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Gold: The Leading Indicator of Systemic Financial Collapse

Stock-Markets / Financial Crash Mar 17, 2008 - 12:42 AM GMT

By: Darryl_R_Schoon

Stock-Markets Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFalling Dominoes Rising Gold - The failure of Windows Vista to improve upon Microsoft's accepted standard is an indication that an era is ending. Another indication—just as obvious and far more significant— US central bank credit is no longer automatically able to create economic expansion. Suddenly, cheap credit does not produce growth. An era is over.


THE ECONOMISTS' GREAT CONUNDRUM

CREDIT, GROWTH & THE GREAT DEPRESSION

Putting more gas in a stalled engine doesn't work

…since August, when the real estate sector began to turn ugly, the Federal government – i.e., Joe Taxpayer -- has doled out nearly $1 trillion in direct and indirect support to the credit markets in a so-far failed attempt to unfreeze them Rick Ackerman, Rick's Picks, March 16, 2008

Credit, like steroids, can be classified as a performance enhancing drug. When introduced into an economic system, its effects are obvious and, in the beginning, positive. Like steroids, however, over time its effects become less positive and underlying problems more apparent and, in the end, are often fatal, e.g. deflation and the Great Depression.

THE END OF AN ERA

In 2008, we are at the end of an extraordinary era of credit set in motion by the Bank of England in 1694. Debt-based money, sic capital, issued by the Bank of England allowed England to tax its present and future citizenry ad infinitum in order to embark on its highly successful quest of global dominion known as imperialism.

As long as the captured wealth of conquered nations offset the costs of war, England 's treasury and empire expanded. But by the end of the 19th Century, England 's expansion ended and the keys to its kingdom were transferred to its surrogate successor, the US

In 1913, banking and business interests transferred the English model of debt-based central banking to America . That year the US Federal income tax and the US Federal Reserve Bank became law and life in the US has never been the same.

Prior to the introduction of the Federal income tax and the Federal Reserve Bank, the lives of Americans were generally free from individual and collective debt. After 1913, everything changed

Seventy years later, in 1983, Nobel Laureate Buckminster Fuller made the following observations on the growth of US indebtedness:

Throughout its first 127 pre-World War I years, the U.S. government often had no national debt. World War I left the U.S.A. with a national indebtedness of $33 billion. The U.S.A. banking system went truly bankrupt in 1929, but the New Deal's 1933 Bank Moratorium postponed recognition of that fact

Since then the moment of acknowledgment that the U.S. government itself is financially bankrupt has been postponed first by further- and further-ahead postponements of the payoff dates for U.S. notes and bonds and by successive votes of the U.S. Congress to increase the national debt limit. By "money accounting" (in contradistinction to real-wealth accounting), the U.S.A. is now realistically bankrupt.

Since Nixon became president, the U.S.A. has been unable to pay even the interest on its national debt, let alone reduce the principal. Before Nixon, Congress assumed tax underwriting of ever greater interest-bearing on ever more postponed and greater national debt limits. For all the Nixon years and all the years of his successors the president has had annually to file a negative budget, meaning the U.S. cannot even pretend to be able to pay the interest on its indebtedness.

The implications of US debt cannot be underestimated; for just as global investors were once blind to the underlying credit worthiness of subprime securities, today, they are just as blind to the actual creditworthiness of US debt, sic US Treasuries.

SUBPRIME TREASURIES BACKED BY THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE US

WHAT'S THE COST OF INK?

(Not much unless you're buying it in cartridges from Lexmark, Hewlett-Packard, Epson or Canon)

If, as Buckminster Fuller wrote, the U.S.A. has been unable to pay even the interest on its national debt, let alone reduce the principal and therefore is realistically bankrupt , its credit rating should reflect that unfortunate state.

But as long as US debt is rated AAA by the same agencies that gave AAA ratings to subprime mortgage-backed CDOs, US treasuries will continue to enjoy the same demand highly rated subprime securities once received. However, nothing lasts forever, not even collective denial.

What happened to AAA rated subprime CDOs will happen eventually to AAA rated US Treasuries. Values vanish overnight when risk is repriced and its effects are swift and draconian. This is what is happened to banks and hedge funds now invested in AAA mortgage backed securities.

Peloton Partners'ABS hedge fund achieved an 87 % return on equity in 2007 and on January 24, it was named the best Euro Hedge fund for 2007; but in February 2008, only one month later, the fund was declared insolvent and its assets seized. The same quick deleveraging will likewise happen someday to those now invested in US Treasuries.

