Tag Archives: Fiat currencies

The dollar’s debt trap, by Alasdair Macleod

How debt kills fiat currencies, from Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Nixon Shock, this article explains why fiat currencies have become joined at the hip to financial asset values. And why with increasing inevitability they are about to descend into the next financial crisis together.

I start by defining the currencies we use as money and how they originate. I show why they are no more than the counterpart of assets on central bank and commercial bank balance sheets. Including bonds and other financial issues emanating from the US Government, the individual states, with the private sector and with broad money supply, dollar debt totals roughly $100 trillion, to which we can add shadow banking liabilities realistically estimated at a further $30 trillion.

This gives us an idea of the scale of the threat to asset values and banking posed by higher interest rates, which are now all but certain. The prospect of contracting financial asset values is potentially far worse than in any post-war financial crisis, because the valuation base for them starts at zero and even negative interest rates in the case of Europe and Japan.

I focus on the dollar because it is everyone’s reserve currency and I show why a significant bear market in financial asset values is likely to take down the dollar with it, and therefore, in that event, threatens the survival of all other fiat currencies.

Introduction

Dickensian attitudes to debt (Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, misery) reflected the discipline of sound money and the threat of the workhouse. It was an attitude to debt that carried on even to the 1960s. But the financial world changed forever in 1971 when post-war monetary stability ended with the Nixon shock, exactly fifty years ago.

Micawber’s aphorism was aimed at personal spending. It was advice given to a young David Copperfield, rather than a recipe for life. But since money’s transmogrification into pure fiat and as soon as youngsters in the fiat-currency world began to earn, Micawberism no longer held. Figure 1 shows the decline in purchasing power of fiat currencies in which earnings are paid relative to the sound money (gold) that had underpinned the post-war Bretton Woods agreement.

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Why Big Government Statists Despise Gold, by MN Gordon

Statists and other government types hate any form of money they can’t debase. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

Did you get a 5.4 percent raise this year?

If you answered no, then your income is being systematically diminished by the federal government’s coordinated policies of dollar debasement.

You see, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices increased 5.4 percent over the last 12 months.  So if your income didn’t increase by a commensurate 5.4 percent, then you are earning less than you were just one year ago.

The fact is price inflation acts as a hidden tax.  It’s the government’s underhanded way to increase spending without overtly increasing taxes.  Yet the tax still takes place, as the dollars in your biweekly paycheck become worth less and less.

The primary culprit of rising prices is the over issuance of federal reserve notes by the Treasury via deficit spending.  This debt based money enters the economy through government transfer payments and other spending programs.  There, it competes with the existing stock of money to buy goods and services.  Prices rise, accordingly.

Through the first 10 months of Washington’s fiscal year, which ends on September 30, the federal government has run a budget deficit of 2.54 trillion.  Of this, $800 billion – or about a third – of this debt was purchased by the Federal Reserve with credit created from this air.  If you recall, since July 2020, the Fed has been buying $80 billion of Treasuries per month.

The failure of these dollar debasement policies to support a balanced and healthy economy is grossly evident.  Asset prices have been inflating for over a decade.  At the same time, wages have generally stagnated.  This has resulted in a massive wealth gap.

Still, for the control freak central planners, operating within the monetary constraints of a stable money supply and the fiscal constraints of a balanced budget are out of the question…

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Farewell to Yet Another Failed Monetary System, by Egon von Greyerz

All fiat money systems have failed and will always fail. From Egon von Greyerz at goldswitzerland.com:

The beginning of the end of the current monetary system and currency collapse started exactly 50 years ago. In the next few years the world will experience the end of the end of another failed experiment of unlimited debt creation and fake fiat money.

Economic history tells us that we need to focus on two areas to understand where the  economy is going – INFLATION AND THE CURRENCY.

These two areas are now indicating that the world is in for a major shock. Very few investors expect inflation to become a real problem but instead believe interest rates will be subdued. And no one expects the dollar to collapse or any major currency collapse at all.

