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Friday, March 29, 2013

Want To Understand Money?


This was published on January 2, 2013, in Ron Paul’s Monetary Policy Anthology: Materials From the Chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, US House of Representatives, 112th Congress.
The scholarly contributions of Murray N. Rothbard span numerous disciplines, and may be found in dozens of books and thousands of articles. But even if we confine ourselves to the topic of money, the subject of this volume, we still find his contributions copious and significant.
As an American monetary historian Rothbard traced the party politics, the pressure groups, and the academic apologists behind the various national banking schemes throughout American history. As a popularizer of monetary theory and history he showed the public what government was really up to as it took greater and greater control over money. As a business cycle expert he wrote scholarly books on the Panic of 1819 and the Great Depression, finding the roots of both in artificial credit expansion. And while the locus classicus of monetary theory in the tradition of the Austrian School is Ludwig von Mises’ 1912 work The Theory of Money and Credit, the most thorough shorter overview of Austrian monetary theory is surely chapter 10 of Rothbard’s treatise Man, Economy and State.

Cyprus and the Unraveling of Fractional-Reserve Banking


[Originally posted on Circle Bastiat, the faculty blog of the Mises Institute. Read Circle Bastiat for Austrian analysis of current economic events from today’s top Misesian and Rothbardian economists.]
The “Cyprus deal” as it has been widely referred to in the media may mark the next to last act in the the slow motion collapse of fractional-reserve banking that began with the implosion of the savings-and-loan industry in the U.S. in the late 1980s.
This trend continued with the currency crises in Russia, Mexico, East Asia, and Argentina in the 1990s in which fractional-reserve banking played a decisive role. The unraveling of fractional-reserve banking became visible even to the average depositor during the financial meltdown of 2008 that ignited bank runs on some of the largest and most venerable financial institutions in the world. The final collapse was only averted by the multi-trillion dollar bailout of U.S. and foreign banks by the Federal Reserve.

Jim Rogers Says No Paper Currency Will Be Worth Much Of Anything In 2014/5

Legendary investor Jim Rogers sees now as a great time to load up on gold and silver coins - and he's not alone.

A record 7.5 million ounces of silver coins were sold in January as investors hunted for a safe haven investment.

"You can't get [silver coins]. They sell out," Rogers, who owns a rare 2013 silver coin, said on Yahoo! Finance's "The Daily Ticker." "Several mints have run out of coins because everybody's worried about the future of the world."

And 150,000 ounces of American Eagle gold coins were sold in January, the highest monthly total since July 2010.

Anatomy of the Bank Run


It was a scene familiar to any nostalgia buff: all-night lines waiting for the banks (first in Ohio, then in Maryland) to open; pompous but mendacious assurances by the bankers that all is well and that the people should go home; a stubborn insistence by depositors to get their money out; and the consequent closing of the banks by government, while at the same time the banks were permitted to stay in existence and collect the debts due them by their borrowers.
In other words, instead of government protecting private property and enforcing voluntary contracts, it deliberately violated the property of the depositors by barring them from retrieving their own money from the banks.

Tenured Austrian Economists vs. Murray Rothbard

by Gary North


The Austrian School of economics in the twentieth century was dominated by Ludwig von Mises. He died in 1973. His followers have divided into two main camps: the Rothbardians and the Lachmannites. They have adopted rival philosophies and rival strategies.
The main strategy of the Lachmannites is to get tenure at a university. The main strategy of the Rothbardians is to persuade the general public of the truth of economic liberty.
A college teacher who is granted tenure need not publish anything ever again. He will be paid for merely showing up to class. The number of classes that he teaches declines. He is immune from dismissal. This is the bureaucrat's dream come true.

Jim Rogers: Never In History Has This Been Seen


"I don't trust the data from any government, including the U.S., Jim Rogers said. "We know that governments lie to us. Everybody's printing money, but it cannot go on. This is all artificial." Rogers, who for years has been an outspoken critic of the Feds policies of "Quantitative Easing" says all the money printing is creating false hope that we are in the middle of some kind of super bull market. But in reality, he says, "we're living in a fool's paradise."

What's Supposed to Happen, and What Might Happen: 3 Baseline Scenarios


What might happen: printing money and issuing propaganda lose their effectiveness.

