Posts Tagged ‘deflation’

Gold Plunges Back Below $1300 As “Someone” Dumps $2.3 Billion In Futures

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

With The Fed proclaiming bubbles in some of the most-loved segments of the stock market and explaining that the economy is doing “ok” but they must remain dovish for longer for feasr of “false dawns”… what better time than now to dump $2.3 Billion notional in futures… of course the dump in gold’s anti-status quo price coincided with an odd v-shaped recovery in stocks… Gold remains above its pre-June FOMC levels still.

The break was precipitated by the sale of over 17,000 contracts (or over $2.3 Billion notional)…

20140715_gold_1ST GRAPH

But for now gold remains above FOMC levels…

Extract :

Alternative Currencies are not new

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Around the world there are numerous examples of local currencies which have been introduced to promote local business, local produce, customer loyalty and awareness to trade issues and climate control. They all tend to be run in parallel to the national currency but are based on creating a thriving local, fully functioning economy incentivised by promotions and discounts. In recent years they have been launched in the UK as part of the Transitions Towns initiative and these include the Totnes Pound, The Brixton Pound, The Stroud Pound and the Lewes Pound. Lewes had previously introduced its own currency in 1789 which lasted until 1895. These pounds are obtained by exchanging pounds sterling for equivalent face value “local” pounds. Various denominations have evolved such as the 5, 10 and 21 Lewes pounds issued in 2009. There have also been schemes in the US such as the BerksShares in Massachusetts which are bought for 95 cents yet are worth $1. These are available in 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 denominations. Similarly there have been examples in Canada with the Toronto Dollar, the Calgary Dollar and also in Australia with the Baroon Dollar. Most of these initiatives have been launched since 2006 or later and may well be a local solution in the fightback against the worldwide economic problems. They are viewed as trustworthy currency with real value to the local economy and in certain cases well-meaning because of the positive impact they have on local services and prosperity. Although these models function locally they do demonstrate a widening appeal for taking control of currency and introducing stability to the functioning of an economy.
Are National Economies really functioning?
If they are then for who are they functioning- surely not the majority? What’s happened to the Utopia of Globalisation? One has to ask where we are heading with the daily drivel of mixed messages to suit the media’s demand for sound bites and politician’s short term ambitions for themselves far outweighing the long term requirements of the National interest (daily or decades of proof – take your pick!).
What can be said of today’s global currencies which are currently being prostituted by their governments in a global exchange war to meet their “protectionism” objectives by stealth. Who is controlling their value and to what end?
The “trust” in these currencies is gradually being eroded to the point that Central Banks and the big “clever” money of investors are seeking sanctuary in what may be the only true trustworthy currency – physical gold.
This is fine for the multi-billionaires of this world like George Soros who can afford vaults of the stuff but what about the smaller investor.
Is it time to think that Gold may well become the only currency we can truly rely on? It may also be time to consider exactly what is a trustworthy currency for the future and will it be issued by central banks? There is definite interest in creating a currency of confidence at a time when traditional currencies lose appeal on a daily basis in the unpredictability of an unstable economy and the ever fluctuating foreign exchanges around the world.
This theme is even more current if one observes the trend in the US where Gold is being adopted in Utah and possibly other states as a more reliable store of value and wealth. The website for the Utah Gold and Silver Depository, set up as the means of this remonetization, states:
“On March 25, 2011 history was made when Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law Utah HB317 [The Utah Sound Money Act] thereby monetizing precious metals in the form of Gold and Silver American Eagles and United States numismatics (rare coins dated 1792 to 1964) in the state of Utah. The Utah Gold & Silver Depository was founded on the belief that every citizen of the global community has the fundamental right to legally create, preserve and store wealth. To meet the global demand for safe, secure transactions and storage, UGSD has developed a number of depository account options from which a customer can choose and tailor to best meet that customer’s needs and goals.”
The idea is that citizens who wish to monetize their gold and silver will lodge it in an account with the Depository which will then issue them with electronic money in the form of a debit card, which stores the dollar equivalent which is debited against the gold and silver which backs it. The beauty of the Utah scheme is that the “gold debit card” is so clearly linked to the actual gold and silver, the value of which is constantly audited: the card represents the actual gold, which is also personally yours. The technology cannot trump the value or manipulate it. The gold backed debit card is analogous to the old promise printed on, say, Bank of England notes, whereby the possessor of the note was entitled to redeem the face value of the note in gold specie if he produced the note at the bank.
So, this example shows that it is desirable and possible, using modern technologies, to monetize gold making it an alternative to the so called real currencies. A Currency of Confidence with ongoing real lasting and meaningful value. A dream or reality? We shall see… when the austerity measures around Europe are judged, deficits reduced or not and belief in the status quo currency and its current custodians is ultimately maintained or evaporated.

Extract from the English adaptation of the French book : L’or, Un Placement qui (R)Assure (2011) written by Jean-François Faure,President and founder of

Buying gold coins as a safe haven

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Gold coins struck for liberty

Gold is an asset able to provide real freedom of action. It has had an inherent value for over 6000 years and is still going strong. It provides the reassurance to your savings and wealth that allow you to sleep easy at night – real freedom. This concept of freedom should increase with the value of our assets but today it is so often used as just a lure of clever marketing that distorts the truth about your savings and investments without the reassurance.

The culprits? Banks, once again. Indeed, our bankers have long forgotten the fundamentals of their activity and prefer to sell us complex financial products or random diversifications like mobile phone contracts. Many contracts tie us to them day after day. They have forgotten that they were to be the guarantors of our freedom by means of the values and valuables that we entrusted to them and included the right for our investments to remain our property.

We became completely dependant on these same banks: obligatory bank accounts to cash our wages, money blocked on accounts which pay hardly more than inflation (and sometimes less), credit, risky investments, etc. With gold coins it is quite the reverse.

