - the businesses that take over for China. More costly yes. Better for our society. Virus is indeed man made he’s wrong about that too. Just one mans opinion.
    • SM
      Sergio M.
      16 July 2020 @ 00:51
      evil is a little dramatic?
    • TP
      Timothy P.
      16 July 2020 @ 00:59
      @Sergio M - perhaps you're not aware of their live organ harvesting, or the millions in labor camps. It isn't "a little dramatic" its the absolute damned truth. The CCP are criminal gangsters visiting untold crimes against their citizens.
    • GH
      Gregory H.
      20 July 2020 @ 05:00
      My comment is not about semantics, but is an important distinction about this virus... I think that it very possible, if not probable, that is was a virus leak from the lab... but the virus itself might not be man made, but rather evolved on its own during testing... I only bring this up because someone tried to misconstrue my opinion on a Discord server... Here is an article that dropped a week ago that I can't wait to hear more about...
  • SO
    Shaun O.
    15 July 2020 @ 22:09
    Sorry but I think it needs to be said "ok boomer" he is paranoid about the virus yet the answer is bowing down to china... Who doesn't like you. Interesting to see all points of view though. Did remind me a bit of my freinds dad with a few beers in him giving a semi factual political rant
    • GH
      Gregory H.
      20 July 2020 @ 04:53
      Agree 100% about China... if financial types still think this is just about a trade war and then going back to the neo-liberal economic order, they have missed everything than Bannon, Bass, and Spalding have been talking about for years now... this is not a left/right issue either, but it's not covered too much in the surface level media because it is actually serious and substantive...
  • RK
    Rafal K.
    20 July 2020 @ 04:26
    There is truth and there is the realization that everything you've ever seen is politicized, to one degree or another. Kotok is acting like a baby boomer that has been too well connected for too long, without realization that his truth isn't the reality he sees.
  • SJ
    Stephen J.
    17 July 2020 @ 19:18
    Clearly he has a political agenda that is more important to him than anything else. Lost me.
  • JG
    Johan G.
    15 July 2020 @ 22:18
    Comparison: Population: US 330 Million Norway 5,4 Million Covid cases on 10 march: US 290 Norway 173 Covid cases 15 July accumulated US 3.607.267 Norway 9.006 Accumulated deaths: US 140.000 Norway 253 People in intensive care on 15 July US 16.349 Norway 1 Norway has reopened in a staggered and gradual way since mid april. Schools are open, restaurants are open,hairdressers etc, but big gatherings are still banned, and especially if they are indoors. Norway opened up for tourist from the rest of Europe today, except for a few countries where the levels of Covid 19 are deemed to high. We never had Sars or anything similar, but the public discussion has been based on science and facts, and the politicians have been open and honest about what are the risks. Norway has followed the advice of the WHO. Masks have not been mandated, but it is recommended to wear a mask in closed space if it is crowded. You hardly see anyone with a mask in the streets, and only a few in shops. Wash your hands, do social distancing, work from home if you can. Avoid crowds, especially indoors. This has been the medicine, and the population has done as told. Good luck America, you can do better than this!
    • RD
      Ray D.
      17 July 2020 @ 11:48
      The state be state inconsistencies makes a mockery of the USA.
  • RD
    Ray D.
    17 July 2020 @ 11:46
    More facts less ranting please
  • JB
    Julie B.
    15 July 2020 @ 19:25
    I have always appreciated Raul, Ed, Ash,Peter, etc who keep their political and personal opinions out of conversations. The first part about the Grand Canyon analogy was good but the conversation had too many biased opinions presented as fact. I have always appreciated Raul, Ed, Ash, Peter and others that keep political views away from the content. I quit listening as I found it to be disturbing after his Huawei, China and Gov. DeSantis comments.
    • DS
      David S.
      15 July 2020 @ 19:45
      If Mr. Bass can have his opinions expressed, why can't others? DLS
    • MD
      Matt D.
      15 July 2020 @ 21:01
      Hi David, I like you am totally for everyone being able to express their opinions, but in the same manner as you say in your above comment - in that you want truthful information - wouldn't you agree that an opinion is only as good as its integrity or truth?
    • RD
      Rick D.
      16 July 2020 @ 20:06
      To Matt - David K may have not had all the information or been 100% accurate, but the same can be said of Kyle Bass in his most recent interview. And here is where we as members need to exercise some critical thinking. The point of RV is to express multiple viewpoints, and while facts are facts, the impact of certain things is (at least partially) a matter of opinion and much weight certain factors are given by the individual. I expect RV to have some sort of quality control, focus on finance, keep politics to a minimum, and not let on any propagandists. Anything further than that is unrealistic, imo. (Maybe we have the same views on this matter and I'm misunderstanding)
    • MD
      Matt D.
