Looking Back at 2014

2014 was quite an eventful year for global markets: Janet Yellen became the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve; we were on the brink of war in Crimea, and Germany won its fourth world cup title. Many countries around the world held elections, the Scotts and the Swiss had referendums and both of them decided to maintain the status quo, whether it was against Scottish independence or the Gold initiative.

I wouldn’t describe this year as a tough one for gold, considering that it is ending the year close to where it left off end-2013. While some may perceive this negatively and against the rationale for holding physical gold, I find it more relevant than ever, like I said last year. The main reason why gold did not move against the tide this year is, in my opinion, because appearances have a stronger influence on the minds of the people than the facts presented by reality.

 

libertyImage credit: Glenna Goodacre

 

The global debt situation is much worse than a few years ago and real economic growth is near zero. Income inequality is rising faster than ever before. The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet expanded from about USD 890 billion to more than USD 4.5 trillion since end-2007 and the only outcome so far has been an artificial spike in different asset classes and an expansion of the welfare-warfare state. The fact is that a fiat-money system always results in massive centralization, in terms of the economic landscape, “wealth-accumulation” and an ever-expanding state apparatus. The accumulation of debt is part and parcel of this mechanism. No necessary reforms or structural changes have taken place, which would allow a more positive outlook for 2015.

 

Fed AssetsThe vast expansion in the Fed’s balance sheet – click to enlarge.

 

More and more people feel that something is going completely wrong because they understand that it is not possible to fight over-indebtedness by piling up even more and more debt. The majority of the public, I believe, understands they need to sacrifice the present for the future. However, they suppress their conclusion. Most of them want to believe in a miracle and live in the hope that only others will be affected by the negative consequences of today’s system, which my friend Prof. Dr. Thorsten Polleit calls a system of “collective corruption”.

Men refuse to think about the rational outcome of our unsustainable system and prefer to believe in the lie they have been told a hundred times rather than a new truth which is based on the facts. However, we can’t hide from the future or as Herbert Stein used to say: “if something cannot go on forever, it will stop”. The Soviet Union did not collapse because ist citizens finally changed their minds and opposed communism; the USSR collapsed because it could no longer be funded.

The only achievement since the global financial crisis is that central banks purchased time financed by “money” that we simply don’t have. According to the Bank of International Settlements, total non-financial debt in advanced economies rose by 37 percentage points to 279% of GDP since the global financial crisis! Even emerging markets, which managed to somehow resist the pileup of debt in the past, have now reached a debt level of 157% of GDP. Instead of cutting the cord and putting an end to this dependence on additional credit, the western economies seek to solve their problems by printing more money and accumulating more debt! Mario Draghi believes that the way out is for the ECB to buy corporate bonds and asset-backed securities amongst other assets, dreaming of increasing the ECB balance sheet by EUR 1 trillion to reach around EUR 3 trillion!

 

ECB assetsThe ECB plans to expand its balance sheet back to the highs of 2012 – click to enlarge.

 

Also Japan, which has been in a QE mindset for years plans to address any prospect of a recession with even more asset purchases! How valuable can money be if all central banks just want to print more of it? Money is no longer a property title, instead it became an I-owe-something, the Dollar and every other paper money we hold today are simply IOUs. Due to this debt-based system, we need more and more money so that the system does not collapse, because as we all know, loans need to be repaid with interest. This constant increase in the money supply reduces its purchasing power. As long as governments and central banks can redistribute wealth from the middle class, they will continue to do so – the outcome of which will be impoverishment on a wide scale and the destruction of our society.

 

BoJ assetsBoJ assets: QE in overdrive – click to enlarge.

 

Let’s have a closer look on what has been going on in the physical gold market. Physical demand is very strong and the refineries are again working 24 hours straight to meet demand but mining supply as well as scrap gold seems to be tightening. The Swiss Customs released import/export data showing another strong month of gold exports in November. Exports totaled 232 tons, stronger than the already good month of October with 200.8 tons. India was the main export destination with 77 tons, followed by 34.7 tons to China, 34.2 tons to Hong Kong, 22.8 tons to Turkey and 16.4 tons to Singapore. The Gold Offered Forward Rate (GOFO) has recently turned negative. When the GOFO rate becomes negative, it implies that the demand for physical gold in the spot market is high and market participants are willing to pay a premium to get immediate delivery of gold. The last time we saw such a development was back in 2009 when we witnessed a substantial increase in gold prices for several years. So, in this situation particularly with a shortening in the physical supply, we just don’t feel that comfortable about the future.

 

Gold in dollar and euro termsGold over the past year, in dollar and euro terms. In euro terms a new bull market seems to be underway already – click to enlarge.

