Do equities (and real estate) give you inflation protection?

Hyperinflation In Hungary

Confronted with the possibility that the endgame of the present experiment in extreme monetary accommodation may be higher inflation and even currency disaster, many private investors and portfolio managers respond that they should be okay, since their wealth is protected through allocations to equities and real estate. In contrast to cash and fixed income securities, which are certain to get obliterated in an inflationary environment, equities and real estate are considered some form of ‘hard’ or ‘real’ asset, not just … [Read more...]

“But there is no inflation!” – Misconceptions about the debasement of money

Printed money

“But there is no inflation!” - This is a statement I hear quite often, sometimes from people who are, in principle, sympathetic to my arguments, sometimes from people who are less so. In either case, those who state “but there is no inflation” consider it to be a statement of fact and one that they assume must pose a challenge for me. Should the man who argues that we are heading for the collapse of paper money, for some kind of hyperinflationary endgame, not be concerned that all this money printing by central banks around … [Read more...]

The triumph of politics

Richard Nixon

On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared that the United States would no longer honour its promise to exchange US dollars held by foreign central banks for gold at a fixed price of $35 an ounce. The innocuous term 'Nixon closed the gold window' that is now widely used to describe this act does not quite convey its significance. (Was something to be stopped from going out or from coming in through the window? Can the window be reopened again?) What Nixon did was cut the last remaining official link between the … [Read more...]

The death of banks – and the future of money

Dodo

UK Chancellor George Osborne and Bank of England Governor Mervin King last week announced another round of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures, including steps to ease the funding for banks and allow them to extend more loans. If these measures were hoped to instil confidence they must be classified as a failure. We have lived through quite a few years of unprecedented and fairly persistent monetary accommodation and occasional rounds of QE by now, and I doubt that yet another dose of the same medicine will cause great … [Read more...]

Is gold in a bubble?

gold

To answer this question is not straightforward. As the gold-sceptics keep reminding us, gold pays no coupon and no dividend, it does not offer a running yield, so traditional measures of 'fair value' do not apply. But gold is money, and just as the paper ticket in your wallet does not pay interest, neither does gold. Gold is a monetary asset that has functioned as a medium of exchange and a store of value for thousands of years, around the world and in almost all societies and cultures. Many modern economists believe that … [Read more...]

“When they stop buying bonds, the game is over.”

Floating currency symbols

I took the title for this blog from an interview that James Turk of the GoldMoney Foundation conducted with Eric Sprott, a Canadian fund manager. You can see it here. (I also recommend you have a look at this interview with Doug Casey.) I think the quote is a succinct summation of the role that the bond market, and in particular the market for government bonds, now plays in this crisis. As you know, I would not touch bonds with a barge pole, especially government bonds. After 40 years of unending fiat money expansion, the … [Read more...]

Infinite stupidity

dollar notes falling from sky

"The unlimited resources" of the European Central Bank (ECB) is quickly becoming the new magic mantra in political commentary and financial market analysis, now that the bigger euro-dominos are beginning to wobble and everybody realizes that nobody has the firepower to bailout Italy, or to 'recapitalize' (i.e. bailout again) all the banks that lent to the country. So the chorus that demands that the printing press finally be put to good use is getting louder by the day. Robert Peston, the BBC economics expert, last week … [Read more...]

Unstoppable: Why this crisis will keep unfolding

Balls of euro banknotes

When the tectonic plates underneath society shift, confusion reigns, together with wishful thinking. It appears that financial markets have again managed to get themselves into a state of unrealistic expectation. The European summit this coming Sunday (or the follow-up summit on Wednesday) is now supposed to bring a "comprehensive plan" to solve the European debt crisis. Of course, nothing of the sort will happen, and for a simple reason: it is impossible. Those who cherish such fanciful hopes are naïve and will be … [Read more...]

Tonight: Webinar at the Mises Institute on the Fiat Money Crisis

Fiat Money Crisis

The Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, has kindly invited me to host a webinar for the Mises Academy on the topic of  "The Fiat Money Crisis: The Market, the Central Banks, and the Coming Monetary Breakdown" tonight at 6 pm U.S. Eastern time (11 pm British Summer time). If you are interested in joining in, please click on the picture on the left for a link to the Mises Academy. … [Read more...]

No way out – Why policy advice is futile, and what you should do instead

G7 Finance Ministers, anno 2008

First of all, apologies appear to be in order. Over the past six weeks, my commentary on the Schlichter Files was somewhat sporadic. I spent most of the summer with my family in Italy where I voluntarily removed myself somewhat from the fitful convulsions of the financial system's death-throes. Then, last week I attended the world conference of the International Society for Individual Liberty on the island of Vulcano where I gave a speech on my upcoming book. The conference was a very pleasant affair with many interesting … [Read more...]