Where do you put your money?
Gold? Cash? The mattress?
Where do you put your money?
Gold? Cash? The mattress?
I don't think there is a definative answer. How bust are we talking here? Zimbabwe style inflation? Hedge with gold (or buy Euros??), presuming you don't need the money to live off. Otherwise buy what you need now because later it will cost more. On the other hand a bust economy might be deflationary in which case you want to pay off debt as the relative value of any debt held will increase as prices as wages decrease.
As I said, no definitive answer. You could leave the country or just move your money to a stable or appreciating currency zone, if the bust is largely localised (in today's correlated global markets, hmmm)...people have been doing if for centuries...odd to think of a time that people would emmigrate en masse from Australia, but stranger things have happened.
Turn your non-real assets into gold, get rid of all credit, then wait for the crash to fully take effect (can be up to 3 years) then buy real assets - particularly property (by that I mean a house on a block of land not a unit).
Lets start with the question few people ask: what causes an economy to go "bust" as Jikx puts it. Firstly there are two types of "bust":
1. a recession
2. a full blown depression such as what happened in the early 1930s and in Japan from 1990.
Both "busts" have at their root cause a reduction in the amount of credit in circulation. By credit I mean the lending of "goodwill" from a bank.
Some definitions of "money" here might help:
cash - the metal coins and plastic/paper notes you have in your wallet or under your matress.
money or deposits with a bank - the number you see printed on the sheet of paper you get from the bank each month.
credit - the "thin air" or "goodwill" if you like that a bank will give you to go and purchase something.
The ratio of these is typically 1 to 10 for cash to deposits ie. you might have $100 in your wallet and $1000 in your bank account and 1:200 for deposits to credit ie. you might have $1000 in the bank with credit/mortgage up to $200,000.
On this basis (and using the famous Pareto 80:20 rule) you can effectively ignore cash and deposits when it comes to working out what is going to happen with an economy. Credit by its sheer size swamps any effect that the other two measure have on an economy.
So now we have to understand credit. What is it? Before I called it "thin air" or "goodwill". It certainly is not money in the normal sense of the word. Banks create credit out of thin air. They don't have to have money in the form of deposits in order to lend you their "goodwill". To prove this have a look at the financial reports of any bank - lets say NAB. Go to the "Statement of Financial Position" page (what used to be called a balance sheet). For a bank its ASSETS are the LOANS it makes. Similarly for a bank the DEPOSITS you have with the bank are its LIABILITIES.
Now for any entity ASSETS - LIABILITIES equals the "value" of a entity. For a bank this means LOANS - DEPOSITS equals the "value" of a bank.
How is it that LOANS are bigger than DEPOSITS?
Banks manufacture credit out of thin air.
Let me repeat that: Banks manufacture credit out of thin air
They don't need your deposits in order to lend you credit.
How does this work in real life, well each bank "trusts" the other bank's "thin air" credit because they each extend the other bank "goodwill". Nothing more, nothing less. They may have a "goodwill" imbalance at the end of any given day but that is soon balanced up before any one bank creates too much thin air. It becomes self regulating for good reason. Should one bank get too far out of whack the whole system of bank credit would collapse on itself.
So we know that credit represents the largest influence on the economy and credit is created out of "thin air".
Since credit is primarily "thin air" it can be both created AND destroyed.
A bank destroys credit by asking you for immediate repayment of the "credit" that they loaned you. Don't think this could happen? For those of you with a credit card or mortgage have a read of the fine print about repayment. The bank can demand FULL repayment of the credit they loaned you usually within 30 days. Don't think they wouldn't do it - think again.
Enter the central bank.
They do exactly the same thing only on a much, much larger scale. Not only do they "control" their "member" banks they control the economy. How? By the same techniques - the creation and destruction of credit.
For those of you who think the goverment controls an economy ask yourself this: can a government create or destroy the single biggest influence on the economy? From the previous analysis credit by far is that single biggest influence so can/does a government create/destroy credit? No. The central bank and its member banks do.
But you say the central bank is part of the government. Think again. Some of you may remember John Howard's lame comments about keeping interest rates low under a Liberal government. You may also remember the direct rebuttal by then Reserve Bank governor Ian Macfarlane mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald:
So we have central banks and member banks in control of the single largest influence on an economy and a government unable to do a thing.August 19, 2006
THE outgoing Reserve Bank governor has
revealed his annoyance at the Howard Government's election campaign promise to keep
interest rates low - a pledge that he says was "not plausible".
Ian Macfarlane, who warned yesterday that interest rates were likely to rise again before the
end of the year, told the Herald in an interview: "I mean, they make these claims, you know,
'Vote for us - you'll have low interest rates,' which obviously we found annoying."
