Acute Disorder

Law of unintended consequences

Archive for May, 2013

Dealing with Policy Officers – you know them as Police Officers

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As a group, “Peace Officers” do not exist in the DEMOCRACY; only POLICY ENFORCERS do. A peace officer only exists in the Republic. The word ‘peace’ should be your first clue in comparison to the militarized thugs we have today.

You must choose your battles/confrontations wisely. Sometimes, even the calmest of approaches will not quell the blinding rage of POLICY ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS. This I have experienced. Sometimes those dudes/chicas have already had a bad day and your calm can further piss them off. But people and their experiences and emotions can never be 100% predictable, which makes life a bit interesting at times.

I’ve had success with a number of different approaches, one of my faves is to immediately begin the Contract before the COP has the chance.

“What is the Emergency and how can I help?”

Usually get back a confused “Excuse me?” or a simple confess-and-avoid leading to: “License and registration…”

I repeated: “What is the Emergency and how can I help?”

Regardless of whether he answers, I’d qualify like this:

“Is that your patrol vehicle?”
“Aren’t those ‘emergency beacons/flashers/lights’ atop your patrol vehicle?”
“Didn’t you activate/turn on those lights?”

I’ve had it go a couple different directions here and I’ll share one:

COP: “Reason I pulled you over is that your inspection sticker is the wrong color.”
Me: “If an emergency is signaled by beacons where none exists, isn’t that a FEDERAL CRIME?”

Me: “Haven’t people been injured because they rushed to move for an emergency vehicle that signaled a false emergency?”

“Sir, I don’t wish to take you into Federal Court and charge you with an offense that may cost you your livelihood and occupation. Maybe I need to speak to your Sergeant/Shift Supervisor to avoid any more incurred liability on your part.”

COP: “You some kind of lawyer?”
Me: “Would that give my words a bit more GRAVITY for you, sir? And who is the name of your current Shift Supervisor?”

Cop makes to walk toward his cruiser when I ask: “Am I free to go or am I being detained without a declared emergency?”

He quickly got into his car and drove away like he was on mission to save Earth.

Am I saying to replicate this action? No. Hell no. Much of how I’ve handled highway-stops is just to be chill and confident. I pretend I’m dealing with my neighbors recalcitrant children. Yes, they are little tyrants and hellions, but I mean them no harm. I can beat up a little kid, sure, but that’s just WRONG. I can speak some words to them and ask them to go and get their daddy so I can have an adult conversation and get things straightened out.

I can verbally inform them of what consequences they may face if they continue their behavior, making them fear what their daddy would do to them if I report them, so to speak.

The point I’m getting at is that with children and cops you must be very sweet yet unwavering and CONFIDENT. You KNOW you’re the adult when you’re dealing with a child and you have that confidence. Once you KNOW you’re an adult-Creditor when you’re dealing with a bureaucrat, the confidence will simply BE THERE.

Confidence of the quiet-cool nature puts more trepidation into the minds of bureaucrats than any ranting raving threatening slobbering patriot redneck. I say redneck because they abound where I am.

Well before I was aware of Admiralty, I defended my STRAWMAN in court thinking it was I they were trying. And I did better than most with a 75% success record (mostly traffic incidents and minor things).

I once verbally wrangled an NC State Trooper on the stand for the better part of 20 minutes, and although I was anxious, seeing him sweat and stutter and give ‘No I am not qualified’ and ‘I have no idea’ and ‘I don’t know what that statute says or if I’m liable for it.’ testimony, plus seeing the DA’s face wrinkle and pinch, got me confident. So you’re not the only one being nervous on the spot. So relax…we’re all human…allegedly.

I lost that particular “argument” but I got a huge boost from the Judge who held me back while the other ‘Actors’ went their separate ways. He told me I had the right mindset and tenacity and attention to detail, but that I was missing crucial elements of foundational procedure.

I also had the Assistant DA approach me later and ask me which law school I attended, to which I almost threw up in my mouth, but thanked him for his sidelong attempt at “giving props”.

Is praise from an Esquire noteworthy? I don’t know, I just know that they are actors in a Play and I didn’t read the Play, I didn’t know my stage-Presence and Proper Lines that day. That judge gave me a huge swell in confidence which has assisted me ever since in dealing with cops, attorneys, any and every bureaucrat that think they have power and hold sway over me.

Judges and Clerks aka the higher-level bureaucrats are the most polite yet also they are the craftiest. And that’s OK. I like crafty. It’s a challenge. It’s psychological, mostly. It’s a Head Game.

And one thing higher-level bureaucrats do well is ASSESS YOUR ASS. They are very good behaviorists. They know fake confidence over the real thing. You go in with the real thing, they sit and take notice if for nothing else, to return your politeness. This has been my experience alone.

Remember to speak to POLICE OFFICERS with the right Humor, the right Humility, the proper tonality as you would your neighbors wayward children, and like children they’ll grow up to respect you and not harass you. When that happens you get to see the magical transformation of SWAT thug into a true and genuine Peace Officer.

Written by anubis

May 28th, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Terminal State Of Broken

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Originally posted at Monty Pelerin’s World blog,

As markets continue to confound, it is useful to reflect on this quote from Jim Sinclair, particularly the last sentence:

The world has taken on a “virtual reality” with no reference to what really is. This is the biggest market power play of smoke and mirrors in history. It is happening because the financial system is in a terminal state of broken.

I could not agree more. This same view has been expressed since the inception of this website (over three and a half years ago). Mr. Sinclair’s wonderfully clever and colorful phrase,”terminal state of broken,” captures matters well. He used it with respect to financial markets, but it applies to much more.

The terminal state of broken also applies to government and the institutions contained therein. Furthermore, these areas have infected non-governmental institutions, especially those which derive their existence and/or success from a close association with government. These include the educational system, defense industry, highly regulated industries like medicine and finance and a host of others.

The common denominator in all of this is government. It is the modern day equivalent of typhoid Mary, infecting all that it comes in contact with duplicity, dishonesty and corruption. This “brokeness” now infects the very morality and civility of society. Institutional behavior provides the moral guidelines (or lack thereof) for society. Corruption, deceit and theft are not virtues, yet if they are practiced openly they cease to become vices.

Immorality in higher institutions weakens the social and moral fabric of a society. Incivility and coarseness is the least of the problems. Justice Brandeis commented on the “trickle down” effect of institutional behavior, focusing on that of government itself:

In a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipotent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. If government becomes a lawbreaker it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself. It invites anarchy.

