Back in the 1990s I published a magazine called the “AntiShyster” that catered to people interested in legal reform and “patriot” issues. As a result of that publication, for over a decade, I had an opportunity to observe almost every fundamental concept and strategy embraced by members of the “patriot” community.
One persistent patriot focus was the monetary system in general and our fiat currency, in particular. After much study (and sometimes much greed) a number of “patriot” gurus concluded that if government could make a fiat currency, then it must be legal for you and I to do the same. Based on this conclusion, some gurus would teach you how to make homemade money orders. Others advocated homemade “comptroller warrants” to pay your bills.
Initially, these homemade monetary instruments were only intended to pay taxes and fines to the government. I didn’t advocate that use, but I didn’t object to it, either.
Inevitably, as these homemade monetary instruments became more popular, advocates started using them to buy a new pickup trucks and bass boats from ordinary Americans. Doing so was fraud and the perpetrators often went to prison. If I’d been on the jury, I would’ve sentenced those con-artists to prison, too.
Whether the “research” behind these proposals was sound or silly, over a period of about three years, I learned one, big, fundamental lesson: You and your friends can conspire to assassinate the President and the government might come after you and it might not (Presidents are disposable; you can screw them in or out of the White House like light bulbs)—but you screw with the fiat money system and the government will jump on you with both feet and you will go to prison.
It may be that some of the less successful gurus who advocated homemade monetary devices didn’t go to prison, but I didn’t hear of any. It might take the government a couple of years to catch up with you, but if you successfully advocated making homemade money orders, etc., you were going to prison for quite a while.
What I learned from seeing the government’s virulent reaction against anyone who advocated making your own monetary devices is that “fiat money” is the financial and political system’s “heart of darkness”. The government would defend the fiat dollar violently and, figuratively speaking, to the death.
• I don’t think that virulent defense of the money system is a recent phenomenon. The Christ spent several years teaching and healing without causing as much concern among the Pharisees or Rome as he caused by chasing the money-changers out of the Temple.
I can’t say that the Christ’s assault on the money-changers was the primary secular reason that he was ultimately crucified. But I can say that the Christ’s assault on the money-changers and later crucifixion are at least coincidentally consistent with the “rule” I discerned in the 1990s: mess with money system and you’re going down.
• Back about A.D. 2001, Bernard von NotHaus invited me to participate in the promotion of a new constitutional money system based on silver “medallions” (not “coins”) that could be used as money. His proposed monetary system didn’t involve “homemade comptroller warrants” etc.. He proposed that people in the patriot community start doing business and paying their bills with the silver “medallions” that he was minting.
It was a nice idea. Von NotHaus seemed like a nice man. So far as I could see, his proposed monetary system was legal, constitutional and devoid of fraudulent intent.
I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
As I said, I’d learned in the early 1990s that if you mess with the fiat monetary system, you’d best plan on going to prison. Von NotHaus was messing with the monetary system. Not wanting to go to prison, I thanked von NotHaus for his invitation and got as far away from him as I could. I knew he was headed for prison.
I expected government to scoop him up within a few months. I was much surprised that the government didn’t raid von NotHaus until A.D. 2007—when about a dozen federal agents seized nearly two tons of “medallions” that featured the image of Texas congressman Ron Paul. They also took about 500 pounds of silver and 40 to 50 ounces of gold.
Von NotHaus wasn’t arrested until A.D. 2009. The fact that it took the government most of a decade to arrest von NotHaus is probably testimony to the legality of his “Liberty Dollar” program. If he’d actually been doing something illegal, they would’ve arrested him much sooner.
But, the fact remained that von NotHaus was screwing with the fiat monetary system, so, under the fundamental rule of modern American government, he had to go to prison.
In A.D. 2011, he was convicted on several charges including counterfeiting and “domestic terrorism”. (He was no more of a “domestic terrorist” than Captain Kangeroo. But, as I said, government was virulent in their defense of the fiat dollar.)
After appeals, he was sentenced in A.D. 2014 to six months house arrest and three years’ probation. I’m still amazed that his sentence was so lenient. Six months host arrest? I wouldn’t have been surprised if the government had sent him up for 20 years. Even though his actual sentence was almost trivial, von NotHaus will have spent a decade of his life fighting the government for the “crime” of minting silver “medallions” that could be used as money. That’s a price few of us can afford to pay.
