Financial historian Paul Schmelzing takes on many of the assumptions of 20th century financial economics–about risk-free rates, real rates, risk premia–and suggests that they fail the “out of sample” test. How has he done that? By meticulously creating an 800 year data set that indicates more than six centuries of declining returns. In the process, he takes on Thomas Piketty’s claim that returns on financial assets have consistently exceeded broader economic growth, leading to ever greater economic inequality. Not so says Schmelzing. If you are thinking about asset allocation for the next decade or so when rates are supposed to return to “normal,” you will want to listen in.