Partners

Posts Tagged ‘France’

Mexican Funds could consider investing in gold

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

It would seem that Mexican pension funds are interested in gold and in particular after the lifting of years of strict investment regulations according to the World Gold Council.

Legislation from 2012 allowed Mexican pension funds to invest in gold and other commodities in 2013 and more over in foreign assets. Not such a long time ago, we also read about some pension funds in Japan (which actually hold the world’s second largest pool of retirement assets) which have also decided to invest in gold.

Mexican pension funds account for 22% of Mexican savings and could double up in assets by 2018 according to the Wall Street Journal . Although they will have to determine how much they can invest in commodities and foreign assets, they won’t be able to invest more than 10% of their assets in commodities.

One has to know that pension fund interest in gold rarely impacts the gold price  since it plays a very small role in the global market estimated at $236. According to Bloomberg, it was estimated  in 2012 that only $9 billions in Mexican pension assets will be eligible for commodities investment overall while US hedge funds sold gold heavily in 2013 .

It will be interesting to know how Mexican pension funds perform with gold in the future. There again, are we talking about ETF or real physical gold … ?

To be continued …

Buying a Vera Silver 1 ounce is possible now …

Friday, January 10th, 2014

VERA SILVER 1 OUNCE

VERA SILVER 1 OUNCE

It is all ours and it is all nice, coming from the same Mint as our Vera Valor 1 ounce but the difference is, it is made of 999,7‰ pure silver, with the same DNA as the Vera Valor. It is also QR coded on the observe as a guaranty of high security.


Unlike other coins which are legal tender such as the Philharmonic Vienna and the Maple Leaf, the Vera Silver does not depend on any arbitrary decisions coming from markets or states. Therefore, the Vera Silver protects you from any risk of lack of supply that causes higher prices.


Part of the LSP range, the Vera Silver 1 ounce is available in pack of 10, 100 and 1000.


Stored in our free zone in Geneva (Switzerland), exempted from VAT, it is actually on sale from the very beginning of January 2014.


Rather good news : why paying more money when mints are actually running out of Philharmonic Vienna or Maple Leaf silver coins ?

Silver just like gold is a safe value and just like diamonds are. These are different means to diversify your wealth.

The Vera Family is extending so please yourself by buying one Vera Silver 1 ounce.



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 LinGOLD.com, AuCOFFRE.com and LingORO.com 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 AuCoffre.com.

The gold buyer is a contrarian

Monday, January 6th, 2014
contrarian-etfs

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 AuCoffre.com.

The Krugerrand 1 once

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The Krugerrand is probably the original Gold bullion coin. It was introduced in 1967 as a vehicle for private ownership of Gold whilst also being circulated as currency, hence being minted in a durable alloy. From 1980, further sizes were introduced. See specification table overleaf.

Details

pict krugerrand 1 ONCE The history of the Krugerrand begins with the South African Chamber of Mines which had the inspired idea to market South African Gold by producing a one Troy ounce bullion coin to be sold at a very low premium over the intrinsic Gold value. It was intended to be circulated as currency, hence it was minted in a more durable alloy and contained 2.826g copper to resist scratching and thus giving the coin its golden hue. At the time of launch, the Krugerrand was the only accessible Gold investment opportunity for the everyday buyer and this thought came through from the inception. It was the fi rst coin to contain exactly 1 Troy ounce of Gold.
Despite the coin’s legal tender status, economic sanctions against South Africa made the
Krugerrand an illegal import in many Western countries during the 1970s and 1980s. These sanctions ended when South Africa abandoned apartheid in 1994 and the Krugerrand once again regained its status as one of the worlds’ leading bullion coins.
In 1967, only the one ounce coin was available. From 1980, the fractions were available, namely, one half ounce, one quarter ounce and one tenth ounce. The name is derived from a combination of Paul Kruger, a well-known Boer leader and later President of the Republic and the Rand, the monetary unit of South Africa. The obverse side features the Otto Schultz image of Kruger along with the name of the country “South Africa” in the two languages, English and Afrikaans. The reverse side, designed by Coert Steynberg features the image of a Springbok Antelope, one of the national symbols of South Africa.
By 1980, the
Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the Gold investment coin market. For example, it is estimated that between 1974 and 1985, some 22 million coins were imported into the United States alone. Although it is not a beautiful coin, many millions have been sold since its introduction due to the policy of selling with a very low premium. The success of the Krugerrand led to many other Gold-producing nations minting their own bullion coins, such as the Canadian Maple Leaf in 1979, the Australian Nugget in 1981, the Chinese Panda in 1982, the US Eagle in 1987 and the British Britannia in 1987.
The
Krugerrand is interesting in that the government of South Africa has classed the coin as legal tender although it has no face value. It therefore fulfills VAT-free criteria for investment coins.

Investment Advice

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

investment advice krug
Essentially, the bulk of
Krugerrands are produced in a non-proof form although the South African Mint produces limited edition Proof quality Krugerrands as collector’s items. These coins in particular attract a healthy premium and are priced well above the value of the bullion alone. However, non-Proof coins also have a premium above the value of the bullion.
The Proof and non-Proof coins can be distinguished by the reeding, that is, the number of serration on the edge of the coin. Proof coins have 220, non-Proof have 180.

key facts krugerrand

Krugerrands are made of an alloy of Gold and Copper – this effect also being known as Crown Gold as it has long been used for the British Sovereign coins. Due to the popularity of the Krugerrand, there are also many fakes in existence and the investor should be wary. Copper alloy gives a much more orange appearance than silver alloy. Likewise copper is very durable and coins should be in good condition always.
The best marker of authenticity is the weight and this should be checked carefully using the table below since the Gold weight and total weight are known. Check also the reeding.