He revealed the Reserve Bank had considered going public before the 2004 election to point out
that the Government was "incorrect". But its leadership decided unanimously to remain silent to
avoid politicising the central bank.
Nevertheless, "the independence of the Reserve Bank was already so well established that [the
Government's] argument would not be a plausible argument".
Central banks are there to help us; aren't they? Tell me they are...
Sorry to burst your bubble kiddo - they are there for themselves, not you. They have two goals:
1. interest or what used to be called usary
Lets take usary or interest. It is what you pay a bank for the priviledge of them leaning you "thin air". How do you pay interest? From the sweat of your brow ie. your productive work what ever that happens to be. That means making something, building something, digging stuff out of the ground or providing someone with service. You substitute your time for cash. You then pay some of that real cash to the banks in the form of interest and bank fees. They keep that interest. That is their profit. That is their real return and they know it. Their loans are worthless thin air, so the interest they get from you is what they are really after - your hard earned productivity.
Now control. Why would a bank be interested in control. See item 1. By controlling people and for central banks, the government, they control the stream of interest. Get people and governments hooked on credit then you can control them.
So we have credit created out of thin air by the banks; central banks being independent of government; credit the largest influence on an ecomomy; credit being able to be both created and destroyed; interest is the primary aim of the banks and control the way banks ensure they maintain that interest stream.
Lets see if this explains a few things:
1. The Great Depression.
2. The fall of Japan since 1990
3. The rise of China recently
4. The tech bust of 2000.
5. Rising house prices across Australia
6. Large exchange rate fluctuations.
The list goes on.
Remember the original question was where do I put my assets if the economy goes bust. We are close.
Great Depression - prior to 1913 the US did not have a central bank. Its banking system (despite several attempts by some bankers to create a central bank in the past) was regional with hundreds of individual banks each issuing its own notes. In 1913 the Federal Reserve Act was passed creating the US central bank know as the Federal Reserve. It is not owned by the US government but by its member banks. By the late 1920s it had taken over the role of printing notes in the US. It had through its member banks increased credit massively. Stock market rose to a peak, people were hooked on credit. Then it pulled the plug. It told its member banks to withdraw credit. Again on a massive scale. Why? It wanted total control over the banking system. In the 1920's it still did not control all the banks in the US. By withdrawing credit the hope was it would cause a panic and a run on smaller non-member regional banks. It did. The most liquid form of money is in the stock market. So if you had to repay credit to the bank - the stock market is the first place you would go to get liquid assets. Sept 1929 - Stock market crashed. Why - first round of credit reduction. However the market recovered somewhat in the next 3 months:
but during 1929 to 1933 the 1929 crash looks like a mere correction (click on image for a full size view):
The Federal Reserve through both itself and its member banks continued to withdraw credit from the economy until it had what it wanted. Control.
If you understand that the Great Depression was caused by the destruction of massive amounts of credit by the Federal Reserve and you know that they were after control, ever wonder why and when the Great Depresssion stopped? It stopped when the last non-member bank closed its doors in March 1933 (there is an image of the front page of the New York Times from the time which I can't find right now which refers to the one week "bank holiday").
During that time, real cash, not even deposits and certainly not credit was king. Eventually people were forced to sell their land and homes at cents in the dollar. Guess who bought it - the people who owned the banks and the people who were told to cash out before the 1929 crash.
So to answer the question, non-real assets such as stocks in the stock market will reduce in value as the credit is destroyed. Similarly the "price" of houses will drop as credit is destroyed. Gold, whilst having no intrinsic use per se, has two advantages to store value:
1. it is relatively scarce
2. people percieve it to have some sort of value
You can't eat gold nor can you build a house from it, but whilst people perceive it retains some kind of intrinsic value you can, in periods of credit reduction or worse still credit destruction convert it into something to eat and something to provide you with shelter. Be aware though its "price" will go down as credit is withdrawn from the economy. Only cash will retain any direct purchasing power. Gold is better as a longer term holder of value across a depression. Hold and use direct cash (not deposits) during a depression.
In a recession (a mild reduction in credit) deposits of money with larger banks would be the go in my opinion. You have to trust the bank is not going to go under. There is no need to go to gold.
One other thing with gold - it is not unusual for governments to ban the personal holding of gold. The US did this (it is related to payment to the Saudis for oil, but that is for another topic).
