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  • ‘Apocalypse’ Krugman Ignores History, Keynes And Lenin’s Warnings

    Paul Krugman’s latest missive in The New York Times again attacks those who warn about the risks of a new debt crisis and the ramifications of radical, ultra loose monetary policies.

     



    Krugman says that the recent concern about “debts and deficits” was a “false alarm.” He attempts to paint those who were concerned about the debt crisis as scare mongers. He sarcastically says that “the debt apocalypse has been called off.”

    This is a meme that Krugman uses frequently as seen in headlines like ‘Addicted to the Apocalypse’, and ‘Apocalypse Fairly Soon.’ He uses this meme to try to link those concerned about the debt crisis and the current monetary response to it as alarmist doom and gloom merchants and irrational people who believe the “end of the world” is nigh.


    It is a way to attack the straw man rather than sticking to the facts and having a more reasoned debate.


    It is ironic as Krugman himself became quite apocalyptic in his warnings during the Eurozone debt crisis. He warned that “things are falling apart in Europe,” of a “gigantic bank run” and of an “emergency bank closing.”

    Not only did he warn of a massive bank run and emergency bank holidays but he warned of the euro breaking up and Italy returning to the Italian lira and even warned of France returning to the French franc.

    Krugman was wrong then, as indeed were many of the people he criticises. However, the crisis is far from over and reared its head in Portugal in recent days and there is a long way to go before this crisis reaches its conclusion.


    He has also been quite apocalyptic himself regarding global warming. He has warned that “utter catastrophe” looks “like a realistic possibility,” and that the “rise in global temperatures that will be little short of apocalyptic.”

    When it comes to the apocalypse, Krugman likes to have his apocalyptic cake and eat it too.

    Krugman continues to advocate printing currency as one panacea to our economic ills. There is much groupthink on this topic amongst western central banks and policy makers and many share Krugman’s views.

     


    Krugman is right that so far the record debt levels in the U.S. and throughout much of the western world and the currency printing response have not led to inflation or stagflation.

    However, it is very premature to completely discount the risk. History clearly shows printing money on the scale that we have witnessed in recent years ultimately leads to inflation, and sometimes hyperinflation.

    Lenin rightly warned that the "best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debase the currency.” History confirms this.

    Krugman has great respect for Keynes and yet Keynes shared Lenin's concerns. "Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency" warned Keynes.

    In a time of cosy Keynesian consensus, plurality of opinion is important and it is worth remembering this important warning from the past.

    Krugman, has been one of the most vocal gold bears in recent years and his opinion on gold has lacked nuance and ignored the academic and historical record.

    As ever, a historical perspective and a long term perspective is important. Krugman has neither and completely ignores history for the sake of his loose money, inflatonist ideology.

    It remains prudent to have an allocation to physical gold in allocated and most importantly segregated storage in the safest jurisdictions in the world. If you cannot have your individual coins and bars delivered to you in a few days you do not own bullion in the safest manner possible.

    Singapore is becoming an emerging precious metals hub and a key player in the global bullion market. Against the very uncertain global macroeconomic and geopolitical backdrop, prudent private individuals and institutions are moving their physical bullion to one of the safest jurisdictions in the world. 

    Read the Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Singapore here








  • Legal Tender Renders Planning Impossible

    by Keith Weiner

     

    There is much confusion over what the legal tender law does. I have read articles, written by people who are otherwise knowledgeable about economics, claiming that legal tender forces merchants to accept dollars under threat of imprisonment. Recently, I wrote a short article for Forbes clarifying how legal tender law works in the US.

    Legal tender law has nothing to do with merchants. If you want to sell steak dinners in your restaurant for silver, you may legally have at it. Unfortunately, the tax code discourages your would-be customers as I wrote in another article.

    The legal tender law targets the lender. It grants to debtors a right to repay a debt in dollars. In practice, this means that if you lend gold, the debtor gets a free put option at your expense. If the gold price rises, he can repay in dollars. If it falls, of course he will be happy to repay in gold. It’s a rotten deal for the lender.

    The relationship between lender and borrower is mutually beneficial, or else it would not exist. The parties are exchanging wealth and income, creating new wealth and new income in the process. The government is displeased by this happy marriage, and busts it up by sticking a gun in the lender’s face. His right to expect his partner to honor a signed agreement is violated.

    Because no lender will lend gold under such circumstances, gold is relegated to hoarding and speculation only. This strikes a blow to savers, because the best way to save is to lend and earn interest. Savers are forced to choose between hoarding gold, getting no yield, or holding dollars and getting whatever yield crumbs are dropped by the Fed.

