New World Money - Best Trading Advice

1y ago
232.25 KB
18 Pages
Last View : 12d ago
Last Download : n/a
Upload by : Ophelia Arruda

New World MoneyTeeka TiwariEditor, Palm Beach Research GroupCopyright 2017 by the Palm Beach Research GroupAll rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced ortransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage andretrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.ISBN 978-1-5323-5236-2Published by:The Palm Beach Research GroupDelray Beach, Floridawww.palmbeachgroup.com1

Chapter 1:Bitcoin Rises From the AshesYou are looking at a live picture of Lehman Brothers’ 158-yearold firm—born pre-industrial revolution and surviving the GreatDepression.Lehman Brothers will file for bankruptcy this evening undercircumstances that, without the government’s assistance, sourcestell us would almost certainly result in significant marketdisruption.– CNBC special report, September 14, 2008I trust you remember what happened next.The credit market’s liquidity evaporated. The S&P was cut in half.30 million jobs were shed. U.S. households lost 16 trillion worthof financial wealth. More than one million homes were lost inforeclosure.Fear and panic spread. Some said the stock market was going tozero. Some said this was the end of capitalism. Others said it was theend of human civilization.The U.S. government rushed in with a 700 billion bail-out packagefor banks it deemed “too big to fail.” With the stroke of a pen,taxpayers were on the hook for Wall Street’s reckless behavior.But it didn’t stop at 700 billion.2

The Federal Reserve (the Fed) went on to inject 3.7 trillion into thefinancial system over the next several years.The Fed used this new money to do two things.First, it purchased U.S. Treasury bonds in bulk to artificiallysuppress interest rates.Second, it purchased the toxic mortgage debt from Wall Street, thustransferring bad debt from the banking sector to the public the taxpayer.This was sold as heroic. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke called it “TheCourage to Act” in his memoir.But a few people out there weren’t so sure. They had to ask: Wheredid that 3.7 trillion come from?And the answer they found was rather simple. It came fromnowhere. Well, to be more specific, it came from a journal entry onthe books of the Federal Reserve.The Fed is very honest about how this works. They tell you righton their website. The Fed basically writes a check “against itself” tocreate money for whatever purpose it deems necessary.Now most people don’t question this. It’s not even on their radar.But those who understand basic economics realize something veryimportant: Value is driven by supply and demand. As supply goesup, value tends to go down.In other words, an item needs to be relatively scarce and relativelyuseful for it to have value. This is true of anything. especiallymoney.The median household income in the United States is about 53,000 per year according to the U.S. Census Bureau. You need atleast six decimal points before your Excel spreadsheet can compare3

this 53,000 figure to the 3.7 trillion that the Fed created fromnothing.What does that say about your monetary system?This caused a few people to protest the Wall Street banks. And a fewothers protested the government.They learned pretty quickly that their protests were doomed fromthe beginning. Brute force and opposition is not what changesinstitutional systems.Systems theorist Buckminster Fuller observed this dynamic early inthe 20th century. Here’s Bucky:You never change things by fighting the existing reality.To change something, build a new model that makes theexisting model obsolete.But this was not a new discovery.Famed artist Michelangelo understood this way back inEurope’s High Renaissance period. “Criticize by creating” is howMichelangelo put it.Let’s turn our attention back to 2008.Lehman Brothers has collapsed. Wall Street is in shambles. Fear andpanic is spreading across the country. and across the globe.In this environment, a curious message appeared on an obscuremailing list dedicated to the study of cryptography. The date wasNovember 1, 2008. The author was Satoshi Nakamoto.I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’sfully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party. The mainproperties:4

