The Anatomy of Bubbles

Published on
August 6th, 2018
33 minutes

The Anatomy of Bubbles

The Exchange ·
Featuring Grant Williams, Simon Mikhailovich, and Dan Oliver Jr.

Published on: August 6th, 2018 • Duration: 33 minutes

Grant Williams, Simon Mikhailovich and Dan Oliver embark on a three part Exchange that dissects the recurring theme of capital misallocation, the financialization of economies and their social and political consequences. In this first part, they look at the anatomy of bubbles and highlight historical parallels going back thousands of years. The implications are all too familiar and suggest a dramatic outcome for the level of gold. Filmed on May 8, 2018 in New York.


  • RW
    Raymond W.
    27 August 2018 @ 22:42
    Three gold guys talking their book. Not that what they say will not happen but it could take much longer than they expect.
  • HJ
    Harry J.
    10 August 2018 @ 23:03
    Tell me how much longer I have to hold this Gold till it’s worth $10,000 per oz. It’s getting heavy. Or I’m getting weak.
    • MB
      Martin B.
      23 August 2018 @ 20:48
      Don't give up. Stay strong.
  • CA
    Craig A.
    18 August 2018 @ 06:31
    Very good discussion - well presented and highly informative. Really like the details about the Mississippi bubble aswell
  • JC
    James C.
    12 August 2018 @ 21:42
    Gold is a poor hedge in itself - far better off to use some kind of options strategy that has embedded leverage. Just look at 2008 - Gold only started performing well off the bottom, when all other assets were recovering as well.
    • TB
      Tim B.
      15 August 2018 @ 03:18
      So James, are you talking about something like buying out of the money puts on the S&P index? Curious about hedging strategies...FYI, Haworth had some good pieces on RV on that.
    • TM
      The-First-James M.
      17 August 2018 @ 19:40
      Gold was in a bull market leading into 2008 and hence was a crowded position. It therefore suffered from a rush to liquidity and to sell relatively liquid assets. Given it currently seems to be widely hated, I strongly doubt it's a crowded trade right now. Should this still hold true leading into the next crisis, I wouldn't want to bank on a repeat of the Gold Market behaviour in 2008.
  • vt
    vadim t.
    8 August 2018 @ 11:53
    the same old nonsense about gold as an insurance for years... Keep dreaming guys, just do not let the reality distract you in any way.
    • SM
      Simon M. | Contributor
      8 August 2018 @ 22:38
      Hi Vadim, several people here have expressed interest in a debate with someone who holds a different view on gold, which you do. My gold thesis is based on my own conclusions about today's systemic risks and on gold's unbroken historical record as an effective safe haven. Currently, half of the world's population uses gold to save and all of the major global financial institutions hold gold reserves. For example, the IMF explains its reasons for holding gold reserves (the third largest official reserve) as follows: "The IMF holds a relatively large amount of gold among its assets, not only for reasons of financial soundness, but also to meet unforeseen contingencies." (From the IMF website) In other words, the IMF also sees gold as insurance. Perhaps you could share your thinking as to why gold no longer offers effective protection. If you have a compelling argument, everyone here would benefit from hearing it. Thank you in advance. Simon
    • WM
      Will M.
      11 August 2018 @ 18:48
      Vadim, if gold is nonsense, why do so many rich and smart people hold it in Switzerland? Do you really think these folks (many have been interviewed on RVT) believe gold insurance is "old nonsense?". The very wealthy who come from "old money" know everything is cyclical. Buying gold at the right time and selling it when it is in itself in a mania, can make you very wealthy. Todays "paper money and credit system" is perilous. When it goes, the weak will be hammered and perhaps, just perhaps the FED won't be able to step in again if the system crashes. Those electronic zeros in your bank account might be worthless overnight.......
    • vt
      vadim t.
