The Tyranny of Ideology

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Ever since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the events in Belgium, Syria, Greece, and Ukraine, I’ve been reflecting on ideologies.

There are many ideologies, from religious, to economic and those drive political ideologies, but also national ideologies. These ideologies have many positive outcomes, however, they all suffer from being pickled in aspic (stuck in the past we might prefer to put it.).

So what is an ideology?

Simply put, an ideology, is a set of beliefs, which comprise a whole belief system.

National Socialism (which was espoused by the Nazis of 1930s Germany) was an ideology that blamed others for the state of the nation. However, if one reads Hormegeddon by Bill Bonner, it was mostly because those who pulled the strings, mis-directed the economy, by spending too much on arms and munitions, and finding scapegoats for their shortcomings, first in Poles, and later in the Jews, but which in reality, the policies stole wealth from the individual consumers, and businesses, and directed it to non-productive assets, and products whose sole aim was to be destroyed. Bullets are used once, bombs too, and their cost is borne by the producers of real wealth via taxes. Over the 15 years from 1930 ’til the end of the war, the German real economy shrank by some 40%.

Religions are ideologies too. The problem for the world’s great religions is that they were idealised during man’s early awakening (in a critical thinking sense) and before science made many of those beliefs out-dated, or no longer of any real merit.

Many firm believers of the three major religions still believe that “homosexuality” is a sin, when science long ago (late 1970s – 1983) confirmed that the sexual stamping of the brain occurs initially in the first tri-mester of gestation – when the hormones that engulf the growing foetus, change the structures of the brain to identify with the chromosomes, (XY for boys, XX for girls) and this sexual stamping system can be interfered with by stress in the mother, in which the stress hormones – cortisol, and adrenalin mask the testosterone or oestrogen produced by the mother, and the absorption of these by the infant (See: “Sex and the Brain” by Joe Durden Smith and Diane de-Simone) The sexual stamping process is not a single event though, much as we would like to believe it to be, but a series of events at about 12-13 weeks, 24-26 weeks, and at puberty. The most acute cases mean the recipient of this cocktail of chemicals may seek gender re-assignment later in life, or be gay or lesbian depending on the extent of the interruption. This explains, why the events of the Depression and World War II led to an increased proportion of the population with these “imperfectly sexual stamped” individuals in the fifties, sixties and seventies when they matured.

Some will merely be slightly affected, giving girls a “tomboyish” outlook, while young boys may play with what have traditionally been girl’s toys – such as dolls and the like. Their voices and adam’s apples not fully developing as in a fully masculinised male when puberty strikes.

In other religions, it is forbidden to eat pork. This practice was not an issue in Northern Europe, where for several months of the year, the cold weather meant pork was edible for longer periods and using salt as a preservative, or cooking or smoking, and then further preserved at cooler temperatures, meant this staple food source was a welcome edition to diets during what would normally be a lean period of the year.

In the 6th century Middle-East, where temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees Celcius during the day, pork, without temperature control, would be rancid within a day, and seriously affect people’s health. It therefore made perfect sense in the first to the nineteenth centuries to avoid this potential food source, until refrigeration had been invented.

In a desert climate too, the wearing of sandals, head coverings, and loose clothes made perfect sense as these protected both from the heat of the day, and the cool of the night. For a woman too, it disguised their form, allowing her to travel in perhaps more safety, especially as the nearest law enforcement maybe some miles away in the form of a father or other male protective figure. In more temperate climes, the enforcement of these dress rules is perhaps carrying this ideology too far.

In politics too, ideologies can be taken too far. William Bonner aka Bill Bonner, makes the case very articulately in his book Hormegeddon, that too much of a good thing can be very bad for you. In post WWII Europe, where the death of millions, and the wrecking of Europe’s economy, meant the public yearned for a world fit for returning heroes and heroines.

