Insights & tips from the ever-controversial 'crisis investor'...
DOUG CASEY was asked to leave the stage, writes Doug Casey's executive editor, Dan Steinhart.
If you've never heard Doug speak, you should. His controversial opinions always rile up the room. This time was no different.
The founder of Casey Research opened our ninth annual Casey Research Summit last weekend in Tucson, Arizona, with a lively talk about "the perversion of words."
Longtime Casey readers know that Doug insists on precisely defining words. "If you can't define a word," Doug says, "then you actually don't know what you're talking about. Imprecise language leads to sloppy thinking."
That's why Doug was fired up to talk about the perversion of language in the United States.
Doug said politicians have tried to change the definition of certain words. They "use these words to control the conversation...and all the monkeys follow along," Doug said.
"Take the word 'stimulate,' as in 'stimulate the economy,'" he said. "Where did that term come from? It really just means 'print up money'. But calling it what it is sounds bad. Politicians don't want to say 'print money'. So they use terms like 'stimulate' and 'quantitative easing' instead."
Doug also criticized the way politicians talk about healthcare. "Healthcare is something you do for yourself. It's diet, it's exercise, it's prudent habits. That's what gives you health. Your insurance policy, whether Obamacare or something else, can't maintain your health," he said.
"The political classes say 'healthcare' because everyone wants to be healthy. But what they're really talking about is medical care. Of course, they don't use the term 'medical care' because it sounds scary. You think of anesthesia and doctors cutting into you. This is why it's so easy to sell health insurance to the average chimpanzee. Everybody wants to insure their health."
And Doug debunked the value of diversity. If you've paid any attention to politics in the last couple of years, you know that diversity is a hot topic. According to many politicians (especially Democrats), it's extremely important for every race and gender to be equally represented in all areas of life.
Doug has a different view.
"Why do we need diversity? I don't see why every room has to have a few blacks, a few Hispanics, and be half-filled with women. Birds of a feather usually flock together. It's perfectly natural to have more of one race or gender in a given situation," he said.
"I form my friendships not based upon diversity or the lack of diversity. I form my friendships on the basis of peoples' character. The fact that diversity is a priority today...it emphasizes the entirely wrong thing."
Doug even explained why most people misuse the word "factoid".
"People use the word 'factoid' interchangeably with 'fact,'" Doug said. "Most people think factoid means a small or insignificant fact. But do you know what factoid actually means? An asteroid is something that looks like a star, but isn't. An android is something that looks like a person, but isn't. A factoid is something that looks like a fact, but isn't. It's a phony, made-up fact. That's what the suffix '-oid' means."
Doug also took issue with terms like the "Department of Defense", the modern definition of "inflation", and many other words with warped meanings.
Doug was so fired up that his talk went 20 minutes long. Ultimately, the conference planners had to ask him to wrap it up. The audience, however, enjoyed it quite a bit. They even gave him a roaring round of applause as he left the stage.
Later in the day, Doug told Summit attendees what he's buying and selling right now...
During a panel called Economic Crisis: How to Survive and Thrive, Doug said that gold and most other commodities have likely turned up.
He also said that "there are some real opportunities at this moment" in commodities.
Regular readers know that most commodities are extremely cheap right now. The Bloomberg Commodity Index, which measures 22 different commodities, is at its lowest level since 1999.
Doug told the crowd that he's made bullish bets on coffee and sugar. Coffee is down 42% in the last year. Sugar is down 16% in the last year...and that's after a 33% rally since September 1.
Marc Faber, known as Dr. Doom for his bearish (and often accurate) forecasts, was another popular speaker.
Faber's main point was that the US and Europe are in decline. He predicted that a generation of young people in the Western world will earn less money in real (inflation-adjusted) terms than their parents did. And that they'll ultimately die poorer than their parents.
Faber put a lot of the blame on central banks' easy money policies. He said, "Interest rates have never been this low for this long in all of human history. I can't imagine this will end well."
Regular readers know that the Federal Reserve cut rates to effectively zero in 2008 to fight the financial crisis. And it's held rates there ever since. We've explained how zero% interest rates have goosed the prices of stocks, bonds, and real estate...and created an "Alice in Wonderland" economy where everything is expensive.
Faber pointed out another negative consequence of rock-bottom interest rates:
Governments have been able to expand and expand at no additional cost. Since 1985, government debt has gone up more than four times. However, the US government's net interest rate payments haven't risen at all.
Faber called asset prices "grossly inflated". And he predicted that the Fed will launch another round of money printing if the S&P 500 drops 20% from its peak.
Doug Casey and Marc Faber teamed up for a Q&A session. During the session, Faber said that precious metals and precious metals stocks are his favorite investments today because "they're the best bargains right now."
However, he also said he wouldn't be surprised to see a final "washout" event in commodities that marks the bottom. Faber even speculated that Swiss mining giant Glencore, a company we've written about a lot, could go bust.
We can't possibly cover all the great speakers at the 2015 Casey Summit here – James Altucher, Gerald Celente, and Richard Maybury also gave excellent talks.
During one panel, several gurus answered the question "If you could only buy one single stock today, what would it be?" This was just one of many times throughout the Summit that attendees got to hear about actionable investment recommendations.
If you missed the Casey Summit, don't worry...we recorded the whole thing. Attendees paid as much as $1,695 to go to the Summit. But, for just a fraction of that, you can listen in on the entire three-day event. Click here to learn more about ordering the Casey Summit Audio Collection.