Category Archives: Currencies

Why Interventionist Governments Love Inflation, by Daniel Lacalle

If inflation is a tax, who collects it? Bingo, the government! From Daniel Lacalle at dlacalle.com:

No government looking to massively expand its size in the economy and monetize a soaring deficit is going to act against rising prices, despite claiming the opposite.

One of the things that surprises citizens in Argentina or Turkey is that their populist governments always talk about the middle classes and helping the poor, yet inflation still soars, making everyone poorer.

Inflation is the gradual erosion of the purchasing power of the currency. Governments will always use different excuses to justify inflation: Soaring demand, “supply chain disruptions” or evil corporations’ greed. However, most of the times these are excuses. Inflation is always a monetary phenomenon. Prices soar because money supply rises massively above real output and real money demand.

How can there be “shipping bottlenecks” driving a 100% rise in freights when the shipping industry was burdened by massive overcapacity in 2019? How can anyone say that natural gas and oil have soared due to supply chain disruptions when supply has perfectly followed demand? The reality is that some of those factors may explain a small proportion of the price rise, but the Global Food Index and Bloomberg Commodity Index are not at multi-year highs due to these problems.

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When a Train Wreck Is No Accident, by Jeff Thomas

What if the impending financial collapse is all part of some master plan? From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

trainwreck

“In spite of all the rhetoric, we will go deeper in debt, the Fed will print more money, and the value of the dollar will continue to plummet.” – Ron Paul

Never in history have the economic and political structures been so manipulated by those who are responsible for their safekeeping; never has so much been at stake, in so many countries, and facing collapse, all at the same time.

The great majority of people in the First World recognise that the world is passing through an economic crisis. However, most are under the impression that there are some pretty smart fellows running the show and all they need to do is tweak the system a bit more and we’ll return to happy days.

Not so. The “smart fellows” who are in charge of fixing the problem are in fact the very same people who created it.

Understandably, this a hard concept for most people to even consider, let alone accept, as the very idea that those in charge of the system might consciously collapse it seems preposterous. So, we might wish to back up a bit here and present a very brief history of the system itself, in order to understand that the eventual collapse of the economic system was baked in the cake from the very beginning.

Creating a Central Bank

From the very earliest days of the formation of the American republic, bankers (along with inside help from George Washington’s secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton) sought to create a banking monopoly that would create the country’s currency and become the central banking system.

The first attempt at a central bank was a failure, and strong opponents, including Thomas Jefferson, prevented a second central bank for a time. Later, further attempts were made by bankers and their political cronies, and each central bank was either short-lived or defeated in its planning stages.

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Living In A Pandemic World, by Jim Quinn

It can’t be said often enough. Covid-19 is a medical fraud and a vehicle for a global, totalitarian government. From Jim Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”George Orwell, 1984

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”George Orwell, 1984

I never thought I would experience the dystopian “fictional” nightmare Orwell laid out in his 1949 novel. Seventy-two years later and his warning about a totalitarian society, where mass surveillance, repressive measures against dissenters, mind control through government indoctrination and propaganda designed to convince the masses lies are truth, fake is real and the narrative can be manipulated to achieve the desired outcome of those in power, have come to fruition.

Everything is fake. I don’t believe anything I’m told by the government, the media, medical “experts”, politicians, military leadership, bankers, corporate executives, religious leaders, financial professionals, and anyone selling themselves as an authority on any subject matter. We are truly living in times of mass deception, mass delusion, and mass willful ignorance.

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We’re Living in a Chaos Economy. Here’s How to End It. By Mark Thornton

The solution is simple—get the government and its central bank out of the economy—but alas, given present day politics implementation will be impossible. From Mark Thornton at mises.org:

The Federal Reserve has been increasing the money supply at an explosive rate. The federal budget, deficits, and the trade deficit are record levels. Governments, both foreign and domestic, have locked down people, restricting production and consumption. How should this be viewed by an economist?

There is clearly chaos in the economy, and hardly a day goes by when I don’t find unusual if not unprecedented situations in day-to-day economic life. However, many people and economists are either oblivious to the problems or in denial. Things are normal for them. Politicians are mostly in this camp. For economists and investment promotors, inflation is “transitory.” They don’t know how the economy works and they expect near perfection from the economy and entrepreneurs. This view is wrong.

The chaos is all too real for most others. Homemakers who spend household income are seeing their purchasing power shrink, their choices disappearing, and more of their time consumed stretching the family budgets. Christmas shopping will be worse than normal.