We all know what's supposed to happen in the global economy: we get more of everything: more stuff manufactured, more coal dug up and burned, more "aggregate demand" i.e. insatiable desire for more of everything, more innovation, more wealth, more money printed, more debt taken on to buy more stuff and more education, more tourists occupying more beaches sipping more drinks, more strip malls built, more airports expanded, more jobs created, more taxes collected-- more "growth" of everything, in every way and every day.

Beneath this expansive more-of-everything splendor, the power structure is supposed to remain unchanged: a small political-financial Elite holds all the reins of power, a manufacturing-consent propaganda machine (a.k.a. mainstream media) persuades the masses all is well, wealth continues to accumulate in the top 1/10th of 1%, money is printed/created and distributed to the State-financial partnership's fiefdoms and cartels, moderate inflation eats away at the value of wages but makes debt cheaper to service, and the Upper Caste of technocrats continue their well-paid enabling of the Aristocracy's dominance.

After Cyprus, Who Is Next?


Short answer: we don't know.
We do, however, know something we have been pointing out since early 2012 - when it comes to the funding structure of European banks, there is a dramatic difference between the US and Europe. In the US, as we showed most recently two months ago, the Big Three depositor banks (JPM, Wells and Bank of America, excluding the still pseudo-nationalized Citi), have a record $858 billion in excess deposits over loans.

Should Bernanke Park the Helicopter?

by Frank Shostak

According to Ben Bernanke, pulling back on aggressive policy measures too soon would pose a real risk of damaging a still-fragile recovery.
The Fed chief is of the view that, for the purposes of financial stability, a continuation of the central bank’s aggressive stimulus, conducted through purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities, remains the optimal approach.
In response to the financial crisis and the deep recession of 2007–09, the Fed not only lowered official rates effectively to zero, but also bought more than $2.5 trillion in assets in an effort to keep long-term rates low.

The Deeper Meanings of Cyprus


The deposit-confiscation "bailout" of Cyprus reveals much about the Eurozone's fundamental neocolonial, neofeudal structure.

At long last, Europe's flimsy facades of State sovereignty, democracy and free-market capitalism have collapsed, and we see the real machinery laid bare: the Eurozone's political-financial Aristocracy will stripmine every nation's citizenry to preserve their power and protect the banks and bondholders from absorbing losses.

The deposit-confiscation "bailout" of Cyprus confirms the Eurozone's fundamental neocolonial, neofeudal structure and the region's political surrender to financialization.

The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model (May 24, 2012)

Let's list what Cyprus reveals about the true state of financial-political power in Europe:

1. The Core-Periphery terminology masks the real structure: the E.U. operates on a neocolonial model. In the old Colonialism 1.0 model, the colonizing power conquered or co-opted the Power Elites of the periphery regions, and proceeded to exploit the new colonies' resources and labor to enrich the Imperial core.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

For Everyone Shocked By What Just Happened... And Why This Is Just The Beginning

Today, lots of people woke up in shock and horror to what happened in Cyprus: a forced capital reallocation mandated by political elites under the guise of an "equity investment" in insolvent banks, which is really code for a "coercive, mandatory wealth tax." If less concerned about political correctness, one could say that what just happened was daylight robbery from savers to banks and the status quo. These same people may be even more shocked to learn that today's Cypriot "resolution" is merely the first of many such coercive interventions into personal wealth, first in Europe, and then everywhere else.

Germany And IMF's Initial Deposit Haircut Demand: 40% Of Total

As the President of Cyprus proclaims  to his people that "we' should all take responsibility as his historic decision will "lead to the permanent rescue of the economy," it appears that the settled-upon 9.9% haircut is a 'good deal' compared to the stunning 40% of total deposits that Germany's FinMin Schaeuble and the IMF demanded. This action, his statement notes, enables the rescue of 8,000 banking sector jobs and ensuring the liquidity of the banks, "allowing the economy to proceed decisively to a new beginning." Ekathimerini reports," this is the first time in the eurozone that a levy has been imposed not on the interest of bank accounts but on the capital itself," and was the only way to bridge most of the the gap between the EUR17bn Nicosia needed and the EUR10bn the ESM was offering, though tax on interest in Cypriot banks will also rise to 20-25%. It is the 40% haircut requirement that concerns us the most as clearly going forward that means other nations, starting Monday (or Tuesday given national holidays) see deposit outflows surge, as the willingness to take such steps is now painfully clear.

