The Golden End Game – A Thought Experiment
Part Two of Two
With limericks by The Limerick King
This is part two of a two part exploration (part one can be found here) into what the world might look like after a total or partial collapse of the currency/economic system from the perspective of holding Gold. As the title explains this is a thought experiment, not a dissertation filled with footnotes and references. Consider it one man’s flight of fancy, so take what you need and leave the rest. Anyone who claims they actually know what will happen is definitely a fool greater than me.
As markets are starting to sink
The end could be here in a wink
So should I prepare?
Should I even care?
My PMs will save me!!! (I think......)
(The Limerick King)
As a reminder of something emphasized in Part One, I am discussing a worst case scenario here. So please keep this in mind when your brain synapses start firing and you feel compelled to stop reading and fire off a nasty comment. There are thousands of lesser scenarios that could play out here as opposed to only hundreds of worse case scenarios. What you find below are just my thoughts on the matter, not fact or even hard opinion.
In addition, this essay isn’t directed towards the small PM ‘investor’ who owns ‘small’ amounts of Gold and Silver, for example under 20 ounces of Gold and several hundred ounces of Silver. Nor is it directed towards the whales, those who can purchase and safely store (preferably offshore) several hundred or even thousands of ounces of Gold. They have similar problems as everyone else, but much more flexibility. Rather this essay is directed towards those solidly middle class people who are converting their ‘wealth’ into Gold and Silver, even going so far as to cash out their qualified retirement accounts (IRA’s, 401(k)’s and qualified annuities) or mortgage their property in order to increase their Precious Metal stash.
I see and hear a great deal of cognitive dissonance among those who promote Gold as the way to salvation, all while ignoring or dismissing the idea of governmental confiscation of said Golden chariots. It’s not like doing so would be totally unprecedented in the US (or on other plantations for that matter) since President Franklin Roosevelt’s April 5, 1933 Executive Order 6102 did precisely that, promptly followed by a revaluation of said confiscated Gold to push the anal probe that much further up the rear.
What everyone seems to forget is that the United States is not the only plantation bleeding from every orifice while simultaneously ripping open new ones. This is a global party we’re throwing here and everyone who is anyone seems to have accepted the invitation, something many are beginning to regret as they desperately click the ‘un-send’ button. Actually this isn’t true, since we already know that the blue blood families play all sides against each other, then turn things around and transform former arch enemies in lifelong best girlfriends, the only way this global Ponzi could have progressed to this point in the collapse countdown.
I guess my point is simple. Today’s (global) disaster isn’t Argentina from 1989-1990 and again in 1999-2002. Nor is it Zimbabwe from 2004-2009 or even the Weimar Republic from 1920-1923. While the rest of the world was also (more or less) suffering during those turbulent times, Argentina, Zimbabwe and the Weimar were islands of disaster in a world of relative stability.
The Kleptocrat game is not chance
It resembles a well-rehearsed dance
With lifts, dips and spins
Until treachery wins
And the middle-class shits in their pants
(The Limerick King)
Remember that almost by definition disaster recovery requires relative normalcy somewhere nearby as the staging area from where you send in the life lines and supplies, as well as a place to evacuate the wounded. So when Norman, Oklahoma suffers a devastating tornado, help comes rushing in from 10-500 miles away. But what happens if the entire country is simultaneously ravaged by natural (Ponzi) disaster? Where does the help come from then? Overseas? But they are running the same Ponzi as we are here. So if we go down, they go down just as hard if not harder and vice versa.
One of the staples of the Armageddon genre of disaster porn is the notion that, in a national/global disaster, there is no safe harbor from which to coordinate and launch the rescue ships. Thus everyone goes into survival mode and if you aren’t helping yourself then no one is. Social rules of order and decorum are quickly abandoned for survival of the fittest and suddenly it is game on Mad Max style. Ironically if you remember the original Mad Max movie, it begins shortly after a terrible global disaster. Max was one of several cops working with the ‘authorities’ in an effort to maintain some type of order in the rapidly decaying remains of society. It was all downhill from there.
