Posts Tagged ‘Economic Collapse’
by Dave Brown, Gold Senior Reporter
Thu, Oct 20, 2011
Gold Investing News
Even as spot market gold prices have traded at historical highs over the past few months, central banks are increasing positions and demonstrating support for the precious metal.
Earlier this week, the World Gold Council released an update on its official gold holdings indicating the Bank of Thailand reported an increase for its gold reserves of 9.3 tonnes in August following the net purchases of 28 tonnes during the first half of the year. These purchases combine to represent 4.2 percent of the total foreign reserves and an increase of gold holdings to 136.9 tonnes. This might seem of interest for gold investors as the Bank of Thailand may continue to add to the position during short term fluctuations in gold prices to the downside, given the still relatively modest percentage of foreign reserves in gold that it has. In terms of a monetary policy, Thailand has maintained its interest rate level for the first time this year, terminating the longest consecutive period of increases since 2006. A weakening global economy and the worst floods in five decades are seen as impediments for growth in the South East Asian nation.
Regional peer, Vietnam has recently re-authorized gold trading on foreign accounts in order to narrow the difference between domestic and international gold prices following a recent increase in demand for gold in Vietnam. The State Bank of Vietnam changed its policy following a careful collaboration with its domestic gold jewellery industry and commercial banks.
South American demand
The central bank of Bolivia reported an increase of 7.0 tonnes in gold reserves bringing its total to 42.3 tonnes of gold. The country is holding approximately 21.3 percent of its foreign reserves in gold with its last reported gold acquisition dating to last December when it also reported a 7.0 tonne increase. Bolivia has recently been in the news as a result of strong environmental protests and declining political support for the leader Evo Morales. Mr. Morales’ socialist agenda appears committed to reducing the country’s poverty; however, requisite infrastructural progress, mining activity and gas development which are critical for economic growth are generating protest movements. Although the administration’s second term in office is due to end in early 2015, some observers are uncertain that stability in the South American nation will be maintained until a new election.
Russia adding gold to its reserves
Russia has also increased its gold position to 841.1 tonnes, adding 8.0 tonnes of gold to its reserves during the summer months of July and August. Russia has been consistently adding to its gold reserves for 52 consecutive months.
The central bank of the Philippines recorded a decrease in gold reserves of 10.3 tonnes, bringing its total to 147.8 tonnes of gold. Recently the central bank of the Philippines decided to protect growth by maintaining the benchmark interest rate at 4.5 percent, keeping with the monetary policy demonstrated by South Korea and Indonesia.
Sri Lanka has reduced its gold reserves to 8.1 tonnes as the result of selling 9.3 tonnes of gold. The country has followed other Asian examples in maintaining a cautious monetary policy; however, Mr. Anoop Singh, Director of Asia Pacific Department from the IMF indicates in a press briefing last month, “Sri Lanka has introduced new fiscal reforms to broaden the tax base, to remove exemptions, to bring these in line with international standards, and I think we can be quite confident the government and the central bank remain confident to carry forward these reforms.” Facing such uncertainty in the global economic context, the country is also modestly holding 4.6 percent of its foreign reserves in gold.
Read the entire article HERE.
by Eric King
May 20, 2011
King World News Blog
With so many questions surrounding the U.S. dollar and rising inflation, today King World News interviewed internationally followed John Williams of Shadowstats to get his take on the U.S. dollar, Fed and hyperinflation. When asked about the tremendous inflation globally Williams stated, “The dollar has already been a factor for the major inflation that we are seeing now, and the weakness that we have seen in the dollar up to now has primarily been as a result of the Fed’s efforts to debase the dollar. A weaker dollar has spiked oil prices and we are seeing the highest inflation — as the government reports it — in the last 3 years, and it’s going to get a lot worse.”
When asked if the US dollar will collapse Williams replied, “If we end up in the hyperinflation that I think we’re going to see, then, no, the dollar won’t survive. They’ll probably come up with another currency at some point as they reorganize the global currency system. For this to work I expect it to have some backing of gold in order to sell this concept to the public, but the dollar in its current form would not survive a hyperinflation.”
When asked about the timing of hyperinflation in the United States Williams stated, “That’s the type of thing that could happen at any time, all of the fundamentals are in place. I do think we’re going to have a dollar crisis. I can’t give you the precise timing on it, but circumstances are negative for the dollar in terms of relative political stability. When you look at our government here we can’t control the fiscal conditions. Our trade deficit is continuing to deteriorate, that’s a negative for the dollar, inflation is rising on a relative basis, that’s a negative for the dollar.
The Fed although it is officially ending QE2, most likely is going to come back with a QE3 and that will debase the dollar and if we are going to debase the dollar the rest of the world generally is not going to want to hold it.”
When asked how quickly could we see a dollar collapse Williams responded, “It could happen very quickly, but they (the Fed) will try to forestall it as much as they can. When you do get a real panic it may not be containable. In terms of the hyperinflation I don’t think it will be held off beyond 2014. What we’re now seeing in the pickup in inflation here eventually will be seen as the beginnings of it.”
When asked what hyperinflation would be like in the U.S. Williams had this to say, “This is not going to be a happy circumstance in any event. You look at what happened in Zimbabwe, the terrible hyperinflation there, which is probably the worst ever seen in any country, it took place over a couple of years. The economy still continued to function to some degree, people still went to work, and the reason they were able to do that is they had a backup black market in US dollars. We don’t have anything like that here.
Efforts to introduce gold as a second currency would effectively provide that, but there’s nothing in place at the moment that would be a backup. So you have the likelihood of disruption to normal commerce. If the distribution chain to grocery stores gets interrupted, and the shelves are bare of food, that’s the kind of thing that can trigger rioting in the streets.”
When asked what people should do to protect themselves Williams said, “First you need to look to preserve your wealth and assets, and the primary hedge is physical gold, but silver is in that category as well. I’d look to get some assets outside the US dollar, outside the US if you can. Stronger alternative currencies are the Swiss Franc, Australian dollar and the Canadian dollar.
For people living inside of the U.S. if you are going to have a disrupted system, this is a manmade disaster, not a natural disaster, but it’s the type of thing you should prepare for as you would a natural disaster. Have several months of canned goods, other staples that you need to survive. And assuming that we see this evolve into some type of barter system, build up a stock of goods that you think are barter-able.”
Read the entire article HERE.
Friday, May 13, 2011
by Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre
Today’s contributor is Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre. Many of our readers have expressed interest in hearing accounts from those who have lived through economic collapse. FerFAL experienced the hyperinflationary destruction of Argentina’s economy in 2001 and continues to blog about his experiences and observations of its lingering aftermath. His website and his book Surviving the Economic Collapse offer windows into the probable outcomes to expect during a collapsing economy. Note: Our site’s What Should I Do? Guide offers specific guidance relevant to a number of the steps FerFAL recommends below.
“How can I prepare for an economic collapse?” is one of the most common questions I get. It usually takes me a second to start to explain how complex such a question is. It’s like asking an auto mechanic, “Say, how do you build a car?” or asking a computer engineer, “What’s all that stuff inside my laptop?”
I do have some first-hand experience in this matter, though. The economy in my country, Argentina, has gone through various crises, but none as large as when the economy collapsed in 2001 after a decade of apparent prosperity. The currency devaluated, and Argentina defaulted on its USD$132 billion debt, the largest default ever. The middle class took to the streets after bank accounts were frozen, and the president was forced to resign, escaping the presidential building in a helicopter.
What I’ll do is, provide five quick foundational steps, based on what I know, for you to follow so as to be better prepared if something like what happened in my country ever happens in yours.
Step #1: Secure a percentage of your savings in bullion.
Five years ago, even the most paranoid person claimed you would never see “nationalized” banks in USA. The gung-ho survivalists claimed the entire country would go up in flames and open revolts would start before something as insane as a $700+ billion bailout to save the “too big to fail” rich elite was laid on the backs of the American working class. Yet here we are.
When I try to explain this very important issue to my American friends, they tell me that banks would never steal people’s money because there are laws against that in the USA. Their money is insured. We had those same laws in Argentina, but still it happened. We had a constitutional right to private property. Yet the constitution mattered little during the collapse. Go right ahead — sue the government of the United States if something like that ever happens. Maybe you’ll get some of your savings back in a few years. If they feel like returning it.
