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Category Archives: Monetary policy

Debt-Based Monetary System Demands Ever More Debt—Part II—Ponzi Schemes?


Ponzi1

Is our Debt-Based Monetary System a Ponzi Scheme?  [Courtesy Google Images]

Recently, in Part I of this series, I promised that in Part II, I’d explain “why” the survival of our debt-based monetary system (DBMS) depends on the creation of ever more debt. I argued that our massive National Debt is not an accident or evidence of political malfeasance, but rather an intentional and necessary consequence of accepting our debt-based monetary system (DBMS). I argued that our DBMS can’t survive without going ever deeper into debt.

I compared “payments” (which are tangible, real assets like gold or silver coins) to “promises to pay” (which are intangible, paper debt-instruments like paper dollars). I warned that, given the choice between receiving a tangible “payment” and an intangible “promise to pay,” only a fool would take the paper “promises to pay”.

I illustrated my argument about “promises to pay” by reminding readers of how many times they had made or received promises that had failed. My point was that promises are easily made and routinely broken.

So, I suppose it should come as no surprise that my promise to use this week’s article to explain the “why” behind the debt-based monetary scheme will also be broken. I began to write this second article with some background on “Ponzi Schemes” (which is how I and others frequently describe our DBMS).  But, when I looked into “Ponzi Schemes,” I discovered that maybe that’s not the most accurate way to describe our DBMS. I also realized that maybe I should try to discern and describe the nature of our DBMS before I got into the “why”.

Result? Here, in Part II of this series of articles we’re going to explore whether our DBMS is really a “Ponzi Scheme” or if it’s something else. Then, in Part III (coming soon) I’ll present my notions concerning the fundamental “why”.

I promise.

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Silver’s Future


CrystalBall1NEWSMAX reports that in A.D. 2012, America’s largest investment bank (JPMorgan Chase & Co.) held 5 million ounces of silver. Today, JPM holds a staggering 91.5 million ounces of silver! In just 5 years, JPM increased their stockpile 1700%.

In the first three months of A.D. 2017, JPM reportedly purchased 9.4 million ounces of silver. That’s an average purchase of over 3 million ounces per month. JPM clearly believes that silver’s price will rise.

Since A.D. 2000, silver has enjoyed an average annual growth of 10%. Plus, we know that silver can go to $48 per ounce, as it did in 1980 and 2011.”

More, since 2000, silver supplies have been in a deficit every single year. That means the supply of silver has not kept up with the growing demand for over 17 years and is unlikely to do so in the foreseeable future. Diminished supplies coupled with growing demand means higher prices.

Financial expert John Rubino believes that silver could exceed $100 per ounce. According to Rubino, the silver market is so small that if even a relatively modest amount of currency (“a few tens of billions of dollars”) flows into the silver market, the price of silver could start jumping by “$5 or $10 per ounce per day”.

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Teeter-Totter Relationship Between U.S.$ and Foreign Currencies


USDX [courtesy Google Images]

USDX
[courtesy Google Images]

The “Group of 20” (G20) includes the world’s 20 biggest industrial and emerging economies. G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs met in China on Saturday and Sunday (July 23-24, A.D. 2016).

According to the AFP (“US Warns Against Devaluation Ahead of G20 Finance Meeting”), on the Thursday before this G20 meeting:

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US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said that top economies should refrain from competitive currency devaluations–a message likely directed at China.

According to Secretary Lew, “The global outlook . . . underscores our focus on the commitment made at the last G20 in Shanghai to consult closely with one another on [currency] exchange rate policy, and to refrain from competitive devaluation.”

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First, the term “competitive currency devaluations” is misleading insofar as “competitive” signals something civil like a genteel, after-dinner game of Whist in the parlor. In fact, these “competitive currency devaluations” are almost as potentially serious and lethal as nuclear war.

(More, it’s conceivable that China’s “competitive currency devaluations” just might be enough to trigger naval conflict between China and the U.S. or even Japan in the South China Sea.)

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“Helicopter Money”


Helicopter Money [courtesy Google Images]

Helicopter Money
[courtesy Google Images]

Control of the economy is based on two sets of powers:

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1) The Federal Reserve wields the monetary powers which include control over interest rate and over the supply of currency.

2) The U.S. government wields the fiscal powers which include raising or lowering taxes, raising or lowering borrowing, and increasing or decreasing government spending on benefits, subsidies and wars.

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For the past year, we’ve heard the Federal Reserve say repeatedly that:

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1) The Federal Reserve has exhausted its monetary powers and is no longer capable of using previous, “conventional” monetary strategies like QE (Quantitative Easing; printing and injecting more currency into the economy) and ZIRP (near-Zero Interest Rate Policy) to stimulate the economy back to a “recovery”.

I believe the Federal Reserve’s claims that it’s currently helpless to do much more to “stimulate” the economy with monetary policy are true.

If the Fed’s not fibbing, then only the U.S. government remains to engineer an economic “recovery” by means of its fiscal policy. However,

2) The U.S. government is unwilling or unable use its fiscal powers to raise taxes and/or borrow more currency to provide enough additional “stimulation” to cause an economic recovery.

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Cashless Society?


[courtesy Google Images]

[courtesy Google Images]

Visual Capitalist created a graphic (below) entitled “The Shift to a Cashless Society is Snowballing”.  That graphic is interesting and informative. However, while there’s no doubt that there’s a trend toward a “cashless society” in the western world, I read that graphic as evidence that a truly “cashless society” won’t occur in the United States for a number of years.  The world is changing so rapidly that almost anything is possible.  Still, I’d be astonished if they could install a cashless society in less than three years.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it took more than ten.

Why?

If you take a close look at the upper left-hand corner of the graphic, you’ll see that the U.S. (actually, “North America”) is the world’s most “cashless” society.  A majority (about 52%) of North American monetary transactions already take place by means of some media other than cash.  That would certainly include credit and debit cards and probably includes checks and money orders.

For the rest of the world, the majority (even the vast majority) of monetary transactions take place by means of cash.

Even for the U.S., 48% of all of our transactions still take place with cash.

48%.

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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Banking, Monetary policy, Money

 

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“Worth A Shot” Economics


Janet Yellen: the Fed's "It's Worth A Shot" Gunslinger [courtesy Google Images]

Janet Yellen: the Fed’s “It’s Worth A Shot” Gunslinger
[courtesy Google Images]

Casey Research recently published an article entitled “Let’s Try Giving out Free Cash”. Well, that certainly sounds like an idea that could catch on with the general public. But what’s it all about?

It’s about government trying to stimulate the economy by handing out free “helicopter money” directly to all the people rather than to the “too big to fail banks”.

Casey Research explained:

 

“Economist Milton Friedman coined the term “helicopter money” in the 1960s. He said that in the event of an economic contraction, the government could drop free cash from helicopters to stimulate the economy. People would spend the free money, causing the economy to grow. Friedman likely never took the cartoonish idea seriously. However, last week, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said helicopter money could be worth a shot.”

Gee, there’s a slogan sure to inspire public confidence: “Helicopter money—it’s ‘worth a shot!”

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