Specs

specs krugerrand
All investment coins sold by LinGOLD.com are EF quality or above.

For further information: +44 (0)203 318 5612
info@lingold.com


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).

SOVEREIGN AVERSE AND OBVERSE

Details

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 :

SOVEREIGN 1

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:

SOVEREIGN 2

– 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

Specs

SOVEREIGN 3

Detailed reading: http://goldcoin.org/numismatics/the-british-gold-sovereign-the-world’s-most-sought-after-gold-coin/4103/All investment coins sold by LinGOLD.com are EF quality or above.

For further information:   +44 (0)203 318 5612     or email : info@lingold.com

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.

EDMUND BURKE ON THE CULT OF THE STATE

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

They must be worse than blind who cannot see with what undeviating regularity of system, in this and in all cases, they pursue their scheme for the destruction of every independent power … The design is wicked, immoral, impious, oppressive: but it is spirited and daring. It is systematic; it is simple in its principle; it has unity and consistency in perfection. In that country entirely to cut off a branch of commerce, to extinguish a manufacture, to destroy the circulation of money, to violate credit, to suspend the course of agriculture … does not cost them a moment’s anxiety. To them the will, the wish, the want, the liberty, the toil, the blood of individuals is nothing. Individuality is left out of their scheme of Government. The state is all in all.

Letters on the Regicide Directory 1796

Quoted by Christopher Booker and Richard North as the epigraph to their book The Castle of Lies: Why Britain Must Get Out of Europe, Duckworth, London 1996

For an article by Mark Rogers on the cult of the state, click here.

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

And 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

THE PRICE OF GOLD

Monday, January 21st, 2013

By Mark Rogers

The other morning a friend of mine who deals in antiques including gold and silver, rang me up to ask me whether I thought the price of gold had bottomed out or would fall further, and when and by how much it would rise.

I reflected that there is simply too much uncertainty about the euro crisis, the motives behind the Deutsche Bundesbank’s recalling of its gold from New York and Paris, and Basel III to be able to say anything about the price except be watchful. Of course there are those who are known to call the shots accurately, but even they cannot be relied upon: past performance is no predicator of future performance.

This of course is the well-known Humean scepticism, that just because something has happened before is no reason for it to happen again. In broad terms, and especially of human behaviour, this is a reasonable position to take, and it is Nassim Nicholas Taleb who has popularised this attitude in financial affairs as “black swan” events, although his own adherence to what in his hands has become a doctrine has practically paralysed him (see the essay on him in Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw).

How do we know? Let me give an example that happens to be to hand in Nudge (already mentioned here). In describing the activities of unpractised investors the authors Thaler and Sunstein note: “Their market timing was backward. They were heavily buying stocks when stock prices were high, and then selling stocks when their prices were low.”

Surely, though, this is only knowable with hindsight. At the time they were buying, presumably the investors thought or had been advised that the price was right, i.e. low, in relative terms. When that turned out to be incorrect and the prices fell, they sold, and for an equally valid reason: not to lose too much given that they now had new information.

A Gold Standard?

So where is the price of gold likely to go? One school of thought suggests that the price of gold is artificially low because of the uncertainty created in the market by paper gold, the ETFs that are so abundant – and this is surely likely to be correct. Be that as it may though, what else is going on?

At the end of the Second World War, Germany’s gold was divided into four, with one quarter being held by the Bundesbank, and the other quarters kept in London, New York and Paris. There were two reasons for this: one to have leverage on the Germans doing again what they had twice already done, and, more immediately, to prevent the Soviets from grabbing too much gold should they mount a successful invasion on West Germany.

Two and a half years ago the Bundesbank repatriated the quarter held by the Bank of England; towards the end of last year it made claims for repatriation of its gold in New York and Paris. Why? Well, one reason may well have to do with the very public argument between the Bundesbank and the ECB over the latter’s quantitative easing: the Bundesbank rightly says that QE is damaging any chance of recovery of the euro, and therefore the repatriation of the gold may well have something to do with shoring up the German position should the euro finally collapse. Remember, we noted at Christmas 2011 that Deutsche Marks were in circulation, though certainly no-one knows how many there are. But would it not be a fine irony if Germany were the first to exit the euro, with a Mark backed by gold!

Elsewhere, as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard noted in The Telegraph on 17 January 2013, the buying of gold by central banks presages a return to a gold standard. He is wary about this return, and thinks it will only work as part of a tripartite system underpinning value. Whether the latter can work is very uncertain, as it effectively puts gold in a competitive position rather than an absolute one and therefore gold would surely not operate as a brake on the ambitions of politicians, and thus in effect be no gold standard at all.