What people don’t understand is that laws are written by men, not some greater power. As soon as those running the show feel an emergency decree or law is in order, existing laws are simply rewritten. They may even be ignored all together! What do you do if something like that happens? You may complain, you may sue, but you’re not changing the cold hard fact that as of right now that bank door is closed, that ATM has no money in it, and you still have to survive. This is something Argentines have experienced and know very well. Hundreds of thousands of us have banged the doors of our banks, for years, without a penny being returned. You still sued, and waited, and spent the little money you had by hiring a lawyer. You lose, they win…unless you have some of that money at hand before they decide to steal it.
Every single Argentine wishes he could go back in time, close his bank account, and put that money into gold. We would all do that if we had a time machine. Since you can’t guess the future, all you can do is estimate what can happen and play the odds in your favor. In the event of a full economic collapse, if you have 20% of your savings in physical gold and silver, that’s a percentage of your savings that is spared. It’s not an investment; don’t go crazy over gold and silver going up or down a few dollars, just be content that it’s not getting any lighter as it sits in your safe. If the economy collapses or even if there’s simply inflation (as there clearly will be), that percentage of your savings in precious metals is safe and will likely go up in price beyond its standard purchasing power as things get worse.
During the first stages of a severe economic crisis, you will see ATMs running out of money fast, and many stores won’t be accepting credit cards. As the saying goes, “Cash is king” during those times. Your precious metal can be sold to a dealer, but you better keep that stored for now. When everyone is running around looking for an ATM with a few bucks in it, having a month’s worth of expenses in cash means you won’t be one of them. Why not more than a month´s worth of expenses? Because if the economy fully collapses, that paper money will lose its value within hours. It may drop 50%, 60%, or 75%, as happened in Argentina. Who knows? All you know is that as the currency loses value, the value of the precious metals you have stored goes up in proportion. Still, during those first days, a wad of cash gets you what you need.
So, step one is acquiring precious metals (I generally recommend 20% of your savings but each person is a separate case) and a month’s worth of expenses in cash, kept safe at home.
Step #2: Stock up on food.
The more you have, the better. There may be periods of civil unrest like the ones we saw where stores are being looted and closed after that. There may be problems with resupply because of logistical complications. It’s better if you already have 6 to 12 months worth of food in your expanded pantry. Also, keep in mind the food you buy now will be considerably cheaper compared to post-inflation prices.
This large supply of food will bring peace of mind in case of job loss, as well. Who knows how long it will be before you find another source of income? After the 2001 collapse, some people genuinely spent YEARS looking for a job without finding any. I can’t emphasize enough the peace of mind it brings knowing you still have some time, and that you can, in fact, put food on the table the following night.
The food should be long-term storage type, requiring little or no cooking, at least for some of it. Water is also essential, so having a two-week supply is advised. The minimum amount is a gallon per person per day, and you should double that for flushing toilets and taking an elemental bath in case the water service is interrupted.
Step #3: Acquire the essentials by putting together a survival/emergency kit.
This will include your typical camping gear: a tent, sleeping bags, a stove (have enough fuel for it in case services are disrupted), first aid kit, medicines, LED flashlights and several spare batteries. Depending on how bad civil unrest gets, there may be problems with the infrastructure. After the economy collapsed in Argentina, the power company simply couldn’t afford the repairs needed, and it hadn’t planned for something like this, either. Rolling blackouts became common, and having LED lights and rechargeable batteries was a blessing. You could easily spend two or three days without power during summer. At one time, downtown Buenos Aires was left without power for five days. Imagine the complications this brings. If natural gas service is interrupted, you may need other ways of cooking. A camping stove and enough fuel will get you through it.
Step #4: Improve your personal and home security.
If you ask any Argentinean what concerns him the most, 9 out of 10 people will have the same answer: security. In second place is the economic situation. Ten years after the economic collapse, things are nothing like they used to be. Half the middle class became poor and its standard of living has decreased considerably. We’re still a high-risk economy, and it shows. Inflation is still rampant and could be anywhere from 5% to 10% per month, usually hitting the middle class the worst. But that’s something we’ve grown used to. That’s something we can live with.
What concerns Argentineans the most is the crime problem, and the out-of-control violent crime we suffer is the mayor legacy of the 2001 economic collapse. Poverty sure didn’t help, nor did social segregation; but the greatest cause responsible for the crime levels we suffer is our own government. The liberal government that took control after the collapse considers criminals to be poor victims of brutal capitalism. The unofficial stance is that criminals have a right to steal, murder and rape – in their view, it’s how the “poor” get back to the rich and middle class that thrived during the 90’s. Of course with a government like that, the crime problem just keeps getting worse.
During the first days after the economy collapsed, civil unrest, rioting and looting was out of control. A state of siege and military law was declared, enforcing curfew hours after 10PM. This lasted a few months, and while order was recovered in the capitol district, months after that there still were occasional revolts and looting. The sense of lawlessness extended way beyond the visible accounts depicted by the TV and general media. Its during time like these that you realize you must have means of defending yourself and your family.
My advice is to make your home as secure as possible against criminals that may be taking advantage of the lack of control during the worst of the rioting. After that, a better security plan for the entire family must be worked out. As things get worse, you understand that you can no longer afford to be lax about your personal and home security. Those that are quickly become vicitims. With a more secure home, you may want to consider having a weapon to defend yourself. Certainly not an easy decision and one you must be extremely serious about. If you have the self-control and maturity to handle one, having a firearm and getting the minimum training so as to know how to use it if it ever comes to that is something you should consider doing.
Crime and insecurity will be one of the greatest threats people all across USA will suffer, and very few will be ready for it. It won’t happen one dark gloomy night after watching the latest horror movie. It will happen in the Walmart parking lot at 3PM, with plenty of people around (people that will hurry out of the way, pretending not to see anything). You’ll be thinking about what you just bought, that you maybe should have bought Lucky Charms instead of Corn Flakes. That’s when the nicely dressed person along with two other buddies, all dressing well (neat hair cuts, too), pulls a gun on you. Developing a sense of awareness will be the most important part, as well as making the rest of your family comprehend that times have changed and you can no longer be careless regarding security.
Step #5: Embrace a different mindset (And choose wisely who you follow)
When Argentina went through its economic collapse, people handled it differently. Maybe the most common response was denial. The “I can’t believe this is happening “ attitude was pretty popular. Others complained, but you soon understood it changed nothing: it only made you feel more miserable, more stressed, and that was something you could do without. Others just ended their misery. Suicide rates doubled after the collapse, sometimes jumping under the train at early rush hour, in a desperate attempt to make their misery noticed by others.
What you need to do is become more positive, more active. Be someone that, while accepting those things you can’t change, do something about the ones you can. Get involved now, do what I just recommended right now, it will bring you peace of mind. Remember to stay positive and put every problem into perspective. Complain less. You’ll have enough to complain about when inflation gets worse. Soon you’ll understand that material things can be replaced, and you become more greatful of what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t. Being someone that gets easily depressed will be the end of you as the economy worsens. Its essential to keep a positive attitude. Problems much worse that what you are used to will be of daily occurrence. You’ll just have to roll with it, learn to cope with the new world you live in. Reinforce your relationships with people, fight stress by finding a hobby you enjoy, hopefully one that has a practical side as well. After the collapse, lots of people started their own business when they realized there where no jobs to be found. Maybe it’s better if you get started now, just in case you ever need it to earn a living.
These are my recommendations. I know many people could have used such advice back when our economy collapsed.
Some common questions regarding hyperinflation
How quickly does it happen?
These events occur fast but there are signs: lack of investment, higher interest rates, unemployment. When banks start coming up with excuses so as to not give you your money right away when closing an account, that’s usually not a good sign.
As for inflation and hyperinflation it happens right in front of your eyes. It actually happened to me that the price of an item I picked in a store almost doubled in price by the time I reached the cash register. Good for me the employee just placed the sticker with the new price over the old one (no time to remove them) Employees rushed around changing prices, several times a day, all day long during the ongoing crisis. It was fun to peel back the stack of stickers with the different prices and see how they had gone up in a matter of hours. Rioting happens fast, too. Once the banks close rioting is just minutes away.
What happens to your savings/investments?
I didn’t have much but managed to close my account just a day before the banks closed their doors. My parents are accountants and saw the signs mentioned earlier. When we went to the bank a nice lady told us they didn’t have USD$1,000 in the bank. Our jaws just dropped. That same day we went to the main branch and closed the account my sister and I had. The next day all banks closed, the accounts where frozen.
As for real estate, that was a pretty safe investment. Eventually rents went up so as to compensate for the devaluation. Of course you were much better of with your money in bricks and mortar than in a bank account.
How does the populace react?
Violently, as you’d expect when your life savings are stolen from you.
What is the government saying/doing?
Laws were changed to make everything nice and legal. The excuses the then-president Fernando De La Rua came up with in his speeches during the crisis just made everything worse.