In response to those who would disagree with my line of reasoning by saying, “CD, you can’t compare a global natural disaster, where there is infrastructure damage, to an economic collapse, where at least initially all infrastructure remains in place and functioning” all I can say is that I disagree. The active ingredient in my analogy isn’t the level or type of global devastation as much as the equality or uniformity of it.
External rescue requires a more or less untouched area that contains a surplus of resources, financial or otherwise, and the means to organize and deploy them into the underserved disaster area. Because the Ponzi disease is globally and uniformly distributed around the developed world, in the event of a total or partial collapse, essentially there are no substantial surplus resources that can be gathered and transported from one area to the next. Everyone is in the same degraded condition. Well……actually there are ‘excess surplus assets’ available after a global economic collapse. Those assets are called the people’s Gold. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
So any rescue or recovery can only come from in-place assets and organized systems such as the existing military and governmental bureaucracy. Thus other than some shifting of leadership positions to create scapegoats and dispel slave anger, not much will change unless an armed and organized revolt is mounted. While that might eventually come about, it will not initially, thus allowing the military to disperse and dissolve any pockets of semi-organized resistance or even to prevent states from seceding so that they may create their own economic systems and/or preserve local and regional natural resources.
So who could have guessed Marx was right?
That the Bourgeoisie class is a blight?
All our wealth they will take
While they let us eat cake
We are slaves who must stand-up and fight!
(The Limerick King)
There seems to be a never ending stream of comments left on Zero Hedge that are short and sweet. Let it all burn to the ground baby so that we can rebuild it from scratch. I honestly think these people have no idea what that really means because in today’s world of massive financial leverage and staggering amounts of derivative contracts, too big to fail banks using 40 or 50 to 1 leverage and the majority of the slave population living paycheck to paycheck etc., burning it all down just might be an act of compassion compared to what would happen if it all just fell apart.
Anyone who doesn’t think martial law would be immediately declared and our remaining civil rights forcibly removed in the event of a partial or total economic/currency collapse has been brewing and taste testing their own brand of Kool-Aid. When order begins to break down, the existing power base WILL attempt to restore order and they won’t be gentle while doing so. And for the most part the plantation slaves will welcome the intervention because they have not prepared for the chaos, having ignored all the warning signs because they relied upon their masters to protect them.
So once again let us circle back to the principal question. What will you do with all that Gold and how will you reintegrate it into any new currency system that is implemented? During the first few hours, days, even weeks after the partial or total collapse, on a local basis you will be able to use your Gold (and especially your Silver) in small increments to barter for the goods and services you need to continue to live.
But very quickly, most likely the same day of the collapse, the government will announce draconian banking, price, wage and possibly even barter controls. And they will begin to implement unilateral decisions about what is needed where and when. If you have something the ‘greater good’ needs or wants and if others know about your good fortune, it could very easily be taken from you.
On a more practical basis, because the established control system will want to quickly put in place some type of replacement currency system, our Gold and other precious metals may actually escape any attempt at a quick governmental grab and go. But within days, and at most a week or so, global decisions will be made (correction: they have already been made, they will be implemented after a week) and in my opinion the priority will be to establish confidence in any new currency system or reestablish confidence in the old.
While one can’t know exactly how it will go down, considering that Gold and other PMs will probably have gone through the roof by this point, it is highly likely that Gold, along with other PMs or a basket of commodities (and possibly other new or old foreign currencies) will be used to back any new or renewed currency. The IMF’s so called Special Drawing Rights (SDR), essentially a global currency, is a perfect example of a cobbled together currency that might gain traction.
When HFT algos have ceased
And those who had most have the least
Is gold the best bet?
For a system reset?
Or will Banksters create a new beast?
