Essay | December 27, 2021

The Little Short

I have a tendency to like unloved things. Misshapen toys who don’t look like the characters they were based on. Animals with more than four legs who aren’t butterflies or ladybugs. A thing unfairly dismissed rekindles a sense of childhood familiarity and deep respect.

The unloved do not care whether we acknowledge them—as tragic heroes or even at all. A spider is a consummate predator whether or not I appreciate her skills as a huntress. She simply exists, fulfilling the solitary role she was born into. The bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha asks, “If I do not descend into hell, who will?He probably never said it. The sentiment is likely derived from the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva Pūrvapraṇidhāna Sūtra, which mentions: “Until the hells are empty (of suffering beings), I will not become a Buddha.” [Chinese: 地狱不空,誓不成佛] There are always jobs that must be filled and those who are called on to fill them.

If there is a next life, I wouldn’t mind tunneling through the earth as an earthworm (or a Sandworm).

But others would. Hierarchies evolve as naturally in human ecosystems as they do in natural ones, albeit according to arbitrary social conventions rather than purely practical ones. Even within the relatively small “meritocracy” of financial professionals, a subset of the 7.5 million Americans directly employed in the finance and insurance sectors, everyone scrambles to acquire cultural markers to accrue prestige relative to everyone else. Some perform feats of endurance, holding assets for lengthy periods of time and through intense bouts of volatility, to earn membership into the cult of the long-term investor. This cult’s in-group members pat each other on the back for “compounding” while dismissing out-group members as “traders,” a slur intended to accuse them of short-term decision-making. The traders, for their part, are more interested in booking profits than in firing back. But even they segment themselves into their own cliques, talking up and down those with a different strategy than their own. The “momo” (momentum) traders are too reckless. The algorithmic traders are too proud. The volatility traders are too smug. And so on and so forth.

The worst of the backbiting, however, is saved for short sellers. These are traders and/or investors (I don’t make a distinction between the two) who stick their necks out to bet on the decline of companies, industries, or even nations—if they are brave or foolish enough. Just as a startup can raise money up-front by taking pre-orders for their upcoming products, whether it be video games or electric vehicles, a short seller earns money by selling borrowed assets they do not yet own. Like the startup, the short seller does eventually have to deliver the product, buying the asset back on the open market to return to their original asset lender. The profit (or loss) of the trade is the difference between the initial sale price and the final repurchase price.

In practice, the process is not so simple and involves frequent lawsuits or threats of litigation. High finance types would like to fancy themselves an unruffled bunch, but emotions always run high whenever money is involved. And since most people (professional or not) are structurally on the long side (of owning assets), the asymmetric burden of complaint is directed on the minority who are structurally on the short side (of selling assets), whether or not the latter actually do anything criminal or manipulative.

In the abstract, short selling is well-accepted as a mechanism for market regulation. Short sellers buy low and sell high, just not in that order, which tends to deflate bubbles and support prices when panic ensues and the bottom falls out. The benefits of short selling to the all-important process of “price discovery” is an empirical finding that gets tested time and time again when panicking market regulators attempt short selling bans to quell market drawdowns, which always backfires.

And no one has an issue with traders selling assets (because no one can buy anything if no one sells anything) or with using borrowed funds for dodgy trading either (see margin lending). Yet short selling feels to many, whether out of ignorance or self-interest, “icky and un-American,” to borrow an NYSE chairman’s words. Short selling is a bit like pleading the Fifth Amendment. Sure, we understand why it’s in the Constitution, but you wouldn’t really plead the Fifth if you weren’t at least a little guilty, would you?

To be sure, dabbling a little bit on the dark side is acceptable, as investment managers will often keep some short positions as a means of hedging their total investment. But there is little sympathy for the breed of traders who actively short things as their main preoccupation. The reputation of profiteering from misfortune and misery is difficult to shake.

Sometimes that turns in their favor: The ill repute and unconventional antics of short sellers lends a roguish charm to their antics. James Fisk Jr.’s scheme to short Confederate bonds right at the end of the Civil War, which involved bribery and the construction of a private telegraph line, is well worth a movie adaptation, and the hedge funds who shorted the housing market during the 2007 crash got theirs.

