The Eighth Wonder of the World… And a Curse.

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“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” [Albert Einstein]

EyeOfTheStorm-Now

  1. 2008 – 2012
  2. 2012 – 2016
  3. 2016 – ? (2018-20?)

We are emerging from the eye of this particular storm…into more turbulent times ahead.

Uncertainty in politics, breeds uncertainty and volatility in economics and markets. People postpone major purchases until they have a clearer idea of how things will unfold. And businesses too, judge the future and make investment decisions accordingly. But the Debts built up during the 2008 crisis, have still to be repaid, and will now begin to unwind, or lead us into hyperinflation.

Having money in a bank account, that earns interest, is a distant memory for many people, as interest rates around the world have been reduced, eliminated or worse.

Britain’s and Western National Debts, have an interest charge levied on them, which is being, at least in part, controlled by the Federal Reserve, who came to Europe’s aid (again!) when it loaned $15 trillion during the heat of the last financial crisis. Britain too loaded itself up to the neck with debt, to help its banks, and latterly, International Banks from Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal. and its current account is, as I have mentioned an enormous debt of — £1.7 Trillion. At a modest 0.0025% (¼%) that translates as …

Drumroll… £4,250,000,000 per year. (£4.25 billion…) However, even a modest increase to say 2% p.a. over the next 2 years, will likely kill the British economy, and with it, any hopes of a full recovery.

At 2% our debt repayments are: £34,000,000,000 – (£34 billion) enough to build approximately 50 new hospitals and staff them for a few years. Who said being a banker was easy?

But this image from Raoul Pal, tells the even bigger picture (even if it is a couple of years old).

Debt-2-GDP-Ratio

Whose debt is biggest?

The debt to GDP ratio includes pension and other obligations.  Is this why Britain’s politicians are so keen to import foreigners, to help pay off this debt?

Those savers who have worked hard all their life, and tucked away a little for their retirement, are earning precious little from their savings. Funds that perhaps they have ear-marked for a retirement home, a secure retirement future knowing that their money is safe in a Bank, or where they can get at it quickly, in the event of an emergency, to meet unexpected bills are shortly going to experience the greatest loss of value in their lives, through inflation.

In a world where money is finite: interest rates serve the function of allocating money to its competing potential users. Those that require investment money will bid for this scarce resource, driving up interest rates, in times of high demand. This rising interest rate trend signals to the business community, that there is high demand for money, and this can indicate that businesses are expanding, or that competition is increasing (usually early in the market cycle) and those who seek to spend for their current enjoyment, begin to realise that they cannot afford higher payments, and thus this slows the economy as spending is curbed.

When currency is infinite as is with Fractional Reserve Lending: the only brake on increased amounts is the Banker’s concerns as to whether they will get paid back, or not – and thus it might threaten their balance sheet. This leads to booms… and busts.

This has been the state of affairs ever since this practice was formed, but became worse when the world left the Gold Standard, and the U.S. finally severed the last remaining link to Gold on August 15th 1971, when Richard Milhous Nixon, closed the Gold Window.

Almost three years later Louise Auchincloss Boyer, fell from her 10th story window, just days after a story that she was alleged was to be the source of, that “All the Gold in Fort Knox has gone.” Her death was judged suicide… (Link: You can read the full story – Here )

Britain’s debt is even worse than I feared.

Late on Saturday night, I was researching Britain’s National Debt, and to my surprise and horror, I found it was even worse, than I suspected.

Anyone who has a mortgage, or variable rate loan, ought to be on pins and needles, as interest rates are set to rise, for a number of reasons.

Deutsche Bank’s chief economist David Folkerts-Landau just released a scathing report, aptly titled: “The ECB Must Change,” in which he calls the ECB out from a banker’s perspective, which is now eerily similar to a layman’s.

“After seven years of ever-looser monetary policy there is increasing evidence that following the current dogma, broad-based quantitative easing and negative interest rates, risks the long-term stability of the eurozone…

…Already it is clear that lower and lower interest rates and ever larger purchases are confronting the law of decreasing returns…. but the ECB’s response is to push policy to further extremes. This causes mis-allocations in the real economy that become increasingly hard to reverse without even greater pain. Savers lose, while stock and apartment owners rejoice…

Thereby ECB policy is threatening the European project as a whole for the sake of short-term financial stability…. The longer policy prevents the necessary catharsis, the more it contributes to the growth of populist or extremist politics…

A returning to market-based pricing of sovereign risk will incentivize governments to begin growth-friendly reforms and to tackle fiscal stability. Flagging the move should dampen adverse reactions in financial markets.

We believe that normalising rates would be seen as a positive signal by consumers and corporate investors. The longer the ECB persists with unconventional monetary policy, the greater the damage to the European project will be.”

Japanese Rate Rises?

And even in Japan, interest rate rises are being discussed:

Bank of Japan policy board member Takehiro Sato went public in a speech to business leaders two weeks ago. Here are some key quotes showing what amounts to complete opposition to the Bank of Japan’s current course:

“When there is a negative spread, shrinking the balance sheet, rather than expanding it, would be a reasonable business decision… leading to restraining loans to borrowers with potentially high credit costs and raising interest rates on loans to firms with poor access to finance.”

As for those borrowers, think SMEs, entrepreneurs, everyone from the middle-class down, and virtually everyone but the corporate interests that have succeeded in regulatory capture worldwide.

“A weakening of the financial intermediary functioning could affect the financial system’s resilience against shocks in times of stress.”

He also said:

“There is also the risk that financial institutions that have problems in terms of profitability or fiscal soundness will make loans and investment without adequate risk valuation… I detect a vulnerability similar to that seen before the so-called VaR (Value at Risk) shock in 2003.”

