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Doug Casey: The Deep State Is the Source of Our Economic Problems

Doug Casey: The Deep State Is the Source of Our Economic Problems

Justin’s note: As longtime readers know, Doug Casey says we’re well into what he calls the Greater Depression.

America is headed for trouble… and it’s critical to know exactly what’s going on.

That’s why today’s essay is so important. In it, Doug explains the source behind every negative thing that’s happening right now… and what’s really going on behind the scenes.

It’s one of the most educational and entertaining pieces you’ll read all year.


I’d like to address some aspects of the Greater Depression in this essay.

I’m here to tell you that the inevitable became reality in 2008. We’ve had an interlude over the last few years financed by trillions of new currency units.

However, the economic clock on the wall is reading the same time as it was in 2007, and the Black Horsemen of your worst financial nightmares are about to again crash through the doors and end the party. And this time, they won’t be riding children’s ponies, but armored Percherons.

To refresh your memory, let me recount what a depression is.

The best general definition is: A period of time when most people’s standard of living drops significantly. By that definition, the Greater Depression started in 2008, although historians may someday say it began in 1971, when real wages started falling.

It’s also a period of time when distortions and misallocations of capital are liquidated, and when the business cycle, which is caused exclusively by currency debasement, also known as inflation, climaxes. That results in high unemployment, business failures, uncompleted construction, bond defaults, stock market crashes, and the like.

Fortunately, for those who benefit from the status quo, and members of something called the Deep State, the trillions of new currency units delayed the liquidation. But they also ensured it will now happen on a much grander scale.

The Deep State is an extremely powerful network that controls nearly everything around you. You won’t read about it in the news because it controls the news. Politicians won’t talk about it publicly. That would be like a mobster discussing murder and robbery on the 6 o’clock news. You could say the Deep State is hidden, but it’s only hidden in plain sight.

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

The Bank Of Japan Bought 5.6 Trillion Yen In Stocks Last Year

The Bank Of Japan Bought 5.6 Trillion Yen In Stocks Last Year

There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.  

                – Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

In recent years, thanks to central bank intervention in virtually every asset class, writing about capital markets in the context of some valuation or fundamental analysis framework has become a laughable, surreal, and self-defeating exercise, and here is a perfect example why.

For one reason or another, overseas investors dumped Japanese stocks by the largest margin in 31 years in the fiscal year ended Sunday, according to official market data: specifically, market participants abroad unloaded about 5.63 trillion yen ($50 billion) worth of shares on a net basis, the Tokyo Stock Exchange reported Thursday, for a second straight year of net selling and the highest sell-off since 1987.

And yet this barely caused a ripple in asset prices for one simple reason: the Bank of Japan’s asset purchases absorbed all the bleeding, exposing the central bank’s outsize role in the market. Indeed, as the Nikkei adds, this near-record liquidation was matched nearly yen for yen by the BOJ’s pumping of money into the economy through asset purchases, with the central bank buying 5.65 trillion yen worth of equity!

Of course, there were legitimate reasons why foreign investors felt the urge to liquidate Japanese holdings: international investors unloaded Japanese shares as they became alarmed by concerns about a global slowdown. With many Japanese manufacturers reliant on exports, overseas analysts cut their recommendations for those stocks amid China’s decelerating economy and Beijing’s trade war with the US.

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

ECB Inflationists are Crippling Europe

ECB Inflationists are Crippling Europe

Last week, the ECB announced the reintroduction of targeted long-term refinancing operations for the third time. TLTRO-III is scheduled to start from next September. The idea is to make yet more money available for the banks at attractive rates on condition they increase their lending to non-financial entities.

The policy is justified because the ECB sees growing signs the Eurozone economy is stalling, possibly badly. The weaker Eurozone economies are moving into outright recession, and Germany’s motor exports appear to have dramatically slowed, putting a constraint on her whole economy. 

The ECB’s reintroduction of TLTRO is an offer of yet more monetary and credit inflation, despite the evidence that unprecedented waves of monetary inflation in the last ten years have failed in all the objectives for which they were designed, except two: governments have continued to get the funds to spend without meaningful restraint, and insolvent banks have been preserved.

Only two months after its asset purchase programme officially ended, the inflationists are at it again. But one wonders why the ECB bothers to delay TLTRO-III until September. If it is such a good thing, why not introduce it now?

There is another explanation, and that is the ECB is intellectually adrift with no economic compass. We do not know how many economists and monetary specialists are employed in the Eurosystem, which includes the ECB and the regional central banks, but they are certainly not economists, otherwise they would understand money. They may be technicians, which is not the same thing. If they were economists, or more precisely properly schooled in the human sub-science of catallactics (the theory of exchange ratios and prices) they would more fully appreciate the consequences of monetary inflation.

