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France’s Protests: Why It’s Different This Time

France’s Protests: Why It’s Different This Time

When the first demonstrations on the streets of Paris were reported nine weeks ago, nobody could have foreseen the endurance, the tenacity and the viral effect of the Yellow Vests movement. After all, the French are known to protest and to strike, it’s part and parcel of their culture. However, by the time this article is being written, protests, marches and demonstrations have broken out in a multitude of European cities.

Why Was it Different this Time?

To begin with, it is worth taking a closer look at the situation in France, the point of origin of this “contagion.” There are a few very important elements that set the Yellow Vests apart from past protests. For one thing, unlike previous demonstrations, this one wasn’t led by the unions, nor was it organized by any identifiable political body. The protesters had no unified or homogenous political beliefs, party affiliations or ideological motivations. In fact, through interviews and public statements of individuals taking part in the demonstrations, it would appear that any organized elements, or members of the far-left or the far-right were a slim minority among the protesters. And while those few were the ones largely involved in the violent clashes with the police and the destruction of private and public property, the crushing majority of the Yellow Vests were peaceful, non-violent and largely unaffiliated with any particular political direction.

As the movement grew and spread, many political figures have tried to co-opt it, without success. Front National’s Le Pen, hardline leftist Melenchon, far-left factions and various union leaders, all tried to place their flag on the Yellow Vests, claiming that they align with and can represent their grievances. They all failed.

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

Money: How Its Past Predicts Its Future

Money: How Its Past Predicts Its Future

btc_gold1.PNG

What is money, where does it come from and more importantly where does it go?

At first glance, it might appear inexplicable and bizarre that our governments and our rulers have managed to keep their stronghold over the monetary system for 2000 years, especially when one thinks about the countless ways in which they abused that power and used their monopoly to the detriment of their own citizens. It was a mass delusion that facilitated this, a blind belief that they, and they alone, can be trusted with this vital task while looking out for our best interests as well. However, now, as mistrust against our rulers is justifiably deepening, it is becoming increasingly clear that only we as individuals can ensure our best interests and it is only a matter of time before the entire ill-founded edifice comes crumbling down.

To answer all these questions about money, we need to first understand its history — keeping in mind that those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. Everything started when people settled down and instead of living off nature they started adding value to it; this was the beginning of private property rights. In addition, men started to realize that some people are better at performing specific duties than others and thus set into motion what we today understand as the division of labor. This increased economic output and in general terms, everyone became better off. This transition in how work was performed in an economy made trade between individuals a necessity. Thus barter, or the exchange of real goods and services against other real goods and services, became commonplace. Barter also had its disadvantages, because it required what is known as a “double coincidence of wants” in order to function.

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The Big Picture: Paper Money vs. Gold

The Big Picture: Paper Money vs. Gold

Numbers from Bizarro-World

The past few months have been really challenging for anyone invested in gold or silver; for me personally as well. Despite serious warning signs in the economy, staggering debt levels and a multitude of significant geopolitical threats at play, the rally in risk assets seemed to continue unabated.

Bizarro-World intrudes into our reality, courtesy of central banks. [PT]

In fact, I was struggling with this seeming paradox myself. As I kept looking at the state of the markets, I couldn’t help but wonder “what if they just keep kicking the can down the road for the next 20 years, or even longer?”

Since the peak in 2011, gold and silver have been in a strong correction period and overall, prices haven’t benefited from all the trillions that have been injected into the markets since 2008. Total credit growth was approximately $80 trillion, climbing from $160 trillion to around $240 trillion in a mere 10 years.

The major central banks combined increased their balance sheet by buying government and institutional debt from $6 trillion to $21 trillion (FED, ECB, BOJ, PBoC), but none of it went into gold. However, even though these days we read and hear these numbers so often, it is still almost impossible for the true meaning of these sums to really sink in.

A trillion is hard to truly take in and understand; $80 trillion in debt is something already so far beyond our grasp that it might as well be $100, $200, or $300 trillion and it would almost make no conceptual difference. A good way to correct this dissonance is just think about the fact that 1 million seconds are 8 days, 1 billion seconds are 35 years and 1 trillion seconds translate into 32,000 years – bringing us back to the Stone Age.

Assets held by major central banks.

