The Only Debate Topic That Matters

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Only Debate Topic That Matters

September 29, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Loading up the nation with debt and leaving it for the following generations to pay is morally irresponsible. Excessive debt is a means by which governments oppress the people and waste their substance. No nation has a right to contract debt for periods longer than the majority contracting it can expect to live. ” – Thomas Jefferson

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,171. Gold closed at $1,327 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $47.12 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.57%. Bitcoin is trading around $605 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Nearly one-third of all Americans – almost 100 million people – tuned in to watch the first presidential debate earlier this week. This represents an increase in viewership by nearly 40% from the 2012 presidential debates, and it almost rivaled television’s biggest draw – the Super Bowl – which received 112 million viewers last year. Apparently the debate was aired on television throughout Europe as well.

I see these numbers and the first thing that pops into my head is a question: how in the world do the ratings agencies know how many people are sitting on the couch in front of a given television?

I didn’t spend too much time with this, but all of the numbers I have seen reference “viewers” and “people”, not “households”. They are very specific about this.

I can’t help but think about poor Winston in George Orwell’s 1984 – he sits down in front of his telescreen and while he is watching it, it is also watching him… Continue reading “The Only Debate Topic That Matters”

The Moral Value of Money

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Moral Value of Money

March 17, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,027. Gold closed at $1,264 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $38.50 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.94%. Bitcoin is trading around $415 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Last week we examined the majesty of mindfulness, and we suggested that politics was the bane of human civilization. There are many reasons for this, but at the core is this: politics is based on coercion. Politics rests upon the notion that those who gain political power have the right to force people to do things against their will using the police power of government. This is always a zero-sum game: one side wins and the other loses.

The U.S. federal government collects roughly $3 trillion in taxes annually. The civics textbooks tell us that taxes are the price we pay for civilization, but I have to ask: where does all of this money go? Continue reading “The Moral Value of Money”

Becoming Antifragile

submitted by jwithrow.

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Becoming Antifragile

September 16, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $1,970. Gold closed at $1,102 per ounce. Oil closed at $44.59 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.18%. Bitcoin is trading around $227 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Wife Rachel cornered me the other day: “I saw what you did in your newest post!”, she said in an accusatory tone.

“Whatever do you mean, honey?”, I asked innocently.

“You talked about Madison buying me a walker when I am old!”

I couldn’t contain my laughter. It’s the little things that I find most amusing.

Last week I delved into global finance and speculated that a currency crisis in the U.S. was on the horizon. It is just unreasonable to create trillions of dollars from thin air on a regular basis and expect the world to accept those dollars ad infinitum. I observed that government has no intention of ceasing its monetary escapades, thus currency ruin is inevitable. Continue reading “Becoming Antifragile”

The Current Financial System is Terminal

excerpt from High Alert: How the Internet Reformation is causing a financial hurricane – and how to profit from it:financial system

Despite the talk of rosy numbers, of deficits coming down and jobs being created, citizens of the West, especially in the US, face an uncertain outlook and a challenging future. Many Americans live from paycheck to paycheck — highly leveraged and bereft of any honest money. They are overwhelmingly exposed to whatever it is that those who are the most powerful believe appropriate or profitable to themselves in the sociopolitical or economic arena.

The current financial system is not salvageable. It is entropic, prone to decay. Central banks have to print more and more money to keep up with the spending of the politicians who, in turn, spend more and more to buy the favor of increasingly disaffected voters. Fiat money devalues more and more quickly, and the printing presses run day and night. Prosperity is just around the corner but never arrives and, in fact, recedes despite official pronouncements to the contrary.

The productivity isn’t there any longer, yet in the USA, certainly more than Europe as of this writing, the average household is loaded to the eyeballs in debt and is still urged to take on more. Why? Because foreign buyers continue to purchase American debt, allowing US citizens, even if they don’t know it, to fund their lifestyles at least in part with overseas loans. Who could blame the Chinese for trying to unload some of its dollar reserves by buying resource companies that help to ensure they have enough control over their own productive destiny?