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

Hyperinflation is Becoming Common in The 21st Century

Hyperinflation is Becoming Common in The 21st Century

How destructive is hyperinflation? To quote economist Thomas Sowell, “Hyperinflation can take virtually your entire life’s savings, without the government having to bother raising the official tax rate at all.”

A number of countries are currently experiencing the destructive effects of hyperinflation.

With the Venezuelan Bolivar at above 2,000,000 percent inflation, buying anything, even if something should be available, is virtually impossible. At towns along the Columbian border, food and medicine are bought with dollars or pesos. The Bolivar has simply lost any kind of value.

Foreign currency has become a critical means of survival in Venezuela. More than 40,000 Venezuelans, desperate for work and food, cross the border to Columbia each day. If they find work, they are paid in pesos. Should food be available, that, too, is purchased with pesos. Bolivars have become almost irrelevant to many Venezuelans. Most other currencies are eagerly accepted.

During the recent blackout that left Venezuela in the dark, food and medicine could only be bought with cash, as the electronic payment systems were non-functional. In Venezuela, cash means any foreign currency. In Maracaibo, the country’s second largest city, only U.S. currency greater than the dollar bill was accepted.

Foreign currency becomes available through friends and family who have permanently escaped the country and can send back cash. Those without such connections suffer. Some stores won’t accept the bolivar, and those that do charge a price Venezuelans cannot afford. Anyone lucky enough to have a job finds that the minimum wage of 18,000 bolivars, or $6.00, does not buy much.

With Venezuela in a state of turmoil as Maduro is fighting for his life, even the scarce goods that used to occupy the shelves are becoming rarer. This, of course, makes them more expensive, even when paid for with U.S. dollars. Even the dollar is becoming a victim of Venezuelan inflation.

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

How States/Empires Collapse in Four Easy Steps

How States/Empires Collapse in Four Easy Steps

The promises cannot be met, and so society decays into warring elites and competing constituencies.

There is a grand, majestic tragedy in the inevitable collapse of once-thriving states and empires: it all seemed so permanent at its peak, so godlike in its power, and then slowly but surely, too many grandiose, unrealistic promises were made to too many elites and constituencies, and then as growth decays to stagnation, the only way to maintain the status quo is to appear to meet all the promises by creating money out of thin air, i.e. debauching the currency.

This political expediency works most wonderfully for a time: people don’t realize the silver content of their coinage is being cut to near-zero, or there’s nothing holding up the value of their currency but trickery and vague allusions to past glory.

Trust in the state/empire’s currency suddenly collapses in a phase shift: all seems well until the moment the avalanche sweeps it all away.

It’s a simple progression: during the permanent-growth-is-our-birthright phase of self-reinforcing virtuous cycles, when everything is expanding rapidly–credit, resources, jobs, capital, profits, state tax revenues, etc.–promises are made to elites and constituencies that look easy to meet as the economy is projected to expand rapidly essentially forever.

But virtuous cycles decay to unvirtuous cycles of bureaucratic sclerosis and corruption, systemic friction, declining productivity and resource depletion, and the rise of parasitic elites who contribute nothing but skim plenty saps the surplus available for productive reinvestment.

Every elite under pressure to satisfy the demands of those who were over-promised in the good times reverts to the same two financial fixes: debt and currency debasement. 

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

What If Politics Can’t Fix What’s Broken?

What If Politics Can’t Fix What’s Broken?

This is the politics of decline and collapse.The unspoken assumption of the modern era is that politics can fix whatever is broken: whatever is broken in society or the economy can be fixed by some political policy or political process– becoming more inclusionary, seeking non-partisan middle ground, etc.

What if this assumption is flat-out wrong? What is politics is incapable of fixing what’s broken? What if politics merely fosters an illusion of solutions, a paper-thin veneer of faux progress? What if politics isn’t a tool that’s capable of fixing what’s broken? What if all politics is able to do is generate delusions of grandeur and unresolvable conflicts? What if politics is ultimately little more than a fatal distraction?

This is of course heresy of the highest order, for a belief in the supremacy of politics is the secular religion of our era. The orthodoxy is: there is no problem that can’t be solved with a political policy: a tax cut, a new tax, a new incentive, a broader definition of criminality, and so on.

What if the status quo is failing for reasons that are beyond the reach of politics? Politics assumes that tweaking incentives and disincentives via rewards and punishments, centralizing control of assets and income streams and manipulating the issuance of currency and interest rates can fix any and every problem.

