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Saturday, July 13, 2013

How Should Prices Be Determined?

by

















"How should prices be determined?" To this question we could make a short and simple answer: prices should be determined by the market.
The answer is correct enough, but some elaboration is necessary to answer the practical problem concerning the wisdom of government price control.
Let us begin on the elementary level and say that prices are determined by the supply and demand. If the relative demand for a product increases, consumers will be willing to pay more for it. Their competitive bids will both oblige them individually to pay more for it and enable producers to get more for it. This will raise the profit margins of the producers of that product.

11 Signs That Italy Is Descending Into A Full-Blown Economic Depression

by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog















 
When you get into too much debt, really bad things start to happen.  Sadly, that is exactly what is happening to Italy right now.  Harsh austerity measures are causing the Italian economy to slow down even more than it was previously.  And yet even with all of the austerity measures, the Italian government just continues to rack up even more debt.  This is the exact same path that we watched Greece go down. 
Austerity causes government revenues to drop which causes deficit reduction targets to be missed which causes even more austerity measures to become necessary.  But if Italy collapses economically, it is going to be a far bigger deal than what happened in Greece.  Italy is the ninth largest economy on the entire planet.  Actually, Italy used to be number eight, but now Russia has passed it. 
If Italy continues to stumble, India and Canada will soon pass it as well.  It really is a tragedy to watch what is happening in Italy, because it really is a wonderful place.  When I was a child, my father was in the navy, and I got the opportunity to live there for a while.  It is a land of great weather, great food and great soccer.  The people are friendly and the culture is absolutely fascinating.  But now the nation is falling apart. 
The following are 11 signs that Italy is descending into a full-blown economic depression...

#1 The unemployment rate in Italy has risen to 12.2 percent.  That is the highest that it has been in more than 35 years.
#2 The youth unemployment rate in Italy is sitting at 38.5 percent, and in southern Italy it recently hit the 50 percent mark.
#3 An average of 134 retail outlets are shutting down in Italy every single day.  Overall, approximately 224,000 retail establishments have closed since 2008.

Financial Independence and Intellectual Influence



 If you are interested in the history of ideas, at some point this question will occur to you: "How is it possible for someone to gain influence, yet at the same time retain his independence?" If you traffic in ideas, you have to be able to do both. 

A crackpot can go online today and argue for his favorite theory. He is completely independent. He is also completely ignored. His independence does him no good, because what he writes has no influence.
I suppose my two favorite recent examples of people who have maintained their independence, but whose ideas have had considerable influence, are Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. They are more influential today than they were at the time of their deaths. Mises died in 1973. Rothbard died in 1995.
Mises had the great advantage in the final phase of his intellectual career in the fact that Yale University Press published his books from 1944 to 1957. This gave him an audience.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

You Can't Buy Prosperity

by Bill Bonner


















Gold rose $24 per ounce Thursday. The Dow fell 12 points.
The smart money is using this dip to buy gold.
Why?
Because the world's major stock markets... currencies... and economies all depend on reckless measures by central banks. In the short run, the central banks can make things appear safe and stable.
How?
By making lending money at ultra-low rates the norm. It's hard for major players to go broke; they can just refinance.
But in the long run, those same policies can lead to instability, bubbles... and disaster.
Too bad, but you can't buy prosperity. You can't print prosperity. You can't borrow prosperity. You can't ZIRP, QE or OMF ("overt monetary financing," a phrase that is bound to become current soon) prosperity, either. Prosperity comes from hard work, saving and discipline.
That is, it comes from responsible policies, not reckless ones.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Marc Faber - Sell Equities and Buy Physical Gold Now while prices are low

video.cnbc.com




Faber said it’s a good idea to take money out of the stock market. “I don’t think there is a lot of upside potential, but I think there is considerable downside,” he said. However, he said that markets are now seeing emerging markets and their currencies go lower, and “It could be that all the money in the world flows in to U.S. stocks and avoids emerging markets.” Gold can eventually be a source of profit, according to Faber. He said it’s possible the price of gold can go somewhat lower, even though he thinks it’s now at a reasonable level. “I keep on buying gold and I have faith that gold prices will eventually be higher,” Faber said. Faber said that, in general, corporate earnings will disappoint.

The True Cause Of Chaos In Egypt Exposed



It's no secret that the situation in Egypt is deteriorating by the day, but for some bizarre reason the ultimate cause of the recent chaos remains generally unknown. Ask any friend or colleague what they think initiated the Egyptian revolution and most will come up with something like 'The people were unhappy with the government, so they rioted', or words to that effect.
 
But that's only part of the story… nobody seems to be talking about why the people were unhappy in the first place. 
 
The truth is, it was crippling levels of inflation that sparked the rioting, looting, and mayhem that Egypt is still experiencing. Upon the breakout of civil unrest in Tahrir Square back in 2010 CNBC reported:
 
"It is food inflation that is ultimately breaking the back of the Mubarek regime - staples like meat, sugar and vegetables have been climbing out of the reach of the ordinary Egyptian for a year."
 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Is “Austerity” Responsible for the Crisis in Europe?