German Commerzbank Suggests Wealth Tax In Italy Next

While some argue that Cyprus was "one of the biggest money-washing machines for Russian criminals," and others that Cyprus ex-Pat community and energy resources brough deposits (not to say their high deposit interest rates), it seems the European Union (IMF et al.) have decided that the route to crisis stabilization, just as we outlined here over a year ago and updated here, is through a wealth tax.
However, as Handelsblatt reports, the gross distortions of wealth distribution among both core and peripheral nations (evident in the chasm between 'mean' and 'median' net assets - or wealth) makes some nations more 'capable' of 'giving' and as Commerzbank's chief economist notes, median wealth in Italy is EUR164,000 (as opposed to Austria's median of around EUR76,000 and mean of around EUR265,000) meaning that in theory Italy has no debt crisis (with net assets at 173% of GDP) - significantly more than the Germans at 124% - "so it would make sense, in Italy a one-time property tax levy," he suggested.
"A tax rate of 15% on financial assets would probably be enough to push the Italian government debt to below the critical level of 100% of gross domestic product." So there you have it, the 'new deal' in Europe, as we warned, is 'wealth taxes' and testing the "capacity of Cypriots" appears to be the strawman on what the public will take before social unrest becomes intolerable.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Petro Business Cycle

By James J Puplava CFP
fuel gauge recession recovery
Oil is the lifeblood of modern society, powering over 90% of our transportation fleet on land, sea, and air. Oil is also responsible for 95% of the production of all goods we buy and ultimately drives the natural rhythms of recession and recovery. We define this as the "Petro Business Cycle".
The post-crash world we have inhabited since the credit crisis of 2008 has been defined as "The New Normal"—a phrase used to describe an economic and market environment much different than the three decades that preceded it. In contrast to the past, the "New Normal" will mean a lower living standard for most Americans. It will be a world of lower economic growth, higher unemployment, stagnant corporate profits, and the heavy hand of government intervention in all aspects in the economy. For investors it will be an environment marked by volatility, zero interest rates, and disappointing equity returns.
The age of leverage is coming to an end as consumers, businesses, and governments are forced to rein in their balance sheets. For consumers it will mean less discretionary spending as higher taxes and inflation erode the purchasing power of wages. Businesses will have fewer profit opportunities and find it more difficult to replicate the growth rates of the booming '80s and '90s. Governments will struggle with the illusion that their fiscal and monetary stimulus will produce long lasting effects on the economy. Eventually profligate government spending will give way to an age of austerity now beginning to spread across Europe. It will either be done voluntarily or involuntarily by the heavy hand of the market.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Italian Election: Awakening Consciousness?

By John Perkins

Who would have predicted that a comedian-turned-political activist, Beppe Grillo, and the anti-austerity Five Star Movement would win the Italian election? What caused this massive rejection of Prime Minister Mario Monti's austerity policies?

U.S President Obama, German chancellor Merkel, and other European leaders who backed Mario Monti must be puzzling over these questions. The recent Italian elections support a trend I have been describing for several years: a global awakening in consciousness. Voters in Italy resoundingly rejected the two parties that had dominated, both of which advocated austerity and other measures that favor the 1% at the expense of the 99%. The electorate propelled to power the practically unheard of the Five Star Party.

Fed Injects Record $100 Billion Cash Into Foreign Banks Operating In The US In Past Week

Source: H.8

Those who have been following our exclusive series of the Fed's direct bailout of European banks (here, here, here and here), and, indirectly of Europe, will not be surprised at all to learn that in the week ended February 27, or the week in which Europe went into a however brief tailspin following the shocking defeat of Bersani in the Italian elections, and an even more shocking victory by Berlusconi and Grillo, leading to a political vacuum and a hung parliament, the Fed injected a record $99 billion of excess reserves into foreign banks. As the most recent H.8 statement makes very clear, soared from $836 billion to a near-record $936 billion, or a $99.3 billion reserve "reallocation" in the form of cash - very, very fungible cash - into foreign (read European) banks in one week.

Gold manipulation, Part 2: How they do it (and a suggestion to hedge it)

This is the second of three articles I am posting on the suppression of gold. In the first article I showed that, under mainstream economic theory, the suppression of the gold market is not a conspiracy theory, but a logical necessity, a logical outcome. This second article will show how that suppression takes place. Those familiar with the gold market will likely find nothing new. The third article will examine the implications of this suppression and support the claim of the gold bugs, namely that physical gold will trade at a premium over fiat gold or gold paper is also not a conspiracy theory, but the logical outcome of the current paradigm.

