GoldMoney's Asian vaults continued to be the most popular vault of choice, with clients selling in both Switzerland and UK.
Kelly-Ann Kearsey, Dealing Manager at GoldMoney, says this week has seen clients selling gold and silver as the prices remain low. Gold merited some support earlier in the week due to geopolitical tensions but failed to hold on to those gains before retreating. GoldMoney clients have given more support toward the industrial metals this week, platinum and palladium. Markets have been slightly quieter today due to the US Thanksgiving holiday but data from the US economy this week has remained positive, giving more strength to the US dollar.
News from the European Central Bank (ECB) shows that officials are considering easing measures such as a two-tiered deposit rate on banks and buying more debt ahead of next week's ECB meeting. In light of this, the Euro recovered to $1.06 following a drop to a seven month low overnight.
↓Gold prices have continued to fall for the fifth consecutive week. Prices have been retreating in preparation of a tighter monetary policy in the US. Gold has seen more selling as the US dollar rises in strength hitting an eight month high on Monday along with positive data being released from the US economy. On Tuesday, gold gained 1% as a safe-haven bid after geopolitical tensions between Russia and Turkey; however, a stronger US dollar ensured gains did not last.
↓Silver prices pulled back from its resistance level and maintained a downward trend due to positive US data. Silver has also experienced less demand for its industrial uses and with a strengthed US dollar has continued to keep the prices down.
↑ Platinum and ↑ Palladium prices have remained steady this week, with palladium gaining on last week's prices and platinum remaining neutral. Clients have taken this week as an opportunity to diversify into the PGM group.
Week on week price performances
26/11/15 16:00. Gold dropped 1.1% to $1,071.15, Silver fell 0.7% to $14.23, Platinum leveled 0.0% to $850.49 and Palladium tose 3.8% to $556.47 Gold/Silver ratio: 74
NOTES TO EDITOR
For more information, and to arrange interviews, please contact Emily Cornelius, Communications & PR Tel: + 1 647 499 6748 or email: Emily.Cornelius@GoldMoney.com
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It would not be unprecedented for trendy issues like the F.A.N.G. stocks to continue on to much larger gains.
OK, full disclosure right off the bat: this post is not intended as a prediction, advice or even investment analysis whatsoever. It is simply a fun “what-if” illustration. As Bob #1 (or was it #2?) from the movie Office Space said “…believe me this is a hy-po-the-ti-cal “ (although, if the pattern shown below plays out over the next 18 months, we reserve the right to claim it was a prediction!).
Many of our posts over the past few months have harped on the narrowing breadth, weakening internals, etc. among stocks and the ultimate negative impact that trend is likely to have on the market. The other, positive, side of that coin, which we don’t touch on as much concerns those stocks that are still performing well. What the dwindling leadership does is make those still-positive stocks that much easier to identify. Most obvious among those in that shrinking category are the 4 affectionately referred to as F.A.N.G., i.e., Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google (Alphabet).
The median U.S. stock (as measured by the Value Line Geometric Composite) hit its high for the year in May and is actually down nearly 7% as of this posting. Meanwhile, the S&P 500, representing the leading style area of the market this year – large caps – is up about 1.5% on the year. Drilling down further, the segment carrying the load for the large cap gains is the Nasdaq 100, up over 10% in 2015. However, the entirety of the gains (more, in fact) in the 500-stock S&P index and the 100-stock Nasdaq index can be attributed to just the 4 F.A.N.G. stocks. Consider their respective gains for the year thus far:
- Facebook: +31%
- Amazon: +117%
- Netflix: +154%
- Google: +41%
While not reflected in the year-to-date averages, stocks have had a rocky go of it this year. Even the large-cap indexes experienced a serious scare in August-September. The F.A.N.G. stocks, however, have weathered the year relatively unscathed. The question is, can they continue to lead the major averages higher with fewer and fewer stocks assisting them? Perhaps making that task seemingly unlikely is the fact that, prior to this year, the 4 stocks had already experienced substantial gains in the past few years. Consider their gains since the middle of 2012, around the time they launched their current run:
- Facebook: +401%
- Amazon: +186%
- Netflix: +1503%
- Google: +133%
If one had constructed an equally-weighted composite of the 4 stocks, it would be up roughly 500% since 2012. It would seem far-fetched that the F.A.N.G. run could continue much higher after such gains. It would not be unprecedented, however. In almost any market era, one can pin-point such “trendy” momentum stocks that go to bubbly heights. One only needs to hark back to the tech stock bubble days of the late 1990′s to locate such a precedent.
There were many tech stocks that went parabolic in the late 1990′s bull market blow-off. 4 that stand out as perhaps the poster-children for the period (outside of the goofy dotcom startups like Pets.com) are Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and Qualcomm. We put together a composite of those four stocks – lets call it C.I.M.Q. (I know, not as catchy) – starting in 1995, the beginning of what we determined to be the blow-off period. Through about three and a half years into the middle of 1998, we see a familiar story. The composite was up roughly 500%, in line with the current F.A.N.G. over the same amount of time.
So, did the C.I.M.Q. stocks stop there? Unless you are under, perhaps 30 years of age, you know they did not. After consolidating for about 3 months around that time (i.e., the middle of 1998), the stocks exploded even further. The C.I.M.Q. composite would go on to quadruple from its already lofty heights over the next year and a half, before popping in 2000. A similar move by the F.A.N.G. composite would hypothetically take it from its current level around 600 to around 3000.
Here is the uncanny similarity between F.A.N.G. 2012-2015 and C.I.M.Q. from 1995-2000:
And for those wondering if the similarity is simply due to the distortion of the latter C.I.M.Q. move on the linear scale, here is a log-scale chart. The similarity is perhaps even clearer here:
Now, in case the opening disclosure was not clear, let us make a few points:
- This a NOT our prediction of the future path of F.A.N.G. stocks.
- We do not HAVE a prediction of the future path of F.A.N.G. stocks.
- From any random period, one can likely find 4 stocks whose collective path mirrors that of 4 current stocks.
Regarding that last point, however: in this case, we spent zero time or effort in curve-fitting the stocks or the time period with which to compare the present-day F.A.N.G. phenomenon. The blow-off Nasdaq market from 1995-2000 was the most obvious period for comparison and the 4 stocks, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and Qualcomm were the first 4 to come to mind in symbolizing that period.
We will add that we believe that period was in a different part of the market cycle than our present circumstances. That said, the similarities between the F.A.N.G. and C.I.M.Q. composites is unmistakable. And while the extent of the similarities is undoubtedly owed to simple coincidence, the general similarities should not be a shock.
That brings us to our basic takeaways from this whole exercise: no matter what time period one is considering, there will always be a select group of stocks du jour that will trend inexplicably higher. Furthermore, such trends, as most do, can carry further and longer than investors may originally think likely or possible. So, while we have no idea what will happen, is it possible that the F.A.N.G. stocks increase another 400% from current levels. It is possible.
Lastly, seeing as though it is Thanksgiving, we recognize that the “bears” have to eat as well. Thus, we present the “rest of the story” regarding the C.I.M.Q. comparison:
Ring any bells?
We are sure every FANG investor, however, will know exactly when to 'escape' the Turkey farm this year.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
* * *
More from Dana Lyons, JLFMI and My401kPro.
Following the ISIS assault on Paris that left 130 dead prompting Francois Hollande to declare that France is “at war,” authorities quickly established a link to the infamous Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.
The working class, immigrant neighborhood - which is separated from the historical district by a canal and is but a 20 minute subway ride from Brussels' European Quarter - has become synonymous with radicalization and terror. As we put it last week, “what Charlestown is to bank robbers, Molenbeek is to European jihadists.”
"The assassination of the Afghan anti-Taliban commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, immediately before the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001; the train bombings in Madrid in 2004; and the killing of four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum in 2014; the foiled shooting on a high-speed train, the anti-terrorist raid in the eastern Belgian town of Verviers, the attack on a Paris kosher supermarket and, finally, the Nov. 13 attacks on the French capital — all had some connection to Molenbeek,” The New York Times wrote earlier this month.
But it’s not just Molenbeek. In January, two operatives working under the direction of Paris mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud were killed when Belgian police raided a safehouse in Verviers.
In short, Belgium has apparently become a kind of hub for jihadists. Not wanting to let a good crisis go to waste, the entire country - and especially Brussels - has been on high alert for nearly a week now as authorities hunt for several suspects who are purportedly planning a “serious and imminent” terrorist attack.
In what may be the latest evidence that there are indeed multiple active terror cells operating in the country (or in what may merely be evidence that some anonymous Belgian collector just really loves Winchesters), Italian police seized some 800 shotguns bound for Belgium today at the Port of Trieste.
Here's the story from La Stampa (translated):
A load of about 800 shotguns, from Turkey to Germany, Holland and Belgium, has been discovered and seized by the Financial Police and the Customs at the Port of Trieste. The weapons of war were transported, without authorization, by a tractor-trailer driven by a Dutch citizen turkish. The cargo consisted of 781 shotguns model "Winchester SXP" from 12-51 cm, 66 shotguns "Winchester SXP" from 12-41 cm. 15 rifle and kicking.
