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The Wealthy Are Hoarding Physical Gold

The Wealthy Are Hoarding Physical Gold

The world’s rich are hoarding gold – this according to data buried in a recent Goldman Sachs note to clients.

In the note published over the weekend, Goldman recommended diversifying long-term bond holdings with gold, citing “fear-driven demand” for the yellow metal.

Hedge funds and other large speculators boosted their bullish bets on gold by 8.9% through the week ended Dec. 3, according to government data released last Friday. That represents the biggest gain since the end of September.

The Goldman note cited political uncertainty and recession fears as the catalyst for the move toward gold. It also mentioned worries about a wealth tax, increasing interest in Modern Monetary Theory (essentially money-printing) and the current loose central bank monetary policy.

Data buried in the note also revealed that owning physical gold appears to be the preferred method to “hedge against tail events” by the rich.

Since the end of 2016 the implied build in non-transparent gold investment has been much larger than the build in visible gold ETFs.”

Goldman said the data is consistent with reports that vault demand is surging globally.

Trade data implies that gold in storage has increased far more rapidly than is reflected by financial market instruments, indicating a widespread preference for physical gold instead of gold-linked financial assets … Political risks, in our view, help explain this because if an individual is trying to minimize the risks of sanctions or wealth taxes, then buying physical gold bars and storing them in a vault, where it is more difficult for governments to reach them, makes sense.

“Finally, this build can also reflect hedges by global high net worth individuals against tail economic and political risk scenarios in which they do not want to have any financial entity intermediating their gold positions due to the counter-party credit risk involved.”

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

Every Bubble Eventually Finds its Pin

Every Bubble Eventually Finds its Pin

The transfer of wealth from workers and savers to governments and big banks continued this week with Swiss-like precision.  The process is both mechanical and subtle.  Here in the USA the automated elegance of this ongoing operation receives little attention.

NFL football.  EBT card acceptance at Del Taco.  Adam Schiff’s impeachment extravaganza.  You name it.  Bread and circuses like these – and many others – offer the American populace countless opportunities for chasing the wild goose.

All the while, and with little fanfare, debts pile up like deadwood in Sequoia National Forest.  These debts, both public and private, stand little chance of ever being honestly repaid.  According to the IMF, global debt –  both public and private – has reached an all-time high of $188 trillion.  That comes to about 230 percent of world output.

Certainly, some of the private debt will be defaulted on during the next credit crisis and depression.  But when it comes to the public debt, governments do everything they can to prevent an outright default.  Central banks crank up the printing press and attempt to inflate it away.

After Nixon temporarily suspended the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971, the money supply could be expanded without technical limitations.  This includes issuing new debt to pay for government spending above and beyond tax receipts.  Hence, since 1971, government directed money supply inflation has been the standard operating procedure in the U.S. and much of the world.

Downright Disgraceful

Expanding the money supply has the effect of dissipating wealth from the currency.  The process allows governments, which are first in line to spend this newly created money, a back door into your bank account.  Without levying taxes, they get access to your wealth and future earnings and leave you with money of diminished value.

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

On Psychopathy And Power

On Psychopathy And Power

Due to a very painful and disturbing revelation in my personal life I have had the unfortunate occasion to spend the last several days thinking a lot about psychopaths and what makes them tick. I don’t want to get into the hairy details at this time, but I would like to share some of the more general thoughts that have been coming up here on the matter.

It is interesting that psychopathy should have reached a dark tentacle into my life in the way that it did, given that the three years I’ve been at this gig have been spent writing more and more about the way our world is run by calculating manipulators who are devoid of empathy. I often say that we have found ourselves ruled by psychopaths because we have a system wherein (A) those who are willing to do anything to anyone are rewarded with immense wealth, and (B) immense wealth translates directly to immense political power. Add in the fact that studies have shown that wealth itself kills off empathy and compassion, and you’ve got yourself a perfect recipe for a plutocratic dystopia dominated by antisocial personality disorder.

I’m not really interested in getting into the specific clinical diagnoses of psychopathy and sociopathy for the purposes of this discussion. What I’m talking about here is a specific slice of humanity that is neurologically wired in such a way that they experience the world more as a series of puzzles which can be manipulated around to get them them whatever they want regardless of who it hurts, rather than experiencing a world full of fellow sentient beings with whom you can have deep, meaningful connections and interactions.

