by Jim Willie CB
Scattered recent analysis has centered upon the Gold Standard and its viability within the global financial system. The topic is certainly very blurred and at times confusing. Consider a recent article by a competent analyst Charles Hugh Smith of the site OfTwoMinds on the practicality of gold used as a standard. The article is entitled “The Problem With Gold-Backed Currencies” (which is found HERE and also on Lew Rockwell site HERE). He makes several points, many good ones. In the Jackass opinion, his analysis avoids many potential solution features, is premature on focus of the currency (and not trade), and is unfortunately backwards in the logic. The main criticism to put on the work is that he confuses the extreme difficulties created from decades of fiat currencies, with the supposed problems of installation of gold-backed currency. The entire article is not well developed, seems sketchy, and misses numerous very important features which are being considered. He does put many critical issues on the table, valuable for discussion. He offers no solution to his stated problems. In modern parlance, the logic put forth would indicate that since a heroin addict has so much difficulty with kicking the deadly habit, ravaged by delirious tremens, beset by extreme health problems, that one should conclude movement toward a clean sober life would have problems and simply would not work. Thus the backwards logic. Unfortunately, CHSmith produces straw dogs in the face of absent solutions. Let us examine the points made.
The Gold Standard is near perfect, provides sound money, and requires modern tweaking to make it work. The transition period will not be six months, but more like six years. The transition is possible, is workable, but with tremendous disruption and arduous adjustment. The victim nations would be many, but they hold much of the banking and military power. The Global Currency RESET is essentially referred to, which will render deadbeat economic nations as extremely vulnerable to systemic breakdown. The definition of deadbeat is tied to huge trade deficits and oversized current account deficits, coupled by extremely unmanageable national debt. They tend to have bloated welfare states and diminished industry. The United States qualifies as the most at risk, the most out of balance, and the worst from a debt and an industrial standpoint.
The Gold Standard a la Bretton Woods was broken illicitly, illegally, and brutally to begin an American Dollar Hegemony in 1971. Here 46 years later, the distortions and imbalances are horrific. As forecasted in 2005 within the Hat Trick Letter, the King Dollar is being defended finally by war in the open. Obviously it is veiled cover for blocking the Russian supply chain and recently the Iran supply chain. The USEconomy operates on an invalid credit card, usurping the global currency reserve. The USFed monetary policy of Quantitative Easing has introduced a hyper-inflation injection into the global banking reserve capital foundation, for six years. The rot from wrecked money and rigged financial markets has forced an Eastern solution. It will be centered on gold, first in trade, then in banking, and finally in currency. CHSmith focuses on the last plank, rather than the requisite first two planks, in error for the sequence. Examine his main points, then dissect them, with a viable solution presented on the table. He cites the challenges of a gold-backed currency, not the problems which make it unworkable. He offers no path toward solution, whereas the Jackass will do precisely that.
DIFFICULT ADJUSTMENT PERIOD
The alternative to installing the Gold Standard is not acceptable, not tenable, and not workable. It is the present course, toward a global systemic breakdown and wider war. It would be better to adjust in a rabid industrialization process and a nasty wave of debt defaults, which might be more orderly than imagined, if begun. The move toward gold reserves would have to be quick in transition. The constructive path toward solution will be difficult and requires creative thought. The entire consensus must discard Keynesian lunacy. Gold is the arbiter of fairness, equitability, balance, and forces a just system. The Gold Standard is arch-enemy of the globalist fascist state. It is possible that Gold smothers war. It puts war and dominance in check, while putting industry and trade in the forefront while seeking equilibrium.
The initial focus should be on the Gold Trade Note, which is the fiat armor piercing weapon, to be used for trade payment. It is coming into view, with its key components. The Eastern nations and Emerging Market nations have the trade advantage, from actual stronger industrial bases. They can direct traffic with a reform in trade payments. Charles Hugh Smith has a focus on the gold-backed currency that is premature. One does not put the crown on the new king before he is identified, then walks to the throne and sits in it. Focus should be on the Gold Trade Note as the trade mechanism. It kills fiat paper. Gold is urgently required as solution, in order to bring order, to seek balance, and to achieve peace on the globe.