In America, FDR’s new deal, had introduced new social policies, all paid for by the Federal Reserve’s largesse, which they were able to do, after Roosevelt had issued his now famous Executive Order, which sequestered the nation’s Gold and Silver, which had been revalued upwards by 40%, when the Gold price went up from $25.00 an ounce to $35.00, though also increased the national debt to over 200% of national income.

In the UK, a Labour controlled new government ushered in the National Health Service, a new national education service, and many of the social policies, that are now promising to bring the country to the brink of bankruptcy. As Mrs Thatcher so eloquently put it… “The trouble with socialism is, that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

In Europe, the Treaty of Rome formed the Iron, Coal and Steel Federation where the original six countries – France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Italy became the foundation of what was later to become the European Union (EU), after other evolutions into the EEC (European Economic Community) and the EC (European Community).

The cornerstone of this enlarged area was the European Court which included the Court of Human Rights, and as these rights have extended, those rights have placed increasingly larger financial burdens on distressed European taxpayers.

Reluctance to raise taxes by most politicians due to not wishing to commit political suicide.

Capitalism, too can have its ideological boundaries, when taken to extremes. The market can be brutal and it was because of this that many believed a different model was necessary.

Ideology therefore, places restrictions on change, and growth means change. When you restrict yourself to an ideology, of whatever persuasion, you close your mind to newer more enlightened beliefs.

Pigs, if kept in sanitory conditions are not unclean, and when slaughtered they have been the back-bone of British diets since the middle ages. Killing animals in a humane manner, is how enlightened people should treat their potential food sources, and allowing girls the same educational opportunities as their male counterparts shows that you believe that everyone should be able to reach their potential.

The problem for many ideologies, is they have failed to re-examine their beliefs, and a new enlightenment is long overdue.

Political and religious leaders – are you listening?

W.

Money, Politics and Media

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This piece will be short and to the point, and full of visual elements, in keeping with modern trends.

Our monetary system has by many independent commentators become corrupted, and this has been allowed because of the benefits to the few. It begins with a discussion of Fiat versus, “Real” money. Continues with discussion on the future, and then finally discusses why we got what we got.

Egon von Greyerz, talks about the currency devaluation over the last 100 years versus Gold, and how with charts he suggests that the U.S. is technically bankrupt.

The end result of which will be a collapse of the currency and with it much of Western Banking and finance.

In the second half of this next video, Max Keiser talks to Bitcoin entrepreneur – José Rodriguez, about crypto-currencies, and how both Mexico, and Argentina, have taken to them, to help solve their financial problems, which have beset the two countries, because of corruption, and the dominance of the American Banking System, which has had a detrimental affect on their nation’s finances.

And the British political scene seems to have opened up in this last election pre-season friendly, as some of the political commentators, seem to have tripped up, and lost some of their moral high ground.

Maybe some good will come of all this.

A corrupt Media system, policing a corrupt political process, presiding over a corrupt monetary system, for its own mutual survival.

Who’d have thought it?

W.

Feminism, Chauvinism, Socialism, Capitalism, Consumerism – What “ism” is yours?

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As the New Year began, I’ve been thinking and reflecting on the social events of the Festive Season, and the familial relationships, and economics and that gender thing.

Perhaps I should say at the outset, this might be a rather contentious post amongst a certain readership.

To begin at the beginning, I should say at the outset, I’m heterosexual, male and of a certain age, so perhaps my viewpoint might be coloured by my life experiences, and the length of time, I’ve been studying the opposite sex. My study of Politics, Economics, Finance, Law, and philosophy were left until I was already an adult, and already had almost ten years in management.

It was refreshing to learn as I did though, that the management science I was learning, somewhat supported my managerial style, which was as Ian Macgregor might have put it based on “Theory Y”, with a smattering of Frederick Hertzberg thrown in for good measure. Abraham Maslow made perfect sense, as did Peter Drucker, and even a poor working class schmuck like me, could understand that it made sense for me to treat people how I would like to be treated.

