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The evolution of credit

The evolution of credit

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.
Evolution or revolution?

There are big changes afoot in the world’s financial and currency system. Fiat currencies have been completely detached from gold for fifty-one years from the ending of the Bretton Woods Agreement and since then they have been loosely tied to the King Rat of currencies, the dollar. Measured by money, which is and always has been only gold, King Rat has lost over 98% of its relative purchasing power in that time…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ins and Outs of Whose Money is it Anyway?

The Ins and Outs of Whose Money is it Anyway?

“Inside, Outside…. Leave me alone!
Inside, Outside … Nowhere is home!
Inside, Outside … Where have I been?
Out of my brain on the 5:15…”
— The Who

There’s been a massive reaction to Credit Suisse analyst Zoltan Poszar’s note about the birth of a new Bretton Woods agreement.

Every investor in the world should read it. Zerohedge posted (behind their paywall) a lengthy analysis of Poszar’s musing along with some reactions from Wall St. It is well worth your time.

The people most freaked out about this note are the Keynesians who worship at the altar of what Poszar calls Inside Money — money that only exists inside the financial system, bonds, credit, dollars, euros, etc.

Austrians, like myself, have always understood that eventually Inside Money fails because it is ultimately nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme built on top of Outside Money — money that exists outside the financial system, like commodities and bitcoin.

Poszar makes his early case and then goes through the mechanics of what is happening in the financial plumbing of the world economy right now to prove the stresses are real and building quickly towards an implosion of Inside Money and an explosion of Outside Money.

Again, anyone with a passing acquaintance with Austrian business cycle theory and Mises’ Theory of Money and Credit always knew this day was coming.

Today’s “Inside Money” standard, known colloquially as the Dollar Reserve standard, is actually what I like to call “Milton Friedman’s Nightmare.” It is nothing more than a system of competitively devalued and inflated debt-based scrips running around drinking each other’s milkshakes until everyone’s glass is empty.

FYI, there are a lot of empty glasses around the world right now and more are being created everyday as the financial system turned predatory after the Lehman Bros. collapse in 2008.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

After the Gold Standard, Government Grew While the Dollar Shrank

Why ending the gold standard led to a bigger government and a smaller dollar

As The Hill’s Robert P. Murphy notes, most Americans associate the end of the gold standard and the ensuing dollar erosion with Nixon and his 1971 decision to “close the gold window.” In truth, however, the U.S. dollar was weakening long before that, something that can be explained by evaluating the length of the tether between gold and the dollar.

Between our nation’s founding and the Civil War, there was practically no difference between gold and currency. U.S. coins were minted with face values based on the quantity and price of gold or silver they contained. This kind of policy minimized the government’s role in monetary issues. Instead of being stored in vaults, the nation’s precious metals circulated. This decision essentially allowed the public to dictate monetary policy based on natural supply of the metals: individuals presented gold or silver to the U.S. Mint to be manufactured into into coins.

The Civil War saw the first shift away from this approach, when paper notes not immediately redeemable in gold and silver coins were issued by both the Union and the Confederate states (primarily to pay for war efforts). Both sides engaged in inflation, an obvious temptation when no other controls exist on money issue.

Between 1879 and 1914, the government did away with silver monetization, but restored convertibility between the dollar and gold with a roughly $20.67 an ounce ratio. By this time, however, the view of paper as money had already established itself. So long as a $5 bill and a $5 gold coin are fungible (interchangeable, with no loss of value between them), carrying $100 in paper money is just more convenient than carrying $100 in coins.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The dollar’s debt trap

The dollar’s debt trap

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.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Look Back at Nixon’s Infamous Monetary Policy Decision

Putting the World on a Paper Standard

Half a century ago one of the most disastrous monetary policy decisions in US history was committed by Richard Nixon.  In a television address, the president declared that the nation would no longer redeem internationally dollars for gold.  Since the dollar was the world’s reserve currency, Nixon’s closing of the “Gold Window” put the world on an irredeemable paper monetary standard.

Richard Nixon during his televised speech on the “temporary” closing of the gold window (effectively a debt default). [PT]

The ramifications of the act reverberate to this very day.  America’s current financial mess, budget deficits, the reoccurring booms and busts, the decline of living standards (particularly the middle class), all have their genesis with Nixon’s infamous decision in August, 1971.