by Martin Masse

















Most European economies have been in recession, or close to it, since the beginning of 2012. Unemployment rates are reaching record highs. Meanwhile, a debate has been raging about the deleterious effects of “austerity” measures. Various heads of government, finance ministers, and European Union officials have declared that austerity has gone too far and is preventing a recovery.
Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman are seeing this as unassailable proof that stimulus policies adopted when the financial crisis started in 2008-09 should never have been reversed and replaced by austerity measures, notwithstanding the explosion of public debt that they entailed.
In the Keynesian view, when idle resources are left unused by the private sector, governments should put them to work. They should stop worrying about budget deficits and start spending again.
Whereas Keynesians and the rest of the economics profession see downturns as unexpected and disastrous events to be prevented, Austrian School economists explain them as the inevitable result of an earlier unsustainable boom provoked by excessive credit expansion and interventionist government policies.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

19 Reasons To Be Deeply Concerned About The Global Economy As We Enter The 2nd Half Of 2013

By Michael Snyder
















Is the global economic downturn going to accelerate as we roll into the second half of this year?  There is turmoil in the Middle East, we are seeing things happen in the bond markets that we have not seen happen in more than 30 years, and much of Europe has already plunged into a full-blown economic depression.  Sadly, most Americans will never understand what is happening until financial disaster strikes them personally.  As long as they can go to work during the day and eat frozen pizza and watch reality television at night, most of them will consider everything to be just fine.  Unfortunately, the truth is that everything is not fine.  The world is becoming increasingly unstable, we are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet and the global financial system is even more vulnerable than it was back in 2008.  Unfortunately, most people seem to only have a 48 hour attention span at best these days.

The Currency Wars Reignite




















Via Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”

                  -George Lucas

 Our reality has changed in the last twenty-four hours. The Bank of England and the European Central Bank have re-affirmed their old positions since the Fed has changed tacks. The initial reactions will be a spike in equities and a fall-off in the valuations of the Pound and the Euro to the Dollar. These, however, are first blush reactions as the color fades from the bloom.

It may well be, as Europe is in much worse financial condition than the United States, that there is a policy reason for the European positions but it may well also be a calculated move to devalue the major European currencies. Whatever the actual reasons, the European statements have certainly sounded the trumpet that the “Currency Wars” have reignited.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Keynesian Phrenology

by Richard Daughty














I am getting more and more upset about the future of the economy, especially the part where I will probably still be alive to suffer through it, instead of being safely dead and gone, laughing disdainfully from whatever circle of Dante’s hell that is reserved for us lousy fathers, worthless husbands, lackluster employees and all-around lazy bastards.

“Hahaha!” I will bellow. “Now suffer! Suffer, you morons who actually believed that the idiocy of Keynesian economics would NOT end in disaster! From the heart of hell I strike at thee!”

The Most Stunning Development In Silver




By Silver Shield

The Silver Bullet Silver Shield makes it's return with Warbird soon.
Today, I learned of one of the most stunning developments in the physical silver demand I have ever seen.
The physical Silver market is about to explode the paper silver market in a huge way. Like the price collapse in 2008 set up silver for a 500%+ return for the next few years, this recent price collapse is going to set up an epic return on silver like the world has never seen.

What TARP Boss Neil Barofsky Told Me Yesterday Should Shock You

by Bill Bonner




















The financial news is getting boring. The Dow goes only one way – up. But gold fell below $1,400 per ounce yesterday.

Rather than trying to figure it out, yesterday evening we drove down to Zombietown. A friend in Washington had promised to introduce us to Neil Barofsky, inspector general of the TARP program.

You remember TARP? It was the feds' $700 billion program to rescue the US economy from a correction. Neil Barofsky was in charge of it. So we decided to go down and ask him how it turned out...

Keiser Report: Dumb Luck, Wash Trading & Gold Suppression





In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the failure to understand English as saviour of the Japanese banking system. While price signals, the language of the market, are so manipulated as to be indecipherable by even those who speak the language. In the second half, Max talks to legendary investor, Jim Rogers, about gold, bonds and China.

Jim Rogers: “This Is Too Insane–And I’m Afraid We’re All Going To Suffer For The Rest Of This Decade”

by bullmarketthinking.com














I was able to reconnect with Jim Rogers this morning out of Spain, legendary co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros, author of Hot Commodities, and chairman of the private Beeland Holdings.
It was an especially powerful interview, as Jim spoke towards the relentless downward pressure on gold, the upward explosion in interest rates, central bank money printing, and how to protect yourself ahead of the disastrous times he sees coming.
When asked if we’re seeing forced liquidation leading the smash down in gold this morning, Jim said, “We certainly are. There are a lot of leveraged players who are now being forced to sell. Usually when you have this kind of forced liquidation, you’re getting closer to a bottom, maybe not the final bottom, but certainly close to a bottom. I even bought a little bit [today].”

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Eric Sprott: "Have We Lost Control Yet?"

by Eric Sprott













Recent comments by the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have shocked the world financial markets. It all started on May 22nd, 2013, at a Testimony to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, where he first hinted at tapering the Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) program. Then, on Wednesday, June 19th, during the press conference following the FOMC meeting, the Chairman outlined the Fed’s exit strategy from QE.
Since the first allusion to tapering, volatility has been on the rise across the board (stocks, currencies and bonds) (Figure 1A). Moreover, the yield starved, hot money that had flown to emerging markets has been rushing for the exits, triggering significant declines in emerging market (EM) equity and bond markets (Figure 1B). Finally, the prospect of the end of monetary accommodation has triggered rapid and significant decreases (increases) in the price (yield) of longer dated Treasury bonds (also Figure 1B).