However, there is a simpler explanation for these purchases: Basel III. The latter’s revision of gold as a Tier III asset to Tier I was no secret, and so central banks having been asked by the Basel Committee to revise their attitude towards gold have done so in the only proper manner – by buying it. This ought to stimulate the price, but perhaps the reason it has not is that gold buyers and investors are waiting to see just what might happen as a result. The Basel III accords should have come into force on 1 January 2013, although there were several pleas from central banks towards the end of last year for deferment, until next year in some cases. Already the Reserve Bank of India has announced it will not implement Basel III until April at the earliest.

There therefore seems to be a degree of nervousness in relation to gold at present: but it does seem like a good time to buy.

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

And 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

2012: Tax, the Euro and the Gold Standard: A Roundup

Monday, January 7th, 2013

By Mark Rogers

Tax

In a move practically designed to prove my assertion that the Inland Revenue is behaving more like the Stasi than a branch of democratic government, it was announced on Friday 4 January that the H.M.R.C. was publishing the names and photographs of some of the worst tax “cheats” of the previous year. Yet the lack of clarity persists: “The Government invested £917m in tackling tax evasion, avoidance and fraud in 2011-12, with an additional £77m planned over the next two years. ‘Most people play by the rules and pay what they owe, but HMRC is cracking down on those who don’t,’ said Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke. ‘We hope that publishing these pictures will help get across that it always makes sense to declare all your income, and tax dodgers are simply storing up trouble for the future.’”

While the news report does give details of an overtly criminal gang, the persistence in lumping together criminals on the one hand and dodgers and avoiders on the other is deeply worrying; the latter are people who have committed no crime. Until and unless the law is specifically changed the pursuit of those who legally avoid paying tax is a direct assault of the rule of law. And it will not do to pass legislation criminalising avoidance: avoidance only takes place because the tax code is too large, too multifarious, too unfair and too confiscatory. It would be an even graver assault on the rule of law if criminalising legal behaviour was to be the government and parliament’s preferred option rather than a serious overhaul of the tax code. But then expecting that is like expecting the EU’s commissioners, politicians and bankers to sort out the euro mess.

The Euro

Where is the promised resolution to the Euro crisis, specifically the problems in the first place of Greece? The European Stability Mechanism merely defers the inevitable, but true to form, the EU’s political class is congratulating itself that “something is being done”.

In his book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (Regnery Publishing, Inc. Washingto, 2008), Mark Steyn makes the following observation: “The progressive Left can be in favour of Big Government or population control but not both. That mutual incompatibility is about to plunge Europe into societal collapse. There is no precedent in human history for economic growth on declining human capital – and that’s before anyone invented unsustainable welfare states.”

Thus a decline in the European demographic, which was predicated on the welfare state providing for all and giving a better standard of living which in turn is often taken to mean fewer children, is ensuring that the welfare state is collapsing while its beneficiaries demand more – see, for example, the Greek reaction to “austerity”.

But was “Europe” on any of its models ever going to be sustainable? In an interesting article from an old Encounter that I recently picked up, much food for thought suggesting that the answer was no from the beginning is to be found in an article by François Bondy, The Sick Man of Europe is .. Europe (Encounter, Vol. X, No. 6, June 1958). While he is talking about NATO, rather than the emergent political arrangements that would eventually become the EU as we know it, it must be remembered that The Europeans leapt under the NATO nuclear and military umbrella on the specific assumption that the Americans would be footing the bill; this in turn, allowed France to pursue her squalid little colonial war in Algeria, while allowing them all to begin that slide into welfarism, the effects (or rather, defects) of which are now manifest. Bondy says this of the relations that the Europeans and the Americans thought they were entering into at the time:

The truth is that, in essentials, the West Europeans have relied on the United States for their defence, and that N.A.T.O. is the instrument, not of a partnership, but of a receivership.” [My emphasis]

That note of insolvency struck right at the very beginning!

He also goes on to be very prescient about how things would fall out: “A great and present danger would arise out of an unequal division of privileges, responsibilities, and burdens among the European states; this inequality could generate new national hatreds and rivalries, and make of Europe simply a greater Balkans.”

Which is exactly how to describe the quite deliberate plan to bring this state of affairs about through the melding of the “hardcore” euro currency countries into a fiscal “heartland” for the EU. He goes on to ask: “Balkans or Switzerland? Perhaps neither goal is likely to arouse enthusiasm in the citizens of that Europe which discovered the modern world, established it, and ruled it for so long. But Balkanisation will only be the fate of those who are themselves ready for it, and prefer to be a shrunken power rather than a small state.”

And this was said in 1958.

And the gold standard, what has that to do with welfarism?

The Gold Standard

“The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. … The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves. This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.” (Quoted in, The Coming Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit from It, James Turn and John Rubino, Doubleday, New York, London etc., 2004)

Well said, that man! But who was that man? No less than Alan Greenspan, whose views clearly cover the span between what he said in 1966 in an essay, “Gold and Economic Freedom”, and his own genial oversight of “an unlimited expansion of credit”, no doubt thinking the while that this was because this had to be done to counter the expansionist ambitions of the welfare statists, but with, inevitably, the same result.

But as a succinct description of what in effect has happened in the banking crisis, his first sentence is spot on, and this may yet be revealed as not only the way the crisis evolved, but of the very motor at the heart of it, the politically expedient manipulation of the LIBOR.