Just days before the bank holidays they promised none of that would happen. Same thing before the devaluation. They swore on their mothers’s names they wouldn’t do such a thing, then did it the following day. Politicians tend to do such things, and they are all similar worldwide.
What happens to the capital markets?
The stock market dropped like a rock, then shut down. What surprised you the most was how everything was simply frozen in expectation. No one wanted to spend a single cent, not even to buy half a gallon of paint for a work site because you just didn’t know what would happen in a matter of hours, let alone next week. The biggest investors had sold and left the country months before everything went down. Another sign to look for.
Does violence and crime become an immediate concern?
Yes it does. While stores were the more common targets, houses were looted, too. The best thing to do was stay home, have a defendable position and be armed. I had looters not 20 yards away from my home. What do you do if they rush your home? Can you just open fire on them? What will they do when/if you do? All these things flash into your mind.
A significant amount of people behave because they believe there’s a punishment if they do otherwise. Once that fear is removed because the authorities have clearly lost control, you see the worst of people’s nature. It’s not a pleasant thought, but it’s better to be ready.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre.
Read the entire article HERE.
The Economic Collapse
March 25, 2011
50,000 Manufacturing Jobs Have Been Lost Every Month Since 2001. Any economy that constantly consumes far more wealth than it produces is eventually going to be in for a very hard fall. Many point to relatively stable GDP numbers as evidence that the U.S. economy is doing okay, but the truth is that we have had to borrow increasingly massive amounts of money to keep GDP numbers up at that level. The U.S. government is going to run an all-time record deficit of about 1.65 trillion dollars this year and average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income. But borrowing endless amounts of money and consuming massive amounts of wealth with that borrowed money is a road that leads to economic oblivion. The only way to have a healthy economy in the long run is to create wealth. But how can America create wealth if our industrial base is being absolutely destroyed? According to Forbes, the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. Hundreds of formerly thriving industries in the United States are being totally wiped out. China uses every trick in the book to win trade battles. They deeply subsidize their domestic industries, they openly steal technology, they blatantly manipulate currency rates and they allow their citizens to be paid slave labor wages. So yes, the products coming from China are cheaper, but in the process tens of thousands of factories in the U.S. are shutting down, millions of jobs are being lost and the ability of America to create wealth is being compromised.
In 2010, the U.S. trade deficit was just a whisker under $500 billion. Much of that trade deficit was with China.
During 2010, we spent $365 billion on goods from China while they only spent $92 billion on goods from us.
Does a 4 to 1 ratio sound like a “fair and balanced” trade relationship to anyone out there?
Our trade deficit with China in 2010 was the largest trade deficit that one country has ever had with another country in the history of the world.
In fact, the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.
Needless to say, that is not a good trend.
Our industrial base and our ability to create wealth is being wiped out so rapidly that it has now become a very serious threat to our national security.
According to Forbes, there is only one steel plant inside the United States that is still capable of producing steel of high enough quality to meet the needs of the U.S. military, and even that plant has been bought by a European company.
Meanwhile, China produced 11 times as much steel as America did last year.
Not only that, China is now the number one supplier of components that are critical to the operation of U.S. defense systems.
How in the world did we let that happen?
So what happens if we have a conflict with China someday?
But of more immediate concern is the loss of jobs that the destruction of our industrial base is causing.
For example, the Ivex Packaging Paper plant in Joliet, Illinois just announced that it is shutting down for good after 97 years in business. 79 good jobs will be lost. Meanwhile, China has become the number one producer of paper products in the entire world.
But China is not just wiping the floor with us when it comes to things like steel and paper.
The truth is that China has now become the world’s largest exporter of high technology products. Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.
So how is China doing it? Well, as noted above, they are pulling every trick that they can think of.
Most Americans think that we have “free trade” with nations such as China. That is a complete and total lie and anyone that believes that we have “free trade” with China does not know what they are talking about.
China subsidizes their domestic industries to such an extreme extent that many global industries no longer even come close to resembling “free markets” as a recent story in Forbes noted….
According to a story in the January 20, 2009 New York Times, government subsidies so thoroughly disrupted pricing in the global market for antibiotics that many western producers had to either move facilities to Asia or exit the business entirely. The reason this might matter to intelligence analysts is that the last U.S. source of key ingredients for antibiotics — a Bristol-Myers Squibb plant in East Syracuse, New York — has now closed, leaving the U.S. dependent on foreign sources in a future conflict.
Our politicians and our business leaders have pursued economic policies that are so self-destructive that it defies explanation.
How in the world could anyone be so stupid?
Since 2001, over 42,000 U.S. factories have closed down for good. Millions of jobs have been lost. The ability of the once great American economic machine to create wealth has been neutered.
The business environment in America is completely and totally pathetic at this point. The number of small businesses that are being created is also way, way down.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 403,765 small businesses were created in the 12 months that ended in March 2009. That was down 17.3% from the previous year, and it was the smallest number of small businesses created since records began being kept in 1977.
The truth is that the U.S. economy is dying.
We continue to consume about the same amount of wealth that we always have, but our net worth is declining.
According to the Federal Reserve, more than two-thirds of Americans have seen their net worth decline during this economic downturn. In fact, the Fed says that between 2007 and 2009, the wealth of the average American family declined by 23%.
So if it seems like your family and everyone around you is getting poorer, that is because it really is happening.
We really are becoming poorer as a nation.
We can see evidence of this all around us. Just consider a few of the examples that have been in the news in recent days….
*One school district in the Chicago area is laying off 363 teachers.
*The U.S. Postal Service is offering $20,000 buyouts to thousands of workers as they attempt to slash 7,500 good paying jobs.
*The city of Detroit, once a shining example of middle class America, is now a rotting cesspool of economic decline and it saw its population decline by 25 percent over the decade that recently ended.
Americans are not feeling the full impact of America’s industrial decline yet because we have been filling the gap in wealth creation with massive amounts of debt.
In the years since 1975, the United States had run a total trade deficit of 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world. That 7.5 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. businesses and U.S. workers, but instead it left the country and went into the hands of foreigners that do not pay taxes.
Read the entire article HERE.
Back in April 2007, I wrote about the three stages that appear in every bull market, and more to the point, that gold was approaching the end of stage one. Gold back then was still trading around $690, and therefore well below its then record high of $850 reached in January 1980. My view was that “gold looks ready to make a new all-time high. When that happens, stage two begins. There will not yet be widespread excitement about gold in the next stage, because that won’t occur until stage three. But when gold makes a new record high, and particularly after it breaks into a 4-digit price, people will begin paying attention.”
I wrote a follow-up article in November 2009 entitled Welcome to Stage Two of Gold’s Bull Market, just two months after gold broke above $1,000. Focusing on the change in prevailing sentiment, I noted how differently gold was being treated. “During the first stage of a bull market, the media and most investors alike focus on past issues, rather than future potential. Over the past decade one consequently heard all the reasons not to own the gold…But there is a notable difference in this stage compared to stage one. Look how many people are writing and talking about gold. Gold has moved from apathy and neglect – stage one characteristics – to growing attention. But importantly, instead of embracing gold and analyzing it to determine relative value, today’s attention is one of widespread disbelief and skepticism that gold can climb higher. These are exactly the responses one should expect to emanate from stage two.” I concluded by noting that at some unpredictable point in the future, gold will enter stage three “when gold no longer is relatively good value.”
I did not make any mention of silver in the above two articles. It too has three stages, but silver is still mired in stage one, which began in February 1991 after silver had collapsed to $3.50. It was an astounding 93% decline from its January 1980 peak of $50. But as we can see on the following chart, $3.50 was silver’s low, and its price has been rising ever since.
This chart shows a massive accumulation pattern, marked by the green lines. This pattern is a story of strong hands and weak hands, specifically, of silver moving to the former from the latter.
From its $50 high in January 1980 to its $3.50 low in February 1991, the weak hands were shaken out. At that point, the accumulation by strong hands – who were buying because the recognized that silver was an exceptional bargain – became the dominant force. Their buying power was stronger than the selling pressure of the weak hands, and the price of silver responded by starting to climb. It was classic stage one action, but here’s the important point.
Silver is still in stage one. It won’t advance into stage two until $50 is exceeded, just like gold did not enter stage two until its previous high of $850 was hurdled.
I expect that silver will exceed $50 this year, which is a point of view I first mentioned in my outlook for 2010.
Admittedly, I was a little early with my forecast about when gold would enter stage two. So perhaps I will again be early by forecasting that silver will enter stage two of its bull market this year. Regardless of the accuracy of my timing, one thing is clear. Because it is still in stage one, silver remains good value.