Brandeis’ warning was early enough to head off our current condition, but it went unheeded. Instead, our “omnipotent teacher” chose to ignore ethics and morality as they stood in the way of the desire for power and wealth.

Government increasingly took on the Nockian (Albert J. Nock) description:

Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class.

Years of misbehavior, favoritism and outright criminal acts produced a view of government officials that ranks below that of used-car salesmen. No other group or institution is held in lower esteem. Government’s survival is no longer based on a functional, moral need. Its continued survival depends upon its ability to distribute largess.

The wealthy and the poor now consider themselves allies with government. The wealthy are provided favors and leeway that free markets would not allow. The poor are bribed with “goodies” that government takes from the productive in exchange for votes.

“Terminally broken” is the exact description for our current situation. Terminally, I interpret, as hopelessly, as in unfixable. Terminally also implies a temporary condition, one that cannot last very long. The unstable equilibrium that now exists is not too different from the eye of a hurricane. Any movement out of this rather small protective area will produce havoc.

Written by anubis

May 23rd, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Climate Change

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It’s simple.
1. All energy on earth comes (or came) from the Sun, in the form of electromagnetic radiation of various spectra.
2. The source of this radiation varies cyclically due to numerous factors such as the variation in the speed of rotation of the sun’s core versus its surface; tidal effects of the planetary gravitational forces
on the sun’s surface; coupled with the Sun’s axial rotation; the ‘boiling’ phenomenon of the body of the Sun itself, manifesting as flow from the core to the surface and back again; sunspots(themselves cyclically linked to the period of the orbit of Jupiter) ; etc.
3. Electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Sun travels through space to the earth in waves of varying length, and type and intensity.
4. Thus, there is variability in the amount and type of energy reaching the earth. Some of these cycles are very long, from just a few years up to hundreds and thousands of years.
5. The effects of these changes in solar radiation striking the earth (which includes its atmosphere) are different at different times due to the changing state of the earth itself, which itself varies cyclically in a lagged response to the varying energy reaching it from the sun, which has set up a non-harmonic resonance between the earth’s cycles and the sun’s. In other words there is a non-linear relationship between the solar radiation reaching the earth and its effects.
6. The earth’s magnetic field is powered by this electromagnetic energy.
7. When Solar activity is low, the earth’s magnetic field is weaker.
8. Because the earth’s magnetic field is weaker, more cosmic rays, i.e. rays emanating from deep space – exploding stars etc., enter our atmosphere.
9. These cosmic rays passing through our atmosphere impact the water droplets in the atmosphere, causing the formation of aerosols.
10. Aerosols are necessary for cloud formation, since the water vapour cannot condense on its own unless it has something onto which it can condense. These aerosols are what it condenses onto.
11. More aerosols equals more clouds. So cloud formation is directly correlated to the Sun’s activity. Weak activity equates to more cloud formation, higher levels of solar activity equates to fewer clouds.
12. Clouds formed in this way reflect energy back out into space, thereby causing the climate to cool.
13. When the Sun’s activity is stronger, the electromagnetic field of the earth is stronger, and this acts as a shield for the atmosphere, causing more cosmic rays to be bounced back into space and so there is less cloud formation and the atmosphere heats up.
14. Any a priori presumption of stability of the earth’s temperature is ludicrous, borne out by historical evidence of ice ages and warm periods. One trivial example is the Roman vineyard near Leeds. And the reason Greenland was called Greenland by the Vikings who sailed there..(clue: because it was green, not covered in ice, as now). These changes obviously occurred independently of any man made impact on the make-up of the earth’s atmosphere.
15. What is the total amount of CO2 as a percentage of the earth’s atmosphere ?? (Answer : 0.039%).
16. H2O is 0.25% of the earth’s atmosphere.
17. If the earth is a receptor for energy flow, and that flow varies quite considerably over long and short periods, consider whether this is the more likely cause of variability in earth’s climate or whether the relatively recent phenomenon of possibly increasing CO2 is responsible.
18. We’re actually heading for a new Ice Age. Maybe you’ve noticed it’s been a bit cooler lately.

Here’s a brilliant movie produced by Henrik Svensmark, the originator of the Cloud Effect Theory. Here

OK.. I would like to add that I’m not a rabid arguer in favour of the above (I try to steer clear of rabid anything!). I’ve never really been one for trying to convert people to my view at all costs, since I recognize all humans are fallible. I pretty much try to observe the situation and diplomatically say what I feel and explain the reasons why and then agree to disagree if people don’t see it my way.

Thus, I’m not a climate change skeptic.

The climate changes as it always has and will continue to do so. I am just very fairly certain that CO2 is not the CAUSE.

In reference to my point 7 above, here’s a Wikipedia link. To save you the click, here’s the important bit.
Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure and exists in Earth’s atmosphere in this state, as a trace gas at a concentration of 0.039 per cent by volume.[1]

0.039% !!!!!!.

0.039% of the atmosphere versus massive variability in the flow of the source of all energy powering this planet. Hmmmmm….

Furthermore, regardless of what you or I think, China is building 50 new coal fired power stations, so the amount of this trace gas being generated by humans and pumped into the atmosphere is going to rise not fall. We’re just passengers.

I would also add that from a risk perspective, the more negative outcome for humanity is an ice age not a warm period. Vineyards in Yorkshire vs. low yields in wheat crops, poor harvests and high food prices, mass human starvation etc etc.

We can’t influence the climate. The eventual resolution is baked in. I think it’s another example of mankind having a huge ego trip akin to believing that the Sun orbits the Earth and not vice versa.
Everything is cyclical. Here’s a solar cycle chart showing temperature correlated to solar activity and extrapolated forward.

That’s why I think it’s going to get colder over the next 15 to 20 years, not the other way round.

Of course I could be wrong. What a fool.

Written by anubis

May 22nd, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Posted in Climate


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Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

What happens to everyone in the ruling Elites and those desperately trying to join the ruling Elites when the debt-serfs stop paying and the tax donkeys drift away to lower-cost, lower-income lifestyles?

Turn on, tune in, drop out was a famous slogan of the 1960s counterculture popularized by Timothy Leary, who stated that slogan was “given to him” by Marshall McLuhan during a lunch in New York City in 1966.

Tune in referred to gaining an awareness of the countercultural spectrum of ideas and values, turn on referred to mind-expansion via psychedelics and drop out meant to drop out of conventional society; Leary later explained that “drop out meant self-reliance, a discovery of one’s singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change.”