CURRENCY CONVERTIBLE TO GOLD
CHSmith states that for any currency to be truly backed by gold, it must be convertible to gold. He claims this line of thinking is disconnected from the real-world mechanisms of capital flows, and the way money is created in our financial system. Such is not true. He claims the trade deficits from the 1970 decade would have forced the USGovt to forfeit its gold, leaving nothing to back the USDollar. The US Empire would have collapsed decades ago if it had not abandoned the Gold Standard. This is untrue and total nonsense. The USEconomy would have been forced, due to French President deGaulle demands, to fortify its industrial base immediately and to reduce its federal deficits. It would have forced Washington to reform quickly and immediately in a national emergency setting.
CHSmith offers no solutions. Even when deficits exist, a gold cover clause could provide a solution to avoid full drainage of gold reserves. The underlying basis is for a Gold Standard in the currency. For instance, a 5% cover clause would entitle a nation with a $1 billion surplus with the US to claim $50 million worth of gold. Such is hardly a ruinous proposition, since it comes to about 1.25 tons gold. The message would be delivered and heard, to rectify the imbalance quickly. This is a simple feedback mechanism, and not a disaster. Such mechanisms are not only healthy, but urgently needed. Nations could alter their cover clauses to weaken their currencies. Moving to a 10% or 20% cover clause would be viable for a nation with a sizeable trade surplus. Moving to a 3% cover clause would be necessary and prudent for a nation with a decent trade deficit. The US might attempt a 1% cover clause, given a return to a gold-backed USDollar, since ridiculously insolvent, deep in debt, and in far reach of remedy.
IMBALANCE WITH DEBT ACCUMULATION
The implication is for the Gold Standard to be evident in a hard currency, based in sound money, since convertible to gold itself. With the checks & balances gone, the US has therefore been permitted to accumulate a vast pile of debt. The USGovt debt has recently exceeded $20 trillion, which is roughly worth 500,000 tons gold bullion at current prices. Clearly conditions have gone way out of kilter. The debt doubled under the Obama Admin, for which he awarded himself a medal. To call him a charlatan is a grotesque under-statement, when marionette is more apt. The debt is unmanageable, seen in the graphic in the form of stacked $100 bills. Actually, the stacks shown make a tractor trailer truck seem small. The value of the massive structure is only $15 trillion. Football fields are included for better reference.
Harken back to the early 1970 decade, when the USGovt under the Nixon Admin broke the Gold Standard by force. No nation except for the United Kingdom seemed to approve the gesture steeped in hegemony. Later the French President Valerie Giscard d’Estaing called the US usurped global currency reserve an exorbitant privilege. The unspoken element contributing to the fast rise in the USGovt deficits was the costly Vietnam War. Smith wrote, “And any nation running large trade deficits will soon empty its gold reserves as international holders of the currency choose to convert their currency into gold, which is exactly what happened in the late 1960s in the United States.” The vicious meat grinder war was the cause of the first couple $trillion in debt, with hidden motive to advance the military industrial base in the US, and to capture the Cambodian Triangle for heroin. Again, the author abhors the corrective process which is essential within any healthy system seeking balance.
Indirectly, CHSmith tacitly defends the war spending and overlooks the industrial base issue entirely. If in 1971, the United States had forfeited $5 billion in gold to France and had set a precedent, the US nation would have immediately gone on an emergency status and rebuilt its industry, reduced its welfare system, and cut back in a big way its military budget (hardly defense). The trade deficit was far less than a quarter of what it is now, standing at $550 billion in the last fiscal year. Now the task is greater, given the lack of effort toward rebalance. War has become a constant feature. As George Orwell stated, “The war is not meant to be won; it is meant to be continuous.” He was the elite spokesman at the time, without such recognition. CHSmith cites a symptom of absent accountability as a justification for no accountability, an absurd premise.
