Thursday, October 3, 2013

Is Gold Money? Well, Do You Trust Ben Shalom Bernanke? (Yes and NO)

The metals have not gone nuts because of the extreme intervention by the Fed and the BOE and probably the BOJ.  The intervention now is the most extreme that it's been in 13 years.  But the end is near.  90-95% of the American public - by design - will never have the chance to buy gold or silver - it will move higher in price too quickly and retail investing patterns suggest they will refuse to chase the price.  And given that 76% of the public lives from paycheck to paycheck they don't have money to buy gold/silver anyway - that's my prediction.

My comment above was in response to a discussion I was having with a colleague about the fact that most people in this country are completely clueless about what is really happening in this country in terms of the indisputable fact the U.S. is in a state of political and economic collapse.  The extreme corruption and massive ongoing theft of wealth by corporate America - in collusion with the Federal Government - is symptomatic of this collapse.  Unfortunately, Karl Marx predicted this about America back in the mid-1870's - a fact that I hate yo acknowledge because I despise socialism/communism.

So I thought it would be interesting to present the differing view on what gold is and what it represents between non-U.S. Central bank officials and our wonderful B.S. Bernanke.  The following is an excerpt from the keynote speech given by the Director General of Italy's Central Bank to the audience at a London Bullion Marketing Association conference recently held in Italy (the Bank of Italy has the 4th largest gold reserve in the world - that is, if you assume the U.S. really has possession and legal claim to the gold it reports as owning):
During Banca d’Italia’s keynote address Salvatore Rossi the director general told delegates how gold plays a key role in the central bank reserves:

"Not only does it have the vital characteristic of allowing diversification, in particular when financial markets are highly integrated, in addition it is unique among assets in that it is not issued by any government or central bank, so its value cannot be influenced by political decisions or by the solvency of any institution," he said.

"These features, coupled with historic ... and psychological reasons, stand in favour of gold's importance as a component of central bank reserves," he said. "Gold underpins the independence of central banks in their ability to (act) as the ultimate bearer of domestic financial stability."
Now compare that statement to the remarks by BS Bernanke a couple years ago when he was being questioned by then Congressman Ron Paul while under oath - I've transcribed the salient section:

Ron Paul:  Do you think gold is money?
Bernanke:  No
RP:  Even if it has been money for 6 thousand years, somebody reversed that and
       eliminated that economic law?
Bernanke:  (pause) Well, it's an asset
RP: Why do Central Banks hold it?
Bernanke:  Well, it's tradition

I don't know about anyone else, but I think it's quite fitting that the first two initials of Bernanke's full name are "B" and "S."  I can't believe nobody has flagged that in 7 years of his Fed Chairmanship - because, if anything, Bernanke is certainly full of BullShit.



    Johnny say it too!

  2. The entire situation is a sick joke. It has come time to leave the reservation. I always thought that So. America may be too socialist and opressive to live in. After watching what has happened to N. America in the last ten years, So. America looks better and better.

  3. Unemployment office overwhelmed as claims roll in
    Officials: Fed workers flood office with applications amid shutdown

    LOL! These people get good salaries and yet are allowed to take advantage of the system.

  4. I am sorry you are so negative about our country's situation, Dave. You sound like an alarmist.

    You hate socialism? That means you hated the construction of our interstate highway system, our military, the Hoover Dam, NASA, and our trips to the moon in the 1960's/'70's? Those were/are all "socialist" spending policies. Are your planning on not applying for SS or Medicare, assuming they are still around when you qualify? Also socialistic.

    Why do right-wing teabaggers confuse socialism with totalitarian communism? I'm a capitalist, but am aware enough to know that society needs some socialism to remain stable and help the common good. Do you deny that?

    1. LOL. Right. First of all I'm not a teaparty affiliate. I went to one of their first rallies in Denver back in 2008 and found it to be appalling. I hate the tea-party - the give Libertarianism a really bad name.

      Second, anyone who has a basic level of education and knowledge of economics - not the shit taught in State schools - knows that for-profit companies can do most of the Government's functions a lot more efficiently and cheaply than the Government. But that's a lecture for another day.

      How about you start your own blog and put your views on internet non-anonymously so we can take stupid pot-shot comments in the comment section of your blog - anonymously.

    2. I see you didn't answer my questions. Are you going to turn down socialistic SS and Medicare when you are eligible? Do you hate our freeways, dams, and bridges? Do you use them anyway?

      Libertarians ignore that most of the great public works projects would never have come about if left to the profit-seeking private sector to fund. Ever heard of Bechtel? I believe that is a private company that built the Hoover Dam, Golden Gate bridge, and other large projects.....on a government contract. The government itself doesn't build those things, but they are large enough to fund and pay for something that an individual company is unable to afford, left to their own devices. And then they contract it out to the private sector for completion.

