Having shown his true colors in recent months by embarking not just on an anti-gold crusade, but more recently on an anti-cash mission, Citi's Willem Buiter has once again exposed his newly minted CFR status-quo-embracing status this morning. During an appearance on CNBC, Buiter notes that there would be "havoc" if Greece left the euro zone and adopted an alternative currency; but then he went on the pre-prescription blasting that any kind of alternative currency tied to the euro "would be rubbish." These comments come just hours after German FinMin Schaeuble raised the possibility that Greece may need a parallel currency alongside the euro if the country’s talks with creditors fail.
"Coins and bills are obsolete and only reduce the influence of central banks," German economist and sole Keynesian member of the German Council Of Economic Experts Peter Bofinger tells Spiegel, becoming the latest central planning proponent to suggest that a cashless society would solve the world's economic problems by allowing the government to control who spends what and when in a futile effort to control the business cycle.
Fiat Money May Be Junk ... But a Cashless Society Controlled by the TBTFs Is Dictatorship
"The War on Cash is the attempt by governments to phase cash out of their economies. Governments hate cash because they hate the financial privacy cash makes possible. And they prefer that you keep your money in a bank to help prop up an unsound fractional reserve banking system." As Ron Paul warned, “The cashless society is the IRS’s dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.”
The war on cash is escalating. Just a week ago, the infamous Willem Buiter, along with Ken Rogoff, voiced their support for a restriction (or ban altogether) on the use of cash (something that was already been implemented in Louisiana in 2011 for used goods). Today, as Mises' Jo Salerno reports, the war has acquired a powerful new ally in Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., which has enacted a policy restricting the use of cash in selected markets; bans cash payments for credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans; and disallows the storage of "any cash or coins" in safe deposit boxes.
Late last year, Grexit "expert" Willem Buiter decided that he was a greater expert on the topic of monetary metals than on geopolitics by stating that "Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble." Now, he has decided that after gold, it is best to just do away with any physical currency altogether and the time to ban cash has arrived.
In the aftermath of the ECB's QE announcement one topic has received far less attention than it should: the unexpected collapse of risk-sharing across the Eurosystem as a precursor to QE. This is what prompted "gold-expert" Willem Buiter of Citigroup to pen an analysis titled "The Euro Area: Monetary Union or System of Currency Boards", in which he answers two simple yet suddenly very critical for the Eurozone questions: which "currency boards", aka national central banks, are suddenly most at risk of going insolvent, and should the worst case scenario take place, and one or more NCBs go insolvent what happens then?
Now that the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro is back to being topic #1 of discussion, just as it was back in the summer of 2012 and the fall of 2011, and investors are propagandized by groundless speculation posited by journalists who have never used excel in their lives and are merely paid mouthpieces of bigger bank interests, it is time to rewind to a step by step analysis of precisely what will happen in the moments before Greece announces the EMU exit, how the transition from pre- to post- occurs, and the aftermath of what said transition would entail, courtesy of one of the smarter minds out there at the time (before his transition to a more status quo supportive tone), Citi's Willem Buiter, who pontificated precisely on this topic previously. Three words: "not unequivocally good."
One of the bigger problems facing the new, upstart Greek government, which has set before itself the lofty goal of overturning 6 years of oppressive European policies and countless generations of Greek cronyism, corruption and tax-evasion is not so much the concern about deposit outflows and bank runs - even though it most certainly will be in the next few days unless the Tsipras government finds some resolution to the dramatic standoff with Merkel and the ECB - but something far more trivial: running out of money.
Well the day has finally arrived that after two years of promises, jawboning and hope - the European Central Bank finally announced they will take the plunge into the Quantitative Easing (QE) pool. Whether or not the ECB's QE program has the desired effect or not will not be realized for a while. However, this week's reading list is a variety of opinions and initial takes on the "ABC's of the ECB's QE."
There is no reason to assume that this time will be different. These boom-bust sequences will continue until the economy is structurally undermined to such an extent that monetary intervention cannot even create the illusory prosperity of a capital-consuming boom anymore. The bankers applauding Draghi’s actions today will come to rue them tomorrow.
Just 2 short months ago we warned of the rising voice among the cognoscenti tilting their windmills towards the concept of "helicopter money," as Deutsche bank noted, "perhaps there's an increasing weariness that more QE globally whilst inevitable, is a blunt growth tool and that stopping it will be extremely difficult (let alone reversing it) without a positive growth shock." Committing what Commerzbank calls "the ultimate sin" is now reaching the mainstream as Germany's Der Spiegel notes it is becoming increasingly clear that Draghi and his fellow central bank leaders have exhausted all traditional means for combatting deflation; and many economists are demanding that the European Central Bank hand out money to consumers to stimulate the economy.
Say what you want about the gold price languishing below $1200 (or not, as the case may be, after this week), and say what you want about the technical picture or the “6,000-year bubble,” as Citi’s Willem Buiter recently termed it; but know this: gold is an insurance policy — not a trading vehicle — and the time to assess gold is when people have a sudden need for insurance. When that day comes - and believe me, it’s coming - the price will be the very last thing that matters. It will be purely and simply a matter of securing possession - bubble or not - and at any price. That price will NOT be $1200. A “run” on the gold “bank” would undoubtedly lead to one of those Warren Buffett moments when a bunch of people are left standing naked on the shore. It is also a phenomenon which will begin quietly before suddenly exploding into life. If you listen very carefully, you can hear something happening...
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
"Distinguished Economist Willem Buiter Joins CFR as Senior Fellow
Willem H. Buiter, a renowned macroeconomist and global chief economist at Citigroup, has joined the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as an adjunct senior fellow. His work will focus on geoeconomics, deglobalization, international financial institutions, and global economic governance. “We are thrilled to have someone of Willem Buiter’s experience and reputation joining CFR,” said CFR President Richard N. Haass. “His presence will make an already strong economics program that much stronger.” Buiter is the newest addition to CFR’s Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, which provides analysis on how economic and geopolitical forces interact to influence world affairs."