FIGURE 1A: VOLATILITY INCREASING
FIGURE 1B: ASSET PRICES DECLINING
maag-charts-1-june-13.gif

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Collateral Transformation: The Latest, Greatest Financial Weapon Of Mass Destruction

 by zerohedge.com















Back in 2002 Warren Buffet famously proclaimed that derivatives were ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’ (FWMDs). Time has proven this view to be correct. As The Amphora Report's John Butler notes, it is difficult to imagine that the US housing and general global credit bubble of 2004-07 could have formed without the widespread use of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and various other products of early 21st century financial engineering. But to paraphrase those who oppose gun control, "FWMDs don’t cause crises, people do." But then who, exactly, does? And why? And can so-called 'liquidity regulation' prevent the next crisis? To answer these questions, John takes a closer look at proposed liquidity regulation as a response to the growing use of 'collateral transformation' (a topic often discussed here): the latest, greatest FWMD in the arsenal.

Submitted by John Butler of The Amphora Report,

Back in 2006, as the debate was raging whether or not the US had a mortgage credit and housing bubble, I had an ongoing, related exchange with the Chief US Economist of a large US investment bank. It had to do with what is now commonly referred to as the ‘shadow banking system’.
While the debate was somewhat arcane in its specifics, it boiled down to whether the additional financial market liquidity created through the use of securities repo and other forms of collateralized lending were destabilizing the financial system.

What’s So Scary About Deflation?

 by Frank Hollenbeck
















When it comes to deflation, mainstream economics becomes not the science of common sense, but the science of nonsense. Most economists today are quick to say, “a little inflation is a good thing,” and they fear deflation. Of course, in their personal lives, these same economists hunt the newspapers for the latest sales.

The person who epitomizes this fear of deflation best is Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve. His interpretation of the Great Depression has greatly biased his view against deflation.

Henry Smyth: Is this the Rothschild Moment for Gold?`

 by  rcwhalen.com


















"Interest is the difference in the valuation of present goods and future goods; it is the discount in the valuation of future goods as against that of present goods." 
Ludwig von Mises
“Planning for Freedom”

We’ve all been watching the selloff in the global gold market.  Armies of chicken littles are in a frenzy due to suggestions that the Fed may be ending its quantitative easing, so I thought this is a good time to check in with my friend Henry Smyth of Granville Cooper Asset Management Ltd. (GCAM). Henry is a former Coutts & Co. banker and a very astute observer of the global financial markets.  We spoke last week in New York. -- Chris

RCW:  Henry, the gold market has been taking a beating in the past few months.  What do you see as the drivers of the gold market today? 

Mises' Answer to Would-Be Conspirators: You Will Lose

by Gary North




















Over half a century ago, Ludwig von Mises made a crucial observation.
The capitalistic social order, therefore, is an economic democracy in the strictest sense of the word. In the last analysis, all decisions are dependent on the will of the people as consumers. Thus, whenever there is a conflict between the consumers' views and those of the business managers, market pressures assure that the views of the consumers win out eventually.
I have long believed he was correct. Like Mises' disciple Murray Rothbard, I am a student of conspiracies. They all have this in common: the seek leverage through the state. They instinctively know that Mises was correct, that they are the servants of customers in a free market order. So, they seek to rig the markets by means of the state.
Once a person comes to grips with Mises' observation, conspiracies appear less formidable. The state is a weak reed when compared to the long-run effects of liberty. The free market prospers under liberty. It expands its control over production and distribution.
This leads me to the topic at hand.

George Soros: Why We Need To Rethink Economics

by ineteconomics.org 





In this short interview, Institute for New Economic Thinking co-founder George Soros tackles the question at the heart of the Institute's mission: What's wrong with economics and what can we do to change it?

"Economic theory needs to be rethought from the ground-up," Soros says. He specifically criticizes economists who are trying to produce theories that behave like laws in Newtonian physics, which Soros has long believed is impossible.

To change this, Soros says economics needs to reexamine its own behavior. "You need a new approach with different methods and also different criteria of what is acceptable," he says. And he says that economic thinking needs to begin addressing real-world policy questions rather than simply creating more mathematical equations.

Silver is winning India’s “War on Gold”

by Eric Sprott and David Franklin
















As India continues to wage war with gold, investors are seeking out the yellow metal through any means available. Reports today suggest that there is not enough room on commercial flights into Dubai for all those investors seeking to purchase gold. “I cannot find a place for transporting gold on Emirates, on BA or Swiss Airlines this weekend,” lamented Tarek El Mdaka, the managing director of Kaloti Gold in Dubai adding he is shipping as much as 2 tonnes of gold every day.1 As we had suspected, it would appear that the Indian gold trade has moved offshore to avoid the restrictions on imports and extra taxes imposed. However, this is not the biggest change in the Indian precious metals market – silver imports have exploded.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Neil Howe: The Fourth Turning Has Arrived

by Adam Taggart



In 1996, demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe published the book The Fourth Turning. This study of generational cycles ("turnings") in America revealed predictable social trends that recur throughout history, and warned of a coming crisis (a "fourth turning") based on this research.

Fourth turnings are defined by disorder and great changes brought on by a breakdown of the systems and operating principles that dominated the prior three turnings.

Our society has entered a fourth turning (consisting of the twenty-year periods leading up to and out of it immediately.)It is a season you have to move through before you are born again -- so to speak -- as a society, and regain institutional confidence. You have to go through a crucible to get there.
I think the fourth turning started -- probably, if I were to date it now -- in 2008: the realigning election in that year of Barack Obama against John McCain. And, obviously, simultaneously with that, as we all recall, an epic, historic crash of the global economy from which we still have not recovered.
We are sort of hobbling along in kind of a low-earth orbit, with continued high unemployment and excess capacity -- not just in the United States, but around the world. And, of course, all the rules of economic policy seem broken and lie in fragments on the floor. People are wondering what the heck do we do in this new era. 