      17 July 2020 @ 07:02
      Hi Rick, Good comment and we are in total agreement. I was not being negative towards RV in my comments at all if I gave that impression. I listened to Mr Kotok all the way through and have had him in my intel mix for a long time. I guess I was moreso being sympathetic to Julie B's comments, and surprised at the response to that.
  • TN
    Tom N.
    17 July 2020 @ 04:21
    Wow! First off, kudos to DMB for a superbly professional interview. Half way through I'm agreeing with his cogent observations and thinking that I need to moderate and hedge my near-to-medium term bearish view. Then, he drops the kimono on his biases and I wonder whether it is he or I that is disillusioned. Despite his rose-colored glasses treatment of one of the most despotic regimes in human history, he nevertheless finds the right metaphor - not of the Grand Canyon, but rather, the forest fire. That which, while unfortunate, rejuvenates in the long term. Regardless, to the end his views punctuate points that must be considered. This is the content for which I subscribe to Real Vision. The synapses are firing - this was thought-provoking to the last. Now then, on to sizing and timing...
  • BS
    Benjamin S.
    17 July 2020 @ 03:03
    spends too much time talking about the Grand Canyon. C'mon, get on with it.
  • CR
    Cory R.
    17 July 2020 @ 02:18
    I really enjoyed this interview with all the politics thrown in for good measure. Let's be honest, this crisis is an economic and a political crisis. He says most humorously "...we can climb in and out of the Grand Canyon on a mule, I've never seen anyone do it on an elephant." I would suggest we can make an analogy that Hannibal did just such a thing in 218BC when he crossed the Alps.
  • AA
    Aymman A.
    16 July 2020 @ 11:10
    People just can’t hear the truth! Forget about the politics. Look at the medical facts. I am a physician and I am qualified to talk about diseases and treatments. Medical realities will rule the economy. Medically, we have totally blown it. We are in a forest fire now. Go ahead! Deny reality and give this interview a thumbs down. It will make you feel better. It will not change reality.
    • JM
      John M.
      16 July 2020 @ 22:24
      People should social distance, wash hands frequently & wear a mask indoors. That's the only medical advice I find useful. Otherwise the doctors are still learning about Covid-19! The doctors were advising 'close the economy'. That's bad advice!
    • AA
      Aymman A.
      16 July 2020 @ 23:40
      Thank you John M. I Completely agree. Following that advise ALONE would have stopped this epidemic. BUT testing should be ubiquitous by now! Guess what. I just came back from the hospital. TODAY. July 17, 2020. Do you know NONE of my patients had a COVID test. NOT AVAILABLE fast enough. And I do not practice in a hot spot (FL, TX,AZ etc). Is this not incompetency on a magnificent scale? Please be honest. COVID has been controlled in totalitarian states like China. It has been controlled in democratic states like the EU, New Zealand, Australia. The United States is in a league of its own in company with Brazil!, I am very much into global macro and my portfolio is doing just fine this year. So no, I am not upset about the market. This is the greatest market for global macro. But I am also a physician and I get both sad and angry when I go to work. How did we get here? This is not the America I have known all my life.
  • AG
    Alan G.
    15 July 2020 @ 21:38
    I do not know how Cumberland has preformed recently. In my past as a PM, they were one of the best firms in the business and always constrained their asset size. Whether the interviewer is a liberal or not it is important to understand politics and economics. At Wharton again a while ago, one of my most important courses was politics and markets. The liberal policies that could happen in the next election if both President and Senate turn democratic cannot be underestimated. Biden’s agenda is so incredible liberal that taken to a natural conclusion the government will be influeing markets destroying economics of one business and subsidising g others. Also make no mistake at times of economic uncertainties, trade wars, trade restrictions like barring Taiwan Semiconductor to sell to Huawei could have serious repercussions. I actually would like to see Real Vision have experts speak about impact on economic players if democrats win. This is political brought into economics.
    • RD
      Rick D.
      16 July 2020 @ 19:56
      Why just Democrats? If you're going to make it political, both sides should be looked at (and maybe even additional parties). Asking for just Democrats removes all semblance of balance.
  • MT
    Mark T.
    15 July 2020 @ 21:48
    It's an election year, you're going to hear about politics. Just don't get your panties in a bunch when someone has a different viewpoint than yours. RV is about bringing different viewpoints together. Having more information, be that in the form of opinions or substantiated facts, is not a bad thing. It's what we used to call being a well rounded person.
    • RD
      Rick D.
      16 July 2020 @ 19:54
      Very true, not sure why you are being downvoted. People in the comments complaining about it being political go and drag politics further in to a discussion on finance.
  • CL
    Christopher L.
    16 July 2020 @ 17:05
    He likes Goolsby. He lost me
  • CL
    Christopher L.
    16 July 2020 @ 16:24
  • it
    ian t.