(The Limerick King)
Now here is where I strongly suggest that, for several reasons, ‘they’ will feel compelled to confiscate Gold from the population. And this works on a global as well as national scale folks. The principal psychological warfare technique they will us is to vilify and scapegoat those ugly Gold hoarders and evil speculators. And there is no doubt in my mind that they will claim with absolute confidence and with concocted evidence that these evil Precious Metal terrorists destroyed the old system.
‘Truth’ will be immaterial at this point and actually counterproductive for those trying to beat back the resurgent Ponzi Hydra. Frightened people are not deep thinkers and they most certainly are not very reasonable. The emotional pain of collapse must be relieved, so any handy pain killer will be willingly ingested. History is replete with examples of this and a frightened and extremely angry slave population will gratefully latch onto the offered Gold hating piñata rather than soul search and examine their own role in the present disaster.
Depending upon the believability of various figures bandied about, less than one percent of the US population owns Gold as an investment (even less own the physical) and less than 2% own Gold miner shares. At the peak of the last Gold rush in the late 70’s and early 80’s I believe 8% of the US population owned investment Gold. Even if the present Gold love affair reaches that level of participation before the End Game commences, this group will still be a small minority and it will be very easy to turn the general population against them/us.
In addition, those who hold their Gold in bank safety deposit boxes or private vaults, at bullion banks or any other private, public or governmental storage facility will find that it will not be there for long. I suspect that the entities that own or control the facilities will be ordered to close their doors and to turn over the Gold. So even if we own Gold in ‘real physical’ fund companies such as Sprott, we will soon find that it isn’t available for withdrawal after the fall. And please don’t talk to me about the rule of law. We saw how the rule of law was respected when the US ran over the GM bond holders. Let’s get real here folks, under these circumstances the law is what they say the law is.
As well, plantation (country) borders will essentially be meaningless because every modern country will be in the same predicament. So the smart play for the new political puppets will be to cooperate with every other plantation (even enemies) to reenergize the system as quickly as possible. The precious metal mining companies will probably be nationalized, even if that just means that all of the output from the mines will be directed to the vaults of the ‘host’ plantation. China is effectively doing this now. So the only Gold you can count on is the Gold coins and small bars buried in the sand at the bottom of your fish tank.
Aside from the uncontrolled corruption and unrestrained fiat creation, if the old system collapsed because the general population lost faith in the financial system (ultimately the real reason behind any fiat collapse because it is not the unrestrained fiat printing, but the loss of public faith and belief the printing engenders, that destroys a fiat) and Gold in its role as the ultimate safe haven was the lightening rod that inflamed and focused that loss of faith, it will be incumbent upon the ‘new’ leadership to defuse and deflect any pockets of resistance to the new or reformed currency. By making a show of confiscating Gold ‘for the good of the people’ many non Gold holding people will go along with the theft because it essentially helps pull their asses out of the fire.
In effect the reckless and imprudent will cheer on the confiscation because backing the theft of others increases the chance they will be rewarded, or at least not severely punished, for their bad behavior. Moral hazard works wonders for the general population as well as the too big to fail. Because the general population can (and will) be stampeded when the crisis gets ‘real’, this will allow the political puppets to set up tiered currency conversion systems and unfair Gold and other PM reintegration rules. The rich will get richer and the poor will……well, you know. We will hear a lot of crying by the rich and powerful about how they just can’t put their glorious talents to work unless they receive special ‘incentives’. I just can’t wait to hear the imaginative sob stories of the down and out crony capitalists.
The dollar says, "In God We Trust"
But the dollar's about to go bust
So who betrayed whom
That has led to our doom?
(Twas the one who embraced greed and lust)
(The Limerick King)
While black and barter markets will most definitely spring up as they did in the 1930’s and 70’s, they might be less effective than they were back then unless we use them strictly for locally produced items and services. And even then I can see many problems and pitfalls. The one hope I have here is that the underground market for drugs and stolen goods will not go away because of the collapse, particularly since the new Ponzi will once again want to use (inter)national drug money to feed the beast. This might help to create pathways for black market currency to flow back into the main system which in return sustains the PM reintegration. We shall see if I am correct.