In 1967, Leary modified the slogan thusly: Drop out. Turn on. Drop in.

Here at, the slogan has been updated to Tune In, Turn On, Opt Out: tune in means to become aware the status quo is unsustainable and deranging; turn on means to become engaged in self-reliance and taking control of one’s life and livelihood, and opting out means opting out of supporting our financialized cartel-state Neofeudal Debtocracy by being a compliant debt-serf and tax donkey.

People all over the world are tuning in to alternative narratives, turning on to self-reliance and low-cost/low-impact living and opting out of the status quo culture of consumerism, debt and complicity with a parasitic, exploitive financial-state Aristocracy/Plutocracy/Oligarchy/Kleptocracy (take your pick–it’s still the same rapacious Elite whatever name you choose).

The most direct path to an alternative way of living is to opt out of debt and the associated consumerist fantasies of store-bought selfhood: multiple university degrees, brand name clothing, luxury autos, etc. This renunciation of consumerist consumption and debt is called Degrowth (May 9, 2013).

Once you opt out of debt and excess consumption, you need a lot less money to live; that means one can work less and have more time for family, gardening, self-cultivation, entrepreneurial enterprises, etc.

For many, the cash economy and generous state benefits beckon. I am not recommending any particular lifestyle or set of choices here, I am simply stating what can easily be observed in any developed nation should you remove the mainstream media/state propaganda blinders: people are earning their livelihood in the informal cash economy, avoiding VAT and sales taxes, and many are drawing some sort of state benefit for one reason or another: unemployment, disability, early retirement, etc.

Others are occupying housing units without paying rent or the mortgage, i.e. squatting. A tide of squatters spreads in Spain in wake of foreclosures:

A 285-unit apartment complex in Parla, less than half an hour’s drive from Madrid, should be an ideal target for investors seeking cheap property in Spain. Unfortunately, two thirds of the building generates zero revenue because it’s overrun by squatters.“This is happening all over the country,” said Jose Maria Fraile, the town’s mayor, who estimates only 100 apartments in the block built for the council have rental contracts, and not all of those tenants are paying either. “People lost their jobs, they can’t pay mortgages or rent so they lost their homes and this has produced a tide of squatters.”

As I have ceaselessly explained here for years, this is the inevitable result of financialization and state-enforced rentier arrangements in a Neofeudal Debtocracy:

Bernanke’s Neofeudal Rentier Economy (May 7, 2013)
The Fatal Disease of the Status Quo: Diminishing Returns (May 1, 2013)
College Grads: It’s a Different Economy (May 3, 2013)
Why Krugman and the Keynesians Are Lackeys for the Neofeudal Debtocracy (April 24, 2013)

What happens to everyone in the ruling Elites and those desperately trying to join the ruling Elites when the debt-serfs stop paying and the tax donkeys drift away to lower-cost, lower-income lifestyles? The ruling kleptocratic financiers and the vast political class of toadies, lackeys, apparatchiks and grifters that do their bidding will be like a bloated general staff who finds their malnourished army of conscripts has slipped away into the night; their parasitic empire will implode because nobody is left to do their bidding.

If you think Tune In, Turn On, Opt Out sounds ludicrous, check back in four years (2017) and eight years (2021) and see how many of your fellow debt-serfs and tax donkeys have quietly abandoned the bloated cost-structure, debt and derangement of the Neofeudal Debtocracy’s twisted consumerist dream.

Written by anubis

May 17th, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Posted in Epochal Collapse

Weather Cycle

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click to enlarge.

Written by anubis

May 11th, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Posted in Climate

Climate Change

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1. The world is cooling and has been for between 4 and 15 years depending on how you look at the data; while CO2 has been rising.

2. There is no evidence in real data (or even in the warmists ‘standard’ fiddled data) going back hundreds, thousands or a million years from the real world that CO2 increases have led to temperature increases.

3. The CO2 warmists have been challenged many times to produce such real data based evidence (not bluster and ‘It must-be’ claims) and failed.
For the latest challenge directed at Sir John Beddington (BBC link below**) please see the WeatherActionTV video.

4. The warmists claims that ‘warm means cold’ and CO2 drives extreme events is a stack of brazen lies. They claim extreme weather events explicitly correctly predicted months ahead via solar activity were somehow caused by CO2. They have no evidence for their claim, or if they think they have we must conclude that Man’s piffling increase of the concentration of the trace gas CO2 on earth from 0.030% to 0.031% has caused various solar-coronal events (which themselves were in fact predicted by WeatherAction and not by the CO2 warmists)!

5. The CO2 warmist theory of Man-Made Climate Change is a delusion.

6. ALL the changes in Jet Stream circulation, world temperatures and extreme weather events predicted by WeatherAction in the descent to a new Mini Ice Age have been and are being confirmed. Yet, the IPCC, UN and UK Government (especially the LibDem wing of it) are pointing the world in the wrong direction – ie to assume warming when cooling is the reality – and are engaged in organised theft from the public and holding-back of third world development in the name of a delusion.

** The BBC Link article carrying Sir John Beddington’s direct lie ” “The evidence that (man-made CO2) climate change is happening is completely unequivocal.” is:

Piers says: There is no real data evidence in the world supporting their claim that CO2 changes drive temperature and climate changes. What the warmists do is play a game of smoke and mirrors.

Para below recently shown in Tweeted article from Arizona Farm Bureau

They report various events and facts usually with extremist innuendo. Their media leaders BBC, Independent, Guardian , New York Times, eg, make statements like “Scientists report (various alarmist facts…”; “Scientists estimate that IF (Greenland/arctic melts, sea level rises, temps rise…. etc) THEN (…end of world etc)…” – without telling you that the various scenarios will NOT happen and refer to the “PROBLEM” of “CO2″, “Climate Change”. NOWHERE (whatever the headlines claim) is their EVIDENCE that CO2 is doing and has done in the RERAL WORLD what they claim. There is on the other hand firm evidence of the opposite – ie that world (sea) temperatures in the long run control CO2 levels – See Presentation to Parliament Select Committee on supercold Dec 2010 predicted by WeatherAction- via WANews11No5 –

Please pass on this information and raise these points with others.
For further information see also – eg Readers feedback on latest Comments; and news pdfs:-

SEA ICE & THE MINI ICE AGE – THE FACTS (Further to Video of Piers)

i. Added 08.04.13

ii. The Truth Behind the Shrinking Arctic Ice Cap – Facts paint a different picture – Brilliant piece by Joe Bastardi – (Sept 13 2012)

iii. – issued The Ides of March 2013:-

Written by anubis

May 11th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Posted in Climate

Legal Action against Parliament

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This is a letter from a campaigner against the Treason that has been committed by various senior political figures, in Parliament, through their actions of signing the various Treaties with the EU, ceding legislative authority to that body.