    16 July 2020 @ 13:38
    What a wise man
  • WA
    Wissam A.
    16 July 2020 @ 09:58
    Danielle can you and Chris Cole interview Nassim Taleb for RV subscribers?
  • DR
    David R.
    15 July 2020 @ 15:48
    As a UK-based person, the US political bits didn't really bother me. What I found interesting was that David's high level analysis is similar to Ray Dalio's. Would be great to hear the thoughts of David Hunter too, if possible. Thanks and all the best.
    • JI
      JWD I.
      15 July 2020 @ 18:11
      I second this suggestion!
    • TP
      Timothy P.
      16 July 2020 @ 01:02
      That's as asinine as saying "As a non-Hong Kong citizen, I don't care what is happening there." That may assuage YOUR conscience, but some of us are more involved in the world than what you suggest.
    • DR
      David R.
      16 July 2020 @ 06:37
      I didn't say I didn't care. Just not emotionally partisan from a US political point of view.
  • WB
    William B.
    16 July 2020 @ 04:05
    Not many people say the truth these days. Glad you two do. Tough to hear, probably why so much negativity in rating and comments..
  • sc
    sung c.
    16 July 2020 @ 02:44
    Well if Mr. Kotok's idea of reviewing the dollar is in 2024-2025, then my money is on Bitcoin over U.S. dollar, Chinese Yuan, or Eurodollar. Gold is out of the picture because just not enough of it around to be feasible and not divisible enough to be usable.
  • SV
    Stephen V.
    16 July 2020 @ 02:12
    This guy needs a sit down with Kyle Bass.
  • DH
    Darren H.
    15 July 2020 @ 06:50
    Too much politics here - don’t subscribe to hear people rag on politicians (I get that for free in the MSM). First half was good though.
    • DH
      Darren H.
      15 July 2020 @ 23:26
      I feel like I should clarify as I care about keeping this content great. Loved the Steve Bannon/Kyle Bass stuff. Loved the Stephanie Kelton MMT stuff. It’s not that I want zero social/political viewpoints in RV (although its should be a minority), its that this interview in the second half just felt like a standard CNN dopamine-outrage session. It’s ok to be left wing just remember your righteousness makes you vulnerable to trump derangement syndrome. Its ok to be right wing just remember your righteousness makes you vulnerable to ‘all lefties are evil communists’. Inevitability politics inform philosophy and views on finance. I just want sober, informative discussion.
    • TP
      Timothy P.
      16 July 2020 @ 01:04
      RV has been slipping lately. Thought their high point was the Kyle Bass/Miles Guo interview, only later to be let down by Raoul when he thought China was being "made a scapegaot of" as if he thought the CCP was being unfairly criticized over their slap-dash handling of the virus. What can you do, most outlets are infected with this globalist/left ideology anyway. Just thought RV wouldn't succumb totally to it.
  • HH
    HODL H.
    16 July 2020 @ 00:57
    Good interview but this guy very pro-China...must be on the money gravy train via sep managed accounts, it is going to be bad what DJT administration will do leading up to election and denying it might happen isn’t right way to approach it.
  • JM
    John M.
    16 July 2020 @ 00:21
    Re David's forest fire analogy - some people are getting re-infected with Covid-19!
  • TB
    Tobin B.
    15 July 2020 @ 21:19
    This guy has a worried look on his face; I'd not give him my money to manage. Wound up skipping to each section because the "thoughts" he was trying to communicate were hard to follow and took too long to come out. Thanks Danielle.
  • MT
    Matthew T.
    15 July 2020 @ 20:28
    Democratic pundit?
  • DS
    David S.
    15 July 2020 @ 20:05
    From the thumbs up and down, I would say the election is still close among subscribers. DLS
  • DS
    David S.
    15 July 2020 @ 20:03
    Solid interview. One of the big differences between now and WWII is the gold standard. Everyone in the 1930s and 1940s expected to pay the debt back someday. Now we simply delude ourselves - extreme left and right. The best part of this interview for me was with truthful information coupled with science. Now in the era of "do anything and there are no consequences", we will dig the hole ever deeper without believing real information. Countries that fight the virus with actual information and science win. Countries that do not lose. This is all over the world. DLS
  • JS
    Jon S.
    15 July 2020 @ 17:17
    I would have preferred that Danielle is the interviewed one :) she is great. Again, can someone do it soon?
    • DS
      David S.
      15 July 2020 @ 19:51
      Ms. DiMartino Booth did a great job in this interview. She has excellent connections in the financial world. I would like to see her interviewing more guests whenever possible. DLS
  • RC
    Radigan C.