Culmination of a Long-Term Plan  

Abandoning the last vestiges of the gold standard was the culmination of a long-term plan of the banksters, politicians, financial elites, and deceitful economists.  The first step was the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 whose primary purpose was to allow its member banks to inflate the money supply without fearing the consequences – bank failures/panics, bank runs, recessions/depressions.  The Fed could, and still does, through the control of the money supply enrich itself, the government, and its aligned financial elites at the expense of the public at large.

Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Reserve Act in late 1913 – conveniently just half a year before WW1 breaks out.. [PT]

The next step on the road to monetary debasement was Franklin Roosevelt’s draconian measure of outlawing the private ownership of gold.  This was not only an unprecedented and outrageous attack on private property, but it also eliminated gold redemption of dollars domestically, which gave the Fed unlimited power to print money without fear of its notes being redeemed.

FDR’s decree outlawing private gold ownership in the US. [PT]

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Central Banks Are Now in the Endgame

Central Banks Are Now in the Endgame

The $2 quadrillion debt bubble will be the central bank endgame

Central bankers were handed the Midas curse half a century ago. Midas turned everything that he touched into gold– even his own food. Exactly 50 years ago (15 Aug, 1971) central bankers were handed a much worse curse by Nixon. But instead of turning everything into gold, their curse was to turn all real assets, including gold, into worthless paper, creating the perfect setup for this central bank endgame.

Nixon had of course not studied history. Because if he had, he would have understood that his lie was $100s of trillions worse than the Watergate lies:

“THE EFFECT OF TODAY’S ACTION will be to stabilise the dollar”

Hmmmmmm!

As the chart below shows the dollar has lost 98% in real terms (GOLD) since 1971. Just a one hour history lesson would have taught Nixon that no currency has ever survived in history since all  leaders without fail have done what Nixon did.

Reminds me of the line in Pete Seeger’s song Where have all the flowers gone”:

“WHEN WILL YOU EVER LEARN, WHEN WILL YOU EVER LEARN?”

The fall of the dollar after Nixon eliminated Bretton Woods.

Well, they will never learn of course. History has taught the very few who are willing to listen that there is no exception.

Every single currency throughout history has been debased until it has reached ZERO as I outlined here.

It seems incomprehensible that presidents and central bankers have not learnt they will all play the role that their predecessors have, in destroying the nations currency.

With their arrogance, they are all obviously hoping that they can pass the baton on so that it won’t happen on their watch. And because most leaders have a relatively short reign in relation to the lifespan of a currency, they often escape even though guilty.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Look Back at Nixon’s Infamous Monetary Decision

A Look Back at Nixon’s Infamous Monetary Decision

A half century ago one of the most disastrous monetary decisions in U.S. history was committed by Richard Nixon.  In a television address, the president declared that the nation would no longer redeem internationally dollars for gold.  Since the dollar was the world’s reserve currency, Nixon’s closing of the “Gold Window” put the world on an irredeemable paper monetary standard.

The ramifications of the act continue to this very day.  America’s current financial mess, budget deficits, the reoccurring booms and busts, the decline of living standards (particularly the middle class), all have their genesis with Nixon’s infamous decision in August, 1971.

Abandoning the last vestiges of the gold standard was the culmination of a long-term goal of the banksters, politicians, financial elites, and deceitful economists.  The first step was the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 whose primary purpose was to allow its member banks to inflate the money supply without fearing the consequences – bank failures/panics, bank runs, recessions/depressions.  The Fed could, and still does, through the control of the money supply enrich itself, the government, and its aligned financial elites at the expense of the public at large.

The next step on the road to monetary debasement was Franklin Roosevelt’s  draconian measure of outlawing the private ownership of gold.  This was not only an unprecedented and outrageous attack on private property, but it also eliminated gold redemption of dollars domestically, which gave the Fed unlimited power to print money without fear of its notes being redeemed.