Double-spending is prevented with a peer-to-peer network.No mint or other trusted parties.Participants can be anonymous.New coins are made from Hashcash style proof-of-work.The proof-of-work for new coin generation also powers thenetwork to prevent double-spending.I had to write all the code before I could convince myselfthat I could solve every problem, then I wrote the paper You’re already right about most of your assumptions Governments are good at cutting off the heads of centrallycontrolled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networkslike Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own Bitcoin was born. It rose from the ashes of the worst financial crisissince the Great Depression.But to truly understand bitcoin, the world’s first digital currency(or cryptocurrency), you must also understand money. What is it?Where does it come from? Where has it been?Think about it. What is money?We know what money does—it buys things. But can we define it?Is it a green piece of paper with numbers, words, and symbolsprinted on it? Is it a card with your name, a string of numbers, and abank logo on it?Or is that just a piece of paper and a piece of plastic?5

The short answer is that money is a unit of account that servesas a medium of exchange. But this is an incomplete view. To besustainable, money must have several definitive characteristics. Money must be durable. It must serve as a store ofvalue over long periods of time. Money must be portable. It must be easy to movemoney around—either in person or electronically. Money must be divisible. You must be able to breakmoney down into consistent smaller units that add up toconsistent larger units. In other words, you must be ableto make “change” out of your money. Money must be fungible. It must be interchangeable.Each monetary unit must be consistently the same.Any item that has these properties can serve as money.Now that we know what money is, we need to figure out where itcomes from and where it has been.As it turns out, this story is far more interesting than you wouldthink.A Brief Monetary HistoryPrior to the 20th century, most of the world operated on the goldstandard through which international trades were settled in gold.While not perfect, the classical gold standard kept nations mostlyhonest in their financial dealings with each other. It also forcednations to live within their means.Large trade deficits had to be settled in gold, which drained goldfrom the nation’s reserves. Conversely, a trade surplus added gold tothe nation’s reserves. This system placed limits on national debt.6

World War I effectively put an end to the classical gold standard in1914. To finance the war effort, the countries involved “printed” newmoney that was not convertible to gold. Trade settlement in goldwas suspended indefinitely.Most nations attempted to go back to the gold standard once the warwas over. But the excessive money-printing caused their nationalcurrencies to diminish in value significantly. That meant nationswould have to peg their currency to gold at a higher ratio thanbefore, thus admitting the currency had lost value. Instead, the warcombatants scrapped the gold standard.During the same period, the shift towards central planning inAmerica led to the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913.The Federal Reserve is not a government agency. It is actuallya group of private central banks that act as one unit. The U.S.government granted the Fed a legal monopoly on the issuance ofcurrency.In other words, the Fed is permitted to create U.S. dollars as it seesfit. Anyone else who attempts this will go to jail for counterfeiting.The Federal Reserve was also tasked with being a “banker’sbank,” which meant the Fed would loan newly created money tocommercial banks that got in trouble. They thought this would makethe system stronger.Instead, it created “moral hazard” within the banking system.Commercial banks knew that the Fed would bail them out ifneeded. so lending standards diminished over time. It becameeasier and easier for risky borrowers to get a loan.This is the dynamic that ultimately caused the financial crisis of2008. Wall Street, backed by the Fed—and the government—madetoo many loans to too many risky borrowers. Then it chopped upthose risky loans and packaged them into complex derivatives.7

And they kept doing this until it all blew up in 2008.Rather than learn their lesson, the monetary authorities transferredthe banking losses to the public with bailouts and quantitativeeasing programs to keep the system going.But we need to back up for a minute. Those bank bailouts andquantitative easing programs would not have been possible 100years ago. There were several changes to the monetary system thathad to occur first.The U.S. dollar was backed by gold when the Fed was first createdin 1913. Americans could trade their dollars for gold anytime theywanted to at first.But then, in 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)issued an executive order that made it illegal for Americans toown gold. In fact, Americans were required to sell their gold to thegovernment for 20.67.After it had bought all the gold domestically, the U.S. Treasuryannounced that foreign central banks would still be able to tradedollars for gold. but it raised the conversion rate to 35 per ounce.This influx of gold for cheap gave the U.S. government a strongseat at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944. At this conference,representatives from 44 nations met in Bretton Woods, NewHampshire to discuss a new international monetary system.They agreed upon the “Bretton Woods System” that established theU.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.As the world’s sole reserve currency, the dollar replaced gold asthe medium for international trade settlement. This meant that allinternational goods would be bought and sold in U.S. dollars. nomatter which nations were doing the buying and selling. The dollarwould remain pegged to gold at 35 per ounce, and other nationscould redeem their dollars for gold through the “gold window.”8