But I digress…

I first became aware of the differences between the sexes, as an eight year old, when out in the school playground, sitting, reclining against the school building after a particularly taxing play-time, I was doing my favourite thing – people watching. A five year old Valerie Bates, sat down besides me, and looking up, declared –

“I’m going to marry you, when I grow up.”

To an eight year old this came as something of a shock. But sadly, my heart was already spoken for… In reality, I was torn between the fragrant Cheryl Lyons, or the curvaceous Janet Gardner.

Cheryl, on occasion, wore ringlets in her hair, and had a cute smile, though Janet had beautiful blue eyes, a wiggle, and a pony tail. I loved the way it swished like a horse’s tail when she walked. Of course, there were other things about her I liked, but no-one ever learned of my love. Well, not until very much later. (Sorry Cheryl/Janet, my secret is out)

My next brush with the gender divide, came at 11, when my next-door neighbour – Elaine also aged 11, asked me bluntly – “Is your mum a lesbian?”.

I blushed, and angrily answered that she wasn’t. In fact at the time, I really didn’t know if she was, or even what “a lesbian” really was… I discovered about a year later, that in fact my mother had been having an on-off relationship with a woman, she had apparently met in the maternity ward, as my sister was born just three days after her daughter, and they lived just two doors away from each other, at the time.

Our two families grew up together, sharing holidays and week-ends away. We kids played in sand-pits on summer beaches, my mother’s lover, had three other children – two boys – one who was exactly one year younger than I (sharing the same birthdate) and the other a little over a year older. All this time, their relationship grew.

We boys spent almost every waking moment in each other’s company, playing football in the streets, days out fishing, biking, climbing trees in local woods, and scrumping in local orchards, while being chased by pigs. Life was a semi-rural idyll.

For a time, when the local coal-mine closed, her family lived with us, as they had to give up their national coal-board owned property, and spent six months sharing our three-bedroomed council home, though what the council (if they knew?) or neighbours made of four adults, and six children sharing a three-bedroomed terraced property, I can only guess.

While growing up, I worked on local farms, picked peas, and beans, spent a summer on a potato-digger, as this modern technological marvel turned over rows, and delivered potatoes, after we picked away the mud and stones, into a trailer being towed alongside. As a teenager, I worked in a nearby manufacturing town, and for six months in a farm vegetable preparation shed, which was staffed largely by Italians. These handsome men and women, with swarthy complexions, ate raw onions like we eat apples.

The men and women chatted in their native tongue, and kept themselves to themselves. I was content to earn enough to live on, and naiive enough to know no better. Ten years in retail, reaching Store Manager, until 61 of the 65 local stores were closed, whizzed through in the blink of an eye, and what lay beyond this small corner of England’s green and pleasant land, I neither knew about, nor was interested in.

That was all to change though, as unemployment rose to 20% locally, as the South Lancashire coal-fields were closed, and the industries in Glass, and Chemicals that relied on them went the way of the Dodo. Jobs were impossible to find, for all but the most highly and appropriately educated. Glass, the industry that had supported coal, from Lancashire, Sand from Formby, Chemicals from nearby Widnes, and wire manufacturing using copper, and the local coal to fire the smelters all disappeared over a 15yr period.

Work, for a man, earning enough to support a family, in this rapidly evolving economy was difficult to almost impossible, and a period spent trying to build a business with a friend, made me realise that without capital, a network of business friends and acquaintances, plus a stable economy on which to put firm foundations, this was all but impossible.

After gaining an education, and venturing into local politics, becoming a local councillor, and chairman of the local party, I began looking further afield than the five mile radius, that had hitherto been my working world.

But until I figured out where I wanted to go in life, returning to education meant filling in time while looking for a goal, and a pathway to fulfillment. Some analysis by professionals, finally gave me a clue as to which direction, and how far I could go. My Sagittarian nature apparently equipping me to teach, and a Certificate in Education, would give me the professional status I yearned for and felt I deserved, given my experience.

