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Bullets, Beans


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Buy Gold, be wise – it lets you take back control

The twentieth century saw in both extreme (Nazism/Communism) and mild (the European-style welfare state) forms the strange phenomenon of governments repeatedly taking against their own peoples – in the name of the people. No longer was an independent citizenry to be trusted to look after itself, educate its children, defend its homes and families, and generally stand on its own feet: the munificent state was to do all that, and the end result is bankruptcy. And evasion: the bankrupt states of Europe are not prepared to be honest about where state intervention leads, even though the lessons have been spelled out twice in the twentieth century in draconian form: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

As the eurocrisis deepens, measures antipathetic to savings are being mooted across the continent, involving amongst other things bans on the purchase of gold over certain amounts and bans on cash transactions. Any attempt by savers to convert increasingly worthless cash into solid investments like gold are to be thwarted, raising fears that a Franklin D. Roosevelt style confiscation of privately owned gold may be on the horizon.

Certainly measures proposed or drafted into law in the last quarter of 2011, in Italy, France and Austria, give cause for concern: in Austria there is a restriction on the purchase of more than 15,000 euros’ worth of gold; in France, all metal sales over 450 euros must be paid for by credit card or bank transfer; in Italy it is proposed to ban all cash transactions over (the figures vary) 300, 1,000 or 5,000 euros. The effect of these measures would be to render all significant purchases of precious metals recorded and therefore traceable to their owners.

It has been claimed that the various reasons for these measures are an attempt to rein in credit, to comply with U.S. requests for assistance in combating money laundering, or to help prevent the theft of ordinary metals: in the case of the latter there have been widespread spates in recent months of the theft of metals from anything ranging from telephone poles to industrial plant. While these may all be true goals (whether the proposed remedies will work is another matter – it always is), there is the significant problem that nowhere are the precious metals excluded from the measures. Hence the fears of confiscation.
Gold is a safe haven competitor against fiat money; this may not cause problems when economies are genuinely booming (i.e. the boom is not fuelled by easy expansions of credit). Yet when the fiat money system is collapsing and inflation is rampant the idea that people may protect their assets and their pensions by converting their cash into gold becomes a serious “problem” for the state: savings are seen as a threat.

We have seen how Keynes thought “wealth accumulation” a vice (Austerity for you – privileges for Politicians, December 16th, 2011). He further mockingly remarked: “The duty of ‘saving’ became nine-tenths of virtue and the growth of the cake the object of true religion.” Reckless governments are hardly likely to admire or condone prudence in their peoples; whatever the ultimate reason for this, such an attitude on the part of the authorities will only widen the gap between the political elite, unable to admit the error of its ways, and nervous private citizens wondering whether they have a future.

Finally, savings based in fiat currencies or related to debt-ridden financial institutions have the possibility to fall to zero in a crisis. Savings based in physical assets that you own help protect to preserve your accumulated wealth as they retain worth through a crisis.

The best physical asset to own during a crisis is gold which has proved its perennial purchasing power for over 6000 years – no fiat currency has ever existed that long to compare it and no other asset can compete with the value retention of gold. After all Gold can never be worth zero – it has intrinsic value, it is relatively rare on the planet and it has always been revered as precious because it is and has chemical and physical properties unmatched by any other metal.,_be_wise_it_lets_you_take_back_control.html

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