Economic Laws Are Not Optional


Courtesy of Monty Pelerin @ Economic Noise:

Economic laws are not optional. They are like the laws of physics – inexorable!

Economic laws are less precise in terms of their timing and effects, only because they deal with human behavior rather than physical particles. Human beings alter their behavior to cope with changing conditions. Particles do not. Free will and the survival instinct make prediction, especially regarding timing, very different and difficult in the human realm. Nevertheless, the laws are immutable!

Long-time readers of this website know that no recovery is possible given past and current economic policies. Initially, it was argued by some that government intervention was necessary and would effect an economic recovery. By now, even the dullest of Keynesians know their policies failed. Yet they continue.

Why would failed policies continue? The political class argues for their continuance, but not on the basis of sound economics. Their arguments are motivated by political self-interest. The appearance of a recovery is more important for politicians facing another election or a legacy than the damage being done to the economy. Remember when the focus of the Clinton campaign against George H. W. Bush claimed that it was the worst economy in fifty years? That was not true, but it was effective.

Stopping the Federal Reserve juice threatens what remains of our economy. No one wants to be known as the “new Herbert Hoover,” although someone will inevitably be tarred with that association.

Early Warnings

This website began in September 2009 recognizing the futility of applied economic efforts to “cure” the problem. The very first post appeared on September 7, 2009 and was entitled No Exit From Economic Mess. To put matters into perspective, the government claimed the recession had ended in June of 2009. This economic lie was apparent to anyone who had a modicum of economic understanding or common sense. The more of the latter one possessed, the less of the former was required.

Over time I have come to believe that the two types of knowledge may now be incompatible — a sad commentary on how the economic profession has been hijacked by the political class. A good rule of thumb is to ignore any economist who is involved in politics. Unfortunately, with government grants, that includes much of the profession, including those never directly employed by government. Continue reading


(Part Two)
Antal E Fekete
New Austrian School of Economics

Courtesy of Professor

In Part One of this two-part series I have argued that Keynes inadvertently ignored the rule asserting that the rate of interest and the price of bonds vary inversely and, as a consequence, his conclusions concerning employment, interest and money are irreparably faulty.

In this second part I shall argue that the policy of open market operations of the Fed causes deflation rather than inflation as intended. The authors of the policy have inadvertently ignored its effect on bond speculation. This was true in the 20th century; it is true in the 21st century as well. The Fed’s monetary policy is counter- productive. It is trying to foster inflation through its bond purchases, but what it in fact does is fostering deflation through capital destruction. It is responsible for the coming depression, just as bond purchases of central banks were responsible for the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

The fact is that the policy of open market purchases makes bond speculation risk-free. Speculators forestall the central bank and front-run its bond-buying program. Gradually the central bank is losing control. Bond speculators are now in charge. The central bank is trying to call off the bond-buying campaign, in vain. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, it is desperately trying to find an ‘exit strategy’ only to realize, too late, that it hasn’t got the magic word.

The interest-rate structure goes into a free-fall, causing prices to fall, too. One can see that at the heart of the problem is the fact that the central bank (deliberately or inadvertently) ignored the rule that the rate of interest and the bond price vary inversely. Continue reading


Courtesy of Inteligencia Financier Global:

Bill Murphy
The Inteligencia Financiera Global blog (Global Financial Intelligence Blog) is honored to present another exclusive interview now with GATA’s Bill Murphy.

Thanks Bill for accepting this interview.

-Maybe most of people in the gold world know about you and GATA. Nevertheless, for those who don’t know: Who is Bill Murphy? Where do you come from a financial point of view and what did motivate you to found the Gold Anti- Trust Action Committee (GATA)?

Hello Memo.

Thanks so much for your interest in what GATA has to say. I have a Wall Street background and worked for Shearson Hayden Stone and Drexel Burnham Lambert in Manhattan in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. At one point I became a limit position trader in the copper market after forming my own company, so I am very versed in how the futures market works in the US. In 1998 I realized the Internet was going to be a big deal and opened up as a subscription website which would focus on the gold/silver markets, as well as provide coverage of the US and world economies. Soon after opening up for business, the famed hedge fund Long Term Capital Management blew up. They were known to be short hundreds of tonnes of gold and that would have to be covered. However, it was clear that bullion banks such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Deutsche Bank were capping the price around $300 in a collusive manner. My future colleague Chris Powell had anti-trust experience via his newspaper business. He suggested we try and stop it, so GATA was formed.