As the currency devalues, the US middle class will be squeezed even harder. The public sector will continue to swell, just as it has overseas. The money and credit in the system continue to expand until the volume simply can’t be contained by economic activity. It becomes overwhelming — triggering hyperinflation and sweeping revaluations. Today, this very scenario is taking place — and tomorrow, as the financial hurricane bears down, it will be even worse.

Again, these results are predictable. Anyone who studies money knows how government fiat-money systems end up. History tells us they always collapse. And we are facing a collapse now.

Debt as Far as the Eye Can See

submitted by jwithrow.debt

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Debt as Far as the Eye Can See

December 9, 2014
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $2,056 today. Gold is up around $1,218. Oil is still floating around $64 per barrel. Bitcoin is down to $347 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate is 2.21% today.

In other news, U.S. national debt has now eclipsed $18 trillion. That’s: $18,000,000,000,000.00. Debt to GDP is now around 99%. To put this in perspective, U.S. national debt stood at $398 billion back in 1971 – 34% of GDP – when Tricky Dick put the “Out to Lunch” sign up in front of the international gold window.

Even more startling, total credit market debt now checks in at 330% of GDP. Mr. Market has been trying to wind down the credit market bubble for some time now, but the Federal Reserve has been fighting tooth and nail against him. The Fed’s weapon of choice: funny money! The Fed has purchased more than $4.3 trillion worth of bonds since 2008 in an effort to prop up asset prices and strangle interest rates.

Where did the Fed get this $4.3 trillion? As we pointed out in last week’s journal entry, the Fed got this $4.3 trillion from the same place it always gets money… it conjured every dime of it from thin air!

Still, the economists pretend like this is all normal. Some of them say that the Fed should have bought fewer bonds; $4.3 trillion worth was too much. Other economists say the Fed didn’t buy enough! So they write their articles and conduct their interviews and everyone sleeps sound at night. I can’t help but wonder – do they think this can go on forever? Do they think the Fed can reverse course whenever they darn well please? Do they think at all?

I don’t know if mainstream U.S. finance really is arrogant enough to think there are no consequences to all of this financial chicanery or if they are just playing a big sleight-of-hand game, but the world seems to slowly be waking up to the fiat monetary system that has allowed debt to pile up faster than 5:00 Beltway traffic.

Though the Swiss Gold Referendum didn’t pass last month, it does suggest a change in the financial wind. The initiative would have prevented the Swiss National Bank from selling any of Switzerland’s gold reserves and it would have required a 20% gold backing to the Swiss Franc. The fact that this initiative made it to a vote indicates a growing apprehensiveness towards the international monetary system.

This apprehensiveness is not limited to Switzerland. Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands have each expressed interest in repatriating their gold reserves held in foreign central banks. Additionally, both China and Russia have been buying gold hand over fist. The Russian Central Bank bought nearly 20 tons of gold in October alone. We don’t know exactly how much gold China has been buying – they haven’t reported their full reserve numbers in several years. China and Russia aren’t alone; global gold demand now eats up more supply than miners can produce at current prices.

2013 was a record setting year for precious metals purchases from the U.S. Mint and 2014 sales are on pace to surpass that record. The U.S. Mint sold 3,426,000 ounces of silver in November alone. Perth Mint sold 851,836 ounces of silver in November. India imported 169 million ounces of silver through the first ten months of 2014. The precious metals are clearly being viewed as a life-boat in a sea of rising debt.

In addition to the precious metal rush, several major U.S. financial firms have been using depressed interest rates to gobble up real assets recently as well. The Blackstone Group has been buying domestic real estate like it was last call and Berkshire Hathaway acquired Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp (BNSF) – a railroad company. Shrewd analysts suggest Berkshire’s purchase of BNSF was a hard asset play to mitigate expected inflation; railroads are nothing but hard assets hauling other hard assets around the country.

Are all of the precious metal purchases and hard asset acquisitions just a coincidence?

Maybe deficits really aren’t that big of a deal. Maybe the Fed really can navigate through the uncharted waters of debt and derivatives. Maybe the fiat monetary system really has supplanted Mr. Market’s choice for good. Maybe financial asset prices really can go to the moon and never come back down.

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

More to come,
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Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at http://www.theindividualisrising.com/. The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

Image Source: WilliamBanzai7 – Zero Hedge