Alasdair explains how his "Fiat Money Quantity" (FMQ) is derived, as well as what it can tell us about the true levels of fiat money supply. In the case of the dollar, it reveals that levels are far above what is commonly appreciated – so far, in fact, that a currency crisis could arrive sooner than even many dollar bears expect... and how horribly mispriced gold remains.
People need to be aware that worsening the situation of one class of tax payers is never going to improve the situation of another. The particular wealth tax proposal mentioned by the IMF en passant is odious in the extreme, especially as the wealth to be taxed has already been taxed at what are historically stratospheric rates. It is noteworthy that the alternatives discussed by the IMF for heavily indebted states which are weighed down by the wasteful spending of yesterday appear to have been reduced to 'default' (either outright or via hyperinflation) or 'more confiscation'. How about rigorously cutting spending instead? Lastly, a popular as well as populist target of the self-appointed arbiters of 'fairness' are loopholes, but as we have previously discussed, they are to paraphrase Mises 'what allows capitalism to breathe'. Closing them will in the end only lead to higher costs for consumers, less innovation, lower growth and considerable damage to retirement savings.
There is nothing any of us can do at this point, except navigate the rapids as well as possible, and to stay out of the way of a dying empire, which is still very dangerous in its death throes. We are actually very privileged to be alive and witnessing this next transition, to what we do not know just yet. But what an honor to live at this time, not in ignorance but with an existential resolve to come out of it alive and much the wiser.
Another of history’s many lessons is that governments under pressure become thieves. And today’s governments are under a lot of pressure.
One of the biggest laughs of the conference came when Smith presented the slide, ‘Emperor … With No Clothes’ which compared how the value of the Roman denarius, silver coin and the U.S. paper dollar have fared during periods of currency debasement.
The chart shows the silver denarius since Nero and the dollar since Nixon and looked at the level of debasement during the reign of each Roman Emperor and the term of each Presidency.
There is a considerable amount of debate in alternative economic circles as to whether a federal government shutdown would be a “good thing” or a “bad thing”. Sadly, a government shutdown is sizable threat to the American financial system, and few people seem to get it. Perhaps because the expectation is that any shutdown would only be a short term concern. And, this assumption might be correct. But, if a shutdown takes place, and, if “gridlock” continues for an extended period of time, We have little doubt that the U.S economy will experience renewed crisis. Here's why...
There may be temporary 'benefits in terms of employment gains' if the Fed creates an even more gigantic echo bubble than it has already done. We are willing to grant that much. The Fed apparently believes these days that there should be no limits whatsoever to the Fed's monetary pumping. 'Inflation' targets? Forget about it! Asset bubbles? Who cares! It is as if the past 20 years had not happened – as if they had simply erased the whole period from his memory. Do they really believe that pumping up another giant bubble will have more benefits than drawbacks? Where does it all end? However, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and there cannot be an 'eternal boom' by simply continuing to print, as once envisaged by Keynes. All that will happen is that the ultimate disaster will be even greater. In fact, is seems ever more likely that the next disaster will be the last one of the current monetary system.
When Bubbles Fail: Albert Edwards Explains What Happens When The Fed Can No Longer Contain The Fury Of The "99%"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/27/2013 11:49 -0400
"They’re at it again! US inequality is surging and the Fed has created another house price boom. Does this matter? Well I think so. But who cares what I think. Warren Buffet, Bill Gross and Stanley Druckenmiller think it matters. Clients marvel at how the US profits’ share of GDP remains so high and that labour remains so weak. Marc Faber said recently that in postponing the QE taper, we have merely climbed to a higher diving board. I go further. I see growing inequality draining the swimming pool dry. The crunch, when it comes, will be ugly"... Investors should make no mistake. The anger of the 99% will ultimately not be bought off by yet another central bank inspired housing bubble, engineered to pacify them and divert their attention as their real incomes fall and inequality continues to grow." - Albert Edwards
There is a reason why every fiat currency in the history of the world has eventually failed. At some point, those issuing fiat currencies always find themselves giving in to the temptation to wildly print more money. Today, the Fed finds itself faced with a scenario that is very similar to what the Weimar Republic was facing nearly 100 years ago. Like then, the U.S. economy is struggling and like the Weimar Republic, the U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt. Unfortunately, the Fed has decided to adopt the same solution that the Weimar Republic chose. The Fed is recklessly printing money out of thin air, and in the short-term some 'positive things' have come out of it. But quantitative easing worked for the Weimar Republic for a little while too.
As it turns out, a lot... and also very little.
On Wednesday last the Fed surprised most people by deciding not to taper. What is not generally appreciated is that once a central bank starts to use monetary expansion as a cure-all it is extremely difficult for it to stop. This is the basic reason the Fed has not pursued the idea, and why it most probably never will. Fiat Money Quantity is now hyper-inflating. It currently requires a $3.6 trillion contraction of deposits to return this measure of currency quantity back to trend. This accurately sums up the problem facing the Fed. We must understand they are in an almost impossible position that dates back to their monetary response to the banking crisis. Not even Paul Volcker could have got us out of this one. Once the addiction to weak money hits this pace there is no solution without threatening to bring down the whole system.
The Fed’s decision not to taper surprised the financial world as many believed some token amount of tapering would have been announced. Recent declines in Federal deficits afforded the Fed discretionary room. For the first time in several years it was possible to taper without infringing on the government’s ability to pay its bills. Perhaps the economy is worse than the Administration wants to let on (and it certainly is). The Fed may have felt it necessary to come out of the closet regarding this latter charade, trying to prevent another economic downturn. Just as the economy no longer responds to Fed stimulus, financial markets will eventually reach this point. Whether that occurs sooner or later is anyone’s guess, but the fraud of overvalued financial assets becomes more apparent with each injection of liquidity. Market participants should be aware of the game that is being played.
"I sometimes feel I am in a parallel universe. Maybe I am... It?s like they're on a train which they know to be heading for a crash, but it is accelerating so rapidly they?'re scared to jump off." - Albert Edwards
Despite Mariano Rajoy's solemn promises that awarding the 2020 Olympics to Madrid would boost the Spanish GDP by 1.8% and lead to the creation of anywhere between 168,000 and a few hundred million new jobs (the latter number is a joke but since it comes from Rajoy, both are equally credible), the Olympic committee cut the Spanish contender before the final, which pitted Tokyo vs Istanbul. And when the final votes were tallied it was not even a contest: with 60 to 36 votes, the 2020 Olympics Games will be held in Tokyo: the city that was supposed to host the event in 1940 but due to the break out of World War II the event was delayed until 1964 (when it was almost cancelled again, permanently, following a modest escalation in nuclear deterrence between the US and USSR surrounding Cuba). Let's hope history does not rhyme.
History is very clear: societies that organize themselves around a tiny elite who thinks they should control the entire system suffer a 100% failure rate, without exception. Today’s system shares similar fundamentals to nearly every other case of failed empire. And it’s foolish to think that this time will be any different.