Skip to comments.Anti-gold fever (The price of Gold is sending us a message we should not ignore)
Posted on 11/11/2010 5:34:05 PM PST by WebFocus
Nothing matches monetary theory and currency issues as a source of delirium among economists. As the G20 gets underway today in South Korea, name-calling has taken the place of diplomacy. The German Finance Minister called the U.S. Federal Reserves US$600-billion money-printing operation clueless, while Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says he has absolute confidence in the program.
Somebody mentioned gold, and the swords are drawn again. Not a chance, said Mr. Carney. A good idea, said Robert Skidelsky, a leading Keynesian who says its a golden opportunity to reform the world monetary system. Meanwhile, the man who started the gold rush, the World Banks Robert Zoellick, says he didnt propose a full return to a gold standard. His objective, he said, was to point out that the gold price is sending a message that the policy fundamentals within the G20 are rotten. And thats a message with gold at US$1,400 an ounce that cant be ignored.
All of which is a sure sign that world leaders, under the auspices of the G20, are assembling for another round of confidence-building meetings, at the end of which the return of confidence will seem even more remote than it is today. Surprise agreements on trade and bank regulation, or even climate-change policy, are possible, but expectations are not high.
Certainly there will be no clear outcome on currency reform and global trade imbalances, the main lightning rod for conflict at the G20. However, the sudden appearance of gold as an issue, unwelcome by central bankers, has in some ways helped to galvanize and renew an important ideological battle. Unfortunately, it is not a battle that is likely to clear the air. There will certainly be no reference to gold in any final communiqué. But as the price of gold soars, it draws attention to the failures and weaknesses of the worlds paper-money system and its inherent inflationary risks.
Outside of the global investment community, which has pushed gold to record nominal values, official policy circles would prefer to talk about rebalancing world trade and finding ways to manipulate currencies or new techniques for printing money by the trillions of units. Then along came Mr. Zoellick, former U.S. trade rep and now head of the World Bank, who dropped the gold bomb in an op-ed in the Financial Times.
In a general overview of the state of the world economy and the role of the G20 in failing to be a model of international co-operation, Mr. Zoellick suggested that the world needs more than just currency reform and trade rebalancing. Currency reform is fine, he said, but its a long-term project that must be accompanied by specific policies aimed at trade liberalization, privatization and fiscal reform.
On currencies, he suggested a new co-operative monetary system that would replace the U.S. dollar as the main reserve currency in a new regime that involved the dollar, the euro, the yen, the pound and the yuan, after China moves toward internationalization and an open capital account. Then he said: The system should also consider employing gold as an international reference point of market expectations about inflation.
In an interview yesterday on CNBC, Mr. Zoellick clarified his position. The objective, he said, is to instill private-sector confidence in the global currency and trade system.
* The point on gold, and this is the golden elephant in the room, whether people recognize it or not, it is being used as an alternative monetary asset. So Im not saying return to the gold standard as a control of money stock. But what Im saying is the price of gold has been telling people is that there is a lack of confidence in some of the fundamental growth policies. So gold in that sense is a reference point, its an indicator. Now people might wish it wasnt so. But Im describing the facts as they see it and saying to policymakers: You have to recognize what this says about the fundamentals of the policy you are pursuing. [You cant achieve confidence with] exchange rates and rebalancing alone . You want to get the private sector back engaged. The time of government fiscal expansion and programs has run its course.
Current-account rebalancing and currency reform wont work alone. They might even be secondary. These currency rebalancings and adjustments will be a lot easier if everybodys growing. That goes back to growth fundamentals. And it will certainly be a lot easier if people are opening markets as opposed to threatening to close them.
All very sensible, although the ideas behind monetary policy and global currency systems are a snake pit of conflict and ideology. The mere mention of gold as part of any system drives most Keynsian economists to distraction, reflecting John Maynard Keynes claim that gold is a barbarous relic and his diligent efforts to keep it out of the world monetary system. Keynes, however, had a contradictory opinion on everything, a point made obvious by Mr. Skidelsky, a Keynes biographer, who wrote yesterday in the Financial Times that Keynes would likely have approved of Mr. Zoellicks use of gold.
As Mr. Skidelsky interprets the idea, the result of Mr. Zoellicks proposal would be a new global currency system built around a super sovereign reserve currency with some kind of reference to gold as an anchor. This would fit with Keynes idea that gold would be useful as a constitutional monarch, but disastrous as a despot.
All in all, the sudden attention paid to a new gold standard is likely to fade. The prospect for some new gold standard is zero. As a result, the future of the world monetary system even under some new super sovereign reserve seems destined to ease quantitatively toward a new structure where inflationary paper continues to trump gold.