The specious justification for the law, enacted shortly after the start of FDR’s first tyrannical term in office, was to fight the Great Depression.  Of course, the measure did nothing to mitigate the Depression which, in fact, was not caused by Americans’ ownership of gold, but rather the Fed itself and its wild inflationary policies throughout the “Roaring 20s.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Iran Will Determine If The US Dollar Remains The World’s Reserve Currency

How Iran Will Determine If The US Dollar Remains The World’s Reserve Currency

For almost two centuries, Sterling reigned supreme as the world’s reserve currency, propping up the vast British Empire which was the world’s superpower during the 19th century and the early 20th. Then, in the span of just a few months, everything changed and the US Dollar took over after a series of dramatic events.

For those unfamiliar with this historic transformation, Clarmond’s Mustafa Zaidi and Chris Andrew describe the series of events in which Iran and its oil reserves proved to be the final nail in the coffin of sterling and the British Empire. However, what is far more interesting, is their suggestion that the current tensions between Washington and Tehran, and what happens to Iranian gas, could also be the event that results in the end of the dollar’s own reserve status.

Why? Read on in Clarmond’s observation on “Self Deception and Pride.”

Wilting in the muggy summer of 1945 in Washington DC, an ailing Lord Keynes messaged London – his mission to procure a $5b grant to avoid a ‘financial Dunkirk’ had failed.

Instead the Americans had offered a $3.5b loan loaded high with conditions. “We are in Shylock’s hands” muttered Ernie Bevin, the Labour Foreign Minister. The American demands were put forward by a former cotton king (Will Clayton) a future Chief Justice (Fred Vinson) and crafted by the President of Chase Bank (Winthrop Aldrich). There were three immovable requirements for the loan. First an end to Imperial Preference in trade, secondly the floatation of Sterling within a year, and thirdly Britain signing up to the Bretton Woods system.

The American objective was to put American industry and finance at the centre of the world. This meant dismantling the sterling free-trade market and destroying sterling’s status as a settlement and reserve currency.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Credit Cycle is on the Turn

We are on the verge of moving into an era of high interest rates, so markets will behave differently from any time since the early-1980s. There are enough similarities with the post-Bretton Woods era of the 1970s to give us some guidance as to how markets are likely to evolve in the foreseeable future.

u turn 1

The chart above says much. Last week, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond broke new high ground for this credit cycle. The evolution of key moving averages in bullish sequence (for higher yields, but sharply lower bond prices) is a model example out of the chartist’s textbook. The underlying momentum looks so powerful that a quick rise to 3.5% and beyond appears to be a racing certainty. The credit cycle, transiting from a period of cheap finance into higher borrowing costs is clearly on the turn.

In the fiat-money world, everything takes its valuation cue from US Treasury bonds. For equities it is theoretically the long bond, which is also racing towards higher yields. Having ignored rising yields for the long bond so far, the S&P500 only recently hit new highs. It has been a fantasy-land for equities from which a rude awakening appears increasingly certain. It is likely that the current downturn in equity prices is the start of a new downtrend in all financial assets that have been badly caught on the hop by the ending of cheap credit.

At some stage, and this is why the bond-yield break-out is important, we will face a disruption in valuations that undermines the relationship between assets and debt. This has been a periodic event, with central banks taking whatever action was needed to rescue the commercial banks. When the crisis happens, they reduce interest rates to support asset valuations, propping up government bond markets and ultimately equities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fed’s Easy-Money Policies Aren’t Helping Income Growth

The Fed’s Easy-Money Policies Aren’t Helping Income Growth

inequality1.PNG

Back in August, Bloomberg interviewed Karen Petrou about her research on quantitative easing and the Fed’s policies since the 2008 financial crisis. What she has discovered has not been encouraging for people who aren’t already high-income, and in recent research presented to the New York Fed, she concluded “Post-crisis monetary and regulatory policy had an unintended but nonetheless dramatic impact on the income and wealth divides.”

This assessment is based on her own work, but also on a 2018 report released by the Minneapolis Fed.1  The report showed that both income and wealth growth in the US have been much better for higher-income households in recent decades

Notably, when indexed to 1971 (the year Nixon ended the last link between gold and the dollar) we can see the disparity between the top wealth groups and other groups:

income_wealth.PNG

 Petrou continues:

What did we learn [from the Minneapolis Fed report]? This new dataset shows clearly that U.S. wealth inequality is the worst it has been throughout the entire U.S. post-war period. We also know now that the U.S. middle class is even more “hollowed out” than we thought in terms of income, with any gains made by the lower-middle class sharply reversed after 2007.