How they do it: The concept

The popular notion, which central bankers would love to destroy, is that gold is a good hedge against inflation. In its simplest form, gold cannot be printed and, as its supply remains anchored, its price should spike if the supply of fiat money increases. The implicit math behind can be represented as follows:
Given a constant demand for money…
Feb 26 2013 1

Did These Hidden Forces 'Elect' the President?

by Bill Bonner

Today, on the Ides of February, we hold our hat in our hand... we bow our head... and let our mouth fall open in amazement. Our Lenten program of fasting, prayer and meditation is producing results. We are lightheaded from near-starvation and alcohol deprivation. But our thoughts are clear. Or else, we are hallucinating.
In the last two days, we've taken a look at what promises to be the biggest bust-up of all time.
It began in stealth when a small group of big bankers boarded an unlisted train in the middle of the night. They all knew each other. All were from powerful New York banking families. But they didn't even use their own names when talking to one another... so afraid were they that word of their meeting would leak out.
Then the strange little group traveled in complete secrecy to a small island compound off the coast of Georgia. There they could talk freely. But the conversation wasn't about hunting or sports... or politics... or religion.

The Stateless Equilibrium


The stateless market society—a peaceful social arrangement based on voluntary relations among individuals in which the state is not present—is not a popular idea. Many people believe that this society would lack the capacity to define and enforce property rights, and that this would result in chaos, tyranny of the rich or in a reversal to a state. This belief has led to a widespread dismissal of the stateless society paradigm.
Murray Rothbard is by many considered the champion of the stateless society doctrine. However, even Rothbard conceded that “there can be no absolute guarantee that a purely market society would not fall prey to organized criminality.” 
While it is true that absolute guarantees for any social outcome are generally inappropriate, I argue that there are good reasons to believe that outcomes like chaos, tyranny of the rich, or even “organized criminality” in the absence of a state are unlikely.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

China Preparing To Impose Bretton Woods II Gold Standard

by King world News

The flow of power and gold is going from West to East.  China may have accumulated a staggering 1,500 tons of gold last year alone.  China’s growth is now picking up steam as well.  What is really stunning is how much the yuan has increased in terms of international transactions.”

“The usage of the yuan in international transactions has been increasing at an unbelievable 170% per year.  That’s how fast the yuan has been increasing in terms of international transactions.  So goes the gold, so goes the power, and you can see it in the prominence the yuan is gaining.

The Chinese definitely have a plan here and that is to get control of gold....

“We are headed for another Bretton Woods.  It is unsustainable for currencies to continue to lose their purchasing power while median incomes, especially in the US, continue to go down in the West.

Reversal of Fortune: Why the Power Elite Will Lose Power

by Gary North

Remnant Review
The best description of the reversal of fortune is Mary's Magnificat, recorded in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1, verses 46-55. "He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree" (v. 52).
This was a fundamental theme in the Old Testament. We are told that those who hold their position by means of political power and corruption always lose their position. They are always overthrown. They look unbeatable. They are always defeated. The prophets of Israel came before kings and commoners with this message. Isaiah 1 is a good example. Isaiah even identified a major technique of the power elite: inflation. "Thy silver has become dross, thy wine mixed with water" (Isa 1:22).
The more things change, the more they stay the same.


What do I mean by the power elite? The phrase was coined by Leftist sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1956. His book remains a classic. Its main chapter is here. Liberal columnist Richard Rovere in 1956 called it the American Establishment. Conservatives refer to it as the Insiders or the Conspiracy. David Rothkopf, writing from inside, calls them the superclass. Sometimes they are called the PTB: the Powers that Be. I think conservative journalist and historian Otto Scott said it best: the behind-the-scenes fellows who are too clever by half.

Bubble trouble: Is there an end to endless quantitative easing?

By Detlev Schlichter

The publication, earlier this week, of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee minutes of January 29-30 seemed to have a similar effect on equity markets as a call from room service to a Las Vegas hotel suite, informing the partying high-rollers that the hotel might be running out of Cristal Champagne.  Around the world, stocks sold off, and so did gold.
Here is the sentence that caused such consternation:
“However, many participants also expressed some concerns about potential costs and risks arising from further asset purchases (the Fed’s open-ended, $85 billion-a-month debt monetization program called ‘quantitative easing’, DS). Several participants discussed the possible complications that additional purchases could cause for the eventual withdrawal of policy accommodation, a few mentioned the prospect of inflationary risks, and some noted that further asset purchases could foster market behaviour that could undermine financial stability.”

