News & Analysis
EU Banks Limiting Bullion Buying?
Banks, Governments Move To Restrict Personal Gold Bullion Purchases ... The most alarming situation we identified is one relating to the purchase of gold coins and bullion – specifically in the country of Austria – but one that will likely make its way across the EU if it hasn't already. Unlike the United States, where gold and silver can be purchased through traditional methods like visiting a local dealer directly, or even placing an order on the internet, it is much more difficult to find a gold/silver dealer outside of Germany or Switzerland. As a result, those individuals interested in acquiring gold are left with purchasing directly from local bank branches. Had you visited an Austrian bank three months ago, you would have had absolutely no problem purchasing a large quantity of gold/silver from the bank. You'd simply call the bank about 24 - 48 hours in advance, let them know you're coming and how much you needed, and you'd personally pick up your order within a couple days. A new trend in Austrian (and perhaps the rest of Europe's) banking policies suggests that certain interested parties are attempting to control the sale and personal acquisition of gold/silver as safe haven assets. What we experienced first hand should be a wake up call for not just Europeans, but Americans as well. – SHTFplan/Mac Slavo
Dominant Social Theme: Why do you need to buy gold? Paper is more convenient. And really you should be using credit cards for most of your purchases.
Free-Market Analysis: While we cannot vouch for this article by Mac Slavo at SHTFplan.com, if true, it certainly represents a ratcheting up of government resistance to the rising valuation of gold versus paper money.
The fears of the free-market community, worldwide, that gold and silver would reach a critical valuation mass that would stimulate rationing and confiscation have long been discussed at alternative websites – even DB. Slavo believes these fears are in the process of being realized, and he identifies certain EU trends that support his concerns.
Even if not true, or not representing a trend currently, the ideas that Slavo presents are legitimate within the context of how Western elites are acting regarding their paper-money franchise. The recent news that Switzerland had linked its franc to the stumbling euro is evidence enough that the Anglosphere power elite will do virtually anything to salvage its fading fiat money franchise.
This is not surprising, of course, as we have long pointed out with others that the fundamental motor for the repression, wars, imprisonments, murders and general, enlarging depression is the elite's control of central banking and currency printing. This is the facility that drives everything else.
Money Power in fact will NOT utilize its own funds to realize its goals of global domination. This makes sense, of course, as only a virtually unlimited supply of "money" can drive the globe toward worldwide governance. And only control of central banks that can print virtually unlimited amounts of money makes possible the incomprehensible insanity of this ambition.
What is certainly true within the context of Slavo's report is that governments – specifically the American government – have confiscated gold before in modern times when the sociopolitical and economic situation was similar. In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt confiscated gold pursuant to a "national emergency" mandating that citizens surrender their gold to the government as follows:
An Act to provide relief in the existing national emergency in banking, and for other purposes, in which amendatory Act Congress declared that a serious emergency exists, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do declare that said national emergency still continues to exist and pursuant to said section do hereby prohibit the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States by individuals, partnerships, associations and corporations and hereby prescribe the following regulations for carrying out the purposes of the order ...
Slavo's report, which was apparently written specifically for the alternative website SHTFplan, makes mention of a trip to the Eurozone "where we met with a host of different people across many countries and several industries."
He came away concerned. "All of the indicators we're seeing – construction starts, bank lending, personal borrowing habits, economic growth, and even the (lack of) items in grocery store carts – suggest that Europe is on the brink, though as is generally the case, the average European has no clue what's coming their way."
But his biggest concern had to do with precious metals, specifically gold and new policies implemented about its purchases. The policy change was quiet, he writes, and "has not been reported by any media outlets that we're aware of, and no mention of the new policies is made on the web sites of Austria's largest banking institutions (though it is clear they vehemently comply with US anti-money laundering measures and the Patriot Act)." Here's some more:
According to the bank representatives and manager we spoke with, Austrian banks have now been ordered to restrict the sale of gold and silver bullion purchases and are limiting personal acquisitions of precious metals to 15,000€ (approximately $20,700 USD) at a time, or 11 ounces of gold at today's prices. Upon further discussion we learned that these policies were implemented over the course of the last 30 days, and they are now standard operating procedure. The reason given was the banks had come under pressure from EU, Austrian and U.S. officials, with this particular manager specifically citing U.S. money laundering.