 

Paper Money Destroys the Values Allowing us to Coexist Peacefully

With low or even negative interest rates associated with the debasement of the purchasing power of money itself, every saver appears to be a fool. This process has a strong impact on us, because saving does not make sense and therefore people end up buying things they don’t need or they even can’t afford. This imbalance in which consumption and debt carry bigger weight compared to savings leads to the moral degeneration of society. Excessive consumerism stands for absolute contemporary fixation – a devil-may-care attitude. Because money becomes worth less and less, people start running after yields to compensate for the loss of purchasing power. The ways we think and act adjust according to our short-term problems and goals, ignoring the long-term ramifications.

I believe that as a result of this, we lack time to reflect, to discuss, to care for the family but also to think about the values and ideals of our society. State activism and an inflationary monetary system are destroying our understanding of a “traditional family”. It loosens the ties between parents, reduces the attraction to bring children into the world and particularly to rear children in the best proper way so as to pass on these values to future generations.

It is therefore that I firmly believe that state activism undermines the respect for all non-state authorities and is therefore destructive to our cultural and traditional values. Wilhelm Röpke, a German economist, once said in this regards, that “Self-discipline, a sense of justice, honesty, fairness, chivalry, moderation, public spirit, respect for human dignity, firm ethical norms — all of these are things which people must possess before they go to market and compete with each other. These are the indispensable supports which preserve both market and competition from degeneration.”

In our Las Vegas conference back in September I expressed my strong opinion how liberty has been slowly dying since 9/11. Governments have expanded their infrastructures to increase their infiltration into societies and intensify their control to curb civil liberty, ironically, in the name of protecting liberty. I particularly like to share a quote by Henry Hazlitt from an article he wrote back in 1956, saying “that the greatest threat to American liberty today comes from within. It is the treat of a growing and spreading totalitarian ideology.”

There are three ways or tenets whereby a society drifts into totalitarianism, but it all starts with increasing government regulation of every sphere of life, whether social, economic or cultural – you constantly have to ask the government for permission. The more the government spends the more far-reaching the government intervention becomes. I also believe the increase in government regulation is indicative of a lack of trust the elites have towards individuals.

The government doesn’t trust us with our choices, but how can we be confident that the government will make the right choice for us? It is evident that the political and economic spheres of government reinforce each other towards this objective, and in the end it is our liberty that we lose. Here in Switzerland, an already established state endorsing deregulation of government, I was optimistic that the Gold Initiative would pass. And though it didn’t, I am convinced it succeeded in making the public question the system that regulates their financial and economic interests. And therefore I am optimistic we will have interesting discussions to witness in Switzerland.

 

The East knows better!

The ongoing geopolitical power shift from West to East has become crystal clear this year. History has shown us that currencies rise and fall with the rise and fall of their empires. It is obvious that the current currency system is at war. Demographics in the western world are unfavorable. The East, as we all know, is highly motivated to increase their productivity and aim for better standards of living and quality of life. At the same time they don’t have a gigantic welfare-state in place and their hunger for gold is unstoppable. They know all too well that the tides will turn at some point and they want to make sure they have the support to protect them from the damage that we’ll see when the system breaks down.

 

Whom can we trust?

We cannot take the media at face value. With about six companies in the US controlling the media landscape – how can we guarantee objectivity or that there isn’t a certain bias or agenda at play? Edward Bernays, the father of propaganda, once said, “[t]he conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in a democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power of our country [… ] we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons […] who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind”.

And though there is a strong force promoting government agendas I believe there is an opposing current in the Internet questioning the media and the ideas they are promoting. I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to read the article written by my friend Marco Ricca that explains how the Internet is helping to make the world a freer place (please refer to the abstract and link in this Outlook). The exponential growth rate that for example the Austrian School and its proponents are witnessing, particularly since the crisis in 2007, is a strong indicator of this.

 

Nothing can Protect You Better than Gold

If we review the events of 2014, it seems the situation has intensified: governments are still overwhelmed with debt, our fiat money system is unsupported, our central banks insist on accumulating debt and making money valueless. It doesn’t look all too good. Or does it? Will someone realize we have to pull the plug? And when we do, because it will happen whether we want it or not, how can we hedge against the damage that we will all be exposed to? I am a strong advocate of physical gold and can’t stress enough the importance of owning physical precious metals stored outside the banking system. It is a proven and essential form of monetary insurance against the uncertainties and negative surprises we see in our world today.

Let me close with the freedom train metaphor for building a movement that I heard from Jeff Deist, President of the Mises Institute, a few weeks ago. “If you want more freedom, join us. Get on the train. You can get off whenever you like. Maybe you favor 60 percent of our ideas, or 80 percent or 90 percent, or whatever. Just join us and go as far as you like, get off when you like. As I said earlier, we are so far from what we could consider a free society that we hardly should concern ourselves about it now. Let’s just get the train moving in the right direction!”