Given my inclination, I was naturally drawn to short sellers, which as people are some of the most interesting inhabitants of the financial jungle. Beyond understanding the mechanics of what they did, I wondered what it felt like to short something in size, going so far as to gamble a large portion of my savings myselfMy main experience was shorting Tesla through put options. The ordeal left me poorer but wiser. Thus, it is not a decision I particularly regret. . And I asked, as an anthropologist might, was there any culture—any common set of customs or beliefs—that bound this motley crew of humanity together?

Admittedly, my investigations were unscientific. They were biased towards well-known, vocal short sellers with colorful war stories rather than those who wisely kept their mouths shut. But it was after I went through this small sample that I realized what I liked and pitied about them. Born under the same unlucky star, short sellers are modern society’s vigilantes-within-the-law, and their exploits repeat a historical pattern: a similar plot, cast, and underlying setting.

King Leopold’s Ghost

The year is 1897 or 1898. Try to imagine him, briskly stepping off a cross-Channel steamer, a forceful, burly man, in his mid-twenties, with a handlebar mustache. He is confident and well spoken, but his British speech is without the polish of Eton or Oxford. He is well dressed, but the clothes are not from Bond Street. With an ailing mother and a wife and growing family to support, he is not the sort of person likely to get caught up in an idealistic cause. His ideas are thoroughly conventional. He looks—and is—every inch the sober, respectable businessman.

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold‘s Ghost (1998)

Every good short selling story starts with a flash of insight. A short seller hunts for the rosy façade that belies a vulnerable situation—sniffing out any unsustainable expectations or, at worse, fraud at an enterprise. With their nose of numbers and passion for dull corporate filings and other paperwork, they find opportunities in the form of persistent, numerical imbalances that cannot be explained in the natural course of commerce.

And sometimes, they stumble upon their discoveries by accident.

In 1891, Edmund Dene Morel was a clerk at Elder Dempster, a Liverpool shipping firm. The company was responsible for handling cargo between Europe and the Congo Free StateThe Congo Free State lay within the borders of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. , an African colony founded and privately owned by the monarch King Leopold II of Belgium under noble pretenses of philanthropy. But Morel noticed something odd about his firm’s business with King Leopold: The value of its inflows and outflows did not add up. Elder Dempster imported precious cargos of Congolese rubber and ivory while sending arms, ammunition, and soldiers abroad. Given that King Leopold dealt exclusively with Elder Dempster and did not contract any other firm to ship goods to and from his private colony, this account could not be balanced except by slave labor on a massive scale. He raised the issue within the company, which first dismissed him and then dangled a promotion in front of him to shut him up.

Morel was right. We now know that the value of the rubber, ivory, and other riches coming to Europe each year on the Elder Dempster ships was roughly five times that of goods being shipped to the Congo that were destined for Africans. In return for the rubber and ivory, Morel knew, it was not possible that the Congo’s Africans were being paid in money—which he knew they were not allowed to use—or in goods that came from elsewhere, for Elder Dempster had the cargo monopoly. Clearly, they were not being paid at all.

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold‘s Ghost (1998)

It is at this moment that a short seller must decide whether to press on with their conviction or give up on what will usually become an asymmetric confrontation.

In Morel’s case, he was a small-time businessman with little capital to his name, while his would-be adversary, King Leopold, possessed a vast fortune and an unimpeachable reputation as a philanthropist.

But he was clearly right and King Leopold wrong. So it was just a matter of convincing enough people to agree. Although Morel had never set foot in the Congo before this point, he did not shy away from his duty to stop what was happening over there. At this point, I strongly recommend Adam Hochschild’s book King Leopold’s Ghost on the unraveling of the Congo Free State, which was a far more difficult process than my few paragraphs on the events present it as.

As but a single man, Morel turned himself into the nexus of a large web of advocates and informants. Drawing on his managerial skills, he established the Congo Reform Association as a formidable coalition capable of prosecuting King Leopold in the court of public opinion. The effort grew to include business elites; famous writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Booker T. Washington, and Mark Twain; and unlikely political allies such as the socialist politician Émile Vandervelde.

