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Doug Casey on the Death of Privacy… and What Comes Next

Doug Casey on the Death of Privacy… and What Comes Next

Death of Privacy

International Man: In practically every country, the allowable limit for cash withdrawals and transactions continues to be lowered.

Further, rampant currency debasement is lowering the real value of these ridiculous limits.

Why are governments so intent on phasing out cash? What is really behind this coordinated effort?

Doug Casey: Let me draw your attention to three truths that my friend Nick Giambruno has pointed out about money in bank accounts.

#1. The money isn’t really yours. You’re just another unsecured creditor if the bank goes bust.

#2. The money isn’t actually there. It’s been lent out to borrowers who are illiquid or insolvent.

#3. The money isn’t really money. It’s credit created out of thin air.

The point is that cash is freedom. And when the State limits the utility of cash—physical dollars that don’t leave an electronic trail—they are limiting your personal freedom to act and compromising your privacy. Governments are naturally opposed to personal freedom and personal privacy because those things limit their control, and governments are all about control.

International Man: Governments will probably mandate Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) as the “solution” when the next real or contrived crisis hits—which is likely not far off.

What’s your take? What are the implications for financial privacy?

Doug Casey: CBDCs are proposed as a solution, but in fact, they’re a gigantic problem.

Government is not your friend, and CBDCs are not a solution.

If they successfully implement CBDCs, it would mean that anything you buy or sell, and any income you earn, will go through CBDCs. You will have zero effective privacy. The Authorities will automatically know what you own, and they’ll be in a position to control your assets. Instantly.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

A Pyrrhic End to 130 Years of Vicious Bad Money and Banking Crises

A Pyrrhic End to 130 Years of Vicious Bad Money and Banking Crisesmoney printingThe original vicious circle starts with inflationary interventions in an up-to-then well-anchored monetary regime. Consequent asset inflation spawns a banking crisis. That leads to the installation of anticrisis safety structures (one illustration is a novel or enhanced lender of last resort). Alongside a possible monetary regime shift, these damage the money’s anchoring system. A great asset inflation emerges and leads on to an eruption of another banking crisis, devastating in comparison with the first.

An array of additional safety structures is put in place which makes the now-bad money worse than before. After a long and variable lag, a long and violent monetary storm means the safety structures fail, a banking crisis again erupts but this time milder than the previous.

Then a further tinkering with the safety structures causes money to deteriorate even more in quality. Another shift in monetary regime coincidentally does much additional damage. Consequently, in time, a new crisis erupts much worse than the last one.

The safety engineers do more work, causing yet more damage to the mechanisms essential to sound money. But now the safety structures are so pervasive and strong across the banking industry that there is widespread belief that bank crisis eruptions will be smaller or, more likely, totally repressed.

Subsequent events demonstrate those beliefs to be hollow. There is a new round of safety structure elaboration leading to further monetary deterioration. Regime officials declare the end of bank crises.

The cumulative economic cost of this vaunted triumph over bank crisis is an advance of monopoly capitalism and monetary statism that throttles the essential dynamism of free market capitalism. Malinvestment becomes cumulatively larger. Living standards in general suffer. The severely ailing money which subsists is beyond any cure except the most radical.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The schizophrenic understanding of money in economics

The schizophrenic understanding of money in economics

One of the great ironies of economics is that, while the public regards economists as experts on money, the issue of how money is created is still not settled within economics.

In 2014, the Bank of England published a landmark paper explicitly rejecting the textbook model of money creation, stating that:

Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions—banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create new loans and deposits…

The reality of how money is created today differs from the description found in some economics textbooks: Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits. In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank ‘multiplied up’ into more loans and deposits. (McLeay, Radia, and Thomas 2014, p. 14)

Several other Central Banks published related papers, notably the Bundesbank in 2017, which stated that:

It suffices to look at the creation of (book) money as a set of straightforward accounting entries to grasp that money and credit are created as the result of complex interactions between banks, non- banks and the central bank. And a bank’s ability to grant loans and create money has nothing to do with whether it already has excess reserves or deposits at its disposal (Deutsche Bundesbank 2017, p. 17)

And yet, just five years later, the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Bernanke, Diamond and Dybvig for work which, as the “Scientific Background” to the Prize noted, claimed that banks function as “financial intermediaries” which “channel funds from savers to investors, receiving funds from some customers and using the funds to finance others”….