Tir had landed in Trieste on 23 November. The weapons were contained in hundreds of cardboard boxes, each of which containing a shotgun, all directed in Belgium. Given the peculiarities of the load, its origin and destination, the Financial Police and customs officials have declined to elaborate documentation. Although there were no irregularities of customs, it had not been requested permission to the authorities of public security for the transportation.
And here's a look at the merchandise:
Here's a bit more from The Daily Star:
The finance police, who are often in charge of port security, said that while customs rules had not been violated, the Turkish truck driver did not have the licences needed to transport the 781 Winchester SXP shotguns.
Pump-action Winchester SXP rifles are made for hunting and are not considered assault weapons, but police said they had "substantially" increased their border inspections in the wake of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks and subsequent alert in Belgium.
"Given the delicate nature of the cargo, its origin and its destination, the documentation regarding the rifles was immediately examined," the statement said.
What should immediately jump out at you here is that these were being sent from Turkey to Belgium. While anyone who's followed Syria's protracted civil war knows that Ankara has long been suspected of aiding and abetting Islamic State (just ask the PKK, or Newsweek, or even ISIS themselves), Erdogan's role in financing the group was thrown into sharp relief this week after Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of facilitating the sale of illegal Islamic State crude (from which the group derives some half a billion dollars per year in revenue).
We've documented the Turkey-ISIS connection on dozens of occasions this year, but notably we revisited the link on Tuesday courtesy of Nafeez Ahmed in "NATO Is Harboring ISIS, And Here's The Evidence" and then on Wednesday evening, we took our first peak down what is likely to be a very deep rabbit hole in "Meet The Man Who Funds ISIS: Bilal Erdogan, The Son Of Turkey's President."
Given all of this, one is certainly left to wonder just where in Turkey these 800 pump action shotguns came from and, more importantly, who sent them to Belgium. While we're sure there were likely a string of intermediaries involved, we wouldn't be surprised to learn that ultimately, there's a connection to Ankara and from there, to ISIS.
* * *
Bonus: for those of you wondering what kind of damage you can do with a Winchester SXP, here's an official video from the company's website called "Everybody's Shootin'" - just imagine the ducks are people.
The Black Swan Theory is used by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain the existence and occurrence of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations. One example often put forth by Taleb is the life and times of the Thanksgiving Turkey.
The turkey spends the majority of its life enjoying daily feedings from a caring farmer. Weeks go by, and it’s the same thing day-in-day-out for the Turkey. Free food. Open range grazing. Good times all around.
The thinking turkey may even surmise that the farmer has a vested interest in keeping the turkey alive. For the turkey, it is a symbiotic relationship. “The farmer feeds me and keeps me happy, and I keep the farmer happy,” says the turkey. “The farmer needs me, otherwise, why would he be taking care of me?”
This goes on for a 1,000 days.
Then, two days before Thanksgiving on Day 1,001, the farmer shows up again.
But this time he doesn’t come bearing food, but rather, he’s wielding an ax.
This is a black swan event — for the turkey.
By definition, it is a high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event for the turkey, who not only never saw it coming, but never even contemplated the possibility that it could occur.
For the farmer, on the other hand, this was not a black swan event. The farmer knew all along why he was feeding the turkey, and what the end result would be.
The very nature of black swan events make them almost impossible to predict. The point of this parable is to put forth the idea that sometimes we are the Thanksgiving turkey and understanding this may make it easier to begin to, at the very least, contemplate the possibility of far-from-equilibrium events.
This year, when you enjoy that drumstick or Turkey breast, give thanks to the latest victim of the black swan for being non-contemplative, otherwise, he may have bugged-out long ago and you’d be eating a chicken instead.
Editor’s Note: We’d like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you for visiting our web site. Many of you have joined our community and often hang out in our comments area sharing your ideas with others, making new friends, and keeping us all abreast of developing news that we may not catch. It is you, the SHTFplan community, that has made this web site what it is today. In fact, without you, what we’ve achieved would simply not be possible.
Thank you for the many years of good times. I have personally met numerous folks directly via this web site that have become good friends – and not just online, but in real life! I hope others have had the same opportunity. For newer readers, this is a fantastic community. Sure, things might get a bit heated at times given the substance of the topics being posted, but all-in-all there are a lot of people here ready to share their knowledge, inspirations and friendship. It’s a great way to meet new friends who may have similar interests and beliefs, so if you’ve never posted please don’t be afraid to do so!
It’s been a great experience for the last eight years and I hope we have many more ahead of us.
Thank you all! Have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving Day!
The abuse of power is staggering.
Time and time again over the last number of years the largest global banks have been found complicit in the manipulation of key rates, indices and markets. Now, a large and important pension fund has taken the largest of banks to task and filed a class action lawsuit alleging conspiracy to thwart competition and extract large fees and margins from the vast and critical interest rate swap market. The banks "have been able to extract billions of dollars in monopoly rents, year after year, from the class members in this case," the suit states.
Interest rates swaps are used by companies and investors alike to manage interest rate risk. It is critical in smoothing returns and removing interest rate sensitivity. Providing an efficient trading market is lucrative, but when managers of that market collude to keep margins elevated at the cost of market participants, then we all suffer.
The lawsuit goes on to state that banks had “jointly threatened, boycotted, coerced, and otherwise eliminated any entity or practice that had the potential to bring exchange trading to buyside investors.” This policy had one purpose, "to preserve an extraordinary profit centre,” the lawsuit said. It is alleged that the banks disguised their collusion by using code names for projects such as “Lily”, “Fusion,” and our favourite, “Valkyrie,” according to the suit.
Typically, what will happen now, should the suit be successful, we will see a regulatory investigation by the authorities in the U.S. and Europe, with massive fee generation for all the professional classes concerned and associated with prosecuting, defending, and interpreting the situation.
A big fine will be handed down and paid to the regulators, (note: not the victims), by the perpetrators. No executives will be found guilty, no liability made nor conceded. Shareholders of the banks will barely take notice and the public, who have been paying the price for this collusion, will get back to the task of not giving a damn. Sure, they would be happier watching box sets.
They say people get the governments they deserve; well, they get the institutions and regulators they deserve, too. Apathy is the greatest destroyer of liberty. "Someone should do something," I hear you say, well, you are someone, so get mad.
Read the story on the GoldCore.com blog
Today’s Gold Prices: USD 1070.50, EUR 1009.41 and GBP 710.30 per ounce.
Yesterday’s Gold Prices: USD 1072.20, EUR 1011.10 and GBP 711.23 per ounce.
Gold in EUR - 1 Year
Gold lost $4.80 at the end of the day yesterday to close at $11.70.60. Silver gained $0.02 for the day to finish at $14.19. Platinum managed a gain, closing up $1.50 to $840.50.
Most U.S. Stocks Gain With Dollar on Strong Data as Oil Climbs – Bloomberg
Gold ends lower as U.S. data maintains rate-hike expectations – MarketWatch
Sell gold because of Draghi? That’s ridiculous – CNBC
Gold inches down, as mixed data provides few clues on rate hike timing – Investing.com
The gold that’s as light as AIR: New foam could lead to revolution in jewellery – Mail Online
Will Fresh QE From ECB Boost Gold? – seekingalpha.com
‘Silk Road’ Countries’ Gold Reserves and Demand Accumulation Has Grown 450% Since 2008 – Jesse’s Café Américain
The December Jobs Number May Really Be The “Most Important Ever” – ZeroHedge
Death of paper gold & Silver: The Data Proves It – Silverseek.com
One More Lower Low? – Goldseek.com
Read News & Commentary on GoldCore.com
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By Bron Suchecki
The Perth Mint, Perth, Australia
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Today the Perth Mint and Australian Securities Exchange, one of the world's top-10 listed exchange groups measured by market capitalisation, announced that they would be collaborating on developing new exchange-traded precious metals products.
The first product is mostly likely to be a gold futures contract deliverable in Perth. Given the focus the gold community has on futures markets, and Comex in particular, I'm sure there will be a lot of interest is this Aussie gold contract. As we are in the process of talking to the market about what features they would like, it is not possible to get into contract specifications at this time but I can make some general comments about the approach ASX and Perth Mint will be taking. ...
... For the remainder of the announcement:
Buy precious metals free of value-added tax throughout Europe
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Europe Silver Bullion is owned and operated by North American and European experts in selling, storing, and transporting precious metals. We have an extensive product inventory of silver, gold, platinum, and palladium, and our network spans the world.
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Support GATA by purchasing DVDs of GATA's London conference in August 2011 or GATA's Dawson City conference in August 2006:
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By Clara Denina
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Exchanges, brokers, and data vendors are interested in providing clearing or reporting services to make the gold market more liquid and transparent, the London Bullion Market Association said Wednesday.
Financial market transparency has been a major focus for regulators after evidence of price manipulation in lending rates between banks with the LIBOR scandal in 2012.