End of QE? – I don’t buy it.

by DETLEV SCHLICHTER

A new meme is spreading in financial markets: The Fed is about to turn off the monetary spigot. US Printmaster General Ben Bernanke announced that he might start reducing the monthly debt monetization program, called ‘quantitative easing’ (QE), as early as the autumn of 2013, and maybe stop it entirely by the middle of next year. He reassured markets that the Fed would keep the key policy rate (the Fed Funds rate) at near zero all the way into 2015. Still, the end of QE is seen as the beginning of the end of super-easy policy and potentially the first towards normalization, as if anybody still had any idea of what ‘normal’ was.Fearing that the flow of nourishing mother milk from the Fed could dry up, a resolutely unweaned Wall Street threw a hissy fit and the dummy out of the pram.

This Is an Extraordinary Time

by Charles Hugh Smith


It's as if we have two economies: the simulacrum one of stocks rising dramatically in a few months, and the real one of household earnings (down) and hours worked (down).


It is difficult to justify the feeling that we are living in an extraordinary moment in time, for the fundamental reason that it's impossible to accurately assess the present in a historical context.

Extraordinary moments are most easily marked by dramatic events such as declarations of war or election results; lacking such a visible demarcation, what sets this month of 2013 apart from any other month since the Lehman Brothers' collapse in 2008?

It seems to me that the ordinariness of June 2013 is masking its true nature as a turning point. Humans soon habituate to whatever conditions they inhabit, and this adaptive trait robs us of the ability to discern just how extraordinary the situation has become.

Controlling The Implosion Of The Biggest Bond Bubble In History

by testosteronepit.com




In theory, the Fed could continue to print money and buy Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, or even pure junk, at the current rate of $85 billion a month until the bitter end. But the bitter end would be unpleasant even for those that the Fed represents – and now they’re speaking up publicly.

“Savers have paid a huge price in this recovery,” was how Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf phrased it on Thursday – a sudden flash of empathy, after nearly five years of Fed policies that pushed interest rates on savings accounts and CDs below inflation, a form of soft confiscation, of which he and his TBTF bank were prime beneficiaries. That interest rates were rising based on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s insinuation of a taper was “a good thing,” he told CNBC. “We need to get back to normal.”

A week earlier, it was Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: “Eventually interest rates have to normalize,” he said. “It’s not normal to have 2% rates.”

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why the Greenbackers Are Wrong

by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.



One of Ron Paul’s great accomplishments is that the Federal Reserve faces more opposition today than ever before. Readers of this site will be familiar with the arguments: the Fed enjoys special government privileges; its interference with market interest rates gives rise to the boom-bust business cycle; it has undermined the value of the dollar; it creates moral hazard, since market participants know the money producer can bail them out; and it is unnecessary and at odds with a free market economy.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why My 'Crash Alert' Flag Is Flying High

by Bill Bonner




Whoa! Investors are acting as if it were 2007 all over again.

USA Today has the story:

Emboldened by soaring stock prices and record-low borrowing costs, stock investors are taking out loans against their portfolios at the fastest pace since before the Great Recession hit.

So-called margin debt hit $379.5 billion in March, the highest level since July 2007 when such debt hit an all-time record of $381.4 billion, according to the most recent data available compiled by the New York Stock Exchange.

The trend signals that investors are more comfortable with stocks and are more willing to use borrowed money to buy more securities in hopes of garnering fatter returns in a hot market that has pushed the Dow Jones industrials up more than 15% in 2013.

Why are investors so bullish? Because the economy is coming back? Because the future is rosy? Because stocks are going to earn even more?

Nah... What do you take us for, dear reader? We know the story. Stocks are going up because the Fed is making them go up. Here's David Rosenberg in Canada's Financial Post:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Statistics: Achilles' Heel of Government









Ours is truly an Age of Statistics. In a country and an era that worships statistical data as super "scientific," as offering us the keys to all knowledge, a vast supply of data of all shapes and sizes pours forth upon us. Mostly, it pours forth from government.

While private agencies and trade associations do gather and issue some statistics, they are limited to specific wants of specific industries. The vast bulk of statistics is gathered and disseminated by government. The overall statistics of the economy, the popular "gross national product" data that permits every economist to be a soothsayer of business conditions, come from government.

Furthermore, many statistics are by-products of other governmental activities: from the Internal Revenue bureau come tax data, from unemployment insurance departments come estimates of the unemployed, from customs offices come data on foreign trade, from the Federal Reserve flow statistics on banking, and so on. And as new statistical techniques are developed, new divisions of government departments are created to refine and use them.

The Phony Recovery

by Bill Bonner
















Not much action following the new Dow high. Not much follow-through. But no big breakdown, either.

As near as we can tell, the Fed's EZ money has driven up stock prices. Investors expect more EZ money. So they think stocks will go up more.

We are attending an investment conference in New York. What has struck us so far is how optimistic the young investors are. They think stocks always go up.

