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The Age of Deleveraging, Updated Edition


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Foreword viii Acknowledgments xii Introduction xiv Delveraging, especially of the global financial and U.S. consumer sectors, will dominate the worldwide economy for years. It's centered on five traumas so far. Three more possibilities loom. Chapter 1 Spotting Bubbles 1 Economic and financial bubbles are time-honored and part of immutable human nature. I love to be among the few to spot them and predict their demise. They follow a welldefined pattern as they expand and burst. Chapter 2 Making Great Calls 29 They involve important events that the consensus doesn't foresee and unfold for the stated reasons. Here are five I've made: the 1969-1970 recession, the early 1970s inventory bubble and 1973-1975 recession, disinflation starting in the early 1980s, the demise of Japan's 1980s bubble, and the dot-com blow-off in 2000. Chapter 3 The Housing Bubble (Great Call 6) 53 Why I saw it coming in the early 2000s, how I forecast its demise and the way I personally profited. Chapter 4 The Financial Bubble (Great Call 7) 95 The great disconnect between the financial and real worlds started three decades ago and accelerated in the 2000s. Soaring financial leverage, especially in the global financial and U.S. consumer sectors, made collapse inevitable. Chapter 5 The Results of Denial 123 The 2007-2009 recession and financial crisis started in early 2007 with the subprime mortgage collapse, spread to Wall Street at mid-year, then moved to U.S. consumer retrenchment and global recession in late 2008. Investors thought every crisis was the last, and governments had no foresight or master plans. Chapter 6 Slow Growth Ahead 159 Global slow growth in the next decade will result from U.S. consumer retrenchment, financial deleveraging, increased government regulation and involvement in major economies, low commodity prices and the shift by advanced lands to fiscal restraint. Chapter 7 No Help from Anywhere 225 Four more reasons for slow global growth: Rising protectionism, continuing U.S. housing weakness, deflation and weak state and local government spending. Chapter 8 Chronic Worldwide Deflation 273 Deflation comes in seven varieties, but is fundamentally driven by supply exceeding demand. Productivitysaturated new tech and globalization will drive the good deflation of excess supply while slow economic growth introduces the bad deflation of deficient demand. As the two combine, I look for chronic price declines of 2 to 3 percent annually. Chapter 9 Monetary and Fiscal Excesses 311 The inflation-wary Fed will probably withdraw excess reserves if inflation looms. Federal deficits over $1 trillion will persist as weak economic growth forces government job creation and helps push those dependent on government to two-thirds of the population. Still, government stimuli will continue to only replace private sector weakness at best. Chapter 10 The Outlook for Stocks 339 Corporate earnings grow with GDP in the long run. With slow growth and deflation in prospect as well as falling P/Es, stock appreciation will be muted and below dividend yields. History favors market timing over buy and hold, even more so in this environment. Chapter 11 Twelve Investments to Sell or Avoid 363 Big-ticket consumer purchases, consumer lenders, conventional home builders, collectibles, banks, junk securities, flailing companies, low tech equipment producers, commercial real estate, commodities, Chinese and other developing country stock and bonds, and Japanese securities. Chapter 12 Ten Investments to Buy 425 Treasury bonds, dividend-payers, consumer staples, small luxuries, the dollar, asset managers and advisers, factorybuilt houses and rental apartments, health care companies, productivity-enhancers and North American energy. About the Author 493 Index 499

About the Author

A. Gary Shilling is President of A. Gary Shilling & Co., an economic consulting firm and a registered investment advisor. He has been a columnist for Forbes magazine since 1983, frequently appears on business news programs, and is quoted regularly in the print media. Shilling has been warning about the long-term threat of deflation for several years and has even created a board game, aptly titled The Deflation Game. He received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College and earned his master's degree and PhD in economics at Stanford University. Before establishing his own firm in 1978, Shilling was senior vice president and chief economist of White, Weld & Co., Inc. Earlier, he set up the Economics Department at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and served as the firm's first chief economist.

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