The Endgame

The Endgame by John Mauldin
Mauldin Economics, January 17, 2009



  • • Employment Numbers Are Worse Than Posted
  • • Aye, Captain, I’m Giving Her All I’ve Got!
  • • Problem #1: Deflation
  • • Problem #2: Pushing on a String
  • • The Muddle Through Middle
  • • Conversations With John

Deflation? Stimulus? Deleveraging? Recession? A soft depression? A return to a bull market? With all that is going on, how does it all end up? When we get to where we are going, where will we be? In chess, the endgame refers to the stage of the game when there are few pieces left on the board. The line between middlegame and endgame is often not clear, and may occur gradually or with the quick exchange of a few pairs of pieces. The endgame, however, tends to have different characteristics from the middlegame, and the players have correspondingly different strategic concerns. And in the current economic endgame, your strategy needs to consist of more than hope for a renewed bull market.

Rather than looking at just one year, in this week’s letter we take the really long view and ask what the end result or endgame will look like. There are three possible scenarios (and multiple combinations) that I can think of, we will explore each. Any of them could happen, so we will need to look at some signposts to get an idea of what is actually going to occur. I can make the following prediction that will be absolutely correct: Whatever scenario I lay out here, events and time will change what actually happens. But this will give you an insight into my longer-term biases, and that should be useful. As I tell my kids, put on your thinking caps.

There are a few housekeeping topics I need to cover, but I will do it at the end of the letter. I just did two interviews with Aaron Task and Henry Blodget at Yahoo Tech Ticker, and will provide the links. I also want to talk about the upcoming Strategic Investment Conference, April 2-4 in La Jolla, which is going to sell out. And make sure you get around to subscribing to my new information service, called Conversations with John Mauldin. I will be posting the first conversation very soon, and you don’t want to miss it! So, stay with me and let’s jump right into this week’s letter.


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