The dollar’s convertibility into gold on demand was to serve as a“check” on the United States. The link to gold is what gave the othercountries confidence in the U.S. dollar.The Bretton Woods System bestowed an enormous privilege uponthe United States because it created a global demand for dollars. Allnations needed to hold U.S. dollars to facilitate foreign trade.This dynamic made trade deficits irrelevant for the United States.Under the gold standard, trade deficits required the U.S. to sendits gold to another country. Under Bretton Woods, trade deficitsrequired the U.S. to send its dollars to another country. And the U.S.could just print new dollars to ship out if it needed to.This artificial global demand for dollars is what powered LyndonJohnson’s “guns and butter” campaign that ramped up in the 1950s.The U.S. military went to war with Korea and Vietnam overseas.That was the “guns” part. At the same time, the Great Societywelfare programs launched domestically. That was the “butter.”These initiatives were extremely expensive. As they progressed,the U.S. government created more and more new dollars to pay forthem.But foreign countries took notice. They began to worry about thevalue of the dollars they were holding. And rumors of the U.S.unilaterally changing the gold conversion ratio spread.Here’s former French President Charles de Gaulle in 1965:The fact that many countries accept as principle, dollarsbeing as good as gold, for the payment of the differencesexisting to their advantage in the American balance oftrade. this fact leads Americans to get into debt and toget into debt for free at the expense of other countries. Weconsider necessary that international trade be established9

as it was the case before the great misfortunes of the world,on an indisputable monetary base, and one that does notbear the mark of any particular country. Which base? Intruth, no one sees how one could really have any standardcriterion other than gold!France and other concerned nations began to rapidly exchange theirdollars for gold through the gold window. It was a global “bank run”on the dollar and gold rapidly flowed out of U.S. vaults.By 1971, the U.S. Treasury only had enough gold to cover 22% of alldollars outstanding. It was about to run out of money.The Birth of the PetrodollarOn August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon closed theinternational gold window to stop the outflow of gold. Nixon assuredthe world that this closure would only be temporary.“Your dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today,”Nixon proclaimed on television with a straight face. “The effect ofthis action, in other words, will be to stabilize the dollar.”But Nixon had a trick up his sleeves.Along with his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Nixon struck adeal with the Saudi Royal Family. The Saudis agreed to price allinternational oil sales exclusively in U.S. dollars. They would refusesettlement in all other currencies. In return, the U.S. would providemilitary protection and military-grade weapons.This deal effectively kept the U.S. dollar as the world’s reservecurrency, even with the breakdown of the Bretton Woods System.By 1975, all OPEC nations followed suit and agreed to settle oiltrades exclusively in dollars. These were the largest oil producersin the world, and they only accepted dollars. Which meant all othercountries still needed to obtain dollars to purchase oil.10

This is where we stand today.We are in the midst of a global experiment with fiat money.Since 1971, the U.S. dollar and all other currencies have beencreated from nothing by government decree. That is the definitionof “fiat” currency.All restraints on currency creation have been removed.It took a little while for governments to catch on. But throughout the1980s, national governments realized they had unlimited money tospend.And spend they did.But their money-for-nothing policies were not withoutconsequences. Prices for goods and services exploded across theboard as new money flooded into the economy.That is why the hamburger that cost 0.45 in 1971 costs 5 today.The obscured fact is that this is not a case of rising prices. Yourdollars are actually losing value over time—thus requiring moredollars to buy the same item. Price inflation is an artificial monetaryevent.To come full circle, the U.S. dollar has lost 96% of its value since theFederal Reserve opened its doors in 1913. Stated another way, thedollar could purchase nearly 50 times more goods and services backin 1913 than it can today.10

