Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke

Guest Post: Should Central Banks Cancel Government Debt?

Readers may recall that Ron Paul once surprised everyone with a seemingly very elegant proposal to bring the debt ceiling wrangle to a close. If you're all so worried about the federal deficit and the debt ceiling, so Paul asked, then why doesn't the treasury simply cancel the treasury bonds held by the Fed? After all, the Fed is a government organization as well, so it could well be argued that the government literally owes the money to itself. He even introduced a bill which if adopted, would have led to the cancellation of $1.6 trillion in federal debt held by the Fed. Of course the proposal was not really meant to be taken serious: rather, it was meant to highlight the absurdities of the modern-day monetary system. In a way, we would actually not necessarily be entirely inimical to the idea, for similar reasons Ron Paul had in mind:  it would no doubt speed up the inevitable demise of the fiat money system. Control can be lost, and it usually happens only after a considerable period of time during which their interventions appear to have no ill effects if looked at only superficially: “Thus we learn….to be ignorant of political economy is to allow ourselves to be dazzled by the immediate effect of a phenomenon."

Head Of Zimbabwe Central Bank Explains QE3

Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe who destroyed the Zim dollar by creating hyperinflation, weighs in on the parallels between QE3 and the policy he followed last decade, in the RBZ’s mid-term 2012 monetary policy statement. Even though Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi and all other central bankers will try to convince you that what they are doing are really different to what Gideon Gono did, you should really be taking Gideon Gono more seriously, who is basically admitting that the money printing strategy does not work to ‘stimulate’ growth. All it can stimulate are high- and hyperinflation risks.

Is Gold A Giffen Good?

Imagine if in 2007, Ben Bernanke, Mervyn King, Jean Claude Trichet et al, had actually possessed the analytical foresight to see what was coming, organised a meeting with the world's media and explained how, using their collective wisdom, they would solve the problem.

"There's going to be a massive global crisis, but there's no need to worry. We're just going to print money."

 

"Is that it?"

How would most people have reacted then? We think they would have laughed out loud. Why are so many of us reacting differently now? The nature of markets is that they periodically forget the lessons of history. Confidence in the status quo seems as entrenched now as it was in 2007 but Gold appears to be exhibiting 'Giffen-like' behavior where, instead of falling, demand is rising as prices rise.

Mike Krieger Topples The Last Domino

With the election right around the corner, the chickens are going to come home to roost.  Our ability to print our own currency and buy all the commodities we want with it is the exorbitant privilege that allowed us to export most of the problems within the monetary system elsewhere first.  As Nixon’s Treasury Secretary John Connelly said when confronted by a group of European Finance Ministers: “it’s our currency, but your problem.”  At the time he was correct, as we were at the very beginning of the fiat dollar standard.  41 years later the system is in its final days and our currency is about to become our problem as well. There were always going to be massive consequences to keeping this ponzi alive. The main point here is one I was hammering on in my last piece The Global Spring You can only push people so far into hardship before things snap.  They snapped in North Africa.  They snapped in Southern Europe.  They snapped in China.  They are about to snap here.  Oh, and one last thing.  What do you think all of this signals for corporate margins?

Guest Post: The Great Pacification

Since the end of the Second World War, the major powers of the world have lived in relative peace. While there have been wars and conflicts  — Vietnam, Afghanistan (twice), Iraq (twice), the Congo, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, the Iran-Iraq war, the Mexican and Colombian drug wars, the Lebanese civil war — these have been localised and at a much smaller scale than the violence that ripped the world apart during the Second World War. Hopefully, the threat of mutually assured destruction and the promise of commerce will continue to be an effective deterrent, and prevent any kind of global war from breaking out. Nothing would be more wonderful than the continuing spread of peace. Yet we must be guarded against complacency. Sixty years of relative peace is not the end of history.

Guest Post: What Could Go Right?

A number of macro-issues could "go the right way" in the coming months. However, nothing good can possibly come from artifice, propaganda, misdirection and simulacra "fixes." Something must break through the facade for good things to happen. It's a long shot, but we can always hope. Without truth, there is truly no hope.

Guest Post: One Very Strange Use For Silver Coins

The nature of what is ‘legal’ has become a truly bizarre concept these days. Developed nations of the west have hundreds of thousands of pages of rules, codes, regulations, laws, decrees, executive orders, etc., many of which are contradictory, archaic, and incomprehensible. Across these ‘free’ nations, the law is selectively enforced, selectively applied, and completely set aside whenever it pleases the state. As such, even the most harmless of activities (operating a lemonade stand, collecting rainwater, etc.) can be cast as illegal… while the direct theft of people’s wealth through taxes and manipulation of the currency is considered legal. There is no morality anymore in the law. And even still, whatever few activities may still be considered ‘legal’ are subject to consequences if the enforcers simply decide they don’t like it.