A clearing platform or an exchange could increase liquidity in the London gold market, and make it cheaper for users, analysts said.
Twenty entities have submitted 17 responses to a request-for-information process, the LBMA said in a statement. ...
... For the remainder of the report:
Silver mining stock report comes with 1-ounce silver round
Future Money Trends is offering a special 18-page silver mining stock report about how to profit with the monetary and industrial metal, and it comes with a free 1-ounce silver round. Proceeds from the report's sales are shared with the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee to support its efforts to expose manipulation in the monetary metals markets. To learn about this report, please visit:
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The Silver Summit and Resource Expo 2015
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Monday-Tuesday, November 23-24, 2015
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Early last month, Green Berets battling to beat back a Taliban advance in Kunduz, Afghanistan, apparently decided that in order to rid an MSF hospital of some “insurgents” who were apparently hanging out inside, they needed to call in an AC-130 gunship. The aircraft made five passes on the way to engaging the building for an hour, eventually killing dozens as tends to happen when advanced air assault technology squares off against unarmed people lying on gurneys.
Subsequent reports would reveal that the US fired on fleeing doctors and others who were running away from the building. Here are two short videos which should give you an idea of what kind of hell patients and staff must have gone through on October 3:
There were competing accounts as to what led to the incident, but at least initially, the military claimed US SpecOps were taking fire from the hospital.
On Wednesday, the US walked back that story. Speaking at a news conference, U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell said the crew of the AC-130 mistook the hospital for a government compound that the Taliban was allegedly using as a prison. "This tragedy was the direct result of avoidable human error," Campbell said.
But it wasn't just "human error," Washington is also blaming - get this - "malfunctioning sensors."
AP, who've been all over this story pretty much from the beginning, has obtained a summary of one of several investigations into the incident. "Witnesses differed in their versions of how and why the strike was authorized," the report says. It also indicates that the SpecOps commander who called in the strike "had been given the coordinates of the hospital two days before but said he didn't recall seeing them."
AP continues: "Investigators found that the aircrew continued the attack despite observing no hostile activity from the hospital, operated by the international group Doctors Without Borders. It found no evidence that armed Taliban were operating from there."
According to Campbell, the AC-130 crew's "targeting sensors malfunctioned" and so, they did what anyone would do in that situation, they decided to eyeball it. Back to AP:
Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said the airstrike was supposed to have been directed at a nearby facility being used as a Taliban command center but the warplane fired at the wrong building.
After the plane's targeting sensors malfunctioned, he said, the crew relied on a physical description to home in on the target.
As absurd as that most certainly is, it's made even more ridiculous when you consider that "no Americans on the ground were in position to see the hospital." Of course even if they were, this isn't some modern metropolis we're talking about here where the buildings are easily distinguishable by their unique architecture. As you can see from the folllowing images and Google map of Kunduz, it would be easy to make a mistake if one were going by "a physical description of the building":
AP goes on to detail the report's account of the incident: "The AC-130 was sent on short notice after a report of 'troops in contact' [and] as a result, the aircrew did not get a pre-flight briefing and was not given a list of protected facilities on a 'no strike' list that should have included the hospital."
The story then goes full-computer-glitch-retard:
During the flight, Campbell said, the aircraft's electronic systems malfunctioned, preventing it from transmitting video or sending or receiving email. That meant the Air Force controller on the ground was hampered in aiding the targeting.
The AC-130 crew was given the coordinates for an Afghan intelligence building about 450 yards from the hospital, where Afghan forces were said to be in danger. But because the plane had moved to avoid a missile, its targeting sensors were off, and they pointed the crew to an open field.
The crew then relied on a physical description relayed by the commander to find what it thought was the right target.
So, let's see if we can sort that out. The AC-130 was called in but was unable to get good on-the-ground intelligence because their e-mail was down (so we suppose that means that under normal circumstances, soldiers e-mail planes with instructions). Next, the plane dodged a "missile", which threw its targeting sensors off and so according to The Pentagon, this AC-130 was flying blind with faulty targeting sensors into a warzone. Next, the crew did its best to remember what the ground forces (and now the US says it was actually Afghan troops that called in the strike) said about the building's physical appearance on the way to finding "what they thought was the right target."
But it gets worse:
When its computer eventually found the correct coordinates, Campbell said, the crew ignored them because it was "fixated on the physical description of the facility."
So basically: "to hell with what the computer says, that nondescript building is a terrorist hideout if we've ever seen one."
Immediately before firing, the aircrew relayed the coordinates of the hospital, to its headquarters, where officers knew it to be on the no-strike list, Campbell said. But nobody realized the mistake in time.
Does that mean the logistics team didn't even bother to check the coordinates agains the no-strike list? It certainly appears so. And finally:
The plane fired 211 shells over 29 minutes before commanders understood the mistake, according to the military report. Doctors Without Borders contacted coalition military personnel during the attack to say its facility was "being 'bombed' from the air."
It took 17 minutes for special forces commanders to order a halt. By then the attack was over.
All in all, just another day in America's highly successful war on Islamic extremists and dangerous militants. It's worth noting that if Russia had "accidentally" done this in Syria, the Western media would have made it a front page spectacle and the outcry from the US and its allies would have been loud and long.
One can only hope that going forward, US aircrews will think twice before relying solely on "physical descriptions" of targets before vaporizing nearly three dozen people. We close with a quote from Doctor's Without Borders:
"The frightening catalog of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of U.S. forces and violations of the rules of war."
[Every year at Thanksgiving-time I resurrect a column written by a fellow teacher, Kent Dillon, about the real reason we celebrate this holiday. It is a story no longer told in the textbooks because it is thoroughly unPC, and undermines the idea that government is the solver of all problems. We were teachers, as well as part of the crew, at The Flint School, a private, academic boarding school aboard two large sailing ships, and we used the world as a campus. Kent wrote this for the students’ parents 45 years ago, so they would know what their children were learning and experiencing.
Thanksgiving Day was a special day aboard the ships and we actively celebrated it as the birth of private property and the demise of collectivism. Our celebration wasn’t one of sleeping in or playing games with each other. We celebrated by working a specific task until completed, and then, when tired and hungry, we sat down to a huge feast of fresh cooked turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie, and shared camaraderie.
Even now in 2015, I can tell you that those Thanksgiving Day dinners of turkey, pies, and all the trimmings, after a day of meaningful labor, are still the tastiest I have ever eaten. ]Thanksgiving Celebrated as the Birthday of Free Enterprise
By Kent Dillon
The celebration of Thanksgiving is a celebration of plenty and appreciation of the abundance that has characterized the free enterprise, individualistic, capitalistic systems of the US. This why America grew into the most productive, highest standard of living area in the world. The Pilgrims had arrived in what is now Provincetown, Mass., on November 11, 1620, but it was late in December before they finally settled in Plymouth. In the words of Gov. Bradford,
that which was most sad and lamentable was, that in 2 or 3 months time half of their company died, especially in January and February, being the depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts; being infected with the scurvy and other diseases, so as there died sometimes 2 or 3 of a day, in the aforesaid time; that of 100 and odd persons, scarce 50 remained.
They spent their first winter building houses so that they could move off the Mayflower and by March all settlers had left the ship.
Scurvy and fever had taken their toll, as by then 15 of 18 wives had died as well as 19 of 29 hired men and servants and half of the 30 sailors. When the Mayflower departed she left 23 children and 27 adults behind, but not one Pilgrim returned to England.
The Pilgrims had placed all their food and provisions in what they called the “common store” which was set up on the socialist principle of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
As spring came they began to farm and by October took in their first harvest which went to the common store. It was a time to be thankful for their very survival. They had spent 67 days on the Atlantic with 132 people aboard a ship that was 128 ft. long, and survived to establish themselves and reap a harvest.
In November of 1621 the ship Fortune arrived with more than 30 new settlers, mostly young men. They apparently brought “not so much as a bisket-cake” with them, thus providing another drain on the common store for the coming winter. The future looked bleak as food supplies ran out and the “planned socialist” community began to starve again. The common store was practiced for a second year. The harvest was poor in spite of the added manpower and the colonists starved in the ensuing winter dramatically demonstrating once again that collective ownership in a socialist economy was unworkable and could not keep them alive.
Richard Grant in The Incredible Bread Machine writes,
The experience of the first Plymouth colony provides eloquent testimony to the unworkability of collective ownership of property. In his history of the Plymouth colony Governor Bradford described how the Pilgrims farmed the land in common, with the produce going into a common storehouse. For two years the Pilgrims faithfully practiced communal ownership of the means of production. And for two years nearly starved to death, rationed at times to “but a quarter of a pound of bread a day to each person.” Governor Bradford wrote that “famine must still ensue the next year also if not some way prevented.” He described how the colonists finally decided to introduce the institution of private property:
“[The colonists] began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. [In 1623] after much debate of things, the Gov. (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set down every man for his own … and to trust themselves ... so assigned to every family a parcel of land. This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Gov. or any other could use, … and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little-ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”
Reflecting on the experience of the previous two years, Bradford goes on to describe the folly of communal ownership:
“The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Platos and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; — that the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young-men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and cloths, than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice…”
The Colonists learned about “the wave of the future” the hard way. However, once having discovered the principle of private property, the results were dramatic. Bradford continues:
“By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God. And in the effect of their particular [private] planting was well seen, for all had, one way and other, pretty well to bring the year about, and some of the abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others.”