      Do you always admonish your commenters who dare question your views with "why don't you start your own blog"? LOL. You really have a problem with criticism. I've seen you say that to others both here and Seeking Alpha. Are you always right, and this is your only retort to dismiss opposing viewpoints from the comments sections of your blog posts? Pretty weak.

      Try to argue on the merits of your viewpoints when responding to a commenter like me next time.

    3. Whatever dude. You're right. I'm wrong. Go pollute someone else's blog - please.

    4. Don't worry it's all good...

      Oops, My Bad!

      Yesterday I wrote that JP Morgan is party to $70 trillion (with a “t”) of derivatives with $209 billion (with a “b”) of retained equity. I said that they are levered “35-1.” Sorry, I was wrong and several astute readers pointed this out to me. Simple math mistake but when talking about this size of numbers “what’s a decimal point between friends?” The true leverage is 350-1! Yes, just a small oversight on my part and I apologize.
      I apologize for the math mistake but what I’m truly sorry about is how BAD this really and truly is. I said that JP Morgan could “lose” up to 3% or have 3% of their counterparties not perform in which case they would then lose all of their equity…my bad, the real number is “.3%.” Yep, POINT THREE PERCENT is the margin of error on their derivatives book between what they call a “fortress balance sheet” and total loss of equity…as in going belly up and leaving nothing left at all for the sharks, barracudas or even the minnows.

  5. I cannot stand Bernanke's policies, but in this case he is right:

    Gold is not money.
    Gold is a reserve asset.
    He says "would you consider t-bills money?" No. They aren't.
    Ron Paul asks "why don't central banks hold diamonds?" Now THATS BS.

    Test it tomorrow: Go to the Bakeries and try to buy a loaf of bread with a piece of gold, a t-bill and a couple of dollars. Good luck.

    1. Definitionally, an asset is "money." Ask yourself, "what is money?' If I have a pair of skis and you have a set of golf clubs and we decide to trade one for the other, we have determined that each has equal value to each of us. They have functioned as money and because they have value for trade, they are also an asset.

      The difference between gold you hold in your hand and paper dollars issued by the U.S. Treasury and backed by the full faith and credit and of the U.S. is that the paper dollar's value as "money" is dependent on your faith and the credit line of the U.S. Government. In other words, the dollar has "counterparty risk" in that it's value depends on the Government's ability to uphold that value.

      Try taking that dollar over to Italy and exchanging it directly for goods. You can't do it. I tried. BUT, I know that I could take a gold or silver coin and use that to swap for goods. Or I could exchange the dollar into euros and use the euros. BUT, the dollar does not have direct value as money in Italy. And the rest of Europe as far as that goes.

      Unfortunately, our educational system and culture in the U.S. has conditioned Americans to believe that the U.S. dollar is "money." But in reality it's only money to the extent that anyone who's willing to accept that dollar for trade of goods and services is willing to have "faith" in the U.S. Government as a counterpart.

      In short, gold is indeed money universally - the U.S. dollar is not.

    2. I agree that Gold can act as money in certain situations, but it's not widely accepted as money in today's society and certainly not universally accepted.

      The skis/golf clubs example doesn't make them money even in that one specific situation, it's barter which doesn't require a medium of exchange such as money.

    3. You know the naysayers can huff and puff but in the end China has 1.3 billion people, US has 313.9 million people. Throw in India(1.27 billion). They believe gold is money.
      They're moving up...we're moving down. Who's setting price?

      What is the China Gold Market?

      There are three main areas of focus for the State Council when it comes to the precious metal market. These are not exclusive areas and are, in many ways, interconnected. The point being however that the government has identified where and who is best to develop its gold strategy.

      We look at them briefly below.

      Launched in 2002, it took just ten years for the SGE to become the biggest physical gold exchange in the world signalling the rise of China as a gold market leader. A quick glance at previous data released by the SGE shows that the three largest gold contracts traded on the exchange are as follows: Au 99.95 (3kg contract), Au 99.99 (1 kg) and Au (T+D) (also 1kg of 99.95). The former two launching just two years ago.

      Members of the SGE, of which there are over 160, are heavily represented by commercial banks (domestic and Chinese branches of foreign banks) and firms involved in gold production and investment.

      The China Gold Association acts as the industry body, or the trade organisation. With interests in every corner of the gold market it ensures the government’s policies are put into action within the world of the yellow metal. Senior staff of the CGA are vocal supporters of building up China’s gold reserves and critics of the US. Expert member of the China Gold Association, Zhang Jie, is an exceptionally vocal critic of the US Dollar’s dominance and the Fed’s actions to manipulate the gold market.