-In our last interview, Hugo Salinas Price told us that only a blind or a Harvard economist with a doctorate would not see the gold market is being manipulated. Do you agree? As I understand it, one of the main purposes of GATA is to communicate this fact to as many people as possible, and end this manipulation, but, Bill, isn´t it a lost war? Aren’t the manipulators “too strong to be stopped”?

Yes, Hugo is right on the money. It could not be more obvious. So much so that James McShirley, a speaker at GATA’s London conference in 2011, has written in advance at times what the gold will do on a given day. From a bigger picture someone only need to appreciate what the price of gold did last year compared to the DOW on the same quantitative easing news. The DOW went up 3,000 points and the gold price went down $600. That would have made no sense to anyone ahead of time. Gold went lower as it did because “The Gold Cartel” forced the price down with massive raids in the derivatives paper market, often when few traders were around. Continue reading

The Mechanics of Precious Metals Price Manipulation

When I used to spreadbet as well as trading shares, I believed that stock and commodity markets were free. Over time, the companies and commodities I had extensively researched and bought into, I learnt, to my detriment (on some trades) that the share price didn’t behave like it operated in a free market. At times they would rapidly increase and decrease in price, good news would send the price down and some companies just gave false information (RNS). After researching into stock price movements, how markets are operated and regulated, HFT’s, dark pools and insider trading I realised I’d been lied too. The game is rigged and I did not wish to be part of that market so I withdrew my capital. I did not want to trade short term on fallacies because there is always someone on the other side of the trade, someone like me but unaware the game is manipulated on a monumental scale. Courtesy of Silver-coin Investor:

Much confusion persists regarding the method, or mechanics, of how the big banks are able to push the price of precious metals around at will for so long.

GATA and Ted Butler have long established and outlined the reasons why this occurs (legally). They have also established the foundation that forms the basis of how the manipulation unfolds. Despite very clear and concise commentary, the message sometimes becomes diluted in its distribution. This situation makes for easy picking from the hard-core opposition who mainly reside, ironically, as part of the professional mining and trading community.

The confusion comes from declarations that on price drops, the bullion banks are selling. This then triggers the frequent and violent down-drafts we have witnessed over the last 2 years and counting. However, the trading data indicates the contrary. Commitment of Traders (COT) data shows that the big banks always buy on these dips and they always sell on rallies. Always. (This is clear evidence of manipulation in and of itself.)

So how do they get the price moving in one direction or another, usually to the downside?

The mechanism is made clear by the forensic analysts at NANEX, which provides documented real time price action down to the microsecond.


Continue reading

Federal Reserve cannot Taper and will print to Infinity

The Fed can’t taper, why you ask, well no one else wants to buy their worthless paper bonds and treasuries, that’s why. The fiat (‘let it be so’ in Latin) experiment is coming to an end and they have no other option but to print. The meeting highlights from the FOMC:




*MOST FED OFFICIALS SEE FIRST INTEREST-RATE RISE IN 2015 while quaffing champers and having a laugh following the 10 year Treasury yield up 80+% in 6 months


It’s a positive move for gold until its smacked down tomorrow in the morning London Fix, bring on the revolution and for market manipulation to be removed, as well as the manipulators from the system and let’s reset it to benefit all instead of the few. Debt moratorium for all of the public, mass incarceration for the bankers, politicians who allowed this to happen and the elites who are pulling the strings.


What if the Fed didn’t provide QE….

Assume the same for all economies being artificially propped up by reckless Central Bank spending. Prolonging a failed system is irresponsible and dispictable. Politicians are criminally culpable for continuing the fraud, allowing debasement of the currency and for monetizing debt. The patient is dead just no one dares admit it.

Without innovation and new emerging sectors within an economy, a system requiring growth, will not grow.


Why the Fed Can’t Stop Fueling The Shadow Bank Kiting Machine

I read this article by Bill Frezza on Menckenism blog. It explains why the Fed, as well as all the other central banks, cannot stop ‘printing money’ and a key piece for me is that TBTF banks privatise profits and socialise losses which drives riskier and riskier behaviour as they can always get a bailout. This is the anti-thesis to capitalism, if your business model does not work, the business fails.

More and more people are waking up to this mass fraud and when this hits critical mass with the public, through enlightenment, education or a financial crisis of epic proportions, these financial terrorists will be held to account. It’s time for a social and cultural revolution, viva la revolution. The article in full….