A year in an F.E. college near Watford, left me poorer but wiser as house prices in the South-East rocketed, and even throughout the country prices began their ascent. Here in the North West, prices had remained in the doldrums, and yet, in the south-east, house prices, fuelled by the de-regulation of the Banking industry and the now spiralling salaries in financial services, bid up all manner of goods in the area.

This was to be repeated 30years later, as loose money policies, and high banking profits, with even higher salaries and bonuses, bid up property prices once more in the great metropolis of London and its environs.

In the meantime, I’d had 5 more years as a Lecturer, 8 years as an IT professional, and 6 years in sales, both my parents had died, I’d married, had a daughter and divorced. And my study of the opposite sex had begun in earnest.

Joe Durden-Smith, and Diane de Simone with “Sex and the Brain”, became my starting point. Dr John Gray, and the Venus and Mars books – four of them. Followed by “Why Men Don’t Iron”, by a husband and wife team – then the rest of the Dr. Gray output – another four. “Some girls do.” by Margaret Leroy, and Softpower, by Maria Arapakis, “Sperm Wars” by Robin Baker of the University of Manchester, who with a fellow academic, studied bedroom antics, fidelity, and behaviour. I even read Sex and the Brain 3 more times, just to find areas I disagreed with, or supported. But I was stunned by the revelations.

All these books gave me an insight into male and female psyches.

I watched too. Observing those men and women in my life, and those whose life coincided with mine. And slowly the idealism of youth, gave way to the reality of the world around me.

So, what does this have to do with Economics, Politics or Finance?

As I thought about our two main strands of economic and political thinking, and what evolutionary biologists had informed us about our roles within primitive African tribes a thought occurred to me… Is our political or economic stance coloured by our hormones and our chromosomes?

Are Men essentially Capitalist, while women essentially Socialist?

Ever since Men went hunting, throwing a spear, shooting an arrow, and following herds on the plains of Africa, MEN, have had to compete for the attentions of women. Men, to get the best genes for potential children, (in the absence of rape) have to prove themselves adept at being a provider. Men, the more visual-spatial of the sexes choose their potential partner – at least initially – on looks. Rather like we choose the most luscious apple, pear or banana to eat, foregoing those over-ripe, under-ripe or just old and wrinkled ones.

Those men who show their competetive wiles to win greater economic resources, are generally given greater attentiveness by females and the selected for reproduction, becomes the selector. One only has to witness the attention given by teenage girls to boy-band members to gain some understanding of what is driving this adulation.

Tales of rock groupies from the sixties and seventies are the stuff of legend. Why do young women essentially throw themselves at these boy stars? Is the fame, money and talent together with the adulation of others, all that fires this competetive nature? Do many young women, hope to “bag” the attention and hand in marriage of a rock-star? (Gary Numan can perhaps answer that question best) And is that the reason some recent stories of women used, and abused by men in the public eye of yesteryear have hit the headlines; is this, to some degree, born out of the feeling that “they feel they were used” and the resentment has fuelled their anger and need for retribution?

It is a complex dynamic, and as many will recount, boys mature slower than girls. Recent evidence suggests male brains are not fully developed until about age 25, while women’s brains are more fully complete by the age of about 18.

Girls on average are hitting puberty some 5 years earlier than they did 100 years ago. Is this a reflection of our environmental chemistry, or is it more that the body’s biological clock, is driven by food availability, and puberty kicks in when the female has reached a certain size, and has sufficient body-fat resources to withstand the period when pregnant? Our biology remember, evolved at a time when food was scarce or at least hard-won. It would make sense in an evolutionary sense for the body to respond to such cues.

If we are to believe the evolutionary biologists, back in our mythical hunter-gatherer society, women stayed in groups keeping an eye on one another, and each other’s kids, while the men went to find game. Women shared the chores, and the fruits, nuts and berries to be found locally. Each ensuring mutual survival of each others and their own off-spring.