‘We the People’ undoubtedly have the right to sue Parliament as a whole.

Dear Mr O’Donoghue,

Lord Mereworth spoke to me a few minutes ago and said he had been advised he could not sue Parliament and that of course is correct, or at least it used to be. Can I bring to your attention the case of Stockdale v Hansard 1837, Stockdale, a book publisher, was libelled in the House of Commons and that libel was published in Hansard which was sold outside the confines of Parliament. Lord Denman, the LCJ, awarded Stockdale damages of £600. Patterson J, giving the opinion of the other 8 Judges in the case, said “In the beginning, parliament met under one roof with the Lords one side and the Commons the other, and was the highest court in the land and could not be sued in any of the courts in the land. But for their own reasons the houses chose to sit under different roofs. The House of Lords is where the Law Lords and the King sits and is the highest court in the land. But the House of Commons is in no way a court of law, and the common man must be able to sue the House of Commons in any of the courts in the land, for wrongs done to him by the actions of the House of Commons.”

Sir, I most respectfully submit that Lord Mereworth has along with every Hereditary Peer removed from the House of Lords by the 1999 House of Lords Act, suffered a great wrong done to him at the hands of the House of Commons which originated the 1999 House of Lords Act and as such has every right to sue the House of Commons in any of the ordinary courts in the land in accordance with the cases stated in Stockdale v Hansard 1837.

Taking this ruling it seems to me that once the Law Lords were removed from the House of Lords and placed in the Supreme Court, the House of Lords no longer meets the definition of a court of law as defined by Patterson, giving the opinion of 8 other Judges, in any way shape or form and is now no more than a rubber stamp to be applied to legislation advanced by the House of Commons. Taking Patterson J ruling to its logical conclusion as the House of Lords no longer meets the requirements of being a court the ordinary man should now be able to sue the Parliament as a whole for wrongs done to him.

Parliament, as you are aware, was born of the Common Law of England and is governed in its actions by that same Common Law. The Common Law gave each House a competence to conduct its own business in its own way; that includes the right to determine who does or does not sit in the House. Neither House may by the Common Law interfere in this competence of the other House. The King may appoint a man to a Peerage but has no authority to overrule the Common Law competence of the House, should the House decide that Peer should not sit in the House. The King himself is a product of the Common Law and may by that law not override the Common Law of England, which is supreme law.

The Commons, with the 1999 House of Lords Act, has overridden the competence of the House of Lords to determine who does or does not sit in the House of Peers. This has subverted the constitutional arrangements for parliament; the major crime of Sedition at Common Law and at this level of sedition is an act of High Treason against the English Constitution.

The attached allegations of  High Treason against the named past and present government ministers have been accepted and recorded by 4 county police forces and forwarded to the Metropolitan police for investigation on the grounds they are better placed geographically and economically to carry out an enquiry of this magnitude.

Sir, I respectfully submit the advice given to Lord Mereworth has not taken into account the ruling by Patterson J, and for that reason is flawed. Patterson J with this ruling defined the law as it applies to the House of Commons and as such Lord Mereworth does, I submit, have a case against the House of Commons, who have blatantly interfered with the competence of the upper House to determine themselves who does or does not sit in the House of Peers.

Written by anubis

May 11th, 2013 at 6:10 am


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Bitcoin As Cryptographic Gold?

by Detlev Schlicter via,

Could Bitcoin Be The Money Of The Future?

The crypto-currency Bitcoin is still merely a speck on the global monetary landscape. It is young, experimental, and for all we know, it may ultimately fail to break into the monetary mainstream. However, on a conceptual level I am willing to call it a work of genius and arguably the most exciting development in the field of money for more than 130 years. Let’s say since the start of the Classical Gold Standard in 1879. Does this sound like hyperbole? Well, let me explain.

The Decline and Fall of Capitalist Money

The 20th century was, broadly speaking, a period of almost constant monetary decay. At around 1900 most economists, politicians and bankers would have correctly stated that global capitalism – an international market economy facilitating the free exchange of goods and services across political borders and thus allowing extensive human cooperation through trade – required an international, apolitical, and hard form of money. Such money was gold. It was the basis of the capitalist economy and it imposed strict discipline on all market participants. Crucially, that included governments and banks. Governments had to operate pretty much like private businesses. They had to balance their books, i.e. live within the means provided by taxation, and if they borrowed money in the marketplace their lenders were at full risk of default as no government could print money (gold) to repay loans or even meet interest payments on loans. Banks, of course, issued banknotes or bank-deposits that were not backed by gold but still used by the public as if they were money proper – these were and still are ‘money-derivatives’ – but again they did so at full risk of default as nobody could ‘print’ bank-reserves (gold again) to bail out the banks in case the public tired of the ‘derivatives’ and wanted to hold gold instead.

Over the course of the 20th century – or to be precise, from 1914 to 1971 – the monetary system was completely changed as a consequence of a number of entirely political maneuvers, all of them undermining the quality of money. Today, hard, international and apolitical money has everywhere been replaced with entirely elastic, national and politicized money, with money that central banks issue under a territorial monopoly at no cost and with no meaningful constraints on issuance, and that the central bankers use to ‘manage’ the ‘national’ economy (itself increasingly an out-of-date-concept), and to fund the state and grow the domestic banks (which, under the protection of a lender-of-last-and-first-resort, now issue unprecedented amounts of money derivatives).

Today the global monetary map resembles a patchwork of local, “nationalistic” paper monies, each of which is a political tool, often openly manipulated in an attempt to benefit the local export industry at the expense of foreign competitors or to ‘stimulate’ the ethereal concept of ‘aggregate demand’. Not surprisingly, the global economy is drowning in debt (increasingly public sector debt), suffers from a bloated financial sector and international trade tensions, and stumbles from one crisis to another, each one worse than its predecessor.

Bizarrely – but not entirely surprisingly – politicians, bankers and modern ‘enlightened’ economists now tell us that this unhinged financial system is to our benefit, really, just trust us.