Fractional reserve banking is unlike most other businesses. It’s not just because its product is money. It’s because banks can manufacture their product out of thin air. Traditional commercial banks essentially create money through a well understood and time honored pyramiding of loans. Depositors who understand that their deposits are thereby placed at risk choose their banks accordingly.

Under the bygone rules of free market capitalism, only one thing kept banks from creating an infinite amount of money, and that was fear of failure. Failure occurs when depositors come to believe that their bank has lent out too much manufactured money to too many dodgy borrowers and may not be able to cover depositors’ withdrawals. When this happens, depositors rush to reclaim their money while there is still some left, leading to the bank’s collapse.


Under free market capitalism, banks compete along a spectrum of risk and reward. Conservative banks offer a higher degree of safety by maintaining larger reserves, thereby manufacturing and lending out less money. Through word and deed they let depositors know that they lend to only the most creditworthy borrowers, who generally must post valuable collateral. These banks remain profitable because they successfully attract prudent depositors willing to accept lower rates of interest.

Banks of a more speculative bent offer a lower degree of safety, maintaining smaller reserves to create and lend out more money. Seeking higher returns, they often lend to less creditworthy borrowers who may put up poor quality collateral or none at all. These banks attract risk-taking depositors looking for a higher rate of interest. They can be very profitable during periods of economic expansion but often fall into distress during economic downturns.

Periodic bank failures remind depositors of the connection between risk and reward. When caveat emptor rules, smart depositors who pay attention make money and dumb depositors who don’t lose theirs.

Because the latter outcome is intolerable in a democracy, we have government-provided deposit insurance and other taxpayer-financed backstops that shield most depositors from the risk of loss. In theory banks pay premiums to fund this insurance. In practice these premiums are not risk-based. Banks are not penalized for making riskier loans, in turn often leaving the premiums too low to finance payouts. This creates a huge moral hazard, as it frees depositors to seek the highest return without regard for safety.

Worse, it removes conservative banks’ competitive advantage. Under a government-guaranteed deposit insurance regime, conservative bankers who want to stay in business must take on more risk in order to pay the higher interest rates necessary to attract depositors. This often sets off a race to the bottom, which results in periodic banking crises.

After each of these crises, politicians promise taxpayers that it will never happen again. And each time it does, the government creates a new set of labyrinthine regulations that attempt to mimic the business judgment of conservative bankers. Minimum reserve requirements are established, which normally become the maximum as there is little advantage in exceeding them. And both depositors and the bankers themselves become complacent about the banks’ investments because it is so easy to privatize gains and socialize losses.

Banks also learn that competitive advantage can be obtained by either gaming the regulations or having cronies write them. As regulations get more intrusive and complex, politicians discover that they can be used to advance social policies, such as increasing home ownership among voters with poor credit, thereby increasing the risk on banks’ loan books.

This mixed economic system is the one that replaced free market capitalism in hopes that it would prevent bank failures. Despite, and some even say because of, a regulatory regime that discouraged conservative banking and rewarded reckless mortgage lending, the banking system crashed – again – in 2007-2008.

What is not widely appreciated is that the ensuing government bailouts allowed an underlying shadow banking system to not only survive but grow even larger. It is called the shadow banking system because it operates outside most government-regulated banking laws. This is primarily because regulations and accounting standards haven’t caught up with the practices of these banks, which are relatively new and poorly understood.

It was the seizing up of the commercial paper and repo markets that funds the shadow banking system that abruptly halted the flow of liquidity that kept the mortgage bubble propped up. This revealed the underlying insolvency of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and many commercial banks stuffed with subprime mortgage securities accumulated under the mixed economic system described above.

Powered by an exclusive club of primary reserve dealers, a group that once included high flyers like Lehman Brothers, MF Global, and Countrywide Securities, these shadow banks work hand in glove with the Federal Reserve to manufacture money by pyramiding loans atop the base money deposits held in their Federal Reserve accounts.

To the frustration of Keynesians, and despite an unprecedented Quantitative Easing (QE) by the Federal Reserve, conventional commercial banks have broken with custom and have amassed almost $2 trillion in excess reserves they are reluctant to lend as they scramble to digest all the bad loans still on their books. So most of the money manufactured today is actually being created by the shadow banks. But shadow banks do not generally make commercial loans. Rather, they use the money they manufacture to fund proprietary trading operations in repos and derivatives.

