International Monetary Fund

Steve H. Hanke's picture

Authored by Steve H. Hanke of The Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.


Most press reports about Zimbabwe’s fantastic hyperinflation are off the mark – way off the mark. Even our most trusted news sources fail to get the facts right. This confirms the “95 Percent Rule”: 95 percent of what you read in the financial press is either wrong or irrelevant.

BullionStar's picture

US Gold Market Infographic

The US Gold Market is best known as the home of gold futures trading on the COMEX in New York. The COMEX has a literal monopoly on gold futures trading volumes worldwide, but very little physical gold is actually exchanged between COMEX trading participants.

The Task Confronting Libertarians

If libertarians lose on the inflation issue, they are threatened with the loss of every other issue. If libertarians could win the inflation issue, they could come close to winning everything else. If they could succeed in halting the increase in the quantity of money, it would be because they could halt the chronic deficits that force this increase. If they could halt these chronic deficits, it would be because they had halted the rapid increase in welfare spending and all the socialistic schemes that are dependent on welfare spending. If they could halt the constant increase in spending, they could halt the constant increase in government power.

Peak Petro-State - The Oil World In Chaos

Pity the poor petro-states. Once so wealthy from oil sales that they could finance wars, mega-projects, and domestic social peace simultaneously, some of them are now beset by internal strife or are on the brink of collapse as oil prices remain at ruinously low levels. At the peak of their glory, the petro-states played an outsized role in world affairs.  That, of course, was then, and this is now. While these countries still matter, what worries these presidents and prime ministers now is the growing likelihood of civil violence or even state collapse.

Frontrunning: May 25

  • Oil nudges $50 a barrel as investors bet on shrinking overhang (Reuters)
  • From hinterland to wonderland: China's 'teapot' refinery boomtowns (Reuters)
  • Peter Thiel Has Been Secretly Funding Hulk Hogan's Lawsuits Against Gawker (Forbes)
  • China Wants to Set Prices for the World's Commodities (BBG)
  • Big Banks Ladle On the Risk (WSJ)
  • China Said to Plan Asking U.S. on Timing of Fed Rate Hike (BBG)

Frontrunning: May 24

  • Asian stocks near 11-week lows, dollar bounces on Fed rate view (Reuters)
  • Poll Finds Lack of Enthusiasm for Clinton and Trump (WSJ)
  • Oil falls for fifth day as focus returns to growing exports (Reuters)
  • The Hedge Fund That Couldn't Stay Open Long Enough for a Big Payday (BBG)
  • French police break up refinery blockade in anti-reform showdown (Reuters)

Will Venezuela Be Forced To Embrace The Dollar?

The last phase in all cases of hyperinflation is currency stabilization. This phase is inevitable whether it be because of changes introduced by the government or due to complete rejection of local currency by the population. In order for such a monetary reform to be successful, it is essential that the government first eliminate the main cause of the inflation (the budget deficit). Unfortunately, it does not seem as though the Venezuelan government has any plans to decrease spending, nor does it appear that revenue from oil will be recovering any time soon, meaning that any attempts at currency stabilization will surely fail (just as it did the last time when the bolivar fuerte was introduced in 2008). In light of this situation, it seems that Thiers’ Law is inevitable.

SaxoBank CIO Warns "Central Banks Can Do Nothing"

Saxo Bank chief economist Steen Jakobsen said that zero rates, zero growth, zero productivity, and zero reforms have left a great many countries adrift in a “new nothingness”. The products of this nothingness, said Jakobsen, include apathy, stagnation and “an economic outlook based more in peoples’ heads than in reality”.

Frontrunning: May 18

  • Stocks sag as U.S. rate rise expectations revive (Reuters)
  • Clinton, Sanders hit final stretch of nominating contest (Reuters)
  • Bernie Sanders Wins in Oregon, But He Needed Kentucky, Too (NBC)
  • Clinton less than 100 delegates from nomination (The Hill)
  • Trump needs 66 delegates to officially clinch nomination (The Hill)
  • Japan GDP Rebound Not Enough to Stave Off Stimulus (WSJ)

The Mystery Of Saudi Treasury Holdings Solved: US Reveals Saudi Holdings For The First Time

One month ago, when the NYT reported that Saudi Arabia would liquidate as much as $750 billion in Trasurys should the US pursue legislation that could hold it liable for the September 11 bombings, many asked: does Saudi Arabia own that many Treasurys?  We now have the answer courtesy of a Bloomberg FOIA submission to the US treasury, and our estimate of "far less" Saudi holdings was indeed accurate. As Bloomberg reports, "the stockpile of the world’s biggest oil exporter stood at $116.8 billion as of March."

Who Rules The World? Part 1

The Western picture of world order is that “ever since the end of the Cold War, the overwhelming power of the U.S. military has been the central fact of international politics.” This is particularly crucial in three regions: East Asia, where “the U.S. Navy has become used to treating the Pacific as an ‘American lake’”; Europe, where NATO -- meaning the United States, which “accounts for a staggering three-quarters of NATO’s military spending” -- “guarantees the territorial integrity of its member states”; and the Middle East, where giant U.S. naval and air bases “exist to reassure friends and to intimidate rivals.” The problem of world order today is that “these security orders are now under challenge in all three regions” because of Russian intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and because of China turning its nearby seas from an American lake to “clearly contested water.” The fundamental question of international relations, then, is whether the United States should “accept that other major powers should have some kind of zone of influence in their neighborhoods.”

How Hedge Funds Invest Heavily In Washington D.C.'s Culture Of Corruption

If you want to get a sense of what’s motivating Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders voters, it’s a desire to take people like Robert Shapiro, remove them from the halls of power, and toss them into a cardboard box on the street. Of course, that won’t be happening any time soon, but that’s what a lot of people want. As we detail below, confirmed recently by Congressman X, Washington is infested by the secretive world of the dark money groups representing mercenary hedge funds in their insatiable quest for more and more money. In many ways, it’s merely a microcosm of America in 2016. A culture in which ethics has become so irrelevant, it isn’t even a nuisance; it simply never factors into the equation.