Truth be told, the present monetary system is a hindrance to free trade, properly functioning markets and human cooperation across borders, and it might already be on its last leg. Yet a powerful but entirely misguided, consensus seems to have taken hold of public opinion, namely that ‘elastic’ money could be beneficial if money’s supply was only managed astutely by some clever monetary central planners.

I wrote Paper Money Collapse – The Folly of Elastic Money and the Coming Monetary Breakdown to challenge that consensus, to show that ‘elasticity’ of supply is always a negative for money. Elastic money is not needed. It is entirely superfluous. Moreover, elastic money is always disruptive. A monetary system based on an inherently elastic and constantly expanding supply of money is unstable and ultimately unsustainable. The reason why gold made such good money for thousands of years is precisely its essentially inelastic supply.

The word ‘Bitcoin’ does not even appear in my book. The reason is simply that I had not heard of Bitcoin by the time I handed in my final manuscript in early 2011. But when I learnt about Bitcoin soon afterwards I was immediately fascinated. Like many others, I could conceive of ‘internet money’ or ‘virtual money’. As I had explained in the book, money does not have to exist in physical form and the fact that most money today is electronic money poses no problem for the monetary theoretician. The problem with this type of money is not that it is immaterial but that its supply is completely elastic, and I simply could not see how money that was not based on a nature-given and strictly limited commodity could have an entirely inelastic supply. It was Bitcoin’s inelasticity by design that I saw immediately as one of its greatest strengths and its true genius.

My work rehabilitates the gold standard. It shows that it was a mistake to abandon gold as the basis of our financial system and replace it with entirely elastic state fiat money. When (not if) the present fiat money system finally ends we could and should return to gold. The only alternative I now see, at least on a purely conceptual level, is Bitcoin, or something like Bitcoin: Hard, apolitical immaterial, virtual money.

Bitcoin is cryptographic gold

By now most readers will probably have heard of Bitcoin and have some notion of what it is. But in any case, let me give you a quick run-down. The economist Nikolay Gertchev, in a blog on the Mises Institute website, explains it quite well, although Gertchev, like many other members of the “Austro-Libertarian” movement, is somewhat reserved when it comes to embracing Bitcoin. I am surprised by the extent of scepticism in that community and believe that in general it is unfounded. But first the description:

“A bitcoin is a unit of a nonmaterial virtual currency, also called crypto-currency, by the same name. (Bitcoin is a medium of exchange that only exists in the virtual world. DS) They are stored in anonymous “electronic wallets,” described by a series of about 33 letters and numbers. Bitcoins can travel from a wallet to a wallet, by means of an online peer-to-peer network transaction. Any inter-wallet transfer is registered in the code of the bitcoin, so that the record of its entire transaction history clearly identifies its owner at any single moment, thereby preventing potential ownership conflicts. Bitcoins can be further divided into increments as small as one 100 millionth of a bitcoin. The current outstanding volume of bitcoins is above 10 million and is projected to reach 21 million in the year 2140.”

“This brings us to the truly fascinating production process of the bitcoins. They are “mined” based on a pre-defined mathematical algorithm, and come in a bundle, currently of 25 units, as a reward for carrying out a large number of computational operations that aim at discovering the solution to what could be described as a randomized mathematical puzzle. The role of the algorithm is to ensure a declining progression of the overall stock of bitcoins, by halving the reward every four years. Thus, somewhere in the beginning of 2017, the reward bundle will consist of 12.5 units only. Also, the more bitcoins are produced, the harder are the randomized mathematical puzzles to be solved.”

Bitcoin is immaterial money yet strictly limited in its supply. Once 21 million units are in existence, probably in 2140, that’s it. No more Bitcoin can be issued. In fact, the supply of Bitcoin is more inelastic than the supply of gold. Also, the available supply of Bitcoin at any moment in time is substantially more transparent than that of gold.

If Bitcoin ever became money in its own right (how it could do so, I will discuss below), then it would be international, hard and entirely inelastic money. Like gold it also does not decay, is homogenous and (almost) perfectly divisible. Bitcoin fulfils all the requirements of good money. In the long run, gold does not have to fear fiat money, which is always suboptimal as it always is national, politicized, manipulated, unstable and inflationary money. For one thousand years, state paper monies have come and gone. Gold (and silver) stayed. Gold just has to sit still and wait for this, the latest and most audacious and arrogant, experiment with global free-floating paper money to fail, and it will come back. But now it faces, potentially, its first meaningful challenger: inelastic crypto-currency, Bitcoin.

Money of no authority

There is no central authority that issues Bitcoin and can manipulate its supply for its own gain or for any alleged ‘greater good’ of society. Positively cringe-inducing, although sometimes unintentionally funny, are the embarrassing attempts by establishment spokespeople to discredit Bitcoin on account that, unlike all that astutely managed state fiat money, Bitcoin would not constantly be losing purchasing power. In fact, just as in the case of gold, Bitcoin’s purchasing power can reasonably be expected to constantly appreciate over time.

But, so we hear the assorted ‘enlightened’ economists of the Keynesian persuasion exclaim in horror, that would mean we would all suffer from dreadful deflation, from which only an elite of highly-qualified government-appointed central bank bureaucrats and a well-oiled printing press can save us. Apart from the fact that these self-appointed money masters have neither proper economic theory nor the experience of a thousand years of financial history on the side of their destructive agenda, they obviously do not even comprehend how far their system of manipulated funny money has already discredited itself.

Inelastic money can satisfy ANY demand

As I have explained in Paper Money Collapse no society (not even a healthily growing one) needs a constantly expanding supply of money. Money is a unique economic good. Because it is the medium of exchange, money is the only good that is demanded exclusively for its exchange value, not for any use-value its substance (if it has a substance at all) may also have.

Nobody who has demand for money has demand for a certain quantity of paper notes, or a certain weight of gold, or a certain number of digits on a computer hard-drive. Money-users have demand for the exchange value that these items contain in exchange for other goods and service, i.e. qua being accepted by others as money. Demand for money is always demand for readily exercisable purchasing power.

Once a good is widely accepted as a medium of exchange (whether that good is gold, paper tickets, or sequences of digital ones and noughts), the public can, at any moment in time, hold precisely the amount of money – readily exercisable purchasing power – it wants to hold. If the demand for money goes up, the public will sell non-money goods for money or reduce money-outlays for non-money goods. As a result, the money-prices of non-money goods fall and the purchasing power of each monetary unit (whether gold, paper tickets, or digital code) will rise. This process satisfies – automatically, instantly and naturally – the higher demand for money. The public now holds more readily exercisable purchasing power in the form of money, not because a clever, über-prescient money producer has created new money units, but simply and much more straightforwardly, because the exchange-value of the existing money stock has increased.