Why buy land at the bottom of the depression. It is the one thing that people need besides food water etc. It is also the thing that most of the time is bought on credit. It is also the one thing that changes in price depending upon the amount of available credit in an economy. It will normally rise in value first and often the fastest after a depression and/or recession. Shares take time to rise due to the fact that share prices only rise once people have re-established places to live and work. They distrust the market as it was the thing (as in 1929) that burnt them last.
Still want more proof?
How about Japan. For those old enough to remember Japan in the 1980s was booming. We were all told to go out and learn Japanese - they were going to take over the world. What happened? How could such a strong economy all of a sudden just stop? Japan came to a crashing halt in 1990. Firstly what happened? The Bank of Japan (its central bank) told its member banks through what is called in Japan "window guidance" or its credit control mechanism to reduce credit to Japansese companies.
(cf "Princes of the Yen" by Richard Werner)
As before remove credit the economy slows down or worse still stops completely. Japan has been in deep freeze for more than a decade with little credit until recently.
Interestingly enough for those of you who think interest rates control an economy - if they did, why is it that Japan has not recovered. It has had ZERO interest rates for over a decade. Interest rates are a furphy. They don't affect an economy anywhere near as much as credit creation/destruction. You may also be interested to know that Japan's government and not its central bank controlled interest rates. It didn't help the government. They finally gave up and handed control (there is that word again) of interest rates to the Bank of Japan. But still why put Japan and more interestingly enough, Germany, on ice...?
One answer: China.
More correctly: 4 billion Chinese who don't yet have enough credit and are not, as yet, paying anywhere near enough interest (there is that other word again).
Banks work on interest and control - global control. To create credit in China you have to turn what was basically an agrarian country into an urbanised society that requires loans for houses, wide screen TVs, mobile phones and for business people - other businesses to buy.
To go from agriculture to industry you need technology. To get the technology you have to borrow money for it. Even better if the amount you have to borrow is lower because you have a distressed seller. Germany and Japan are two of the best sources of high technology. They were also the world's factory. "Made in Japan" became a badge of good quality.
You want the Chinese to industrialise so they become urbanised and want credit you have to move the world's factory from Germany/Japan to China. Simple just reduce credit in those two countries and increase credit in China. Now you have Chinese companies buying German and Japanese technology at distressed prices (remember when the Japanese were buying the Gold Coast - same principle). To do so they have to borrow from the banks. Credit creation starts. You need workers - urbanise them. They need houses, units, wide-screen TV sets, etc etc. Of course you lend them credit.
You keep the US going because you need a market strong enough and big enough to be able to buy the stuff you produce in China.
When do you pull the plug on the whole thing - when China becomes self sustaining. In other words when China's internal demand reaches that of what is being currently consumed by the US. Then you have enough people and companies hooked on credit to be able to disconnect the US and raise interest rates. You control the country and your interest rate pipeline is secure.
Next big recession - when China reaches that point of self sufficiency. When? I don't know - yet. Thing to do is to watch the credit creation/destruction by banks. That will give you a heads up.
I have found it amazing to see what has actually happened in history once you start looking. Ask an Argentinian what it's like to move from the middle to the lowest rungs of society simply because the middle was lopped off.. It's all there and it makes for fascinating entertainment as well. You don't even need to go very far back just have a look at the period 1900-2007 to begin with.
As a historical hedge I would ideally suggest farm land with secure food, water and energy supplies and the support of a strong community in a politically secure country as the best method. If you have geopolitical risk then watch out, I have read that jewelry is the best here as it's easily hidden (forget about gold bars) and even things like krugerands and other pure gold plays are not ideal for various reasons... jewelry... Interesting and I'm not making this up, it's all there for study.
** edit.. Also a wonderful hedge is mobility, the ability to move where things are better in terms of countries. Europe was a community that had evolved beyond wars and was experiencing a period of prosperity, the last crazy woodchuck who had tried to improve the world was Napoleon some 100 years ago... and then along came WW1. Stuff happens I guess, anyone else been following the military build up in the Persian gulf?
Hard to think of a better country than NZ to be in.. Australia would also rate highly even though honest J has done his best to align our image as the US's Pacific deputy.
I like your way of thinking WaySolid.
It shows independence and original thought.
i think real assets are the key...and you need to hold them outright.
one thing i've wanted to know about holding cash tho...
if we have an argentina situation, which say the value of the AUD becomes worthless...
in that case, you would a hell of a lot of dollars be need to buy say a kilo of rice... but why wouldn't you still need many more 'hell of a lot of dollars, to buy a house???
why would a house price fall? is it simply becuase people would have to sell up to repay the banks? or would they prefer a kilo of rice instead of the house?
sorry, very poorly worded question... (and naturally, the scenario is highly exagerrated)... but i guess what i am saying is, assuming we know when this event is going to happen, is it better to liquidate the 'fully owned' house and get the cash (in gold)? or do you need both, the house and cash/or gold?
