Tag Archives: Fiat currencies

The failure of fiat currencies and the implications for gold and silver, by Alasdair Macleod

Fiat currencies are going to their marginal cost of production—close to zero. That should increase the allure of Real Money, gold and silver. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

This is the background text of my Keynote Speech given yesterday to European Gold Forum yesterday, 13 April.

To explain why fiat currencies are failing I started by defining money. I then described the relationship between fiat money and its purchasing power, the role of bank credit, and the interests of central banks.

Undoubtedly, the recent sanctions over Russia will have a catastrophic effect for financialised currencies, possibly leading to the end of fifty-one years of the dollar regime. Russia and China plan to escape this fate for the rouble and yuan by tying their currencies to commodities and production instead of collapsing financial assets. The only way for those of us in the West to protect ourselves is with physical gold, which over time is tied to commodity and energy prices.

What is money?

To understand why all fiat currency systems fail, we must start by understanding what money is, and how it differs from other forms of currency and credit. These are long-standing relationships which transcend our times and have their origin in Roman law and the practice of medieval merchants who evolved a lex mercatoria, which extended money’s legal status to instruments that evolved out of money, such as bills of exchange, cheques, and other securities for money. And while as circulating media, historically currencies have been almost indistinguishable from money proper, in the last century issuers of currencies split them off from money so that they have become pure fiat.

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The evolution of credit, by Alasdair Macleod

The West’s fiat currencies are reaching the end of the line. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

After fifty-one years from the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement, the system of fiat currencies appears to be moving towards a crisis point for the US dollar as the international currency. The battle over global energy, commodity, and grain supplies is the continuation of an intensifying financial war between the dollar and the renminbi and rouble.

It is becoming clear that the scale of an emerging industrial revolution in Asia is in stark contrast with Western decline, a population ratio of 87 to 13. The dollar’s role as the sole reserve currency is not suited for this reality.

Commentators speculate that the current system’s failings require a global reset. They think in terms of it being organised by governments, when the governments’ global currency system is failing. Beholden to Keynesian macroeconomics, the common understanding of money and credit is lacking as well.

This article puts money, currency, and credit, and their relationships in context. It points out that the credit in an economy is far greater than officially recorded by money supply figures and it explains how relatively small amounts of gold coin can stabilise an entire credit system.

It is the only lasting solution to the growing fiat money crisis, and it is within the power of at least some central banks to implement gold coin standards by mobilising their reserves.

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The end of fiat hoving into view… by Alasdair Macleod

Skyrocketing food and energy prices, rising interest rates, crashing financial markets, and economic depression will spell the end of Western fiat currencies. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Tragic though the situation in Ukraine has become, the real war which started out as financial in character some time ago has now become both financial and about commodities. Putin made a huge mistake invading Ukraine but the West’s reaction by seeking to isolate Russia and its commodity exports from the global marketplace is an even greater one.

Furthermore, with Ukraine being Europe’s breadbasket and a major exporter of fertiliser, this summer will bring acute food shortages, worsened by China having already accumulated the bulk of the world’s grains for its own population. Inflation measured by consumer prices has only just commenced an accelerated rise.

Because they discount falling purchasing power for currencies, rising interest rates, and collapsing bond prices are now inevitable. Being loaded up with bonds and financial assets as collateral, the consequences for the global banking system are so significant that it is virtually impossible to see how it can survive. And if the banking system faces collapse, being unbacked by anything other than rapidly disappearing faith in them fiat currencies will fail as well.

Unforeseen financial and economic consequences

Back in the 1960s, Harold Wilson as an embattled British Prime Minister declared that a week is a long time in politics. Today, we can also comment it is a long time in commodity markets, stock markets, geopolitics, and almost anything else we care to think of. The rapidity of change may not be captured in just seven calendar days, but in recent weeks we have seen the initial pricking of the fiat currency bubble and all that floats with it.

This is turning out to be an extreme financial event. The background to it is unwinding of economic distortions. Through a combination of currency and credit expansion and market suppression, the difference between state-controlled pricing and market reality has never been greater. Zero and negative interest rates, deeply negative real bond yields, and a deliberate policy of artificial wealth creation by fostering a financial asset bubble to divert attention from a deepening economic crisis in recent years have all contributed to the gap between bullish expectations and market reality.