"I'm 36 years old," one explained. "That means I was too young to get in on the boom of 1982-2000. All I've seen are stocks going up and down. They're just a little bit higher today than they were in 2000 – when I was just 23 years old.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Is “Austerity” Responsible for the Crisis in Europe?

by

















Most European economies have been in recession, or close to it, since the beginning of 2012. Unemployment rates are reaching record highs. Meanwhile, a debate has been raging about the deleterious effects of “austerity” measures. Various heads of government, finance ministers, and European Union officials have declared that austerity has gone too far and is preventing a recovery.
Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman are seeing this as unassailable proof that stimulus policies adopted when the financial crisis started in 2008-09 should never have been reversed and replaced by austerity measures, notwithstanding the explosion of public debt that they entailed.
In the Keynesian view, when idle resources are left unused by the private sector, governments should put them to work. They should stop worrying about budget deficits and start spending again.

Is Japan Heading for Another Lost Decade?

by













Recently various commentators have been warning Euro-zone policymakers that they needed to boost stimulus policies in order to avoid a Japanese-style lost decade. To support their case, they point to the years 1991 to 2000. The average growth of real GDP in Japan during that period stood at 1.2 percent versus the average growth of 4.7 percent during 1980 to 1990. In terms of industrial production, the average growth stood at 0.1 percent versus 4.1 percent.

Social Security: The New Deal’s Fiscal Ponzi

by David Stockman



The Social Security Act of 1935 had virtually nothing to do with ending the depression, and if anything it had a contractionary impact. Payroll taxes began in 1937 while regular benefit payments did not commence until 1940.
Yet its fiscal legacy threatens disaster in the present era because its core principle of “social insurance” inexorably gives rise to a fiscal doomsday machine. When in the context of modern political democracy the state offers universal transfer payments to its citizens without proof of need, it offers thereby to bankrupt itself—eventually.
By contrast, a minor portion of the 1935 legislation embodied the opposite principle—namely, the means-tested safety net offered through categorical aid for the low-income elderly, blind, disabled and dependent families. These programs were inherently self-contained because beneficiaries of means-tested transfers simply do not have the wherewithal—that is, PACs and organized lobbying machinery—to “capture” policy-making and thereby imperil the public purse.
To the extent that means-tested social welfare is strictly cash-based, as was cogently advocated by Milton Friedman in his negative income tax plan, it is even more fiscally stable. Such purely cash based transfers do not enlist and mobilize the lobbying power of providers and vendors of in-kind assistance, such as housing and medical services.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Best Kept Secrets of The Dollar



by stormcloudsgathering.com

At this point in history virtually every human on this planet is enslaved whether they know it or not. This is not the crude and primitive slavery of ancient times, it does not rely on whips and shackles to keep the oppressed in their place. These tools have been rendered obsolete by much more sophisticated methods.

Is present monetary policy rational?















While the stance of monetary policy around the world has, on any conceivable measure, been extreme, by which I mean unprecedentedly accommodative, the question of whether such a policy is indeed sensible and rationale has not been asked much of late. By rational I simply mean the following: Is this policy likely to deliver what it is supposed to deliver? And if it does fall short of its official aim, then can we at least state with some certainty that whatever it delivers in benefits is not outweighed by its costs? I think that these are straightforward questions and that any policy that is advertised as being in ‘the interest of the general public’ should pass this test. As I will argue in the following, the present stance of monetary policy only has a negligible chance, at best, of ever fulfilling its stated aim. Furthermore, its benefits are almost certainly outweighed by its costs if we list all negative effects of this policy and do not confine ourselves, as the present mainstream does, to just one obvious cost: official consumer price inflation, which thus far remains contained. Thus, in my view, there is no escaping the fact that this policy is not rational. It should be abandoned as soon as possible.

Bill Gross To Ben Bernanke: "It's Your Policies That Are Now Part Of The Problem Rather Than The Solution"

by 
















On practically every day of the past four years, we have said that it was the Fed's own policies that are causing the ever-deeper systemic weakness in the US (and now global with all central banks going "all in") economy, which in turn forces the Fed to intervene even more aggressively in an attempt to counteract, in turn generating ever more economic weakness, leading to even more intervention, which is why every incremental episode of QE is larger and longer, and why the economic baseline is ever lower in the most perverse feedback loop of the New Normal. Now, it is once again Bill Gross to catch up to Zero Hedge and conclude just this in his latest monthly letter: "It’s been five years Mr. Chairman and the real economy has not once over a 12-month period of time grown faster than 2.5%. Perhaps, in addition to a fiscally confused Washington, it’s your policies that may be now part of the problem rather than the solution. Perhaps the beating heart is pumping anemic, even destructively leukemic blood through the system. Perhaps zero-bound interest rates and quantitative easing programs are becoming as much of the problem as the solution." Which is why there simply is no way out as long as Bernanke stays in.

From Bill Gross of PIMCO

Wounded Heart

The Paradox of Imperialism

by Hans-Hermann Hoppe






















The State

Conventionally, the state is defined as an agency with two unique characteristics. First, it is a compulsory territorial monopolist of ultimate decision-making (jurisdiction). That is, it is the ultimate arbiter in every case of conflict, including conflicts involving itself. Second, the state is a territorial monopolist of taxation. That is, it is an agency that unilaterally fixes the price citizens must pay for its provision of law and order.

Predictably, if one can only appeal to the state for justice, justice will be perverted in favor of the state. Instead of resolving conflict, a monopolist of ultimate decision-making will provoke conflict in order to settle it to his own advantage. Worse, while the quality of justice will fall under monopolistic auspices, its price will rise. Motivated like everyone else by self-interest but equipped with the power to tax, the state agents' goal is always the same: to maximize income and minimize productive effort.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Grandest Larceny of All Time

by Bill Bonner



Gold seems to be coming back fast. It rose $38 per ounce yesterday.
Of course, the Fed's monetary meddling doesn't work. And it will most likely cause a financial disaster.
But the biggest scandal of today's central bank policy is that it is essentially the grandest larceny of all time.
The normal ways in which wealth is distributed may not be perfect, but they are the best nature can do. People earn it. They save it. They steal it. Or they get richer by investing.