Chaos deniers are further entrenched in their experience by the mainstream media (MSM). The problems are either not reported by the MSM or are masked by aggregate statistics like price inflation, i.e., the Consumer Price Index, low unemployment, wage increases, and extremely high stock markets and real estate, especially housing prices. These stats make people feel good, or at least less nervous.

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Are We Really Crazy Enough to Believe This Is Going to Work? By Charles Hugh Smith

Crazy is believing a house of cards built on a foundation of sand will stand. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Unbeknownst to the giddy participants, they’re not just betting on the omnipotence of the Fed Politburo, they’re also making a max-leverage bet that “the madness of crowds” will never end.

Imagine an economy so dominated by its central bank that all markets hang on every word of its priesthood as life or death. You know, like the Federal Reserve and the American economy.

Now imagine this central bank issues enormous sums of new money which supercharges speculative activity such as hundreds of billions of dollars in stock buybacks, special purpose acquisition casinos, oops, I mean companies, and so on. You know, like the Federal Reserve’s trillions in nearly free money for financiers.

Next, imagine that the central bank makes barely concealed promises that should any big gambler lose money in the casino, the bank will flood the financial system with even more nearly free money for financiers and bail out the loser.

Since flooding the system with nearly free money for financiers keeps the speculative frenzy going, the bank has implicitly promised that assets driven higher by speculative frenzy will never be allowed to drop. This promise naturally incentivizes even more speculative borrowing, leverage and risk, generating a titanic Everything Bubble in which risky assets skyrocket from pennies into dollars and dollars into fortunes.

Now imagine that this speculative frenzy spreads into every nook and cranny of the economy such that everyone is drawn into one casino or another, and previously sober, cautious people are seized by a quasi-religious fervor in which they become convinced that their gambling chips on NFTs, SPACs, meme-stocks, obscure alt-coins, homes, collectables and pretty much anything within the manic swirl of speculative frenzy is now a can’t lose path to carefree permanent wealth because the central bank guarantees it and anyone who questions this is in league with the Devil (or worse).

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Are You Prepared for the Mass Repricing of Goods and Services? By MN Gordon

You turn up the monetary heat and prices go full boil. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

Rising consumer price inflation is not going away.  This, of course, is counter to the “transitory” argument made by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell earlier this year.

Powell’s cohort, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, recently admitted inflation is not transitory.  This admission comes with assurances the Fed will properly manage it.  We have some reservations.

The effects of rising consumer prices range far and wide.  For one, the pinch rising prices put on consumers is extraordinarily disruptive.  It acts like a hefty tax…eroding family budgets that are already stretched.  In this ongoing staglation, personal income gains lag far behind rising consumer prices.

Industrial materials and consumer goods companies also feel the pinch.  They can pass on some rising prices to consumers.  They can also absorb through lower profit margins some short term price increases.  But there are natural limits to what price increases can be absorbed and passed along.

When input costs, including raw material and labor, push the costs of the final manufactured goods above what they can readily be sold for the business motive breaks down.  Halting operations makes the most business sense.

One industry feeling the pinch of rising natural gas prices is the fertilizer business.  As we noted several weeks ago, several fertilizer plants in the UK have had to suspend operations because of soaring natural gas prices.  Here in the US we’re not aware of any fertilizer producers suspending operations.  But fertilizer prices are up, nonetheless.

In fact, the Green Markets North American Fertilizer Price Index recently soared to a record high, thus eclipsing the prior record set in 2008.  Sky high fertilizer prices will further raise the cost of food production for farmers.

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Contagion! By James Rickards

In a massively over-indebted and interconnected world, financial collapse can spread like wildfire. The Chinese property sector may be the beginning of the conflagration. From James Rickard at dailyreckoning.com:

There has been a litany of bad news recently, including the U.S. August humiliation in Afghanistan, China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan and increased tensions with Iran, North Korea and Russia.

It will take the U.S. years, possibly decades, to recover from the debacle of August 2021 and the collapse of American prestige. All of these geopolitical events combine to undermine confidence in U.S. power.

When that happens, a loss of confidence in the U.S. dollar is not far behind.

And, perhaps most importantly of all recent bad news, is a market meltdown and slowing growth in China.

Greatest Ponzi Ever

I’ve long advised my readers that the Chinese wealth management product (WMP) system is the greatest Ponzi in the history of the world. Retail investors are led to believe that WMPs are like bank deposits and are backed by the bank that sells them. They’re not.

They’re actually unsecured units in blind pools that can be invested in anything the pool manager wants.