Indeed, the report concludes: “…half of all American households have less wealth today in real terms than the median household had in 1970.”

A closer look at income data also suggests that income growth has been especially anemic since 2007. Using data from the Census Bureau’s 2017 report on income and poverty, we find that incomes for the 90th percentile are increasingly pulling away from both the median (50th percentile) income and from the 20th-percentile income.2

income_percentile.PNG

 The household income for the 20th percentile increased 70 percent since 1971, while it has only increased 20 percent at the 20th percentile.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Road to 2025 (Part 3) – USD Dominated Financial System Will Fall Apart

The Road to 2025 (Part 3) – USD Dominated Financial System Will Fall Apart

It’s our currency, but it’s your problem.

– U.S. Treasury Secretary John Connelly to European Finance Ministers, 1971

Today’s post will cover a topic that consumed my thoughts for many years, but one I haven’t discussed much lately. Namely, the terminal nature of a global financial system being propped up artificially by central bank shenanigans.

First, it’s crucial to understand that at the very core of our global economy is a financial system dominated by the U.S. dollar. The USD is a fiat currency directly backed by nothing, the supply of which can be arbitrarily altered and manipulated by a group of unelected bureaucrats in charge of the Federal Reserve. This money system represents the most powerful tool of centralized power on planet earth.

The USD is unique in that it grants the U.S. the “exorbitant privilege” of having a national currency which at the same time serves as the global reserve currency. This was solidified toward the end of World War 2 with the Bretton Woods agreement, and was accepted because the U.S. agreed to offer sovereign nations holding dollars a right to exchange these dollars for gold at a fixed price. This fell apart in 1971, but was shortly replaced with an unofficial “petrodollar” system, which allowed the USD to remain the world reserve currency despite no longer being redeemable in gold.

Before moving on, I want to share a few excerpts from an article I read yesterday titled, The De-Dollarization in China:

Petrodollars emerged when Henry Kissinger dealt with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, after “Black September” in Jordan.

The agreement was simple. Saudi Arabia had to accept only dollars as payments for the oil it sold, but was forced to invest that huge amount of US currency only in the US financial channels while, in return, the United States placed Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC neighbouring countries under its own military protection.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The yuan-oil future and gold

The yuan-oil future and gold

“There can be little doubt that the introduction of the yuan-denominated oil future has been a major strategic step for China.”

Regular readers of Goldmoney’s research will be aware that we were among the first to alert western financial markets that China would introduce a new oil futures contract priced in yuan, months before it was officially admitted that the plans for the contract were being finalised and a date for trading was being planned.i

Trading in the new Shanghai oil future commenced last Monday, and on the first three days trading there were 151,804 contracts traded with a turnover value of 65bn yuan. It is the first futures contract listed on China’s mainland available to overseas users, putting them on the same footing as domestic investors. There are 15 benchmark contracts for different delivery dates between September next and March 2019.

There is little doubt that the Chinese government views this contract as an important development, with international commodity trading houses, such as Glencore and Trafigura, encouraged to participate. Furthermore, state-owned banks would have been on hand to ensure the necessary currency and financial liquidity is available.

The Chinese are likely to ensure trading liquidity continues to build in its new oil contracts before its oil suppliers routinely use them against physical oil deliveries. Presumably, this is one reason the first delivery date is in September, while actual shipment is never more than a month or so.

This contract goes head-to-head against the petrodollar and is the first serious challenge to it since its inception in the mid-1970s. The petrodollar was born out of the monetary chaos that led to the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement, when excess dollars in foreign hands were redeemed for gold. In that sense, being the first significant threat to the petrodollar, this contract could mark the end of a monetary era.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Petrodollar’s Biggest Challengers

The Petrodollar’s Biggest Challengers

Rig

Established in the early 1970s, the petrodollar has secured the United States’ influence over the oil trade for over 40 years, but recently, it is clear that this monopoly is slowly beginning to fall apart.