I see Gold and PM dealers becoming highly regulated and required under heavy penalty of law to report any and all relatively large PM transactions, for example anything over two or three ounces of Gold, thus effectively cutting off Joe’s ability to feed his or her Gold back into the system and extract or convert the wealth they tried to transport from the old system to the new. It can be done, but only very slowly and at considerable time, money and labor expense. And most importantly, with no free floating Gold market to set realistic prices, we will once again be robbed in broad daylight. They don’t need to ‘take’ your Gold, just take its value through price controls.
I expect that one of the national and possibly worldwide changes that will be implemented after the collapse and rebuilding of the financial system might be mandatory electronic fund transfers for things such as paying taxes, utility bills, mortgage as well as insurance and/or rent payments, payments to any local, state or federal agency or contractor as well as any large purchases such as cars, homes, businesses or anything else above an arbitrarily drawn currency amount.
Once these rules and regulations are introduced into the system, most retailers will follow the lead and refuse most or all cash transactions, preferring to use lower cost and more efficient electronic transfers. Expect a higher price or penalty to use cash (which you received when you sold your PMs) to purchase just about anything. Remember that a vibrant black market can only exist if there is a way to launder the proceeds back into the main system or if there is a parallel alternative currency system that fits the needs of the local users. This explains the need for drug and organized crime money to blaze a trail into the official money system. I have faith the new Ponzi will open that door for their own purposes.
Throughout history the key to forcing the public to accept new monetary and currency systems is to demand that all payments to the false sovereign master be made in the new script and/or using the new method of payment. This has the effect of forcing people to adopt the new system, thus validating it. Wide spread use by the general population for all their financial business usually quickly follows. The oldest tricks are still the best tricks from the (global) Ponzi point of view.
This will have a two pronged effect on the system, washing out any chance of laundering larger quantities of our Gold by using it for large purchases and more effectively binding the indentured servant and wage slave to the new currency system. If the slave gets too mouthy and begins to complain, just cause a few problems with his or her electronic payment system and watch them quickly buckle. After all, we all have to eat now don’t we? Never let a crisis go to waste, especially when you are creating it in the first place.
So how will the End Game play out?
The answer is surely in doubt
When all fiat dies
Will sound money rise
Or will all assets suffer a rout?
(The Limerick King)
This is one of the reasons I feel Silver will be more usable as an alternative unit of currency if this global collapse does transpire. Hopefully Silver is incorporated into any new national/global currency as part of its backing, for this will lend tremendous credibility to using Silver in alternative barter/currency systems. Silver throughout the ages has always been used as money and not necessarily as a store of substantial wealth.
This is why you might consider purchasing 1964 and earlier Silver U.S. coins, junk or not. It is important that we incorporate flexibility and diversification into our wealth transfer vehicles as this is the key to successfully crossing over. To assume, hope really, that our one and only method, that of Gold, will be successful is wishful thinking at best and foolhardy at worst. For the masters, Gold is a well known and understood escape mechanism and it will not be allowed to pass totally untouched. We must be different from the masses in order to survive while still being transparent enough that we don’t draw unwanted attention.
And that, in my opinion, is the more realistic path to dry land in this global disaster scenario. The worst thing that you and I can do when preparing for tough times is to develop a severe case of tunnel vision and focus only on our Golden boat as the exit strategy. The bottom line is that we must try to own the same assets that will be owned and transferred by the financial elite and their henchmen and puppets.
While one of those assets will most definitely be Gold, it will not be their only asset or their most valuable. While some of these elite alternative asset classes are out of our reach because of our much smaller stash, and there is little we can do to combat the planned inequalities that will be built into any new system, that doesn’t mean we are helpless or that it is hopeless.
On the contrary, just as the elite see the coming chaos as the perfect time to rape, rob and steal, I see it as ushering in a generational opportunity to build family and community ties like never before. And maybe, just maybe, begin to do some of the hard work we need to do within. Just because we are being buffeted by the fierce rain and wind squalls that precede the hurricane doesn’t mean we can’t use this to our advantage.