Or they just get lucky...

Normally, in other words, wealth ends up being distributed in an unplanned and uncontrolled way. People do their best. The chips fall where they may.

But along come the central banks. They're creating a new type of wealth. It is not wage income. It is not the product of capital investments. It is not the result of technology or productivity increases or hard work or self-discipline... or any of the other things that lead to wealth and prosperity.

Instead, it is created by the central bank "out of thin air."

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Peak Gold

by PeakResources



We are rapidly approaching the end of cheap resources. The wealth of most Americans could get wiped out during the next decade due to commodity inflation. Focusing on your real purchasing power is critical. As this brief documentary discusses, what is it that makes gold so special? Merely a "tradition" as Bernanke would have us believe, or sound 'money'?


Marc Faber: "People With Financial Assets Are All Doomed"

by zerohedge.com


















As Barron's notes in this recent interview, Marc Faber view the world with a skeptical eye, and never hesitates to speak his mind when things don't look quite right. In other words, he would be the first in a crowd to tell you the emperor has no clothes, and has done so early, often, and aptly in the case of numerous investment bubbles. With even the world's bankers now concerned at 'unsustainable bubbles', it is therefore unsurprising that in the discussion below, Faber explains, among other things, the fallacy of the Fed's help "the problem is the money doesn't flow into the system evenly, how with money-printing "the majority loses, and the minority wins," and how, thanks to the further misallocation of capital, "people with assets are all doomed, because prices are grossly inflated globally for stocks and bonds." Faber says he buys gold every month, adding that "I want to have some assets that aren't in the banking system. When the asset bubble bursts, financial assets will be particularly vulnerable."

The Friedmanite Corruption of Capitalism

by













All throughout his new book, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, David A. Stockman is critical of the Chicago School, especially its intellectual leader during the last half of the twentieth century, Milton Friedman. He captures the irony of the so-called free-market Chicago School on the very first page of his introduction, where he writes of the “capture of the state, especially its central bank, the Federal Reserve, by crony capitalist forces deeply inimical to free markets and democracy.”
This is a deep irony because it was Chicago School economists such as George Stigler who wrote of the “capture theory of regulation” when it came to the trucking industry, the airline industry, and many others. That is, they produced dozens of scholarly articles demonstrating how government regulatory agencies ostensibly created to regulate industry “in the public interest” are most often “captured” by the industry itself and then used not to protect the public but to enforce cartel pricing arrangements.

The Rise and Fall of the Dollar

by














Over the last century America’s money—the dollar—has come to dominate the global monetary system. It is used not just by Americans, but in other countries, in the global black market, and by importers and exporters. And it is the primary reserve currency for central banks. This status is what Barry Eichengreen calls an “exorbitant privilege,” because it confers numerous benefits to individuals, companies, and governments. Collectively, it also confers the ability for Americans to consume beyond our ability to produce.
Professor Eichengreen in his book Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System, chronicles the rise of the dollar to world dominance, and what it means for the US. He then explores the possibilities of its demise and possible crash. The author should be commended for at times thinking outside the mainstream box, where such issues are often ignored.
He believes that the world is heading toward a state in which there are several reserve currencies, notably the euro and the Chinese renminbi. He maintains that a reserve currency status is based on economic strength: Europe has it and China and India are gaining it rapidly.

India to import around 350-400 tonnes of gold in Q2; Asia demand to hit record: WGC

by indiatimes.com






















Asian gold demand from this April to June will reach a quarterly record as bullion consumers in the region take possession of supply freed up by selling from exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the World Gold Council (WGC) said on Wednesday.
Gold prices fell to their lowest in more than two years at $1,321.35 an ounce in mid-April on signs of economic improvement in main markets and fears that central banks around the world could start to curtail their bullion-friendly policy measures.

The move scared investors in the West, triggering a sharp liquidation of speculative and ETF positions. But lower prices also prompted strong physical demand from price-sensitive countries such as India and China, which together account for more than 50 percent of consumer demand for bullion.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Learning from Mistakes

by









The old idiom “you can lead a horse to water, but not make him drink” has proven itself true in the course of human learning. Or rather, it would be more accurate to label it man’s inability to learn from mistakes. You can hold a mirror up to grotesque instances of hypocrisy, but most men will remain mules – stubborn in their prejudice and beliefs. The ability to heed lessons from blunders is, often times, a skill unable to be mastered by the mass populace. A child might learn to not touch a searingly hot stove, but adults are apt to accept their condition of intellectual stupor – even when it proves painful.

Microeconomics of Inflation

by Martin Sibileau

















A week later and everyone is a bit more nervous, with the speculation that US sovereign debt purchases by the Federal Reserve will wind down and with the Bank of Japan completely cornered.
In anticipation to the debate on the Fed’s bond purchase tapering, on April 28th (see here) I wrote why the Federal Reserve cannot exit Quantitative Easing: Any tightening must be preceded by a change in policy that addresses fiscal deficits. It has absolutely nothing to do with unemployment or activity levels. Furthermore, it will require international coordination. This is also not possible. The Bank of Japan is helplessly facing the collapse of the country’s sovereign debt, the European Monetary Union is anything but what its name indicates, with one of its members under capital controls, and China is improvising as its credit bubble bursts.