And the future of the gold standard? We shall see if the Utah sound money scheme catches on in other States in the U.S.A. And we shall see if the arguments for its return start stacking up in the minds of those whose minds need to accommodate it. But the really serious question is if Basel III, if, when, implemented does turn out to be a tentative restoration outside the political system, and if indeed it does turn out to be a de facto gold standard, how will the politicians react?

Basel III is difficult to interpret, and so far this year the main news about it is that the Reserve Bank of India has declared that it is to defer implementing it for at least a few months.

How strange it is that the most perceptive remarks about Europe’s decline and the warning about the welfare state’s destruction of wealth should have been made in 1958 and 1966 respectively. History indeed is a gold mine!

For more on tax go to: STARBUCKS AND ALL THAT TAX, which also contains a link to a brief summary of my arguments and a link to all the previous articles on tax.

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

And 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

GLOBALIZATION: A VIEW FROM THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

THE ROYAL EXCHANGE by Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

There is no place in the town which I so much love to frequent as the Royal Exchange. It gives me a secret satisfaction, and, in some measure, gratifies my vanity, as I am an Englishman, to see so rich an assembly of countrymen and foreigners consulting together upon the private business of mankind, and making this metropolis a kind of emporium for the whole earth.

I must confess I look upon high-change to be a great council, in which all considerable nations have their representatives. Factors in the trading world are what ambassadors are in the politic world; they negotiate affairs, conclude treaties, and maintain a good correspondence between those wealthy societies of men that are divided from one another by seas and oceans, or live on the different extremities of a continent.

I have often been pleased to hear disputes adjusted between an inhabitant of Japan and an alderman of London, or to see a subject of the Great Mogul entering into a league with one of the Czar of Muscovy. I am infinitely delighted in mixing with these several ministers of commerce, as they are distinguished by their different walks and different languages: sometimes I am jostled among a body of Armenians, sometimes I am lost in a crowd of Jews, and sometimes make one in a group of Dutchmen. I am a Dane, Swede, or Frenchman at different times, or rather fancy myself like the old philosopher, who upon being asked what countryman he was, replied that he was a citizen of the world.

Though I very frequently visit this busy multitude of people, I am known to nobody there but my friend Sir Andrew, who often smiles upon me as he sees me bustling in the crowd, but at the same time connives at my presence without taking any further notice of me. There is indeed a merchant of Egypt who just knows me by sight, having formerly remitted me some money to Grand Cairo; but as I am not versed in the modern Coptic, our conferences go no further than a bow and a grimace.

This grand scene of business gives me an infinite variety of solid and substantial entertainment. As I am a great lover of mankind, my heart naturally overflows at the sight of a prosperous and happy multitude, insomuch that at many public solemnities I cannot forbear expressing my joy with tears that have stolen down my cheeks. For this reason I am wonderfully delighted to see such a body of men thriving in their own private fortunes, and at the same time promoting the public stock; or, in other words, raising estates for their own families, by bringing into their country whatever is wanting, and carrying out of it whatever is superfluous.

Nature seems to have taken a peculiar care to disseminate the blessings among the different regions of the world, with an eye to this mutual intercourse and traffic among mankind, that the natives of the several parts of the globe might have a kind of dependence upon one another, and be united together by this common interest.

Almost every degree produces something peculiar to it. The food often grows in one country, and the sauce in another. The fruits of Portugal are corrected by the products of Barbados; the infusion of a China plant sweetened with the pith of an Indian cane. The Philippine Islands give a flavour to our European bowls. The single dress of a woman of quality is often the product of a hundred climates. The muff and the fan come together from the different ends of the earth. The scarf is sent from the torrid zone, and the tippet from beneath the Pole. The brocade skirt rises out of the mines of Peru, and the diamond necklace out of the bowels of Hindostan.

If we consider our own country in its natural prospect, without any of the benefits and advantages of commerce, what a barren, uncomfortable spot of earth falls to our share!

Natural historians tell us that no fruit grows originally among us besides hips and haws, acorns and pig-nuts, with other delicacies of the like nature; that our climate of itself, and without the assistance of art, can make no further advances towards a plum than to a sloe, and carries an apple to no greater perfection than a crab; that our melons, our peaches, our figs, our apricots and cherries, are strangers among us, imported in different ages, and naturalized in our English gardens; and that they would all degenerate and fall away into the trash of our own country if they were wholly neglected by the planter, and left to the mercy of our sun and soil.

Nor has traffic more enriched our vegetable world than it has improved the whole face of nature among us. Our ships are laden with the harvest of every climate: our tables are stored with spices and oils and wines; our rooms are filled with pyramids of China, and adorned with the workmanship of Japan; our morning’s draught comes to us from the remotest corners of the earth; we repair our bodies by the drugs of America, and repose ourselves under Indian canopies.

My friend Sir Andrew calls the vineyards of France our gardens, the spice-islands our hot-beds, the Persians our silk weavers, and the Chinese our potters. Nature indeed furnishes us with the bare necessaries of life, but traffic gives us a great variety of what is useful, and at the same time supplies us with everything that is convenient and ornamental. Nor is it the least part of this our happiness that while we enjoy the remotest products of the north and south, we are free from those extremities of weather which gave them birth; that our eyes are refreshed with the green fields of Britain at the same time that our palates are feasted with the fruits that rise between the tropics.