Couple of great posts above there Lakemac ............
Working on the assumption that the Banks have now "cultivated" their power over we punters, would it be fair to say it is not really in their bests interests to cause any further major catastrophe's because they would actually be lessening their own "returns" (China excluded at this point in time of course) ............
The ideal scenario for the Banks I'm guessing is when they have a balance of maximum returns and maximum control over the majority of punters ......... Creating a severe recession/depression would therefore serve little purpose .... T/F? ........... The real power struggle I guess would then come down to the Banks of the major countries vying for control over each other ........ Is that a possibility in the future? ............. I have no idea .......... Just thinking out aloud re the points you raised..... Interesting.
Position sizing and Ability should be best friends
i would think banks have everything to gain...
wouldn't then simply cease control of all the assets (given we leverage off them significantly)
what about owning shares in banks?
There are never poor questions just poor answers.
However ask better questions and you will get better answers (Anthony Robbins - Unleash the giant within).
The effect in Argentina and prior to that intra-war Germany is hyper-inflation.
What occurs there is the exact opposite of a depression. Instead of a reduction of credit, the economy is swamped with credit (I am talking hyper-inflation here).
Hyper-inflation is caused when the central bank creates credit for the government (as against business lending). Governments are no different to anyone else - they have to have budgets, they earn money (in the form of taxes), they spend money to buy votes and provide services, they borrow (normally from their local branch of their central bank - I kid you not) and they have to repay.
When a government goes overboard on a spending spree (such as what happened when Whitlam came into power) it has to borrow. It does this by issuing government bonds. These bonds pay interest. The interest is paid for by the citizens through taxes, levies etc. (remember interest is the real money in the system - the money the banks want). The bonds are sold in the open market to either other governments or most likely to central banks, either the local one or other countries ones. Ultimately the local central bank has to create credit to buy these bonds to soak up any excess issued by the government. Remember central bank credit is no different to other banks credit - both are thin air - ie. it is money that doesn't really exist.
The more the government borrows the more the central banking system creates credit and the more the central bank gets in interest (remember interest on government bonds comes from taxes).
If you get a government that goes crazy (often politically corrupt) it will continue to issue more an more government bonds to fund what becomes a larger and larger problem. Eventually money does grow on trees - there is so much of it, it is not worth the paper it is printed on and is just like a full deciduous forest during autum. This is hyper-inflation.
In this situation the cost in whatever currency you use becomes astronomical. The instrinic value of the item remains the same - an apple is an apple no matter what you pay for it.
In hyper-inflation housing becomes impossible to buy. In the Australian context our rising credit creation has caused house prices to skyrocket. More credit creation by the banks means higher house prices. Forget the crap the politicians and almost every other pundit puts out about the cause of house prices being high. Pure and simple it is excess credit creation. Reverse the process (ie destory credit) and see how fast house prices come down.
If you owned a house outright:
1. in inflation hold it.
2. in deflation sell it then rebuy after the credit creation process reverses.
Simple buy low sell high principles. The trick is knowing when.
Would you go all gold or some other value store? It depends upon how you think the banks will hold up. If you don't trust the bank move the deposit. If you don't trust the banking system move to gold or precious value store. It also depends upon your trust of the political agenda. Americans would not have thought their own government would outlaw the ownership of gold but it did. Mobility of your capital as well as yourself may be more important than holding it in any land based asset.
Am I parnoid - maybe but history has shown these kinds of things happen with amazing regularity. The key is to watch, learn and listen to the banks.
My friend and I call it "fox speak" (as in foxes looking after the chickens). The banks talk quite openly about the credit creation/destruction process in the press. Why? Because they can - they know nobody is listening. The broadcast this to other banks. For example a press release from the RBA on the 7th May 2004 signalled the end of the housing price rise. "Credit was to slow" claimed the RBA in its press release (source RWE). Golly gee time to cash out your house purchase. Not rocket science once you know how.
Same thing fixing interest rates. Inversion of the interest rate curve is what they call it (google it for more info).
In terms of holdong a house and gold/cash, you would in theory be better of all in cash than retaining the house, assuming that a huge inflationary scenario doesnt take place, then you could just buy and hold heaps of fridges.
Holding the house gives a level of security though. While rice is more important than a house (roof), only by a bit.
The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing mankind he does not exist.