Read the entire article HERE.
By Porter Stansberry
A little over ten years ago I founded Stansberry & Associates Investment Research. It has become one of the largest and most recognized investment research companies in the world, serving hundreds of thousands of subscribers in more than 120 countries.
You may know of our firm because of the work we did over the last several years – helping investors avoid the big disasters associated with Wall Street’s collapse.
We warned investors to avoid Fannie and Freddie, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and General Motors and dozens of other companies that have since collapsed. We even helped our subscribers find opportunities to profit from these moves by shorting stocks and buying put options. To my knowledge, no other research firm in the world can match our record of correctly predicting the catastrophe that occurred in 2008.
But that’s not why I created this letter.
I reference our success and experience with Wall Street’s latest crisis because we believe there is an even bigger crisis lurking – something that will shake the very foundation of America.
And that is why I’ve spent a significant amount of time and money in the past few months preparing this letter.
In short, I want to talk about a specific event that will take place in America’s very near future… which could actually bring our country and our way of life to a grinding halt.
This looming crisis is related to the financial crisis of 2008… but it is infinitely more dangerous, as I’ll explain in this letter.
As this problem comes to a head, I expect there to be riots in the streets… arrests on an unprecedented scale… and martial law, enforced by the U.S. military.
Believe me, I don’t make this prediction lightly and I have no interest in trying to scare you.
I’m simply following my research to its logical conclusion.
I did the same when I tracked Fannie and Freddie’s accounting. The same with General Motors. And Bear Stearns and the rest. And when I began giving this warning in 2006 no one took me very seriously… not at first. Back then, most mainstream commentators just ignored me.
And when I presented my case and exposed the facts at economic conferences, they got angry. They couldn’t refute my research… but they weren’t ready to accept the enormity of its conclusions either.
That’s why, before I go any further, I have to warn you…
What I am going to say is controversial. It will offend many people… Democrats, Republicans, and Tea Partiers, alike. In fact, I’ve already received dozens of pieces of hate mail.
And… the ideas and solutions I’m going to present might seem somewhat radical to you at first… perhaps even “un-American.”
My guess is that, as you read this letter… you’ll say: “There’s no way this could really happen… not here.”
But just remember:
No one believed me three years ago when I said the world’s largest mortgage bankers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would soon go bankrupt.
And no one believed me when I said GM would soon be bankrupt as well… or that the same would happen to General Growth Properties (the biggest owner of mall property in America).
But again, that’s exactly what happened.
And that brings us to today…
The same financial problems I’ve been tracking from bank to bank, from company to company for the last five years have now found their way into the U.S. Treasury. I’ll explain how this came to be. What it means is critically important to you and every American…
The next phase in this crisis will threaten our very way of life.
The savings of millions will be wiped out. This disaster will change your business and your work. It will dramatically affect your savings accounts, investments, and retirement.
It will change everything about your normal way of life: where you vacation… where you send you kids or grandkids to school… how and where you shop… the way you protect your family and home.
I’ll explain how I know these events are about to happen. You can decide for yourself if I’m full of hot air. As for me, I’m more certain about this looming crisis than I’ve been about anything else in my life.
I know that debts don’t just disappear. I know that bailouts have big consequences. And, unlike most of the pundits on TV, I know a lot about finance and accounting.
Of course, the most important part of this situation is not what is happening… but rather what you can do about it.
In other words: Will you be prepared when the proverbial $@*% hits the fan?
Don’t worry, I’m not organizing a rally or demonstration. And I’ve turned down every request to run for political office.
Instead, I want to show you exactly what I’m doing personally, to protect and even grow my own money, and how you can prepare as well.
You see, I can tell you with near 100% certainty that most Americans will not know what to do when commodity prices – things like milk, bread and gasoline – soar. They won’t know what to do when banks close… and their credit cards stop working. Or when they’re not allowed to buy gold or foreign currencies. Or when food stamps fail…
In short, our way of life in America is about to change – I promise you. In this letter I’ll show you exactly what is happening.
You can challenge every single one of my facts and you’ll find that I’m right about each allegation I make.
And then you can decide for yourself.
Will you act now to protect yourself and your family from the catastrophe that’s brewing right now in Washington?
I hope so. And that’s why I wrote this letter.
I’m going to walk you through exactly what I am doing personally, and what you can do as well. I can’t promise you’ll emerge from this crisis completely unharmed – but I can just about guarantee you’ll be a lot better off than people who don’t follow these simple steps.
But I’m getting ahead of myself just a bit.
Let me back up and show you in the simplest terms possible what is going on, why I am so concerned, and what I believe will happen in the next 12 months…
The Greatest Danger
America Has Ever Faced?
In short, I believe that we as Americans are about to see a major, major collapse in our national monetary system, and our normal way of life.
Basically, for many years now, our government has been borrowing so much money (very often using short-term loans), that very soon, we will no longer be able to afford even the interest on these loans.
Again… I say these things as an expert in accounting and financial research.
You may not think things are THAT BAD in the U.S. economy, but consider this simple fact from the National Inflation Association:
Even if all U.S. citizens were taxed 100% of their income… it would still not be enough to balance the Federal budget! We’d still have to borrow money, just to maintain the status quo.
That’s absolutely incredible, isn’t it?
Yet I’ve never seen this fact reported anywhere else.
Normally I study these kinds of numbers when I’m looking at a business to invest in or to recommend to my readers. But lately I’ve spent most of my time looking into our national balance sheet, because as the banking system collapsed in 2008, all of the bad debts were absorbed by the world’s governments.
For example, when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed in the summer of 2008, the U.S. government responded by simply guaranteeing all of their outstanding debt.
Since then these companies have recorded hundreds of billions of losses – all of which were passed along to the government. Yes, you can still get mortgages today. And yes, Freddie and Fannie are still in business. But costs associated with these programs are piling up at the U.S. Treasury – and they are enormously expensive.
These losses and trillions in other private obligations are now the responsibility of the U.S. government.
The problem is, even before this crisis, our government was deeply in debt. With each additional commitment we sink further and further into debt… closing in upon the moment that we can simply no longer afford even the interest payments on our obligations.
According to even my most conservative calculations (using numbers provided by the Congressional Budget Office) a debt default by the U.S. government would be inevitable – were it not for one simple anomaly… the one thing that has saved the United States so far.
I’m talking about our country’s unique ability to simply print more money.
You see, the U.S. government has one very important weapon to use in this crisis: It is the only debtor in the world who can legally print U.S. dollars. And the U.S. dollar is what’s known as “the world’s reserve currency.”
The dollar forms the basis of the world’s financial system. It is what banks around the world hold in reserve against their loans.
That’s a secret that most politicians don’t understand:
As things stand now, the U.S. government can’t go broke in any ordinary sense of the word because it can simply print dollars to pay for its bad debts. (It’s been doing so since March of 2009).
That might sound pretty good at first. Since we can always just print more money, what is there to worry about…?
Well, let me show you…
You see, as things stand today, America is the only country in the world that doesn’t have to pay for its imports in a foreign currency.
Let’s say you’re a German and you want to buy oil from Saudi Arabia. You can’t just pay for your oil in German marks (or the new euro currency), because the oil is priced in dollars.
So you have to buy dollars first, then buy your oil.
And that means the value of the German currency is of great importance to the German government. To maintain the value of its currency Germans must produce at least as much as they consume from around the world, otherwise the value of its currency will begin to fall, causing prices to rise and its standard of living to decline.
But in America…?
We can consume as much as we want without worrying about acquiring the money to pay for it, because our dollars are accepted everywhere around the word. In short, for decades now, we haven’t had to produce anything or export anything to get all the dollars we needed to buy all the oil (and other goods) our country required.
All we had to do was borrow the money.
And boy did we. Take a look at this chart…
Even as late as the 1970s, America was the world’s largest creditor. But by the mid-1980s we’d become a debtor to the world. And since the late 1990s we’ve been the world’s LARGEST debtor.
Today, our government owes more money to more people than anyone else in the world.
And that was before the financial crisis!
In short, with all of these bad debts piling up, we’ve had to begin repaying our debts by printing trillions of new dollars. The impact of this is only just now beginning to be felt.
And once our creditors figure out what’s happening, they’re going to be very angry.
I believe they will either completely stop accepting dollars in repayment… or greatly discount the value of these new dollars. I’m sure you think that sounds crazy, but as I’ll show you, it is already happening.
And that will make our consumption-led way of life impossible to afford.
Just think about the price of oil…
Access to cheap oil has been America’s #1 gift of owning the world’s reserve currency.