Great change has always come from the bottom upward and not the other way round. I recall the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Like Gandhi, I firmly believe change stems from the individual – but the individual needs to believe in his power and potential to create it.

 

This article appeared in the newest Global Gold Outlook Report. Subscribe for future updates on http://www.globalgold.ch/

 

To read more about holding physical gold outside the banking system and the available solutions offered by Global Gold, please visit Global Gold and request an investor kit for free.

 

Charts by: St. Louis Fed, StockCharts

 

By Claudio Grass, a passionate advocate of free-market thinking and libertarian philosophy. Following the teachings of the Austrian School of Economics, Claudio Grass is convinced that sound money and human freedom are inextricably linked with each other.

 

 

 

Emigrate While You Can... Learn More

 


 

 
 

Dear Readers!

You may have noticed that our so-called “semiannual” funding drive, which started sometime in the summer if memory serves, has seamlessly segued into the winter. In fact, the year is almost over! We assure you this is not merely evidence of our chutzpa; rather, it is indicative of the fact that ad income still needs to be supplemented in order to support upkeep of the site. Naturally, the traditional benefits that can be spontaneously triggered by donations to this site remain operative regardless of the season - ranging from a boost to general well-being/happiness (inter alia featuring improved sleep & appetite), children including you in their songs, up to the likely allotment of privileges in the afterlife, etc., etc., but the Christmas season is probably an especially propitious time to cross our palms with silver. A special thank you to all readers who have already chipped in, your generosity is greatly appreciated. Regardless of that, we are honored by everybody's readership and hope we have managed to add a little value to your life.

   

Bitcoin address: 12vB2LeWQNjWh59tyfWw23ySqJ9kTfJifA

   
 

One Response to “Money, Gold and Liberty in 2015 and Beyond”

  • “Money is no longer a property title, instead it became an I-owe-something, the Dollar and every other paper money we hold today are simply IOUs.”

    As far as I can tell, from the legal point of view, money does not belong to the person that receives it in exchange for his/her labor and ideas.

    So, it is not a case that “money is no longer a property title”. In this monetary system, it was never meant to be.

    To understand the ramifications of this arithmetical reality, one must understand the following:

    – Individuals are obligated under penalty of law to make use of one arbitrary medium of exchange

    – The owner of the medium of exchange however, has no reciprocal obligation to guarantee the exchange value of same

    The owner of the currency therefore merely lends to society the use of money at interest.

    But with no reciprocal obligation to guarantee the exchange value of the currency, suddenly, the arithmetical reality is therefore, that regardless the state of the economy or the persuasion of the incumbent government, the owner of the currency will always and everywhere expand the monetary base and credit.

    In so doing, over time, “title” is ineluctably channeled into the hands of the owner of the currency.

    Is there evidence that title has been transferred towards the owner of the currency? There is certainly some evidence here:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed–the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html#.VGBx075Zu7k

    This is, as far as I can deduce, the arithmetical reality that results in government becoming the largest actor in the economy, thus bringing about the monopolisation of industry and business, thus making fiscality progressively more onerous, which results in more complex regulation thus stifling enterprise, driving off-offshoring and finally making the population ever more unemployable.

    http://www.citylab.com/work/2014/05/rate-new-business-formation-has-fallen-almost-half-1978/9026/

    The corollary to this arithmetical reality is that the political persuasion of successive governments or the right, the centre or the left, is mere theatre, because despite differences in style along the way, the result can only be the transfer of wealth.

Your comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Most read in the last 20 days:

  • What Kind of Stock Market Purge Is This?
      Actions and Reactions Down markets, like up markets, are both dazzling and delightful. The shock and awe of near back-to-back 1,000 point Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) free-falls is indeed spectacular. There are many reasons to revel in it.  Today we shall share a few. To begin, losing money in a multi-day stock market dump is no fun at all.  We'd rather get our teeth drilled by a dentist.  Still, a rapid selloff has many positive qualities.   Memorable moments from...
  • How to Buy Low When Everyone Else is Buying High
      When to Sell? The common thread running through the collective minds of present U.S. stock market investors goes something like this: A great crash is coming.  But first there will be an epic run-up climaxing with a massive parabolic blow off top.  Hence, to capitalize on the final blow off, investors must let their stock market holdings ride until the precise moment the market peaks – and not a moment more.  That’s when investors should sell their stocks and go to...
  • US Stocks - Minor Dip With Potential, Much Consternation
      It's Just a Flesh Wound – But a Sad Day for Vol Sellers On January 31 we wrote about the unprecedented levels - for a stock market index that is - the weekly and monthly RSI of the DJIA had reached (see: “Too Much Bubble Love, Likely to Bring Regret” for the astonishing details – provided you still have some capacity for stock market-related astonishment). We will take the opportunity to toot our horn by reminding readers that we highlighted VIX calls of all things as a worthwhile...
  • When Budget Deficits Will Really Go Vertical
      Mnuchin Gets It United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin has a sweet gig.  He writes rubber checks to pay the nation’s bills.  Yet, somehow, the rubber checks don’t bounce.  Instead, like magic, they clear. How this all works, considering the nation’s technically insolvent, we don’t quite understand.  But Mnuchin gets it.  He knows exactly how full faith and credit works – and he knows plenty more.   Master of the Mint and economy wizard Steven Mnuchin and...
  • Why I Own Gold and Gold Mining Companies – An Interview With Jayant Bandari
      Opportunities in the Junior Mining Sector Maurice Jackson of Proven and Probable has recently interviewed Jayant Bandari, the publisher of Capitalism and Morality and a frequent contributor to this site. The topics discussed include currencies, bitcoin, gold and above all junior gold stocks (i.e., small producers and explorers). Jayant shares some of his best ideas in the segment, including arbitrage opportunities currently offered by pending takeovers – which is an area that generally...
  • Seasonality of Individual Stocks – an Update
      Well Known Seasonal Trends Readers are very likely aware of the “Halloween effect” or the Santa Claus rally. The former term refers to the fact that stocks on average tend to perform significantly worse in the summer months than in the winter months, the latter term describes the typically very strong advance in stocks just before the turn of the year. Both phenomena apply to the broad stock market, this is to say, to benchmark indexes such as the S&P 500 or the...
  • The Future of Copper – Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting Q1 2018
      Copper vs. Oil The Q1 2018 meeting of the Incrementum Fund's Advisory Board took place on January 24, about one week before the recent market turmoil began. In a way it is funny that this group of contrarians who are well known for their skeptical stance on the risk asset bubble, didn't really discuss the stock market much on this occasion. Of course there was little to add to what was already talked about extensively at previous meetings. Moreover, the main focus was on the topic...
  • “Strong Dollar”, “Weak Dollar” - What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?
      Contradictory Palaver The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronouncements and reversals which will take place in the coming months and years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.   A modern-day...
  • Strange Economic Data
      Economic Activity Seems Brisk, But... Contrary to the situation in 2014-2015, economic indicators are currently far from signaling an imminent recession. We frequently discussed growing weakness in the manufacturing sector in 2015 (which is the largest sector of the economy in terms of gross output) - but even then, we always stressed that no clear recession signal was in sight yet.   US gross output (GO) growth year-on-year, and industrial production (IP) – note that GO...
  • US Equities – Retracement Levels and Market Psychology
      Fibonacci Retracements   Following the recent market swoon, we were interested to see how far the rebound would go. Fibonacci retracement levels are a tried and true technical tool for estimating likely targets – and they can actually provide information beyond that as well. Here is the S&P 500 Index with the most important Fibonacci retracement levels of the recent decline shown:   So far, the SPX has made it back to the 61.8% retracement level intraday, and has weakened...
  • Update on the Modified Davis Method
      Whipsawed Frank Roellinger has updated us with respect to the signals given by his Modified Ned Davis Method (MDM) in the course of the recent market correction. The MDM is a purely technical trading system designed for position-trading the Russell 2000 index, both long and short (for details and additional color see The Modified Davis Method and Reader Question on the Modified Ned Davis Method).   The Nasdaq pillar...   As it turns out, the system was whipsawed,...
  • Market Efficiency? The Euro is Looking Forward to the Weekend!
      Peculiar Behavior As I have shown in previous issues of Seasonal Insights, various financial instruments are demonstrating peculiar behavior in the course of the week: the S&P 500 Index is typically strong on Tuesdays, Gold on Fridays and Bitcoin on Tuesdays (similar to the S&P 500 Index).   The quest for profitable foresight...[PT]   Several readers have inquired whether currencies exhibit such patterns as well. Are these extremely large markets also home to...

Support Acting Man

Item Guides

Top10BestPro
j9TJzzN

Austrian Theory and Investment

Archive

350x200

THE GOLD CARTEL: Government Intervention on Gold, the Mega Bubble in Paper and What This Means for Your Future

Realtime Charts

 

Gold in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Gold in EUR:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Silver in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Platinum in USD:

[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

USD - Index:

[Most Recent USD from www.kitco.com]

 

 
Buy Silver Now!
 
Buy Gold Now!
 

Oilprice.com

Diary of a Rogue Economist