Global Capitalism, in the Age of No Capital

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DollarsThis piece began out of musings on how the current world economic system, could be overturned (or if we were starting from a clean slate) beginning with a new system. to develop a system, that serves everyone.

Some people have been speaking of the end of Capitalism, as though what we have now is Capitalism.

(Like HERE in the UK Guardian)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/17/postcapitalism-end-of-capitalism-begun.

But, I just think many people don’t really understand what Capitalism is…

The word, “Capitalism”,  derives from the word “Capital”.  This word is just a posher, more accountant friendly version of the word for “savings”.  And to have savings, you have to have a monetary system, that means that the money in everyday use (currency) retains its value over very long periods of time, and is garnered from the excess production by workers, or businesses who save that money.

This money can then be pooled, typically by Banks in individual savings accounts, to allow larger projects to be funded, and corporations to borrow this, to grow their business, or to finance those larger projects.

Of course, there can be savings made by corporations too, who produce in excess of current demand, and this “Retained Earnings” to use accountant speak, is then available for investment in new products or services, which adds value to the business, and enriches the lives of the many.

But, going back over 45 years to the 1970s, when I was a teenager, and just starting out in life, there were two forms of accounts. The type of account where money was deposited for immediate use (a current account) and money that was “saved for a rainy day” and was typically deposited into a “Savings Account”.  In some instances, these were 90 day accounts.  These accounts paid a higher rate of interest, than normal savings accounts, which were called “time deposits”, because these funds were deposited for a period of time – in this case 90 days.

That meant that the depositor, had to give 90 days’ notice, to get access to their savings, or forfeit interest earned.

However, back on 15th August, 1971, the last link between real money (Gold and Silver) was severed, when Richard Milhous Nixon, President of the U.S., closed the “Gold Window” temporarily, which meant that foreign nations could no longer demand Gold in exchange for dollars at the Bretton Woods rate of $35.00 for 1 oz of Gold.

That day ushered in Corporataucracy, though we didn’t realise it at the time.  In a world where a Bank can just press a few keys on a computer, or have its Central Bank (owned by these ultra-large corporate banks) create funds out of thin air by “Computer Keystrokes”, or the “Printing Press”, the large corporations and governments, can borrow increasingly larger sums of currency, without others having to make those savings out of current production or consumption.   This disconnect, means that current consumption, does not have to be forgone to pay for some new project, which reduces the need for savings – but also reduces interest rates, as capital is no longer needed, but it also tends over time to lead to increasing concentration of the means of production, into the hands of those with access to this line of credit, and the desire for huge capital sums.

The rise of these mega-corporations like Apple, Google, Facebook, Uber, Walmart, and here in the UK, BAe, TESCO, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Morrisons, have all risen, by building large concentrated infrastructure, which is capital intensive.  Most of these corporations can borrow large sums cheaply, because their revenue streams, are constant, and thus they quickly create surpluses in their respective bank accounts.

For these large corporations, that money going into their current accounts, which is vulnerable to loss – IF – their Bank has financial difficulties so needs to be used or given back to shareholders, but is vulnerable, until such time..  So for many companies, this almost forces them to invest in newer premises, and growth in newer overseas markets, to use that currency, or risk financial loss as it sits there earning next to zero interest.

The alternative would be to return that surplus to the investors, which would raise share-prices, and distribute income, but in a world where money is too cheap because it is limited only by the bank’s willingness to hit the right keys on their computers, corporations who have large and dominant shareholdings by the families that created them, have little need for raising risk capital from shareholders, and thus the risk is transferred from the company, (and its shareholders) to the lending institution, while the share price rises, increase the power and wealth of these family shareholders. VW/Audi, Porsche, TESCO, Morrisons, and Sainsbury, are all businesses, where the original family owners are still large shareholders of the business. This is particularly true where the huge sums borrowed jeopardize the stability of the Bank doing the lending and a Black Swan event places a strain on the Banking system.

This risk, is later transferred to the State as Banks use their own freely created Capital, to acquire other smaller banks, consolidating markets, and then when they become systemic, they transfer that risk to the tax-payers as they become “Too Big to Fail”, “Too Big to Jail”.

I believe, that a number of events in the economic, political and financial spheres, may be about to undermine this.

Banking – Politics – Economics –  Changes Making the World a Different Place…

The rise of Islam, as I mentioned HERE: , threatens the wider economy, as religious doctrines amongst its followers, limit the number and range of economic activities which in themselves, could destabilise the western world’s economies to the point of failure.

However, this post is about the other events.

Bullion and Bitcoin.

The last eight years, has seen the rise of Crypto-currencies, like Bitcoin, and a concern among many about the extra $3.5Trillion, put into the monetary system, by the Federal Reserve, driving the rise in demand for precious metals Gold and Silver.

Bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies, could be about to usurp the power of the Bankers (See: My Post on this topic HERE , which if it occurs, means that because the Banks can’t just lend more and more money (currency) into existence, they have to earn the trust of depositors, and use their limited funds wisely. But inevitably, these inventive Bankers will use their political influence to ensure that they get the outcome they need. Probably outlawing crypto-currency trading, and using it for certain purposes.

The East, has for the last one and a half decades, been accumulating Gold in Central Bank Vaults, while the West, has been ridding itself of this substance, that Keynes according to legend discussed as a “barbarous relic”.

However, Gold as the final arbiter of the value of money (See This:  or This – ) can stem the flow of funds to large corporations, who would have to rely on available funds from savers, and increased economic activity, would have to produce those surpluses, which means the increasingly automated world, will need more savers, driving up real wages, to buy the products and services of automation, their prices would need to be more competitive too growing sales, and as Henry Ford recognised, salaries would need to rise encouraging savings to accrue.

And for those past the first flush of youth, or perhaps in retirement, the savings rates paid would go up, and that would help those having to live on retirement incomes.

But, it might also mean,  that for the first time in a long time, America, would not be able to rampage around the world, laying down the law, and interfering in all those countries, that require expensive military hardware, that the U.S.  can just buy with the funny money, that is hot off the computer or printing presses.

Mike Maloney’s take on things is that the printing presses will drive the world to take up the SDR sooner rather than later. The SDR, for those who don’t know it, is the “Special Drawing Right”. It was first created by the IMF during the 1970s, as a certificate for a basket of the major currencies. And the Yuan, has just been added to that basket, but the Chinese are pushing to add Gold to it too, and that will drive demand for Gold.

You can see Mike Maloney with David Morgan, precious metals dealer, and financial guru, discussing matters here:

And for when this happens, Silver will ride on Gold’s coat-tails, But the rush for silver will probably overtake the price rise in gold, by a factor of 5 to 1… And this explains WHY…

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