Once a good is widely accepted as money, no further production of that good is required. In fact, as I also demonstrated in Paper Money Collapse, any attempt to flexibly inject money into the economy in order to ‘stabilize’ money’s purchasing power, or, as is declared policy today, to constantly debase it at an officially sanctioned rate, must not only fail in its primary objective (‘price level stability’) but must cause grave distortions in the wider economy. Furthermore, the steady secular deflation that is to be expected under inelastic money, such as gold or Bitcoin, is not only not economically disruptive, it is even beneficial. Just consider one aspect: as money will then have a moderate positive real return, people who have no knowledge of financial markets and investing, and who do not have the resources to hire professional advisors, can save by simply holding money. This is impossible in our fiat money economy of constant inflation and increasing monetary instability.

Truly international

As Bitcoin has no issuing authority it has no country of residence or origin. It is truly global money. It can be used for payment anywhere in the world without going through banking systems or foreign-exchange markets. It is undeniable that the multitude of local paper monies poses a considerable hindrance to free trade and thus the rise of living standards in large parts of the world as this system necessarily introduces an element of partial barter into international trade relations. Today’s massive foreign-exchange markets are nothing but a make-shift, a crutch to deal with the suboptimal and politically motivated arrangement of various local currencies. This market ties up capital (both financial and human) without adding any real wealth to society.

If Bitcoin were to get widely accepted – and that is still a big if – it could become a great platform for connecting potentially any two counterparties in the world in direct financial transactions. It is the ultimate disintermediator: no banks needed.

At this point it might be objected that it only connects people who have access to the internet or smartphones but this is obviously a rapidly shrinking barrier. On my travels in Africa last year, I found that internet access was usually more ubiquitous than bank branches. And by the way, Kenya and Tanzania already have M-Pesa, the world’s most developed mobile payment system that uses the mobile phone network to facilitate money transfers. These countries could easily make the transition to smartphone-based payment systems without ever making the detour through clunky bank branch networks.

On the issue of tying down capital, Bitcoin wins hands-down against any other financial system, including a gold standard. Bitcoin does not require any physical storage, which naturally is always expensive. Bitcoin is monetary raw material and payment system in one. (Although, fascinatingly, the free market has already created physical Bitcoins.)

Money requires trust. We presently do not live under a gold standard but, as Jim Grant has observed so astutely, a PhD-standard, a system of flexible, state-sponsored money, managed by people like Ben Bernanke and his team at the Fed, who enjoy the privilege of implementing policies based on their own faulty monetary theories and hair-raising interpretations of economic history, while a cheap-money-addicted class of speculators plays them like a fiddle and laughs all the way to the bank. The appeal of gold has always been that it does not require the public to put trust in a ‘money elite’ but that it only has to trust gold’s creator: mother nature. With Bitcoin you only have to trust the algorithm, and as this is open software, there cannot even be a hidden agenda. Bitcoin, just like a proper gold standard, is hard, capitalist money with no politics, no Federal Open Market Committee meetings, no monetary policy, no central banking bureaucracy. It is free market money.

Common objections to Bitcoin

Given its free market and ultra-hard-currency credentials, the scepticism towards Bitcoin in parts of the Austro-Libertarian community is somewhat surprising. I think some of the objections are easily refuted. There is, first of all, the idea that Bitcoin could have many imitators, which would undermine its uniqueness and reduce its attractiveness. If Bitcoin itself cannot be inflated, what about the concept of crypto-currencies, could it be inflated by too many different currencies on offer?

This argument strikes me as weak. By all accounts Bitcoin’s design and cryptographic robustness are an exceptional accomplishment. It is not as if any hacker of medium talent could pull off something similar tomorrow. But even if he could, the argument completely underestimates first-mover advantage in the area of goods and services with substantial network effects. How many people have launched a second Facebook or a second Twitter since these inventions kicked-off the social media craze, although technologically, these inventions are much simpler than crypto-currency? – Nobody. The network effects of these goods are immense. Once they have a certain acceptance it is hard, if not impossible, for late-comers to break in. These goods and services have value for their users predominantly because others use them too, and the more people use them, the more valuable they get. There is no good for which this is truer than money – the general medium of exchange. Customized money is an oxymoron. Consequently, once a form of money is accepted, it is very difficult to take business away from it.

This feature of money is obviously a problem for Bitcoin in its fight against established state paper monies but is equally a big plus when it comes to keeping potential new entrants into the crypto-currency arena at bay. Bitcoin now dominates the market for crypto-currencies (it pretty much IS the market for crypto-currencies, in my view) and I believe that only the discovery of major flaws in Bitcoin – none seem to have surfaced in its four-year life up to now, and every day they are less likely to appear -, or if some vastly superior crypto-currency came along but I am hard-pressed to see in which aspect it could outperform Bitcoin. But just launching another crypto-currency – a Bitcoin clone – is certainly not going to put a dent into Bitcoin.

Menger and Mises would love Bitcoin

Many ‘Austrians’ get thrown off by Menger’s theory of the origin of money and Mises’ so-called ‘regression theorem’, and somewhat rashly conclude that Bitcoin can never achieve money-status because it did not originate from a non-money commodity. Mises was correct when he stated that something could only become money if it had previously, that is, before it was used by somebody as a medium of exchange in its own right for the first time, established some value in trade. For if that had not been the case, how could the first person to employ the commodity as money have any point of reference by which to assess its value and determined its exchange value for the first monetary transaction? However, this theorem, which remains unrefuted in my view, does not apply to Bitcoin. Bitcoin can simply piggyback on established forms of money that already have exchange-value and derive its original value from them before it does, over time, establish its own value.

The same has, in fact, happened in the case of paper money. The paper notes that are used as money today did not start their ascent to widely used and generally accepted monetary assets from humble beginnings as commodities – that is, as mere paper – but started out as paper-claims on physical gold. Gold was money and the paper tickets simply a technology to transfer ownership of gold. When the first banknote was used it did not derive its exchange value from its paper content but from the fact that it could be exchanged for a fixed amount of gold. That was the necessary reference point – in accordance with Mises’ regression theorem. Paper money started as payment technology and as the public got used to paying with paper rather than with gold coins and gold bars, the underlying gold content could be reduced over time and ultimately the link to gold completely severed. What gives value to these paper tickets today? – The fact that the public still accepts these paper tickets in exchange for goods and services. That is all. And in fact, it is all that is needed. Any form of money –even gold, which still retains some functionality as industrial commodity or consumption good (jewellery), although that functionality is now irrelevant for its role as monetary asset – any form of money derives its money-value from the trading public and the public’s willingness to exchange the monetary asset for goods and services.