But in the last two years money supply growth has been exponential with for example M1 in the US growing at an annual rate of 126%!

Von Mises defined inflation as an increase in money supply. The world has seen explosive growth in credit and money supply since 1971 and now we are seeing hyperinflationary increases.

Hyperinflation is a currency event. Just since 2000 most currencies have lost 80-85% of their value. And since 1971 they have all lost 96-99%. The race to the bottom and to hyperinflation is now on.

Currency values over time.

As I will explain in this article, history is telling us that the explosion of credit and money supply will lead to rapid increases in inflation and interest rates and an even faster fall of the US dollar.

When it comes to monetary events, inflation and the currency are totally interdependent.

Normally an economy will be sound when the currency is sound. And the currency is sound when the economy is sound.

Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it. But then why has no currency ever survived in history? And why has every economy collapsed when there is an underlying currency collapse?

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Fiat Money Economies Are Built on Lies, by Thorsten Polleit

They don’t call it funny money for nothing. The only guarantee you have of fiat money’s value is the promise from the government not to print up too much of it. That’s a sucker bet. From Thorsten Polleit at mises.org:

Now and then, it pays to take a step back to get a broader perspective on things, to look beyond the daily financial news, to see through the short-term ups and downs in the market to find out what is really at the heart of the matter. If we do that, we will not miss the fact that we are living in the age of fiat currencies, a world in which basically everything bears their fingerprints: the economic and financial system, politics—even people’s cultural norms, values, and morals will not escape the broader consequences of fiat currencies.

You may not notice it in your daily use of fiat currencies—that is, for instance, when receiving wages, buying goods and services, paying down mortgages, depositing money with the bank for saving purposes—that something is terribly wrong with fiat currencies, be it in the form of the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, the British pound, or the Swiss franc. However, the truth is that all these fiat currencies suffer from severe economic and ethical flaws, which are actually not difficult to understand.

Fiat currencies are produced by central banks and commercial banks’ credit expansion. In fact, central banks in cahoots with commercial banks increase the outstanding money supply by extending loans to firms, private households, and government entities. It amounts to money creation from thin air or—in a way—counterfeiting money. Issuing new fiat currencies sets into motion a boom, an illusion of prosperity. Consumption and investment expand, the economy enjoys higher corporate profits, increased employment, rising stock, housing prices, etc.

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The Real Russian Threat,by James Rickards

Slowly but surely, the dollar is losing clout, and eventually it will lose it’s place as the world’s reserve currency. From James Rickards at dailyreckoning.com:

I’ve written for years about different nations’ persistent efforts to dethrone the U.S. dollar as the leading global reserve currency and the main medium of exchange.

At the same time, I’ve said that such processes don’t happen overnight; instead, they happen slowly and incrementally over decades.

The dollar displaced sterling as the leading reserve currency in the twentieth century, but it took thirty years, from 1914 to 1944, to happen. The decline started with the outbreak of World War I and the UK’s liquidation of assets and money printing to finance the war.

It ended with the Bretton Woods agreement in 1944 that cemented the dollar’s link to gold as the new global standard.

Even after the gold link was broken in 1971, the dollar standard remained because there was no good alternative. Then the 1974 deal with Saudi Arabia (along with other OPEC cartel members) to price oil in dollars created increased global demand for the dollar.

Because of the deal, dollars would be deposited with U.S. banks, so they could be loaned to developing economies, who could then buy U.S. manufactured goods and agricultural products.

This would help the global economy and allow the U.S. to maintain price stability. The Saudis would get more customers and a stable dollar, and the U.S. would force the world to accept dollars because everyone would need dollars to buy oil.

By the way, behind this “deal” was a not so subtle threat to invade Saudi Arabia and take the oil by force.