      13 August 2018 @ 22:47
      Hi Simon, it has to be a long conversation, because the idea of the gold as an insurance is misleading in different ways. as short as possible: 1) Insurance From What? Today is 13.08. full blown EM crisis. What is going on with Gold? Don't bother answering, and it's not an accident or some "JPM manipulation" nonsence. First of all: gold couldn't be an insurance where the dollar is. Period. It doesn't mean however that gold couldn't rise or fall with the dollar, it's just doing so as an any other asset class. In Armagedon scenario gold as an insurance is even bigger nonsense. As far as I understand you and me are both originated from USSR (correct me if I'm wrong), and you should have known more than anybody else that although you could change your gold for bread and coal, it doesn't worth trying to buy gold beforehand, you aren't gonna like the rate, if you wish to prepare - buy "tushenka" (tinned stew) and ammunition instead. So there are some very specific class of failures of the system which could be considered for gold to be an insurance for. It's not very difficult to show, one by one, that it doesn't work this way either, although it could be decent investment (there is a huge difference between an insurance and investment, isn't there?) but it'll take a lot of space and effort, so let's assume you are right and there are such cases, which brings us to 2) Insurance For Whom? That's where my strongest disagreement is. You guys (goldbugs) are constantly promoting a product which is maybe fine for big institutions but for retail it brings a disaster over and over again. It's not the same to have a 5% cost insurance of $2bln+ book and $100k savings, it's as if it's not the same to owe a bank 2b vs 100k. There will be very different needs and outcomes when THE day comes and there is much smaller probability that the little guy is able to hold your insurance through all those waiting years. I'm sure your intentions are pure and you are trying to do your best to help them, but the great irony is it's the same old game - just a different "contrarian" herd going into a different slaughter-house. 3) Last. Out of personal curiosity. You guys, spend so much time saying the same things over and over again, and it looks like the Gold theme is of much interest of you, why the hell don't you spent this time to discuss/investigate for example 95% correlation of Gold/usdjpy, or take a look at XAUCNY weekly, esp. monthly and try to think it over before tell the crowd how amazing the gold insurance is, or take a deep look into what is going on inside (deep inside) goldminers space, you will discover an amazing stuff, I guarantee. If you keep asking, you even could come across some taboos which are avoided at all cost everywhere, even here on RTV. Just couple of thoughts on very complicated subject, With real huge respect for your efforts and intentions, Vadim.
    • my
      markettaker y.
      14 August 2018 @ 04:59
      vadim more info please on the currency correlations you point to and what is going on deep inside the goldminer space. Thank you. Not asking you to spend time. Just post a bunch of links and let us work it out. Very appreciative.
    • vt
      vadim t.
      15 August 2018 @ 21:53
      @markettaker x. If you open XAUCNY chart you'll see the vol. is dropping very fast there, but if you open it with a monthly timeframe you'll see mostly closes are at 8300-8400 CNY... for the last 11 months. I think I don't need to explain here the probability of such an event being random. Gold miner space is a part of a bigger topic - what's really going on inside any Order Book for a particular security during trading day. Nobody wants to talk about that, best case you can get something like: "yeah, you know, there is no place fo human anymore there, ok, yeah, maybe there are some dirty tricks, you're losing little bit of money every time, but not much, they're selling your orders, but they're providing liquidity... blah, blah. But you know what: it doesn't matter unless you are a day-trader." Which is as far from the truth as it could be.
  • LS
    Leo S.
    15 August 2018 @ 08:24
    Who prepared the spread?
  • OL
    Otto L.
    14 August 2018 @ 22:51
    Great episode, thanks. History definitely repeats. How about a repeat with Neil Howe?
  • my
    markettaker y.
    14 August 2018 @ 05:03
    Gentlemen: Simon, Dan, Grant, Milton, and Real Vision: This is a hugely important discussion, and these two (and third no doubt) Exchanges are among the most crystallized expressions of it.... But can RV please step up its game and bring out the big gun thinkers who completely reject the entire hard money thesis? Drill into the foundations of why so many other very smart people in the financial markets reject it, and have a structured debate where the two sides explain *the principles that underpin their perspective* and *the conditions under which they would consider their monetary theory vindicated.* It shouldn't necessarily be about which view is right, because if it were possible to answer to the satisfaction of all there would be no raging dispute. But just focus on figuring out what underpins the different outlooks, and what each would consider the conditions that must be satisfied for their view to be shown true or false.