Gold coins as an investment

Gold coins as an investment

Today in France, as in many other countries, their holding, their transport, their purchase and their sale are free. But that was not always the case. During the Second World War, Germans prohibited the French from having more than 6 g of gold, not even a 20F Napoleon coin. To deprive the French of their gold, was also to deprive them of their freedom. Very happy were those who could rely on their treasure being locked up in vaults

in Switzerland, able to convert it into cash on the local market and return to France with the revenue of the resale. Those who could not travel abroad could obviously buy or sell some in France, but they were exposed to the risks, including theft, blackmail and denunciation. Feeling confident with this assessment, many sought to shelter their treasure in Switzerland but not having anticipated the war, they subsequently had to take enormous risks in order to

smuggle their coins across the border by using secret compartments in their walking sticks that would be stacked full of Napoleon gold coins.

Another example: between 1933 and 1975, the possession of gold was prohibited in the USA. That did not prevent Americans from being among the largest hoarders of gold currency. The Swiss vaults were then filled with Eagles, Double Eagles and Sovereigns which reappeared at the end of the prohibition on gold or which were directly converted into cash in Europe.

During the Cold War, the Americans were right and gave their pilots (or their spies) gold coins so that they could have the possibility to buy their freedom in certain countries. Proof that even the king dollar would be insufficient in some cases. In the eyes of the Vietcong soldiers for example, it was just a vulgar piece of green paper bearing the marks of an enemy culture.

A gold coin, even struck by the American administration, remains above all gold with universally recognized and accepted values.

Contrary to bank notes, gold does not preach politics or try to impose any lifestyle. Gold does not have a nationality, it is neutral, and does not preach a doctrinaire approach. Gold coins are thus the last obstacle against attacks on our freedom and they will always be recognized at their rightful value. This is not the case with the fiduciary currencies in the form of banknotes, coins, and today of electronic currencies, which are sometimes so difficult to get accepted from one country to another.

Geographical locations

Gold coins are not in demand in the same way in all countries. Thus, in China or in the USA, Napoleon gold coins are not so well known and investors prefer to buy local coins or Krugerrands and Sovereigns which have an international appeal. In France it would be the reverse: in a period of crisis, the Napoleon national coin will tend to see its price shoot up beyond the value of the metal content whilst coins from other countries will maintain a steady premium.

Ideally, one would want to buy coins that are less in demand in a certain country and sell them to a market with a high demand for that particular coin.

This is possible today using systems like, and which unite French, Spanish and English speaking gold investors around the world, providing opportunities for a Chinese Member to buy Pandas from a UK Member for example.

Extract from the English adaptation of the French book : L’or, Un Placement qui (R)Assure (2011) written by Jean-François Faure,President and founder of

The gold buyer is a contrarian

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Contrarian mind, are you ???

A contrarian is a person who buys or sells his position against the opinion of the market and which is wary of the majority opinion while intervening in the contrary direction. The most famous contrarian is none other than Warren Buffet… the richest man on the planet. One of his best pieces of advice is not to follow the herd. His secrecy lies in a sentence typical of a contrarian: “The average is what everyone else is doing; if you want your shares to perform above the average, you must do something else”.

Among the politically incorrect followers of gold, one finds visionaries like William Bonner, historian and specialist in the US economy, who warns his compatriots living on credit:

“Imagine a shopkeeper whose biggest customer was having a hard time paying his bills. The shopkeeper extends credit, hoping the man will get his finances in order. But the more credit he gives him, the worse the man’s finances are. It would be very nice if that could work out. But it rarely does. Instead, it eventually blows up. The customer has to stop buying and the shopkeeper has to stop lending. There’s going to be hell to pay, in other words.”

“What should an investor do to protect himself,” our friend asked.

“Buy gold.”

“Gold? What a strange idea. I haven’t heard anyone mention gold in many years. It seems so out-of-date. I didn’t think anyone bought gold anymore.”

“That’s why you should buy it.”

And that is the person who is currently buying gold.**Extract from the book by William Bonner Empire of Debt : The Rise of an epic financial crisis(published by John Wiley & Sons, 2005).

To put an end to the generally accepted idea according to which gold savings is the act of nostalgic older men, one only needs to go onto some specialized forums to realise that this type of saver is not only younger than the average but that he or she also has a very informed view on the global economic system. From his profile one would say above all that he or she is a careful saver with a different vision of value in the future. This new generation of gold investors is logical, practical and in search of a different type of security than that offered with traditional investment or savings instruments. They have witnessed the demise of their parents “trusted” plans and they are not keen to

repeat the mistake. They may share the perfectly normal aspiration to save for their future but they are looking for security, reliability and protection of the

purchasing power stored up in their savings.

Given the current high street offerings with returns on investment equivalent to a net loss due to the effects of inflation, it is no surprise that savers and investors are turning to something tangible and an asset they can own.

Gold, an alternative Currency of Confidence?

Where would we turn to if the known currencies of the world suddenly devalued and became worthless in real terms?

Throughout history there have been instances when all faith has been lost in the official currency usually because it has become worthless and therefore all confidence has been lost. However, people have always looked for an alternative to maintain commerce and everyday survival. This has sometimes taken the form of bartering but it is limited by the difficulty of assigning recognisable value to a wide range of goods and services. There has to be some common denominator and unit value that is commonly recognised and therefore allows the cycle of trade to turn.

During the French revolution the state coffers were completely empty and so the emerging Constitutional Assembly created a system based on “assignats” which gained their value through selling off the assets of the church. These “assignats” would be guaranteed by the state and the objective was to reconstruct a functioning economy. However, they became greatly over subscribed to the tune of 47 billion causing inflation, zero rates of interest and

ultimately ended in collapse.

Extract from the English adaptation of the French book : L’or, Un Placement qui (R)Assure (2011) written by Jean-François Faure, President and founder of

The Australian Nugget 1 ounce

Monday, December 16th, 2013

The Australian Gold Nugget is a popular series of Gold bullion coins issued by the Perth Mint. They
have legal tender status in Australia and are one of the few legal tender bullion coins to change
their design every year, the most notable other being the Chinese Panda.


Australian Nugget 1 ounce

Australian Nugget 1 ounce

Australia issued its first Gold Nugget coins in 1986. From 1986 to 1988, the reverse of  these coins featured images of various Australian Gold nuggets, hence the name. From 1989, the design changed to feature different Kangaroos, a more world-recognised symbol of Australia. The coins are sometimes referred to as Kangaroos but the name

Nugget seems to have stuck. The coins up to 1 Toz change design each year. Each year, a Proof edition is issued and that design becomes the bullion coin design for the following year.