For these reasons there are not more useful members in a commonwealth than merchants. They knit mankind together in a mutual intercourse of good offices, distribute the gifts of Nature, find work for the poor, and bring wealth to the rich and magnificence to the great. Our English merchant converts the tin of his own country into gold, and exchanges his wool for rubies. The Mohammedans are clothed in our British manufacture, and the inhabitants of the frozen zone warmed with the fleeces of our sheep.

When I have been upon the change, I have often fancied one of our old kings standing in person, where he is represented in effigy, and looking down upon the wealthy concourse of people with which that place is every day filled. In this case, how would he be surprised to hear all the languages of Europe spoken in this little spot of his former dominions, and to see so many private men, who in his time would have been the vassals of some powerful baron, negotiating like princes for greater sums of money than were formerly to be met with in the royal treasury!

Trade, without enlarging the British territories, has given us a kind of additional empire: it has multiplied the number of the rich, made our landed estates infinitely more valuable than they were formerly, and added to them an accession of other estates as valuable as the lands themselves.

PUNISH BENEFIT CHEATS

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

DO DEALS (IF YOU MUST) WITH SO-CALLED TAX EVADERS

By Mark Rogers

After all the froth over tax evasion, in a remarkably short space of time the taxman is doing a deal: “Hundreds of tax evaders … will escape prosecution and keep their identities secret under immunity deals offered by Revenue & Customs,” reported The Times on Friday, 2nd November, in a front page story. The idea is not to waste Court time and further expense if so-called “secret account-holders” simply stump up their taxes and pay penalties. There has already been one prosecution for “serious fraud” and there will be a select few more.

The newspaper also quotes a former taxman who now works for a law firm as saying: “It is those at the lower end of the social scale who go to prison. There is no immunity for benefit cheats.”

In a development in Greece, a journalist who published 2,000 names of Greek “secret account-holders”, which include industrialists, financiers and politicians, was acquitted of breaching privacy laws, after the prosecution offered no witnesses. The journalist Kostas Vaxevanis is quoted, in a separate story on page 8, as suggesting that the list detailed “groups of people stealing from the Greek state”.

The HMRC deals are being offered to those British people who turned up on a list of account holders at a Swiss branch of HSBC, which list was stolen two and a half years ago by an employee of the bank – thus violating bank-client confidentiality – which was given to the then French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde (now head of the IMF). She in turn gave HMRC 6,000 names of UK citizens (500 of whom have so far been investigated for fraud).

HMRC, Evasion and the Mis-spending of Savings

Before looking at the moral dilemmas of what has recently happened, and in particular the unfortunate view of Mr Vaxevanis, let us look at some of the more straightforward economic practicalities.

HMRC is assuming that the Lagarde list contains people who do not have a cash flow problem i.e., the deals, which as noted save precious court time, are possible because both the tax and the fines are assumed to be achievable. A deal, to work, requires the agreement of both parties as to what is feasible, whereas justice demands that one party has justice visited upon it in the name of the law, as pursued by the aggrieved party.

As it is deals that are being offered, the back taxes and the fines must come out of savings. This gets to the heart of the problem, which is that among the reasons for the evasion in the first place is the perception that the state misapplies resources, and therefore the taxing of successful businessmen is to mis-spend savings which would otherwise have been applied as investments. This is also another reason, of course, for not sending the majority of these so-called evaders to jail: they are after all a productive element in any economy, producing goods, services and jobs. The problem of UK taxpayers’ assets being held abroad is the simple recognition that the tax regime is too onerous in the UK and that government wastes money.

Deals and assets

So there is at least a tacit recognition that these individuals play a productive part in economic life. What is required is the further recognition that when a tax regime becomes too complex, and the welfare state, which inevitably requires big government, is all-pervasive, then the problem is the government, not the so-called evader.

But these deals usher in another confusion. Hitherto, most of the fuss has been about legal tax avoidance (as discussed for example here, Cowboy Accountants – or Lone Rangers?). Now it transpires that the Lagarde list exposes the problem of hidden assets. This is indeed only, from an anti-Keynesian point of view, the reverse side of the problem of the initial evasion, the hidden assets being on the Keynesian view “hoardings”.

This is the operation of Gresham’s Law in the welfare state economy: bad money/bad monetary policy driving out good money, either into Swiss bank accounts, or, as another aspect of the tax furore initiated by the Chancellor revealed, into good works – this was the attempt by the Chancellor to cap charitable giving; this attempt revealed that many rich donors, who use the tax exemption schemes drawn up by HMRC, actually give more to charity than the exemption is worth!

Whistleblowing? Accountability?

The term “whistleblower” entered the political lexicon largely to describe a civil servant who has come across corruption and incompetence in government and decides to risk all by exposing it – the biggest two in the UK in recent years being the utter incompetence of the immigration department and the corruption of the MPs’ expenses scandal.

So why is the private employee of a private institution being called a whistleblower for sneaking on his employer’s clients? The answer lies in the vexing view of Vaxevanis, the Greek journalist who believes that asset hiders are “stealing from the Greek state”.

That is the welfarist assumption in a nutshell: that private citizens’ money actually belongs to the state. However wasteful the state, and however much that waste prompts the operation of Gresham’s Law, those who avoid taxes, in the hope that more productive times might return (after all, with interest rates so low, why invest?), are branded thieves – for hanging on to their own money.