The Jamestown colony in Virginia had similar experiences as they started under the same rules:
- They were to own nothing.
- They were to receive only as much food and clothing as they needed.
- Everything that the men secured from trade or produced from the land had to go into the common storehouse.
Of the 104 men that started the Jamestown colony in 1607 only 38 survived the first year and even those had to be marched to the fields “to the beat of a drum” simply to grow food to keep them alive in the next year. Captain John Smith writes after the common store concept was abandoned:
When our people were fed out of the common store, and labored jointly together, glad was he could slip from his labor, or slumber over his task he cared not how, nay, the most honest among them would hardly take so much true pains in a week, as now for themselves they will do in a day. … We reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty, as now three or four do provide for themselves.
The Thanksgiving we celebrate is for the success of the Pilgrims after establishing property rights and free enterprise as that event laid the foundation for the growth of America.
Were our Pilgrim and Jamestown colony forefathers to wake up from the dead and look at the graduated taxation (from each according to his ability) and welfare programs (to each according to his need) we have today they might offer us a lesson in history by simply quoting Goethe, “Those who do not learn from the lessons of history are doomed to relive them.”
No longer do the textbooks mention the effects of the common store and the continued starvation until the system of free enterprise and private property was established. Don’t you wonder why the idea of the Great American Experiment is a forgotten concept? And why the writings of de Tocqueville are a “forgotten analysis” in today’s education? As Americana moves into the “planned socialist economy,” those who have moved our country in that direction have made sure that the early lessons of the “police state” force needed to maintain Jamestown’s social plan (Captain John Smith’s guns) and of the starvation and death that resulted from the lack of motivation inspired by the “common storehouse” have been eliminated from our children’s instruction.
Thanksgiving isn’t just a break from work, a time to stuff ourselves with turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie, it is a time to remember the true significance of the holiday, and pass on the lessons from our forefathers to our children who won’t learn these lessons in school, and thus must learn them elsewhere.
Submitted by Charles Kennedy of OilPrice
Crude oil just capped off a third straight week of declines, as WTI nears the $40 per barrel threshold. Goldman Sachs is once again raising the possibility of oil dipping into the $20s per barrel.
That spells more pain for the energy sector. Many companies have already slashed spending and culled their payrolls, but the total number of job losses continues to climb.
According to Graves & Co., an industry consultant, oil and gas companies have laid off more than 250,000 workers around the world, a tally that will rise if oil prices remain in the dumps.
“I was surprised it’s gotten this far,” Graves & Co.’s John Graves told Bloomberg in an interview. In an eye-catching statistic that highlights who exactly is bearing the brunt of the downturn, Graves says that oilfield service companies account for 79 percent of the job losses.
Still, upstream E&P companies are also being substantially squeezed by another plunge in oil prices. According to an analysis by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, a new round of layoffs could be underway in Texas, for example. The Texas Alliance predicted that the first drop in oil prices last year would lead to 40,000 to 50,000 layoffs in Texas. But the renewed drop since the end of the summer could force many more cuts. Right now, the group is putting a conservative estimate at 56,000 job cuts so far, but they say the real tally is probably higher.
Beyond oilfield services and E&Ps are not the only ones feeling the heat. Pipeline companies are also starting to lay off workers as well. Last week Enbridge confirmed that it was laying off 500 workers and leaving 100 positions unfilled, according to the Financial Post. The job losses account for about 5 percent of Enbridge’s North American workforce.
Fellow Canadian pipeline company TransCanada says that it will be issuing pink slips as well. While TransCanada confirmed that it would cut payroll, it declined to put an exact number on how many people would lose their jobs. TransCanada, reeling from the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, is struggling to get several major pipeline projects through the permitting phase, although it just won the go-ahead to build a large natural gas pipeline in Mexico.
Canning's aphorism is as valid today as when he was Britain's Prime Minister in 1817. Unfortunately, his wisdom is ignored completely by mainstream economists. Nowhere is this error more important than in defining economic activity, where the abuse of statistics is taken to levels that would have even surprised Canning.
Today we describe the economy as being in one of two states, growth or recession. We arrive at a judgment of its condition by taking the sum total of the transactions selected by statisticians and then deflating this total by a rate of inflation devised by them under direct or indirect political direction. Nominal gross domestic product is created and thereby adjusted and termed real GDP.
The errors in the method encourage a bias towards a general increase in the GDP trend by under-recording the rate of price inflation. From here it is a short step to associate rising prices only with an increase in economic activity. It also follows, based on these assumptions, that falling prices are to be avoided at all costs.
Assumptions, assumptions, all are assumptions. They lead to a ridiculous conclusion, that falling prices are evidence of falling demand, recession or even depression. Another of Canning's aphorisms was that there is nothing so sublime as the truth. There's no sublimity here. If there was, the improvement in everyone's standard of living through falling prices for communications, access to data, and the technology in our homes and everyday life could not possibly have happened.
Well, they have happened, and the falling prices of the products of the greatest private sector corporations on earth are proof that they are both popular and good for business. Furthermore, the either/or condition of inflation/deflation firmly believed by macroeconomists would logically rule out the impoverishment of people in hyperinflations. If rising prices are good for the economy, how come everyone was so unhappy in Germany's Weimar Republic in 1923, or in Zimbabwe fifteen years ago? Surely, as inflation accelerates the happiness level should rise......
No sublimity here, either.
Error compounds upon error. So what is economic growth? It is not what the name suggests, it is merely an increase in the total monetary value of statistically eligible transactions. There is no qualitative judgment in this: governments can and usually do goose the GDP number with needless bureaucracy and projects few consumers would be prepared to pay for with their own money. Furthermore, an increase in GDP only occurs if the quantity of money and bank credit has been increased, and then applied to the part of the economy explicitly covered by the statisticians' statistics.
The following is what happens when new money or bank credit enters the economy. The banks create money out of thin air and lend it to a favored customer. The customer spends it before prices adjust, reaping the full benefit of prices that do not take the creation of the new money into account. Only then will the prices of goods bought with this new money reflect the extra demand that has materialized seemingly out of thin air, and this price effect subsequently spreads, always one step behind the new money being spent. The large majority of consumers will find prices have already risen against them, without any compensation in their income, or if they are retired, the value of their pensions and savings. So the end result is wealth has been transferred from the weakest in society up the line incrementally to the first receivers of the new money.
As the new money gradually spreads through a community, prices will tend to rise. If one could record the effect, it would be found that in real terms the extra economic activity from currency debasement is gradually dissipated into higher prices. It is a short-term increase in demand that is then reversed. In a perfect statistical world, real GDP would faithfully track the effect. Unfortunately, we have the vested interests of statisticians and their paymasters to contend with, and also the inappropriateness of the application of statistical method, more suited to measurement in natural sciences such as physics than to an imprecise social science akin to psychology.
Instead of taking into account these temporal effects of monetary inflation on prices, it is just assumed that an increase in the quantity of money and credit leads to straightforward price increases. All else being equal, it eventually does, but all else is never equal. Of far greater importance is the public's relative preference between money and goods. Money retains its role as money only because people accept it as such. Fiat currencies, which have no value for any other purpose, are at continual risk of becoming valueless. The condition required for a fiat currency to retain any value is that demand for it has to be maintained, so that it is always scarce.
Assuming that condition applies, the most important determinant of the level of money's purchasing power is the marginal balance of peoples' preferences for it relative to goods. In practice, and because government ensures a monopoly exists for its fiat currency, this is usually stable, tolerating large changes of the amount of money and credit in circulation without altering radically.
If this marginal preference changes from consumption goods towards money, prices of goods will tend to fall. This was dramatically illustrated during the financial crisis in 2008/09. The opposite is also true, when the marginal preference swings away from money towards goods. It is this condition which leads to hyperinflations, not the rapid expansion of the quantity of money as commonly supposed, though monetary expansion is usually part and parcel of the condition.
It should now be obvious that economic planning through monetary policy can never succeed. Even assuming that the planners are blessed with a prescience they do not have and that no economic model can give them, it appears they are unaware that concepts of growth and recession are not the same as economic progress or the lack of it. For measurement of this thoroughly bad substitute they rely on the one thing, which as Canning wryly observed, can tell them everything but the truth.
The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GoldMoney, unless expressly stated. Please note that neither GoldMoney nor any of its representatives provide financial, legal, tax, investment or other advice. Such advice should be sought form an independent regulated person or body who is suitably qualified to do so. Any information provided in this article is provided solely as general market commentary and does not constitute advice. GoldMoney will not accept liability for any loss or damage, which may arise directly or indirectly from your use of or reliance on such information.
