Written By: Joshua Gayman
The Financial Times has been running a series this month entitled Capitalism In Crisis. When reading this story, it is apparent just how far we are from fixing this global economic crisis. As Richard Duncan points out in his latest post titled This is not a Crisis of Capitalism, “(it’s) not because of the insights contained in the articles, but because the entire premise of the series is completely wrong. This is not a crisis of Capitalism.”
Capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. More specifically, Capitalism is where the private sector drives production by accumulating capital and investing back into the system. With true Capitalism, the government’s role is very small.
The truth is that the United States has not been Capitalistic for decades. Our federal government spends 25% of the money in our economy and the central bank AKA “The Fed” creates the money out of thin air and manipulates it’s value. Thus, our economy is no longer driven by capital accumulation and investment like before. So if it’s not capital accumulation and investment that are driving the economy, what is it you ask? The answer is DEBT.
Credit creation and consumption(using stuff) have now become the dominant forces driving economic growth. Thus, we no longer live in a Capitalistic economy.
Capitalism was a phenomenon of the 19th century, one that did not survive past the 1st World War. WWI destroyed the standard upon which Capitalism was built. This standard was the gold standard, and once it was gone, central banks and governments gained near-total control over economic production.
The ENORMOUS expansion of government debt that was used to fund WWI created a credit bubble that we know refer to as “the Roaring Twenties.” This bubble of the Roaring Twenties soon popped and became the Great Depression of the 1930s once the debt was too big to repay.
WW2 was no different, with again complete government control over the economy. In the coming decades after, government spending surged on social programs and military expansion. By the 1960s, the government was using Keynesian tools to control monetary policy and the rate of economic growth. In 1971, President Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard, which meant that dollars were no longer backed by gold. This gave way to a HUGE explosion of a fiat currency supply(money backed by nothing but the faith the people have in their government’s currency). This expansion in the money supply transformed our world and gave way to the biggest economic boom in human history.
In 1964, the total of all credit in the United States hit $1 Trillion. By 2010, the credit supply had expanded 50 times to $50 Trillion(Source: Richard Duncan). This new found money, or credit, created enormous wealth, profits, jobs, and tax revenues, and ultimately brought on a new age of a global economy. As long as credit keeps expanding, prosperity increases. Credit has replaced Capital as the key driver of the economy.
The economic crisis of 2008 had nothing to do with Capitalism. The crisis of 2008 and that we are still facing today stems from issues with credit creation. Because for what caused the biggest boom(or bubble) in human history, is a debt that must be repaid(unlike Capital). The debt that was taken on which drove the expansion of the last 40 years cannot be repaid, hence the crisis. Even more disturbing, is that now a large percentage of the population is now not credit worthy. This makes further credit expansion nearly impossible. And under this credit-ran economy we now live under, when the credit doesn’t expand, the growth slows, until eventually, the music stops altogether.
This 40 year period of credit expansion birthed a new era in the global economy. The United States has been de-industrialized as a result of being able to buy products from low wage countries on credit. As Industry got smaller in the US, the Finance sector became the dominant sector of the US economy. But the music has slowed down dramatically in the Finance sector as well, now that Americans can’t bear any additional debt. Now that we are weak in industry and in way too much debt, it is a growing problem for the United States to be able to act as the driver of the global economy.
But it’s not just the US who’s economy is no longer capable of working successfully. It’s also the economies of all the countries, such as China, that have seen growth as a result of strong manufacturing and export. This is another global imbalance yet to correct.
Truth is, at least to a large extent, the government now manages our nation’s economy. The US’ demand is still the most important factor to economic growth to the global economy. The world NEEDS us to buy their stuff! But without credit, we can’t!
Now, the actions of other governments and government-related institutions(IE: the European Union) must be carefully monitored. Point in case, the news 2 months ago by the European Central Bank(Europe’s Fed) that they would lend Euros($630 billion worth) to European banks for up to 3 years at low interest rates, is the reason that global stock markets have been gaining over the past 6 weeks. The stock market is also at a high since the 2008 crisis, following news from the Federal Reserve that they would keep interest rates at near zero level through 2014.
Global markets have came back sharply not because of the success of the intervention from the Central Banks itself, but because investors are realizing that more government-directed interventions will come when necessary to prevent future crises.
It is flat out sad that the global economy depends on government intervention. This topic leads to a very controversial political subject regarding smaller or bigger government. Once side argues for bigger government to avert the crisis and the other wants small government with less regulation to get us out of the mess. The reality is, unless we can come together to find a true solution to our monetary problem, both sides will get slaughtered as the biggest bubble in human history pops and credit stops, wiping out the America middle class and taking the benefits with it that we have seen as a by-product of our global economic status.