This view of the vexing Vaxevanis reverses the idea of accountability – as I have remarked before, the state needs to be very sure that taxpayers are getting value for money before accusing citizens of being in effect criminals (and see here for further implications for constitutional government).

Real cheats

Which brings us back to the idea that there are two modes of justice: one for the rich, even when they save their money against government waste, incompetence and malfeasance, and another for those poor who cheat on the benefits system. It is however, wholly commensurate with the idea of justice that the latter are punished: they have devised ways to make claims on hardworking taxpayers’ money to steal what does not belong to them. As the actions of HMRC have implicitly acknowledged, all that “evaders” and “hoarders” have done is to hang on to more of what is actually theirs.

A benefit cheat is breaking the criminal law, a long-sanctioned element of the English Common Law. A tax avoider is simply breaching legislation, often passed in fits of class antagonism “against the rich”, that allows the state to snatch a portion of his wealth, that allows the state to believe that all our incomes belong to it – see the Orwellian notion of “the taxpayer’s allowance”.

This is a morally corrosive view, which leads to constitutional vandalism. That, not tax evasion, is the real problem of our times.

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

THE EURO GOES ON – ON AND ON AND ON…

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

By Mark Rogers

Now that the main Olympics are over and the daily newspapers have recovered their normal size and weight, it is possible to see what else is happening in the world. Surprise, surprise… while London was full of sportsmen and women doing their best to out-compete each other to make some sort of achievement, those other Olympians – the gods of the Eurozone – have got precisely nowhere. Which in practical terms means less than nowhere…as we have previously seen here.

The Greek Prime Minister has been smiling his way from Paris to Berlin – but it isn’t going to make much difference. The German government is under huge popular pressure not to make any more concessions to the Greeks, the idea being that as the Greeks have, again, failed to make progress to meet any of the commitments they had already made, where is the logic or reason in renegotiating?

The problem is simple, and is well understood by Chancellor Merkel: the only way in which Greece (and Italy? Spain? Portugal?) can be kept in the euro is by the Eurozone becoming a real fiscal union with Germany permanently underwriting the poorer countries’ debts. But this is completely unacceptable in Germany, and other northern European countries (Austria, the Netherlands and Finland) are equally opposed. Was this one of the original compromises made before the euro was launched? While knowing that the single currency might only succeed if the proper fiscal union was created ab initio, but also knowing that this would have been politically unacceptable, the politicians went ahead with their vanity project knowing that it would be botched…  No wonder they’re desperate to patch it up somehow, but their inability to do so, because of the impossible circumstances they have created, has led to this apparently never-ending stasis…

But perhaps not quite, because from a completely unanticipated direction a break-up of the eurozone may be on the cards sooner than anyone expects, except those who have prepared for it: the Finns.

The current issue of The Economist (August 25, leader) states: “efforts to shore up the euro might be scotched not in Berlin but in another austerity-minded northern capital: Helsinki.”

The Finns have already made contingency plans for the break-up of the euro. On July 6, 2012, the Finnish Finance Minister was quoted in The Daily Telegraph as saying:

“Finland is committed to being a member of the eurozone, and we think that the euro is useful for Finland,” Ms Urpilainen told financial daily Kauppalehti, adding though that “Finland will not hang itself to the euro at any cost and we are prepared for all scenarios”.  She went on: “Collective responsibility for other countries’ debt, economics and risks; this is not what we should be prepared for.”

It is worth keeping in mind that Finland is one of very few EU countries that has managed to maintain its triple-A credit rating; the finance minister therefore speaks with a good deal more authority than most other players in this wretched game: “We are constructive and want to solve the crisis, but not on any terms,” she said [my emphasis].

The Economist goes on to point out that “uniquely, Finland has demanded collateral for its part of Greece’s second bail-out and for the funds it underwrites to support Spain’s crippled banks. If a grand bargain on the mutualisation of debts is ultimately required to keep the euro together, the Finns could block it. A few observers even think a “Fixit” (a Finnish exit from the euro) is more likely than a Grexit.”

This is quite a turn around. It should be remembered that in the 1990s the Finns pulled out of a banking crisis entirely on their own, demanding no assistance from anyone: no wonder they are hostile to bail-outs!

The Economist says that the longer Chancellor Merkel prevaricates, hoping to come up with some grand unifying scheme, the more the cost of bail-outs will increase; but surely the real point is that while prevarication has prevailed, the money itself has run out.

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

Savings from 1912 to 2012

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Bank Notes or Gold Coins?

A little morality tale from France about fiat money versus true value

By Bé Habba

This article is translated from the French original by Bé Habba who is a contributor to the French site Forum-Gold.fr

On June 24, 1912, a good-natured workman named Anatole puts aside the sum of 100 Francs, for his descendants. He is paid 5 Francs per day for 10 hours work, as typesetter at a printing works. It is a good wage, as many people earn less: a carpenter or a labourer earns 3 Francs per day, a dressmaker earns 2 Francs and a farmhand earns 1.5 Francs.

One kg of bread is worth 0.40 Francs. His 100 Francs thus amount to 20 days’ wages or 250kg of bread. Putting aside one day’s pay per month, he had to save-up for over a year and a half (20 months) to amass his 100 Francs.