Despite von NotHaus’ short sentence, the fundamental rule of American politics (mess with the fiat monetary system and go to prison) seemed to remain intact. Ok—maybe you wouldn’t necessarily go to prison, but you’d still probably be ruined.
• Then, a little over two weeks ago, the government of The State of Texas passed a law authorizing the establishment of the Texas Gold Bullion Depository and the “repatriation” of $1 billion in Texas gold from the New York Federal Reserve’s vault to the nascent Texas Depository. More, this new Bullion Depository would allow ordinary men and women to deposit gold into their own Depository accounts and use that gold to pay their bills to others who had similar accounts. (see, Texas Gold Bullion Depository Implications)
Holy mackerel! Texas is on the verge or reinstating a constitutional, gold-based monetary system!
I’m shocked (shocked, I tell you!), and I’m amazed and delighted.
I’m also concerned that, under the “fundamental rule” (those who screw with the fiat money system go to prison or the grave), Texas Governor Greg Abbott might get himself shot by a “lone gunman”. Texas is no chump, but it is violating that primary rule. Texas is messing with the fiat monetary system. That shouldn’t be allowed.
I was amazed that Texas would dare to do so.
I’ve also been expecting to see retribution against Governor Abbott or other proponents of the Gold Bullion Depository bill when the “rule” is enforced by the Federal Reserve, the federal government or a lone gunman.
• But. Three days ago–and only two weeks after Texas legalized its Gold Bullion Depository—China announced that the Shanghai Gold Exchange is planning to establish:
“. . . a new physical gold price mechanism by the end of the year that will compete with London and the U.S. Comex. Expected to be denominated in Yuan, this new gold price platform comes less than 10 days after China became the first Asian country invited to be a part of the London gold fix, and unlike the U.S. Comex, will deal in direct physical gold sales rather than in paper futures and derivative contracts.”
“When the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) opened in 2014, it set out to usurp the West’s control over gold and their pricing of gold through the paper markets. And in less than a year, the SGE has created the world’s largest gold fund, and is now ready to take over pricing and price discovery for the monetary metal. In fact, sources claim that right now premiums on large sales of gold bullion are ranging as high as $600 over the current paper spot price.”
If China is going to set the price of physical gold “by the end of the year,” that means that within six months, the London gold fix and Comex will no longer be able to completely manipulate the global price of physical gold with paper-gold debt-instruments. Within six month, the price of physical gold will increase dramatically and the value of the paper dollar will be correspondingly reduced.
Gold in large quantities is already selling at the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) for $600/ounce more than the price of “paper gold” seen on Comex and the London Gold Fix. That’s over 50% higher than the current price of paper gold that we have from the New York and London.
That means that while a ton of paper gold is priced at $1,200 per ounce in the US, a ton of physical gold is already priced in China at $1,800 per ounce. How long before that price for tons applies to price for kilos and then to ounces? How long before that $600/ounce premium moves from China to the US?
If physical gold in China is already priced 50% higher than paper gold in the US, what do you think will happen to the price of physical gold once the SGE’s new “price mechanism” actually goes into effect in the next few months?
I won’t argue that the price of physical gold will double by the end of this year. But it could.
I will argue that the current price of physical gold will quite probably double by the end of June in A.D. 2016.
If China is going to set the price of physical gold, they are letting the genii out of the bottle, the toothpaste out of the tube. The price of gold that’s been suppressed like a beach ball underwater in a pool for the past several years, is about to be released and come shooting up out of the water like an SLBM (Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile)!
If you have any plans to buy your spouse a gold watch or gold necklace for Christmas, you’d better buy it now because you might not be able to afford it by the first of next December.
The prospect of seeing the price of physical gold determined by a free market in China rather than a manipulated “paper-gold” market in New York is exciting. Inspirational.
Still, despite my glee about gold, I’m beginning to wonder if the primary rule (“protect the fiat dollar at any cost”) is still in effect. Texas is about to set up a Gold Bullion Depository. China is about to establish a market price for physical gold. All that’s great for gold but poses a mortal threat to fiat dollars.
Will the federal government allow Texas and China to threaten the Federal Reserve Note? Or, are we about to see some sort of extraordinary reaction from the feds against Texas and, in the unlikely extreme, war against China.