This has made gas cheaper in the U.S. than almost anywhere else in the developed world. I know you may think gas prices have skyrocketed in recent years… but look at how much less we pay than other developed nations…
And here’s the thing…
If oil is no longer priced in dollars, the price of oil for Americans will skyrocket immediately. It will change our lives, overnight.
Airline travel will get much more expensive. The cost to ship goods by truck to grocery stores around the country will get much more expensive. Farming itself will get a lot more costly… so will commuting to work… taking a taxi… just about everything we do will suddenly get much more expensive.
And just remember: In order for prices to start skyrocketing, all that has to happen is that other countries start preferring payments in something besides U.S. dollars.
The U.S. dollar has been the world’s currency for decades now… so most Americans don’t have a clue about what the repercussions are of losing this status.
You might think this could never happen… but it happens all the time when countries get too far in debt or when they consume too much or produce too little.
In fact, the same thing happened to Great Britain in the 1970s.
Most people don’t know this, but British Sterling was the reserve currency for most of the world for nearly 200 years… for most of the 18th and 19th centuries.
It continued to play this role until after World War II, when America was forced to prop up Britain’s economy with foreign aid – remember the famous Marshall Plan, when we gave billions to help European countries rebuild?
Unfortunately though, Britain pursued a socialist national agenda. The government took over all of the major industries. Like Barack Obama, Britain’s leaders wanted to “spread the wealth around.” Pretty soon the country was flat broke.
The final straw for Britain came in 1967, when things got so bad the Labour Party (the socialists) decided to “devalue” the British currency by 14%, overnight. They believed this would make it easier for people to afford their debts.
In reality, what it did was make anyone holding British sterling 14% poorer, overnight, and it made everything in Britain, much, much more expensive in the coming years.
And for the country as a whole, it ushered in one of the worst decades in modern British history.
Most Americans don’t know about Britain’s “Winter of Discontent” in the late 1970s, when the government put a freeze on wages. There were continuous strikes in nearly every sector… grave diggers, trash collectors… even hospital workers. Things got so bad at one point that many hospitals were reduced to accepting emergency patients only.
In 1975, inflation in Britain skyrocketed 26.9%… in a single year!
The government also imposed what was known as the “Three Day Week” in 1974. In short, businesses were limited to using electricity for only three specified consecutive days’ each week and they were prohibited from working longer hours on those days. Television companies were required to cease broadcasting at 10.30pm… to save electricity.
The extreme problems in the economy led to Britain being nicknamed, “the sick man of Europe.”
Just how bad were things, exactly?
Well, listen to several Brits tell of their experiences. Their stories were collected recently by the BBC television channel…
John Blackburn, from Wetherby said:
“I was a control engineer at Huddersfield Power Station at the time and part of my duty was to switch off the supply to various substations around the town, according to an official rota. On many an evening shift I would have to switch off the power to my own home before going back for a candle-lit supper!”
Richard Evans, from London, recalls:
“My mother had to cross a picket line to get into the maternity hospital (they told her she couldn’t come in….). My Grandmother had to bring in food for her to eat, and clean towels and bedding.”
David Stoker, Guildford, said:
“I lived in the North East near Newcastle and I vividly remember my grandmother and I walking from one shop to another in search of candles to buy. All were sold out. Innovatively, butchers placed string down cartons of drippings which we bought… These worked although the smell and risk of fire made them less practical than candles.”
Imagine… Britain was a global superpower for 150 years. But when they started intentionally devaluing their currency, things went straight down hill.
Maybe you don’t think something similar can happen here… but I’m telling you… it’s already underway!
In fact, the exchange value of the U.S. dollar has fallen about 8% so far this year. And its rate of decline is accelerating.
What happened to the British currency is now happening to the U.S. dollar.
Not only will the price of gas, oil, and other commodities skyrocket in America, almost EVERYTHING we consume will immediately get more expensive. All the clothing, furniture, and household goods we import from China.
All the food we get from Central and South America… all the electronics, televisions, computers, and cars we get from Asia and Europe.
In fact, it’s happening, right now before our eyes: The price of gold is up 85% since the financial crisis. Oil prices have doubled. Soy beans are way up. Copper prices are up more than 170% since 2009. Cotton prices are up 80%… in just the past few months, since July of this year!
As Wesley Card, the head of a clothing company that includes brands like Dockers and Anne Klein, recently said: “It’s really a no-choice situation. Prices have to come up.”
The chart below shows how much a few key commodities have skyrocketed in price, just since the beginning of 2009…
Of course, skyrocketing commodity prices are just the beginning.
There are other disastrous consequences to the U.S. dollar losing status as the world’s currency…
For example, there would be much less demand for U.S. dollars around the globe, so interest rates will skyrocket. Instead of getting a mortgage at today’s incredibly low rates of 4.5%, it might cost you 8% or even 10% or 15%.
Imagine what that would do to housing prices!
Stock prices will likely plummet by at least 40% in a matter of weeks as a result of this event in the currency markets.
It will cost every American business A LOT more money for supplies and materials. No one will be able to get a loan… and no bank will want to make loans.
In short, when the U.S. dollar loses its spot as the world’s ‘reserve currency,’ it will cause a brutal downturn in the economy, which I expect will be about 10-times worse than the mortgage crisis of 2008.
You see, what will also happen as a result of this currency crisis, and the end of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, will be massive inflation, the likes of which we have never seen before.
When everyone is trying to get rid of their dollars, the government is printing more and more to pay debts, and no one wants to own them, the crisis will reach epic proportions.
Just look for example, at what happened to one European country that faced this type of crisis in the 1990s…
This is what happens during a major hyperinflation in the real world.
By the early 1990s, the national government of one European nation had spent nearly all its savings. So what did they do next? Simple… they began to steal the savings of private citizens by limiting people’s access to their money in government-controlled banks.
And of course, to finance the daily operations of maintaining their basic infrastructure, they started printing money, big time. Even so, the country’s basic infrastructure began to fall apart. There were potholes in the street, broken water pipes… elevators that never got repaired… and entire construction projects that simply shut down, before being completed.
At this point, the unemployment rate was more than 30%.
Not too bad, right?
But it got worse… much worse.
You see, once you start down the dangerous road of printing money, things can get extremely bad, very quickly.
As San Jose State University Economics Professor Dr. Thayer Watkins, an expert on countries that try to inflate their way out of big debts, wrote on this particular disaster:
“The government tried to counter the inflation by imposing price controls. But when inflation continued, the government price controls made the price producers were getting so ridiculously low that they simply stopped producing. bakers stopped making bread… slaughterhouses refused to sell meat to the stores… other stores closed down”
So what did the government do next to try to curb inflation?
Well, one bright idea they had was to force stores to fill out government documents every time they increased prices. They thought that this would slow down price increases, because the paperwork would take so much time!
But like many government plans, this one had terrible, unintended consequences.
Since stores had to dedicate an employee to do nothing but register this paperwork, and since the process took so long, stores began to raise prices on basic goods at even higher rates, so that they didn’t have to come back and file more paperwork!
Incredible, isn’t it?
Then, of course the government did what all governments do during periods of hyperinflation: They created a new currency… which basically removed six zeroes from the old one. So 100,000,000 old units were soon worth 100 new units. Of course, this didn’t work either… it never does.
Between October of 1993 and January 1995, prices increase by, get this: 5 quadrillion percent. That’s…
In other words, a loaf of bread that cost $1 in 1993, suddenly cost
Yes, that’s $50 TRILLION.
I know, it’s laughable… but I can guarantee that the people of this once proud European country weren’t laughing one bit, especially those living on a fixed income.
Of course, at this point, the country completely fell apart. As Dr. Thayer Watkins wrote:
“The social structure began to collapse. Thieves robbed hospitals and clinics of scarce pharmaceuticals and then sold them in front of the same places they robbed. The railway workers went on strike and closed down the country’s rail system.”
At this point, businesses and citizens across the country basically refused to take the local currency.
Instead, everyone started dealing in German Marks. Keep in mind, the daily rate of inflation was nearly 100%.
Can you imagine the panic in a society when the price of just about everything doubles… every single day? It was absolute pandemonium, and the economy basically came to a grinding halt. It was like living in a war zone. Truckers stopped delivering goods. Stores, restaurants, and gas stations all shut down.
In fact, the only way to get gas was to buy it on the side of the road, from someone selling it out of a plastic can.
Steve Hanke, an Economics professor at Johns Hopkins, wrote that:
“People couldn’t afford to buy food in the free market – they kept from starving by either waiting in long lines at state stores for irregularly supplied rations of low-quality staples, or by relying on relatives who lived in the countryside.