Now that France has officially joined the party in Syria in an effort to avenge the 130 people who lost their lives in Islamic State’s brazen assault on Paris, the odds of World War III have increased exponentially.
Sure, The Kremlin has for now instructed the military to treat the French as “allies” and for the time being, Moscow’s pilots are writing “For Paris” on bombs, but as Tuesday’s “incident” between Turkish F-16s and a Russian Su-24 makes clear, crowded skies are dangerous skies, especially when there’s a significant amount of ambiguity surrounding what everyone is up to in Syria on a day to day basis.
Now that Russia has deployed the S-400s to Latakia and placed the Moskva guided missile cruiser equipped with S-300-like systems off the coast, anything that even looks like a threat to Russia’s air force will be “destroyed” and that, as WaPo noted on Wednesday, “has the potential to create headaches for Turkish and other aircraft in a U.S.-led coalition that are carrying out a separate airstrike campaign in Syria."
So, to the extent that the Paris attacks served to thaw tensions between Russia and the West, Turkey’s decision to shoot down an Su-24 means it was one step forward and two steps back.
Now, it appears the already crowded playing field is about to get more cramped as David Cameron, following up on comments made during meetings with Francois Hollande, is pushing British lawmakers to approve RAF strikes on ISIS. As Reuters reports, the PM “told lawmakers on Thursday it was time to join air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, saying Britain cannot ‘subcontract its security to other countries’”.
This is the second time Cameron has sought Parliament’s approval for strikes in Syria. He lost a vote in 2013.
This time around, the stakes are higher and the circumstances have changed. ISIS has proven resilient thanks in no small part to, i) what looks like a deliberate effort on the part of The Pentagon to avoid hitting Islamic State’s oil convoys, ii) the CIA’s continued support for the various rebel groups that have, for the better part of five years, ensured that the country remains completely unstable, and iii) support from Turkey, the Saudis, and Qatar.
"It is wrong for the United Kingdom to expect the aircrews of other nations to carry the burdens and the risks of striking ISIL in Syria to stop terrorism here in Britain," Cameron said.
In a testament to how close Britain is to joining the fray, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will reportedly not use a party whip to influence MP’s decisions. "In these sort of issues of conscience it is better to allow MPs to make their own minds up," John McDonnell told BBC.
"I don't think this is a country that lets others like the French or the Americans defend our interests and protect us from terrorist organizations - we should contribute to that effort,” Finance minister George Osborne added, underscoring the perception that Britain’s military prowess is but a shadow of what it once was.
Cameron played down the idea that striking ISIS in Raqqa would increase the extent to which the group targets Britain. "He told MPs the UK was already a target for IS - and the only way to deal with that was to 'take action' now," BBC reports, adding that The Foreign Affairs Committee has said they'll be "no military intervention without a "coherent international strategy" on tackling IS and ending Syria's civil war."
Yeah, well good luck on that. There are two "strategies", one pursued by Russia and Iran, and the other by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Moscow and Tehran will simply destroy anyone and everyone battling the Assad government and that includes ISIS, while the US and its regional allies will continue to fund the FSA and, indirectly al-Qaeda while covertly doing what they can to ensure that strikes against ISIS don't cripple the group's ability to remain operational and effective in Syria and Iraq. France, frankly, is just flying around aimlessly dropping bombs wherever the US tells it to which is precisely what the UK will end up doing should they decide to get involved directly.
The problem here is that France and Britain are just bolt-on air forces. Unless and until the US decides to drop its support for the programs and countries that are arming and financing the FSA, al-Nusra, and ISIS, adding more planes will do nothing to aid in the fight against terror and will only make the airspace more crowded, making it even more difficult for the Russians to determine who is who and which planes represent a threat and which ones don't.
Finally, note that the tensions between Turkey and Russia will make the ongoing discussions in Vienna unbearable for Moscow and Ankara which means that any "progress" on a "political solution" probably crashed and burned with the Su-24 that went down near the Turkish border on Tuesday.
* * *
Meanwhile, in Aleppo...
— Michael Horowitz (@michaelh992) November 26, 2015
Reisman’s Remarks at the Conferral of His Honorary Doctorate from Universidad Francisco Marroquin, July 9, 2013. Reprinted from George Reisman’s blog.
A video of the degree ceremony appears at http://newmedia.ufm.edu/reismandoctoraldegree
Vice President Calzada (President Calzada as of next month), Provost Castillo, Treasurer Parellada, and friends.
I want to thank Universidad Francisco Marroquin, in the persons of these three of its highest officials, for the great honor just conferred on me, of an honorary doctorate in social sciences.
Universidad Francisco Marroquin is a rare beacon of light in a world growing intellectually dark. It is a relatively new light, founded in 1971 by the late Manuel Ayau, the leading advocate of liberty in Latin America and UFM’s first President. (I’m glad to say that in 1987, my wife and I met President Ayau in San Diego, when he was a guest lecturer at the summer conference of our organization The Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics, and Psychology.)
Hopefully Universidad Francisco Marroquin’s example will inspire the establishment of other universities throughout the world that are dedicated to upholding the value of individual freedom and capitalism.
I know that the award just bestowed on me is all the more valuable for having previously been bestowed on men of such caliber as Henry Hazlitt, F.A. Hayek, Leonard Read, and William H. Hutt. All of these men, through their writings, were my teachers, most especially Henry Hazlitt.
Now I would like to accept this honor not just on behalf of myself but also on behalf of the two most outstanding teachers in my life: Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. Mises was the source or inspiration for most of what I know and consider important in the fields of economics and social philosophy. His overall, outstanding accomplishmentwas to present a comprehensive, in-depth, intellectually powerful, and uncompromising case for laissez-faire capitalism. This was something that no one else had ever done before and which urgently needed doing—more than anything else in the world if individual rights and the founding principles of the United States were to be upheld. Ayn Rand greatly supplemented that knowledge, above all by explaining, the precise nature of individual rights. I also acquired a great deal of other knowledge from her as well, which I’ve described in my book Capitalism.
The first thing I want to accomplish in the time available for me to speak, is to explain what I consider to be one of the most important of my own original contributions to economics, namely, my demonstration that profits are not a deduction from wages.
The belief that profits are a deduction from wages goes back to Adam Smith, who is believed by many to be the leading advocate of capitalism. In The Wealth of Nations, Smith claims that wages are the original and primary form of income and that profits are taken from what naturally and rightfully belongs to wage earners.
He postulates a state of affairs that he refers to sometimes as “the early and rude state of society” and sometimes as “the original state of things.”
In this state of affairs he imagines that workers are producing and selling products and that the income they receive from the sale of their products is wages. He imagines that as yet there are no businessmen or capitalists present. Just manual workers. He assumes that because the workers are performing labor, the income they receive must necessarily be wages. Labor and wages in his mind are inseparable concepts. Where labor is performed, its income must be wages, he believes.
The conditions present in his alleged “original state of things” stand in his mind as a kind of economic Garden of Eden insofar as he believes that the situation represents one of economic justice. It is just, he believes, because the workers who produce the products, get to keep the full value of the products they produce. Their wages are allegedly 100 percent of the value of the products they produce.
But then comes the economic version of the Fall from the Garden of Eden. Businessmen and capitalists appear on the scene. And because they provide capital and must be remunerated for doing so, in the form of earning profits on their capital, the workers are no longer able to keep the full value of the products they produce. The capitalists’ profits are deducted from what originally went completely to the workers as wages.
The Wealth of Nations was published in 1776. Ninety one years later, in 1867, Karl Marx’s Das Kapital was published.
Marx took over these ideas of Smith and carried them further. He too argued that profits, along with all other income that was not wages, constituted a deduction from wages, and that this deduction started with the coming into being of capitalists and their capital.
Where Marx differs from Smith is that he goes further and develops “the exploitation theory.” Smith provided merely the framework of the exploitation theory. Within that framework, Marx propounded an elaborate analysis that attempted to show that the nature and extent of the alleged deduction of profits from wages was comparable to the process by which a slave owner gained from owning a slave and that the wage earners of capitalism were in fact virtual slaves. (This is the source of the expressions “wage slave” and “wage slavery.”)
What made the workers of capitalism slaves, according to Marx, was the fact that, like slaves, all of their product in excess of the portion required to keep them alive was taken by the capitalists. Indeed, the capitalists, according to Marx, were not only willing and able to extort profits to the extent of driving wages to the level of bare minimum subsistence but were also motivated by the quest for profit to extend the hours of work to the maximum humanly endurable while making working conditions brutal and driving small children into the mines.
To this day, this is the popular assessment of the effects of the profit motive if it is not restrained by such things as labor unions, minimum wage and maximum hours’ laws, and child labor laws. I believe that practically all the members of the Democratic Party and perhaps half or more of the members of the Republican Party believe that these are the conditions that would result in the absence of labor unions and these laws. When it comes to an understanding of the operations of laissez-faire capitalism, that is, capitalism free of such government interference, the great majority of people today are Marxists, and have been since the late 19th Century.