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When normality is exposed as a Ponzi, by Alasdair Macleod

Putin could crash the global financial system by demanding payment in gold for Russia’s oil and gas. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Putin’s hubris, yes-men for generals, lack of fighting conviction among the men, poor logistics and strong Ukrainian leadership and determination have combined to turn the Russian invasion of Ukraine into a military quagmire.

Meanwhile, the West has upped the stakes in a financial war. The underlying assumption is that the Russian economy is weak and those of the Western allies are stronger. A few key metrics shows this is incorrect. The underlying resilience of the Russian economy and its financial system is not generally understood, and instead EU sanctions could end up undermining the whole euro system and the euro itself.

This article looks at how errors on the battlefield are likely to bring the financial and economic war between the West and Russia out into the open. By suspending access to them, the West has made the mistake of proving to Russia (and all other national central banks) the ultimate uselessness of currency reserves and the benefits of gold. As well as leading to the likely collapse of the entire euro system, this article explains how this financial war could end up with a de facto gold standard for the rouble and call an end for the entire fiat currency Ponzi scheme.

The destruction of the global fiat Ponzi scheme is a step closer

Being increasingly debased, western currencies serve to conceal deteriorating economic conditions, particularly in the US, EU, UK, and Japan. In China, less so perhaps. But China faces an old-fashioned property crisis which is sure to lead to further currency expansion and therefore, debasement of the renminbi. In this article about the state of the financial war between the US, UK and EU on one side, collectively the West, and Russia on the other, we focus on how the invasion of Ukraine is evolving into open financial warfare.

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When Fiat Currency Stops Being Money, by Daniel Lacalle

Will fiat currencies revert to their intrinsic value? History suggests they will. From Daniel Lacalle at mises.org:

Most emerging and developed market currencies have devalued significantly relative to the United States dollar in 2021 despite the Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary policy. Furthermore, emerging economies that have benefitted from rising commodity prices have also seen their currencies weaken despite strong exports. As such, inflation in developing economies is much higher than the already elevated figures posted in the United States and the eurozone.

The main reason behind this is a global currency debasement problem that is making citizens poorer.

Most central banks globally are implementing the same expansionary policies of the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve System but the results are disproportionately hurting the poor as inflation rises, particularly in essential goods and services, while fiscal and monetary imbalances are increasing.

Many emerging economies have implemented a very dangerous policy of boosting twin deficits—fiscal and trade deficits—under the misguided idea that it will accelerate growth. Now growth and recovery estimates are coming down but monetary imbalances remain.

Therefore, most currencies are falling relative to the US dollar. The policies implemented by global central banks are as aggressive or even more so than those of the Federal Reserve but without the global demand that the US dollar enjoys. If global nations with sovereign currencies continue to play this dangerous game, local and international demand for their currency will evaporate and dependence on the US dollar will rise. More importantly, if the Federal Reserve continues to put its global reserve status to the test, all fiat currencies may suffer a loss of confidence and a move to other alternatives.

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Evil Is the Root of All (Fiat) Money, by Egon von Greyerz

The title is not hyperbole, because all fiat money is essentially fraudulent. From Egon von Greyerz at goldswitzerland.com:

“So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?”
-Ayn Rand

Money used to be a stable medium of exchange and a store of value but that was in the days when there were sound monetary principles, mostly backed by gold or silver.

Since 1913 and especially 1971 there is no discipline and no morals when it comes to the issuing of money as unlimited amounts of fake fiat money is printed at will.

In today’s fiat money world, there is only one answer to Rand’s question “What is the root of all money?”, namely:

“Evil is the root of all fiat money.”

– Egon von Greyerz

On the IMF (International Monetary Fund) website there is an article stating that “Money is something that holds its value” – Hmmm…..

The meeting of bankers and politicians on Jekyll Island in November 1910 laid the foundations for the Federal Reserve Bank. Three years later in 1913 the Fed was founded.

From that moment on, private bankers were running the US monetary system including the printing of money. But the British pound, backed by gold until 1931, was the global currency of choice until then.

CURRENCY SYSTEMS ARE EPHEMERAL

The Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944 established a new currency system based on the dollar. From that time, all major currencies were pegged to the US dollar and the dollar itself was pegged to gold at $35 per ounce. The dollar thus became the world’s reserve currency bolstered by big gold reserves. These were accumulated gradually from the early 1900s to the late 1940s. The US received payment in gold during WWII from its sales of arms and other supplies.

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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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