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Showing posts with label financial education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label financial education. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Is Japan Heading for Another Lost Decade?


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.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Best Kept Secrets of The Dollar


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.

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'?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cyprus Bailout Deal Is Pilot Program for Future Bank Deposit Confiscation


A great deal of ink has been spilled recently about the economic meltdown in Cyprus. The latest domino in the slow collapse of the European monetary union, Cyprus introduced radical solutions to meet the demands of the EU (European Union) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Now, Cypriot bank depositors have lost chunks of their savings, the Cyprus government has imposed currency controls, and the central bank may be forced to sell the majority of its gold reserves. In some ways, however, the Cypriots are receiving a better deal than citizens of the U.S., U.K., or Canada.

The Cyprus bank crisis is intimately tied to that of Greece. Due to rising unemployment and benefit payments, the volume of state debt – much of which is funded through Greek loans – steeply increased during the recession. In order to fund the loans, Cypriot banks bought Greek bonds. As a result of the Greek bailout settlement, the bonds suffered a 50% haircut, in turn threatening the collapse of the Cypriot banking sector.

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.

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.

Friday, March 15, 2013

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.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

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.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Regime Uncertainty and the Fallacy of Aggregate Demand

In a recent New York Times column, economist Paul Krugman once again took to chastising a claim he has infamously dubbed  the “confidence fairy.”  According to the Nobel laureate, the “confidence fairy” is the erroneous belief that ambiguity over future government regulation and taxation plays a significant role in how investors choose to put capital to work.  To Krugman, the anemic economic recovery in the United States shouldn’t be blamed on this “uncertainty” but rather a “lack of demand for the things workers produce.”  Being the most prominent mouthpiece for Keynesian economic policy in modern times, the Princeton professor represents the school’s circular thinking very well.  Keynes and his followers saw most economic slumps as being the result of insufficient spending.  A slowdown in spending means the animal spirits aren’t so aggressive in their lust for immediate consumables.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

QE 4: Folks, This Ain't Normal

by Chris Martenson

Okay, the Fed's recent decision to boost its monetary stimulus (a.k.a. "money printing," "quantitative easing," or simply "QE") by another $45 billion a month to a combined $85 billion per month demonstrates an almost complete departure from what a normal person might consider sensible.
To borrow a phrase from Joel Salatin: Folks, this ain't normal. To this I will add ...and it will end badly.
If you had stopped me on the street a few years ago and asked me what I thought would have happened in the stock, bond, foreign currency, and commodity markets on the day the Fed announced an $85 billion per month thin-air money printing program directed at government bonds, I never would have predicted what has actually come to pass.
I would have predicted soaring stock prices on the expectation that all this money would have to end up in the stock market eventually. I would have predicted the dollar to fall because who in their right mind would want to hold the currency of a country that is borrowing 46 cents (!) out of every dollar that it is spending while its central bank monetizes 100% of that craziness?
Further, I would have expected additional strength in the government bond market, because $85 billion pretty much covers all of the expected new issuance going forward, plus many entities still need to buy U.S. bonds for a variety of fiduciary reasons. With little product for sale and lots of bids by various players, one of which – the Fed – has a magic printing press and is not just price insensitive but actually seeking to drive prices higher (and yields lower), that's a recipe for rising prices.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Anatomy of the End Game


About a month ago, in the third-quarter report of a Canadian global macro fund, its strategist made the interesting observation that “…Four ideas in particular have caught the fancy of economic policy makers and have been successfully sold to the public…” One of these ideas “…that has taken root, at least among the political and intellectual classes, is that one need not fear fiscal deficits and debt provided one has monetary sovereignty…”. This idea is currently growing, particularly after Obama’s re-election. But it was only after writing our last letter, on the revival of the Chicago Plan (as proposed in an IMF’ working paper), that we realized that the idea is morphing into another one among Keynesians: That because there cannot be a gold-to-US dollar arbitrage like in 1933, governments do indeed have the monetary sovereignty.
Is this true? Today’s letter will seek to show why it is not, and in the process, it will also describe the endgame for the current crisis. Without further ado…
After the fall of the KreditAnstalt in 1931, with the world living under the gold-exchange standard, depositors first in central Europe, and later in France and England, began to withdraw their deposits and buy gold, challenging the reserves of their respective central banks. The leverage that linked the balance sheet of each central bank had been provided by currency swaps, a novelty at the time, which had openly been denounced by Jacques Rueff. One by one, central banks were forced to leave the gold standard (i.e. devalue) until in 1933, it was the Fed’s turn. The story is well known and the reason this process was called an “arbitrage” is simply that there can never be one asset with two prices. In this case, gold had an “official”, government guaranteed price and a market price, in terms of fiat money (i.e. schillings, pounds, francs, US dollars). The consolidated balance sheets of the central bank, financial institutions and non-financial sector looked like this before the run:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Relevance of the Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century

The Austrian School of Economics has prevailed through time given the relevance it has gained in understanding the way markets really work. Peter Boettke has a conversation with Luis Figueroa regarding the importance of the philosophy of economics and explains the value of its premises. They discuss the process of thinking and understanding life through an economics point of view, as a result of dynamic laws present in everyday situations. Finally, Boettke comments on the role of ethics in the Austrian School of Economics and portrays common misconceptions about these sciences.