Due to the plummeting value of the dollar, the debt from the Vietnam War, and excessive domestic spending, President Nixon abruptly pulled out of the Bretton Woods Accord, which pegged the dollar to the price of gold and based the value of other currencies on that of the dollar. Labeled the “Nixon Shock,” these actions left the country bursting with debt and low on cash, with many of its key allies such as Britain, France, and Germany questioning whether the U.S. was justified in its position as the leader of the global economy.

While the U.S. economy entered a nose dive, another geopolitical event was unfolding which exacerbated the economic free fall.

In 1973, Syria and Egypt, backed by several other Arab Nations, launched an attack on Israel which marked the beginning of the Yom Kippur War (or Ramadan War). The war placed increased pressure on oil prices, and when the United States provided Israel with financial aid and arms, the Arab Nations responded.

In 1960, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed. At the core of this organization were Kuwait, Iran, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates – countries which were strongly opposed to U.S. interference in the 20-day war.

Following U.S. provisions to Israel, resource rich OPEC placed an oil embargo on all those thought to have aided Israel, including the United States, Britain, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands and later South Africa and Portugal. By 1974, the price of oil quadrupled.

With the success of the embargo, and cartel’s new role as an oil price influencer, Saudi Arabia became the de facto leader of OPEC.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Path to the Great Reset

PATH TO THE GREAT RESET

Gold has been money for most of recorded human history. Industrial capitalism operated on a global gold standard up until the world wars shredded Europe’s economy. In 1933, President Roosevelt criminalized private gold ownership using an executive order, and the U.S. government forced citizens to sell their gold at a below-market valuation. This gold was melted down into bricks and shipped to Fort Knox where KPMG says it still sits to this day.

The Bretton Woods Agreement was executed in 1944, which pegged the U.S. dollar to gold at $35 per ounce, and installed the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Under Bretton Woods, all other national currencies were pegged to the dollar, and foreign central banks could exchange dollars for gold at the fixed rate.

The Bretton Woods Agreement required the U.S. government to maintain the dollar-to-gold exchange ratio, but that didn’t happen. The U.S. government instead ramped up the printing presses to power its “Guns and Butter” campaigns in the fifties and sixties. Eventually foreign central banks caught on and began to exchange their dollar reserves for gold through the gold window. Gold steadily flowed out of the U.S. Treasury until August 15, 1971 when President Nixon unilaterally closed the gold window and ended the U.S. dollar’s direct convertibility to gold.

This action thrust the entire world onto a fiat monetary standard where all currencies floated in value against one another. The word “fiat” is defined as: an arbitrary order or decree, and the word very literally means “let it be done” in Latin. Fiat money is simply money that comes into existence and derives its value exclusively from government decree.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Clock Is Ticking On The U.S. Dollar As World’s Reserve Currency

The Clock Is Ticking On The U.S. Dollar As World’s Reserve Currency

The View From Hubbert’s Peak

In 1971, the American President put an end to a 2,500 year trend; the Wall Street Journal called it “Nixon’s Worst Weekend.” Considering the old boy had some really bad ones, this must have been something special. In August of that year (on Friday the 13th) it was decided that the U.S. would no longer pay out gold for its paper dollars. OPEC Ministers took note, and in September they met, deciding it would be necessary to collect more paper dollars, if possible, since gold was no longer on offer and oil was the only asset they had to sell.

It would take another two years for those decisions to matter (during the October 1973 embargo in the wake of another Arab-Israeli war). The Oil Embargo marked the end of ‘free’ energy, and kicked off a massive rise in the price of oil because the U.S., the world’s swing producer since Colonel Drake’s Pennsylvania strike in 1859, had finally reached peak production at around 10 million barrels per day in 1970. This moment is the original Hubbert’s Peak, the beginning of decline for the U.S. oil industry, at least until recently. The surge in U.S. production since 2010 has stalled out around 9.5 mb/d and, due to the Saudi decision to give the American tight oil producers ‘a good sweating,’ that rate has begun to fall in the last few months.

It is certainly possible that U.S. production will surpass the 1970 peak, but with low prices it is hard to say when that will be; it is also hard to say how long that will last as tight oil wells have a devilishly high rate of decline. It is worth noting, as Arthur Berman has recently done in his fine article, that even the best producers are losing money now, and lots more are being lost by those who are not the best. Making it up on volume is a dog that does not hunt for $45.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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