Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rodriguez: Caution, Danger Ahead

Robert Rodriguez, of First Pacific Advisors in Los Angeles, is one of those guys with a talent for spotting downside possibilities early. He has released a recent talk, titled "Caution: Danger Ahead." In a nutshell he is saying that the recent relatively good times we are having, as we emerge from the funk of 2008 and 2009, represent remission rather than cure of financial disease.

I pass this along not exactly to endorse the viewpoint, because I think there is more than one possible outcome here. What I like is that Rodriguez is worrying intelligently.

Let me put this another way: if policymakers were as worried as Rodriguez is, then the sovereign debt problems he is concerned about, and he includes the U.S. in his sovereign worries, would not come to fruition. But they are not, so there is a chance they will.

One of several reasons I take Rodriguez seriously is a prescient speech, titled "Absence of Fear," that he gave before the CFA Society of Chicago in June, 2007. The section titled "Securitization Contamination" is impressive.

I love guys like this. From what I read of him, he has a personality like that of Richard Feynman, the physicist. Frank in the extreme, and more comfortable than most in calling things as he sees them, regardless of how little company he may have in doing so. That type of personality is valuable to society, and all too rare.