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The Road to Authoritarianism is Paved with Fiat Currency, by Ron Paul

Don’t forget there are two primary tools in the totalitarian tool kit: force and fraud. The biggest fraud is fiat currency. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced it will maintain an interest rate target of zero to 0.25 percent for the rest of 2021. The Fed said it will also continue its monthly purchase of 120 billion dollars of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities.

Some Fed board members are forecasting a rate increase by late 2022 or 2023, though with the rate still not reaching one percent. The Fed will neither allow interest rates to rise to market levels nor reduce its purchase of Treasury securities. A significant increase in interest rates would make the government’s borrowing costs unsustainable.

The Fed also raised its projected rate of inflation to three percent, although it still insists the rise in prices is a transitory effect of the end of the lockdowns. There is some truth to this, as it will take some time for businesses to get back to full capacity. However, the Fed began taking extraordinary measures to prop up the economy in September of 2019, when it started pumping billions of dollars a day into the repo market that banks use to make short-term loans to each other. The lockdowns only postponed and deepened the forthcoming Fed-caused meltdown.

Germany’s Deutsche Bank recently released a paper warning about the Federal Reserve continuing to disregard the inflation risk caused by easy money policies designed to “stimulate” the economy and facilitate massive government spending. Germans have reason to be sensitive to the consequences of inflation, including hyperinflation. Out-of-control inflation played a major role in the collapse of the German economy in the 1920s, which led to the rise of the National Socialists.

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Gold’s Middle Finger to Lying Currencies, by Matthew Piepenburg

Fiat currencies are crashing to their intrinsic value (zero) and gold will pick up the pieces. From Matthew Piepenburg at goldswitzerland.com:

Sensationalism, like central bankers and policy makers, has many faces, views and voices.

This may explain why so many want to hold their ears, hug their knees and beg the heavens for a beacon of guiding light amidst a 24/7 fog of info-cycle pablum masquerading as information.

Facts in a Fog of Sensationalism

With so many opposing ideas, movements, policies, parties, and personalities buzzing galvanically for attention, dollars or votes (in a world rightly or wrongly brought to its pandemic-accelerated knees), it’s becoming increasingly difficult to believe anything or anyone.

And this is likely because just about everything and everyone (from defective Fed chairmen to defecting royal princes and politicized prompt readers) has become, well—sensationalized.

Yet perhaps perspectives like mine are no exception. The title of my 2020 best-selling Amazon book on global markets, “Rigged to Fail,” sure sounds sensational, doesn’t it?

Was it just another doom & gloom scare-book with a catchy title for profitable “info-tainment”? Just another sensational voice joining the choir of omni-present crazy?

I’ll admit it’s a fair question.

But what if…

What if… these markets truly are rigged, and what if they (and economies) truly do fail? What if the evidence, rather than just the title, of that multi-chaptered observation is objective rather than, well…sensational?

Cynics (and I’m one of them) could say I’m plugging a book or exploiting a meme.

Fair enough.

But facts are stubborn things, and as Goethe wrote long ago: Some books are meant to show off what an author thinks he knows, while others (thankfully) are simply meant to be useful.

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Suffering a sea-change, by Alasdair Macleod

When interest rates really start to reflect the ongoing monetary inflation, it will blow the prices of most financial assets out of the water. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

here is an established theoretical relationship between bonds and equities which provides a framework for the future performance of financial assets. It would be a mistake to ignore it, ahead of the forthcoming rise in global interest rates.

Price inflation is roaring, and so far, central banks are in denial. But it is increasingly difficult to see how monetary policy planners can extend the suppression of interest rates for much longer. There can only be one outcome: markets, that is to say prices determined by non-state actors, will force central banks to capitulate on interest rates in the summer.

Hardly noticed, China is deliberately putting the brakes on its economy, which will cause an inflationary dollar to collapse, unless the US defends it by putting up interest rates. Deliberate? Almost certainly, as part of its strategy, China is taking the financial war with the US into the foreign exchanges.