The limits of politics are the limits of government. In the present era, all government seeks to further centralize power and capital because the era’s quasi-religious belief is that centralization is the solution to everything.

This is of course false.

Centralization works until it becomes the problem, at which point further centralization of power and capital only speeds system-wide failure.

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

Blain: European Banks Are The Most Successful Ponzi Scheme Of All Time

Blain: European Banks Are The Most Successful Ponzi Scheme Of All Time

“Lenin was right. There is subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.”

I must post this line from one of my favourite Financial sector commentaries – Duncan Farr of Jeffries who covers banks: “Here we are 5 weeks ahead of Brexit, and the top 2 performing banks in Europe are Lloyds followed by RBoS.” If you ever wanted a clearer hint the supposed Brexit crisis and imminent collapse of UK plc might just be a fictitious political construct, then there you are.  Its fascinating just how sanguine the markets have become about the divorce. Sterling is up and who cares?

I have often been told I worry about all the wrong things. According to BAML, (reported on BBerg), the biggest fear of European investors currently is a Worldwide Economic Slump, with 30% of respondents citing it as their primary worry. Yep. I can see why that would be an issue. Only 2% of European investors surveyed by BAML rank Brexit as their primary fear. It’s not even in the top 5! (For the record, my primary fear is a Global Liquidity Storm – the sudden and catastrophic drying up of liquidity following a shock..)

Politics and markets are intertwined, but… maybe no longer in the case of Brexit? It’s just become background noise – meaning it; doesn’t matter, or we’re overly complacent. UK politics has never looked so dire. Markets appear increasingly disinterested. A new UK political party, and unstated threats a whole slew of ministers are set to resign if we get/don’t get a Brexit deal. Rumours are a deal is already inked with Brussels. Rumours are the Tory Brexiteers will reject it – whatever it says. It Theresa May is capable of getting together a deal in parliament – then this would probably be a good time..

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

Gold Will Become the Next Global Currency of Choice

Gold Will Become the Next Global Currency of Choice

With a wobbly stock market, falling Treasury yields and rampant geopolitical strife, the focus on gold as an asset has been intense as of late. The metal’s price gains reflect this, as gold recently proved able to hold above a key resistance level, which holds bullish implications.

But according to Kitco, Sprott CEO Peter Grosskopf sees gold moving past its role as a mere asset and eventually returning to its status as a true global currency. In an interview, Grosskopf explained that this will be fueled by ballooning global debt, which will ultimately debase all fiat currencies.

As Grosskopf pointed out, recent data shows that the global debt rests above $244 trillion and, as such, is more than three times larger than the global economy itself. Whether governments decide to deal with this through quantitative easing or financial repression, he says gold prices will invariably spike.

The recognition of gold’s role in wealth preservation is on the rise, said Grosskopf, with investors increasingly shying away from fiat currencies and moving into gold. The widespread loss of faith in not just assets, but currencies as well, is already in effect, with Grosskopf’s firm noticing more interest from all corners of the investment spectrum.

“We think the overall trend for gold is positive because it is being accumulated,” said the CEO. “It’s being accumulated by central banks; it’s being accumulated by billionaires, it’s been accumulated by endowments and it’s more accepted as a class of currencies in portfolios.”

This New Catalyst Will Drive Silver Prices Higher in 2019

Money Morning’s Peter Krauth writes silver’s recent pullback below the $16 level was not only expected, but also irrelevant for its long-term picture. Even after the pullback, the metal remains up 12% since November, and Krauth sees more gains coming in the near future.

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

Why Everything That Needs to Be Fixed Remains Permanently Broken

Why Everything That Needs to Be Fixed Remains Permanently Broken

Just in case you missed what’s going on in France: the status quo in Europe is doomed.

The status quo has a simple fix for every crisis and systemic problem:

1. create currency out of thin air

2. give it to super-wealthy banks, financiers and corporations to boost their wealth and income.

One way these entities increase their wealth and income is to lend this nearly free money to commoners at much higher rates of interest. I borrow from central banks at 1% and lend it to you at 4.5%, 7% or even 19% or more. What’s not to like?

If a bank is insolvent, it can borrow money at 1% from central banks. If Joe Blow is insolvent, the only loan he can get is at 23%, if he can get any credit at all.

3. China has a variant fix for every financial crisis: build tens of millions of empty flats only the wealthy can afford as second or third “investment” flats. If the empty flats start dropping in price, government entities start secretly buying flats to support the market.