And herein lies in fact Bitcoin’s biggest challenge. However, this challenge is not of a conceptual nature. The concept of Bitcoin as money is, as I have tried to show above, extremely compelling. But Bitcoin has to offer something to the average money-user that state paper money cannot offer. Just as the banknote bestowed an instant and discernible benefit to each money-user relative to heavy gold coins, that allowed it to become a widely used medium of exchange in its own right and ultimately even operate without any link to gold, so Bitcoin has to set itself apart from fiat money and overcome fiat money’s powerful network advantage. The fact that fiat money is suboptimal in terms of its inflation characteristics and its disruptive effects on the broader economy is not something that bothers the average money user at the moment he desires to engage in monetary transactions, and do so as conveniently, securely and easily as possible. The state paper money system today offers easily useable ‘computer money’ and the broader public is still happy to use it. Why switch to Bitcoin?

Will Bitcoin get accepted by the wider public?

It is my impression that the community of Bitcoin users, although apparently growing strongly, is still largely composed of those who are fascinated by the technology as such and who want to be part of something new, and those who like it for ‘ideological’ reasons, i.e. those who detest state paper money or dislike the banking system. Thus, there is apparently still a big contingent of computer ‘nerds’, hackers, crypto-anarchists, anti-government libertarians and Occupy-Wall-Street-types among its user base (which is not to say that there are not many who do not fall into any of these categories). How could Bitcoin attract a broader base of money-consumers beyond these groups?

One powerful aspect is cost. Bitcoin transactions are free, so Bitcoin could become – or maybe it is already – the Skype of payment systems. Another attraction could simply be the usually reasonable, and with some effort potentially considerable, anonymity and untraceability that Bitcoin offers. This seems to be a hotly debated topic. On the one hand, Bitcoin is incredibly transparent. All transactions are literally in the open domain. However, each ‘user’ is only identified by his ‘address’ and the number of addresses is practically unlimited. One could use a new address for each transaction. This may not mean instant untraceability from ‘the authorities’ but then again, certain techniques and add-ons, some of which are still being developed, have the potential to increase anonymity and untraceability even further. Additionally, it is possible to acquire Bitcoin for cash – rather than via the established and already regulated exchanges – and thus anonymously.

This means Bitcoin could be used, as is a frequent charge against it already, for illegal transactions involving drugs and guns. But people do not have to be drug or arms dealers, or even ordinary tax cheats, to appreciate a certain degree of financial privacy. As bank secrecy laws disappear everywhere and as almost all governments are waging a ‘war on cash’, by which any transaction that involves more than just petty cash is to be moved to electronic systems within the state’s fiat money network, so that ‘the authorities’ achieve full ‘transparency’ as to what the citizenry is up to at any moment, there could well be a widespread demand for ‘outside’ electronic payment systems offering privacy. For example, a range of ‘activities’ exist engaging in which may not be, or not yet be, illegal but considered a major potential embarrassment to the parties involved if made public (gambling, pornography, escort services), so that many people would not want to have payment for them on their permanent records. This potential development is not lacking in irony: Our modern information society with its trends towards the ‘transparent citizen’ and unlimited data storage holds many threats to a free society, privacy and individual liberty. It would be fitting if countermoves to these trends emanated from the same technology.

An additional boost to Bitcoin may come straight from the crumbling state paper money infrastructure itself. The cases of Iceland and in particular Cyprus have driven home the point that ‘money in the bank’ is far from safe, and even if your deposits have survived the bank collapse and the ‘bail-in’, you may not get them out of the country any time soon as capital controls are likely be imposed. As the overstretched paper money economy staggers towards its inevitable demise, more of these instances will occur providing an additional opening for Bitcoin. To the best of my knowledge, Bitcoins cannot be confiscated and Bitcoin accounts cannot be frozen Additionally, you store Bitcoin yourself rather than put them into a fractional-reserve bank that would conveniently use them as ‘reserves’ for its own ‘money derivative’ production.

What are Bitcoins worth?

I agree with Jon Matonis that nobody can give a reasonable answer but that the outcome is probably binary: Either Bitcoin ultimately fails and the individual Bitcoins end up worthless. Or Bitcoin takes off and Bitcoins are worth hundreds of thousands of paper dollars, paper yen, paper euros, or paper pounds. Maybe more. Those who buy Bitcoin as a speculative investment should consider it an option on the future success of the crypto-currency. At time of writing, Bitcoins are trading at $127 and £83 at Bitcoin-exchange Mt. Gox.

On a personal note, my biggest ‘liquid’ asset continues to be physical gold. As I explained on numerous occasions, I consider gold to be the essential self-defense asset in the ongoing paper money crisis. Gold is not being used presently by the wider public as a medium of exchange either but its two-thousand-plus year history as global money means that it retains monetary asset status and that its historic function as a liquid and lasting store of value – a function that fiat money cannot fulfil – remains unrivalled. By comparison, the brand-new crypto-currency Bitcoin has to first earn its stripes as a monetary asset by proving itself as a ‘common’ medium of exchange. That is why I view Bitcoin very differently from gold, although the attraction of both has its origin in the demise of entirely elastic, politicized state fiat money. I will certainly continue to follow the Bitcoin revolution with interest and sympathy.

In the meantime, the debasement of paper money continues.

Written by anubis

May 4th, 2013 at 7:31 am

Posted in Economics

Next Great Depression

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20 Signs That The Next Great Economic Depression Has Already Started In Europe

By Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The next Great Depression is already happening – it just hasn’t reached the United States yet. Things in Europe just continue to get worse and worse, and yet most people in the United States still don’t get it. All the time I have people ask me when the “economic collapse” is going to happen. Well, for ages I have been warning that the next major wave of the ongoing economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening. In fact, both Greece and Spain already have levels of unemployment that are greater than anything the U.S. experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Pay close attention to what is happening over there, because it is coming here too. You see, the truth is that Europe is a lot like the United States. We are both drowning in unprecedented levels of debt, and we both have overleveraged banking systems that resemble a house of cards. The reason why the U.S. does not look like Europe yet is because we have thrown all caution to the wind. The Federal Reserve is printing money as if there is no tomorrow and the U.S. government is savagely destroying the future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have by stealing more than 100 million dollars from them every single hour of every single day. We have gone “all in” on kicking the can down the road even though it means destroying the future of America. But the alternative scares the living daylights out of our politicians. When nations such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy tried to slow down the rate at which their debts were rising, the results were absolutely devastating. A full-blown economic depression is raging across southern Europe and it is rapidly spreading into northern Europe. Eventually it will spread to the rest of the globe as well.