PBoC balance sheet

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A Fake Brexit and the “Noble Dream” – Claudio Grass Speaks With Godfrey Bloom

A Fake Brexit and the “Noble Dream” – Claudio Grass Speaks With Godfrey Bloom

Introductory Remarks: The “Anti-Politician” Godfrey Bloom, by PT

Most of our readers will probably remember former UKIP chief whip and European Parliament representative Godfrey Bloom. As far as we know, he is the only politician who ever raised the issue of the workings of the fractionally reserved central bank-directed monetary system in the EU parliament. This system is of course central to the phenomenon of the recurring boom-bust sequences plaguing the global economy.

Godfrey Bloom (left) and interviewer Claudio Grass

It is also a major means of redistributing wealth from the poor and the middle classes to those who are already rich and own most of the assets likely to appreciate in price due to monetary inflation (an unavoidable side-effect, irrespective of their wishes). Moreover, it creates an insidious, hidden “inflation tax” that benefits the State to the detriment of all those engaged in real wealth creation, from workers to entrepreneurs.

It is probably no wonder that the ruling caste is usually quite reluctant to discuss the issue openly. Besides, it seems likely that most of what Bloom said went right over the heads of most of his colleagues in Strasbourg anyway. On one occasion he also had a few choice words on the nature of the State and pointed out “who the real tax avoiders are” – which they surely didn’t want to hear, since he noted they were right in there in the room with him.

Godfrey Bloom on the scam of fractional reserve banking

Bloom quotes Rothbard: “The State is an institution of theft”

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Can Switzerland Save the World?

Switzerland: Far from Flawless, but still a Unique Country – An Interview with Claudio Grass

Our friend Claudio Grass has discussed Switzerland in these pages before, and on one of these occasions we added some background information on country’s truly unique political system (see “The People Against the Establishment” for  the details). People are generally aware that direct democracy in the form of frequent  referendums is a major characteristic of the Swiss system, but how many people know that the country’s executive is essentially modeled after the system established in the city states of ancient Greece?

The Sphinx observatory on Mt. Jungfraujoch in the awe-inspiring Swiss alps.     Photo credit: Jungfraubahnen

Claudio was recently interviewed by Jeff Deist of the Mises Institute on what we can learn from Switzerland, which despite its undeniable flaws, continues to stand out among European nations states as a beacon of liberty. As the introduction at the Mises Institute notes, political life in Switzerland differentiates itself by its strongly pronounced degree of subsidiarity and the major limitations it places on central political power structures at the federal level:

Switzerland is no libertarian paradise. It has bureaucrats and a wayward central bank. But it remains an astonishing modern example of the principles of federalism and subsidiarity in action. In fact, it exemplifies Lew Rockwell’s daydream: nobody much knows or cares who is president. Its federal administrative state demonstrates humility instead of hubris. And virtually all political decisions, from taxes to welfare to immigration, are decided locally. Claudio Grass joins Jeff Deist to discuss what libertarians can learn from Switzerland, and how neutrality in two disastrous European wars shapes Swiss DNA today.

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

Cultural Marxism and the Birth of Modern Thought-Crime

If a person has no philosophical thoughts, certain questions will never cross his mind. As a young man, there were many issues and ideas that never concerned me as they do today. There is one question, however, which has intrigued me for the longest time, and it still fascinates me as intensely as it did back then: Does spirit precede matter or is it the other way around?

In other words, does human consciousness create what we perceive as our reality and physical existence or vice versa; does the pre-existing material world determine our sentience and shape our cognition? In essence, what really lies beneath the surface of this question is the following: is man born as a conscious being with free will and self-determination or not?

thought policeYou may think citizen, but it will be best if you confine yourself to approved collectivist thought. In case you find yourself unable to do so, you may need to be reeducated.     Illustration by LibertyManiacs.com

Do not be alarmed; this is not an article on political philosophy. But it is a fundamental existential issue that I found underpins many of the doubts I have regarding the functioning of our society and our political culture. While I freely admit that I am no philosopher or expert in the field, I will try to explain in this article why the answer we choose to this crucial question, which most people never even consider, has an amazing impact on the way we think, the way we live and act and the way society behaves as a whole.

We need to understand why Western society and its cultural identity have so vastly degenerated and especially why family values have deteriorated so dramatically.

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Gold – The Best Defense Strategy

If you are used to making visits to your bank to make your credit card payments, you may find this no longer an option in the future. Some banks are no longer accepting (or limiting their acceptance) of cash deposits. The war on cash forges on. Paper money, which is indeed more or less worthless, is slowly being taken out of circulation and being replaced by digital currency.