The idea that these restrictions have been put in place as anti-money laundering measures is laughable. As we all know, if a drug cartel or other criminal organization wanted to launder money, they wouldn't do it in person purchasing bullion coins at a local banking branch. They'd simply pick up the phone and contact a too-big-too-fail bank (video), as we've seen with the billions of dollars recently laundered through U.S. banks. You may remember there was very little reporting on this issue from mainstream media and it has been ignored by U.S. prosecutors. As Austria is one of the more developed nations in the Euro Zone, there is a strong likelihood that they are not the sole country implementing these new policies – and that this has been, or soon will be, implemented across the entirety of EU nations.
To the average European and American this may not mean much. But if you've been paying attention to the events unfolding over the last several years, it's becoming clear that the economies of the EU and US are under threat of a significant and potentially permanent financial collapse ... IMF managing director Christine Lagarde was [recently] quoted as saying that the situation is so dire, "policymakers should stand ready, as needed, to take more action to support the recovery, including through unconventional measures." The new gold and silver purchasing limits would certainly qualify as unconventional, along with other recent proposed measures by EU officials and business leaders.
Slavo points out that various currency restrictions in Europe are becoming much more openly discussed and that one such proposal from Italian business leaders calls for all cash transactions over 300 Euro (about $400 USD) to be banned, and to be permitted only in electronic format.
The trend toward restricting the use of cash (and precious metals) is certainly a real one. We've pointed out in several articles how over-banked the world is generally as people do not understand that banking is the final "big bubble."
Central banks and the BIS simply will NOT let their large money center banks go out of business. Go to any large city, even in the Third World, and chances are you will be astonished at how many of the largest skyscrapers are owned by banks or serve as the headquarters for massive banking entities.
We have written as well about seeing an elderly women in Panama fingerprinted at a supermarket as part of a transaction in which she paid for her goods with a US$100 bill. In many countries it is now impossible to open a bank account without applying for residency or carrying a national ID card of sorts.
The BIS, which controls at least 100 central banks around the world (and is the bastion of elite Money Power) is silently coordinating the increasing currency repression. One can read the same warnings (posted in banks) about Ponzi schemes and drug trafficking in Kenya as in Kansas.
Money policies are administered out of Switzerland but organize the world. The global trend across industrialized nations for the last 20 years has been to move towards a cashless society, as Slavo points out, but one that still utilizes centrally planned currencies.
And it is also likely true that while central banks, large institutional funds and wealthy private investors across the world continue to buy up gold, "governments seem to be moving quickly to restrict the ability of average people to do the same – and they are rapidly implementing policies to either restrict or track these types of transactions."
Many cities around the country, such as Houston, TX, have passed identification requirements that force sellers of precious metals to present a valid form of ID at the time of sale. Like Europe, the U.S. is expeditiously implementing direct methods of tracking these transactions, as well as indirect methods that target those who may be engaging in suspicious activities, namely using cash, as per FBI and Homeland Security bulletins issued last month.
We have long believed Anglosphere elites will not again attempt to confiscate gold from individual investors, because it is a kind of self-defeating solution; yet perhaps our confidence is misplaced. Roosevelt did so, so far as we can tell, because he didn't want people to turn in FRNs and discover there was not enough gold to meet demand, as the Fed had been illegally overprinting money throughout the 1920s.
Times have changed; central bankers have different concerns now and fears of different kinds of exposure. But what we can see happening is that the powers-that-be continue to make gold (and silver) purchases more difficult and invasive, while making electronic (cashless) purchases easier and more efficient.
It is all about control. What IS important is that people's purchasing habits, when it comes to PMs, are tracked and documented. That way, if further measures are introduced, the information will be available to law enforcement, etc.
In the end, of course, if the fiat system – or at least the dollar reserve system – DOES collapse, all this information-collecting will likely prove virtually useless. It also occurs to us that sooner or later the world, or parts of it, is probably returning to some sort of gold standard as the Internet Reformation unfolds and the logic of asset-backed money becomes irrepressible.
Conclusion: Would gold confiscation be part of the implementation of a new money standard? We're not prepared to say, but increasingly these are interesting times.