Taken together, Mr. Sato is essentially saying that negative rates are stunting the chances of economic growth, removing any chance to soften the blow when it comes, and is setting us all up for wealth destruction across the board, giving policy makers no capability to react if a downturn begins.

Japanese politicians seem to be taking the ball and running with it. A key policy chief of the opposition party is now calling for Prime Minister Abe and the BoJ to begin raising rates.

In particular, the new platform cites how these policies hurt savers, along with its failure to boost inflation, wages, and has a negative crash in trade balances.

And in America too, are Interest Rates set to rise?

Gerardo Del Real, the Outsider Club’s newest expert, is spot on on how this will pan out for the U.S. . Just last week, he had this to say, which bears repeating:

“So what to do? Understand that the big money, the portfolio managers, pension funds, and insurers cannot continue to invest exclusively in negative-yielding assets.

Understand that a trickle of the trillions they manage will work its way to the U.S. markets, the dollar, and gold. Not because they’re gold-bugs, but because they will have no choice.

Understand that of those three options — the U.S. stock market, the dollar, and gold — gold is the smallest market and therefore the most susceptible to the largest moves.

Within the gold market, the junior resource market — especially the junior gold companies — has been absolutely decimated, and provides the best risk-reward proposition.” (See my last post – Apocalypse Now)

Few people are more reviled by everyday people than bankers, and rightfully so.

They hide usury in the fine print and send Court Sherriffs to evict you from your home in their stead.

They distort and manipulate markets for their own gains, from LIBOR, to the gold fix, to silver prices, to exchange rates, and on and on.

Then, with the corruption of a wink and a nod, they use regulatory capture to remove all risk and collect cushy bailouts while manufacturing and commercial jobs disappear, wages shrink, and with it the tax base as neighborhoods fall into squalor.

Throughout the 80s, the North of England – Northumberland, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South Wales were all hit hard as deep mined coal pits closed, and the industries that had grown up with them, went with them.

A piece written just over 100 years ago, after a Banking Panic in the U.S., brought about largely by the tactics of the Banks, and which surprisingly, our recent “Credit Crunch” appeared to be a mere replication writ large goes as below.

The writer, George Howard Earle, Jr. of the Real Estate Trust Company, in 1908 wrote:

A Central Bank as a Menace to Liberty

The solution of the problem of a central bank, with power to control the currency of the United States, to be at all adequate, must depend upon and be controlled by ultimate political principles.

The same principle that underlies the never-ending conflict between the advocates of a strong centralized government and what are called “states rights,” governs this question.

Taught in the school of experience and adversity, the early English and American patriots learned the salutary lesson that the development of peoples, as well as their happiness, depended more upon liberty – that is, the power to control and govern themselves, rather than to be controlled or governed by anybody else – than upon any other single thing; and they, therefore, in drafting our Constitution, always viewed government as an evil made necessary by the weakness and defects of human nature, and never extended it beyond that necessity.

Under the plan of freedom, of self-reliance, self-dependence, self-government, we have become the greatest, the happiest, the most powerful people of the world; but notwithstanding these proofs to justify the work of the Fathers, we have more and more concluded that we could have done a great deal better.

We are rapidly tending in the opposite direction, which must 506 inevitably destroy liberty by vesting all discretion in some form of central government, rather than in the people as individual, independent entities.

Starting with the theory that government but existed because of the defects of mankind, and was but an evil wherever it exceeded the necessity of restraining evil human tendencies, we have now reached the higher light wherein we produce schemes of regulating everything, until liberty is but a name, and we govern ourselves by theories entirely independent of the characteristics of the people to whom our systems are to apply.

It is difficult to find any one, nowadays, who has not some “counsel of perfection,” and founded on it, some theory of government that would work perfectly with a perfect race, in whom neither self-interest nor passion existed and that, consequently, did not need any government at all.

The same could be said of any central authority, whether in Britain, or further across Europe.

All control passed to others, means they will meddle. And in meddling, they will postpone the inevitable, but each time they postpone, the crisis merely gets bigger, and more unstable. Eventually, there is no-one big enough to stop it.

We will shortly find out, if this will be in the next credit crisis. Those who have salted away bit-coins, gold and silver, will fare best. Those who have borowed to feed their insatiable habit to spend, will not surprisingly, not do well.

Money, real money (Gold and Silver) takes time to make, is hewed from the ground at great expense, and whilst its value varies with the day, the month and the year, it’s value never disappears totally and increases over time – even if in fits and starts..

Credit created out of a Banker’s pen, printing plates, or these days computer, can disappear in a cloud of smoke. Over 200 currencies have disappeared since the dawn of the printing press, and fractional reserve lending, but Gold and Silver are still an ounce of Gold, and a Pound of Sterling Silver, from which Britain’s derived its name, and now our currency takes its name.

Central Bankers, therefore are more the problem, than the cure.

Here, Daniel Hannan – discusses the implications for the future with Emma Reynolds who puts forward the case to remain.. Daniel Hannan puts forward his reasons for wishing to leave.

A vote to Remain is a vote for…
Big Government
BIG Corporations
BIG Banks
and BIG BROTHER.

Britain, grew into the world’s superpower, in the 1800s, and now leader of the 64 nation Commonwealth, by extolling those things that we Brits hold dear. The law grew up from natural laws – “Common Law”, where people devised the behaviours they supported, and those they despised. Law was a higher source of guidance in man’s affairs, and it wasn’t handed down from  “on high” – i.e. from those holding the reins of power – as has been the case in most of the world – and particular the Eurasian legal systems – Roman Law, Napoleonic Law, or Regal Law.

This piece lays out the historical context.

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