The coins have a unique market niche for two reasons; a “two-tone” frosted design effect and individual hard plastic encapsulation of each coin. Provided they remain as they came from the mint, the quality is maintained and thus premium.

The initial sizes offered were 1/20 Toz, 1/10 Toz, 1/4 Toz, 1/2 Toz and 1 Toz. In 1991, the 2 Toz, 10 Toz and 1 Kg sizes were added. These were created with the intention of using economies of scale to keep premiums low. The face values of the two larger coins were lowered in 1992 in order to bring them more in line with the smaller sizes.

In October 2011, the Perth Mint created a one tonne Gold coin to break the record for the biggest and most valuable, previously held by the Royal Canadian Mint. It is approximately 80 cms diameter and 12 cms thick. The face value is A$1 million but at the time of minting, the Gold price made it worth over A$53 million.

As mentioned, the reverse of the coin features in the early years a Gold nugget and thereafter a Kangaroo. It states the year of the coin, the weight and Gold fineness.

There is also a mintmark ‘P’ which signifies the Perth Mint.

The obverse features a profile view of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. The portrait is surrounded by her name, the denomination of the coin and the word AUSTRALIA.

The Australian Gold Nugget coins should not be mistaken for the Australian Lunar Gold Bullion coins. Both coins are minted by Perth Mint and have 999.9‰ fineness but Lunar coins use different animals from the Chinese calendar instead of the Kangaroo.

Investment Advice

There are various grading systems in use around the world. However, the British system is as follows:

All Nugget coins are issued as pure Gold finewness, 999.9‰ and in theory have a low premium just above the value of the Gold.

However, their intrinsic beauty makes them very collectable and they attract good premiums.

As with any coin, the best quality grades will attract the best premiums. The three early years in particular will be those with the highest premium. Although the coins

were issued in Proof form, many were unpacked and have thus been damaged and are at lower gradings. The mintage figures for all sizes of Nuggets are in general quite low, thus every coin will have numismatic premium value also. All round, the Nugget is both a collectable and investable product.


Confidence in physical gold

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

According to and also confirmed on, the Shanghai Stock Exchange would have delivered more gold than Fort Knox in the States. Needless to say the strong impact that would have on the gold price in the forthcoming future.
Some people even expect tapering to happen again or at least at some point.

Shanghai stock exchange
Shanghai Stock Exchange

The dollar is being printed on such a large scale that it leads to a complete devaluation of the US currency. That may be a satisfaction to the American to have more bank notes printed out but on the other side this does not help other countries like China who is presently sitting with some $3.7 trillion of foreign exchange reserves – other countries are actually in a pretty similar case with lesser quantities but still the concern remains …

Kingworldnews visited the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2009 and said that they had delivered some 8655 tons of gold since 2009. The Chinese bought something like 1.700 tons of gold in the first eight months of this year. It means that gold is actually feeding the Chinese’ foreign exchange reserves. We know that the renminbi is already the second largest currency used in global trade … How long before the dollar becomes fully obsolete ?

Let’s have a closer look at the dollar :

Well, one should be scared when looking at that 14 year perspective published on

a 14 year perspective for the de-dollarization

a 14 year perspective for the de-dollarization

In our article published on Nov 19th 2013 – China remains the world’s largest gold consumer in Q3’13 – we were actually talking about the lack of confidence in the global financial market and systems altogether. As Jim Sinclair was saying ‘Credibility speaks to Confidence and Confidence speaks to Gold’.

Soon we may have part of our savings confiscated. How trustworthy are the banks? 

Investing in physical gold has never been so important. Making it affordable to everybody is our main concern and feasible thanks to our LSP.

For further information with regards to the confiscation in the USA, please read our article The Great Confiscation : Gold ownership was illegal in the USA from 1933 to 1975.

The Panda 1 ounce

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The Chinese Gold Panda is a popular series of Gold bullion coins issued by the People’s Republic
of China in Proof-like, brilliant uncirculated quality. They are issued in a range of sizes between
1/20 Oz and 1 Oz with larger 2 and 5 Oz coins being additionally issued in some years.

panda 1 onceChina issued its first Gold coins bearing the Panda design in 1982. These were limited
to sizes of 1/10 Troy ounce along with 1/4 Toz, 1/2 Toz and 1 Toz. From 1983, the 1/20 Toz size was added and additionally a 2 Toz and 5 Toz coin is sometimes issued.
These strikingly beautiful coins are always issued in Proof-like brilliant uncirculated quality and prove very popular.
A different design was issued each year until the 2000. When the 2001 edition was announced, so too was a freeze of the design and thus the 2002 Panda is identical to the 2001. Collectors spoke up on behalf of the annual change and China responded by reversing their policy so that from 2003 onwards, the designs again change each year.
However, on the reverse side, it always features the endangered Giant Panda. It also features the size, Gold fi newness and monetary value.
The main design on the obverse of the coin has hardly changed, save for minor detail changes in the image. It features Beijing’s famous Temple of Heaven (Tien Tien) in the centre with Chinese characters on the top saying “Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo” meaning People’s Republic of China and at

the bottom the year of issue. If it is a commerative issue, the theme will also be marked here.
There was an adjustment of the face values of the coins in 2000/2001 – please see
the table overleaf for details.
The Chinese mints usually do not employ mintmarks. In certain years, there have
been minor variations in items like the size of the date, the style of the temple and
so on. These allow the numismatist to identify the originating mint. In some years,
but not all, other marks and Proof marks (signifi ed by a ‘P’) have been added. The
four mints involved in the production of the Panda are Beijing, Shanghai, Shengyang
and Shenzhen.

Investment Advice


All Panda coins are issued as pure Gold fineness, 999.9‰ and in theory have a low premium just above the value of the Gold.
However, their intrinsic beauty makes them very collectable and they attract good premiums.
As with any coin, the best quality grades will attract the best premiums. The early years in particular will be those with the highest premium. Although the coins were issued in Proof form, many were unpacked and have thus been damaged and are at lower gradings. The mintage figures should be carefully examined – the number originally minted is quoted but it has been found that production continues for various years, hence the total mintage may be quite a bit higher some years after.