Posted by memehunter on 09/16/11 12:16 PM
*** Important - Mr. Slavo's report is incorrect! ***
I can now confirm that Mr. Slavo's report about Austrian banks and gold bullion sale is not correct. As of today, I am able to confirm that it is still possible to order for more than 15000 Euros of gold bullion in an Austrian bank but they need your ID (this is not a new policy, by the way). So Mr. Bron Suchecki was right. Also, we were told that there is currently no problem with deliveries of gold bullion, etc...
Now, different Austrian banks may have different policies, and Mr. Slavo may have contacted other banks, but I can say that the bank in question is a major Austrian bank that is involved in international banking.
In any case, the following is clearly wrong and has no basis in reality:
"Austrian banks have now been ordered to restrict the sale of gold and silver bullion purchases and are limiting personal acquisitions of precious metals to 15,000€ (approximately $20,700 USD) at a time, or 11 ounces of gold at today's prices."
I now suspect Mr. Slavo of intentionally using an alarmist tone in order to increase his readership (and probably assuming that most of his readers do not deal regularly with Austrian banks... ).
Reply from The Daily Bell
The reason we ran the article (conceding we did not know if Slavo was correct or incorrect) is that we have noticed increasing intentions to control gold and silver by the powers-that-be. This trend (meme) is not a new one, but it is certainly not diminishing in our view ...
From a Human Events email disseminated today ...
Total Government Control of Bullion
Phase One: (complete)
Phase Two: (in process)
Final Phase: _________
You're probably already aware that Obama Law makers Banned Over The Counter Physical Bullion for All U.S. Residents. The Ban of OTC Physical Bullion is part of the Dodd-Frank Act and went into effect on July 16, 2011.
The BREAKING NEWS is that the Feds, Are Now Seeking Jurisdiction over 10 ounce gold Transactions.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission(CFTC) Just approved A contract in the Transactions Size of 10 Gold Ounces AND the Amendment of Rule 855, Pursuant to Section 5c(c) of the Commodity Exchange Act. The Anticipated Effective date is September 12, 2011 ...
Posted by Bischoff on 09/16/11 12:02 PM
"Discoveries of gold in the New World flooded Spain with the yellow metal. But that did not cause Spain to go "off" the gold standard. Likewise, a plethora of silver would not cause a country (let alone the world) to go "off" a silver standard or abrogate the gold/silver ratio."
When gold or silver functioned as currency, the question of a "gold standard" or "silver standard" was mute. As currency, the two commodities by definiton, represented the standard.
To speak of going "off" the gold/silver standard at the very time the two metals were used as currency, makes little sense.
When the large finds of gold and silver in the New World reached Spain, they no doubt inflated the currency supply, but the standard didn't change.
The fixed ratio of gold to silver worked as long as the finds of silver along with gold remained within the same ratio. They did for most of history, because people were looking for gold, not for silver. Silver is normally found along with gold deposits in a ratio of 1 : 15.
When large silver deposits were discovered (Comstock lode) without associated gold deposits, the value ratio of gold to silver changed. Then it became a question whether silver should be the money standard or gold. For a number of reasons, it was gold that won out to be the money standard.
Why does it make sense to have only one money standard? Because in a modern economy when gold or silver is no longer used as currency, an accounting standard has to be created in terms quantity of monetary metal. If there is no fixed ratio between gold and silver, there'd have to be two accounting standards, one based on quantities of gold, the other based on quantities of silver. They'd both be floating against each other.
Such situation makes no sense at all. In essence, it would be worse than the present situation where we have no standard other than the value of Saudi crude.
Posted by clark on 09/16/11 11:56 AM
memehunter wrote, "I should be able to confirm that information shortly as I am based in Austria"
I hope you do.
DB wrote, "... Yet the entire world went off the silver standard in the 1800s. The putative reason may have been that there was too much silver... "
I came across this, I wonder if it applies to silver too?
What Determines the Price of Gold?
"Mine supply has very little influence on the price of gold.
