"This currency, as we manage it, is a wonderful machine. It performs its office when we issue it; it pays and clothes troops, and provides victuals and ammunition; and when we are obliged to issue a quantity excessive, it pays itself off by depreciation."
Benjamin Franklin, 1779.
“The collapse of the U.S. economy is a certainty - only the manner in which it will happen has yet to be determined. It is just a matter of time before the global derivatives bubble will produce the same result that has occurred to every other currency not backed by gold throughout history - those currencies, our ‘money’, will become worthless.”
Those were the alarming words of Jeff Nielson of BullionBullsCanada.com in a recent speech* which has been edited and reformatted below (with his permission) for the sake of brevity and clarity.
DERIVATIVES: AN UNREGULATED ONE QUADRILLION DOLLAR MARKET
“Warren Buffett once described derivatives as ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’ - and for a very good reason. While U.S. ‘unfunded liabilities’ are larger than the entire global economy, the derivatives market is 20 times larger than the entire global economy – at an astonishing $1 quadrillion. Yes, you heard me correctly - $1 quadrillion!And get this - this derivative market is totally unregulated. It is totally lacking in transparency, meaning that all we know about this $1 quadrillion mountain of banker-paper is what the bankers tell us.”
Nielson pointed out that “During the 2008 U.S. financial crisis, the Wall Street banks required $10 trillion in loans, hand outs and guarantees just to temporarily prevent their bankruptcy – more than all other bail-outs for all the rest of the world, for all of history, combined - and the entire crisis was based upon settling the derivatives positions of just one Wall Street investment bank, namely, Lehman Brothers - and even that $10 trillion was not enough to prevent the collapse of the U.S. financial sector.”
Furthermore, “The Wall Street banks also needed to have the U.S. accounting rules changed, so that they could assign their own ‘fantasy valuations’ to the debts/assets on their books, instead of the actual market value of those assets” said Nielson. “Without those most radical accounting changes in history the Wall Street banks would have been reporting their own bankruptcies rather than reporting their supposed ‘record’ profits.”
ALL IS NOT AS IT SEEMS
Nielson went on to say that “While the Wall Street banks brag about billions in supposed profits, there are still trillions of dollars of toxic assets being hidden off their balance sheets. We know there has been no increase in the real value of these ‘assets’ because, in just 2 years, the average amount of losses on their books has increased 5-fold relative to the value of their assets when the first bank failures occurred. Thus, if anything, these ‘toxic assets’ are even more worthless than they were when the collapse began.
Despite this huge mountain of unstable debt, Wall Street has actually increased the size of the derivatives bubble by 30% since the U.S. housing-bubble first burst. This caused Neil Barofsky, the U.S. ‘watch-dog’ assigned to oversee the TARP bail-out, to exclaim recently that the risk of collapse of the entire U.S. financial sector has increased not decreased saying:
“Even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding road, but this time in a faster car.”
A SERIOUS DILEMMA FACES INVESTORS
“As I see it,” said Nielson, “there is no solution for the U.S.’s economic problems. “With U.S. hyperinflation likely, but a deflationary collapse still possible, this not only creates a frightening scenario for us to face as individuals, but a serious dilemma for investors. Do we prepare for deflation, or hyperinflation – or, is it possible to prepare for both?”
“Such a defensive investment philosophy is called wealth preservation and, in my opinion,’ said Nielson, “investors need precious metals components, i.e. ‘good money’, in their portfolios because they are ‘currencies’ that cannot be diluted through inflation or destroyed by imploding debt.”
WHY THE NEED FOR ‘GOOD MONEY’?
Nielson pointed out that, while paper ‘money’ is both uniform and evenly divisible, it is neither rare nor precious and that the paper it is printed on has no intrinsic or aesthetic value compared to precious metals., reminding his audience that “In less than the 100 years that the Federal Reserve has existed, the U.S. dollar has lost approximately 97% of its purchasing power.”
It important to understand the above properties of ‘good money’ said Nielson “because, contrary to the economic propaganda from the mainstream media, the events of today are unparalleled in history.” He then conveyed that:
- more countries are carrying debts than at any time in history
- the aggregate size of these debts are more than ten times greater than at any other time in history
- the whole world is off a “gold standard” for the first time in history – meaning there is nothing backing all these mountains of debt.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MONEY DURING A DEFLATIONARY IMPLOSION OR A HYPERINFLATIONARY SCENARIO?
a) Hyperinflationary Scenario
“Gold and silver have always retained 100% of their value in past hyperinflationary environment while paper money has gone to zero” maintained Nielson.
b) Deflationary Scenario
Nielson believes the circumstances surrounding a potential deflationary collapse are unique this time round in that we are not talking about a “recession” or even a “depression” but, instead, about entire nations effectively going bankrupt and defaulting on their massive debts claiming that “with none of the world’s currencies backed by anything, paper “money” is now essentially nothing but the unsecured IOUs of the governments issuing those currencies. As such, he postulated that:
1. were such governments to default then billions (trillions?) of dollars of government bonds would have very “questionable” value – if not become totally worthless
2. were government bonds to become worthless, then the paper currencies of those governments would also become worthless
3. were government bonds to become worthless, then the government would have no ability to borrow any money to fund government spending – and would have no choice but to simply print unlimited amounts of un-backed paper money that would be nothing more than unsecured IOUs. Nielson conclude the aforementioned with the question: “What is the value of an IOU from a debtor who has already defaulted on his debts? The answer is: zero.”
Nielson explained that “Where a deflationary implosion differs from hyperinflation is that in such an implosion all asset-prices become severely depressed and most people are more likely to move to cash because of its supposed buying power. Eventually, however, in either scenario, paper currencies would go to zero.”
He concluded his remarks with the following advice: “You need to hold ‘good money’ and the ultimate ‘stores of value’ - the only “good money” - is gold and silver and thus the best protection from the events that lie ahead.”