The End of Honest Money

by Bill Bonner

You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.
~ William Jennings Bryan
The season of fasting is upon us. No more high living. It's time to cinch up our belts... to put on a gaunt face and a smug look. Alone among friends and associates, we will keep Lent.
So neglected is Lent that even Google has forgotten about it. When we searched for it, it proposed "lentil soup."
Lent is meant to rehearse the 40 days and nights that Jesus spent fasting in the desert before going public. We remember the lean days with prayer, meditation and self-denial. No alcohol will cross our lips from Ash Wednesday till Easter Sunday. (Except on Sundays. And saints' days. And national holidays. And days that begin the letter "T" or have a date that is a prime number.)
Yes, dear reader, we will be true to the church calendar, with a few emendations of our own.

The Errors of Keynes's Critics


I was intrigued by the review that Philipp Bagus wrote of The Errors of Keynes (Los Errores de la Vieja Economía), a book written in Spanish by Juan Ramón Rallo, part of which deals with Say’s Law.
An important understanding is taking hold, that the road to unwind Keynesian economics travels through Say’s Law. Keynes himself could not have been clearer about the significance of Say’s Law to the entire structure of his argument. Keynes emphasized, over and over again, in The General Theory (TGT) that he was reversing the conclusions of those who believed Say’s Law to be true. Thus, there are two things that need to be done if you are going to refute Keynes. First, you have to know what Say’s Law is. Then you have to show it is valid.

The Core of American Liberty

by Bill Bonner

I've been at the beck and call of rich men all my life. But I'll be damned if I'll be at the beck and call of every son-of-a-bitch with a 3¢ stamp.
~ William Faulkner on losing his job at the Oxford, Miss., post office
One of the rarely cited advantages of having money is that you're less beholden to others who have it too. The more you have, at least in theory, the more you can ignore the other fellow with it, and go about your business. Nor need you drink the same cocktail or rush to the same mall so you can outfit yourself in the same duds.
In short, with a little capital of your own you can do what you want.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jim Rogers On Why He Moved To Asia


The Hudson Union Society is where today's leaders come to discuss tomorrow's ideas. If you live not to far from New York, please join us in person. 

n 1973, Jim Rogers co-founded the The Quantum Fund. During the following 10 years, the portfolio gained 4200% while the S&P advanced about 47%. The Quantum Fund was one of the first truly international funds. From 1990 to 1992, Rogers traveled around the world world on motorcycle, over 100,000 miles across six continents, which was picked up in the Guinness Book of World Records. Between January 1, 1999 and January 5, 2002, Rogers did another Guinness World Record journey through 116 countries, covering 245,000 kilometers with his wife, Paige Parker, in a custom-made Mercedes. The trip began in Iceland, which was about to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Leif Eriksson's first trip to America. In December 2007, Rogers sold his mansion in New York City for about 16 million USD and moved to Singapore.

The Myth of Fed Independence

by Murray N. Rothbard

By far the most secret and least accountable operation of the federal government is not, as one might expect, the CIA, DIA, or some other super-secret intelligence agency. The CIA and other intelligence operations are under control of the Congress. They are accountable: a Congressional committee supervises these operations, controls their budgets, and is informed of their covert activities. It is true that the committee hearings and activities are closed to the public; but at least the people’s representatives in Congress insure some accountability for these secret agencies.

The Serf Society

By Bill Bonner

Stocks, bonds, gold – all bounced around last week.

And as we mentioned on Friday, Americans continue to turn into "neo-serfs."

"Wall Street is running a new profit game," writes Shabnam Bashiri at, "by buying foreclosed houses and renting them back to their former owners."

Yes... nice business. Even better than it looks. It's why the rich get richer... and the 1% are way ahead of the other 99%. Writes Bashiri:

Every day, it seems a new report comes out praising the ongoing housing recovery. In Georgia, home prices are up 5% over last year, a year in which we also had one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. Seems a little odd, doesn't it? Don't foreclosures usually drive down the market?

Failure of Leadership

By Bill Bonner

Poor Chuck Hagel. Every day, The Wall Street Journal wallops the fellow. He is whacked for not knowing what he is doing…smacked for not appreciating the threat of a nuclear Iran…and slapped hard for not bending over quickly enough to kiss neo-con butts.