That day will come sooner rather than later. The end of the credit era is near. The citadel of credit itself is under attack. The prime banks, the primary dealers used by the Fed to feed credit into the system are themselves now in trouble.

THE DOMINO THEORY REDUX

BAILING OUT BEAR STEARNS

The decision by the Fed to bail out Bear Stearns is tantamount to Britney Spears bolting from rehab—it is now clear the Fed has no intention of cleaning up the mess. Instead, it's aiding the perpetrators.

Matthew Lee, Executive Director of Inner City Press, regarding the Fed bailout of Bear Stearns states: The Fed has hit a new low with this, they did nothing to protect consumers from predatory lending and now their response is to bail out one of the most notorious enablers of predatory lending

Investment banks such as Bear Stearns were the alchemists who invented the now toxic brew of subprime mortgage backed securities that investors will no longer buy. What the banks didn't expect is that they would get caught holding the bad debt. They assumed the AAA rated debt they kept was better than what they sold to others. It was—but it still wasn't safe.

To their collective surprise, banks holding billions of dollars of illiquid AAA rated mortgage backed securities are exposed to billions in losses. But, now, the US Federal Reserve has come to their rescue. This is because investment banks, sic prime banks, such as Bear Stearns are the very center of the mechanism by which the Fed feeds credit into the system. The citadel of credit is in danger.

The collapse of Bear Stearns is only the tip of the iceberg. Banks such as Morgan Stanley, Citicorp, Lehman Brothers, UBS, Bank of America, Wells Fargo etc. are all exposed to this rapidly imploding pool of mortgage-backed securities.

THE BANKERS' BEGGING BOWL

Bankers from Morgan Stanley, Citicorp, and UBS along with Bear Stearns have already made the rounds of sovereign wealth funds in Asia and the Middle East , asking for sufficient capital to remain solvent. All received promised infusions of billions in capital albeit at very high rates; e.g. 9 % - 11% but now one of them, Bear Stearns, involved in a now questionable $1 billion investment by China's CITIC, has fallen. Which bank will be next?

Bear Stearns was temporarily rescued by the US Fed via a loan through JP Morgan Chase. This is because the US doesn't have a sovereign wealth fund of its own. Fifty years ago the wealthiest nation in the world, today the US is the world's largest debtor—its wealth now composed primarily of liquid pools of debt fed by a printing press.

GOLD—THE LEADING INDICATOR OF SYSTEMIC COLLAPSE

Against this background, gold again broke the $1,000 per ounce price level. One year ago, gold was in the mid-$600 range. Now, it's 50 % higher, a remarkably accurate measure of the rise in systemic stress in global financial markets.

Today's era of credit is built on a foundation of debt. The longer credit-based systems exist, the more debt is created, debt which must be serviced and retired (or rolled-over ad infinitum as the US hopes). The cycle of credit begun in England in 1694 has almost run its course; the mountains of debt created in its wake are increasingly unstable and are about to collapse.

The rising price of gold is the market's bet credit markets are in deep trouble. They are. You can bet on it—and should (and soon)!

Darryl Robert Schoon
www.survivethecrisis.com
www.drschoon.com

About Darryl Robert Schoon
In college, I majored in political science with a focus on East Asia (B.A. University of California at Davis, 1966). My in-depth study of economics did not occur until much later.

In the 1990s, I became curious about the Great Depression and in the course of my study, I realized that most of my preconceptions about money and the economy were just that - preconceptions. I, like most others, did not really understand the nature of money and the economy. Now, I have some insights and answers about these critical matters.

In October 2005, Marshall Thurber, a close friend from law school convened The Positive Deviant Network (the PDN), a group of individuals whom Marshall believed to be "out-of-the-box" thinkers and I was asked to join. The PDN became a major catalyst in my writings on economic issues.

When I discovered others in the PDN shared my concerns about the US economy, I began writing down my thoughts. In March 2007 I presented my findings to the Positive Deviant Network in the form of an in-depth 148- page analysis, " How to Survive the Crisis and Prosper In The Process. "

The reception to my presentation, though controversial, generated a significant amount of interest; and in May 2007, "How To Survive The Crisis And Prosper In The Process" was made available at www.survivethecrisis.com and I began writing articles on economic issues.

The interest in the book and my writings has been gratifying. During its first two months, www.survivethecrisis.com was accessed by over 10,000 viewers from 93 countries. Clearly, we had struck a chord and www.drschoon.com , has been created to address this interest.

Darryl R Schoon Archive

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