All investment coins sold by

are EF quality or above.

For further information: +44 (0)203 318 5612

The British Sovereign

Friday, November 29th, 2013

The Gold Sovereign is a highly collectable investment coin first introduced in Great Britain in 1489 at the request of King Henry VII. In 1816, there was a major reform of coins in Great Britain which resulted in The Coin Act. This laid down in law, amongst other things, the specifi cations and dimensions of Gold Sovereigns produced from 1817 onwards which have remained in place to this day. The Sovereign weighs 7.99g and is 22 carat Gold (or 916.667‰ fineness).



The first Gold Sovereign was struck in 1489 for King Henry VII. Sovereigns continued to be issued by monarchs up until the end of the reign of Elizabeth I in 1603. As part of the coin reform of 1816/1817, the Sovereign was re-introduced. A young Italian engraver, Benedetto Pistrucci, was appointed to create the reverse design coming up with the beautiful image of St George slaying the dragon. This design saw many alterations over the years but is essentially the same. As a testament to the design, it still appears on the very latest 2013 edition. Other reverse designs have at times been used during the reigns of William IV, Victoria, George IV and Elizabeth II. The obverse of the Sovereign followed the trend established by the original and portrays an image of the reigning monarch, which remains the case up to the present.

Gold Sovereigns were withdrawn from circulation at the start of World War I in 1914 although production continued at the Royal Mint until 1917. They continued to be produced at other mints of the then British Empire but at lower quantities than before. Sovereigns which were not produced at the Royal Mint carry a mintmark showing their provenance, hence one finds coins referred to as Australian Sovereigns or South African Sovereigns. This “foreign” production stopped in 1932.

In 1957, the Royal Mint began again producing Sovereigns in order to meet world demand and to stop the booming counterfeit production which had become rife since the Royal Mint stopped producing in 1917. They were not however reintroduced into everyday circulation. Prior to 1979 only Gold bullion coins had been issued and it was this year that the fi rst Gold proof Sovereigns were issued. Between 1983 and 1999 the Royal Mint ceased producing Gold bullion Sovereigns and only minted proof Sovereigns. Gold bullion Sovereigns were re-introduced in 2000. There are several special designs but essentially, the George & Dragon design remains with the wheel turning full circle where Pistrucci’s design (which was on the Sovereign when the current monarch was crowned) has been re-introduced for the 2013 edition to mark the 60 years reign of Elizabeth II.

Investment Advice

There are various grading systems in use around the world. However, the British system is as follows :


Whilst older Sovereigns were produced in much larger quantities than those produced today, it is much more diffi cult to source a good quality Sovereign from those times. Sovereigns from the reigns of George III, George IV and William IV are extremely rare in good quality and thus command high premiums. EF quality can be found but are still quite rare. For example, a UNC George IV Sovereign from 1825 made £14,950 at a sale in March 2004! Early Victorian shield Sovereigns are highly sought and therefore an EF quality coin would fetch a high premium. Indeed anything UNC or FDC from the reign of Victoria is a high premium coin.

Edward VII and George V are fairly easy to obtain in EF quality as they were produced in very large numbers. As with Victoria Sovereigns, any UNC or FDC coins would attract a high premium.

The majority of coins on the market is from the reign of Elizabeth II and has lower premiums than earlier editions. However, the quality again affects the premium and the investor should look for the highest grades. Any coin will always fetch a higher premium anyway than the price of Gold and can only become more sought after in the future. There follows a list of certain rare Sovereigns to seek out if possible – finding one of these will command an excellent premium:


– 1817, the first year of the modern Sovereign

– 1838, the first Victoria Sovereign

– 1841, the rarest Victoria Sovereign

– 1917, London-minted Sovereigns, not Australian or South African

– 1989, 500th anniversary of the Sovereign edition

– Anything from George II, George III and William IV – FDC, UNC and even EF grades



Detailed reading:’s-most-sought-after-gold-coin/4103/All investment coins sold by are EF quality or above.

For further information:   +44 (0)203 318 5612     or email :

How much does 1 gram of pure gold cost ?

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Who said that only wealthy people could afford buying gold ?

  • Save from 1 gram of gold per month
  • Secure storage in Swiss vaults – FREE*
  • No administration or signup fee
Sign up for the LSP for free

Gradually build your wealth by simply buying each month a minimum of 1 gram of physical gold, for your LinGOLD Savings Plan (LSP) and benefit from freestorage in Swiss vaults outside the banking system.

How to save with the LSP?

  • Connect to your LinGOLD account or create a new account
  • Signup free to the LSP programme
  • Buy each month a minimum of 1 gram of pure gold
  • The gold you have bought is fully referenced : bar code, photograph, certificate of ownership
  • The gold is stored in a Swiss vault outside the banking system
  • You are free at any time to increase or reduce the amount of your savings, or you can unsubscribe from the LSP with no charge or prior notice.
Minimum Purchase 1g pure gold per month*
Maximum Threshold Unlimited
Storage Charges Free*
Signup Fee None
Availability Immediate Resale
Minimum Engagement None

*The storage charges levied on your gold stored in the LSP are FREE, on the condition that you buy a minimum of 1 gram of pure gold per calendar month, before the last day of each month. If the minimum monthly purchase is not made, storage charges will be applied, currently £4 per month per 200g total weight stored.

What are the products that fall within the LSP?

  • All the fractions of pure gold (1 g, 10 g, 100 g) issued from bars or gold investment coins (Britannia, Sovereign, Napoleon 20F, Napoleon 10F, Panda, Vera Valor, etc)
  • A whole coin : Vera Valor 1 ounce
  • A 1kg bar of pure gold

For further information on the LSP.


Monday, June 3rd, 2013

By Mark Rogers

In Gold is Money and Gold Standards I looked at the consequences of accepting that gold is not a commodity but rather money. I suggested in the former article that the confusion between a commodity with a price, and money with an exchange value, was part and parcel of the confusions that arise out of the corruption of money, its worth and functions that result from a command economy and its fiat currency.