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Fed Proposes a 4th Function of Money: Means of Social Control

The Fed Proposes a 4th Function of Money: Means of Social Control

A Federal Reserve white paper has come up with a new function for money. Let’s tune in.
Image from Federal Reserve website.

Image from Federal Reserve website.

Docket No. OP – 1670

Please consider Docket No. OP – 1670 on Interbank Settlement of Faster Payments.

The Federal Reserve Board announced that the Federal Reserve Banks will develop a new round-the-clock real-time payment and settlement service, called the FedNowsm Service, to support faster payments in the United States.

This is a direct response to the threat posed by digital currencies and blockchain. According to one Fed official, “Last summer, the U.S. Treasury recommended that ‘the Federal Reserve move quickly to facilitate a faster retail payments system, such as through the development of a real-time settlement service, that would also allow for more efficient and ubiquitous access to innovative payment capabilities.”‘ We believe this effort requires a proof-of-authority quantum computing based blockchain system.

As we noted in our paper “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and the Future of Monetary Policy,” confidential, not-for-distribution research sent to select members of the House Financial Services Committee, it is critical to understand that bitcoin was created in direct response to the failure of global regulators to protect the public in the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Thus, the ethical and monetary functionality of cryptocurrency is superior to that of paper money. Eventually, cryptocurrency is going to dominate.

As also noted in our paper, “The main economic attributes of a technically effective currency rests on three functions: as a unit of account, a store of value and as a medium of exchange.”

But there is a fourth function of money: as a means of social control. The centralized monopoly over the functions of money held by sovereign governments and central banks has generated great income and wealth imbalances…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

#246: The Surplus Energy Economy, part 1

#246: The Surplus Energy Economy, part 1



We have reached a turning-point at which economics and the economy have parted company. Orthodox economics continues to promise growth in perpetuity, but the economy itself is going in the opposite direction.

The explanation for this is simple. Conventional economics assumes that the economy is driven by money, which is entirely under our control. But the economy is, in reality, not a financial system, but a physical one, which uses energy to convert raw materials into the products and services which constitute prosperity. The modern economy has been built on abundant, low-cost energy from fossil fuels, but this dynamic is winding down and, as we shall see in a future instalment, we have no complete (or timely) alternative with which to replace it.

The aim with The Surplus Energy Economy is to set out a comprehensive assessment of the condition and prospects of the world economy and financial system, seen from the perspective that the economy is shaped by energy, not money. This series of articles will be as specific as possible, using data from the SEEDS economic model.

The conclusions reached here necessarily contradict the orthodox line, which is that the supposed ‘normality’ of growth will soon return, and that seamless transition to renewable energy sources will deliver economic expansion in perpetuity.

The economy is analysed here as a material system which has started to contract after reaching physical constraints imposed by the availability and cost of energy. Similar limits apply to environmental tolerance for energy-based economic activity.

Findings will come later in this series, but we are completely unprepared for the reversal of prior growth in the economy. The ending of growth has not arrived without warning, and we can identify a precursor zone, starting in the 1990s, which was characterised by deceleration, followed by stagnation.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Gold’s return as money

Gold’s return as money

The consequences of Russia and her Asian allies embracing gold backing for their currencies are poorly understood in western capital markets. This move could lead to the destruction of the global fiat currency system.

According to evidence which is widely ignored in western capital markets, a move by Russia to put a new trade settlement currency and possibly the rouble as well onto a new gold standard is becoming a certainty. As a weapon of mass fiat currency destruction, the timing is probably bound up in on-the-ground military considerations, which are already showing signs of escalating in Eastern Ukraine.

As well as using gold to undermine the western currency system, a return to a credible gold standard has significant advantages for Russia and for her allies in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Eurasian Economic Union, BRICS+, and all their commodity suppliers beyond Asia. At the same time, it would destroy the west’s fiat currencies and financial system.

This article explains how one part of the global economy can thrive while the other collapses.


Recently, I have written about the signals emanating from Russia that President Putin is minded to re-adopt sound money by returning to some sort of gold standard. We do not yet know the details, but consider what he said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June last year:

“Caught in the inflationary storm, many nations are asking, why bother exchanging goods for dollars and euros when they are losing value right before our eyes? Indeed, the economy of imaginary wealth is being inevitably replaced by the economy of real valuables and hard assets.