Burning_Money

Photo credit: Stephen Krow

This shift presents of course the same fundamental problem as paper money itself: “digital money” is also not backed by gold or other precious metals or any asset representing real value. The whole concept of digitizing our transactions is being marketed as a convenience, a hassle-free payment method and a transparent, easy new way to smoothly run our lives and businesses, without the burden of carrying cash around.

However, the realistic flip side of this joyful argument is more ominous than we might at first realize: Now, account monitoring or freezing, and confiscations will be easier than ever. And of course, by eliminating cash, central banks are getting rid of the last existing barrier to negative interest rates.

The Global Economy is Stuck… Gold is on a Roll

In the first quarter of 2016, the gold price rallied by 14.3%, and in February alone, it jumped 9.6% – this was the highest single-month increase in four years. 2016 has so far not shown any positive changes on the economic front. Growth remains rather slow, much slower than projected by government authorities and the various mainstream market experts and gurus. So what has driven the demand for the precious metal? It goes back to the basics: Risk!

1--Gold, June futuresGold, June 2016 futures, daily – click to enlarge.

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The World is Red

With a Gloomy Start to 2016, a Bust Seems just Around the Corner

Markets have corrected substantially since the beginning of the year as most of the gains of the past two years have been erased. According to Bloomberg, 40 out of the largest 63 markets have dropped over 20%. The image below shows the performance of markets word-wide since their most recent peaks. Most markets are in a bear market phase or are at best experiencing a strong correction. The world is red!

Where do global markets stand?

1-world_redA heat map of global stock markets by Bloomberg – click to enlarge.

China’s economy is slowing down and oil prices have slumped to a new multi-year low. Is this the bust phase of the cycle that started in 2008? In our ‘Clean Slate’ report about Austrian Business Cycle Theory, we explained that there appear to be short-term cycles in operation, which last approximately 7 years, but also long-term cycles with a duration of around 50 years.

Those familiar with the bible are aware of the term “jubilee”, which signifies the end of a 50-year long-term debt cycle, when all outstanding debts are annulled and slaves are freed. But before the “jubilee” of our time happens, things are likely to get worse. Governments are apt to take measures that will constrain our liberties further. Their objective is to maintain an artificially centralized system by force – however, eventually this system will fall apart.

Past recessions, such as the oil shock of 1973, the double-dip recession of 1980-81, the stock market crash in 1987, the bond market crash in 1994, the dot-com bubble’s demise in 2001 or the 2008 financial crisis were all busts operating within short-term cycles. We believe that we are approaching the end of the current 7-year cycle.

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

Gold, the War on Cash and Greece – a Podcast with Claudio Grass

Gold, the War on Cash and Greece – a Podcast with Claudio Grass

Claudio Shares his Ideas

We were quite busy lately and are therefore actually a bit late in posting this podcast, in which our good friend Claudio Grass of Global Gold is interviewed by The Daily Coin on the recent hot topics of Greece, the declaration of war against cash and how gold fits into all of this.

3263efdClaudio Grass, CEO of Global Gold

Anyway, it is always refreshing to hear Claudio’s viewpoints, and although there is currently always the potential of events overtaking one’s guesses/predictions in connection with Greece, Claudio does offer an interesting perspective here. One of the problems Greece has (which at the same time, is the only trump card of the creditors, since they can switch off ELA anytime) is deposit flight. People are taking their money out of Greek banks in droves, inter alia hoarding cash. As Claudio avers, similar to Cyprus, Greece could end up becoming a test bed for unsavory policies in the attempt to bring it to heel.

The people interviewing Claudio are trying to direct the conversation toward a discussion of alleged gold price manipulation at the beginning, but Claudio politely sidesteps the issue. We’re just mentioning this because we want you to know that in spite of the impression one might get at the beginning, this topic isn’t what the podcast is about.

As far as we are concerned, we do have some sympathy regarding the idea that governments and central bankers don’t really want to see the gold price going bananas, given that it would deliver an unwanted verdict on their fiat money Ponzi. That seems obvious enough. However, if, as some observers allege, a conspiracy to suppress the gold price on an ongoing basis over the past several years, even decades, exists, the endeavor has to be called one of the biggest successes in history in terms of enforcing omerta on its members, and in light of the gold price trend between 2000 and 2011, also one of the biggest failures in the entire history of market manipulations.

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

 

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