Most WMP funds have been invested in the real estate sector. This has led to asset bubbles in real estate (at best) and wasted developments that cannot cover their costs (at worst). When investors wanted their money back, the sponsor would simply sell more WMPs and use the money to pay back the redeeming investors.

That’s what gave the product its Ponzi characteristic.

The total amount invested in WMPs is now in the trillions of dollars used to finance thousands of projects sponsored by hundreds of major developers. Chinese investors are all-in with WMPs.

Now the entire edifice is collapsing as I predicted it would.

The largest property developer in China, Evergrande, is quickly headed for bankruptcy. That’s a multibillion-dollar fiasco on its own. Evergrande losses will arise in WMPs, corporate debt, unpaid contractor bills, equity markets and unfinished housing projects.

China’s entire property and financial system is on the verge of a world-historic crack-up. And it won’t remain limited to China.

It comes back to contagion.

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Your Money AND Your Life, by Edward Snowden

If they can track every cent you receive or spend, how much freedom, if any, do you have left? From Edward Snowden at edwardsnowden.substack.com:

Central Banks Digital Currencies will ransom our future

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A Global Fiat Currency: “One Ring to Rule Them All”, by Thorsten Polleit

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One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

We’re fighting Sauron. From Thorsten Polleit at mises.org:

1.

Human history can be viewed from many angles. One of them is to see it as a struggle for power and domination, as a struggle for freedom and against oppression, as a struggle of good against evil.

That is how Karl Marx (1818–83) saw it, and Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) judged similarly. Mises wrote:

The history of the West, from the age of the Greek Polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders.1

But unlike Marx, Mises recognized that human history does not follow predetermined laws of societal development but ultimately depends on ideas that drive human action.

From Mises’s point of view, human history can be understood as a battle of good ideas against bad ideas.

Ideas are good if the actions they recommend bring results that are beneficial for everyone and lead the actors to their desired goals;

At the same time, good ideas are ethically justifiable, they apply to everyone, anytime and anywhere, and ensure that people who act upon them can survive.

On the other hand, bad ideas lead to actions that do not benefit everyone, that do not cause all actors to achieve their goals and/or are unethical.

Good ideas are, for example, people accepting “mine and yours”; or entering into exchange relationships with one another voluntarily. Bad ideas are coercion, deception, embezzlement, theft.

Evil ideas are very bad ideas, ideas through which whoever puts them into practice is consciously harming others. Evil ideas are, for example, physical attacks, murder, tyranny.

2.

With Lord of the Rings, J. J. R. Tolkien (1892–1973) wrote a literary monument about the epic battle between good and evil. His fantasy novel, published in 1954, was a worldwide success, not least because of the movie trilogy, released from 2001 to 2003.

What is Lord of the Rings about? In the First Age, the deeply evil Sauron—the demon, the hideous horror, the necromancer—had rings of power made by the elven forges.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

But Sauron secretly forges an additional ring into which he pours all his darkness and cruelty, and this one ring, the master ring, rules all the other rings.

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Life’s a Beach Until the Tsunami Hits: Four Waves Nobody Cares About–Yet, by Charles Hugh Smith

The rug is being pulled from under the financial markets. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Four monster waves are about to crash onto the Fed’s beach party and sweep away the unwary revelers.

Hey, is the water in the bay receding? Never mind, free drinks are on the Federal Reserve, so party on, life’s a beach, asset bubbles will never pop, we’re safe. Of course you are. The Fed is all-powerful and would never let a rogue wave turn all its precious phantom wealth into broken detritus.

The water is fast receding and a wave is visible if you care to look, but nobody cares to look. Why bother? The Fed is invincible, that’s all you need to know to mint another fortune.

Just to keep life interesting, let’s look anyway. Gordon Long and I discuss four monster waves that are about to crash onto the Fed’s beach party and sweep away the unwary revelers:

1. Declining liquidity: while everyone is focused on the Fed’s ceaselessly repeated reassurance that the liquidity spigot will never be closed, never ever ever, so party on, asset bubbles will never pop, never ever ever, other central banks have already started reducing global liquidity while domestically, the Treasury General Account (TGA) is soaking up liquidity to fund the federal government’s monumental deficit spending.

2. Declining global growth: long before the pandemic swept ashore in 2020, global growth was faltering: the business cycle had not been abolished, despite Fed assurances that growth and asset bubbles will continue expanding until they reach Alpha Centuri and beyond (Dow one trillion, yowza baby!), growth by any conventional measure (PMI, ISM, industrial production, global trade flows, etc.) had stagnated or rolled over.

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