Peter Boettke professor of economics at George Mason University, where he also serves as vice president for research, BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, and research director for the Global Prosperity Initiative at the Mercatus Center. Furthermore, he is deputy director of the James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy. He is author and coauthor of various books on economics and politics, such as: Challenging Institutional Analysis and Development: The Bloomington School, The Economic Way of Thinking, The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism: The Formative Years, among others. Boettke received his BA in economics from Grove City College, MA and PhD in economics from George Mason University.

original video source:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What the Road to Hell is Paved With....

by Bill Bonner

Improving the world costs money. When you have it, your efforts either bear fruit. Or they don’t. But when you don’t have it, when you have to change the world on credit, then what?

John Maynard Keynes revolutionized the economics profession in the early 20th century. It was he more than anyone who changed it from a being a refuge for observers and willowy philosophers into a hard-charging phalanx for men of action. But Keynes’ big insight, like all the useful insights of economics, was based on a story with a moral.

In the Book of Genesis, Pharaoh had a dream. In it, he was standing by the river. Out came 7 fat cattle. Then, 7 lean cattle came up out of the river and ate the fat cattle. A similar dream involved ears of corn, with the good ones devoured by the thin ears.

Pharaoh was troubled. His dream interpreters were stumped. So, they sent for the Hebrew man who was said to be good at this sort of thing — Joseph. Pharaoh described what had happened in his dreams. Without missing a beat, Joseph told him what they meant. The 7 fat cattle and 7 fat ears of corn represented years of plenty with bountiful harvests. The 7 lean cattle and thin ears of corn represented years of famine. Joseph wasn’t asked his opinion, but he gave his advice anyway: Pharaoh should put into place an activist, counter-cyclical economic policy. He should tax 20% of the output during the fat years and then he would be ready with some grain to sell when the famine came. Genesis reports what happened next:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Central bank policies and the Ireland and Iceland 2008-12 financial crises

By Dr Frank Shostak.

There were a lot of commentaries regarding the Ireland and Iceland 2008-12 financial crises. Most of the commentaries were confined to the description of the events without addressing the essential causes of the crises. We suggest that providing a detailed description of events cannot be a substitute for economic analysis, which should be based on the essential causes behind a crisis. The essential cause is the primary driving force that gives rise to various events such as reckless bank lending (blamed by most commentators as the key cause behind the crisis) and a so called overheated economy.

Now in terms of real GDP both Ireland and Iceland displayed strong performance prior to the onset of the crisis in 2008. During 2000 to 2007 the average growth in Ireland stood at 5.9% versus 4.6% in Iceland. So what triggered the sudden collapse of these economies?

Central bank policy the key trigger for economic boom

What set in motion the economic boom (i.e. a strong real GDP rate of growth) in both Ireland and Iceland was an aggressive lowering of interest rates by the respective central banks of Ireland and Iceland. In Ireland the policy rate was lowered from 13.75% in November 1992 to 2% by November 2005. In Iceland the policy rate was lowered from 10.8% in November 2000 to 5.2% by April 2004.

Contra Richard Koo and the Keynesians: It is not about ‘aggregate demand’ but about real prices

by Detlev Schlichter

I do not want to waste your time and my energy with shooting down misguided Keynesian schemes all the time, schemes that have been refuted long ago and should by now be instantly laughed out of town whenever put forward. But arch-Keynesian Richard Koo’s latest attempt in the commentary section of the Financial Times to justify out-of-control deficit spending in the United States as a smartly designed and necessary policy that will keep ‘aggregate demand’ up and lead to recovery, is making the rounds on the internet. Koo’s article is a mechanical and naïve exposition of the 101 of Keynesian stimulus doctrine, clearly aimed at those who still perceive the economy as a simple equation with Y, C, I and lots of G in it. If private demand falls out from under the bottom of the economy, it can be replaced with the government’s demand. Simple.

And wrong, of course.

But the piece is not without some educational value. I promise this will be shorter than my attack on the new money mysticism at the IMF.

Fiscal suicide as recovery strategy

I am not sure if even in Washington there is anybody left who still seriously claims that $1trillion-plus deficits year-in and year-out are anything but a sure-fire sign of a public sector out of control – a public sector that despite generous and growing staffing levels is simply running out of fingers to put into the many holes from which the money is leaking. Yet Richard Koo wants us to believe there is a method to the recklessness, that this is a finely calibrated strategy to save the economy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Carlo Ponzi, Alias Uncle Sam

by  Gary North

Carlo "Charles" Ponzi was a con man who was the Bernie Madoff of his era. For two years, 1918 to 1920, he sold an impossible dream: a scheme to earn investors 50% profit in 45 days. He paid off old investors with money generated from new investors. The scheme has been imitated ever since.

Every Ponzi scheme involves five elements:
1. A promise of statistically impossible high returns
2. An investment story that makes no sense economically
3. Greedy investors who want something for nothing
4. A willing suspension of disbelief by investors
5. Investors' angry rejection of exposures by investigators

Strangely, most Ponzi schemes involve a sixth element: the unwillingness of the con man to quit and flee when he still can. Bernie Madoff is the supreme example. But Ponzi himself established the tradition.