    • SM
      Simon M. | Contributor
      14 August 2018 @ 18:23
      Dear MX, thank you for a good idea. It would indeed be very interesting to have a debate between the critics and the supporters of status quo, although I do not see the gist of the disagreement limited to the monetary theory. For my part, not being an academic, I am less interested in what would be a better monetary policy than I am in the actual risks that status quo poses and ways of protecting oneself from these risks. Since the history of money and markets is that of booms and busts, it is entirely possible that there is practical way to have an ideal system, assuming one exists. Personally, I would be more interested in a debate about the risks/non risks posed by status quo and the basis for thinking that it can/cannot have a benign outcome.
  • MD
    M D.
    7 August 2018 @ 05:06
    These guys agree too much. I think someone who could offer the counter arguments would have helped a lot.
    • my
      markettaker y.
      14 August 2018 @ 05:00
  • Sv
    Sid v.
    13 August 2018 @ 21:15
    great discussion!
  • MB
    Markus B.
    8 August 2018 @ 11:43
    Question to the panel or to Simon in particular; reference was made in the discussion to gold on the Fed's balances sheet vs the Fed's liabilities. If my memory serves me correct the value of 1 oz of gold on the balance sheet was / is valued at around 35 $. What price of gold is taken into account when the panel refers to a backing of 8 % of the Fed's liabilities - the initial book value or current spot?
    • SM
      Simon M. | Contributor
      9 August 2018 @ 11:17
      Dear Markus, the US gold reserve of 8,134 tonnes is officially valued at $42.2222/oz but has a current market value of $317 billion, which is 7.5% of $4.2 trillion - the size of the Fed's balance sheet. This is the basis for saying that just under 8% of the Fed's liabilities are backed by gold reserves.
    • BC
      Burton C.
      13 August 2018 @ 06:11
      $4.2 T divided by 8,134 tonnes = $16,134/Oz of gold. So the USD backed by 50% gold requires a $8,000 price
  • HH
    HODL H.
    12 August 2018 @ 23:46
    great video! Thats a ton for fruit and meat though lol
  • BB
    Bojo B.
    12 August 2018 @ 10:52
    Excellent discussion, gents, thank you.
  • FG
    Francisco G.
    11 August 2018 @ 19:42
    Fascinating discussion of financial history. Bravo.... How does that go ? ......Those who Ignore history are doomed to repeat.....
  • AM
    Amit M.
    6 August 2018 @ 13:34
    Has anyone made money of any of these guests in last 5 years besides being short? Whose paying for a 10 year outlook. No humility here even trying to understand where their process went wrong. In fact how can u even say they have an edge when their process isn’t repeatable and dynamic to change. Sounds like zerohedge but worse attribution.
    • JV
      Jan V.
      6 August 2018 @ 17:04
      They don't see gold as an investment but rather as an insurance. It won't make you rich but it will keep you safe when things go wrong.
    • DR
      David R.
      6 August 2018 @ 17:31
      Yep, and they also lost money for 5 years being long gold. One of their buddies' hedge fund lost a stunning 91% from 2011 til 2016. From that you need an 11-bagger just to break even, not even counting interest or inflation!
    • DR
      David R.
      6 August 2018 @ 17:31
      The bubble isn't even in the mania stage yet. Dow 63,000 and Gold $850.
    • SH
      Steve H.
      6 August 2018 @ 17:43
      I think you're confusing your timeframes. There's a reason this conversation isn't billed as a 'trade idea'. Incidentally, there are plenty of market participants who take - and are willing to pay for - a 10-year (and longer) outlook. For example, very few family offices or SWF's rely on 5-minute macro.
    • CB
      C B.
      6 August 2018 @ 19:18
      tell me what to buy! tell me what to sell! Make some claim about an unknowable future! Classic human nature.
    • NI
      Nate I.
      6 August 2018 @ 23:59
      This is a bit like saying, have you made money on your homeowners policy in recent years? None of these contributors has ever said that anyone will make money buying gold. Gold is insurance and you don't need it until you do. What you can do however is optimize your coverage to match the risk environment. In the business of owning gold, you are the insurance company actuary. When debt is low, business is booming, politics are stable, etc, you probably don't need much coverage (gold). Now look at today. If there was ever a time to increase your coverage (gold), nearing the top of a debt super cycle would be it.
    • WM
      Will M.
