A Season for Change

submitted by jwithrow.
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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
A Season for Change

September 12, 2017
Hot Springs, VA

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?” – Ecclesiastes 3

The S&P closed yesterday’s trading session at $2,487. Gold closed at $1,335 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.07 per barrel. The 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.06%. Bitcoin is trading around $4,288 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

It has been ten months since I have last written to you… and this world is far different from what it was before.

For starters, Little Maddie is no longer a toddler. She is a little lady. And like all ladies, Maddie knows best… about everything.

Daddy, that’s not how you do it!”, she exclaims with absolute confidence. “Here, let me show you! Okay, daddy. You try…

Her father just smiles and obeys… but his mind wanders in amazement. There was no Maddie four years ago. She didn’t exist. Continue reading “A Season for Change”

The Fragility of Modernity

submitted by jwithrow.modernity

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Fragility of Modernity

June 10, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,080. Gold closed at $1,177 per ounce. Oil checked out at $60 per barrel. The 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.42%, and bitcoin is trading around $230 per BTC.

Dear Journal,

In my last entry I brought up the concept of ‘Modernity’ and I suggested that it attempts to put life in a box by emphasizing a fear and control mindset. I felt this concept was worthy of a little more discussion this week because our society has been shaped by this fear and control paradigm.

Here’s how Nassim Taleb, author of Antifragile, views Modernity:

We are moving into a phase of modernity marked by the lobbyist, the very, very limited liability corporation, the MBA, sucker problems, secularization (or rather reinvention of new sacred values like flags to replace altars), the tax man, fear of the boss, spending the weekend in interesting places and the workweek in a putatively less interesting one, the separation of “work” and “leisure” (though the two would look identical to someone from a wiser era), the retirement plan, argumentative intellectuals who would disagree with this definition of modernity, literal thinking, inductive inference, philosophy of science, the invention of social science, smooth surfaces, and egocentric architects. Violence is transferred from individuals to states. So is financial indiscipline. At the center of all this is the denial of antifragility… Modernity starts with the state monopoly on violence, and ends with the state’s monopoly on fiscal irresponsibility.

Continue reading “The Fragility of Modernity”

The Case for Gold

submitted by jwithrow.total-global-assets

“The process [of debauching the currency] engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.” – John Maynard Keynes

This chart illustrates the construct of the global financial system denominated in U.S. dollars.

There is an estimated 171,000 tons of physical gold bullion currently in existence which is $7 trillion if priced at $1,300 per ounce. Physical gold served the global financial system as an anchor in some capacity from the Industrial Revolution all the way up until 1971.

The U.S. dollar became the sole anchor of the international monetary system in 1971 and there is now approximately $25 trillion sitting in cash globally. Additionally, global equity markets are valued at roughly $57.5 trillion and global investable real estate valuations are roughly $70 trillion.

Global debt has reached $175 trillion with governments being the biggest debtors. This number does not include all of the unfunded liabilities accrued by the social welfare states of the world.

Dwarfing all other U.S. dollar denominated asset classes is the over-the-counter derivatives market. According to the BIS, OTC derivatives total $639 trillion with interest rate derivatives being the largest category by far.

So there is approximately $1,028 trillion worth of U.S. dollar denominated global assets in existence and physical gold, the market’s choice for money over several centuries, makes up less than 1% of total global assets.

Gold is the only asset on this chart that has no counterparty risk meaning there are no other contractual parties involved when you hold physical gold.

The U.S. dollar is issued and managed by the Federal Reserve and the Fed can (and does) reduce the value of the dollar simply by creating more dollars. Equity values obviously depend on the particular company’s financial performance. Real estate investments depend on a tenant to make payments in a timely fashion. The counterparty to debt is the debtor who must make timely payments and the debtor typically has counterparties as well. Derivatives, the largest global asset class, come with a complex web of counterparties that are virtually impossible to predict.

Global dollar denominated assets have been able to balloon up to $1,028 almost exclusively because of 40+ years of constant credit and credit-based money expansion. One day credit will have to contract and that $1,028 trillion figure will dissipate rather quickly. Where do you think capital will fly to when that day comes?

My bet is physical gold.

Image Source: Global Precious Metals

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