Here’s a splendid example of this linguistic confusion, straight from the horse’s mouth; in remarks to the National Economists Club, Washington, D.C. on November 21, 2002, Bernard Bernanke said:

“[T]he U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation.” [My emphasis; and I shall be making a longer scrutiny of this talk in a later article.]

Talk of “positive inflation” is irresponsible, but it’s what you get when the printing press or its electronic equivalent is set rolling.

Language and Loans

In “Gold is Money” I went on to examine other possible misuses of language in discussing money and value. I raised the issue of whether it was proper to consider the interest one pays on a loan as being in effect the price of the loan, and whether or not the money constituting the loan is in fact sold to one: if it is, then “price” would seem to be the better way to describe the transaction.

Except that this in turn produces confusion, largely because service professions, such as banks, have come to be described in industrial or retail terms: banks have “products” which they “sell” to “customers”.

But this is nonsense: banks don’t manufacture anything, and do not buy in their “goods” at “wholesale” prices which they then try to “sell” at competitive rates.

Take mortgages: if you have one it is on condition that the bank or building society offers to remove a portion of your income every month over a period of years, and if you fail to fund this activity, your house is taken away from you. This is not a “product”. Why do you think you have got one, though? Because you have been beguiled by a metaphor.

Interest and Prices

I suggested: “In considering how we speak about value and prices and fiat money and borrowing and cheap and dear money, it might concentrate the mind if we did indeed speak of the “cost” of a loan, the “price” the bank charges us for lending, or perhaps selling, to us.”

This thought experiment was intended to throw into relief just how we think about what constitutes monetary transactions: there is an important moral sense in which it would concentrate the mind to think about “costs” if credit is extended for non-productive reasons.

When money is “dear” it is likely that the chief criterion for extending credit will be the purpose to which the loan is to be put. If it is for business expansion, say new plant, or into a new market, then the likelihood that the venture will produce a substantial return on the loan means two things: the loan is more likely to be repaid, and that after the loan is repaid the firm will have made a profit on that loan.

The problem comes with credit extended for consumption (and under consumption we most definitely must include homes that are not affordable outright): this is wholly an academic affair. Keynesian economists have persuaded governments that consumption equals an expanding economy (and note again the point in Bernanke’s talk that I emphasized: “a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation”). But the question needs to be asked: why do economists think that expense means expanse?

Credit lines extended purely for consumption end up damaging economies. In buying things now that one could not afford without the credit does not add to economic activity, it simply stokes up the personal indebtedness of the debtor and increases the book entries on the bank’s accounts. Because the money has to be paid back out of earnings, not production, it increases the likelihood of the debt being unaffordable and ultimately written off.

There is another problem here: credit lines for consumption imply that there is no real criterion: one’s present income hardly counts because it might not be there when the debt has to be repaid. No, the real irresponsibility is that the loan’s the thing, in and of itself, not whether it will be turned to productive purposes – that is used to make something that wasn’t there before. Failing to see that this distinction needs to be made is what makes Bernanke’s remarks so irresponsible.

Perhaps part of the problem lies in the fact that governments themselves do not produce anything: there are some seven million people who work for the British government, on average higher salaries than those in the private sector and with gold plated pensions (insofar as an unfunded liability can be said to be “gold plated” – the latter phrase really means that the government won’t break its promises to look after its own). These people produce nothing.

So while consumers intending to consume above earnings are anxious to find low interest loans to fund extra, unproductive consumption, it might indeed concentrate their minds to talk about prices, because that might put the nature of what they are doing into perspective.

In the serious world of productive business, however, interest is the proper term to use: the bank takes depositors’ funds and lends them at interest to enterprises that have been considered on balance likely to succeed for the purposes of the loan. In 100% reserve banking this process would perhaps be a great deal more transparent. And using gold as the ever-present unit of measurement will tell us what our money is really worth.

For the raison d’être of these articles on read: GOLDCOIN.ORG: MIXING POLITICS AND NUMISMATICS

For background on the writer: CONFESSIONS OF A LAW AND ORDER ANARCHIST

For a series of articles on the pernicious effects of progressive tax regimes: THE MORAL DILEMMA AT THE HEART OF TAXATION

For a review of one of the most important books on the financial crisis published last year: THE MESS WE’RE IN: WHY POLITICIANS CAN’T FIX FINANCIAL CRISES


Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

The Gold Spot is a regular feature in which Mark Rogers excerpts a passage from his reading as the Text for the Day and then comments on it.

Extract from THE FORGOTTEN MAN: A NEW HISTORY OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION by Amity Shlaes, Jonathan Cape, London, 2007

October 1933

They met in his bedroom at breakfast. Roosevelt sat up in his mahogany bed. He was usually finishing his soft-boiled egg. There was a plate of fruit at the bedside. There were cigarettes. Henry Morganthau from the Farm Board entered the room. Professor George Warren of Cornell came; he had lately been advising Roosevelt. So did Jesse Jones of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Together the men would talk about wheat prices, about what was going on in London, about, perhaps, what the farmers were doing.

Then, still from his bed, FDR would set the target price for gold for the United States – or even for the world. It didn’t matter what Montagu Norman at the Bank of England might say. FDR and Morganthau had nicknamed him “Old Pink Whiskers”. It did not matter what the Federal Reserve said. Over the course of the autumn, at the breakfast meetings, Roosevelt and his new advisers experimented alone. One day he would move the price up several cents; another, a few more.

One morning, FDR told his group he was thinking of raising the gold price by twenty-one cents. Why that figure? his entourage asked. “It’s a lucky number,” Roosevelt said, “because it’s three times seven.” As Morganthau later wrote, “If anybody knew how we really set the gold price through a combination of lucky numbers, etc., I think they would be frightened.”

By the time of his inauguration back on March 4, everyone knew that Roosevelt would experiment with the economy. But no one knew to what extent. Now, in his first year in office, Roosevelt was showing them.