They operated as a collective, while those lone men who were unattached, went off to risk life and limb to find a mate in someone else’s territory. Does this mean that as we can see from the risk behaviour of men, that men are more the natural entrepreneurs, while once the operation is up and running, women are more than up to the task of ensuring the operation continues and runs smoothly? Are madames, Meg Whitman, Marissa Mayer, and Karen Brady examples of this? (That is not to suggest that women can’t or shouldn’t be entrepreneurs, but merely that they don’t in the same numbers).

We see supporting evidence everywhere. In the city, the city boys are known for their risky behaviour, while once women get onto boards, they appear to have a calming influence, and women in the city, seem to manage risk better. A study by Stern NYU suggested in 2004, (albeit on a sample of only 58 Corporations) that share price performance post appointment of a female CEO, lagged that of her male predecessor.

Is it that women want to share risk, and be more inclusive, while men want to strike out on their own – in the style of their pre-historic counterparts? Are we so different from the animals that evolved some 10,000 years ago, prior to agriculture, farming, and the earliest forms of money?

So, if Men ARE Capitalists, and Women – Socialists? In a Democratic world, is this one of the main drivers behind social policies, and the growing desire for governments to solve more and more of life’s problems, as the female population outnumbers that of men and women are perhaps more motivated by personality, than policy.

Men are the weaker sex, at least in terms of health, and their reckless behaviour, which means that while at birth, boys outnumber girls by 105 to 100, (at least amongst average Joes – but that’s another story) by age 20, the numbers are even. And the tables are turned by middle-age.

In a world where wars are fought, the number of available men shrinks – at least historically – because men historically went to war, but with women – at least in the west – increasingly fighting on the front line, will this have an affect on social policy as politicians react to shifted priorities?

And as for the reason that fewer women make it to the top, a recent Linked-In topic may have some of the answer. It appears that we humans gain our composure, and confidence as young teenagers, and those that are taller (which statistically are men) do better then those who are shorter.

It appears that as potential voters we also vote more frequently for the taller candidate.

That’s not the only reason, but we may come back to this topic in a future post.

In the never ending battle to understand we humans, have I given you food for thought?

W.

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Russian Roulette – Is the west about to shoot itself in the head, heart and the foot – just to make sure?

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The west shoots itself in the head, heart AND foot.
Shooting themselves in the foot, head, heart…That should do it.
One year on, as the Federal Reserve celebrates another birthday, both Gold and Silver were beaten down in the London aftermarket close, while trading was at its lowest. And the Russian Rouble was similarly attacked by those behind the curtain.

As the Russian Rouble recovers some of its losses of the last week, in the last few days, I have been re-visiting some of my reading matter, of the last few weeks.

Ever since Russia annexed Crimea, ostensibly to give citizenship to ethnic Russians, but many feel it was to save its only warm water port, “The West”, has been ratcheting up the tension and the rhetoric on Russia.

The NATO block has interfered in Ukraine, too many times. The American led organisation the IMF, has been interfering, with its money, and the West has provided IMF led financial support to the Ukrainian Government and military, and rumours abound, that the IMF and its minions have taken Ukraine’s Gold – some 40 tons apparently – as a surety. (Rumoured to be the source of Holland’s recently returned 127 tons of Gold).

According to Bloomberg today, Ukraine has sold more of its Gold holdings, reducing its holdings from 26.1 tons, to 23.6 tons (2.5 tons) and Russia has bought more rising from 1,168.7 tons to 1,187.5 tons (18.8 tons).

But Russia is not the one in trouble – the Fed and the U.S. is. Russia’s Debt to GDP ratio is roughly 11 percent. What is the Debt to GDP ratio in the United States? According to the IMF it’s 112 percent. What is the Debt to GDP ratio in Japan? It’s a staggering 230 percent. And Russia is sitting on a lot of reserves of very valuable natural resources.

So Russia is not going to fold because of some pressure coming from the United States or NATO. And the real tragedy of all this is the collapse of the rouble is really hurting the Russian people. This is being done by the West as a method of financial warfare. The latest sanctions against Crimea are just hurting the people of Crimea.