Reads like someone is trying to effect the price of Gold.
I can’t wait to take my ounce of Gold to MacDonalds for a Big Mac with Fries....
This is a Golden opportunity to do a reverse split on the dollar,,an item that cost 10 bucks before would cost 1 new dollar if the reverse split were 1 for ten. And we better be the first to do this and let other nations follow suit as it suits them. Copper would then be 30 cents a lb. and the penny would be worth something.
“I cant wait to take my ounce of Gold to MacDonalds for a Big Mac with Fries....”
Your ounce of gold should be good for a family dinner with all the trimmings at the very best restaurant in town. And it always will, since gold holds it’s purchasing power over time.
For your McDonald’s meal a silver dime or two should be enough.
If Bernacke has his way, it might take two of 'em. ;-)
Take your Krugerrands to the bank.. and they would dearly love to give you fiat paper..
-OR- take beaucoup amounts of paper(raising daily) plus fees for another Krugerrand..
Will you take five dollars for that ounce today?
Your ounce of gold is worth more then 1400.00 a troy ounce..that would be pretty silly to put it into a burger.
“if Bernacke has his way, it might take two of ‘em. ;-)”
If Bernacke has his way you might be able to buy the entire MacD restaurant with your oz.
“I cant wait to take my ounce of Gold to MacDonalds for a Big Mac with Fries.”
The franchise owner will become your new best friend.
I think you are missing his point. It is one I agree with, to some extent, too.
I mean, what exactly do you DO with gold? Can you go to McDonalds and get that happy meal with it? No. In fact, there isn't anything you can do with gold itself without breaking it down into some sort of local currency. And once you've done that, now you have that worthless currency and NOT the gold.
Quite a dilemma.
I agree with the German Finance Minister.
and the change the owner gives me will be worth what by the time I get home. I am buying non-perishables in quantity which will be far more valuable then your fools gold but I do have a few pounds of silver coins...
Obviously, you lack the basic understanding of how gold works.
Last i checked, you cannot receive sustenance from the dollar bill... Yet, people gather these to get food. How?
They exchange the increasingly worthless paper for the perceived value... A number of burgers.
Gold introduces another layer to that equation, abstracting your buying power into a commodity that transcends any one currency. In so doing, it holds the buying power of the money you bought the gold with.
As an example, you can buy a loaf of bread for about $3 right now. Same with a gallon of gas. With gold @ $1400/oz, that money has a buying power which enables you to purchase about 466 loaves of bread or gallons of gas. If gold shot to just $2800/oz... Bread would be around $6/loaf. Selling your gold and receiving the $2800 would allow you to still buy 466 loaves. If you kept your $1400 in cash in your mattress, you’d only get about 233 loaves, showing a reduction in buying power and the devaluing of the dollar (investigate the price of gold & bread in Jan 2008... Then compare to today)
There are plenty of similar explanations available, doing your homework before spouting off would help reduce the likelihood of appearing uneducated
Additionally, swapping between gold and silver, trading on the ratio lag, can result in a tidy advance of your buying power
Seriously? This has you flummoxed?
If you bought before 0dumbo won the election, it would have cost you about $700/oz... silver about $9/oz. As the gold to silver ratio was about 78:1 ... I’d buy silver.
Today, the ratio is about 52:1 and your 78 pieces of silver would be worth $2106. If you felt this was it, you could buy 1 ounce of gold for $1400, and hang onto the remaining $706 (your original investment) in cash if you liked... Though I wouldn’t recommend it.
Instead, buy the gold with 52 pieces of silver, sell one for $27 to buy lunch... And hang onto the remaining 25 pieces.
Personally, once the ratio hits 45:1, I’d convert to gold and wait for the ratio to go back up before jumping back to silver.
Good luck with that, unless your spouse sits on the commodities desk at Goldman Sachs.
“Seriously? This has you flummoxed?”
And WHO exactly is set up to take your gold and silver?
If you went to McDonalds and handed them hunks of gold or silver and asked for change, what do you think they’d do?
I’ll tell you what they’d do. They’d say “Get out. We can’t take this stuff.”
Hence the problem.
Eventually you’d STILL have to trade your gold or silver in for local cash. And then you would no longer have that great gold and/or silver.
The whole point of keeping gold or silver is to increase in value as the dollar tanks. As it takes more and more dollars to buy that loaf of bread, if you have gold you can cash it in for dollars and get enough to buy the groceries. If you keep the cash you won’t have enough to one slice of bread.
I swapped a one oz. coin for a goodly quantity of ammunition.