“According to the IMF, today’s global foreign currency reserves contain 7.1 trillion dollars and 2.5 trillion euros. And this money is depreciating at an annual rate of about 8%…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

A tale of two worlds

A tale of two worlds

In the war between the western alliance and the Asian axis, the media focus is on the Ukrainian battlefield. The real war is in currencies, with Russia capable of destroying the dollar.

So far, Putin’s actions have been relatively passive. But already, both Russia and China have accumulated enough gold to implement gold standards. It is now overwhelmingly in their interests to do so.

From Sergey Glazyev’s recent article in a Russian business newspaper, it is clear that settlement of trade balances between members, dialog partners, and associate members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) optionally will be in gold. Furthermore, the Russian economy would benefit enormously from a decline in borrowing rates from current levels of over 13% to a level more consistent with sound money.

To understand the consequences, in this article the comparison is made between the western alliance’s fiat currency and deficit spending regime and the Russian-Chinese axis’s planned industrial revolution for some 3.8 billion people in the SCO family. China has a remarkable savings rate, which will underscore the investment capital for a rapid increase in Asian industrialisation, without inflationary consequences.

With a new round of military action in Ukraine shortly to kick off, it will be in Putin’s interest to move from passivity to financial aggression. It will not take much for him to undermine the entire western fiat currency system — a danger barely recognised by a gung-ho NATO military complex.


In the geopolitical tussle between the old and new hegemons, we see the best of strategies and the worst of strategies, where belief is pitted against credulity. It is the season of light and the season of darkness, the spring of hope and the winter of despair…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Hyperinflationary Hell: Lebanese Central Bank Devalues ‘Lira’ By 90%

Hyperinflationary Hell: Lebanese Central Bank Devalues ‘Lira’ By 90%

Cash is now king in Lebanon, where a three-year economic meltdown has led the country’s once-lauded financial sector to atrophy and turned the country into a Venezuelan-esque hyperinflationary hell. The country has been hit hard by events over the past few years, starting with COVID.

In August 2020, the city of Beiruit was practically destroyed by a massive blast which killed at least 200 people and triggered as much as $15 billion in damage

In March 2021, violent protests erupted across Lebanon as the currency collapse accelerated and with it the economy and people’s living standards.

And most recently, In December 2022, the Lebanese parliament failed for the eighth consecutive time to elect a new president, as a majority of lawmakers opposed the options laid on the table.

The prolonged power vacuum only exacerbates the situation, as Beirut is currently unable to enact sweeping reforms demanded by international lenders as a condition for releasing billions of dollars in loans.

All of which has sent the ‘parallel’ FX rate to a stunning 60,000/USD (compared to the official Pound – often nicknamed ‘Lira’ – rate of 1500/USD)…

Source: LiraRate.org

As Reuters reports, Zombie banks have frozen depositors out of tens of billions of dollars in their accounts, halting basic services and even prompting some customers to hold up tellers at gunpoint to access their money.

This has prompted bank runs…

Not a week goes by without Lebanese depositors storming their own banks in a desperate attempt to access savings frozen after the country’s economy collapsed.

Banks began imposing draconian limits on withdrawals and transfers in 2019, leaving depositors able to access only a fraction of their savings in dollars and Lebanese pounds.

and heists…

The National has recorded 27 depositor bank “heists” since the start of the year, including armed and unarmed hold-ups and sit-ins.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Here’s How “Prosperity” Ends: Global Bubbles Are Popping

Here’s How “Prosperity” Ends: Global Bubbles Are Popping

So here we are: the global credit-asset bubbles are popping, and the illusory “prosperity” generated by the bubbles is about to tumble off a cliff.

There are two kinds of prosperity, one fake, one real. Bogus “prosperity” depends on credit-asset bubbles inflating, magically creating “wealth” not from labor, production or improving productivity, but from the value of assets soaring as bubbles inflate.

This bubble-generated “wealth” then fuels a vast expansion of credit and consumption as assets soaring in value increases the collateral available to borrow against, and the occasional sale of soaring assets generate capital gains, stock options, etc. which then fund sharply higher consumption.

When the value of a modest home skyrockets from $200,000 to $1,000,000 in a few years, that $800,000 in gain was not the result of any improvement in utility. The house provides the same shelter it did when it was worth 20% of its current value. The $800,000 is gain is the result of the abundance of low-cost credit and the global search for a yield above zero.

Eventually, this vast expansion of “money” chasing yields and seeking places to park all the excess cash trickles into the real economy and the result is inflationary. Consider how soaring home prices affect rents.