For long periods, all [the] gas stations were closed, with the exception of one station that catered to foreigners and embassy personnel. People also spent an inordinate amount of time at the foreign-exchange black markets, where they traded huge piles of near-worthless money for a single German mark or US dollar note.”
The number of operating busses dropped by 60%… and busses were so crowded that drivers couldn’t even collect fares. Government ordered blackouts left people without heat and electricity for long periods of time.
In another ridiculous government move, they actually made it illegal to NOT accept a personal check.
Imagine… you could write a check… and in the several days that it typically takes for a check to clear, inflation would wipe out almost all of the cost of covering your check.
Of course, as is typical, the government took none of the blame. As Dr. Thayer Watkins reported, the government’s official position was that the hyperinflation occurred “because of the unjustly implemented sanctions against the people and state.”
Again… I know what you are thinking… “just because it happened in Europe doesn’t it mean it can happen here, right”?
Well guess what…
The same thing that happened in this European country – Yugoslavia – also just happened in Iceland and Greece, but on a less dramatic scale. Of course, the only reason the situations in Greece and Iceland weren’t worse is because of giant foreign bailouts. Yes… that’s right… more debt to solve the problem of already existing, insurmountable debts.
It’s all going to come to a head soon. Much sooner than most people think.
Remember too that in roughly the past 100 years this type of debt crisis has reared its ugly head in Germany, Russia, Austria, Poland, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, the Ukraine, Japan, and China.
And I believe it will soon happen right here in the United States.
Don’t believe me?
Well, the truth is that it’s already happening at the local and state levels. Take a look…
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank, at least 46 states face huge budget shortfalls for 2011, on top of the deficits they still haven’t completely figured out for 2010.
The center reports that the total state budget shortfall could reach $160 billion.
And although many states got federal help over the past year, that aid is now gone.
So what are these desperate governments trying to do?
You probably won’t believe their proposals…
* SELL EVERYTHING: The state of Arizona, for example, announced earlier this year that it is selling $735 million worth of government-owned buildings, but will still occupy them by paying a 20-year lease. The government is selling the legislative buildings, the House and Senate, the State Capitol Executive Tower, the state fairgrounds, even prisons.
* RELEASE PRISONERS: In California, the state has taken the radical step of opening its prison doors and releasing thousands of inmates. About 11% of the state budget ($8 billion) goes to the penal system (more than they spend on higher education).
So California is slashing the number of inmates by 6,500 next year. In other words, they are cutting loose about 4% of the prison population.
Incredibly, other states, including New York, may soon do the same thing.
* LIFE INSURANCE: In Georgia, the government is proposing taking out “dead peasant” policies on state employees. When these folks die, the money won’t go to the dead person’s family… but to the state coffers, to help pay for more programs, insurance, and pension liabilities!
It’s simply incredible, isn’t it?
State and municipal governments are so broke, and so desperate, that they are taking unprecedented steps to at least temporarily avoid bankruptcy. Nearly every state in the union is talking about legalizing some form of gambling, to boost tax revenue. California still wants to legalize marijuana, even though it was defeated in the recent election.
Of course, none of these ridiculous steps will work on the long run.
And the truly amazing thing is that the U.S. Federal government is in even worse shape than the local governments! The only reason we haven’t seen the full brunt of this crisis yet on the federal level is because we’ve just continued to pile on more and more debt.
The states can’t print money… but the Federal government can (at least for now). And for the moment, this is all that is preventing a currency collapse of unprecedented proportions.
And this is the important point: What most people don’t realize is that the U.S. government can only continue printing dollars… as long as the U.S. dollar remains the world’s reserve currency.
In other words, this is all going to fall apart much sooner than people think. In fact, it’s already happening…
The first steps are already well underway. It is happening right now… before our very eyes.
I can’t stress this enough: You need to act now in order to protect your assets, and grow your savings in the next few years. In the next few minutes, I’m going to show you exactly how I’m protecting my own money, and what I recommend doing with your own.
But first, let me show you what exactly is going on right now…
“America… must be very worried”
Like I said, most Americans don’t believe the U.S. dollar could ever lose its spot as the world’s reserve currency.
But I am here to tell you… this process is already well underway.
For example, although it went almost completely unreported in the U.S. press, last fall, a group of the world’s most powerful countries, including China, Japan, Russia, and France, got together for a secret meeting – WITHOUT the United States being present or even knowing about the meeting.
Veteran Middle East report Robert Fisk reported on this even in the Britain’s Independent newspaper:
“In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese Yen, Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.”
Fisk also interviewed a Chinese banker who said:
“These plans will change the face of international financial transactions. America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate.”
And sure enough, after Fisk published the details of this secret meeting, U.S. officials and central bankers from around the globe denied these plans.
But as the old central banking adage goes… how do you know exactly when a currency will be devalued?
The answer: Right AFTER the head of the central bank goes on television to adamantly deny that any such transaction will occur. (And guess who just went public in recent weeks with a statement about how the U.S. will “not devalue its currency”? Yes, you guessed it… U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.)
You see, the last thing a central banker wants to do in the midst of a devaluation is to give people a warning BEFORE he can devalue. So they have to deny, deny, deny. After the announcement is made, it’s too late for citizens and investors to get out.
Like I said, what’s incredible is that this story of a secret meeting among most of the major powers besides the U.S. was greatly under reported in the American press.
But you know what… the way I see it, it’s much more telling to look at actions rather than government press releases.
For example, here is what is happening, right now in the real world.
When you read these facts, I think you’ll agree with me that the U.S. dollar’s days are numbered, as far as remaining the world’s reserve currency.
China is getting out
Cheng Siwei, a former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee, said that China is going to stop putting so much money into U.S. dollars, and will instead look to the Japanese Yen and the Euro.
China holds more U.S. dollars than anyone else on the planet. But China is getting out of the U.S. dollar as fast as they can without crashing their own economy.
Look at this chart…
It shows that China’s holdings of U.S. dollars peaked in 2009, but China is unloading as many dollars as they can, as quickly as possible.
And this is just one sign of the end of the U.S. dollar standard.
There are many more…
The dollar is no longer good here
As I am sure you are aware, for years the U.S. dollar has been accepted almost universally around the globe.
Heck, many times when I’ve traveled, I never even bothered to convert to the local currency, because I knew everyone would take my dollars.
Well, that’s simply not the case anymore…
HSBC, one of the largest banks in Mexico, no longer allows you to deposit U.S. dollars into their banks. They’ve done this on the heels of money-laundering allegations, but we suspect they also simply don’t want to be stuck with tons of U.S. dollars, as the currency continues to decline.
This move would have been unfathomable 10 years ago… that a big bank in Mexico would no longer accept U.S. dollars for deposit. But today it is the harsh reality.
And Mexico is not the only place this is occurring…
Reuters reports that the same thing has happened in 2008 in one of Europe’s most popular tourist spots…
Currency exchange outlets in Amsterdam have been reportedly turning away customers who want to exchange their U.S. dollars for Euros.
As one traveling American told the Reuters news agency: “Our dollar is worth maybe zero over here,” said Mary Kelly, an American tourist from Indianapolis, Indiana, in front of the Anne Frank house. “It’s hard to find a place to exchange. We have to go downtown, to the central station or post office.”
In India, the country’s tourism minister said in 2008 that U.S. dollars will no longer be accepted at the country’s heritage tourist sites, like the Taj Mahal. And the U.S. dollar is no longer good anywhere in Cuba.
The New York Times reports that: “now, many shops in China no longer accept dollar-based credit cards issued by foreign banks… and foreigners cannot convert American dollars into renminbi beyond a given quota.”
Iran, of course, has already moved all of its reserves out of U.S. dollars, and Kuwait de-pegged it’s currency from the dollar a few years ago:
Bloomberg News recently reported that China and Russia plan to start trading in each other’s currencies to diminish the dollar’s role in global trade. “Given the risk to the dollar and U.S. assets from their fiscal position, they want to reduce their dependence on the dollar as an invoicing currency,” said Bhanu Baweja, of UBS bank.
It’s even happening here in the USA
Most Americans don’t know that some states in the Mid-West are already using “alternative currencies”…
An NBC News affiliate in Michigan reports that
“new types of money are popping up across Mid-Michigan and supporters say, it’s not counterfeit, but rather a competing currency. Right now, for example, you can buy a meal or visit a chiropractor without using actual U.S. legal tender.”
What most Americans don’t realize is that this is all totally legal.