Abenomics is nothing new

by FinancialTimesVideos




When shown the magnificent run-up in Japanese equities over the past six months and asked why he is skeptical about the likely success of Abenomics, Mizuho's chief economist simply explains, "because I am not suffering from amnesia," as the rest of the market appears to be. He goes in this brief interview with the FT to explain there is nothing new here. We already saw massive fiscal expenditure in the 1990s (which failed to gain any real economic traction) and as far as quantitative easing, Ueno reminds his interviewer, we saw major QE between 2001 and 2006 (that failed), Furthermore, the so-called growth strategy, "every Japanese cabinet has undertaken such doctrines without any success." The discussion then switches from the dashing of hopes to the risks of the policy. Five minutes well spent this weekend to remind your momentum-driven recency-biased anchored view of the world that there is nothing new under the sun and moar is not always better...

Killing the Currency

by














 
. . . there is no record in the economic history of the whole world, anywhere or at any time, of a serious and prolonged inflation which has not been accompanied and made possible, if not directly caused, by a large increase in the quantity of money.

— Gottfried Haberler, Inflation, Its Causes and Cures (1960)[1]

The phrase “not worth a continental” may be vaguely familiar to Americans as an old and quirky saying, but to Revolutionary War–era Americans it would have been a harsh reminder of a recent nightmare. In order to finance the war, the Continental Congress authorized the issuance of money without rights of redemption in coin or precious metals (unlike other currencies in circulation). In short order, over $225 million Continentals were issued on top of an existing money supply of only $25 million. Initially traded on a one-for-one ratio with paper dollars backed by coin or precious metals, within a mere five years Continental currency had depreciated to worthlessness.[2] It was America’s first major experiment with a fiat currency, and it cost many newly free Americans their livelihood and savings.

Gold And The Fiat End-Game

 by soundmoneycampaign.com



The Fiat End Game: Preparing For A Way Forward, is a our latest micro-documentary focused on solutions to our current economic problems. Our current fiat currency standard is terminal, nations around the world are dropping the U.S. dollar as a medium of exchange, central banks are buying gold, and Americans are seeing price inflation during an economic downturn. In order to avoid a systemic financial crisis here in the U.S., we need to focus on solutions. Please watch this important video and join us in a new financial awakening happening right now all across America.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

America’s Bubble Economy Is Going To Become An Economic Black Hole

By Michael

















What is going to happen when the greatest economic bubble in the history of the world pops?  The mainstream media never talks about that.  They are much too busy covering the latest dogfights in Washington and what Justin Bieber has been up to.  And most Americans seem to think that if the Dow keeps setting new all-time highs that everything must be okay.  Sadly, that is not the case at all.  Right now, the U.S. economy is exhibiting all of the classic symptoms of a bubble economy.  You can see this when you step back and take a longer-term view of things.  Over the past decade, we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt.  But most Americans have shown very little concern as the balance on our national credit card has soared from 6 trillion dollars to nearly 17 trillion dollars.

The Gods Of The Marketplace

by Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,
"It's the lure of easy money. It has a very strong appeal."

                 -Glenn Frey, Smuggler's Blues

 


Investors borrowed $384.4 billion in April, a 1.3% gain from the previous month and a 29% rise from the same month last year. This is an all-time record for margin debt and it exceeds the previous high mark set in June 2007. Some may see this as an increased sign of investor confidence but I am not one of them. To me this is a giant red warning flag blowing in the financial breeze indicating the leveraging of dumb money making very risky bets.

"Every swindle is driven by a desire for easy money; it's the one thing the swindler and the swindled have in common."

                     -Mitchell Zuckoff

Substances based upon some sort of white powder are quite dangerous. They can overcome your good sense and then they it can be quite difficult to extricate yourself from them. The Great Depression was caused, in large part, by massive leverage utilized in the equity markets. This was the white powder of 1929. It took a decade and a World War before America was able to loosen the grip of the stuff.

Abenomics 101 - The 15 Most Frequently Asked Questions

 by Tyler Durden



With the first arrow of Abenomics perhaps hitting its limit, it will be the second and third arrows that need to occur quickly and aggressively to carry this momentum forward (and for the economy to grow into stock valuations). Barclays lays out 15 of its most frequently asked questions below but concerns remain as the BoJ’s planned absorption of nearly 80% of new JGB issuance from the markets this fiscal year has triggered a dramatic change not only in JGB supply/demand and ownership structure but in the JGB market risk profile itself, which has moved from “low carry, low volatility and high liquidity (superior to other assets from perspective of risk-adjusted returns or Sharpe ratio)” to “low carry, high volatility and low liquidity (inferior from same perspective)”. Barclays added that with a wave of major political and policy events ahead, starting with a crucial Upper House election, there was no big change in the basic belief among foreign investors that Japan is likely to be the main source of surprise for the global economy and of volatility in financial markets.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fed exit strategy: the mother of all head fakes

by Goldmoney











“Exit strategy” is the current buzz phrase among market watchers, with the dollar rallying in recent days and weeks on expectations that all is well with the US economy again, and that the Fed can now start thinking about ways of selling assets and “exiting” from its current commitment to perpetual quantitative easing.
Given this growing narrative and the fact that US stocks continue to race higher, gold and silver remain under pressure – with a “sell the rallies” mentality continuing to predominate trading in these metals. This could change though, depending on what Fed chairman Bernanke says in congressional testimony later today (if he sounds more dovish on monetary policy and pessimistic about the economy than expected, this should support the metals; in the opposite case, the metals could go lower).
From a longer-term perspective, it really doesn’t matter what Bernanke says. Talk from Fed officials about “exit strategies” is nothing more than a head fake: a way of convincing the markets that central banks are still in control, and that there’s nothing to worry about. The central planners have it all under control.