Comment: In the Spring of 1922 a conference was convened at Genoa, Italy to find out ways of returning to the gold standard; this was the first attempt to do so since the Great War of 1914-1918. This conference gave birth to the “gold exchange standard”, which in truth was not really a gold standard because as James Rickards explains: “Participating countries agreed that central bank reserves could be held not only in gold but in the currencies of other nations; the word ‘exchange’ in ‘gold exchange standard’ simply meant that certain foreign exchange balances would be treated like gold for reserve purposes.” The consequence of this was that the burden of gold standard would be put upon the shoulders of those nations with the largest gold reserves, which in practice, of course, meant overwhelmingly the United States. The gold price was to be maintained at US$20.67 per ounce, and other nations held dollars as proxies for gold.

One problem with this attempt to establish the gold standard was the desire to return it to pre-War prices, which of course had been entirely set by the markets and, without government intervention or multilateral international committees, or central bank involvement, had been remarkably stable in the period of the classical standard 1870-1914.

Gold (and silver) coins and bullion had ceased to circulate with their accustomed frequency since the beginning of the war, and exchanges of paper for gold were subject to hefty minimum quantities, with the consequence that only the central banks and the commercial banks, with a few of the ultra-wealthy would be using gold bullion. Other notes would be used by everybody else, redeemable through government promises to maintain parity with gold. While this in theory meant that paper was de facto a promissory note with redeemable properties, effectively the gold itself vanished into the vaults of central banks.

And of course, central banks were now involved in gold in ways that they neither had been, nor had there been any necessity that they should have been, under the classical gold standard.

The stage was set. When FDR conceived of the idea that the dollar should be devalued against gold  almost as soon as he assumed the Presidency, “hoarding” of gold was banned. The Executive Order was issued on April 5, 1933; fifteen days later the export of gold from the U.S. was forbidden; nine days thereafter American gold mines were compelled to sell their gold only to the Treasury and at prices determined by the “customer”, the Treasury, which means that American mines were nationalized in all but name.

As of October 1933, FDR began to buy gold in the open market. He had already confiscated over 500 metric tons of the stuff from private hands, at the official price, giving America the largest “hoard” of gold in the world, and FDR’s market activities were, of course, designed to push the price up as a consequence of this monopoly.

So there we have it: a strange path indeed from the attempt to re-establish the, or at least, a gold standard, to the U.S. being given the responsibility of maintaining the price, through the Depression and the decision to devalue the dollar, the theft of private citizens’ gold giving the President an edge in the market place, thus ending up with Roosevelt sitting in bed with a boiled egg, determining the price of gold on a whimsy: monetary policy had become a bull session!

For the raison d’être of these articles on read: GOLDCOIN.ORG: MIXING POLITICS AND NUMISMATICS

For background on the writer: CONFESSIONS OF A LAW AND ORDER ANARCHIST

For a series of articles on the pernicious effects of progressive tax regimes: THE MORAL DILEMMA AT THE HEART OF TAXATION

For a review of one of the most important books on the financial crisis published last year: THE MESS WE’RE IN: WHY POLITICIANS CAN’T FIX FINANCIAL CRISES


Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

By Mark Rogers

I looked here at the recent drop in the price of gold, and suggested that the problem lay not so much in the price itself as in the perception of the value of gold. This is always a problem with prices; as James Rickards has accurately noted, market transactions (in context, he is discussing financial markets, but the observation applies to all types of market) consist of price discovery between bid and offer. (I first reviewed his exceptionally informative book, Currency Wars, Portfolio/Penguin, New York, 2011 here.) There is an important sense, therefore, in which prices as such are never stable except on the transfer of the asset at the eventually agreed price. This is one of  the senses in which Hayek refers to prices as information.

Rickards goes on to point out, in the context of gold, that the massive gains in stocks and gold in both 1933 and 2010 (85% in the latter year) were just “the flip side of trashing the dollar. The assets weren’t worth more intrinsically – it just took more dollars to buy them because the dollar had been devalued.” That is, consider the price of gold not as a price but as information indicating the present worth of the currency; not what gold is worth but what gold is telling us about the price of the dollar.

His book is an examination of the ways in which governments wage currency wars in order, they think, to increase domestic prosperity, by deliberately devaluing their own currencies. Short-term gains, if any, are rapidly exhausted, and the ill effects for the long term soon emerge. And yet, politicians and central bankers remain oblivious to these effects – and the recent quantitative easing is, once again, the result of that purblindness.

The German Inflation

At the time of the German depression, when the Reichsbank engaged in the biggest currency devaluation in history to date by attacking the value of the Reichsmark, the German people saw prices going up but did not equate that with the realisation that the currency was collapsing; similarly, we see prices increasing without realising that the paper money we hold in our hands is depreciating in value all the time: we moan about “capitalist exploitation”, “wicked bankers” and “supermarket greed”, or we talk knowingly about “inflation” as if the latter was like the weather. Seldom or never do we stop to consider that what is actually happening is that our governments are of set purpose devaluing the currency: the mutilation of our money is hidden from us (see here, here and here).

The Gold Price

One result of currency depreciation is capital flight, and the recent drop in the price of gold could be looked at in this light. Just as paper money is suddenly recognised as worthless, causing the flight of capital, so the sudden flight from ETFs in gold, another form of ultimately worthless paper, is in the same order of events. In fact, the gold price can be seen as operating both ways: the purchases of gold which pushed the price up over the last two years were a capital flight caused by quantitative easing as that devalued the pound and the dollar. And now, the plunge in the price of gold is also a capital flight because, whatever else may be going on, it is a flight from the ETF paper gold (the source in more ways than one of the market manipulation that may have been the immediate cause of the price drop) into physical gold, in this instance into gold coins.

Thus, one way of looking at the price of gold in a volatile paper money system is as an indicator of the current levels of volatility and a measure of what at any given moment should be done about.

As noted at the beginning of this article, prices are never stable and in terms of market transactions and international trade are in need of an anchor to make it easier for bidders and offerers to discover the prices at which they are willing to settle. The classical gold standard was just such an anchor. In the absence of a return to that standard, gold nevertheless still performs as a bellwether.

NOTE: “volatile paper money” is of course a tautology!