Barney, the banks (or more correctly the families that control the banks) will engineer whatever events (think wars, depressions, inflation or change of government) they need in order to continue their quest for even greater control. There are very large mineral resources sitting in a very bankrupt Russia at the moment. To get China fully hooked (particularly to wrest control from the communist party chiefs) it will take some massive economic upheavals. I really do worry what could be in store when it comes about.
You still have Africa to learn about credit too. Lots of people over there need it don't you know. That will not happen until Africa introduces individual property laws to overthrow tribal land laws (there was an excellent article in the Economist (31/3/2001) about why Africa remains poor - Poverty and Property Rights was the title - see also the book "The Mystery of Capital - Why captialism triumphs in the west and fails everywhere else" - Hernando se Soto).
China solved this problem only recently with the passage of bill to protect some forms of private property (Source: SMH 17th March 2007). Private property in a communist state - now there is a bank at work...
As an aside to all this stuff (I have reams of research material on all this) I just wish schools would teach economics/commerce from the perspective of the banks. It would make for a far more interesting study of both history and economics. It ties in most wars in the last 400 years, assasinations, the rise and fall of various nations and the ultimate rise of the families that control the banking system. Economics has never been so much fun
No unfortunately you can't own shares in central banks.
Shares are really only about control not direct value.
It is the interest stream you want.
Owning high interest bearing government bonds are always a good idea during a depression. How many of us bought 30 year bonds during the early 1980's. You could have got massive returns.
Shares unfortunately follow the credit cycle. See my previous charts on the Dow. Hence owning general bank shares does not protect you. You have to be savvy enough to follow the credit cycle and switch between asset classes.
My pick is to buy rubbish dumps and hold them for your great great grand kids. Why? Nano tech. The ability to reassemble matter in tiny nano-factories. Rubbish dumps will be the mines of the coming generations - they contain a plethora of basic elements necessary for nano robotic factories to reconstruct. Just think one day you will be able to mow your front lawn (assuming you still have a lawn after the drought has finished with it), stick the clippings into a "microwave oven" of sorts and out pops a nice juicy steak. Yummy. Hey it is what a cow does right now... time for bed I think. Gotta trade tomorrow.
Where do you come up with this stuff. If your smoking it then maybe you should be investing in that . then everybody would be so high it just wouldn't matter.
I'm more along the lines of the film Tank Girl . Water will be where the money and the power will be and money will be in terms of litres not dollars
Gee that was enough brainpower for the rest of the week used up . I might go and have a ly down
I sometimes feel like Neo in the Matrix and I sometimes wonder if I could un-know some of this stuff.
What started out seven years ago as a simple question on superannuation has turned into a quest to prove myself wrong.
The simple question was this:
"Is there a way to protect myself in retirement if something like the Great Depression happened?".
That lead to the next obvious question (well it was obvious to me anyway):
"What caused the Great Depression?"
I started researching and the more I researched the more I came across the involvment of the banks - particularly the central banks and several families you may have heard of - the Rothschilds, the Vanderbilts and the Warburgs to name a few.
Initially I thought, like you, this is wacky-weed stuff. Can't be true. But my long deceased accountant father once said to me "understand where money comes from and you will understand the world." How right he was.
Martin I throw this challenge to anyone who doubts the research and my conclusions - do your own study. Go back to the basic data, the financial statements, the history books, the records of meetings, the charts. Prove me wrong. I would love you to. There is just too much of it out there pointing in the direction I have found. I wish I was wrong.
You wonder where I get this stuff - well let me start you off - I mentioned NAB. Go to their website and grab a copy of the 2006 detailed financial statements. In the consolidated balance sheet you will find about $280B of loans which is half of their asset base of $440B. Their liabilities - ie the money you deposit with them is shy about $27B... That is $27B of thin air my friend.
Get a copy of the Masters of the Yen by Richard Werner. He worked within the Bank of Japan for a number of years. Just in case you doubt the veracity of his claims the book contains a huge data mine of references. Go and check those.
Then go down to the Mitchell Library (or its equivalent depending upon where you live) and open the microfiche library on the SMH, Age etc. Check the dates and cross reference it to stock market charts. Go to the RBA and Fed Reserve web sites and pull off the historical data series of M1 (a measure of money only - not credit unfortunately). Plot those series.
Go back in history and research the Rothschilds (see the detailed books by Niall Ferguson) and their involvement in the formation of the Bank of England (whilst you are in that part of the world don't forget to look up tally sticks).
I have one advantage in this - a seven year start on the research material. But as I say don't believe me. Prove me wrong. I would like to believe in Santa Claus Howard and The Ruddy Tooth Fairy, but I can't...
Thanks for those posts.
I definately learnt something and will be looking up those sources not to prove you wrong/right, just to learn more.
Some really good stuff in there.