John McCain and Lindsay Graham went to work on him in the Senate. They went at it clumsily and disgracefully — like a pair of goons with lead pipes. And then, in the WSJ, Dorothy Rabinowitz hammered him last Monday; she was so hysterical we couldn’t follow what she was talking about. Then, on Tuesday, Brett Stephens took over…and began pounding away in a more usual, ham-fisted way.

Gold manipulation: The logical outcome of mainstream Economics

This is the first of three articles I will post on the suppression of gold. What drives me to write about the topic? I am tired of seeing endless proof of suppression (i.e. the typical take downs in the price at either 8:20am ET or at 10am-11am ET, with impressive predictability) and at the same time, it is unfair that anyone who voices this suppression be called a conspiracy theorist. Therefore, these three letters will give a rigorous theoretical support to the claim.
The first letter will show that, under mainstream economic theory, the suppression of the gold market is not a conspiracy theory, but a logical necessity, a logical outcome.From the publication of this letter onwards, the onus to prove the contrary will fall upon mainstream economists. The conspiracy theory will actually be the opposite: To claim that suppressing gold is not necessary.
The second letter will show how that suppression takes place. For those familiar with the gold market, this letter will offer nothing new and perhaps, it will even be incomplete. But at the macro level, I will seek to offer an insight.
The third letter will examine the consequences of this suppression and rigorously, prove that the claim of the gold bugs, namely that physical gold will trade at a premium over fiat gold or gold paper is also not a conspiracy theory, but the logical outcome of the current paradigm.
Before I begin, I would like to say that I think proving the logical implication from mainstream economics that gold needs to be suppressed is perhaps comparable to Von Mises demonstration of the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism. Both are very intuitive, of consequence, and a necessary intellectual step. Without further ado, let’s start with the first thesis: The suppression of gold is a logical necessity, under mainstream economics.

The Fed in 2012

by David Howden

The Federal Reserve Board recently announced the preliminary and unaudited results of its 2012 operations. For those of us cautioning against the Fed’s increasingly dramatic operations, the results come as no big surprise. For those who think the Fed is fighting to save the economy, the results deserve a closer look.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bernanke's 'Inflation' Record


Addressing a question yesterday, from Senator Bob Corker, on his "being the biggest dove since World War II" and the "degrading effects that he's having on society," Bernanke responded proudly that be believed his "inflation record is the best of any Federal Reserve Chairman in the post-war period." Of course that is by his measure. We suggest, he and few of his transitory colleagues look at the chart below for a sense of just what his 'dovishness' looks like to the rest of the food- and energy-consuming world... or perhaps by 'best' he means 'most'.
CORKER: So I think that, you know, I don't think there's any question that you would be the biggest dove, if you will, since World War II. I think it's something you're rather proud of.... Just wondering if you -- if ya'll talk at all in your meetings about the degrading effect that's having on our society.

BERNANKE: You called me a dove. Well, maybe in some respects I am, but on the other hand, my inflation record is the best of any Federal Reserve Chairman in the post-war period, or at least one of the best, about two percent average inflation.

 The Bernanke Era Inflation...

Italy Is Not Spain - It's Worse

With Rajoy quietly gloating at his political fraud being off the front-pages thanks to Italian elections, it seems the more we dig into Italian reality, the weaker the story becomes. The meme of the last few years has been that "at least we're not as bad as Greece" and rightly so, for as Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes today, Greece's poverty rate is a stunning 31% (against Holland's 15.7%). However, while all eyes have been focused on Spain's dismal economy, the sad reality is that Italy is worse than Spain in that its poverty rate is a breath-taking 28.2% (relative to Spain's 27%) - even though the unemployment rates in the two nations are vastly different (Spain 26% and Italy 11.2%). Given this fact it is perhaps not surprising that the 'people' voted against austerity and furthermore, that Italy's CDS has pushed above Spain's for the first time in over a year.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Currency Vs Money

How Government “Works”, Part II

by Bill Bonner

In the case of Egypt, people listened and obeyed — at least, as much as they did — because Pharaoh was, in theory, a god. In the case of Rome — with the exception of Caligula’s claims — and the Mongol empires, the theory was similarly simple, though different. Tamerlane made no claim to divinity. He merely made it clear what he would do to you if you resisted him. Towns that submitted were generally governed passably, according to the standards of the day…and taxed, but not razed to the ground. Those that contested his authority were destroyed, often with all the inhabitants killed.

US Debt - Visualized in physical $100 bills