The Congo Reform Association disseminated a constant stream of Congo coverage to trans-Atlantic audiences. The African photographer Hezekiah Andrew Shanu (born in what is now Lagos, Nigeria) and missionaries smuggled images and stories of atrocities from within the Congo through the hands of the Dublin-born British diplomat Roger Casement to be reported on by Morel’s media machine. They depicted the severed hands cut off from villagers as punishment for failing to meet rubber harvesting quotas; the liberal use of the chicotte, “a whip of raw, sun-dried hippopotamus hide, cut into a long sharp-edged corkscrew strip” that permanently scarred its victims; and the murderous toll the Force Publique, the security forces whom King Leopold relied on to maintain his grip. The king and his proxies continued their propaganda war against the overwhelming tide of evidence, but by 1908 the Congo Question was decisively settled. It was no longer possible for national governments to ignore the common knowledge of King Leopold’s crimes and the Belgian government ended his rule by annexing the Congo Free State.

The End

Or at least, this is where the story of the Belgian Congo usually ends.

Reports of abuses against gatherers of wild rubber in the Congo did drop off markedly after the Belgian takeover of 1908. In the following years there was far less news of villages burned or of women and children held hostage. There was no more officially sanctioned severing of hands. What lay behind the change, however, was not a kinder and gentler regime brought about by the reformers, but several other developments. One was the gradual shift from wild rubber to cultivated rubber. Another was the introduction of a new method of forcing people to work that drew much less protest from missionaries and humanitarians: taxes.

The Belgian administrators who took over from Leopold saw that they needed plantations of cultivated rubber, because if all the rubber harvested came from wild vines, Africans desperate to meet their quotas would cut them all down; vines were already becoming scarce in parts of the country.

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold‘s Ghost (1998)

The Congo Reform Association continued to preach reform in the Belgian Congo for several years after the 1908 annexation until it disbanded in 1913, but King Leopold’s system of forced labor and its hallmarks of the chicotte, hostages, starvation, paramilitaries, and arson persisted.

The world’s attention had shifted. The twin World Wars also placed great demand on all colonial resources. “More than 80 percent of the uranium in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs came from the heavily guarded Congo mine of Shinkolobwe,” Hochschild writes, while tin, gold, and copper mining, in addition to rubber cultivation, boomed at the cost of human misery. Even today, the Democratic Republic of the Congo supplies about 60% of the world’s rising demand for cobalt amid the global drive towards electrification and sustainable energy.

While the future was undeniably changed for the better as a result of the Congo reformers—the ugly truth revealed and the region’s worst abuses curtailed—I have to reckon with the extent of their accomplishment. Morel succeeded because his moral conviction happened to align with the material interests of powers greatly above him. The brutality of King Leopold’s rule and the Congo Question threatened the myth of benevolent colonial rule that Western empires needed for legitimacy. In the grand scheme of things, it was easier to punish a minor monarch than to risk tearing up the colonial system. Even so, it took the mobilization of thousands on what was a fairly unambiguous moral issue, apparent at the time, simply to hold a mirror up to those governments to shame them into cleaning up their act.

This was, in fact, his intention all along. Morel was a firmly middle-class, Edwardian-era businessman—not radical or progressive in any ideological sense—who strove to preserve his vision of a liberal imperialism that still assumed African subjects to be subordinate. I don’t bring that up to mar his legacy so much as to honor him for who he was. The world needs its hot-headed iconoclasts, but it also needs vigilantes-within-the-law—ordinary sober-minded people who try to correct the system from within. That Morel went as far as he did while remaining securely within the confines of the media and political environment he inhabited is all the more reason to appreciate him. He skillfully exploited all the levers at his disposal, essentially weaponizing the ability to be extremely annoying, in order to shape a modern, bottom-up, trans-Atlantic human rights campaign.

Vigilante-within-the-law

Well, I realized at that time that this isn’t for everyone and that that I’m genetically mutated to have the short selling gene, which is kind of a curse. I mean, I’ve had plenty of longs and I’ve done well with longs, but the short stuff has really turned into my passion.

If you wish to be an iconoclast on Wall Street, go start a tech company. Instead, short sellers act as vigilantes-within-the-law to enforce norms of market behavior. Whether they take on multi-level marketers (Herbalife), pharmaceutical frauds (MiMedxMiMedx has since then cleaned up their act following the arrest of their former CEO Parker H. Petit. ), unsustainable currency pegs (Black Wednesday), or overvalued electrical vehicle startups with blasé attitudes on workplace safety, short sellers push the edge of what is permissible within the legal constraints of the society they operate in. This can mean anything from collecting damaging information from whistleblowers, turning over files to regulators, picking fights with central bankers (not recommended!), or publishing short reports alleging malfeasance.