      11 August 2018 @ 18:59
      David R...... owning gold stocks from the early 2000s through to the peak around 2011/12, made plenty of people rich, they just needed to sell the stock in the right quarter.
  • WM
    Will M.
    11 August 2018 @ 18:56
    What astounds me about the gold naysayers is they just don't pay attention to history. Even today the recent examples of Argentina, Venezuela and Turkey (to mention the bigger ones) demonstrate categorically that owning gold would have saved family wealth period. For those that assume the USA will remain the world's reserve currency and sole superpower indefinitely read some history on the UK, France, Netherlands, Spain etc. Imperial overstretch is and will eventually lay the USA low....unfortunately.
  • SB
    Stephen B.
    10 August 2018 @ 01:40
    Dan has one of the best grasps of history of anyone I know, so surprised that he didn't know that the pyramids (or at least Giza) were (was) in fact built as power plants (by a pre-flood civilization) :) ?
    • BW
      B W.
      10 August 2018 @ 13:45
      Water erosion theory = woke
    • WM
      Will M.
      11 August 2018 @ 18:50
      He is surpassed only by Martin Armstrong.......
  • jm
    james m.
    10 August 2018 @ 21:03
    Can you get Dan Oliver on for a full presentation pls - thx
  • DP
    David P.
    10 August 2018 @ 05:23
    Off to get a cheese and meat platter thanks to you guys. Great interview.
  • SS
    Sam S.
    9 August 2018 @ 20:16
    I'm hungry.
  • RM
    Ross M.
    9 August 2018 @ 06:14
    Grant you need to get an interview with Tom Coughlin of Kinesis Money this looks like a solid platform bringing Gold to the mainstream using 1:1 gold and silver allocated and levering crypto technology along with tradition vaulting. Appreciate RV and your efforts to bring sanity to this crazy FIAT world.
  • DF
    Dominic F.
    8 August 2018 @ 23:28
    This was a fantastic discussion about something that the man/woman on the street really doesn't understand. Great format with 3 knowledgable and respectful people taking turns to have their say and listen to the others. It sounds simple, but it is a refreshing change from that awful shouty, interrupting Financial News Media where nothing is discussed properly because the shouters don't understand what they themselves are saying, hahaha. This is what I regard as a great teaching tool for people interested in finding out what is going on in the financial world because, as I heard said once and I agree - 'All news is economic news'.
  • ss
    sid s.
    8 August 2018 @ 22:53
    too short. could've listened for an hour...or two.
  • DS
    David S.
    6 August 2018 @ 12:21
    Congress and the administration are already deregulating the banks. The Fed Chairman is saying we do not necessarily have to have a recession. The bubble cycle is just as real as the business cycle. We are not going to change that. Even returning to the gold standard will not work, as the financial markets are strong enough to destroy any pegged rate. Maybe the team can look at what assets in additions to gold worked during the collapse of past bubbles and in the recoveries - with and without hyper-inflation. DLS
    • NG
      Nick G.
      6 August 2018 @ 13:22
      Well, as a rule, all real assets which could not be devalued by order and had a yield. Productive agricultural land and estates mainly, as there were very few alternatives in the past.
    • NG
      Nick G.
      6 August 2018 @ 13:25
      Oh, forgot: in ancient times (and not so ancient) slaves held their value very well, apart when the market was flooded by Caesar after the conquest of Gaul.
    • DS
      David S.
      6 August 2018 @ 17:23
      Thank you Nick G. DLS
    • JC
      Justin C.
      6 August 2018 @ 17:41
      Not much that hasn't already been bid to the sky. Agricultural land might be the exception, but I'm not sure the weakness in current prices there translates to lower land prices.
    • AE
      Alex E.
      8 August 2018 @ 01:29
      "Even returning to the gold standard will not work, as the financial markets are strong enough to destroy any pegged rate." I says "Pardon?" Strong enough??? These markets are floating on an ocean of printed money!!! Once this is ascertained by everyone with a trading account and a pulse, watch how "strong" they become...
    • DS
      David S.
      8 August 2018 @ 22:27
      Alex E.: By financial markets I did not mean central banks. I am referring to all the huge FX traders including hedge funds. DLS
  • DC
    Darren C.
    8 August 2018 @ 14:56
    That is a lot of snacks for 3 people.