For the raison d’être of these articles on read: GOLDCOIN.ORG: MIXING POLITICS AND NUMISMATICS

For background on the writer: CONFESSIONS OF A LAW AND ORDER ANARCHIST

For a series of articles on the pernicious effects of progressive tax regimes: THE MORAL DILEMMA AT THE HEART OF TAXATION

For a review of one of the most important books on the financial crisis published last year: THE MESS WE’RE IN: WHY POLITICIANS CAN’T FIX FINANCIAL CRISES


Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

By Mark Rogers


“Rare is the opportunity to see, much less own, an original. Economics by Paul Samuelson is the classic textbook that gave birth to modern economics, and sold millions of copies in more than 40 languages. Now, in this unique and carefully crafted reproduction edition, Samuelson’s original words, text, and layout are recreated from the original classic edition. More than just a historical curiosity, however, this book’s power to explain economics to both the expert and the novice shines on every page. As fascinating now as when they were first published in 1948, the wisdom and applicability of Samuelson’s words remain vital in today’s turbulent economic world.”

(Publisher’s description on Amazon for new edition (1998) of the 1948 edition, McGraw-Hill

“Samuelson’s text was first published in 1948, and it immediately became the authority for the principles of economics courses. The book continues to be the standard bearer for principles courses, and this revision continues to be a clear , accurate, and interesting introduction to modern economic principles. Bill Nordhaus is now the primary author of this text, and he has revised the book to be as current and relevant as ever.”

(Publisher’s webpage for the 2010 edition.)

“It is difficult to exaggerate the world-wide impact of Mr Samuelson’s Economics.”

(The Economist)

Samuelson’s textbook has been one of the most influential sources of Keynesian ideas ever since it was first published.

Samuelson meets “Adam Smith”

George J. W. Goodman writing under the pseudonym “Adam Smith” published Paper Money in 1982 (Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd, London & Sydney). Amongst many other activities business as well as journalistic and academic, by the time he published this book he had been serving on the Advisory Council of the Economics Department of Princeton University.

Paper Money is an investigation of the financial crises of the 1970s and their unravelling. It is also an attempt to discover why so much of the economic orthodoxy was unable to explain what was happening or offer cures and preventatives. This may sound familiar.

Chapter 2, “Why Not Call Up the Economists?”, is his account of some of the economists he paid visits to in order to answer that question. He interviewed Paul Samuelson, and posed the question: “Is Keynes really dead?”

Samuelson’s answer somehow seems to encapsulate the air of unreality fostered by Keynes and the Keynesians:

“The fact is that what we’ve got, a Keynesian economy, is economically stable. It’s just politically unstable. The self-interest that the early economists counted on as a balance leads, in a modern economy, to collusion among the self-interested groups.” He further conjectures: “The malaise just isn’t in the figures. Something else must be going on.” Though what, he didn’t know. (That “just” is an emphasiser, he doesn’t mean that the malaise is elsewhere too; he means that the “malaise” (whatever he means by that – the general sense of economic disorder that is somehow not disorder?) isn’t recorded in the figures at all.

“Adam Smith’s” gloss:

“We have an economic system that works, except for the people in it? But the people are in it.”

Samuelson’s bizarre understanding of self-interest will be the starting point for further discussion…

Readers curious as to why articles of this nature should be appearing on a gold investment website should read: GOLDCOIN.ORG: MIXING POLITICS AND NUMISMATICS

And for background on the writer: CONFESSIONS OF A LAW AND ORDER ANARCHIST


Monday, October 8th, 2012

By Mark Rogers

Keynes and the Keynesians suffer from many delusions, but perhaps the most important is the belief that excess printing of money (quantitative easing), the injection of extra money into an economy, is the same thing as traditional savings.

Before puncturing this delusion, it should be noted that Keynes was an enemy of traditional savings, of saving at all! Keynes is not only deluded but also muddled, perhaps intentionally in order to throw his reader off guard – this sort of posturing is prevalent in his writings.

Hunter Lewis in his magnificent Where Keynes Went Wrong and Why World Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles and Busts (Axios Press, available here or here), comments on this proposition that increasing the money supply by printing money is a form of saving:

“Money created by the government is not savings; it destroys savings. … The word savings describes money that has been earned, and having been earned, is not spent but rather is set aside for emergency or investment use.”

He goes on to point out that over time the extra money pumped into the economy will result in either overt or opaque inflation which “will ultimately erode the purchasing power of traditional savings and ruin the saver, especially the small saver.”

Keynes is not only wrong to say that printing money is in fact another version of savings; it is astonishing that he thought he could say this, illogical and downright mendacious as it is, a mere trifling with words. The mendacity is compounded by the fact that encouraging the printing of excess money actually destroys the real wealth of those who have saved.

It was perhaps the perception of the immorality of the Keynesian “solutions” to economic crises that prompted this sarcastic denunciation by Malcolm Bryan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 1957:

 If a policy of active or permissive inflation is to be a fact … we should have the decency to say to the money saver, “Hold still, Little Fish! All we intend to do is to gut you.”

Hunter Lewis’s book is inspired by and indebted to Henry Hazlitt, the brilliant American economist who minutely dissected Keynes’s General Theory in The Failure of the “New Economics”, and author of the inspirational Economics in One Lesson. Rather than follow Hazlitt in unravelling every last absurdity of Keynes (that job having already been done so thoroughly by Hazlitt there is, of course, little point in repeating the exercise: Hazlitt is inimitable), Lewis chooses a few big themes, all of them directly relevant to our present crisis, and pins Keynes down on them, thus demonstrating both how the crisis we are in came about, and why governments and economists are so signally failing to do anything about it.

The book is at first sight somewhat eccentrically laid out, with propositions and comments in bold, and paragraphs of analysis interspersed with a line containing a single word or phrase quoted from Keynes to drive home the point that he really did say what he did (if you go to the second availability link given above you will be able to open the book and see the page layout). However, once I had really got into the excellent text, it suddenly dawned on me that not only is this format helpful in clarifying the points at issue – and many of them are of the highest absurdity: Keynes was not a clear or logical thinker, perhaps not a thinker at all – but that this format also represents what the author wants to do to Keynes: chop him up into little pieces!

Readers curious as to why articles of this nature should be appearing on a gold investment website should read: GOLDCOIN.ORG: MIXING POLITICS AND NUMISMATICS 

And for background on the writer: CONFESSIONS OF A LAW AND ORDER ANARCHIST


Saturday, May 19th, 2012

By Mark Rogers

Is the Gold Standard set to make a return and is that return inevitable?

