Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What's Good For the Goose is Good For the Goldstein $SPE

I've mentioned the Special Opportunity Fund in the past. Just noticing that the share price is $14.27 and last Friday's published net asset value was $16.64.

So, it's trading at a 14.3% discount to NAV. It's pretty funny that the closed end fund activists have a closed end fund with a discount as big as some of the discounts they are agitating against.

SPE may be interesting right now because it's trading at a wide discount to NAV, and the closed end funds that it owns are probably also trading at wider discounts right now. So the double discount ordinarily there should now be wider.


Anonymous said...

One thought I have from time to time is that our new aristocracy (rule by “the best”) is reverting to the form of all European aristocracies before modern times, which is to say, they are indifferent to the happiness to the common people over whom they rule, whom they regard as little more than a species of domestic animal.

Like all aristocracies our new meritocracy of the best and the brightest is bound by a “code” of honor and solidarity which unites them against the lower orders. Today that code is enshrined in the ever-expanding canon of political correctness, which, when all is said and done, boils down to caring more about the good opinion of one’s peers and colleagues than the well-being of the general population (don’t even speak of “fellow countrymen”). Who cares if they fight and can’t get along? Just makes ruling them easier, ignorant barbarians and racists that they evidently are.

We know that for countless generations this kind of callous indifference was normative among the ruling class. And though it grates on our democratic sensibilities, on what basis can we imagine that the psychological capacity for such indifference has magically disappeared?

Anonymous said...

It's a measure of the degraded state of political science in Obama's America™ that nobody on either side of the aisle or in the commentariat seems to have bothered reading Pareto or Mosca and trying to apply their insights to what the success of the Trumpenkrieg to date really represents.

Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca were the last (so far) and greatest of those thinkers in the Machiavellian School of political science. They looked at politics not as a tactical struggle between warring classes or ideologies, but as an evolved system of power.

I've posted here before my belief that there will not be a civil war in the USA until competing factions among the ruling elites arm themselves against one another to vie for dominance. That belief comes straight from Mosca and his observations in "The Ruling Class."

For most of the last hundred years, the elite factions in US society have been highly aligned in their interests and goals. They all wanted more or less the same things though they may have differed hugely on the details. That made them powerful and safe in that power.

Three things happened toward the end of the 20th century that eroded their consensus. First, they became so successfully entrenched in their power and ossified in their thinking that they became detached from reality and veered wildly away from the interests of the people and the nation. Second, having neutralized all the major external threats to their rule, they turned their competition inward, among themselves. And third, technological and social change substantially weakened the power bases on which many of them are dependent for position.

The net result has been a fracturing of the ruling class into its component interest blocs, who no longer share interests and are competing for power in a changed environment. The stable equilibrium of Post-War America is gone, and the race is on to see who will win and who will lose.

Trump's candidacy is symptomatic of much deeper divisions among the elite and the failure of the regnant order. Whether he wins or not, the fact is that he has exposed many weaknesses and divisions among the elites. And his popularity shows that America stands poised on brink of a radical re-ordering.

High Plateau Drifter said...

The wealthy of past generations had more social contact with working class Americans, and could empathize and sympathize with them. And because intelligence was randomly distributed within the population, the wealthy could find many within the laboring classes that they could regard as friends. Horatio Alger's "Struggling Upward" is a classic of this mind set. Growing up as a tough kid from the wrong side of the tracks I had a very unusual number of friends and mentors among wealthy adult parents of kids my age.

It was the standardized test - for the local "gifted" magnet school and the later SAT - which propelled me on my way to a career in and among the corner offices in the glass towers and in neighborhoods in which neither I nor my children encountered working class people on a social level - in my case because I simply did not have the time.

We are gradually learning that there are indeed dangers in the current system of stratification by IQ, as the top 1% have no idea how the bottom 80% think or feel about things. In many ways American society has become a much more rigid and thus dangerous aristocracy that that of landed England in the 17th century. Back then deviation back toward the population mean meant that children of aristocratic parents were forced by practical necessity much of the time to cull the brightest peasants from their estates to be stewards, governesses and foremen in order to keep their holdings.

But now that everyone takes the standardized test, and its consequent social isolation in university admissions and subsequent careers, mate selection is powerfully driven by equality of IQ, and thus deviation toward the population average is far less powerful.