I’m not predicting that the US will go to war with China to prevent the SGE from setting the price of physical gold so high that the dollar is inflated, devalued and perhaps even hyper-inflated into oblivion. But I am predicting that if the US doesn’t do something dramatic, and soon, to regain control over the price of gold, then over the course of the next twelve months, the purchasing power of the fiat dollar will suffer its biggest loss in your and my lifetimes.
• And then–after the Texas and Chinese announcements–two days ago, Mish Shedlock announced on his Global Economic Analysis website that it would soon be possible to buy, sell and store gold through a product called “BitGold”. Your gold would be stored in a Brink’s facility and could, ultimately, be used to buy and sell with a debit card.
The BitGold product is not for me. According to the Shedlock article, BitGold is only for “US residents” and “residents of US territories”. If you’ve followed my work in the past, you probably know that I’m extremely wary of the terms “US,” “resident” and “territory” and will not voluntarily associate myself with those labels.
Therefore, as I said, BigGold is not for me.
Nevertheless, BitGold is big. It makes von NotHaus’ attempts to restore constitutional money look trivial. BitGold is allegedly backed by $40 million—$21 million of which came in just the last month or so. This isn’t crowdfunding. This is big money coming in from investors who are at least multi-millionaires and expect BigGold to generate huge profits.
BitGold is more than an intriguing concept. It’s probably the single biggest private threat to the fiat dollar since the Hunt brothers tried to corner the silver market back in A.D. 1979.
BitGold has financial backing. It will almost certainly attract significant public support. In doing so, BitGold will threaten the power and dominance of the fiat currency system.
BitGold won’t destroy the fiat dollar, but it will impair it—and it will open the door to similar products which will also work to impair the fiat dollar.
But what about the primary “rule” that those who mess with the fiat monetary system, go to prison? Has that rule been suspended? Overturned? Abandoned? If not, will BitGold be able to evade that rule?
We’ll see, but I’m skeptical about BigGold’s survivability. I’d bet that there’s a 30% probability that BitGold will be indicted, charged, etc. by the feds.
I doubt that the federal government can stop the Shanghai Gold Exchange from setting the price of physical gold without going to war. I doubt that our government really wants to go to war with China.
Texas isn’t a foreign country, but it’s as close to being one as any other State in the Union. The feds might be able to suppress the Texas Gold Bullion Depository, but it won’t be as easy as charging and convicting von NotHaus. The feds might be able to delay the Texas Bullion Depository, but I doubt that they can stop it.
BitGold is another matter. BitGold is private. There’s no foreign government or state involved to any significant degree. There’s just a handful of rich guys who may have a little more money than they know what to do with and apparently don’t know the “rule” (those who mess with fiat monetary system go to prison).
If the feds are going to enforce the “rule,” BitGold is the most likely target.
If the feds aren’t going to enforce the rule, the fiat dollar is dead.
Regardless of whether BitGold’s principals get fabulously wealthy or sent to the pen, they’re setting an example that will be copied and probably improved on by other groups of entrepreneurs who have $100 million or even $500 million to invest. (Maybe they’ll even let members of the “people of The United States of America” participate—not just “US residents”.)
My point is that BitGold is only another leaf in the breeze that—win, lose or draw—is pointing towards the restoration of physical gold as money within the United States. Physical gold may not soon become “the money” in the sense of being “the only money” in the US. But it seems certain that physical gold is about to be recognized as “a money”—in the sense of being a legal, viable, recognized alternative to fiat dollars.
All of which bodes ill for the fiat dollar.
• In less than a month, I’ve seen Texas announce plans to build a Texas Gold Bullion Depository, China announce that it would soon be setting the price of physical gold, and BitGold announce plans to set up a system for buying, selling, storing physical gold and, ultimately, for paying your debts with physical gold.
If I saw just one of those events take place in a year, I’d say gold was making great progress. Seeing all three of those announcements in less than a month is too fast for me to comprehend or for government to resist.
Whether there’ll be any attempt to enforce the “rule” is debatable. The feds might give it one last try, but I suspect that everyone involved knows that the fiat dollar game is just about over.
I’m hearing the “clickety-click” of dominoes that aren’t just falling, but racing faster and faster.
It’s not just the number of events impacting gold that are impressive. It’s the velocity at which those events they are occurring. Something has broken. Something fundamental has changed. The Fed/fed “system” is losing control of the price of physical gold. Gold is breaking free.
I think the next six to twelve months will constitute the ride of our lives. That ride will be exciting but it won’t necessarily be fun. It could be scary.
I think gold is a metal whose time has finally come.