Morel continued his activist streak by organizing against the First World War, which led to his brief imprisonment. After the war, he criticized the Treaty of Versailles. Needless to stay, he was unable to stop either development. A good reminder to, as an activist or a short seller or both, to pick your battles wisely.

More often than not, short sellers find themselves shouting into the void. Michael James Burry, founder of Scion Capital, was notoriously early in his famous attempt to short the overvalued housing market of the 2000s. Perhaps the noise that he and other colleagues drummed up kept away a few participants from the frothy real estate derivatives market at the margins; yet the bubble still continued to grow up until its spectacular collapse in the 2007–2009 financial crisis. All the short sellers could do at that point was to perform their time-tested role of buying the dip as they covered their short positions. That’s really it. Short-sellers are not here to radically reshape the world. Just as Morel succeeded because his personal conviction happened to align with greater geopolitics, short selling is tolerated by the system because it aligns with the system’s desire to preserve liquidity in a crisis and improve market efficiency in normal times. On occasion, short sellers will hit it big by taking down frauds, such as a wave of vigilantism that spooked away the most egregious of the Chinese reverse mergers. But the tide inevitably turns back; Chinese variable interest entities (VIEs) returned to list on US exchanges after the previous lesson was swiftly unlearned.

To be a short seller is to believe that the financial system contains within itself the means to realize its own excesses—even though it consistently delivers frauds and mispricings lucrative enough to be worth shorting in the first place. And without the activist’s luxury to bet on the long arc of history, to believe that such corrections occur frequently enough to pay their bills.

So while the world is a better place for the existence of short selling, the same cannot be said for the short sellers themselves. A short position is a sword of Damocles that dangles the risk of unlimited downside at any moment during market-hours. To participate on Wall Street is to remember that making money—a delicate matter of positioning, luck, and timing—always takes precedence over being right. Every short seller has a painful story about abandoning a short position due to inauspicious circumstances, even if they still believed that their initial insight was correct. They must rely on innate instincts while also internalizing the impersonal logic of their surroundings to keep themselves from getting wiped out, and managing that cognitive dissonance takes its toll. This line of work requires deep personal conviction that often draws from a moral or quasi-moral belief in doing the right thing, while participating in a system that couldn’t care less about those convictions and personal feelings. There is no better example of the fundamental alienation between what one is and what one does.

Moreover, it is not a healthy state of mind to continuously to tilt at windmills while being blamed by belligerent management or bullish investors for literally anything bad that happens in financial markets, but it does breed an admirable honesty and humility in its practitioners. It is no surprise then that veteran short sellers either seem to have a few screws loose or adopt a self-deprecating attitude about their profession, as if short selling were a primordial curse they cannot shake off.

Creation Myth

In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.

Benjamin Graham,

But the short seller’s affliction is not unique. It is simply a more acute manifestation of an antagonism that capitalists face. Markets requires a façade of indifference, to channel the heated passions of an imperfect democracy—the market-as-voting-machine through the daily bustle of the stock exchange—into cold rationality—the market-as-weighing-machine through the long term allocation of capital towards different companies, assets, sectors, and so on. But underneath this façade is always a roiling, rich mass of emotion. This antagonism is what makes capitalists tick, what frustrates them, and what makes them feel alive. It is readily apparent in conversations with thoughtful investment managers who cannot help but to infuse life into what most would consider to be boring topics. Take the following exchange between the Edelweiss Holdings chairman Anthony “Tony” Deden and the interviewer Grant Williams for RealVision TV:

Anthony Deden: This is an old business in making barrels for wines and spirits. And the François family in France had controlled it for years. But the son was a bit more ambitious and he saw opportunities in an industry that was being consolidated, principally, on account of incompetence, particularly cooperages in Scotland.

Because it may sound a simple thing making a barrel, but it actually isn’t. It takes a lot of work, and you need to know what to do with the wood, the components. You need to teach people how to do it. It’s really difficult. But they’re very traditional. For example, this company relied mostly for most of its life on demand for barrels in the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions in France.