    15 July 2020 @ 16:57
    Had a hard time with this one. Didn't know who Mr. Kotok was before this, and found myself thinking through the interview, what is he talking about? All my buddies and I are already back to life as normal, albeit masked up. Just found his emotions and fear perplexing. Maybe it is the generational divide, but a Boomer talking about the world being a raging forest fire outside his door and will be safe again with UV disinfectant for air on planes, I don't know, if that is what he's waiting for, I wouldn't want to switch places with him or have him managing money. Just felt bad for him by the end of it.
  • TP
    Timothy P.
    15 July 2020 @ 16:24
    "There are no winners in trade wars and protectionism" - right, except when those other countries use tariffs to penalize US companies, right? How about labor arbitrage when you make every labor market fully fungible? Think that doesn't hurt anyone as the hourly paid worker wage gets flattened down by the big hand of globalism because there's a bunch of poor farmers willing to work in a factory for a few cents a day in vietnam? Just watch what happens to the EU. Their touted benefits now have resulted in Germany and the other richer countries having to foot the bill for the poorer-performing economies. Its all arbitrage, its all money flows and no one seems to get it. You open the sluicegates, you better be ready to deal with the extremes of your market's bid/ask. Interesting interview, but I can see some bias here interfering with his investment views.
  • BQ
    Berardo Q.
    15 July 2020 @ 16:07
    Kotok is right on some things and extremely wrong on others. He is right about America abandoning LATAM. It is an area that with good leadership are our natural allies and trade partners. Instead both parties in the past have abandoned it and as a result we have Venezuela, Cuba etc. As to China he is SO WRONG. I recommend he and everyone read "Unrestricted Warfare" written by 2 PLA high ranking officers many years ago. It is the blueprint for what is going on. We are at war with the Chinese communist party. This administration is the only one that has stood up for America. Also I have many friends in the medical field and most of them believe this is a weaponized manmade virus. Kotok's liberal bias was in full display during many parts of the interview. Videos need to start discussing more investment ideas IMO.
  • AH
    Andrew H.
    15 July 2020 @ 15:58
    I cant get past his comments that we will need to begin to normalize Monetary(and fiscal) after Covid is over. This will never happen. Comparison to WWII is terrible. We will see inflation and/or jubilee, but policy makers will never normalize voluntarily.
  • CB
    Chris B.
    15 July 2020 @ 15:36
    One of the biggest duds I've seen on RV in quite a while. I think the editorial staff let this one slip through the cracks. Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, it just doesn't work. On those rare occasions, just toss it in the garbage can and say "we tried our best"
  • PT
    Philip T.
    15 July 2020 @ 13:49
    Great to see the true bent of Kotok come out. Having a daughter teaching at Berkeley says it all. He sees America 1st as the problem, rather than our unconditional surrender to China in so many areas. Both liberal & conservatives in gov't now acknowledge the cyber threat China poses to our national security, but not Kotok. It was revealing to see how liberal globalist think - but very, very scary.
    • DL
      Dan L.
      15 July 2020 @ 14:43
      In what way does politicizing help the conversation, or the vetting of different viewpoints? China and Russia are merely capitalizing on the extreme partisanship we in the U.S. are inflicting upon ourselves. Apparently even here, where political ideologies are frowned upon as interfering with objective economic and market analysis.
    • DM
      Don M.
      15 July 2020 @ 15:28
      Laughing at those who are scared by a message of "tell the truth".
  • DM
    Don M.
    15 July 2020 @ 15:12
    Define "price discovery" LOL The Fed and politicians on both sides do NOT want price discovery.
  • mw
    michael w.
    15 July 2020 @ 14:57
    Most people don't have that level of paranoia and money to pay much extra for the virus cleaning planes and buildings.
  • MD
    Matt D.
    15 July 2020 @ 05:59
    Good questions Danielle, for such an experienced guest the replies seemed a bit simplistic or idealistic? I don't know. It would be easy to disagree with them with reason. Anyway. The "unknown" gap till 2021 will probably determine what happens after.
    • NF
      Norman F.
      15 July 2020 @ 12:28
      Forget the politics..
  • JS
    Jon S.
    15 July 2020 @ 11:04
    I would like not be writing this, but I have reached similar conclusions on the risks of a real war with China. Once I read the book "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? - by Allison, Graham. It is a good way to understand the background of the trade war, which is sometimes the initial step before a real war. However, I hope that we will dodge the bullet at this point in time of the history, as it has happened in the other examples of the "Thucydides's Trap "the theory that "when one great power threatens to displace another, war is almost always the result". Greetings. Jon
  • DJ
    Damien J.
    15 July 2020 @ 09:26
    Big Orange is bad. Got it.
  • BS
    Bernard S.
    15 July 2020 @ 08:59
    Started of good. Then deteriorated into a rant.
  • JF
    John F.
    15 July 2020 @ 08:40
    First 15 min was the most valuable. Didn’t appreciate the politics coming subtly from the host and blatantly from the guest.