Now it’s impossible for me to fully answer all of these beliefs in the course of a talk as brief as this one. But I assure you that I do fully answer them in my book Capitalism.
I will start by demolishing the framework of the exploitation theory—the notion that originally all income is wages and that the emergence of capitalists serves to bring into existence the phenomenon of profit and its deduction from what allegedly was originally all wages.
All we need do to accomplish this demolition is to realize that when a worker sells a product, such as a loaf of bread, or a pair of shoes, he is not being paid wages. There simply are no wages present. A wage is money paid in exchange for the performance of labor, not for the products of labor. Again, a wage is money paid in exchange for the performance of labor, not for the products of labor. In contrast, the money paid in exchange for the products of labor is a sales revenue. The workers producing products that they sell do not earn wages. They earn sales revenues.
Thus what the workers in Smith’s original state of things and Marx’s equivalent, which he called “simple circulation”—what these workers receive are not wages but sales revenues.
And because there are no capitalists and thus no spending to buy anything that would serve in the production of the goods the workers are selling, there are no money costs to deduct from the sales revenues these workers earn.
Let me pause here. Costs of production are always the reflection of expenditures of money made for the purpose of bringing in sales revenues. These expenditures are made by capitalists. In fact, Marx and Smith agree that the essential feature of capitalistic activity is buying for the sake of selling at a profit. Where there are no capitalists, there is no such buying. But if there is no such buying, there can be no money costs. At the same time, for the same reason, there are no wages paid in production. Wages paid in production are the money that capitalists pay to workers to produce the products that the capitalists plan to sell.
The inescapable implication of this is that in the starting point that Smith and Marx have chosen, namely, workers producing and selling products in the absence of capitalists, the income of these workers is profit, not wages. These workers have sales revenues but they have no money costs of production to deduct from their sales revenues, because no one has acted capitalistically and spent any money to bring in those sales revenues. It follows that 100 percent of these workers’ sales revenues is profit.
It follows further that so far from being responsible for the creation of profit and its deduction from wages, what the capitalists are actually responsible for is the creation of wages and costs of production, including costs of production on account of spending for capital goods such as materials and tools, and thus for the reduction in the proportion of sales revenue that is profit. A true statement, in direct opposition to Smith and Marx, is that capitalists create wages and reduce the proportion of income in the economic system that is profit.
I’ve established so far that profits are an income attributable to the performance of labor in the conditions postulated by Smith and Marx as their starting point, indeed, the only such income in those conditions, since there are no wages paid in production without the existence of capitalists.
Now are profits earned by capitalists, rather than the manual workers of Smith’s “original state of things,” are these profits also an income attributable to the performance of labor—namely, to the labor of the capitalists, the people who earn them in the conditions that follow “the original state of things”?
Can the profits of business Titans, ranging from John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates be understood as being earned on a foundation of their labor? For their manual labor may go no further than jotting down thoughts, dictating memos to subordinates, and reading reports.
Remarkably, a major clue to the answer is provided by none other than Adam Smith, about 200 pages after he presented the views I’ve criticized. Here he points out that what drives the economic system and determines how the great bulk of its labor is used, is the various plans and projects of the capitalists, who use their capital for the purpose of earning profit.
I believe that all by itself this qualifies capitalists as workers and producers. It captures the essential element of being a producer, namely, providing guiding and directing intelligence to the means required to achieve the goal of producing a product.
A manual worker uses his arms to produce his product. What makes him a producer is not the fact that he uses his arms, but that his mind directs the use of his arms to achieve the goal of producing the product. His mind provides guiding and directing intelligence to his arms and to whatever tools, implements, or machines he may use in the production of his product.
Now a capitalist supplies goals and provides guiding and directing intelligence not merely to his own arms and whatever tools or implements he may personally use, but to an organization of men, whose material means of production he has provided. A capitalist is a producer by means of the organization he controls and directs. What is produced by means of it, is his product.
Of course, he does not produce his product alone. His plans and projects may require the labor of hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of other workers in order to be accomplished. Those workers are appropriately called “the help”—in producing his products. Thus, the product of Standard Oil is primarily the product of Rockefeller, not of the oil field and refinery workers, who are his helpers. It is Rockefeller who assembles these workers and provides their equipment and in determining what kind of equipment, tells them what to produce and by what means to produce it.
I hasten to point out that the standard of attribution I have just used, is the standard usually employed, at least in fields outside of economic activity. Thus history books tell us that Columbus discovered America and that Napoleon won the battle of Austerlitz. What is the standard by which such outcomes are attributed to just one man? It is by the standard of that one man being the party supplying the goal and the guiding and directing intelligence at the highest level in the achievement of that goal.
Now I also want to point out that everything I have said is perfectly consistent with the well-known fact that in business the amount of profit a firm earns tends to vary with the size of its capital. Of course it does. A businessman who owns one store or one factory will earn a certain amount of profit. If he owns ten such stores or factories, it should not be surprising that he earns ten times the profit. His labor is of an intellectual nature and thus can be applied the more extensively the larger is the capital he owns. In ignorance of this fact, Adam Smith assumed that in order for profits to be attributable to the labor of a capitalist, they would have to be proportional to his labor, and since they were more likely to be proportional to his capital, this precluded their being attributable to his labor.
Now I think I have succeeded up to this point both in demolishing the framework of the exploitation theory and in demonstrating the fact that the profits of capitalists are a fully earned income, attributable to their labor by virtue of their providing the goals of their firms and the highest level of guiding and directing intelligence required to achieve those goals.
I now want to demonstrate in briefest essence how capitalism operates in diametric opposition to the claims of the exploitation theory about wages, hours, and working conditions.
Here’s how it does so. Namely, based on the combination of saving and investment, mainly by capitalists, and the profit motive and competition that drives the capitalists, the output of goods per worker under capitalism tends continually to increase.
This is the source of progressively rising real wages. Accordingly, the average wage earner can afford to buy more and more as time goes on.
A major advantage of being able to buy more is being in a position in which one can afford to earn less. In the early years of the Industrial Revolution it was necessary for many people to work 80 hours a week to earn enough to be able to live. (Before that, many such people didn’t live. They died of malnutrition and accompanying disease.) A generation or two later, after the output per worker had doubled or tripled, thanks to the capitalists, the average worker came to be in a position in which he could afford to accept the lower earnings of a shorter work week. In fact, he could afford to accept wages lower in greater proportion than his hours were reduced. This made it actually profitable for employers to shorten the work week, with or without any laws or regulations requiring it.
On the same foundation, people could afford to keep their children at home longer. This was because the earnings of children were less and less required for families to survive. In this way, with or without legislation, child labor progressively disappeared.
And again, on the same foundation, workers came to be able more and more to afford to bear the cost of improvements in working conditions of a kind that benefitted them but did not pay for themselves through improved efficiency. They could afford to accept lesser earnings accompanying more desirable jobs.
My overall conclusion is very simple. It is that contrary to Smith, Marx, and the prevailing state of public opinion, a profound harmony of interests exists between wage earners and capitalists. Capitalists not only earn their incomes, but in the process benefit everyone else. They pay wages and use their wealth in the production of ever more and better products that the wage earners can afford to buy. The more and bigger the capitalists, the greater is the demand for labor and the larger the supply of products. Everyone’s actual self-interest lies with the capitalists being free to earn the profits they richly deserve and use them to accumulate as much wealth as possible, for that wealth serves everyone who sells his labor and buys products.
The case for capitalism is virtually unknown, however. And when it is presented, it is viewed with great suspicion, because the influence of Marxism is so ingrained that it is widely taken for granted that capitalism can serve the interests of no one but a handful of capitalists, who are allegedly the exploiters of the great mass of mankind.
Nothing will change until capitalists themselves learn to value their achievements and recognize the actual good they accomplish for everyone. And neither that nor anything else that is necessary will occur until universities begin to teach the value of capitalism.
Universidad Francisco Marroquin is in the forefront of the enormous and vital intellectual change that is needed. I’m proud to have been recognized by it for my contributions to this cause.
While US floor markets are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday (equity, rates and energy futures are open until 1pm Eastern), Europe and Asia (as well as US equity futures) were busy rebounding overnight on strength in the commodity complex following yesterday's news that China's metals producers have asked for a wholesale government bailout or the "QEmmodity" as we have dubbed it, for the first time since 2009, which together with news that China would soon start arresting "malicious metal sellers" has provided a push for commodity prices across the board.
Even if China does bailout its metals producers, some wonder if it is worth it: "Any policy support from the government and smelters, including the reported investigation on short-selling, subsidies to smelters or joint production cuts, will be short-lived forces and won’t change the bigger picture of a market glut. Prices may be impacted temporarily" said Qi Ding, Beijing-based analyst at Essence Securities
Carrying over the Asian momentum, Europe’s Stoxx 600 is up 0.83% with autos, primarily Volkswagen, and basic resources outperforming, real estate and media sectors underperforming. Copper, nickel, zinc gain as China’s suppliers plan to meet this week to weigh response to price rout pushing copper and aluminum up by 2.2% and 1.5% respectively. Oil halts gain after three days.