The following are 20 signs that the next Great Depression has already started in Europe…

#1 The unemployment rate in France has surged to 10.6 percent, and the number of jobless claims in that country recently set a new all-time record.

#2 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole is sitting at an all-time record of 12 percent.

#3 Two years ago, Portugal’s unemployment rate was about 12 percent. Today, it is about 17 percent.

#4 The unemployment rate in Spain has set a new all-time record of 27 percent. Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States never had unemployment that high.

#5 The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 in Spain is an astounding 57.2 percent.

#6 The unemployment rate in Greece has set a new all-time record of 27.2 percent. Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States never had unemployment that high.

#7 The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 in Greece is a whopping 59.3 percent.

#8 French car sales in March were 16 percent lower than they were one year earlier.

#9 German car sales in March were 17 percent lower than they were one year earlier.

#10 In the Netherlands, consumer debt is now up to about 250 percent of available income.

#11 Industrial production in Italy has fallen by an astounding 25 percent over the past five years.

#12 The number of Spanish firms filing for bankruptcy is 45 percent higher than it was a year ago.

#13 Since 2007, the value of non-performing loans in Europe has increased by 150 percent.

#14 Bank withdrawals in Cyprus during the month of March were double what they were in February even though the banks were closed for half the month.

#15 Due to an absolutely crippling housing crash, there are approximately 3 million vacant homes in Spain today.

#16 Things have gotten so bad in Spain that entire apartment buildings are being overwhelmed by squatters…

A 285-unit apartment complex in Parla, less than half an hour’s drive from Madrid, should be an ideal target for investors seeking cheap property in Spain. Unfortunately, two thirds of the building generates zero revenue because it’s overrun by squatters.

“This is happening all over the country,” said Jose Maria Fraile, the town’s mayor, who estimates only 100 apartments in the block built for the council have rental contracts, and not all of those tenants are paying either. “People lost their jobs, they can’t pay mortgages or rent so they lost their homes and this has produced a tide of squatters.”

#17 As I wrote about the other day, child hunger has become so rampant in Greece that teachers are reporting that hungry children are begging their classmates for food.

#18 The debt to GDP ratio in Italy is now up to 136 percent.

#19 25 percent of all banking assets in the UK are in banks that are leveraged at least 40 to 1.

#20 German banking giant Deutsche Bank has more than 55 trillion euros (which is more than 72 trillion dollars) of exposure to derivatives. But the GDP of Germany for an entire year is only about 2.7 trillion euros.

Yes, U.S. stocks have been doing great so far this year, but the truth is that the stock market has become completely and totally divorced from economic reality. When it does catch up with the economic fundamentals, it will probably happen very rapidly like we saw back in 2008.

Our politicians can try to kick the can down the road for as long as they can, but at some point the consequences of our foolish decisions will hunt us down and overtake us. The following is what Peter Schiff had to say about this coming crisis the other day…

“The crisis is imminent,” Schiff said. “I don’t think Obama is going to finish his second term without the bottom dropping out. And stock market investors are oblivious to the problems.”

“We’re broke, Schiff added. “We owe trillions. Look at our budget deficit; look at the debt to GDP ratio, the unfunded liabilities. If we were in the Eurozone, they would kick us out.”

Schiff points out that the market gains experienced recently, with the Dow first topping 14,000 on its way to setting record highs, are giving investors a false sense of security.

“It’s not that the stock market is gaining value… it’s that our money is losing value. And so if you have a debased currency… a devalued currency, the price of everything goes up. Stocks are no exception,” he said.

“The Fed knows that the U.S. economy is not recovering,” he noted. “It simply is being kept from collapse by artificially low interest rates and quantitative easing. As that support goes, the economy will implode.”

So please don’t think that we are any different from Europe.

If the United States government started only spending the money that it brings in, we would descend into an economic depression tomorrow.

The only way that we can continue to live out the economic fantasy that we see all around us is by financially abusing our children and our grandchildren.

The U.S. economy has become a miserable junkie that is completely and totally addicted to reckless money printing and gigantic mountains of debt.

If we stop printing money and going into unprecedented amounts of debt we are finished.

If we continue printing money and going into unprecedented amounts of debt we are finished.

Either way, this is all going to end very, very badly.

Written by anubis

May 1st, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Posted in Epochal Collapse,EU


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A poll last week reported on the devastating drop in the extent to which the peoples of Europe now trust the EU. Organised by the EU’s own polling body, Eurobarometer, this showed that, across the six largest member states, it is no longer trusted by a majority of voters, dramatically reversing their view of only five years ago. In Italy, distrust has risen from 28 per cent in 2007 to 53 per cent today; in Germany from 36 per cent to 59 per cent; and in Britain from below 50 per cent to 69 per cent. The biggest reversal of all is in Spain, where the proportion of those distrusting the EU has soared from 23 per cent to 72 per cent. This is perhaps unsurprising in a country where, with the meltdown of its economy under the euro, unemployment has now hit a staggering 27 per cent, two points higher than in the USA at the peak of the Great Depression in the Thirties.

What makes this evaporation of trust so telling is that the EU is now the government that in many respects rules over our lives, passing most of our laws. The European Parliament website lists 1,301 “legislative acts” from its current session – just as we learn that our own MPs are this year to have two weeks of extra holiday from Westminster, because, we are told, “there aren’t enough laws for them to pass”.

So embarrassing were these poll findings that Eurobarometer has not published them, leaving them to be reported by six Europhile newspapers across Europe that signed up to have the poll carried out. Their own suggestions as to how this crisis of confidence might be repaired range from the idea that the EU should field its own football team, to a proposal that it should devise a “Eur-app” for citizens to download on to their iPhones. If the situation were not so serious, it might be suggested that the next version of the EU’s constitution should include a declaration that every citizen has “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of app-iness”. That would teach us all to remember just how much the EU is doing to improve our lives.

Written by anubis

May 1st, 2013 at 5:56 pm