The USGovt embarked on an additional decade of Star Wars military spending during the Reagan Admin, expanded its welfare state, and accelerated the trend of outsourcing industry to the Pacific Rim and later to Emerging Market nations. All these three movements proved to be disastrous. The Gold Standard imposition would have halted all three movements in their tracks. But the hegemon turned to financial engineering, raised Alan Greenspan to a semi-god, continued to shed industry, and relied upon financial asset bubbles to sustain the economies in an historical absurdity. All the US-based asset bubbles have burst, the wreckage clear, but the US has seen fit to re-expand the same asset bubbles. No discipline has been forced, since no officially recognized arbiter exists. The Gold Standard would have prevented financial engineering from going amok in the US, with an exclamation point.
CREDIT CREATION RUSE
CHSmith did not address any corrective mechanisms. He mentioned credit creation as being potentially inhibited in the modern era. The credit creation was a monster that fed the financial asset bubbles. It should not have been permitted to flow so freely in one carry trade after another, in unfettered debt, in unchecked military budgets, and recently in the uncontrollable Medicare/Medicaid bills. The entire underwriting process is totally out of control, and in dire need of a fair arbiter. Witness more debt blisters and festering bubbles in the car sector, the home sector, and the student sector, even still the energy sector from the shale fiasco. The entire credit engine has had no control mechanism for 30 years. Its wreckage is not justification to avoid a Gold Standard. It is precisely the reason for the Gold Standard, as firm arbiter. The author has it backwards.
EXPANDED MONEY SUPPLY
A simple point must be made, often cited by other competent analysts. In the last several years, the money supply for the USDollar has expanded something like five-fold since the Lehman failure event. The official suppressed Gold price has retreated from its $1900 high. Such dual paths are opposite to what should normally occur. The bogus argument has been put forth that there is not enough gold to back the monetary system. Although CHSmith does not make this errant point, it is a surprise to the Jackass that he did not. Actually, the corrective mechanism would call for the Gold price to be five times higher, like around $6000 per ounce, in response to a massive increase in the recent money supply. There is plenty of gold to cover the monetary system, but the gold must be repriced an order of magnitude higher. Gold must be priced much higher, in accordance to the money growth. In future years, with still more legitimate monetary expansion, the gold cover clause could be an indispensable tool. This is utterly basic as a concept, and shatters easily the insufficiency argument.
DISTRACTION OF TRIFFIN PARADOX
The Triffin Paradox presents challenges for a reserve currency, rather than justify that the Gold Standard does not work. No nation should use as its domestic currency a global reserve asset. To do so it absurdly destructive. Triffin explains that a reserve currency has two distinct sets of users: domestic users and global users. Each has different needs, so a built-in conflict exists between the two sets of users. Global users of the USDollar need enormous quantities of dollars to use as reserves, to pay debts denominated in USD and to facilitate international trade. The only way the issuing nation can provide enough currency to meet this global demand is to run large, permanent trade deficits. It would in effect be exporting dollars in exchange for goods and services. The pressure would be run massive deficits in order to supply the world with adequate reserves that fill its banking system foundation. This is entirely backwards. Therefore, no nation should use the global reserve as domestic currency, such as the United States has done with horrendous abuse. Gold bullion would be much better in the function of global reserve asset type. Triffin’s Paradox is not a paradox at all. It is instead an argument for the Gold Standard, and never for a nation to use the global reserve asset in its domestic economy. CHSmith misses the argument entirely.
The absurdity of the fiat currency system is exemplified in two respects. First, the USDollar is implicitly backed by USTreasury Bonds, which is USGovt debt. For debt to serve as a basis for banking systems is backwards and insane. It guarantees a systemic failure, like what is seen today. It invites a calamity to the entire supply chains of the global economy. Implicitly CHSmith tacitly defends the fiat currency system since fixing its outcome is intractable and extraordinarily difficult. Again, the upside-down nature of the system, and its extreme challenges to correct it, is not justification for continuing the current broken system. A Gold Standard system that is right-side up is preferable, even if difficult to install, even tumultuous and initially disorderly. Secondly, Germany has in the past couple years displayed a flaw in the system. It has been running surpluses. The result has been inadequate debt with which to supply the bond market, and hence negative interest rates are the rule of the day. This is upside down. No nation should be subjected to the absurdity of negative rates when economically strong with a firm industrial base. The US floods the global financial system with debt, even fake production of debt via derivatives, in order to maintain its control and power. Its equilibrium is false and untenable.