The answer must be yes to the first question and an interestingly qualified yes to the second.

There is little to no consensus amongst politicians and academics that the crisis we are passing through is a crisis of paper money, but even the most dyed-in-the-wool quantitative easer cannot but notice that QE is (a) a stop-gap and (b) that the gap refuses to be stopped.

Academic Blindness

Part of the perhaps inability to see that this is the paper money crisis to end paper money crises, is the hold that the consensus as to what caused the Great Depression has on such a wide range of academics and policy makers, the most important exponent being Ben Bernanke.

While faulty analysis is to be blamed for the position that Bernanke assigns to gold in the Great Depression, this position is also the result of the fallacy of assuming that the coincidence of two things necessarily entails cause and effect, in this case that because the gold standard existed at the same time as the Great Depression, ergo the gold standard caused the depression.

As James Rickards points out in his exceptionally informative book, Currency Wars (Portfolio/Penguin, New York, 2011), Bernanke’s argument depends on the observation that “[c]ountries that left gold were able to reflate their money supplies and price levels, and did so after some delay; countries remaining on gold were forced into further deflation.” (Bernanke, “The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach” Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 27, 1995). Rickards extrapolates: “Gold was at the base of the money supply; therefore gold was the limiting factor on the expansion of money at a time when more money was needed. … the evidence showed that gold had helped to cause the Great Depression and those who abandoned gold first recovered first. Gold has been discredited as a monetary instrument ever since. Case closed.”

But, while this academic case against gold is proved beyond controversy in the minds of policy makers, it is simply untrue. It was policy decisions that caused the problems: “As gold flowed into the United States during the early 1930s, the Federal Reserve could have allowed the base money supply to expand by up to 2.5 times the value of gold. The Fed failed to do so and actually reduced money supply, in part to neutralise the expansionary impact of the gold inflows.”

This then was what the Fed chose to do, and as a policy option was actually independent of the supply of gold. “It is historically and analytically false to blame gold for this money supply contraction.”

Bernanke’s Real Fear of Gold

“One suspects that Bernanke’s real objection to gold today is not that it was an actual constraint on increasing the money supply in the 1930s but that it could become one today. … [He] may want to preserve the ability of central bankers to create potentially unlimited amounts of money, which does require the abandonment of gold. Since 2009, Bernanke and the Fed have been able to test their policy of unlimited money creation in real-world conditions.” [Emphasis in the original.]

With the Bank of England recently following hard on the heels of the Fed. Pun intended. And one should note that the word “creation” in this context is an irony… but one that is almost certainly lost on those with an academic agenda to pursue: Mr Rickards’s last sentence above is a masterpiece of understatement!

Rickards summarises his conclusions on the false attribution of the Depression to gold thus: “the crime of tight money was not committed by gold but by the central bankers who engaged in a long series of avoidable policy blunders.” (Readers are well advised to get hold of Mr Rickards’s book: his analysis of the inaccuracies of the enemies of gold is extremely well done – as is the rest of this very important book.)

Which brings us up to date: avoidable blunders by policy makers. For how long have we been reading headlines that essentially declare Greece/Italy/Spain/the euro/the EU all to be teetering on the brink, when it is quite obvious that they are all well over the cliff and clutching at clouds to reassure themselves even as they plummet.

How does the current situation presage a return to the gold standard?

The gold standard must return, and in one of two ways. Either it is deliberately courted through enquiries as to the best form it should take and how it should be introduced, whether unilaterally at first, or in some form of international cooperation, or a unilateral introduction leading to other economies tagging along, pegging their currencies to a revitalised dollar anchored to a clearly defined gold standard… the options are adroitly canvassed by Mr Rickards.

Or, in the interestingly qualified yes to the question as to its inevitable return, it is reintroduced on the sudden as part of the emergency procedures that the President of the United States adopts to halt the chaos resulting from the unwillingness of politicians and economists and central bankers to do anything about the paper money crisis until it is too late.

Mr Rickards is extremely good on the possible agendas that will result from the present impasses: paper, in the form of multiple reserve currencies and Special Drawing Rights; Gold; or Chaos – with gold making its back door entrance as an emergency measure because by that time nobody will be able to stop it. And true to that emergency requirement, of course, gold will make its entrance by way of confiscation and the prohibition of all exports of gold from the States.

So if gold is going to make a comeback anyway, why wait? Why not prepare for its orderly reintroduction now, which will have the effect of avoiding the chaotic melt-down of value that will otherwise ensue?

“A studied, expertly implemented return to the gold standard offers the best chance of stability but commands so little academic respect as to be a nonstarter in current debates.”

In other words, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Currency Wars

Mr Rickards has written an immensely important book. He is dry and unalarmist; he is not scaremongering – the situation is already too scary for that. His recommendations are measured, and as a plea for a change of mind and heart are couched in terms of compromise – for example, he insists that the only way to defeat the Bernanke thesis is for gold advocates to take it seriously and argue the evidence on its own terms, something which he does brilliantly.

He is also illuminating on how the gold standard can live comfortably with occasional central bank manipulation of the money supply – indeed his argument with Bernanke shows just how it was the failure to do this that caused the problems that Bernanke and co. blame on gold – but in such emergency circumstances that gold will still act as a constraint on the possible solutions – i.e. will keep the interventions in check. As well as, I would say, provide the yard-stick by which such interventions can be properly evaluated as necessary.

He even suggests reviving Keynes’s suggestion, made at Bretton Woods, for an internationally gold-backed currency; he goes further and suggests that Keynes’s rather inelegant name for this substance, the “bancor”, could be adopted. Now there’s an olive branch for you.

If only Keynes had not held all his other prejudices against gold… his thinking seems to be that gold was a barbaric relic perhaps in so far as it supported nation states, but was alright as the support for a supra-government supervised international currency of last resort. Well, the European Union is teaching us a lesson about supra-government international arrangements that we should heed before the chaos that Mr Rickards so calmly describes engulfs us all.

[At a later date, I will continue reviewing the whole of this illuminating book.]