4. Empty malls, bridges to nowhere and ghost cities are also a standard-issue fix in China. Built it and they will come, until they don’t. But who cares, the developers and local governments (i.e. corrupt officials) already pocketed the dough.

You see the problem: making rich people richer doesn’t actually fix what’s broken, it only makes the problems worse. So why can’t we fix what’s broken?

It’s a question that deserves an answer, and the answer has six parts:

1. Any meaningful systemic reform threatens an entrenched, self-serving interest/elite which has a tremendous incentive to squash, co-opt or water down any reform that threatens their monopoly, benefits, etc.

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

Democratizing Money

Democratizing Money

The Green New Deal has been in the air lately. In a recent piece on this website, Rob Urie writes that the Green New Deal is “the last, best hope for environmental and social resolution outside of rapid dissolution toward dystopian hell.”

Quite a claim. Let’s take a closer look.

The Green New Deal, first articulated by the Green Party but now supported by many progressive Democrats, calls for “real financial reform” to address the twin problems of climate change and economic insecurity.

Included are some of the standard proposals we regularly hear, such as restoring the Glass-Steagell Act (separating commercial and investment banking), breaking up the big banks, ending bank bailouts, reducing debt burdens, regulating derivatives, and taxing bank bonuses.

These are serious proposals, and would likely provide some relief, but they are partial measures subject to rollback and evasion–just the kind of incremental strategy that has failed for decades.

But the “real financial reform” the Green New Deal calls for goes a lot further. It promises genuine radical change with two new proposals: One is to “democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation,” and the other is to “support the formation of federal, state, and municipal public owned banks that function as non-profit utilities.”

First, some background. Most people don’t realize that the government does not issue money; the private banking system does, by issuing loans at interest. The last time the government issued money in any quantity was during the Civil War, when so-called greenbacks were printed by the Treasury department to pay for the war. Greenbacks were not debt, but direct currency printed to give government contractors money for the goods and services provided, which they then spent into the general economy, stimulating commerce.

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

“But, it’s not backed by anything?”

“But, it’s not backed by anything?”

One of the most common arguments against Bitcoin is that it is not backed by anything. That it’s price is just speculation. But what does it mean for an asset or a currency to be backed by something in the first place? To find this out, we first need to defy what it means for something to have value. After all, if something is to be backed by something else, that something else better be something of value. Like gold. Why does gold have value? Is it valuable because you can make jewelry out of it or is jewelry made out of it because it’s valuable? You can’t eat it and it’s not very good for any other basic human need. So what makes it valuable?

A fundamental thing that people miss when thinking about value is that value is always subjective. Not a single thing is of the same value to one person as it is to another whether the price is the same or not. A price means one thing to a wealthy person and another to a poor person since the amount of time and effort they have to sacrifice in order to acquire that thing. Things like debt and compound interest also play a huge role here. In addition to this, the value of something priced in any fiat currency changes over time since the value of the currency is constantly being diluted through inflation. The value of something boils down to two distinct variables, supply and demand. Supply is alwaysobjective to the buyer and demand is always subjective. This is also true for the medium of exchange or type of money that is being used to carry out the transaction. Money is simply the language we use to express how we subjectively value things to each other.

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

What Can Kill a Useless Currency, Report 28 Oct 2018

There is a popular notion, at least among American libertarians and gold bugs. The idea is that people will one day “get woke”, and suddenly realize that the dollar is bad / unbacked / fiat / unsound / Ponzi / other countries don’t like it / <insert favorite bugaboo here>. When they do, they will repudiate it. That is, sell all their dollars to buy consumer goods (i.e. hyperinflation), gold, and/or whatever other currency.

Redemptions Balanced With Deposits

No national currency is gold-backed today. In a gold backed currency, each currency unit begins life with someone who chooses to deposit his gold coin in exchange for the paper currency. And it ends life with someone redeeming the paper to get back the gold coin. A good analogy is bone in the human body. One process is constantly removing bone material. And another process is growing more. What seems to be a static bone, with fixed length and mass, is constantly being torn down and rebuilt. The seemingly stable bone is actually in equilibrium between two opposing forces.

So it is with the gold standard. Some people are redeeming paper to get the gold coin. Others are depositing gold coins to get paper. The seemingly stable gold standard is actually in equilibrium between two opposing processes.

We often hear that governments hate the gold standard because they cannot print gold. This is true, but there is another reason. When people don’t like the interest rate or the soundness of the banks, they withdraw their gold coin. What had seemed to be stable, is no longer. This has nothing to do with quantity of currency or gold. It has everything to do with honesty.

