While we know that the Fed will be forced to taper in the short-term as it desperately avoids the 'appearance' of outright monetization that a falling deficit will create, Marc Faber sums up the endgame perfectly in this clip: "I don’t think they will come to their senses for the simple reason that insane people don't realize that they are insane." Faber adds, "they think they’re doing a great job," and in fact they believe - in general - that "if anything, we need to do more, not less." The 'forced-taper-to-plunge-to-untaper' progression means it's going to get worse; as Faber notes, QE/printing will continued indefinitely "until the system breaks down." Having printed this much money with such dismal results, Faber concludes, "the Fed is completely clueless."
Faber covers a wide-range of topics in this excellent interview - from Fed insanity and cluelessness to Gold confiscation and from China's dishonesty to the destabilizing reality of Stability-hoping Keynesianism...
Will the Fed stop printing?
I don’t think they will end QE. I rather think they will have to increase it because as you print money or as you purchase assets, from a central banking point of view, it loses its impact over time. In order to keep the impact going, you have to essentially increase it. I believe that the Dovish members of the Fed will print more money. Especially after the resignation of Mr. Bernanke early next year, when he will be replaced, there will be even more Dovish members.
... until the system breaks down. My view would be that there will be money printing, and the problem with money printing is always that you don’t control where it goes to.
On the money-printers coming to their senses?
I don’t think they will come to their senses for the simple reason that insane people don’t realize that they are insane. They think they’re doing a great job. I talk to these people from time to time, and I know some of them. If you have a serious discussion with them, they lean towards the view, “Had we not implemented the QE programs, we would be in the greatest depression ever, so we’ve done a fantastic job.” The view is also, “If anything, we need to do more, not less.”
On the Un-Taper:
I don’t pay much attention to what the Fed publishes. When you read their statements, they are completely confused and very vague. In other words, all is data-driven. If the stock market dropped ten, 20 percent, for sure there would be more QE programs.
On the other hand, if the economy is very strong, they may taper off somewhat. You get the picture. The worse the situation is in the US, whether regarding asset markets or the economy, the more QE there will be. The Fed doesn’t know anything else.
I think that for now, the US is still the dominant financial market and the dominant financial power. I think we have numerous problems in China, and I personally pay more attention to what is happening in China and in other emerging economies than to what Mr. Bernanke is saying.
The Chinese are not completely dishonest, but if you read between the lines of the hard-core statistics in China, in my view, they don’t match with the public statistics about GDP growth. The economy is growing at say, maximum 4 percent per annum, not 7.5 percent or 7.7 or 7.6 percent.
On the fallacy of central planning:
...we know what the result was of Stalin’s economic policies and so forth. The planning economy is a complete failure. But now, recently, they announced that they would also implement some macroeconomic policy decisions in structuring interest rates and monetary policies. They really think that they can steer the economy and that they can steer markets. Milton Friedman has written about this extensively. He thinks the introduction of essentially the Federal Reserve and with fiscal measures, the economic volatility in the US in the 20th Century was much higher than in the 19th Century, and this is correct.
One of the goals of so-called Keynesian policies would be to stabilize economic activity. In other words, you don’t have huge business cycle fluctuations and you have relative price stability. But please, tell me, where is economic stability nowadays, and where is price stability? Oil prices move up and down like crazy, home prices move up and down like crazy, and the stock market does the same. There’s far less stability than there ever was before, complementary of the Federal Reserve and essentially of the US Treasuries fiscal policies.
How does it all end?
I’m not thinking. I’m convinced. It will end very badly. It doesn’t mean it has to be tomorrow..
I think that is a very good question. Like the aristocracy in Europe in the 18th Century, they didn’t give up just the power. They kept that power, same as the aristocracy in Russia in the 19th Century. They didn’t give up the power. Eventually, they were slaughtered. I believe what will eventually happen is that you have a financial collapse of dimensions so bankers can’t do anything.
I don’t know what the end game will be, and whether we’ll still be alive or whether we’ll be in wars or in revolutions as the worst. That’s why I want to hold some physical gold.
On Gold confiscation:
Yes, that’s a good question. I wonder what will happen one day. Let’s take the worst-case scenario. We have either a social unrest, a revolution, or war. Governments decide, “Oh, the price of gold is going up substantially, let’s take it away from people.” In other words, you expropriate it.
There’s no point to hold physical gold somewhere in the sky. I would hold some physical gold in my proximity. In other words, I own some in Thailand and some in Hong Kong. I still have too much in Europe, but over time, I will move it to Asia.
I think it will, at that stage, not matter very much where you hold your gold, except it may matter where you hold your gold in terms of sovereign state. My sense is that the Asian countries are less likely to take the gold away than Western countries.