And in fact, they have, I think, all the market there for that. But they’ve grown. Now, they have operations in Australia, in California, in Scotland, in South Africa. Chile, I think. I’m not on top of all those details. But the point is that they have grown to be, really, the largest company of its kind in the world, even though there are only, I don’t know, $250 million in size. And this is in a business that people will consider boring. I mean, there’s nothing sexy or exciting about making barrels. But I tell you, they will be making the same barrels 50 years from now, and they will be the very best at it. And they will be 3, 4, or 5 times the size they are today.

Grant Williams: But that’s durability. That’s endurance that you talk about. Finding these businesses that people think are boring because they don’t leverage up the balance sheet, they don’t chase growth, they don’t do all these things.

When I first heard this story a few years ago, it gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, The company in question is the François Frères Cooperage (established 1910). despite not caring much about barrels, supply chains, or fine wines for that matter. A tender appreciation like standing in the shade of an olive tree planted by my great-grandparents.

Long, long ago on a sunny hill in Northern Phoenicia.

While such emotions are no doubt natural and common, we denote individuals who experience them especially keenly as value investors. They suffer the short seller’s same affliction, but on the long side, and their logos, ethos, and pathos are easily summarized in a single book.

Many shall be restored that now are fallen and many shall fall that now are in honor 

Horace, Ars Poetica

The above quote is the epigraph to the first edition of Security Analysis (1934) by Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd: the first attempt at systematizing the dry “scientific” (or really statistical) approach to investing while still preserving a dynamic sense of art and meaning among its pages. It is the founding document of value investing as a distinct profession.

I cannot help but note the commonality between terms such as intrinsic value and the buzzwords used by technocratic politicians to frame the righteousness of their agenda while still maintaining the pretense of being objective and rational.

The value investors I’ve followed on social media are generally fond of scenes from The Godfather, and I see a certain family resemblance to be made. Organized crime first appears as a ruthless, trustless enterprise with perpetual rounds of assassination and betrayal. Yet it is within this turmoil that a code of honor and loyalty appears that makes no sense to anyone outside this circle of criminality (or Mafia film enthusiast).

There is a tension in the language that value investors use, in key concepts such as fundamentals and intrinsic value, which practitioners realize to be ultimately subjective assignments (often achieved through communal consensus) that supposedly result from an objective process.

When Tony and Grant were talking about the cooperage business, that they weren’t really talking about barrels. They were speaking to a deeply ingrained, human instinct that there are things in this world that are worth protecting in our everyday life. These instincts form our values and give rise to a vindictive belief that those who violate our values will receive their comeuppance in due time. Whether or not they are aware of it, the drive of a value investor is to restore the fallen, while the drive of a short seller is to find those who are now in honor but will not remain so. The value investors tends their garden, as the short seller goes the extra mile to look for blood.

But what makes value investing viable as an investing strategy has nothing to do with values at all. As a strategy, value investing is not right or wrong. It is simply a choice or style of investing among a universe of options (trend-following, momentum, etc.) that generates a unique return profile based on the tendency of valuations to converge on some fair price based on a measure of an asset’s fundamentals. Cheap assets tend to get more expensive and expensive assets tend to get cheaper. This doesn’t always happen and plenty of exceptions exist, but it works often enough to be worthwhile.

Excel Incel

There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Danger exists when an investor attempts to forcefully resolve the antagonism between values and valuation instead of accepting it. The attempt always ends in tears and produces a broken person, the bearish always wrong or BAW. The term BAW was coined by Twitter user Recurring Resemblance @inner_scorecard.

The BAW is not simply a bad investor who consistently loses money by shorting assets that only go up and staying in cash when stocks rise. Everyone gets things wrong and has trouble admitting their mistakes. The BAW is also not the YOLO r/WallStreetBets trader who gets a kick out of posting screenshots of steep losses, “loss porn,” on that particular subreddit.

What differentiates the BAW, is how they go one step further to rationalize their losses as being authentic to their true self. There is always some sinister force manipulating markets—the Federal Reserve, etc.—that cheat them out of their deserved return. But eventually, eventually, their patience will pay off. The BAW adopts the rhetoric of “value,” opining on the eternal virtue of “real” over “fake” growth, while dressing their self-pity in the trappings of security analysis and useless Excel spreadsheets. They have read somewhere in a textbook that value investing as a factor is a form of mean reversion strategy, but they have not quite grasped what that means.