Bond yields will rise, with the US Treasury 10-year bond leaving a 2% yield far behind. Equity markets will sense the danger, and it might turn out that the month of May marks a peak in financial asset values — following cryptocurrencies into substantial bear markets.

Introduction

There is an old stock market adage that you should sell in May and go away. It has already proved its worth in the case of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin more than halving at one point, and Ethereum losing 57% between 10—19 May. A sea-change in cryptocurrencies’ market sentiment has taken place.

As for equities, it could also turn out that 10 May, which so far has marked the S&P 500 Index’s high point, will mark the beginning of their decline. But it’s too soon to tell. However, we do know that following the unprecedented dilution of the major currencies’ purchasing power since March 2020 commodity prices have increased substantially, global logistics are fouled up and consumer prices are rapidly rising everywhere, a combination of events which is bound to lead to higher interest rates. But as is usually the case in times like these, central bankers and market bulls are wishing this reality away.

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Karl Marx’s Road to Hell is Paved with Fake Money, by MN Gordon

The fraud known as inflation is a dance with the devil. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

“The way to Hell is paved with good intentions,” remarked Karl Marx in Das Kapital.

The devious fellow was bemoaning evil capitalists for having the gall to use their own money for the express purpose of making more money.

Marx, a rambling busybody, was habitually wrong.  The road to hell is paved with something much more than good intentions.  Grift, graft, larceny, corruption and fake money are what primarily composes the pavement.  Good intentions are merely dusted in to better the aesthetic.

If you want to understand what’s going on with exploding price inflation then you must understand this…

Right now in the United States we have a scam currency that’s controlled by central planners.  Specifically, we have what Marx envisioned in Plank No. 5 of his Communist Manifesto:

“No. 5.  Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

The Federal Reserve System, created by the Federal Reserve Act of Congress in 1913, is indeed a ‘national bank’ and it politically manipulates interest rates and holds a monopoly on legal counterfeiting in the United States.

Without the Fed’s policies of mass credit creation the U.S. government could have never run up a national debt over $28 trillion.  Without the Fed’s policies of extreme credit market intervention the U.S. trade deficit for March of $74.4 billion – a new record – would have never been possible.  Without the Fed’s printing press money the U.S. government could have never run annual budget deficits over $3 trillion.

The fact is centralized credit in the hands of a central bank always leads to money supply inflation.  Asset price inflation and consumer price inflation then follow in strange and unpredictable ways.

These price distortions are not defects of capitalism.  They’re symptoms of a scam currency managed by central planners.

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Market Weekly: The Pivot to Gold Has Begun, by Tom Luongo

Buying either gold or cryptocurrencies is a vote of no confidence in governments, their central banks, and their fiat currencies. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

For the past few weeks I’ve incurred the wrath of what I’m now calling “Gold-Only” bugs for constantly haranguing them about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. These are the folks which state only gold can beat the central banks.

I’ve made my position very clear, in a world of digital money and accelerating technology there is room for both assets as stores-of-value for different types of investors and taking a ideological position for either is stupid as well as arrogant.

Like all things, there are reasons why putting all of your eggs in one basket in markets as cocked-up and purposefully manipulated as these is simply bad asset management. Risk is, ultimately, not someone else’s problem no matter how much Wall St. tries to convince of this otherwise.

Risk is your problem.

The gold and crypto communities have been at each other’s throats for months now, as bitcoin continued rallying off the Coronapocalypse low from last March while gold peaked in August and has ground out a truly demoralizing eight-month bear market.

The envy coming from Gold-Only bugs has them missing one of the great opportunities for wealth creation in anyone’s lifetime. You don’t have to love bitcoin to make money from it. Just like you can hate Facebook but own its stock and cash it in when it’s too expensive versus another asset, say… I don’t know? Gold?

But that inverse relationship is finally changing. Bitcoin and gold are getting back into phase. And it’s right on schedule.

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