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

The Company Store

The Company Store

Leaves almost nothing to live on

In the song Sixteen Tons by Merle Travis (and made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford), the idea of the ‘company store’ referred to a system of debt bondage that effectively trapped workers within an unfair system designed to harvest all of their labor at very low cost.

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?

Another day older and deeper in debt

Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go

I owe my soul to the company store

       Sixteen Tons – Merle Travis

How exactly did the company store system operate?

Under a scrip system, workers were not paid cash; rather they were paid with non-transferable credit vouchers that could be exchanged only for goods sold at the company store. This made it impossible for workers to store up cash savings.

Workers also usually lived in company-owned dormitories or houses, the rent for which was automatically deducted from their pay.

(Source – Wiki)

This model was simple enough to understand.  “Pay” your workers with scrip vouchers, then sell them your marked up goods at the company store, pocketing a nice profit. On top of that, force your employees to live in company housing, too,  also at terms very favorable to the company.

Add it all up and the workers found themselves in perpetual service to their employer. No matter how hard and long they toiled, there was nothing left for their own private benefit after all was said and done.  The company succeeded in skimming off any and all  ‘excess’ for itself.

This vast unfairness eventually led to the formation of unions as well as to regulations providing protection to the workers.

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

Italy Becoming Poor — Becoming Poor in Italy. The Effects of the Twilight of the Age of Oil

Italy Becoming Poor — Becoming Poor in Italy. The Effects of the Twilight of the Age of Oil

The living room of the house that my parents built in 1965. An American style suburban home, a true mansion in the hills. I lived there for more than 50 years but now I have to give up: I can’t afford it anymore. 

Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not poor. As a middle class, state employee in Italy, I am probably richer than some 90% of the people living on this planet. But wealth and poverty are mainly relative perceptions and the feeling I have is that I am becoming poorer every year, just like the majority of Italians, nowadays.

I know that the various economic indexes say that we are not becoming poorer and that, worldwide, the GDP keeps growing, even in Italy it sort of restarted growing after a period of decline. But something must be wrong with those indexes because we are becoming poorer. It is unmistakable, GDP or not. To explain that, let me tell you the story of the house that my father and my mother built in the 1960s and how I am now forced to leave it because I can’t just afford it anymore.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Italy was going through what was called the “Economic Miracle” at the time. After the disaster of the war, the age of cheap oil had created a booming economy everywhere in the world. In Italy, people enjoyed a wealth that never ever had been seen or even imagined before. Private cars, health care for everybody, vacations at the seaside, the real possibility for most Italians to own a house, and more.

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

Why Are American Communities Dying?

Why Are American Communities Dying?

Most Americans who have been around for a while know life is nothing like it used to be. When someone wanted a job one was found with a little bit of searching. Today jobs are difficult to find, especially in small communities. 

When I was growing up in the 70’s, there were several car dealers in my community. There were three tractor dealers and too many mom and pop stores to count. Today there are two used car dealers and the nearest tractor dealer is twenty miles away. So how is it that we now have more people, but fewer businesses to employ them?

A nations wealth is derived from having a product to sell. That wealth needs to circulate in towns and cities to compound the wealth effect and create jobs and businesses. When wealth is not created or it is siphoned off to other places, the wealth effect can not happen, and in many cases goes into reverse. A community needs a certain amount of service related jobs to function but it also needs some type of production jobs to bring in money from the outside. This can be mining , agriculture or manufacturing type jobs, but they must exist to insure a healthy economy.

America has two major problems today. A large amount of our production is done outside the country eliminating production jobs in local communities and many of the small local businesses that kept wealth within communities have been supplanted by large corporations that siphon wealth out of communities and send it to wall street. 

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

Torches and Pitchforks

Torches and Pitchforks

The front page of our local paper struck a chord:

The subject of wealth inequality has been on my mind ever since I started writing Slope fourteen years ago. I’ve written countless posts on it, and even dedicated a SocialTrade page to it, but a quick summary of my disposition could be boiled down to a few personal points:

  • Although I didn’t know it at the time, my childhood was in an era of relative wealth equality in the United States, pretty much the most even playing field in its history;
  • Average folks like my Dad made $35,000 per year; the “rich” people in town made $50,000;
  • The houses of the average and the rich were pretty much the same, although the rich had Buicks instead of Fords and could afford maids who came to clean the house each day; but that was about it.

