We’re macro datasmiths, committed to empirical rigour, rare and innovative analytical insight, and building proprietary, predictive analytics. But macro data is subordinate to a coherent, realistic framework of the macro world. Our empiricism is grounded first in logical reason and causal-realism.
While we draw extensively on macroeconomic and market data in our analysis, data is not master but servant, to be used judiciously. As we like to say, data never “speaks for itself”, it is always spoken for.
Moreover, economic data does not demonstrate universal absolutes but captures patterns of subjective, fluid, purposeful human action. One cannot use economic data as though one were a physicist, which characterises the misguided scientism of mainstream mathematical economists.
Our empirical work uses data in a sound theoretical framework to build a coherent view of reality and better inform decisions about an uncertain future, not to spit out precise, contextless econometric forecasts. To us, being staunchly empirical means harnessing the power of data by recognising its limitations and imperfections, and using data analysis to form logical, consequential vistas of reality.
We reject the core tenets of Keynesianism and the modern Neoclassical stream, espousing instead the causal-realist tradition of the Classical Liberal and Austrian Schools and maintaining an open mind to new logically sound and realistic ideas. When the foundations of orthodoxy are faulty, heresy becomes a necessity.
The logical realism of human action as seen in the ‘Classical-Austrian’ tradition stands in stark contrast to the synthetic and impossible constructs that make up the patchwork of ideas of the “neoclassical consensus” which aim to reduce complex humanity to mathematical roboticness.
These foundational differences result in very different conclusions about the nature of market demand itself, the causes and cures of recessions, the nature of capital and interest, the efficacy (or lack thereof) of fiscal and monetary policy, the price system, inflation, economic growth, and much else. But if one could crystallise what sets the Classical-Austrian school apart in macro analysis, it would be this: ‘Say’s Law of Markets’ is valid and recessions are not caused by a deficiency of demand but by errors in production.
Someone once said, “it’s contrarian to cross the road blindfolded, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.” Contrarians don’t have to think. Heretics, by contrast, seek to revive truth where it has been buried and use it to challenge so-called established validity. Our contrarian positions don’t arise from wanting to be different, but from building on repaired foundations. This imbues in our analysis an uncommon yet coherent perspective of reality.
We aim to craft macro analysis into meaningful narratives of reality from which clients can take real, purposeful action. We want to inculcate in our clients clearer, better macro thinking, improve their investment process, and shrink their blind spots. But our mission is also larger. We want to help expunge rotten economic ideas from public policy so that the global order is safer, just, and more prosperous for everyone.
Heretical ideas and uncommon analytical conclusions need to be motivated clearly and credibly to become actionable client strategies. We place tremendous care in the written and verbal communication of our views. Yet clarity need not sacrifice analytical heart and soul. We strive to make our material and presentations engaging and inspiring. Our old adage is: boring to write, boring to read. We follow the analytical trail that inspires us, gets our creative intellectual juices flowing, and will show our clients something new or rare that they can use to make real decisions.
Beyond our commercial services, we want to be consequential in society and the world by lending intellectual weight in the battle of economic ideas to the cause of free markets, justice, and peace. Mainstream economics has thrust the globe into a perilous and unstable period characterised by financial system fragility, economic stagnation, and political discontent. The antidote to this malaise is revivifying economic orthodoxy with sound Classical-Austrian ideas and ridding politicians of the power and pseudo-intellectual cover to play wreckless puppeteer with millions of autonomous individuals. To this end, we advocate publicly for extensive constraints on state size and power and promote radically free and just markets, private property, equality before the law, and the separation of currency and state.
Director. Economist and macro advisor, managing director of ETM Capital, and co-founder of the ETM Group.
Director & Business Development. Managing director and co-founder of the ETM Group.
ETM Macro Advisors (Pty) Ltd is based in Cape Town, South Africa.
The ETM Group (Pty) Ltd is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with offices in Cape Town and New York. ETM Group companies are ETM Analytics, ETM Capital, and ETM Macro Advisors.
“It is not by augmenting the capital of the country, but by rendering a greater part of that capital active and productive than would otherwise be so, that the most judicious operations of banking can increase the industry of the country.”
“Men err in their productions, there is no deﬁciency of demand.”
“Whoever wants peace among nations must seek to limit the state and its influence most strictly.”
Ludwig von Mises
“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments.”
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