The Euro remains near 7-month low vs dollar as investors speculate about the ECB's potential stimulus expansion next Thursday, and whether one will even come now that the EUR is where Draghi wants it to be without having done a single thing.
The rest of the day will be fairly light in terms of data, however highlights will come in the form of potential comments from ECB's Linde and Visco.
- DJIA Futs +62 to 17,864, +0.37%
- S&P Futs +9.75 to 2.098, +0.47%
- 10 Year 2.23%, Unch
- Stoxx 50 +41.30 to 3,503, +1.19%
- Stoxx 600 +3.19 to 384, +0.84%
- FTSE +42.96 to 6,380, +0.68%
- DAX +174.77 to 11,344, +1.56%
- Nikkei + 96.83 to 19,944; +0.49%
- Shanghai Composite -12.38 to 3,635, - 0.34%
- HSI -9.06 to 22,488, -0.04%
- EURUSD 1.0615, -0.14%
- USDJPY 122.56, -0.12%
- Nymex Crude -0.10 to $42.94, -0.23%
- Brent -0.44 to $45.73, - 0.95%
- Copper +4.45 to 209.35, +2.17%
- Aluminum +21.50 to 1,481, +1.47%
Looking at regional markets, Asian stocks tracked their global counterparts higher following further speculation of easing by the ECB. This supported the ASX 200 (+0.3%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.5%) with gains in the latter capped by a stronger JPY. There were reports that Apple are to introduce OLED displays in iPhones which saw the KOSPI (+1.1%) index outperform amid gains in LG and Samsung Electronics, as Co.'s are expected to be suppliers of the OLED screen. Shanghai Comp. (-0.3%) was lifted by materials following the rally in prices however later came off highs, while Hang Seng (0.0%) was bolstered by energy stocks after energy giant PetroChina said it will consolidate its Kunlun units, but weakened as European participants came to market. 10yr JGBs tracked the gains in bunds and USTs on the back of the aforementioned ECB speculation, while the BoJ also entered the market to purchase JPY 780b1n government bonds.
In Europe, equities have spent the morning is positive territory with volumes across asset classes expected to be light today. Euro Stoxx (+0.9%) have benefitted from strength in material names this morning, while Volkswagen (+3.7%) has led the DAX to outperform (+1.2%) after reports overnight that California have told the Co to assembler recall plans, with hopes being that the fix could be relatively simple compared to first thought and could cost EUR 500m1n, as oppose to the originally provisioned EUR 6.7bln.
Amid the light volumes, fixed income markets have been relatively subdued with Bunds flat on the day. Of note, Goldman Sachs forecast USD 2.48bln of equities for sale for Nov after equities outperformed fixed income, with the S&P 500 outperforming U.S. T-notes by +1.52%.
FX markets see USD reside in positive territory (+0.1%) amid light fundament news behind the move higher, with the strength weighing on the likes of EUR and GBP , with the former residing around the 1.0600 level and the latter breaking below the 1.5100 level.
In commodities, WTI has come off highs reached yesterday, after DoE inventories showed a weaker than expected build (W/W 961 K vs. Exp. 1000K Prey. 252K). Brent is a notable laggard today, underperforming WTI after comments from Libya's NOC suggesting that the situation is better in regards to reopening the El Sharara oil fields. Elsewhere, NatGas has slid in recent trade, as EIA showed stockpiles rising for the 34th consecutive week, with mild weather predicted in the US over the holiday. In early European trade, the USD has seen some mild strength, forcing gold to come off best levels, the yellow metal now trading flat in the session. In China base metals were bid, amid speculation of possible production cuts and reports of a probe into malicious short-sales at Chinese metal exchanges. However copper and other base metals have come off highs overnight, having been weighed by the firmer USD. Iran have boosted the terms of 50 oil and gas contracts, with some potential contracts now extended to 20 years in order to get majors to invest USD 100bIn in projects.
And just as China crushed its equity market, so it will do the same for commodities next: Bloomberg reports that China regulators said to investigate malicious short sellers at metal exchanges, according to sources.
As mentioned, the rest of the day will be fairly light in terms of data, however highlights will come in the form of potential comments from ECB's Linde and Visco.
As is customary, we conclude with a wrap by DB's Jim Reid
The most notable price action in markets over the last 24 hours was the sharp reversal across risk assets in Europe, as fears of a potential escalation following the Russia fighter jet incident subsided as world leaders tried to calm matters. The Stoxx 600 (+1.38%) closed up near its highs for the session to wipe out Tuesday’s losses, while the Dax finished up a solid +2.15%. The performance in European credit, while tighter, was a bit less impressive with Xover closing the session just the 4bps tighter. The bigger news in credit though involved the headlines on Spanish renewable group and European HY issuer Abengoa after insolvency concerns escalated with the company forced to seek creditor protection (more on that shortly).
Meanwhile, in the final session before Thanksgiving in the US, the S&P 500 failed to hold onto very modest gains for most of the session, falling a couple of points into the close which was enough for the index to close -0.01% and just in the red. Unsurprisingly volumes were very light and some 30% below average, while the 7pt range for the index intraday was the second smallest this year. In the oil space, despite more bearish US stockpile data, WTI roared back off the day’s lows (3.5% swing) in the afternoon to finish up +0.40% and back above $43, closing higher for the second consecutive day for the first time since the end of October.
The main focus in the US yesterday was the bumper set of data released before Thanksgiving, which all-in-all was a bit of a mixed bag. Before we review that, it’s been a pretty decent start for markets in Asia this morning, seemingly supported by that rally back off the lows in Oil yesterday. There’s been decent gains for the Nikkei (+0.55%), Hang Seng (+0.76%), Kospi (+0.91%) and ASX (+0.33%), while in China it’s been a bit more of a choppy start there but the Shanghai Comp is currently +0.46%. The positive tone is being reflected in credit indices this morning where markets are generally a basis point or two tighter.
Back to that US data. There was a positive take away from the latest preliminary October durable goods orders which, boosted by aircraft orders, were up a sharp +3.0% mom (vs. +1.7% expected) with the ex-transportation also up a better than expected +0.5% mom (vs. +0.3% expected). Impressive also were core capex orders which were up sharply last month (+1.3% mom vs. +0.2% expected), with September revised up seven-tenths to a +0.4% gain. Last month was the biggest monthly gain in 3 months, driven in particular by higher orders for machinery and computers. Meanwhile, last month’s personal income reading was up +0.4% which has now helped to lift the savings rate to 5.6% which is the highest since December 2012. Personal spending (+0.1% mom vs. +0.3% expected) was a bit lower than expected. It was hard to get too excited about the latest inflation data where the October PCE deflator printed at +0.1% mom last month and a tenth below expectations, keeping the YoY rate unchanged at +0.2%. The PCE core was also a tenth below expectations at 0.0% mom, which kept the YoY rate at +1.3%.
Elsewhere, new home sales were up a solid +10.7% mom (+6.8% expected) clip in October, although the steep fall in September was revised lower still. The September FHFA house price index was up +0.8% mom (vs. +0.4% expected). Initial jobless claims were down 12k last week to 260k and near the recent lows. The flash November services PMI was up a robust 1.7pts to 56.5 (vs. 55.1 expected) which, along with the manufacturing print, helped nudge the composite up 1.1pts this month to 56.1 which would be the highest since April if it stays there. Finally the last read of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment number for November was revised down 1.8pts to 91.3 but still a bit higher than that seen in October and September. The 1y and 5-10y inflation expectations were revised up however, by two-tenths and one-tenth to 2.7% and 2.6% respectively.
Accounting for the latest personal income and PCE data, the Atlanta Fed GDPNow model downgraded its forecast for Q4 GDP in the US to 1.8% from 2.3%. The bumper set of releases did little to nudge Fed Funds expectations however with the probability of a December move sitting at 72% which is a tad lower than the 74% we were at 24 hours ago.
Back to that Abengoa news. The company’s share price closed over 50% lower yesterday, while its bonds due in March next year (which total €500m) tumbled to a record low 22c from 64c the day prior and as high as 94c earlier this month after a potential white knight backed away from a rescue and injection of funds into the cash-stricken group, raising the prospect of what looks set to be a messy restructuring ahead. The company has taken the decision to seek preliminary protection from lenders as a result and based on Spanish law has up to four months to find a solution with creditors. In the event that no such agreement is reached, insolvency proceedings will commence. Significantly, both Bloomberg and Reuters are highlighting that a bankruptcy by the company could be the largest on record in Spain. It’s worth putting this into perspective relative to the European HY market also. The company has just shy of €9bn of debt and four bonds which are in the Bloomberg Euro HY corporate bond index, making up 0.65% of the overall index. So not a huge amount but at the same time not insignificant and the wider implications are how this would test the overall tone for the HY market. It of course comes at a time where we’ve seen a couple of recent deals pulled in credit markets recently and sparked a bit of concern around the fragility into year end. So one to keep an eye on. It’s also worth noting that the group has a number of other Euro and US bonds outstanding, so may well occupy a bigger percentage in other indices.