To save it, he has three options:

bank notes, for example 2 “pink and blue” 50 Franc bank notes

silver coins, for example 20 “Ecu” 5 Franc coins, that is to say 500g of silver with a purity of 900/1,000.

gold coins, for example 5 “Napoleon” 20 Franc coins, that is to say 32.25g of gold with a purity of 900/1,000.

As a typesetter, he is fascinated by the latest 100 Franc note issued by the Banque de France, designed by Luc-Olivier Merson. It is the very first polychrome bank note to be put into circulation. Compared to the old monochrome bank notes in black, blue, purple or the blue and pink bicolour notes, what an innovation! He therefore definitely decides to opt for modernity and places this brand-new bank note under his bed-sheets.

During the inter-war period, the “Merson” 100 Franc bank note remains under the sheets, but it loses value as inflation is significant. To catch up with inflation, Poincaré suddenly devalues the Franc under the law of June 25, 1928, which reduces its value, measured in gold, five-fold: the Franc is now worth 65.5 mg of gold with a purity of 900/1000.

The previous value of the Franc, known as the ‘Germinal’ Franc, had been defined by the 1795 Convention and then by the law of 7 Germinal year XI (March 27, 1803). The Germinal Franc was worth 5g with a purity of silver of nine tenths or 322.58mg with nine tenths gold (that is to say a gold/silver ratio of 15.5). This is why the 20 Franc gold coin weighed 0.32258 x 20 = 6.4516g from the revolution up to the 1928 devaluation.

Thus in 1928, silver and gold coins, whose values as noble metals became five times greater than their face value, are demonetized and withdrawn from circulation (or hoarded). But bank notes remain valid, and Anatole leaves his 100 Franc “Merson” under his bed-sheets.

 In October 1936, the Franc is further devalued and it is decided that henceforth it can fluctuate between 43mg and 49mg of gold with a purity of 900/1,000. Then in early 1939, following a new devaluation, the value in gold is set at 27.5mg with a purity of 900/1,000.

During the phoney war, the fall continues, and in February 1940 the Franc is only worth 23.34mg of gold with a purity of 900/1,000 (that is to say 21mg of fine gold).

During the liberation, the situation becomes somewhat chaotic. Pre-war bank notes, notes issued by the French State and notes issued by the Americans are used concurrently. On June 4, 1945, all notes of a value equal to or higher than 50 Francs are withdrawn from circulation. This massive exchange for reserve denominations of 300 and 5000 Francs, was carried out in 12 days throughout the whole of France. Later, when the new “Jeune paysan” 100 Franc bank notes were printed, the son of Anatole obtained one which he once again placed under the bed-sheets.

Post-war, inflation starts-up again, and the purchasing power of the 100 Franc bank note crashes. Two new devaluations took place in 1945 and 1949.

Returned to power in 1958, General de Gaulle announces the creation of a “re-valued Franc” which he entrusts to his Minister of Finance, Antoine Pinay and the economist Jacques Rueff. On December 27, 1958, an order establishes the “new Franc” equivalent to 100 old Francs. As the old Franc was worth 1.8mg of fine gold at that time (33 times less than the Poincaré Franc of 1928, and 12 times less than in 1940), the new Franc is thus worth 180mg of fine gold.

The old coins and bank notes remain valid for some time but the amounts written on them are henceforth worth cents rather than Francs. Anatole’s grandson thus exchanges the “Jeune Paysan” bank note of 100 old Francs which his father bequeathed him, for a brand-new “Semeuse” 1 Franc coin made of nickel. He finds the new coin to be very pretty and shiny. He places it under the bed-sheets.

The value of the new Franc is slightly devalued in 1969 and is worth 160mg of gold. Later the gold standard is abandoned and even prohibited under the Kingston Agreement of 1976.

During the period from the 1970s to 1990s, inflation is still occurring and several additional devaluations take place. In the year 2000, the “Semeuse” 1 Franc coin is still legal tender.

Finally, after 17 devaluations of the Franc during the 20th century, we reach the major revolution with the switch to the Euro: the coins and bank notes are put into circulation on January 1, 2002. The French have 6 months to exchange their Francs at any bank, and a further 3 years for coins and 10 years for bank notes issued by the Banque de France.

In January 2002, Anatole’s great-grandson removes the “Semeuse” 1 Franc coin from under the bed-sheets and exchanges it for Euros: one 10 cent coin, and one 5 cent coin. He again places the 2 coins under the bed-sheets.

And then, on June 24, 2012, Anatole’s great-grandson, who is now 60 years old, feels that the anniversary is an appropriate time and says to his son:

“Pierre, I must tell you something.  Exactly one century ago, your great-great-grandfather Anatole put 100 Francs aside. At the time, that was a significant sum. Each of his descendants carefully preserved this sum and it was handed-down from generation to generation, in the form of bank notes and then coins, through two world wars and several changes of currency. Today, I solemnly give to you the equivalent of the original 100 Francs: 15 Euro cents. It is up to you to preserve them and to pass them on to your eldest, to continue the family tradition.”

“But Dad, what do you want me to do with 15 cents? I can’t even buy a quarter of a loaf of bread! With that, I can barely get 40g of bread!”

EPILOGUE

Today in 2012, Pierre, a workman on the minimum-wage, earns 50 Euros per day for 7 hours work. He earns 1100 Euros per month for 22 days work.