When an investor bought the modest home for $200,000, the costs of ownership were low due to the costs being linked to the value: the property tax, insurance and mortgage were all based on the valuation. (The costs of maintenance were unrelated to valuation, of course, being based on the age and quality of construction.) Let’s say the modest house rents for $1,500 per month.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The evolution of credit and debt in 2023

The evolution of credit and debt in 2023

The evidence strongly suggests that a combined interest rate, economic and currency crisis for the US and its western alliance will continue in 2023.

This article focuses on credit, its constraints, and why quantitative easing has already crowded out private sector activity. Adjusting M2 money supply for accumulating QE indicates the degree to which this has driven the US tax base into deep recession. And the wider effects on credit in the economy should not be ignored. 

After a brief partial recovery from the covid crisis in US government finances, they are likely to start deteriorating again due to a deepening recession of private sector activity. Funding these deficits depends on foreign inward investment flows, which are faltering. Rising interest rates and an ongoing bear market make funding from this source hard to envisage.

Meanwhile, from his public statements President Putin is fully aware of these difficulties, and a consequence of the western alliance increasing their support and involvement in Ukraine makes it almost certain that Putin will take the opportunity to push the dollar over the edge.

Credit is much more than bank deposits

Economics is about credit, and its balance sheet twin, debt. Debt is either productive, in which case it can extinguish credit in due course, or it is not, and credit must be extended or written off. Money almost never comes into it. Money is distinguished from credit by having no counterparty risk, which credit always has. The role of money is to stabilise the purchasing power of credit. And the only legal form of money is metallic; gold, silver, or copper usually rendered into coin for enhanced fungibility.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The “Barbarous Relic” Helped Enable a World More Civilized than Today’s

The “Barbarous Relic” Helped Enable a World More Civilized than Today’sgold coins

One of history’s greatest ironies is that gold detractors refer to the metal as the barbarous relic. In fact, the abandonment of gold has put civilization as we know it at risk of extinction.

The gold coin standard that had served Western economies so brilliantly throughout most of the nineteenth century hit a brick wall in 1914 and was never able to recover, or so the story goes. As the Great War began, Europe turned from prosperity to destruction, or more precisely, toward prosperity for some and destruction for the rest. The gold coin standard had to be ditched for such a prodigious undertaking.

If gold was money, and wars cost money, how was this even possible?

First, people were already in the habit of using money substitutes instead of money itself—banknotes instead of the gold coins they represented. People found it more convenient to carry paper around in their pockets than gold coins. Over time the paper itself came to be regarded as money, while gold became a clunky inconvenience from the old days.

Second, banks had been in the habit of issuing more bank-notes and deposits than the value of the gold in their vaults. On occasion, this practice would arouse public suspicion that the notes were promises the banks could not keep. The courts sided with the banks and allowed them to suspend note redemption while staying in business, thus strengthening the government-bank alliance. Since the courts ruled that deposits belonged to the banks, bankers could not be accused of embezzlement. The occasional bank runs that erupted were interpreted as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people lined up to withdraw their money because they believed their bank was insolvent, the bank soon would be…

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#238. Money and the end of abundance

#238. Money and the end of abundance


Amongst the world’s decision-makers, French president Emmanuel Macron has come closer than anyone to spelling out the reality of the current economic situation, saying that “we are in the process of living through a tipping point or great upheaval”, and referencing “the end of abundance” (my emphasis).

If his words are taken seriously – as they should be – a major crisis looms. The global financial system is entirely predicated on perpetual economic growth.

As important as what Mr Macron has said is what he didn’t say. He didn’t say that abundance is over ‘for a year or two’, or that we’ll have to live through this ‘until better times return’. He didn’t make fatuous promises of ‘sunlit uplands’ or ‘a new golden age’.

Some of us have long known that an age of abundance made possible by low-cost energy was coming to an end. Until now, though, decision-makers have fought shy of this conclusion, taking refuge in the tarradiddle of ‘infinite growth on a finite planet’ proffered by a deeply flawed economic orthodoxy.

What should concern us now isn’t when, or whether, other leaders will arrive at this same conclusion. The trend of events is going to impose that emerging reality upon them.

Rather, we need to be prepared for what happens when market participants arrive at the same conclusion as Mr. Macron.

The nature of the crisis

Preparedness requires clarity, and we need to be in no doubt that what we’re witnessing now is an unfolding affordability crisis. This means two things – and both of them point towards a major financial slump.