According to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Russia could unleash possibly one or more “Black Swan” events. For those not familiar with the term, it is a reference to the fact that most swans are White, but occasionally, one is born Black, but is so infrequent as to be impossible to predict, and here is the scary part.

Both Russia and China now don’t believe in the cold war rhetoric of Mutually Assured Destruction – or MAD as it was known.

Now both appear to be willing to make a “First Strike”.

He also recently said about the Gold and silver markets…

“The downward manipulation of the prices of precious metals prevents the “crisis warning transmission system” from properly functioning. More important, the decline in the price of gold/silver vs. the U.S. dollar conveys the illusion that the dollar is strong at a time when, in fact, the dollar should be under pressure from the over-issuance of dollars and dollar-denominated debt.

What we have been experiencing since the 2008 crisis is not only the subordination of US economic policy to the needs of banks “too big to fail,” but also the subordination of law and the financial regulatory agencies to the interests of a few private banks. The manipulation of the bullion markets is illegal whether done by private parties or on public authority, and so we have the spectacle of the US government supporting a handful of banks via illegal means. Not only has economic accountability been set aside, but also legal accountability.”

What people also don’t know, is that the Russians are ready to shelter the majority of their population in major cities in the event of a nuclear war. By contrast, the United States only has facilities for the elite and key personnel in the form of roughly 234 underground bases. These bases are referred to by the military and the elite as Deep Underground Military Bases (or DUMB).

And reports are surfacing from U.S. food processors about huge orders of food by U.S. government agencies to be delivered to these underground bases. The key is the government has requested immediate shipment of this food so that it can be stockpiled. While this stockpiling, has been going on, reports have also surfaced from store managers from all over the country, that a large selection and quantity of food is disappearing from grocery store shelves in states where these underground bases are located such as Kentucky, West Virginia, Kansas, Pennsylvania, etc.

Also, in 2008, the U.S. government ordered 600 million rounds of soft-nosed hollow-point ammunition – 2 rounds for every person in America to be delivered over 6 years.

These are the type of preparations that would be taken if it appeared that civil unrest, world war, or a possible nuclear exchange was on the horizon.

Meanwhile, the Chinese are buying factories, farms, mines, fresh water resources, etc. Other Far Eastern and Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds are also accumulating these key resources. The Chinese and the Russians understand that at the end of the day it’s all about natural resources and being able to deliver these natural resources to a market that has the money or gold to pay for these key commodities.

A cyber attack on the West’s Banks could close down the banking system for days or weeks. What would that do to the West’s economies? Just think Sony, only ten or a hundred times worse…

If Russia was attacked or provoked more seriously, they could respond by dumping U.S. Treasuries and Dollars, or by asking for delivery on gold futures contracts forcing a default at the COMEX, and/or LBMA.

Or they could just ring up all the leaders in Europe, and tell them, they won’t sell any more Gas/Oil except in roubles, or sell any to NATO members. Germany, France, Italy, and even the U.K., would cave in a heart-beat.

People used to think that those who were preparing for disaster – “Preppers” – were crazy. Now we see the United States government ordering survival kits for employees of every major bank as well as key personnel at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

On this side of the pond, Europe teeters on the brink of a financial disaster. And if Russia simply stated it would not repay loans it has taken from European and U.S. banks (at least not yet) then it might force a rerun of 2008 which would seem like it was a nice day at the shops by comparison.

The European Parliament, as UKIP’s Nigel Farage is so fond of saying, has become a talking shop, a mouthpiece with no teeth. It also hasn’t had its accounts signed off for several years, making monitoring its politicians all but impossible. It has been called a gravy train.

Finally, I ran across two great quotes from the past. They are food for thought.

“The Roman Republic fell, not because of the ambition of Caesar or Augustus, but because it had already long ceased to be in any real sense a republic at all. When the sturdy Roman phlebeian, who lived by his own labor, who voted without reward according to his own convictions, and who with his fellows formed in war the terrible Roman legion, had been changed into an idle creature who craved nothing in life save the gratification of a thirst for vapid excitement, who was fed by the state, and directly or indirectly sold his vote to the highest bidder, then the end of the republic was at hand, and nothing could save it. The laws were the same as they had been, but the people behind the laws had changed, and so the laws counted for nothing.”