Despite Nixon’s proclamation on national television, the value of theU.S. dollar fell off a cliff.While incomes in general have also risen during the last 100 years,their rise has not kept pace with the dollar’s loss of value. This is theprimary reason households now require two wage earners to makefinancial ends meet.The global experiment with fiat money has also led to an explosionof debt, especially in the Western economies and Japan. Withoutsound money restraint, nations have been able to finance deficitsand run up enormous debt that can never possibly be paid back.The United States’ national debt has now eclipsed 19 trillion.Here is the numerical representation of the U.S. debt: 19,000,000,000,00011

This is an incredible amount of money, especially given we aretalking about the issuer of the world’s reserve currency.And it is not just the U.S. Every major country in the world has runup its sovereign debt bill significantly over the last thirty years.On the Hook for 200 TrillionBut sovereign debt is only part of the story, and a sticky part at that.Governments accumulate sovereign debt when they issue bonds.which, in the United States, is done through Treasury auctions.The U.S. Treasury sells notes and bonds of various durations (2, 3, 5,10 and 30 years) at “auction.” The bonds are sold at a “market” rateof interest where the Treasury promises to make interest paymentsto the bondholder semi-annually for the length of the term, and thenre-pay the principal balance upon maturity.Here’s the sticky part: National governments can easily “roll-over”their outstanding debt by issuing new bonds to pay off the old bondswhen they come due. If market demand for the new issue falls short,the central bank can simply create more dollars to buy the newbonds.That is the magic money machine. And it is how they kick the debtcan further and further into the future.Here’s the other part of the story: unfunded sovereign liabilities farexceed sovereign debt around the world especially in the U.S.Unfunded sovereign liabilities are future expenses that governmentshave already committed to paying. The biggest of these are pensionplans and health care programs—Social Security and Medicare inthe U.S.Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) requireprivate companies to report unfunded liabilities in their financial12

statements but government gets a pass. So, you won’t find theselisted on any government balance sheet.Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff estimates U.S.unfunded liabilities to be 222 trillion. The bulk of this comes fromSocial Security and Medicare.It wasn’t always this way. Social Security was solvent in its earlyyears.And it was a great deal for a lot of people who retired in the earlystages of the program. Take the story of the first Social Securitypayee, Ida May, for example.Ida paid a full 24.75 into the system before retiring. She livedto receive nearly 23,000 in retirement benefits. No one thoughttwice about this at the time because there were 42 workers for everyperson receiving Social Security benefits.There are now 2.8 workers for every Social Security beneficiary.Simply put, there are no longer enough workers to pay for retirees.The difference is the unfunded liability.Social Security is already running a 50 billion deficit annually. Thatis with most of the Baby Boomer generation still working.This annual deficit will grow larger and larger as the Boomers retire.And demographics show that there will be 10,000 people in theUnited States turning 65 every single day for the next decade. That’sa whole lot of people knocking on Social Security’s door.The Medicare system is not doing much better. Medicare is currentlyrunning a 30 billion deficit annually. Again, that deficit will growlarger as the Baby Boomers retire.I am highlighting the U.S. government simply because of the dollar’ssupremacy in global finance. But they aren’t the only culprits. Mostdeveloped nations have accrued unfunded liabilities to some degree.13

The Magic Money MachineFree market economists have been decrying this system since itcame about with the Nixon shock in the 1970s. “It will never work,”they said. “The feds will destroy the currency.”But the fiat money system is still chopping along nearly 50 yearslater. Fiat currencies have plummeted in value since this experimentbegan in 1971. But they haven’t died.The old free market economists could not foresee how the centralbank would be used to crank out new money and lock away badassets. They underestimated the power of the magic moneymachine.Or perhaps they just confused inevitable with imminent.The magic money machine cannot reverse course. The debt andunfunded liabilities accumulated can never be paid off. They canonly be “rolled over” by creating more money and more debt. Thisguarantees that fiat currencies will continue to lose value everysingle year.Which means the money you work so hard for will constantly losevalue. forever. The magic money machine will never stop stealingpurchasing power from you.Up until 2009, there were no alternative

Money must be durable. It must serve as a store of value over long periods of time. Money must be portable. It must be easy to move money around—either in person or electronically. Money must be divisible. You must be able to br