The U.S. Treasury Dept web site says that, according to Coinage Act of 1965: “There is… no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services.”
I saw one report that says there are now 150 of these alternative local U.S. currencies being accepted around the country!
USA Today reports that the largest of these local currencies is a currency called “Berkshares,” which are being used in the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts.
According to the paper:
“Since its start in 2006, the system, the largest of its kind in the country, has circulated $2.3 million worth of BerkShares.”
And even in places that do not yet have local currencies, store owners may now actually prefer foreign currencies rather than U.S. dollars…
In Washington, DC, just 25 miles from my office, some stores have begun accepting euros. Of course, the euro isn’t much more stable than the dollar right now. But my point is that most people don’t understand there is NO FEDERAL REQUIREMENT in the United States for a private store to accept dollars for non-debt transactions.
You see, no matter what the government decides, stores and businesses will accept whatever they believe is a strong currency.
As Texas Representative Ron Paul wrote recently:
“If you walk into a 7-11 to buy a soda, the clerk doesn’t have to accept your dollars, he could demand euros, silver, or copper. But because legal tender laws backing the dollar have caused the dollar to drive other currencies out of circulation, [right now] it is easier for stores to accept dollars.”
Well, all that is quickly changing…
Many places in Texas now accept Mexican pesos for payment. “Euros Accepted” signs are popping up in of all places: Manhattan. And not only Manhattan, but in New York’s favorite summer playground… the Hamptons.
There, an art gallery assistant was quoted by The Real Deal: “I wouldn’t want to discourage a sale in any way because of a currency issue.”
And it’s not just small stores that are accepting other methods of payment besides U.S. dollars.
The Chicago mercantile exchange the world’s largest futures and commodities exchange board), now accepts gold to settle futures contracts. Until recently, the exchange typically accepted only U.S. treasuries and bonds as payment.
These guys obviously see the writing on the wall.
This would have all been completely unthinkable 10 years ago, but today it’s a reality. And this trend is going to keep moving incredibly fast.
That is why…
The smartest investors are taking action…
Bill Gross, who probably knows as much about currencies and debt as anyone in the world, runs the world’s biggest bond fund. He was quoted by Bloomberg:
“We’ve told all of our clients that if you only had one idea, one investment, it would be to buy an investment in a non-dollar currency. That should be on top of the list.”
Jim Rogers, one of the world’s most successful multi-millionaire investors writes:
“The dollar is not just in decline; it’s a mess. If something isn’t done soon, I believe the dollar could lose its status as the world’s reserve currency and medium of exchange, something that would lead to a huge decline in the standard of living for U.S. citizens like nothing we’ve seen in nearly a century.”
I know… you probably still don’t believe it can happen here in the United States. But think about it…
Are we as Americans really immune to the laws of economics and finance?
I don’t think so.
And every circumstance I know of, in which a government has tried to inflate its debts away, has ended in disaster. It will happen here too.
As Jim Rogers says:
“History teaches us that such imprudent monetary and fiscal behavior has always led to economic disaster.”
This is why World Bank president, Robert B. Zoellick, in a speech at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, recently said: “The United States would be mistaken to take for granted the dollar’s place as the world’s predominant reserve currency. Looking forward, there will increasingly be other options to the dollar.”
And this is why the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently published a paper calling for a new global world currency.
A paper entitled “Reserve Accumulation and International Monetary Stability,” written by the Strategy, Policy and Review Department of the IMF, recommends that the world adopt a global currency called the “Bancor” with a global central bank to administer the currency.
The report is dated April 13, 2010… and no, unfortunately this is not just a bad rumor.
This is a deadly serious proposal in an official document from one of most powerful institutions in the world.
Do you see where this is all heading?
As Brazilian economist and strategist Ricardo C. Amaral wrote recently:
“The US dollar served its purpose since the end of WW II and became the major foreign exchange reserve currency… [but] the days of the US dollar playing that special role… has reached the end of the line, since today that system is very sick and it is dying a slow death…
Mr. Amaral added that we will soon see: “the major collapse of the US dollar creating the biggest international monetary crisis the world has ever seen…”
This is why gold and silver prices are soaring:
It’s not a matter of “if” the U.S. dollar will lose its status as the world’s reserve currency… it’s simply a matter of “when.”
Investors know there are serious, serious problems with the U.S. dollar, so they are fleeing to precious metals, which have historically been very reliable when a country has major currency problems.
In short: It’s not hard to see why people are no longer accepting U.S. dollars… and why many foreign countries are pushing for a new world reserve currency.
The good news is, no matter what happens, I’ve found several ways for you to protect your savings – and you could even make 3- to 5-times your money over the next few years.
I’ll show you exactly what to do in a moment. But first let me explain why the collapse of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency could happen much sooner than most people expect…
The REAL State
of the U.S. Economy
I know many of my friends, colleagues, and family members are still in serious denial.
In the world of psychology, they call this the “normalcy bias.”
You see, the normalcy bias actually refers to our natural reactions when facing a crisis.
The normalcy bias causes smart people to underestimate the possibility of a disaster and its effects. In short: People believe that since something has never happened before… it never will. We are all guilty of it… it’s just human nature.
The normalcy bias also makes people unable to deal with a disaster, once it has occurred. Basically… people have a really hard time preparing for and dealing with something they have never experienced.
The normalcy bias often results in unnecessary deaths in disaster situations. For example, think about the Jewish populations of World War II…
As Barton Biggs reports in his book, Wealth, War, and Wisdom:
“By the end of 1935, 100,000 Jews had left Germany, but 450,000 still [remained]. Wealthy Jewish families… kept thinking and hoping that the worst was over…
Many of the German Jews, brilliant, cultured, and cosmopolitan as they were, were too complacent. They had been in Germany so long and were so well established, they simply couldn’t believe there was going to be a crisis that would endanger them. They were too comfortable. They believed the Nazi’s anti-Semitism was an episodic event and that Hitler’s bark was worse than his bite. [They] reacted sluggishly to the rise of Hitler for completely understandable but tragically erroneous reasons. Events moved much faster than they could imagine.”
This is one of the most tragic examples of the devastating effects of the “normalcy bias” the world has ever seen.
Just think about what was going on at the time. Jews were arrested, beaten, taxed, robbed, and jailed for no reason other than the fact that they practiced a particular religion. As a result, they were shipped off to concentration camps. Their houses and businesses were seized.
Yet most Jews STILL didn’t leave Nazi Germany, because they simply couldn’t believe that things would get as bad as they did. That’s the normalcy bias… with devastating results.
We saw the same thing happen during Hurricane Katrina…
Even as it became clear that the levee system was not going to work, tens of thousands of people stayed in their homes, directly in the line of the oncoming waves of water.
People had never seen things get this bad before… so they simply didn’t believe it could happen. As a result, nearly 2,000 residents died.
Again… it’s the “normalcy bias.”
We simply refuse to see the evidence that’s right in front of our face, because it is unlike anything we have experienced before.
The normalcy bias kicks in… and we continue to go about our lives as if nothing is unusual or out of the ordinary.
Well, we’re seeing the same thing happen in the United States right now.
We have been the world’s most powerful country for nearly 100 years. The U.S. dollar has reigned supreme as the world’s reserve currency for more than 50 years.
Most of us in America simply cannot fathom these things changing. But I promise you this: Things are changing… and faster than most people realize.
For a moment, just look at a tiny fraction of the evidence around us….
** 13% OF POPULATION ON FOODSTAMPS
Did you know that there are now nearly 42 million Americans on food stamps? That’s nearly 13% of the entire population. Those numbers are up 17.5% from last year… and the number of Americans on food stamps has gone up every month for 19 months.
Can a country really be in good shape when 13% of the population can’t even afford to buy food?
Or how about this…
** SHANTY TOWNS COMING TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Although it’s gone almost completely unreported in the mainstream press, in a dozen or so cities across the nation (like Fresno, Sacramento, and Nashville), there are hundreds of people living in modern-day, Depression-era shanty towns.
The Fresno shanty town has received the most publicity, after a visit by Oprah Winfrey. There, about 2,000 residents are homeless. They even have a security desk at the shelter, because the encampment has gotten so large. City officials say they have three major encampments near downtown, and smaller settlements along two local highways.
** 43% OF AMERICAN FAMILIES ARE ESSENTIALLY BROKE
According to a recent article on MSN Money, about 43% of the American families spend more than they earn each year.
Look at this chart… it’s unbelievable..
The average household carries $8,000 in credit card debt… and personal bankruptcies have doubled in the past decade.
How in the world can we possibly spend our way out of the current crisis?