My own adulthood, of course, is like a different universe. Normal people live in $7 million houses. Rich people live in $25 million houses and have other residences scattered around the planet. The difference between rich and poor in my youth was a short hop; in my current life, it’s a chasm.

My view is that the increasing disparity between rich and poor has, for decades, largely been non-disruptive to society as a whole, principally because the lower classes have been placated enough, by way of the proverbial bread and circuses, not to cause any waves. Sure, there have been little movements here and there, such as Occupy Wall Street, but they have attracted fringe groups and fizzled out in weeks, if not days.

The aforementioned SocialTrade page is packed with charts like the one below, which shows just how hosed the lower classes are, but again, the rich are pretty much getting away with it with no consequence.

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

How Individuals Can Reset The Financial System

How Individuals Can Reset The Financial System

We have often heard the predictions that the currency system will be reset at some point when the bankers can no longer keep the current ponzi scheme going. The current scheme involves the ability of the bankers to convince the population that pieces of paper rolling off a machine or digits created on a computer screen are real wealth. The education system has been successful in that regard. 

Very few people actually understand what real wealth is or anything about economics. They have been led to believe that these things are too complicated for them to understand and it should be left to the experts. These same experts get richer as everyone else gets poorer. That is the way they have rigged the system. 

Resetting the system and taking these con artists out of the loop can be as easy as refusing to accept paper or electronic money and only accepting gold and silver for payments. This sounds crazy on the surface but it is not impossible to do and it must be done before they can transition completely into electronic payment systems. Once they transition into electronic payments they will be able to control everything you do and buy. 

If they do not want you to own guns or ammo they can simply ban all of these types of transactions. If they do not want you to buy gold or silver they can ban those transactions. If they do not want you to stockpile food they can limit how much you buy from week to week. With no way to buy outside of the electronic system, you will be totally under their control even more than you are now. 

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

We Don’t Need A New Deal: We Need A Whole New Deck

We Don’t Need A New Deal: We Need A Whole New Deck

The gap between the earth’s wardens of wealth and the nearly eight billion humans under their control has grown wider and more dangerous but is beginning to be understood by some as a systemic problem and not simply a matter of evil leaders and villainous followers. When people see and feel their futures ranging from problematic at best to non-existent at worst, we get the resultant turmoil and changes taking place in nations moving in many directions at once but all of them against established power over things as they are.

Whether votes are cast in elections labeled democratic though still under minority control, or issues are subject to mob rule of one extreme or another, they are producing governments at least rhetorically dedicated to change even if often dangerously confused or in merely cosmetic form. Nevertheless, those demanding change beyond simply continuing the rule of market forces under minority control are starting to move up and into more commanding roles in governments. Unfortunately, and especially in America, many still operate as though political change amounts to the candidates skin tone, religion or sex, neglecting the philosophy between their ears by concentrating more on the genitals between their thighs.

Thus we have working people going to the polls and electing representatives of wealth operating against their interest but rhetorically speaking of change, which may mean reverting to earlier forms of capital private profit which still leave the public good in poor condition, or worse, sinking into megalomaniacal rule under populists (?) promising to dump even more wrath on those at or near the bottom.

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

Get Ready– they’re coming for your money

Get Ready– they’re coming for your money

Every so often throughout history, the peasants grab their pitchforks and come for the elite. It happens when the wealth gap grows too extreme… when people feel like they are getting left behind, with no opportunity to advance.

Central banks around the world have printed trillions of dollars over last decade, and pushed interest rates to zero, and sometimes below. And all of that stimulus went directly into the pockets of the wealthy.

Since 2009, the world’s billionaires more than DOUBLED their combined wealth. All the billionaires in the world had $3.4 trillion in 2009. By 2017, they amassed $8.9 trillion.

Mark Zuckerberg multiplied his wealth almost 20 times over, from $3 billion in 2009, to over $58 billion in 2019.

$8.9 trillion is a massive, almost incomprehensible amount of wealth.

But it really shouldn’t be that surprising if you think about it… these people are wealthy for a reason. Typically, they are pretty good at making money. And with the snowball effect, if you give them more time, they will probably make even more.

For the last ten years, we’ve seen a huge asset price inflation in everything from the stock market, to bonds and real estate, and even fine art and wine.

But if you’re a wage earner without assets, you’ve been left out. Wages andmedian household wealth have stagnated.

And this is a global issue…

The combined wealth of the poorest half of the world–3.8 billion people–fell by 11% just last year, according to Oxfam, a group working to alleviate poverty.

