Central banks extend their reach as bureaucratization of markets continues

Bank of England

The twentieth century witnessed the shift from the classical order of free markets and hard, non-political money – epitomized by the gold standard – to fully elastic money and credit markets under the control of state central banks. This shift was completed in August 1971 with the termination of Bretton Woods, the gold standard’s last surviving, but limp and sickly cousin. Finally freed from the golden shackles that had always been the monetary anchor of capitalism, the global financial system produced, for the past 40-plus … [Read more...]

Contra Richard Koo and the Keynesians: It is not about ‘aggregate demand’ but about real prices

dollar notes falling from sky

I do not want to waste your time and my energy with shooting down misguided Keynesian schemes all the time, schemes that have been refuted long ago and should by now be instantly laughed out of town whenever put forward. But arch-Keynesian Richard Koo’s latest attempt in the commentary section of the Financial Times to justify out-of-control deficit spending in the United States as a smartly designed and necessary policy that will keep ‘aggregate demand’ up and lead to recovery, is making the rounds on the internet. Koo’s … [Read more...]

We are on the road to serfdom

Road

We are now five years into the Great Fiat Money Endgame and our freedom is increasingly under attack from the state, liberty’s eternal enemy. It is true that by any realistic measure most states today are heading for bankruptcy. But it would be wrong to assume that ‘austerity’ policies must now lead to a diminishing of government influence and a shrinking of state power. The opposite is true: The state asserts itself more forcefully in the economy, and the political class feels licensed by the crisis to abandon whatever … [Read more...]

Detlev on the Keiser Report – Boom & Bust Vicious Cycle

Detlev Schlichter on Keiser Report 27 Sept 2012

Excerpt from The Keiser Report (E346) with Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert on which Detlev appeared on September 27th. “Max talks to Detlev Schlichter, author of Paper Money Collapse about quantitative easing to infinity, Central Banking 'devils' and the future for the gold standard.” … [Read more...]

Stimulus, to infinity and beyond

Ben Bernanke

There was a beautiful symmetry to last week's policy announcement by the Fed. Precisely a week after the ECB had pledged its commitment to unlimited purchases of Euro Zone government bonds, the Fed declared that its new round of debt monetization - 'quantitative easing' or QE3 - would be open-ended. Unlimited, open-ended. The concept of stimulus has certainly evolved since the crisis started. This should give us reason to pause. 'Unlimited' is not a word that is used much in economics or in business-life. The only thing … [Read more...]

More QE is on the way – The central banks are digging themselves a deeper hole

federal reserve

Dear readers, first of all, apologies seem in order. An unusual gap between blog posts has appeared on the Schlichter Files this summer. The reason is that I was travelling with my family in East Africa through most of August, enjoying the spectacular landscapes and the fascinating wildlife there, and meeting some very interesting people. Although, admittedly, I travelled in considerable comfort, and East Africa offers today reasonably good internet connections, often even in fairly remote areas, I decided not to read any … [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...]

Happy interventionists: The economists’ attack on your property

Brueghel's painting "Paying the tax"

Last week, the Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW), or German Institute for Economic Research, an influential think tank, proposed an ingenious solution to the Euro Zone debt crisis. The German government should issue a Zwangsanleihe, a compulsory bond that every German with savings of EUR250,000 or more should be compelled to underwrite with 10 percent of his or her own money. Such measures could help the German state grab another EUR230 billion in resources from the private sector to support its bailout … [Read more...]

Central banks: Running out of ideas, road

Eurotower In Frankfurt

On page two of today's Wall Street Journal Europe you will find the result of a readers' poll from last Friday: Question: Will the ECB's rate cut help restore confidence in the bloc's economy? Answer: 81 percent of readers say no, 19 percent yes. Last week's round of global monetary easing - another ECB rate cut, another round of debt monetization from the BoE, another rate cut from the People's Printing Press of China - is, of course, more of the same old same old. It has a discernible touch of desperation about it and … [Read more...]

Prozac-craving markets

dollar notes falling from sky

In my view, there is no escaping the fact that things are not getting better. If anything, they are getting worse. Following the large swings in financial markets this past week and reading the commentary in the press, it strikes me that there is still a surprisingly strong belief out there that our fate is in the hands of the policymakers, who presumably still have it in their power to make things better for the economy. How can they do this?  Well, expect nothing new here: Mainly by the time-worn strategy of lowering … [Read more...]