However, if we see everything through fearful eyes and with great trepidation we are going to drop the ball and hurt ourselves worse than if we had done nothing. Regardless of what the bad guys did or will do, if we aren’t right within we will wind up harming ourselves much worse than they ever could.
And so this all leads directly to my final thoughts, including one I have shared many times before and which can never be repeated too often. Over the years I have found that regardless of my heartfelt desire for a positive outcome or the gentle and considerate methods used, if my intent and motives are not honest or if I’m not honest with myself or others regarding them, rarely is the outcome to my satisfaction.
Bottom line, this isn’t about the bad guys or their enablers, their greed and lawlessness or even what is right or just. This is about me and my motives and how square I am with myself and others. Just because others lie, cheat and steal doesn’t mean I must follow suit in the name of staying alive or even to justify keeping my head above water. What this isn’t about is sugar plums and fairy tales or holding hands and singing Kumbaya. This is about developing our own Karma and being true to ourselves.
To those who seek power and greed
It will soon be your hour of need
What good is your gold?
When you’re hungry and cold
And the price for some flour is seed
(The Limerick King)
So it is with great concern that I have noticed a disturbing trend among the articles and comments posted of late. I have been a ZH contributor for two years now and I watched the discussions about Gold begin as one of several ways to protect our assets. This conversation began way back when Gold was still largely out of favor even here on Zero Hedge. And I have slowly seen it morph into a widely accepted concept of wealth protection as more and more began to see without a doubt that we are on a collision course with history. There is nothing wrong with this and I have no real problem with it.
But lately sentiment has changed from preserving wealth to growing wealth. And now I am beginning to detect the next stage of the emotional escalation. I am hearing greed and wanton self interest along with the self satisfied chuckle of the prospect of both making a killing and of being proven right when everyone else told us we were wrong. I am hearing the sound of avarice and lust, of rationalization and justification, of outsized egos and very little perspective.
Tunnel vision can take many forms and can strike the best and the worst with the same crushing blow. I have no intention of being self righteous or of calling the kettle black when this pot can be even blacker. That is not the purpose or intent of this essay because there is no denying that I have also felt the seductive tug of jackpot thinking. But when our motive for holding Gold and Silver is distorted and warped by greed and self interest, so is our thinking and perspective.
Which means that if there comes a time when the best move forward is to sell most of the Gold and move on to another asset class, one more likely to survive the transition intact, will we be able to see this as obvious and a no brainer? Or by this time will we so blinded by the Golden glow that we become nothing more than obsessed slaves kneeling in prayer to the almighty God of Gold, seeing nothing but our beloved promised land?
I hope not! From my point of view our most valuable asset is, and will continue to be, an open and flexible mind.
When all markets finally go bust
From our greed induced hubris and lust
To whom do we turn?
What skills should we learn?
It's all just a matter of trust
(The Limerick King)
Special thanks to The Limerick King for his wonderfully apropos limericks. It is an insult to describe the process of condensing complex subjects into 5 lines of prose as ‘writing’. The term ‘stupid good talent’ just begins to scratch the surface of what The Limerick King has to offer. Thank you TLK.
I also wish to thank Dagny Taggart for the ongoing and wonderfully diverse conversation that always leads to further inspiration. Thank you Dagny.
PS: For those who just can’t get enough of The Limerick King, below please find some more of his work that I just couldn’t fit in. Momma always told me never waste a single morsel of The Limerick King.
On the day when the fan meets the shit
And the Kleptos have taken a hit
Will gold save the day?
As all wealth fades away?
I suspect that those bastards won't quit
Do Oligarchs ever retire?
Do they ever just lose their desire?
Does their job ever suck?
Do they ever feel stuck?
Is there ever a Klepto for hire?
I'm glad that I followed my gut
My gold makes me feel like King Tut
But what will I do
Should a riot ensue?
Will a Kilo bar fit up my butt???