  • TT
    Travis T.
    7 August 2018 @ 20:10
    Great talk and good mash up having those two on. I would like to get a Geo political discussion like this with Peter Zeihan and someone else.
    • YB
      Yuriy B.
      8 August 2018 @ 09:26
      Zeihan is brilliant - agree!
  • DH
    Dabangg H.
    7 August 2018 @ 06:00
    rehashing the same ideas. i know u guys will eventually be right, but you have been saying similar ideas for 2 years. we are up 30% since then, and even if market crashes 40% tomorrow, we will still be even!!
    • DW
      Daniel W.
      7 August 2018 @ 06:13
      Nothing new in this video.
    • SM
      Simon M. | Contributor
      7 August 2018 @ 16:30
      Dear Debangg and Daniel W., you are both right - the history of credit bubbles is remarkably consistent and the same pattern has been repeated every time. We are repeating it yet again and so, yes, there is little new to say, other than to point out that we are back in yet another bubble and this time isn't any different. In regards to the comment about the opportunity costs, our discussion was about reserves, which, like insurance, should be always held to protect assets from periodic destruction, not to generate annual returns.
    • AE
      Alex E.
      8 August 2018 @ 01:39
      Dabangg I., Did you buy any investments in the last year? If so, how are you going to be even when, not if, the market crashes 40% ?
  • NG
    Nick G.
    6 August 2018 @ 11:29
    Wonderful discussion. Much enjoyed Tacitus and Tiberius discussions which have prompted me to Google those events and learn something new. One question though: you have wonderful spreads on the table in all these videos, yet no one eats. Ever. Are you all on a diet or something?
    • DS
      David S.
      6 August 2018 @ 17:26
      Hi Nick G. I am sure it is all eaten by someone after completing the filming. DLS
    • DR
      David R.
      6 August 2018 @ 17:33
      lol ...... or maybe it's fake food like in so many commercials?
    • NG
      Nick G.
      6 August 2018 @ 22:08
      All I can say is that if I were in their shoes, I would eat the lot and ask for seconds.
    • AE
      Alex E.
      8 August 2018 @ 01:23
      If you watch carefully, the food gets eaten over the course of the interview! Look at each man's individual plate in front of them...
  • DS
    David S.
    7 August 2018 @ 18:05
    The value of gold shows up in currency crises. Recent charts of gold prices in Argentine Peso or the Turkish Lira would be instructive. DLS
  • SS
    Steven S.
    6 August 2018 @ 17:35
    This is quite eye opening - quite /👁\ opening - If true -this certainly explains why our 'cut-through-the-BS' purveyors of financial TRUTH hero's -->Grant & Raul are so very quiet on this specific topic...... A great awakening is needed.
    • RN
      Robert N.
      6 August 2018 @ 19:28
      Martin Armstrong seems to have the ability to connect some of the relevant dots in this much neglected story.
    • RN
      Robert N.
      6 August 2018 @ 19:35
      Also note, it is still not difficult to find that which must not be seen or mentioned in this context.
    • SS
      Steven S.
      6 August 2018 @ 20:00
      Alex Jones has been as of today blocked from all media-youtube, FB, Apple, etc - i don't follow the guy - but what the hell happened to free speech? Robert N. ---->I would love to hear more of your views - free & open speech is essential to obtaining an accurate world view. Finding and 'feeling' your way to truth. The point I am making is NOT whether you believe or dis-believe why Martin Armstrong is stating, make no mistake; the point is that OUR very FREEDOM is being taken away. The Freedom of Speech is an ESSENTIAL part of a fair and just world. *******People please wake up and stop being afraid to speak out, speak up, and speak often.******
    • RN
      Robert N.
      7 August 2018 @ 16:14
      Steven S: This is not the site for such discussions but you may find it interesting to get a copy of Alex Krainer (The Naked Hedgie) 's book and his own discovery of the state of the "free and open speech" you are concerned about. In the meantime learning how to use yandex and baidu will open new avenues of exploration for you.
  • DT
    Dennie T.
    7 August 2018 @ 14:36
    Very interesting discussion, but why is no one touching those delicious looking cold cuts?