The New York Times claims the richest 8 people on the planet have more wealth than the poorest 3.8 billion.

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

Money is no Object

Money is no Object

Chances are, most of what you’ve learned about taxes and the economy is wrong. In fact, the key principles at work in our economic system are very different from what we’re taught. 

If you find you’re one of those who’s been misled, it’s not your fault. A system such as ours – where eight individuals control as much wealthas half of all humanity – can only be maintained with force and deception. As the industrialist Henry Ford is said to have opined, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

It’s commonly believed that:

Today’s money has intrinsic value. (It doesn’t.) 

Taxes fund government spending. (They don’t.)

Automation inevitably threatens jobs. (It doesn’t have to.) 

Federal budget deficits must saddle future generations with debt. (Not so.)

In fact, to fund needed social programs – like free national healthcare, free education, jobs for all, a reduced work week with no reduction in pay, cleaning up the environment, rebuilding infrastructure, converting the economy from fossil fuels to renewables, and more – the federal government could simply print more money. Wait a minute, you say, it can’t be as simple as that! But read on. The enormity of the deception promoted by those at the top is that funding human needs really is that simple. 

One of the biggest misdirections of all time is expressed in the well-known aphorism: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” While it’s true that wealth doesn’t grow on trees, money and wealth are not the same thing. Money itself is available in whatever quantity society needs. 

 …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…

Breaking the Chains of Debt: Lessons from Babylonia for Today’s Student Crisis

The Political Rebellion Gathers Momentum

The Political Rebellion Gathers Momentum

When was the last time a monopoly or quasi-monopoly was broken up? A generation ago, or was it two generations ago?

The Ruling Class that wants us to love our servitude incites us to seek divisions: between red and blue, left and right, progressive and conservative, and so on. The Ruling Class in the mainstream media, in Washington D.C. and in Silicon Valley are experts at manipulating language and terminology to divide and conquer.

But beneath the superficial red-blue divide they are hawking, a broad-based political rebellion against the Oligarchy and their Ruling Class nomenklatura is gathering momentum. People left, right and center are awakening to two painfully obvious realities:

1. the political-social-economic system no longer works for the bottom 95%

2. the system is intrinsically unfair–rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many.

The bottom 95% lack the political influence of the Oligarchy, and so their only means of expressing their disapproval is at the ballot box, by rejecting the approved mainstream candidates in favor of candidates who might move the needle in a rigged system.

What are the core economic issues that people are trying to solve at the ballot box?

1. The systemic lack of fairness: the growing sense that opportunities are not being distributed as widely or fairly as they once were; ruling elites now have advantages the “rest of us” don’t.

This advantage is very basic: capital has accrued most of the gains of the past decade’s growth and asset appreciation, labor’s share of the GDP continues to slide.

Much of the wealth is controlled by corporate-state cartels operating rentier skims: prices rise while quality and quantity of goods and services remains the same or decline. This is more akin to extortion than a free-market competitive market.

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

The Future of Privacy

The Future of Privacy

Roughly one hundred years ago, the people who “ran things,” – the drivers behind governments, big business and banking – formulated a concept which became known by a number of names, but, predominantly, as the “New World Order.”

The concept was to put an end to unnecessary competition and warfare and have a central, unelected group of people run the entire world. It was not considered necessary to completely eliminate individual countries; the idea was to control them all centrally. It also didn’t necessarily mean that wars would end. Warfare can be quite useful for rulers, as they provide an excellent distraction from resentment toward the leaders who impose control over a people.

Ever since that time, this same rough group of people has continued generationally. Sometimes, but not always, the family names change. Useful people are added on and less useful ones removed. But the concept itself has continued, evolved and, in fact, gained strength.

But, as yet, the process remains incomplete. Several facets to a New World Order are not yet in place. It’s proven difficult to “fool all of the people all of the time,” so the effort to subjugate an entire world has taken more time than originally anticipated.

An essential component of this control is the elimination of the personal holding of wealth. Whilst the leaders intend to expand their own wealth in an unlimited fashion, they seek to suppress the ability of the average person to increase his own wealth. Wealth leads to independence and independence from a New World Order is unacceptable. Wealth gives people options. They must be taught to accept being herded like cattle and being compliant, or they will become troublesome.

Not surprising then, that, recently, organisations like the OECD have been created to eliminate the individual’s ability to create and maintain wealth for his own benefit.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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