We certainly can’t do it with savings… the only answer is to print more money, which will hasten the fall of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
** THE MYSTERY OF DISAPPEARING JOBS
There’s simply no one better at bending statistics than the U.S. government. Take the unemployment rate, for example. Back in the 1930s, anyone without a job but not retired was considered “unemployed.”
Today, however, the government calculates unemployment mainly by counting the number of people receiving unemployment benefits. So when people’s benefits expire, they are no longer counted… and the unemployment rate actually falls! Ridiculous… I know.
But the reality is, the true unemployment rate is much, much higher than what the government is reporting.
If you don’t believe me, look at two recent job postings I read about last week..
In Long Island City, an estimated 2,000 people waited in line at the local employment office – some for as long as four days! – to apply for 100 elevator mechanic apprenticeship positions.
And in Massillon, Ohio, 700 people recently applied for a single janitorial job… paying $16 an hour, plus benefits!
The point is, our country is not growing jobs, because the government makes it harder and harder for businesses. With current regulations in place, our country will never experience the type of growth necessary to dig our government out of the hole they’ve put themselves in.
I’m sure you think I’m exaggerating, but just look at what the CEO of one of America’s most important companies said just a few weeks ago..
Intel CEO Paul Otellini said in a recent speech: “I can tell you definitively that it costs $1 billion more per factory for me to build, equip, and operate a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States”
He said that 90% of the additional costs are not from higher labor rates… but from higher taxes and regulatory charges, which other nations simply don’t impose.
Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers agreed that the problem is not higher U.S. wages, but anti-business laws. He was quoted in an interview with CNET News: “The killer factor in California for a manufacturer to create, say, a thousand blue-collar jobs is a hostile government that doesn’t want you there and demonstrates it in thousands of ways.”
Few Americans today realize that we have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world. And since Japan’s new prime minister just announced that he plans to reduce the country’s corporate tax rate by 15%… the U.S. will soon have THE highest corporate tax rate in the world.
Why would anyone want to start a business here, when they can do it for less money…and keep more of the money they make… by locating elsewhere?
It’s just another good reason to avoid the U.S. dollar…
So is this:
** DEBT-RIDDEN U.S. COMPANIES
Did you know that in 1979, there were 61 American companies that earned a top-level AAA credit rating from Moody’s?
Today, there are only four: Automatic Data Processing, Exxon, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft
Does this sound like an economic recovery to you… when only four companies in the entire country are stable enough to earn a triple-A credit rating?
Me neither. But it’s nothing compared to what’s going on in the housing sector…
** A CRAZY LAS VEGAS ECONOMICS STORY
You want to know how crazy things are in the U.S. right now…
Consider the bizarre state of the Las Vegas housing market, where The New York Times reports that building is booming again in a city where nearly 10,000 new houses are empty, thousands are in foreclosure, thousands of regular people have simply stopped paying their mortgages and average prices are down more than 60% since 2006.
What could possibly be driving this building mania?
Well, it turns are that buyers don’t want homes that were built during the boom, because they sit in neighborhoods that look like ghost towns, and because many of these never-occupied houses are filled with cockroaches and other critters.
So local builders are doing the worst possible thing they could be doing in Las Vegas right now… building more homes! Similar scenarios are taking shape in Phoenix and other U.S. cities.
Of course, this might look good for economic numbers, but all it does is make the situation much, much worse in the long run.
Want to see another crazy trick some businesses are using to artificially boost their earnings numbers?
This is just incredible to me…
** OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE: NEW JERSEY’S HOMELESS
If you’ve been reading my work at all over the past few years, you know that I am extremely bearish on the “for profit” education sector, such as University of Phoenix.
What could possibly be wrong with these institutions that offer inexpensive education to tens of thousands of students across the country?
Well, to me it’s just another symptom of how distorted and crazy our economy and country has become. Here’s what I mean…
One of the crazy practices institutions employ is to actually enroll homeless people into their programs.
You probably think I’m making this up… but even Business Week recently ran a report on this practice.
Why would they do this?
Well, because these folks qualify for federal grants and loans used to pay for college tuition fees. According to reports I read, the University of Phoenix, for instance, relies on federal funds for more than 85% of its revenues.
At another for-profit school, Drake College of Business, almost 5% of the student body at its Newark, N.J., campus is homeless, Business Week recently reported.
Of course, the majority of these students will never be able to repay their loans. But the colleges certainly don’t care… that’s the government’s problem… not theirs.
Once again, it’s the taxpayers like you and me who will be left holding the bag.
And here’s another good reason why investors are afraid of holding dollars right now…
** IN THE STOCK MARKET, IT’S 1937 ALL OVER AGAIN
One of the most worrisome problems in the stock market right now is that we are basically repeating the exact same situation that occurred from 1937 to 1942.
Most Americans think we’ve had this amazing stock market recovery since the financial crisis of 2008… and we have to a certain extent.
But we are by no means out of the woods.
In fact, during America’s last real economic collapse, in the 1930s and 1940s, we saw a similar drop and recovery… before the markets crashed all over again.
In fact, the situation is eerily similar.
Look at this chart… it’s one of the scariest I’ve seen in a long time. It shows an overlay of what happened in the stock market in 1937 compared to 2008.
In both situations, we saw big crashes, of about the exact same magnitude… then a big recovery, again of about the same size.
But what will happen next?
Well, if history is any guide, we could well have another big leg down in the stock market. That’s exactly what happened 70 years ago.
And with all of the problems left unresolved in our economy today, it could certainly happen again, especially if the U.S. dollar loses its reserve status.
As The Wall Street Journal reported:
“Over the last year the stock market has followed a path eerily similar to 1937. First, a strong, rapid run to a recovery high – same pace, same magnitude. Then a correction – again, the same. Will we continue on the path that led the correction of 1937 into a collapse in 1938?
The point is, the cards are seriously stacked against us.
This looming currency crisis is inevitable.
Almost every state in the country is on the verge of bankruptcy. We have borrowed an impossible amount of money, which we’ll never be able to pay back.
Our economy is an absolute mess. Taxes are sky high already… and will certainly go much higher over the next few years. And nearly all of the world’s major financial players are preparing for an alternative to the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
Read the entire article HERE.
By Nathan Diebenow
Friday, December 17th, 2010 — 9:42 am
America’s military and economic empire could collapse at any time, but predicting the precise day, week or month of its potential demise is unattainable, according to a former New York Times war correspondent who spoke with Raw Story.
“The when and how is very dangerous to predict because there’s always some factor that blindsides you that you didn’t expect,” Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges said in an exclusive interview. “It doesn’t look good. But exactly how it plays out and when it plays out, having covered disintegrating societies, it’s impossible to tell.”
He explained that he learned this lesson as events unfolded around him in the fall of 1989. Then, members of the opposition to the Soviet Empire told him that they predicted travel across the Berlin Wall separating East from West Germany would open within the year.
“Within a few hours, the wall didn’t exist,” he said.
Hedges was one of roughly 135 activists who participated in an act of civil disobedience that resulted in their arrests outside the White House yesterday, even as Obama was unveiling a new report on progress of the war in Afghanistan.
Speaking to Raw Story on Wednesday night, he said the signs of US collapse are plain to see and compared the country’s course through Afghanistan to Soviet Russia’s.
“We’re losing [the war in Afghanistan] in the same way the Red Army lost it,” he said. “It’s exactly the same configuration where we sort of control the urban centers where 20 percent of the population lives. The rest of the country where 80 percent of the Afghans live is either in the hands of the Taliban or disputed.”
One day after this interview was conducted, reports hit the global media noting the CIA’s warning to President Obama, that the Pakistan-supported Taliban could still regain control of the country.
Hedges predicted that President Obama’s war report released Thursday would “contradict not only [US] intelligence reports but everything else that is coming out of Afghanistan.”
His prediction came startlingly true: the CIA’s own assessment was said to stand in striking contrast with President Obama’s report. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, insisted that the US controlled more territory in Afghanistan than it did a year ago.
“Foreigners will not walk the streets of Kabul because of kidnapping, and journalists regularly meet Taliban officials in Kabul because the whole apparatus is so porous and corrupt,” he said.
‘A corporate coup d’état in slow motion’
Hedges said he attended the protest and planned to get arrested because he is against the corporate powers that have enveloped the nation.
“We’ve undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion,” he said. “Our public education system has been gutted. Our infrastructure is corroding and collapsing. Unless we begin to physically resist, they are going to solidify neo-feudalism in this country.”
“If we think that Obama is bad, watch the next two years because these corporate forces have turned their back on him,” Hedges warned.
Read the entire article HERE.