    If there’s no lending in gold, what takes its place? The Fed force-feeds credit in ever-larger amounts, and at ever-falling interest rates.

    The Fed is supposed to make its credit decisions in order to optimize two variables. First, employment shouldn’t be too high or too low. Second, consumer prices shouldn’t rise too quickly or too slowly. The Fed has little ability to predict employment and prices, and even less control over them.

    Most Fed critics focus on the quantity of money. Is there too much, or too little? Is the rate of increase too fast or too slow? Is monetary policy too tight or too loose? Lost in this noise is any discussion of who the lender is.

    If you buy Treasury bonds, then you know you are lending to the government. You are enabling welfare spending, and a few cases of lending to such worthy activities as housing speculation.

    What if you don’t? Well if you deposit dollars in a bank, you are funding the bank’s purchase of Treasury and other bonds. You know, or reasonably ought to know, that this money is being lent.

    But suppose you don’t even do that. Suppose you keep a wad of dollar bills under the mattress. You are still lending. The dollar is the Fed’s credit paper. You are financing the Fed’s activities, which consist of buying Treasury bonds and various other bonds.

    You’re the patsy. You are the lender.

    Anybody who wants to earn dollars is bringing demand for dollars to the market—in other words, making a bid on dollars. With what do they bid? They bid with their labor, with tangible goods, and with land. All assets today are bidding on the dollar, though most people look at it inside out. They think that all assets are offered for sale at the right price.

    In any case, this universal bid on the dollar provides credit to the Fed. By placing wealth in the Fed’s hands, everyone gives it their savings to lend out.

    Forget about what this does to consumer prices. There are much more serious implications. In place of the delicate, mutually beneficial relationships involved in lending, the Fed sucks the savings from the people, and pumps it out at high pressure. The Fed’s indiscriminate deluge of credit is not a substitute for individual thinking, planning, acting, and lending.

    The consequence is incalculable destruction.

    The legal tender law does not attack the ability to do a trade here and now, “cash on the barrel head.” It attacks something subtler but just as important. It destroys your ability to plan long range, to prepare for the passage of time. Time is a universal in the human experience. We all work during our adulthood with urgency, because some day we will grow old and be unable to work. To plan for that day, we save while we work and lend our savings to earn interest.

    The motivation to borrow also comes from planning for the passage of time. The entrepreneur wants to start or grow a business now, while he has the opportunity, and energy. That’s why he is willing to pay interest out of part of his profits.

    In a loan, the borrower gets money immediately, but the lender gets paid later. Time is an integral part of the deal, as one party prefers to be paid later.

    In the free market, nothing comes between the saver and the entrepreneur. In central banking, by contrast, the legal tender law attacks the very heart of the free market, like an insidious poison. It disenfranchises the saver, enabling the Fed to plunder his nest egg and undermine his retirement plans.

    At the same time, the Fed abuses the hapless entrepreneur too. It lures him to borrow with the promise of low rates, and then like Lucy pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown, cuts the interest rate again. This drives down his profit margin and plunders his capital.

    Legal tender law takes away your ability to plan for the future. It replaces a hundred million individual decisions whether or not to have tea, with a giant high-pressure fire hose that blasts hot wastewater indiscriminately. No matter whether they open the spigot further, or close it slightly, the scalding deluge of Fed credit is not in any way equivalent to the individual planning, saving, and borrowing that would go on if we had a free market.








  • It's Time For The BRICS To Act To Counter US Destabilization Efforts

    Submitted by Ben Tanosborn of Tanosborn.com,

    It had to happen!  The blame game on that horrendous airline incident, Malaysian Flight MH17, has reached the expected loud monotone of pointing fault, lock, stock and barrel at Russia… and, more specifically, to that villain ex-KGB Slav, Vladimir Putin.
     
    US media barrage of grotesque and obscene propaganda against America’s former foe and competitor, whether filtering down from the top or randomly finding placement in the emotions of a brainwashed citizenry, has found a leader of this warring marching band in Barack Obama.  The neocon ruling forces in the US State Department together with the bellicosarians running the Pentagon have found a perfect mouthpiece in the president of the US, an unlikely candidate just a few years ago, to do their bidding in Leo Strauss’ messianic vision to rule the World.
     
    America’s few leadership voices of dissent and reasonableness against such ill-conceived propaganda, those of Libertarian Ron Paul and Professor Stephen Cohen (NY University) uniquely standing out, are drowned in a sea of US-poisoned waters where an armada of sanctions is unjustly landing on a nation, Russia, which dares stand for a right to secure its own historic geopolitical status… doing so without expressed or implied ambitions to extend its power and influence over others in the world… as the US does.
     
