Can You Beat the Market?

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

“FreedomFest is where the best ideas and strategies are fleshed out. I attend all three days.”
— Steve Forbes

I just returned from my big show in Las Vegas, FreedomFest, “the world’s largest gathering of free minds,” and we had a record turnout of 2,500 attendees. Top speakers included Steve Forbes, Art Laffer, Jim Rogers… and John Stossel taped his Fox Business show there, which will AIR TONIGHT at 9 p.m. Eastern on Fox Business (check your local cable network). The theme is “Are We Rome?”

Included in FreedomFest is a series of seminars, debates and panels on “financial freedom.” We had a panel on “Austrian Economics for Investors,” with top money managers and investment writers who use Austrian economics to make investment decisions. The panelists were Adrian Day (Asset Management), Harry Veryser (University of Detroit-Mercy), Ty Andros (Traderview), Steven Mauzy (SP Mauzy & Associates) and Chris Casey (Windrock Wealth Management). Not surprisingly, most of the panelists were bullish on commodities (such as gold and coal) after the sell-off.

I talked a bit about my new book, “A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street,” the first book to apply Austrian economics to the investment world. For more information about the book, click here. You can buy it from my publisher, Eagle Publishing, for $19 plus $5 for shipping and handling by calling them at 1-800/211-7661. Mention code WALTZ.

One of the debates at FreedomFest was “Can You Beat the Market?” pitting academic economist Garrett Jones (George Mason University) against investment writer Alex Green (Oxford Club). The debate was moderated by Joel Stern, professor of finance at Columbia University and five other institutions. Professor Jones made an argument, similar to that of Burt Malkiel in his book “A Random Walk Down Wall Street,” that competition is so fierce on Wall Street that it is virtually impossible to beat the market over any lengthy period of time. All stocks are efficiently priced because they reflect all material information all the time.

Green asked the audience if they believe Internet stocks were “perfectly priced” in 1999 and the companies in the Dow were “perfectly priced” when it crashed to 6,500 four and a half years ago. He told the audience, “If you believe that, you accept Garrett’s efficient market hypothesis. If you reject it, you agree with me.” Green told me he could see lots of heads nodding in the audience, and George Gilder came up and congratulated him afterwards.

He wrote me afterwards, “Most irritating of all, when efficient market theorists are confronted with hard evidence that you have beaten the market substantially and for a sustained period of time, their explanation is that you’re not skilled… just lucky. I told the audience that if that were true, Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch and John Templeton might just as easily be housewives in Duluth instead of super-smart business evaluators.”

I recommend you buy the CD of the debate and any of the other 150 sessions at this year’s FreedomFest. You can obtain an entire list of sessions, debates and panels by going to or by calling Harold Skousen at 1-866/254-2057.

“You Blew It!” Police are Watching You All the Time

“The right to be left alone — the most comprehensive of rights — is the right most valued by a free people.”
— Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

We are losing our most cherished right to be left alone, slowly but surely, by a government hungry to keep tabs on its citizens. The federal, state and local authorities are watching our bank accounts, our emails, our telephone records and now our driving habits.

Yesterday, a study by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported that a rapidly growing network of police cameras is capturing, storing and sharing data on license plates, making it possible to stitch together people’s movements whether they are stuck in a commute, making tracks to the beach or up to no good.

For the first time, the number of license tag captures has reached the millions, according to a study published Wednesday by the ACLU based on information from hundreds of law enforcement agencies. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely, saying they can be crucial in tracking suspicious cars, aiding drug busts, finding abducted children and more.

While the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that a judge’s approval is needed to use GPS to track a car, networks of plate scanners allow police effectively to track a driver’s location, sometimes several times every day, with few legal restrictions. The ACLU says the scanners are assembling a “single, high-resolution image of our lives.”

“There’s just a fundamental question of whether we’re going to live in a society where these dragnet surveillance systems become routine,” said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the organization. The group is proposing that police departments immediately delete any records of cars not linked to any crime.

Good luck with that.

Next year’s FreedomFest theme is going to be “Is Big Brother Here?” Watch the 2 ½-minute video preview:

To read my e-letter from last week, please click here. I also invite you to comment about my column in the space provided below.

P.S. If you want to keep up to date on FreedomFest speakers, panels and debates for next year, plus our other conferences (Global Financial Summit in the Bahamas and our Asian cruise in April), sign up for our free e-letter at

Upcoming Appearance

San Francisco Money Show, Aug. 15-17, San Francisco Marriott Marquis: Join me and all the other Eagle editors (Doug Fabian, Nicholas Vardy and Chris Versace), plus William O’Neil (founder of Investor’s Business Daily), Frank Trotter (Everbank), Matt Schifrin (Forbes), John Bollinger, Chuck Butler and many others. There is no charge for this conference, but you do need to register. Call 1-800-970-4355, and mention code #031733.

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Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

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