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

Weekly Commentary: “Whatever They Want” Coming Home to Roost

Weekly Commentary: “Whatever They Want” Coming Home to Roost

Let’s begin with global. China’s yuan (CNY) traded to 6.9644 to the dollar in early-Friday trading, almost matching the low (vs. dollar) from December 2016 (6.9649). CNY is basically trading at lows going back to 2008 – and has neared the key psychological 7.0 level. CNY rallied late in Friday trading to close the week at 6.9435. From Bloomberg (Tian Chen): “Three traders said at least one big Chinese bank sold the dollar, triggering stop-losses.” Earlier, a PBOC governor “told a briefing that the central bank would continue taking measures to stabilize sentiment. We have dealt with short-sellers of the yuan a few years ago, and we are very familiar with each other. I think we both have vivid memories of the past.”
The PBOC eventually won that 2016 skirmish with the CNY “shorts”. In general, however, you don’t want your central bank feeling compelled to do battle against the markets. It’s no sign of strength. For “developing” central banks, in particular, it has too often in the past proved a perilous proposition. Threats and actions are taken, and a lot can ride on the market’s response. In a brewing confrontation, the market will test the central bank. If the central bank’s response appears ineffective, markets will instinctively pounce.

Often unobtrusively, the stakes can grow incredibly large. There’s a dynamic that has been replayed in the past throughout the emerging markets. Bubbles are pierced and “hot money” heads for the exits. Central banks and government officials then work aggressively to bolster their faltering currencies. These efforts appear to stabilize the situation for a period of time, although the relative calm masks assertive market efforts to hedge against future currency devaluation in the derivatives markets.

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

Why Competing Currencies is the Solution to a Collapsing Dollar

Why Competing Currencies is the Solution to a Collapsing Dollar

Cooperate when you think everyone involved will benefit.

Compete when you think something needs improvement.

For too long, certain states have been cooperating with the federal government without any benefit to the state or the citizens who live there. I recently highlighted five states, in particular, that would be better off as countries, without the federal government controlling them, and leaching off them.

Instead, states should be competing against the federal government.

They should be solving problems that the federal government cannot, or will not, solve.

One of America’s biggest problems is a fiat currency which has lost 85% of its value since 1971 when Nixon eliminated the gold standard.

Yesterday I discussed one possible solution. States could create or incentivize banks that safely store deposits of gold and silver, and issue a digital representation of its value. The value would not be denominated in dollars. Instead, the precious metals themselves would be indexed to purchasing power.

The banks would make money in the same way banks currently do, by lending and charging interest.

States could incentivize the use of this real money by giving discounts to anyone who paid their taxes with this new digital metal-backed money.

And the state’s incentive to do this is to cushion an economic crisis triggered by massive debt, inflation, and loss of confidence in value the US dollar.

But one possible pitfall of this system is a shortage of physical gold or silver to deposit, thus creating excess demand, and driving the price of gold and silver up.

So here’s another alternative.

State Cryptocurrency

You know the golden rule–he who has the gold makes the rules.

If states position themselves right, they can avert financial disaster when DC’s luck finally runs out.

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

This currency is designed to benefit the local community

This currency is designed to benefit the local community

This article was adapted from our latest book, “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.” Download your free pdf copy today.

The Brixton district in South London’s Lambeth borough has been a bastion of progressive thought and culture for decades. After the financial crisis of 2008, local businesses were struggling and had trouble securing loans from banks. An area that had once thrived began to stumble.

The Brixton Pound (B£) was launched in 2009 by Transition Town Brixton to support local businesses with a local currency that would “stick to Brixton.” The founders of the B£ wanted to create a mutual support system tying residents to local businesses and encouraging business to source locally.

The local borough government, Lambeth Council, was supportive of the B£ from the beginning. It recognized the local currency as a way to develop the community, build local economic resilience, and draw positive attention to the area. According to B£ Communications Manager, Marta Owczarek, “The council’s support has greatly helped the B£ start and develop — it would have been very difficult to do what we did without that support. In particular, it acted as a guarantee that the scheme was trustworthy, so local business owners and residents alike felt secure in exchanging their money into and accepting the brand-new local currency.”

Within the first six months of the launch of the B£, Lambeth conducted research that estimated the media coverage of the currency generated by the B£ volunteers was worth half a million pounds to the area.

Since 2012, the B£ has “been a live part of the Co-operative Council, working alongside the policy team,” according to Owczarek. As a result, the B£ has been able to play an active role in supporting the community while receiving council support. The B£ helped set up community spaces like the Impact Hub in the Town Hall.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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