One kg of bread costs 4 Euros, and to buy 250kg one would need 1,000 Euros. By putting aside 1 day’s wages per month, like his great-great-grandfather Anatole, he will need to save-up for 20 months.

However, if his ancestor had saved his 100 Francs in 20 “Ecu” 5 Franc silver coins, he would have approximately 340 Euros, instead of 15 cents. With that, he could buy 85 kg of bread.

But if his ancestor had saved his 100 Francs in 5 “Napoleon” 20 Franc gold  coins he would have approximately 1,300 Euros! That amounts to 26 day’s wages, and over 2 years of savings (26 months). With this, he could buy 325kg of bread…

LIPASTOCK, An Investment in the Future

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Here at Goldcoin.org we’d like to share a story of hope and determination that has led to the International Music Festival, LIPASTOCK.

TRACT

LIPA is the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts founded by Sir Paul McCartney & Mark Featherstone-Witty (the current CEO and Principal) in 1996. LIPA is housed in Paul McCartney’s old school which underwent a multi-million pound renovation to transform it into a state-of-the-art performing arts higher education facility.

LIPA provides education and training for the main skills needed for putting on a show (performers and those who makes performance possible), uniquely blending specialist and generic skills.

This Academy of excellence is dedicated to all aspects of the Performing Arts.

LIPA offers degree courses in Acting, Community Drama, Dance, Music Theatre and Entertainment Management, Music, Sound Technology, Theatre and Performance Design and Theatre and Performance Technology. We also run full-time one year Foundation Certificates  in Performing Arts (Acting); Performing Arts (Dance); Performing Arts (Singing); and Popular Music and Sound Technology.

The courses are structured to perfect their talents and prepare them for a career in the Entertainment Business. Most recent figures have shown that over the most recent four year period, 96% of LIPA’s graduates are in work three years after leaving.

LIPASTOCK – the Idea

Two of the students, Pat O’Shaugnessy and Max McGowan hatched a plan to organise a Festival at the end of the academic year to bring together the collective talents of their peers and stage a Woodstock style festival. Eagerly encouraged by Max’s Dad who happened to be visiting they decided it would also be a good idea to stage this in the warmth of the South of France, where Max lives.

The idea quickly crystalised around the date of the 21st June as this is the “Fête de la Musique” in France which is a National celebration of music, all day and all night.

ALEXCAPTUREVIDEO

CLICK IMAGE FOR A VIDEO INTRO TO LIPASTOCK

Although the idea was as recent as November 2011 the two lads adopted  this as their course project and have managed to set the whole thing up for Saturday 23rd June 2012.

Their idea was also to create a cultural exchange with the many nationalities of LIPA students and the local population in France.

They also wanted to include some bands from the local scene as this had helped Max earn his place at LIPA and because many of them have been to visit LIPA & bonded with the students.

Of course to put on a Festival like this requires lots of planning and funding.

Find a sponsor!

Sponsorship is hard to find in these times of economic crisis and so the lads real stroke of luck was the sponsorship they secured from our good friends at LinGOLD.com, AuCOFFRE.com and VeraValor.com.

“Their support has been invaluable”  said Pat, “ and without it we wouldn’t be able to put the Festival on”.

Max added, “the cool thing about it is they’re really big fans of what we do and they wanted to help us because we share the same philosophy of true values”.  “These French and Swiss based companies have really given us the chance to stage the first LIPASTOCK and realise our dream. UK sponsorship has been much more difficult to find and although we tried many well-known names like Virgin, who share a similar philosophy, we didn’t even get a reply to our dossier requesting help.

LIPA have also contributed and the Principal, Mark Featherstone-Witty and his staff have been immensely supportive of this project.

The Event

This will be staged in the considerable grounds of a Youth and Cultural centre in St Ferréol, Bon Encontre (47240) which is near Agen in the Lot-et-Garonne, South West France.

The many talents on stage will include groups like Gaby & the Gents, Highfields, Manukah, Wonderlust, JazzHands, acoustic surprises and local bands. You may check out the talent by visiting their facebook page which has videos and links to their music – http://www.facebook.com/Lipastock.

Here are a few tasters to get you in the mood and hope to see you there.

Gaby & the Gents

Max McGowan

Graham McKee

This not-for-profit event has been carefully planned and supported also by the local French community who have rallied to the call and will provide transport and accommodation for all the students.

The French organisers have formed the LIPASTOCK Association which gives them a legal structure to apply for authorisations, licences and insurance.

The French are passionate about live music and this event should be an absolute hit with the local community as it also forms part of their “Fête de la Musique” celebrations.

If you require any further info do not hesitate to contact them by facebook or leave us a message and we will forward it on.

In the meantime we wish them every success and thank them for their time in providing all this information.

It is so refreshing to have the opportunity to report on positive aspects of humanity and to help promote this wonderful event aimed at all the family and Music lovers everywhere.

Vive la Musique as they say in France and enjoy.

FRANCAIS ESPANOL ITALIANO CHINESE

Search

Error: Feed has an error or is not valid


Thoughts
"For a mountaineer, the important things are the effort, the posture and the muscles. The rope that holds him serves no purpose when everything works but it gives him a sense of security. In the same way, all gold does is ensure confidence; it's a safe haven."