First, the ability of consumers to make discretionary (non-essential) purchases is in structural decline. This spells relentless contraction, not just in obvious discretionary sectors like leisure, travel and entertainment, but in ‘tech’ and consumer durables as well.

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

The Most Valuable Form of Money Nobody’s Seen–Yet

The Most Valuable Form of Money Nobody’s Seen–Yet

What is “money”? “Money” is a claim on the essentials of life. Ration cards are claims on essentials.

Many people expect “money” will soon be tied to commodities. Agreed. It’s called a ration card that grants the holder the right to buy a specific quantity of essential goods at a specified price.

This right is a form of “money” directly tied to the value of commodities.

Ration cards are the only fair way to distribute essentials in times of chronic scarcity. Markets work fine when there’s a substitute for whatever is scarce, but there are no substitutes for electricity, food, fuel or fresh water, the FEW essentials (Food, energy, water).

Leaving the distribution of scarce, no-substitutes essentials up to the market leads to the rich eating very well indeed and the poor going hungry. This leads to a little thing called the overthrow of the failed status quo and the destruction of a good chunk of its ruling class (Payback’s a witch, etc.). No bread? Let them eat iPhones.

We know ration cards work because a mass experiment in rationing essentials was conducted in World War II. Maybe fairness no longer matters (and if it doesn’t, then prepare for the overthrow of the failed status quo and the destruction of a good chunk of its ruling class), but if fairness matters–or the ruling elite wish to keep all their power and all their goodies–then rationing and the ruthless suppression of price gouging are as good as gold.

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

#231. Short and sharp

#231. Short and sharp

Might we very soon face a major financial crisis, at a scale exceeding that of 2008-09?

Are we heading for a global economic slump, or can current problems be explained away in terms of ‘non-recurring events’, such as the war in Ukraine?

Do the authorities have the tools and the understanding required to navigate the current economic storm? And what is the outlook for inflation?

These are valid questions, and I’m well aware that, whilst many visitors to this site are interested in economic principles, theory and detail, others prefer succinct statements of situations and prospects.

That’s understandable – these are deeply worrying times.

The aim with what follows is to (a) set out a brief summary of the economic and financial outlook, as seen through the prism of the SEEDS economic model, followed by (b) a succinct commentary on how these conclusions are reached.

Accordingly, what we might infer from these conditions is left for another day. Like me, you will have your own views on the political and other implications of what’s going on and what is to be expected, but the plan with this discussion is to stick to a strictly objective analysis of economic and financial conditions and prospects.

Data used here by way of illustration is a ‘top-line’ summary at the global level. We might, at a later date, look at some of this material in greater detail, and examine the circumstances of some of the 29 national economies modelled by SEEDS.

Where both the theoretical and the ‘succinctly-practical’ are concerned, urgency is being increased by what we can only call the ‘uncertainties and fears’ generated by current conditions.

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

Running on Empty, Part II

Running on Empty, Part II

How the Petrodollar Poisoned Foreign Policy with Financial Profiteering

Welcome to Part II of Running on Empty, my three-part analysis of the Petrodollar system. Part I of this series explained what the petrodollar system is, how it came to be, and what its financial effects have been on the United States. In Part II, I’ll explain the petrodollar’s implications for foreign policy. In Part III, I’ll show how those implications paved the way for the Russo-Ukraine War, and why that’s causing the system to break down.

America’s Chief Export is the US Dollar

As explained in the previous installment, the petrodollar system is based on an agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia. Under the terms of the deal, the US guarantees the security of Saudi Arabia and in exchange, Saudi Arabia guarantees that all petroleum is sold by OPEC for US dollars, with the US dollars re-invested into America via petrodollar recycling. The result: Since everyone needs petroleum, everyone needs US dollars. Oil replaces gold as the hard backing for the dollar. 1

Since the petrodollar system was put in place, the US has enjoyed a comparative advantage in manufacturing currency that no other nation enjoys. Under conditions of free trade, a country produces and exports more of a good for which it a comparative advantage, and produces less and imports more of the goods for which it doesn’t. And that’s what has happened: Since the petrodollar system was put in place in 1973, America has produced more and more dollars and produced less and less of everything else. The dollar is today our nation’s #1 export.

How large is the circulation of US dollars? As of April 2022, the American money supply, which economists call M2, stands at $21,728 Billion Dollars. M2 includes three types of money:

…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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