Keiser Report: Narcissists' Rally




In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert have a look at the narcissists' rally as we drown in central banking their currency wars and their quantitative easing without wealth creation. In the second half, Max talks to Jim Rickards, author of Currency Wars, about why we don't need to worry about a recession - because we're in a depression! They discuss US Federal Chairman, Ben Bernanke's, plan to not Beggar Thy Neighbor, but Enrich They Neighbor by jumping out of the printing plane together with simultaneous devaluations. And, in terms of gold, Keiser and Rickards suggest maybe it's the Chinese manipulating the price of gold . . . and not the US Federal Reserve.

by RussiaToday

Will It Be Inflation Or Deflation? The Answer May Surprise You

By Michael





















Is the coming financial collapse going to be inflationary or deflationary? Are we headed for rampant inflation or crippling deflation? This is a subject that is hotly debated by economists all over the country. Some insist that the wild money printing that the Federal Reserve is doing combined with out of control government spending will eventually result in hyperinflation. Others point to all of the deflationary factors in our economy and argue that we will experience tremendous deflation when the bubble economy that we are currently living in bursts. So what is the truth? Well, for the reasons listed below, I believe that we will see both. The next major financial panic will cause a substantial deflationary wave first, and after that we will see unprecedented inflation as the central bankers and our politicians respond to the financial crisis. This will happen so quickly that many will get "financial whiplash" as they try to figure out what to do with their money. We are moving toward a time of extreme financial instability, and different strategies will be called for at different times.

So why will we see deflation first? The following are some of the major deflationary forces that are affecting our economy right now...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Keynesian Europe Will Not Muddle Through, Says German Economist

by Gary North
















Europe is the poster child of Keynesianism. The southern countries ran huge government deficits for a decade. There was a boom. But that boom has ended. Mediterranean nations are in depressions. These depressions are getting worse.

Hans-Werner Sinn is a German economist. He is known as one of the most pessimistic economists in Europe. But, compared to what is facing Europe, he is a raging optimist.

He spoke at the Peterson Institute. That organization is closer to economic reality than other Establishment think tanks. It allows some bad news to be discussed. Not statistically inevitable bad news, but some bad news.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Banks Win Big as Regulators Refuse to Rein in $700 Trillion Derivatives


by The Real News





 Bill Black: Weakness of financial regulators shows you can not "tame the scorpion"

No Bear Market In Gold — Paul Craig Roberts

by Paul Craig Roberts

















You know that gold bear market that the financial press keeps touting? The one George Soros keeps proclaiming? Well, it is not there. The gold bear market is disinformation that is helping elites acquire the gold.

Certainly, Soros himself doesn’t believe it, as the 13-F release issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15 proves. George Soros has significantly increased his gold holding by purchasing $25.2 million of call options on the GDXJ Junior Gold Miners Index.

Why I'm Praying for Government Incompetence

by Bill Bonner



"You Americans don't understand anything. You have to come to Argentina and live here for a few years. Then you'll understand America."

We had to ask, "Huh?"

"When you're here, you can see more clearly how things really work... and don't work. You see the real nature of things... especially government. Believe me, you Americans have all sorts of delusions.

"A government 'by, for and of the people'? Or, as Hillary Clinton put it, 'The government is all of us.' Not quite. And when you've been here for a while, you'll see your own institutions more clearly."

Our Man in Argentina

The speaker was a friend of ours. An American from Alabama who has lived in Argentina for 30 years. He lived through the hyperinflation of the 1980s... the boom of the 1990s... and the crash of the 2000s.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gangster Stato America - Paul Craig Roberts

by paulcraigroberts.org



There are many signs of gangster state America. One is the collusion between federal authorities and banksters in a criminal conspiracy to rig the markets for gold and silver.

My explanation that the sudden appearance of an unprecedented 400 ton short sale of gold on the COMEX in April was a manipulation designed to protect the dollar from the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy has found acceptance among gold investors and hedge fund managers.

The sale was a naked short. The seller had no gold to sell. COMEX reported having gold only equal to about half of the short sale in its vaults, and not all of that was available for delivery. No one but the Federal Reserve could have placed such an order, and the order came from one of the Fed’s bullion banks, one of the entities “too big to fail.”

Bill Kaye of the Greater Asian Hedge Fund in Hong Kong and Dave Kranzler of Golden Returns Capital have filled in the details of how the manipulation worked. Being sophisticated investors of many years of experience, both Kaye and Kranzler understand that the financial press runs with the authorized story planted to serve the agenda that has been put into play.

Economics and Armchair Psychology

By John Kozy



“Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man.”― Henry Hazlitt

Over millennia, numerous enterprises have sought the status of science. Few have succeeded because they have failed to discover anything that stood up to scrutiny as knowledge. No body of beliefs, no matter how widely accepted or how extensive in scope, can ever be scientific.

In the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the epicycle is a geometric model of the solar system and planetary motion. It was first proposed by Apollonius of Perga at the end of the 3rd century BCE and its development continued until Kepler came up with a better model in the 17th century, and the geocentric model of the solar system was replaced by Copernican heliocentrism. In spite of some very good approximations to the problems of planetary motion, the system of epicycles could never get anything right.