CRITICAL MASS & NON-RESERVE CURRENCY
For a Gold Standard to succeed, the Jackass has preached that the collection of gold-backed currencies must have critical mass. Giving a single hypothetical example of Slobovia and the quatloo currency is errant and off the mark. No single nation, or even a group of a few nations, can succeed in setting a Gold Standard, since the forces are too great to absorb and to handle in the healthy feedback mechanisms. The important concept is critical mass, which is exactly what the Eurasian Trade Zone is attempting to achieve. They are gathering nations toward participation in a better system. They are building the non-USD platforms, building the non-USD market mechanisms, soon to reveal the gold role. They recently signed up Turkey as a potential gold provider for the all-important Gold Trade Note. It will be used in trade payment, kicking to the curb the USTreasury Bill.
Imagine the chaos when the Saudis sell gold to China, then to most of Asia, in RMB terms and later in Gold Trade Notes. When a much larger organization of nations, like the assembled mass from the Eurasian Trade Zone, the BRICS nations, with Emerging Market nations in tow, agree upon the Gold Standard in trade payments and in banking reserves and in currency formation, they have force. If they command the majority of trade, then they dictate the rules. The combined GDP of the stated group has been attracting attention, as they are forming the critical mass. Already Russia and China are in possession of at least 60,000 tons of gold. So they will soon make the rules.
Examine the final conclusion made by CHSmith. “In a true gold-backed currency, every new $1 in currency must be backed by the addition of $1 of gold to reserves. If the gold supply remains constant but the supply of currency constantly expands, the value measured in gold of the outstanding currency declines accordingly. Any currency is only truly backed by gold if it is convertible to gold. Why hold a gold-backed currency that can be diluted 10-fold overnight by the issuing government/bank? Any nation issuing a gold-backed currency cannot control the global price of gold, and so that nation’s currency is hostage to fluctuations beyond its control. If the issuing nation sets a peg to gold, that peg is subject to the whims of the central bank and state. In other words, the peg is simply another flavor of fiat currency. Simply put, there is no way to back a reserve currency or a fractional reserve banking system with gold. It is easy to say that a world with very little credit would be a good world, but it would be a world with limited debt-based consumption, i.e. a world with little growth. And without growth, the system implodes.” Almost nothing above is logical, factual, or correct. Cover them one by one.
The gold cover clause could render $1 billion dollars backed by $50 million in gold, or 1.25 tons gold bullion. The policy would be very manageable, and also flexible with an adaptable cover clause percentage. Export powers would have a higher cover clause, while deficit nations would have a lower percentage. The concept is already being circulated.
No nation would need to control the price of gold. This is backwards. The gold arbiter would control the value of competing currencies. Several gold-backed currencies would be on the table, varying in gold reserves, in surplus versus deficit status for their economies, in commodity & resource reserves, in wisdom of national leadership, in cooperative trade policy, even in military aggression, and others factors. Nations would not be hostage to gold price fluctuations. Gold is constant, while currencies would vary in value depending upon inherent conditions. The control of the individual currency would be the main focus, as CHSmith has it backwards.
The final point made by CHSmith is also errant. He claims that a currency pegged to gold is subject to whims of the central bank and state. The peg would not be simply another flavor of fiat currency, hardly the case. It would be part of a set of measures by which to gauge the value of a gold-backed currency. Make the setting of the gold-backed Arab Dinar stupid, and that currency would falter versus a prudently arranged gold-backed Nordic Euro. The fading Arab oil monarchies would have to compete against the stalwart wise Germans. If the Arabs fail in the competition within the gold arena, they will lose their gold, truckload by truckload. They would be forced to make adjustments, under the guise of the feedback mechanisms. Instead, central banks would be held accountable. This is requisite after the extreme abuses since QE began in the West in year 2012.