As a result, the BAW is lonely (save for BAW friends who are always happy to commiserate) and deeply resentful, seeing the participants in the market around him as too stupid, venal, or shameless to appreciate his authenticity. The BAW develops an overwhelming sense of entitlement, which only increases as the losses mount.

In psychoanalytical terms, the BAW is a classic example of overidentification, which the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek defines as the practice of “taking the system more seriously than it takes itself seriously.” The BAW overidentifies so strongly with their role in price discovery that they consider it beneath them to just try to make money in an easier way through “dumber” methods such as passive investing.

The BAW is worse than just a loser. The BAW is the financial version of an incel.

Some disclaimers before I am accused of condoning some fairly reprehensible behavior:

Given the absolutely awful nature of their misogynistic rhetoric and the occasional incident of domestic terrorism, incels (short for the involuntarily celibate) are not a group easily defended. But I’ve always felt a measure of empathy because there is often some real pain behind that self-identification.

Incels, at the very least, are a highly self-aware group. No one really wants to identify as an incel. Like a puddle of oil sitting atop a watery surface, they cohere together into a category not so much out of mutual attraction, but because the attraction of the polar water molecules with each other are so much stronger and cast the oil out of their midst.

And as alien and twisted as their ideology might be, they do have at least one point right.

It is not particularly controversial to say that dating can be a humiliating and dehumanizing experience, especially if you lack confidence or don’t have an ideal set of attributes. There are awful, superficial people out there (that we may secretly envy) who take advantage of the fact that other people are attracted to them. As much as we would like to admit otherwise, people do discriminate against each other based on looks both inside and outside the context of dating. Everyone should be able to find a meaningful, intimate relationship—no one deserves to be alone—and being bad at dating, too old, or not thin enough should not deny one that aspect of life. Yet in practice, that ends up being the case.

The Stacy/Becky/Chad paradigm is a somewhat more refined taxonomy of the stereotypical masculine and feminine tropes that float around in media.

But what separates the involuntarily celibate from the merely unhappily single is how one reacts to those facts of life. The incel becomes bitter, seeing the dating market solely in terms of self-constructed abstractions: Stacy’s, Becky’s, and Chad’s. These are literally caricatured (i.e., memed) archetypes of men and women who cynically exploit the dating game to their own narcissistic objectives. In such a world, it is honorable to withdraw rather than try to participate in the corruption.

Most people realize that there isn’t really a conspiracy of Stacy’s, Becky’s, and Chad’s out to get them. There are real people on the other side, some of whom are also struggling with the same pain of trying to present their best foot forward and falling in the process. Sure, the process can be unfair. The deregulation of free markets will necessarily generate a disaffected class of failed suitors, but that is the price of freedom, and it is up to each of us to make the best we can of the situation. Everywhere there are real people with honest intentions who are just trying to find a person to spend their life with.

At the end of it all, what is the incel really holding out for? Beneath all the crass talk about sex and hatred, it’s quite obvious that they genuinely want a meaningful, wholesome relationship, and it is their defense of that idea, which is so in conflict with their direct experience of dating, or their abstracted perception of dating, which transforms from something respectable into a self-absorbed defense of their own ego and self-righteousness.

Similarly, if BAWs can learn something from incels, it is to realize that they are all suffering from the same delusion.

Dear all the BAWs out there,

Don’t delude yourself. Your railing about the Fed and shielding old pensioners from moral hazard isn’t really about defending the proper functioning markets—it’s about protecting your own sense of overidentification, based on absorbing the rhetoric of value but not grasping its core premise. The idea that sending out a lone bearish SPY put spread into the void as an act of rebellion is somehow, in the far future, going to protect some grandma’s 401(k) down the line is absolutely ludicrous.

It’s okay to feel this way sometimes, but you are supposed to outgrow this stage of development once you start running actual money for a while.

Markets, dating or financial, are real. They are concrete entities that allocate resources among different parties in order to have real impacts on people’s lives. It is dangerous to wade too far into the abstraction of markets and misunderstand their nature as flawed aggregates of human behavior, most of which is just people trying to do their best.

BAWs are made, not born.

And what can be made can be unmade.

You can do this, buddy.

Merry Christmas

p.s. If you happen to know a recovering value investor or BAW in denial, please send this to them so they can seek proper help.

               

The Little Short - December 27, 2021 - Andrew Yang 2024