Where does the pyramiding come from if shadow banks aren’t making loans that get redeposited to fuel the cycle? Securities held as collateral by counterparties in a repo contract can be rehypothecated by the lender to obtain additional loans. (So can securities held in customer accounts, unless their brokerage agreements expressly prohibit it. This was an unwelcome discovery by MF Global’s hapless clients, who saw their assets whooshed off to London where different brokerage rules allow such hypothecation.) Loans made against securities held as collateral can then be used to either buy more securities, which can be fed back into the repo market, or trade a bewildering array of complex synthetic derivatives.

If this sounds like circular check kiting that’s because it is, especially when you add in the issuance of commercial paper required to grease the wheels. The biggest difference is that an embezzler kiting checks does not have the support of a central bank providing steady injections of liquidity, beefing up balance sheets that create confidence in their debt instruments.

How much of the original high quality collateral must shadow banks hold in reserve should some of their derivatives implode, as many did during the last crisis? Zero. By repeatedly spinning the wheel, the top 25 U.S. banks have piled up over $200 trillion in leveraged bets atop a thinning wedge of collateral, claims to which are spread across an opaque and complex chain of counterparties residing in multiple legal jurisdictions. These collateral claims are co-mingled with an estimated $400 trillion to $1.3 quadrillion in notional outstanding derivatives made by other banks around the world, altogether amounting to more than 20 times global GDP.

Due to the fact that accounting standards have not kept up with these innovative practices, banks are not required to report the gross notional value of the outstanding derivative contracts on their books, only their net asset positions. These theoretical Value at Risk positions, which would only be netted out if all the contracts were unwound in an orderly manner—as one might unwind a check kiting scheme before getting caught—can only be realized in a liquidity crisis if the counterparty chains across which these contracts are hedged hold up.

These counterparty chains froze in spectacular fashion during the last financial crisis. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers and with the insolvency of AIG looming, a chorus of politicians, bankers, and bureaucrats browbeat the government into delivering a system-wide bailout. As a result, many reckless banks and bankers that should have been driven out of the market are back doing business as usual.

The largest banks learned that they need not worry about the possibility of bankruptcy. When the next crisis hits, all they have to do is shout “systemic collapse” and another bailout will appear. Being Too Big To Fail, they can maximize profits without having to hold reserves against the risk of counterparty failure, knowing that the taxpayer will always be there to make them whole.

The solution is not more regulations, which will never keep up with the financial wizards whose lobbyists end up writing these rules anyway. In addition, trades can be made anywhere in the world, so to be effective the regulations would have to be global. As long as governments continue to prop up failing banks, regulation will always be inadequate to mitigate the moral hazard that accompanies bailouts. And, ironically, the added costs of regulatory compliance will make it harder still for smaller and more prudent banks to compete.


True to form, Congress has not solved the TBTF problem but has actually made it worse, loading ever more regulations on commercial banks through Dodd-Frank. Meanwhile, taxpayer exposure to the banking system has grown even larger.

Optimists believe that as long as everyone remains calm and keeps believing everything is fine, then everything will be. Central planning advocates hope that the kiting scheme can be unwound by extending banking regulations to cover the shadow banks while the Fed somehow weans them off of Quantitative Easing. Cynics believe that asking Washington to get the situation under control is a hopeless quest, especially since few Congressmen have a clue what is really going on.

Meanwhile uncertainty hangs over the system since bankruptcy laws, which differ from country to country, have not kept up with hyper-hypothecation. Moreover, the government’s handling of the auto bailout shows that investors cannot rely on existing bankruptcy law even when it speaks clearly on an issue. Therefore, no one really knows who will have first dibs on the collateral when the music stops. And just what are those high quality assets? Sovereign bonds and mortgage CDOs, which are themselves subject to precipitous losses.

As the debate drags on and global economic conditions worsen, the growing pyramid is being kept afloat by the easy money policies of central banks too frightened to withdraw their support lest a stock market correction trigger a cascade of margin calls that brings down the whole system—much like last time.

All this money creation has not yet generated much visible consumer price inflation. This is partly because official inflation measures are suspect but mostly because the bulk of the new money being created is flowing into financial assets and not the consumer economy. This has inflated asset bubbles to levels impossible to justify based on underlying economic conditions, in particular the stock market where investors have fled in search of yield. No one knows when the bubble will pop, but when it does a donnybrook is going to break out over that thin wedge of collateral whose ownership is spread across counterparties around the world, each looking for relief from their own judges, politicians, bureaucrats, and taxpayers.

When that happens and the clamor for regulation, nationalization, confiscation, and demonization arises there is only one thing we can be sure of. The disaster will once again be blamed on a free market capitalism that has not existed in this country for over 100 years.