Don’t get me wrong, market forces still have an important impact in the economy. My point is that now, more often than not, it is government or central bank’s action that has so much influence on market forces that it becomes a very grey area as to where the government influence stops and the market influence itself begins. Supply and Demand still play the key role in setting value. It’s just that today, governments have an enormous role in influencing both. It is imperative that we recognize this, and understand that this is not Capitalism. We must no longer worry about fixing the crisis with Capitalism but instead shift our attention to the crisis in the current economic system that exists in this global economy, a system of debt. The only question we should be asking is this, “Do we try to fix the current debt system, or do we need a better system? Do we need to abolish the current system and go back to the former phenomenon that was a true Capitalistic economy?” I woud say this, either way, one must understand what is going on in the global economy if he(or she) wants to join the rich, as opposed to be forced into the poor, as the middle class is wiped out.
“When a government(or governments) forcefully over value one money and under value another, the under valued money will disappear, and the over valued money will flood the circulation.” – Gresham’s Law.
They make it sound confusing, but it’s really simple.. Europe is screwed because they have too much bad debt and can’t pay their bills. Their banks have nothing to loan because they made bad investments. The Federal Reserve comes to the rescue just like they did in 2008 to the United States, in an effort to preserve their only product, DEBT…
Written by: Joshua Gamen
Gold hit an all time high of $1,633.80 per ounce on Friday! Driving up the price is the result of central banks buying gold and coincidentally(sarcasm) the decline in value of the dollar. The drama in the white house regarding the debt ceiling has had quite an impact on the price of gold lately, as has the news that the US can’t keep perfect credit by devaluing it’s current debts from printing more money. But what is really key here, is that the central banks(the people who print pieces of paper that people use as money around the world) are buying gold.
Silver has been idling around $40 per ounce this past week or so, and looks to continue it’s descent upwards along with other commodities including oil which is at a price of $95.70 per barrel and approaching $4 per gallon. The increased price in silver, just like gold and oil, is an economic reaction to the depletion of value in the US dollar. This is because value does not leave the planet, it simply transfers between different asset classes. Right now the money is flowing out of the dollar and into gold, silver, oil, real estate, food, etc.
I am holding to my recent prediction of silver hitting $200 per ounce by October 2012. If silver hits $200 per ounce, that would put gold at a price of $8,156 per ounce based on the current ratio of silver to gold at roughly 41 ounces of silver to 1 ounce of gold. Strong projection, but I’d like to get some talk going on about the subject. With Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently telling Congress they are working on doing more of the same thing(creating debt for free, devaluing the currency, buying back treasury bonds, QE3…) along with the possible default on the US debt, a credit rating downgrade of the US, and rising prices in oil and gold, I think it’s a harsh reality we could face. What it would ultimately mean would be very bad for the poor and middle class, inflation..
Debt Ceiling – Credit Downgrade
The politics are what they always are, a battle for power.
The reality is, they’ve argued over the debt ceiling being raised for too long and it has already took effect on the credit rating of the country. The reality is that a credit rating downgrade will be just as catastrophic as a default on the debt. The stocks will tank, the dollar will free fall, and gold will surge.
Tho many me be interested to see who wins the heated debate over the hot topic between the Democrats and the GDP, the truth is as Robert “Rich Dad” Kiyosaki puts it: ” that no matter who wins this battle, the war may already be lost—and the American public will be the casualties.”
Like I said, politics are a battle for power – Here is the fact:
WE HAVE A BIG DET, AND WE CAN’T PAY IT BACK. SO IF WE PILE MORE DEBT ON THAT, WE WON’T BE ABLE TO PAY THAT BACK EITHER. The Credit Rating Agencies know that we can’t pay this debt back, even tho they have took this long to finally admit it. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings have all warned they might cut the U.S. credit rating. S&P, in particular, has said it could move even if a debt-reduction deal is met and the $14.29 trillion federal debt ceiling is raised.
S&P has cited $4 trillion in debt reduction as a figure that would be appropriate for keeping the triple-A rating. S&P has also said it wants a credible agreement, meaning one that has bipartisan support.
Neither side is close to a $4 trillion figure. And given the wrangling, the chances of strong bipartisan support for any deal seem unlikely, investors said(“Downgrade Threat Looms”).
..Now, the question shifts from what will happen to what am I going to do now that I know what is happening.
The definition of insure is this: “to guaranty against future loss or harm.”
The US dollar is a commodity. Everything going on right now is sending that commodity to the tank, and since it has no intrinsic value as it’s physical body(paper), it will now stop until it reaches zero. Now, you can have your political beliefs on everything and that’s fine, but you wouldn’t buy a house without insurance, and you wouldn’t drive your car without insurance, so why do you hold your money as a piece of paper with no insurance? Gold and silver are insurance to the dollar.
My point is that it’s not about what I want to be money, right? We all have ideas of what we want or think should be money, it’s about what probably is going to be money.
Meanwhile it remains a perfect storm -a good one 🙂 – to invest in real estate! Prices are still low while sales are high. Most important is that interest rates remain at all time lows, making the oppertunity to leverage and cash flow abundant. We’re getting it done with outstanding returns here in Phoenix, AZ. Give me a call if you are interested in doing some investing – 623-252-3234, let’s talk.