    If blame is to be directed at any nation for the downing of this aircraft, the investigation needs to be pointed at what has transpired during this past year in Ukraine.  It was not Russia, or separatists in Eastern Ukraine, that created Ukraine’s political chaos.  It was the United States using its money and influence over a subservient European Union that brought down the democratically elected government in Kiev and stirred the ultimate separatist unrest.  So, if anyone is deserving of the ultimate, root-cause blame for this sordid loss of life, it should be the United States Machiavellian players now running Washington.  However, we might honor the memory of these innocent victims of flight MH17 by reaching a modus operandi consensus so that incidents such as this do not occur again.
     
    But how is the world to counter the power of any nation, or block of nations, running amok to establish some form of supremacy over the rest?
     
    We are just a year short of seven decades having a world body as a go-to place where the world problems can be voiced, discussed and hopefully resolved.  But as its ill-fated predecessor, the League of Nations, the United Nations was the creation of victorious nations after a world war… and those major victorious nations, singly or in commonality of interests with allies and partners, always appear to maintain their veto-of-interest over what might be right or fair, regardless of voted-on resolutions, or findings.
     
    Although in some areas the UN has provided mankind a measure of solace and benefit, in key areas of peace, human rights and universal justice, it has not netted the minimum passing grade, thus indicating to the world that its charter needs to either be revised (rewritten); or that the world at large must direct their hopes and expectations in other directions where arbitration and eventual resolution of problems rule the day.
     
    When one sees in the news UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon standing side by side with US Secretary of State John Kerry, in an alliance unlikely to stop Netanyahu’s blood-letting in Gaza, we correctly assume it to be what it really is: another diplomatic ploy.  Ultimately placing the blame on Hamas for not agreeing to the peace-plan-du-jour offered by Egypt, and consented to by the Arab League, will not resolve the endless conflict in which Palestine has been mired since the creation of modern Israel in 1947.  All players involved in finding a solution for a peaceful Palestine have failed repeatedly, possibly – some would say precisely – because of the US prejudicial involvement in the entire affair, and the definitive Zionist control over American foreign policy.
     
    If the UN is incapable to change or influence the hegemonic geopolitical behavior of the United States... where else can the world look to find resolution to conflicts such as we have in Gaza and Ukraine today?
     
    Enter the BRICS group of nations; escorted by other smaller nations that prefer dignified independence to protection from a bully they mistrust.  Can this group bring a friendlier, more humane atmosphere where peace and international brotherhood prevail?  It’s certainly worth a try: a way for 80 percent of the world’s population to find their rightful place; and for the presently ruling 20 percent to become more humanized.
     
    Will the BRICS nations take up the challenge?








  • You Know It's Bad When...

    ...Darth Vader is more popular than all the 2016 Presidential candidates...

     


    Source: The Washington Post








  • China Manufacturing PMI Explodes To 18-Month High, Employment Drops 9th Straight Month

    Having shown 11 awkward-to-explain charts of the Chinese economy, exposed the liquidity crisis that still lingers just under the surface, and exposed the "discrepancies that abound" in China's data, it was only right and proper in this new topsy-turvy normal that HSBC China Manufacturing PMI - after 8 months of missed expectations (but a very recent surge to the highest levels in 2014) - should smash expectations and surge to 52.0, its highest sicne Jan 2012 (and 2nd highest since the recovery began).

     

    Despite this exuberant data...

    Employment fell for the 9th straight month.

     

    As an aside, this is the first time in 16 months that HSBC/Markit's PMI has topped the Government's official print (payback for a good IPO?) but we note below what has happened each time in the past that this has happened...

     

    With Q2's massive 4x GDP growth surge in total social financing, and the huge 16.4% surge in local government spending in Q2 (6.1% in June alone) compared to a 4% decline in tax revenues; it appears the dragging forward of everything to ensure centrally-planned focused stimulus had the desired outcome has extended (for now) into July's preliminary data.

    And just in case anyone gets too excited about what PMI means, here is what BofA research found: "In our view, these data get way too much air time. They give a timely, rough read on the economy, but should get little weight once hard data are released."

    *  *  *

    As we concluded previously, what is clear is that, taking the numbers at face value, debt levels are still rising with destructive rapidity in order to achieve even such spotty results as these.

     
     

    Coming from the broadest perspective, Nominal GDP in the June quarter was an annualized CNY4.7 trillion greater than that of a year a year ago, but in that like period the stock of ‘total social financing' outstanding mounted almost four times as much, or by CNY17.7 trillion.

     

    Chart: Bloomberg








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