Elsewhere yesterday, European sovereign bond yields edged lower as 10y Bund yields in particular closed just shy of 5bps lower at 0.470%, while 2y Bunds (-3.9bps) extended their move deeper into negative territory at -0.424% with the one week countdown now on until the ECB meeting. The ECB’s Constancio reiterated that no decision has been made on possible QE expansion yet and that ‘it will be a totally independent decision based on data and information’ but that it ‘will not by itself change dramatically the environment because we have been in this environment of very accommodative policy for long’.
With Thanksgiving Day in the US today it’s an unsurprisingly quiet calendar for us today with markets across the pond closed. In Europe the only data of note is the ECB’s credit and money aggregates for October, German consumer confidence and some jobseeker numbers out of France..
OFFICIAL RELEASE: World Silver Deficits –12 Years Running
According to the recently released Silver Institute 2015 Interim Report, the world experienced annual silver net deficits for 12 years running. This is surprising as the Silver Institute actually reported a small net surplus of silver in 2014. However, the small silver surplus turned into a deficit when 2014 mine supply and total demand figures were revised.
If we look at the chart below (using last year’s data), annual silver deficits were reported until 2013 and then turned into a surplus in 2014:
This was Chart #48 from THE SILVER CHART REPORT, released earlier this year. Going by this data, the world suffered a cumulative net deficit of 930 million oz (Moz) for the past decade (2005-2014). The annual net balance figure is calculated using data from Thomson Reuters GFMS provided for the Silver Institute.
The annual net balance figure is comprised by first subtracting total physical demand from total supply. This is their “Physical Surplus or Deficit figure.” They then take this physical surplus or deficit figure and add or subtract net changes in Silver ETFs and Exchange Inventories. The end result is a “Net Balance.” Basically, the annual net silver balance also takes into account the build or decline of Silver ETFs and Exchange inventories.
Even though Thomson Reuters GFMS reported a small silver surplus in 2014, I knew it was going to be revised lower to a deficit. Why? Because my analysis showed that they overestimated mine supply and underestimated physical investment demand.
For example, Thomson Reuters GFMS reported 2014 Mexican silver production of 193 million oz (Moz) at the Silver Institute, whereas my figures (taken directly from Mexico INEGI) shown in Chart #8 in THE SILVER CHART REPORT, list actual production at 184.2 Moz. Mexico INEGI’s just revised their 2014 silver production figure to 185.3 Moz.World Suffers Consecutive Net Deficits For 12 Years Running
If we take the data from the Silver Institute’s 2015 Interim Report and 2014 World Silver Survey, the world experienced consecutive silver deficits for the past 12 years:
NOTE: The 2015 figure should read 2015 Est. (estimated). Actually, I believe the 2015 net deficit of 21.3 Moz will be even higher when they revise the data next year. I will get into more detail on this in following articles, but I believe estimated 2015 Silver Bar & Coin demand was under reported by a large percentage.
That being said, the 2014 small net surplus of 2.6 Moz turned into a deficit of 21.3 Moz due to global silver mine supply being revised lower by 12 Moz to 865 Moz from 877 Moz reported last year, while total Silver Bar & Coin demand was revised higher to 203.5 Moz versus 196 Moz stated last year. These two revisions accounted for the majority of the net -23.9 Moz change.
Adding up all the annual deficits from the period 2004-2015, the world suffered a cumulative shortfall of more than a billion ounces of silver… 1,021 Moz to be exact. That’s a lot of silver. So, where did it all come from and does it really matter?When Do The Silver Fundamentals Matter?
This is the question an increasing number of precious metal investors are asking themselves. I know this first hand as this is the question I get emailed the most from my readers. Unfortunately, the fundamentals don’t provide the EXACT TIME when the fundamentals matter, but rather present data about the ongoing TREND that offers us a some important CLUES.
Here is an excerpt from the Silver Institute 2015 Interim Report on the subject of physical deficits:
The silver market is expected to be in an annual physical deficit of 42.7 Moz in 2015, marking the third consecutive year the market has realized an annual physical shortfall.While such deficits do not necessarily influence prices in the near term, multiple years of annual deficits can begin to apply upward pressure to prices in subsequent periods. This year, however, net outflows from ETF holdings and derivatives exchange inventories on a year-to-date basis have lessened the impact of the physical deficit, bringing the net balance to ?21.3 Moz.
Remember, the estimated physical silver deficit of 42.7 Moz in 2015 does not factor in the net change of Silver ETFs and Exchange Inventories… which was a net decline of 21.4 Moz (as of Sept 2015).
Regardless, the important item to focus on in the quote above is the statement, “multiple years of annual deficits can begin to apply upward pressure to prices in subsequent periods.” What is interesting here (not discussed in the Interim Report) is that net silver deficits have been now going on for 12 consecutive years when we also include builds in Silver ETFs and Exchange Inventories.
We must remember, the large build in Global Silver ETF inventories (2006-2010) had to come from physical silver supplied by the market. According to the Silver Institute, the total cumulative build in Global Silver ETFs was 569 Moz for the five-year period….. 2006-2010.
So, where did all this silver come from to supply a 1+ billion oz shortfall over the past 12 years? That is the trillion dollar question. I believe this billion oz shortfall was supplemented from a source known as “Unreported Above-ground Stocks.” While this figure is nothing more than a good guess by various official sources, it has fallen precipitously since the 1990’s.
The CPM Group stated that “Implied Unreported Silver Stocks” reached a peak of 2.2 billion oz (approximate figure) in 1990 and fell to less than 200 Moz in 2014. This draw-down of unreported above-ground stocks supplemented both the annual physical supply deficits and builds in Global Silver ETFs over the past 35 years.
While it’s impossible to know how much remaining silver (from unreported above-ground stocks) can be used to supplement ongoing annual deficits going forward, there’s probably a lot less than we realize. Furthermore, the segment of the silver investment market that was impacted the most during the rapid 60% fall in the silver price was Global Silver ETFs.
As I stated above, from 2006-2010, the net build of Global Silver ETFs were 569 Moz. However, from 2011-2015, the net increase in Global Silver ETFs were a paltry 18.2 Moz. What happened if the price of silver continued to rise 2012-2015? Main Stream investors would have piled into the Silver ETFs pushing up their total global inventories. Rising Global Silver ETF inventories on top of rising physical Silver Bar & Coin demand would have put a real strain on remaining “Unreported Above-Ground Stocks.”
Even though precious metal sentiment is now probably at all time lows, investors need to realize NOTHING HAS BEEN FIXED in the Global Financial Markets. Yes, it’s true that the propping up of the markets by the Fed and Central Banks has gone on longer than we realized, the unraveling of the World’s Greatest Financial Ponzi Scheme is still on its way.
Please email with any questions about this interview, precious metals, or to receive these in your inbox HERE.
Turn to page 214 in the book “War-making for Dummies.” You will find: “plan air operations right on your neighbor’s border, zig in and zag out, make rude gestures at enemy pilots, and shoot them down if you can.”
On Tuesday this week, the inevitable air clash occurred on the Syrian-Turkish border west of Aleppo. From what we know so far, two Russian SU-24 bombers that had been pounding anti-Damascus forces on the border briefly intruded on Turkish airspace for all of 17 seconds.
Turkish F-16 fighters, clearly pre-positioned in the area, pounced on the Russians and downed one Sukhoi with an air-to-air missiles. One of the Russian pilots was killed – probably by pro-Turkish Syrian tribesmen while parachuting to earth. A Russian Marine was killed when the helicopter in which he was flying to recuse the downed airman was hit by a US-supplied TOW anti-tank missile.
Turkish trigger-happy hotheads are to blame for authorizing deadly force when a few wing wags would have served to warn off the Russians – if they were in fact intruding. Turkey is in no position to claim it’s the injured party when arms, munitions and logistics support for ISIS has been pouring across its border into Syria for almost five years.
Russia, which accidentally shot down a South Korean airliner in 1982, is no angel either. Nor the US, which downed an Iranian airliner in 1988.
Turkey is point-man for the odd coalition of stealthy ISIS backers that includes the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, France and Britain. ISIS is their weapon of choice against Shia Iran and its Syrian and Lebanese allies and, very soon, Taliban in Afghanistan. Problem is, they back ISIS but can’t control its youthful members. The rabid dog they helped breed is now running around biting people.
By picking a fight with Russia, Turkey is shooting itself in the foot. Russia and the predecessor of modern Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, fought innumerable wars from the 1680’s until World War I. Russia has never abandoned its desire to seize the Straits, as Constantinople and the Dardanelles were called.
Turkey exports $4 billion to Russia, and imports large quantities of wheat, oil, gas, steel. Four and a half million Russian tourists come annually to Turkey. Shooting down a Russian warplane will make hyper-nationalist Turks beat their chests but the hangover will seriously damage Turkey’s unsteady economy.
Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan should meet asap to resolve their issue before it becomes yet another step on the road to World War III.