Some highlights from this weekend’s Barron’s cover interview with business historian Niall Ferguson:
- The current period is similar to the pre-war period of 1880-1914, with “steady economic growth, low inflation,
growing world trade, benign and liquid capital markets and a widespread
belief in the ability of Great Britain, the world’s reigning military
power, to keep world peace.” That period ended with World War I
- He quasi-advocates a Rothschild’s portfolio of a third in securities, a third in real estate, and a third in art. He also likes commodities, with the exception of gold
- He highlights the disconnect between the front page and the business page, with the former making it sound like the world is nigh, and the latter being more bullish than ever. Which one is right?
- Critics carp about the usual problem, that there are lots of worries, but no timings — and you can lose a lot of money going bearish early and wrongly
- Morgan Stanley investors at a recent private event groused that Ferguson is so depressingly bearish that they should maybe screen Mary Poppins or something else uplifting in future meetings.
- He likes to highlight that bond investors didn’t seemingly see World War I coming, something I have also mentioned here