      “For the Fed, it is crucial that the dollar dominates the world and so the Fed will store gold reserves from countries all over the world to control the gold settlement system.”

  6. The pair of skis is money in case you and your counterparty agree on that. Good luck trying that with your gold coin in a random store across the street.

    Back in the old times (say Roman Empire) gold was indeed money. You could go out and buy a cow with your gold coin. Nowadays, as you illustrate yourself, the way to go is find someone who is prepaired to trade your coin for some local currency. (legal tender!)

    The "medium of exchange" component for gold has been removed in present times.

    Your point regarding counterparty risk is valid. The asset Physical Gold (mind the physical) knows no counterparty risk, as opposed to the Dollar, who does.

    The Dollar is, as you state correctly, a "fiat" currency, and also misses one vital component to be called "money" in its complete form: the "store of value" function.

  7. I compare capitalism to atomic energy. If carefully harnessed and properly utilized, society will benefit. If left unattended and allowed to run amok, society will be destroyed. No, capitalism is not the problem. Crony capitalism, and socialism for the wealthy and well connected, is the problem.

    1. yes...

      Seattle Attempts To Condemn 103-Year-Old’s Parking Lot After She Refuses To Sell

      The city will debate on whether or not to use eminent domain laws to seize the elderly woman’s property during an Oct 10 city council meeting. According to city records, two other spots near Myrtle’s lot have already been seized by the city through eminent domain. While the city claims the move is for the public, a public backlash has already begun against the city’s tactics.

      “Not sure I understand. The city wants to condemn a parking lot in order to… increase parking?” a Seattle resident commented.

      “What I’m thinking is that Myrtle makes a good profit on her parking lot that one neighbor was quoted as saying is nearly ‘always full’ and that SDOT probably offered her pennies on the dollar to lease it from her. Since they didn’t like her answer, they’ll try to take her property away from her… So what I can glean from this story… SDOT is full of slimy, litigious weasels that think nothing of stealing a person’s property in order to cover their own shortcomings,” added another resident.

      Read more:

  8. Just wait until the banks have a bank holiday and all credit cards are refused with the fact that everything electronically shuts down all the while slamming the paper dollar to the ground.

    You and I will see in very short order how gold and silver becomes understood as money.

  9. Oh, Dave. We know the end is near but when? For 2 years, PMs have been in the sewer. How much gold do the Fed and the BOE still have? It seems that they have endless fire powder to keep the PMs low.

  10. those of you that really believe that the dollar will get you through the rest of your life as a means of exchange are going to be in the same position you are today..content......but if it does not and gold and silver are the means to exchange, then you the believers of fiat, will be in a world of hurt, but then again you all will have plenty of shit paper to wipe your ass with...imho

  11. Marx the economist doesn't get enough credit. Probably because Marx the revolutionary is kinda nuts.

    Concentration of power and subsequent corruption is inevitable in any society, not just capitalism. Even Adam Smith theories require protection from anti-trust practices. That's why civilizations rise and fall over and over again. Power congregates, corrupts, and rots its foundations. Its root is the fallibility of mankind. I learned this from Lord of the Rings so it is fact.

  12. Marx's name did not appear on the cover as author of that "classic" for a full generation.
    Then as if by magic it appeared!
    He was simply a conduit, or pseudonym, or a face to the author in the same way William Shakespeare was to the real author of all that classic English literature.
    Same way that loose cannon artiste known as Armstrong is the frontman huckster, his bankster buddies using him to disseminate what they want you to hear.

  13. Keep meaning to post this and just remembered as it chimes with your subject title! It seems in the UK some of TPTB are finally getting the message...of course the actual silver content is currently only worth £10.00 or so in fiat terms, but still they are saying "Legal Tender". The 1oz Silver Britannia in comparison has a nominal stated value of £2, and gold sovereigns in the UK have long been treated as currency, and therefore free of capital gains tax, not that anyone spends them apart from in a Jewellery shop where there are sheeple that recognise the value! Thanks Dave, excellent blog keep up the good work.

    Can you imagine a £20 coin? The Royal Mint has never struck one before, but in 2013, for the very first time, an official, legal tender UK £20 coin will be available. Exclusively available in the UK and only available online. This is the £20 coin of the people, at an affordable price that makes it an ideal gift for everyone – made of fine silver, carrying one of our most famous designs and, most importantly, priced at just £20.

  14. “A Corporate Trojan Horse”:

    The TPP is often referred to by critics as “NAFTA on steroids,” and would establishing a free-trade zone that would stretch from Vietnam to Chile, encompass 800 million people — about a third of world trade and nearly 40 percent of the global economy. While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisors reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton, and Monsanto. “This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments — limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy — or establishing new powers for corporations.”