– President Theodore Roosevelt

“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!”

– Oliver Cromwell – To the Long Parliament – 20 April 1653.

And tonight Sky News got into the fray, when it ran a programme called “The Doom Boom”, suggesting that those who are preparing for the forthcoming crash are somewhat crazy, or slightly unstable, yet the evidence above would suggest, that they may be just doing the only sane thing they can.

We wish all those who have read this over the last year, a Happy Christmas and Festive Season, and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Falling Oil Prices – Look out below?

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Oil prices - where will they stop?
Oil prices – where will they stop?

As Brent Crude, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) – oil, falls below $60 a barrel, this is having, and is likely to have, a devastating effect on economies the world over.

Russia’s currency today (16th Dec) went into free-fall, even as on Monday, the Central Bank of Russia raised interest rates to 17.5%.

The last time that I remember any country doing that, was in 1992, as then Chancellor of the UK Exchequer – Norman Lamont raised interest rates to 15% in an attempt at keeping the British Pound in line with its commitment to the European ERM (Exchange Rate Mechanism).

On that particular day, one George Soros reputedly made a billion dollars as he bet against the pound, as it plunged on international currency exchanges.

Britain, spent a fortune trying to defend the currency against the speculators. But, all to no avail. And as a result, house prices went into freefall, and the economy followed, finally emerging in 1998 as spending on technology which was forced spending to replace all computers, operating systems and application software before December 31st 1999 with 32bit versions, to enable 4digit years to be processed correctly, created a mini-boom in the tech sector, and ultimately led to the tech-crash that ushered in the new millennium.

The only other time, that anyone raised interest rates that high, was in 1980, as the incoming Chairman of the Federal Reserve in the Reagan administration – Paul Volcker, raised interest rates to 15% to choke off inflation which had peaked for a second time in a decade at over 20%, after oil prices climbed to $40 on the back of the Iranian Revolution led by an islamic cleric who returned home to Iran from Paris, after the Shah, was chased out of Dodge.

The cleric, was none other than Ayatollah Khomeini, and his religious fervour, and biased interpretation of religious texts, ultimately led to much of the unrest in middle-eastern politics in the decades that have followed.

But we’re here to talk of politics, finance and economics, not theology.

Oil both sides of the Atlantic is falling.
Oil both sides of the Atlantic is falling.

However, as oil prices have fallen, the economic fall-out is spreading far and wide.

America has invested heavily in shale oil and gas extraction. To many commentators, much of the country is like a pin-cushion as numerous holes have been drilled almost leading America to be number one supplier in the world, by 2017. But much of the investment capital has been borrowed at historically low interest rates as the Fed has fought deflation, and the investment, has been premised on oil at over $90/barrel.

If oil prices continue at these low levels for any length of time, the economics of this oil extraction will be turned on its head, as shale wells, tend to peak in output and fall to nominal levels within one year, requiring a constant flow of new cheap capital, and expensive oil to make it all work.

With OPEC agreeing to not cut output, one has to wonder if this was at the request of the U.S., to punish Russia, or whether the fact that the U.S. has recently been cosying up to Iran, who have been selected by the White House’s residents as the regional hegemon and perhaps ruffled the feathers of the Saudi Kingdom and who have turned on their historical protectors.

We can only speculate.

And if oil prices remain in the doldrums, those American Corporations who are more higly leveraged, will succumb first, leading to lay-offs.

As many of those people are highly skilled and highly paid, this will have a knock on affect in local economies where these businesses operate, meaning hotels, restaurants, gas-stations, and service providers such as cleaning, food, hairdressers, bars, brewers and the like all suffer. This will mean fewer car sales, and fewer vehicles manufactured in already stressed American, and European manufacturing centres.