    • SM
      Simon M. | Contributor
      7 August 2018 @ 14:46
      Dennie, the cold cuts and other goodies were dispatched over a friendly meal that took place after the shoot.
  • HA
    Hugh A.
    7 August 2018 @ 14:14
    I am not familiar with Mr. Oliver's work. Has he written any books on the history of banking?
    • SM
      Simon M. | Contributor
      7 August 2018 @ 14:44
      Hugh, Dan Oliver is finishing a book on the history of credit bubbles. I had an opportunity to read the manuscript and it further reinforced my understanding of the cyclical nature of financial bubbles throughout history and the typical stages of the past bubbles. We are traveling down a well worn path...
  • GS
    Gordon S.
    7 August 2018 @ 14:42
    Great brief discussion! As mentioned below, I would really love to see some debates with opposing views in this new format! Meanwhile I can highly recommend Ray Dailo's Paper "How the Economic Machine Works – Leveragings and Deleveragings": where he goes through various historical deleveraging cycles. (Maybe we could get him hear too?)
  • SS
    S S.
    6 August 2018 @ 11:34
    This was great. But do you know what would be better? If we had people with differing views on The Exchange, rather than 3 people who agree on the benefits of holding Gold etc. Would love to see some real debate!
    • GS
      Gordon S.
      7 August 2018 @ 14:27
      Maybe it is that debates can go out of hand fast? I keep on being deeply convinced that RV debates would be the best thing since sliced bread! Hopefully one day!
  • RK
    Richard K.
    7 August 2018 @ 11:50
    Great discussion. More please. Longer and more. All three guys are knowledgeable, articulate and edifying. Maybe that’s why I enjoy listening so much.
  • GO
    Gary O.
    7 August 2018 @ 05:04
    Nice conversation. Carry on!
  • TS
    Tim S.
    7 August 2018 @ 04:27
    Great conversation, thanks, gentlemen. Loved the comments around gold as a sovereign self-correction mechanism against those that overextend their empires or their military.
  • KE
    Kathryn E.
    7 August 2018 @ 02:58
    Great discussion! Please continue with this approach
  • JC
    Justin C.
    7 August 2018 @ 02:01
    Dan Oliver needs to return to Twitter! What a brilliant mind with a rare and deep grasp of financial history!
  • JH
    Janet H.
    7 August 2018 @ 00:45
    Love all the cookbooks in the background!! Who is the cook
    • AD
      A D.
      7 August 2018 @ 01:57
      My guess is- it's Simon's house. He acts like the host in this video. Nice discussion- thank you for inviting us in, RV!
  • JH
    Janet H.
    7 August 2018 @ 01:00
    this is a great interview with lots of history lessons. Dan Oliver is amazing....OK, so are Simon and Grant!
  • DW
    Dave W.
    6 August 2018 @ 23:02
    I hardly ever write comments as I prefer to just watch and absorb. This one has motivated me. The exchange format is fantastic and the last few topics/guests have been the stuff that makes Real Vision the ultimate value investment. Please bring more like this.
  • rr
    rlw r.
    6 August 2018 @ 18:03
    Excellent chat guys. Looking forward to many more.
  • HB
    Heini B.
    6 August 2018 @ 13:28
    So great to see these three in a room together, Dan Oliver needs to finish his book, come'on Dan I am sure RealVisionistas will pre-order sufficient quantities to motivate a publisher ,-)
  • PU
    Peter U.
    6 August 2018 @ 13:25
    Pure gold!
  • V!
    Volatimothy !.
    6 August 2018 @ 12:51
    In my opinion you can’t see the bubble when you are inside it. You have to look from the outside or the other side. “Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” Friedrich Nietzsche
  • KS
    Karen S.
    6 August 2018 @ 12:10
    Dan Oliver needs to start a podcast.
  • EL
    Elizabeth L.
    6 August 2018 @ 12:04
  • RM
    Russell M.
    6 August 2018 @ 11:57
    Put whoever selected the outtake music in charge of all realvision music selection.
  • lD
    lance D.
    6 August 2018 @ 11:38
    Yeah real good discussion also looking forwards to the next part
  • jS
    jurgen S.
    6 August 2018 @ 09:56
    Really good discussion about where we are and how it compares to history. Hard to argue with any of it. Well done guys, look forward to the next discussion.