CHSmith reveals his shortcomings by jumping to the conclusion that in his opinion, no way exists to back a reserve currency with gold. The fact stands that he does not comprehend the mechanisms for creating the Gold Standard and implementing its complex systems. Limited credit creation is precisely part of the upcoming solution. Credit abuse has become the standard, which must be remedied quickly. He implicitly gives tacit approval of the absurd cancerous situation with credit fueling rigged financial markets, credit behind the interest rate derivative machinery, credit trying to hold together the comatose energy sector, credit fueling the nutty car loan business, credit fueling the dead corpse of the housing market, credit funding the ridiculous stock buybacks by major corporations, credit fueling the algorithm high frequency stock trading, and credit behind the war machine. Let us leave narcotics aside for another day and another article, in its new role in guerrilla war. These credit abuses must be brought into check. The Gold Standard is exactly what is required. Furthermore, the extreme deficit spending of most nations is often linked with badly imbalanced welfare states and unjustified military spending. Credit must be directed with urgency toward reindustrialization on the grand scale, and capital formation with business creation on the local level. It seems the advanced nations have lost their way, no longer competent in capitalism and business creation, only in socialist taxation of business and oppressive insurance systems. The Gold Standard can be used to effectively rebuild industry with proper incentives.
The Gold Standard requires defense and advocates. The Jackass stands by the standard, and defends it. Some innovative thought is required. Always, logic might be used properly, and not in any backward manner to dismiss gold from its proper role. Most economic thinking in the modern society today is atrocious and heretic, in defense of a profoundly corrupt system. Even within the gold community, much thinking is flawed and lacks logic.
NEW SCHEISS DOLLAR & GOLD TRADE STANDARD
In time, expect an eventual refusal by Eastern producing nations to accept USTreasury Bills in payment for trade. The United States Govt cannot continue on numerous glaring fronts of gross negligence and major violations. These violations have prompted the BRICS & Alliance nations to hasten their development of diverse non-USD platforms toward the goal of displacing the USDollar while at the same time to take steps toward the return of the Gold Standard.
The New Scheiss Dollar will arrive in order to assure continued import supply to the USEconomy. It will be given a 30% devaluation out of the gate, then many more devaluations of similar variety. The New Dollar will fail all foreign and Eastern scrutiny. The USGovt will be forced to react to USTBill rejection at the ports. The US must accommodate with the New Scheiss Dollar in order to assure import supply, and to alleviate the many stalemates to come. The United States finds itself on the slippery slope that leads to the Third World, a Jackass forecast that has been presented since Lehman fell (better described as killed by JPM and GSax). The only apparent alternative is for the United States Govt to lease a large amount of gold bullion (like 10,000 tons) from China in order to properly launch a gold-backed currency. The annual trade deficit would immediately render the entire batch of gold at risk of forfeit. Any such lease would open the gates for a generation of commercial colonization, but actual progress in returning capitalism to the United States. The cost would be supply shortages to the USEconomy, a result of enormous export increases to China. Even if the USGovt can secure such a large hoard of gold, like from Bush Family and Rubin Clan seizures of stolen Fort Knox gold reserves, the United States will be vulnerable from a $550 billion annual trade deficit. Its settlement after one year would exhaust all 10,000 tons, since at $1300/oz, such gold tonnage would be worth $420 billion. The United States is truly trapped in an economic insolvency situation, with inadequate industry and a huge unresolved trade deficit.
Failure to produce a legitimate bonafide gold-backed currency, together with an adequate industrial base, would mean the United States will be confronted with a real big nasty currency crisis. Any new currency, even with gold backing, would be subjected to a series of devaluations due to the enormous trade deficit. The result would be heavy powerful painful price inflation from the import front. The effect would be to reverse a generation of exported inflation by the United States. The entire USEconomy would go into a downward spiral with higher prices, supply shortages, and social disorder. However, the rising prices would come from the currency crisis, and not so much from the hyper monetary inflation. That flood of $trillions has been effectively firewalled off. During the crisis that comes, the gold price will find its true proper value between $5000 and $10,000 per ounce. Then later, it goes higher, as it seeks equilibrium in a new world where gold serves as the global arbiter in trade and banking and currencies.
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Jim Willie CB is a statistical analyst in marketing research and retail forecasting. He holds a PhD in Statistics. His career has stretched over 25 years. He aspires to thrive in the financial editor world, unencumbered by the limitations of economic credentials. Visit his free website to find articles from topflight authors at www.GoldenJackass.com. For personal questions about subscriptions, contact him at JimWillieCB@aol.com
by Jim Willie CB