Wednesday, October 1, 2008


The Daily Reckoning PRESENTS: We all know that the U.S. dollar has been on a steady decline since it was removed from the gold standard. So what would happen if one of the world’s fastest moving countries suddenly used gold to back their money? The Mighty Mogambo investigates... THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL CURRENCY? by The Mogambo Guru The economic slowdown has been characterized as “consumers are de-leveraging”, which is an interesting turn of phrase that means that people are not borrowing money to spend. The importance is dependent on your perspective. Those people who are not borrowing money to spend are thus suffering the pangs of a lowering of their lifestyle, which depended on borrowing money to spend; and then they come around, whining about stupid things like, “Daddy, things have gone up so much in price that I need more money, which you would give me if you loved me. Don’t you love me? I love you! Won’t you please love me, daddy?” And so I ask, “Can’t you love me if I don’t give you any money?” and they say, “No. You could borrow the money, and then we would love you”, and I reply, “I have been borrowing money and now I can’t pay them back” and so the kids say, “Then borrow some more!” And, in a terrifying revelation, I realized that it is not only my children, but all the rest of the economy that is totally dependent on everybody else borrowing money to spend, too. So now you see how Chaos Theory was right, and that all things are connected to all things? If not, then pay attention to how they will now commence to all drag each other down into the Nightmarish Hell Of Inflationary Insolvency (NHOII). And it doesn’t take a real genius to see why, but the point is not that the American people were stupid enough to think they could get a perpetual free lunch by borrowing money to pay for it, or even that a smaller subset of those who are suffering the pangs of a lowering of their lifestyle is composed of those who also think that they can call me on the phone and either 1.) Ask to borrow some money from me, or 2.) Ask me to pay them back the money I borrowed from them. My response is the same, in that I give neither one of them any money because I don’t have any money; so to one I laugh in scorn, and to the other I say that I have just put a check in the mail to them, and that they will get their money soon, and if it hasn’t arrived in a few months, call me back and I’ll write you a new check and get it right into the mail. The point is that a much larger subset of those who are suffering the pangs of a lowering of their lifestyle is composed of those people who think that they can elect government representatives who legislate all problems out of existence, that will tax me and then give the money to them, or the Federal Reserve will create more money to loan to investors with which to buy government debt so that the government can spend, spend, spend us into blessed Utopia. Either way, it’s Bad, Bad News (BBN). And, alas, one way or the other, they are right. Unfortunately. And that is one reason that I weep, alone, in the Mogambo Bunker Of Bunkers (MBOB), doors locked, radio blaring, machine guns cocked and loaded, mostly drunk or nearly so, soon to be blissfully comatose. Another reason that I cry so piteously and drink so abusively is that all this new government borrowing will create so much new money that it will destroy the dollar’s buying power, taking my own country down with it. The only reason that I stop bawling like a little crybaby is the knowledge that the people who own gold, silver and oil will get rich, rich, rich, and since I own gold, then people will want me to loan them a few bucks out of my huge stacks of money because they are starving, and their children are starving, and I will say “No!”, and it will be thin gruel indeed for them to hear my mocking voice again echoing in their heads, “Buy gold, silver and oil, you morons, because your stupid government is letting a private bank (that misleadingly calls itself the Federal Reserve when it is, in fact, neither) to create so damned much fiat money that it will produce catastrophic inflation in consumer prices that will destroy the country, just like it has done to every other stupid country in the last 4,000 years that let its stupid government increase a fiat money supply at its whim! Hahahaha! Now you see why I always said you were freaking doomed! Hahaha!” But I feel terrible, as this constant infliction of inflationary pain by heedless expansion of the money supply is so unnecessary, and that is why I was pleasantly surprised to read in the Wall Street Journal the headline “Central Banks Consider Gold” in its Commodities Reports column. The reason is easy to see if you read the article backwards, in that there was a question about central bank buying “last week, when gold saw a record single-day gain”, especially Chinese central bank buying of gold, which is already the ninth-largest holder of gold in the world but which holds only 1% of its foreign-exchange reserves in gold, although it actually said it would like to hold more. And Mark O’Byrne at Gold & Silver Investments says that he would “be surprised if the Chinese hadn’t been nibbling at the gold market,”, which leads to the news that Asian banks “are seen as keen buyers” of gold, which leads to the news that “other central banks are now far more likely to be holders of gold”, which leads us back to the second paragraph that “Turbulence in the financial markets and recent U.S. dollar weakness are helping the precious metal claw back its reputation as the central monetary anchor within the international monetary framework”, which leads to the opening paragraph of “Central banks may be starting to turn one of the few assets in which they can invest; gold.” In short, those crafty Chinese, a fifth of the world’s population, may be getting ready to issue a gold-standard money, which will instantly make their currency the strongest in the world, which is just what a country needs if it wants to import a lot of things cheaply so as to respond to demand for internal economic growth without stoking inflation in prices! And, fortunately for those of us who both love to have large profits handed to us and who also own gold, a Chinese gold-standard may soon make a dream come true as gold would skyrocket when priced in suddenly depreciated dollars. Whee! This investing stuff is easy! Until next time, The Mogambo Guru for The Daily Reckoning