The ripples are like those on a pond, when a pebble is tossed into the water. Each ripple spreads and affects all those suppliers of goods and services in their turn.

Once Xmas is out of the way, the downturn will perhaps resume in earnest. Just as rumour has it, that the Fed at the FOMC (Federal Open Market Commitee) will meet to discuss interest rate rises at the end of January.

But they may be forced to raise rates, as reports arrive of an impending COMEX default surface, as precious metals head east into the land of the rising superpower – China.

And don’t forget, you can protect yourself and learn a lot more about the reasons for the current crisis HERE…

And if you get a yearning to buy some VAT free silver – either coins or bullion, you can get it HERE…

And if you want to learn more about crypto-currencies, and maybe get started for free, then you can for the price of an e-mail address get daily deposits – HERE…

Before I go, I’d like to tell you about a junior oil producer, that has an agreement with the national oil company – PETROTRIN (Petroleum of Trinidad and Tobago) to supply oil at certain royalty rates on a sliding scale as WTI prices vary.

The Company LGO Energy, took over some oil fields in south-western and south-eastern Trinidad and Tobago, in 2011, with the intention to use the exploration as a way to gain experience of the area, which had not been drilled since the 1980s. The agreement was to drill and clean up circa 90 existing wells, and to drill 30 new ones. The company ordered and installed a series of pump-jacks – Affectionately called “nodding donkeys”, and this had a dramatic affect.

Pump Jacks
Pump Jacks

When LGO took over the fields, the existing wells were producing in the region of 5 barrels of oil per day, and LGO expected to achieve circa 30-60 bopd (barrels of oil per day) after cleanup. LGO were surprised to learn that after clean up, many of these wells far exceeded expectations.

The company also began its new drilling campaign, and after drilling from new pads (A pad is a cluster of wells drilled from one location on a concrete base, but deviated so that they access different oil patches) After two pads, LGO were achieving 200+ bopd from each well, but restricted flow rates so that they didn’t damage the field, and flow would continue for longer.

However, a recent drilling campaign on Pad 3, blew away expectations by flowing at an unrestricted rate in excess of 6,000bopd. But, in order to minimize well damage, and because of limited storage capacity, flow has been restricted to circa 1,000bopd. The Chief Executive – Neil Ritson, hinted in an interview also, that the 2 other wells drilled from the same pad, had similar characteristics, suggesting that when they officially release newsflow in an RNS (Reuters News Service) this will be a game-changer for this tiny oil company.

At less than 4p for a share of this company, on the UK, AIM index, this could be an opportunity to make a considerable contribution to your pension fund. The CEO, has serious plans to expand on and build a mid-tier oil production company. I have no problem with seeing potential prices in the 20-30p range within 2yrs, and more within 5yrs.

This is not a solicitation to buy, but merely information to begin your research and for education purposes.

PS:.

After posting this, I came across a video on line, that discussed the recent fall in oil prices, and the likely outcomes by people who have either a history of discussing such events, or in the case of Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration.

I hope you like it.

Have a great Christmas, it may be a while before you have another.

W

TAKEOVER AT THE FED? (Dec 14th, 2014)

Posted on

The piece below was published just one year ago, but developments suggest that China is now in a position to takeover the Fed, as most of the Fed’s Gold has made an exit, stage left… and headed, via Swiss refineries to be re-cast into .9999 1Kg bars to the Shanghai Commodities Exchange.

Almost 4,000 metric tonnes in a little less than two years…

Information recently released suggests that over the last ten years the Chinese have imported close to 8,000 tonnes of Gold and have been the world’s biggest producer with circa 300-400 million ounces in the last five years.

In the background, The politics at the IMF, mean that the Chinese who have $4trillion in reserves are in a position to assume the mantle that the Fed has hitherto carried.

We shall see.

In the New Year, the COMEX will possibly default as the longs overwhelm the shorts, and the position may be as little as four weeks away.

TAPER TANTRUMS AT THE FED? (Dec 19th, 2013).