... Where most analysts go wrong is to analyze gold using what I will call the consumption model... "
Click to view link
Posted by Bischoff on 09/16/11 11:14 AM
"So, for silver to become an universally trusted store of value again, it would have to change its character from an "industrial metal/money metal" hybrid to becoming a "full-time" money metal, so that people (and banks) start hoarding silver and not consuming it, so that eventually the stock-to-flow ratio becomes closer to that of gold."
In arguing that gold is and silver is not a monetary metal, the meaning of "stock-to-flow" ratio, as well as the significance of the quantity of gold based on annual production held in above ground inventory, fails to be understood.
The DB harkens back to the historical use of silver as a currency to argue that silver is money. Just because something can be used as a "medium of exchange", meaning a currency, does not make it money.
I wish I could convince the DB of this point.
Posted by memehunter on 09/16/11 05:13 AM
"These are just "sentiments." You have no way of establishing them factually, have you?"
1. Gold's stock-to-flow ratio is the highest of any commodity, and a lot higher than silver.
2. Silver has more industrial uses than gold and a larger proportion of the annual production of silver is used industrially (I guess I could find the exact numbers, but hopefully we would agree that these points are solidly established without me having to spend too much time doing research on them)
3. Central banks and governments have gold reserves, but no (or very little) silver reserves.
"Why deny what is evident and obvious? Why try to parse a fact?"
It is evident and obvious to me that silver and gold have different monetary functions, and will continue to have different monetary functions. Thus, it is misleading to lump them together.
By the way, Fekete, FOFOA, "Moldbug" and others make a similar distinction between gold and silver. I'm not trying to use an argument by authority here, but surely these people, who have spent a long time thinking about these questions, judging from the quality and quantity of their output, are worth listening to.
Reply from The Daily Bell
OK. Thanks for such a well-reasoned response. However, we disagree with Dr. Fekete on the issue of silver (and thus Ingo Bischoff who subscribes to many of Dr. Fekete's views.) Using central banks as an argument that silver has been further demonitized is somewhat specious however. Central banks, like Kings, hold gold, not silver. As for your second point, again, the amount of silver has NOTHING to do with its use as a money metal, which has been well-decided historically. As to point number one, we would only observe that demand, or lack thereof, does not define what is a money metal either. Platinum at one time was more valuable than gold or silver, but that did not make it a money metal (there are only two) no matter the valuation. History, commerce and common sense places gold and silver together as metals that people have regularly used as money. Even the business cycle shows them linked in tandem!
Posted by memehunter on 09/16/11 04:26 AM
"For goodness' sake. The AMOUNT of gold and silver available may have an impact on value but not on the fundamental nature of money metals. They are STILL a store of value and have been treated so from the dawn of time. Nothing new under the sun, etc ... "
Yes, I agree that the fundamental properties of precious metals (fungibility, divisibility, durability, etc... ) are unchangeable and thus any precious metal (including platinum and others) could potentially be used as a store of value.
However, as I said, gold is, and will likely remain (at least for the next few centuries... ) a better store of value than other precious metals because of its higher stock-to-flow ratio and fewer industrial uses.
I also said that "silver was a long way from becoming a store of value again", which means that I essentially agree with you that silver has the potential to be a store of value (because of its physical properties), but that it is not really used as such nowadays.
Any commodity with a comparatively low stock-to-flow ratio is more susceptible to volatility, and the real market movers, the "Giants" (to use FOFOA's terminology) are not looking for volatility in their store of value.
So, for silver to become universally trusted store of value again, it would have to change its character from an "industrial metal/money metal" hybrid to becoming a "full-time" money metal, so that people (and banks) start hoarding silver and not consuming it, so that eventually the stock-to-flow ratio becomes closer to that of gold. It's not impossible, but as I said we are a long way from being there. I hope that we can agree on that.
In the meantime, nothing prevents people from using silver as a currency or even as a store of value, but I maintain that silver is not, in the current situation (and probably for a while) the best store of value, and that it is not the free market's choice as far as the store-of-value function is concerned (and this claim is backed up by historical evidence such as the one presented previously).
Reply from The Daily Bell
Memehunter, look at the price of silver. it has risen hugely in ten years, maybe more than gold. There is no crisis of confidence in silver, no distrust, no reduction in its ability as a store of value. These are just "sentiments." You have no way of establishing them factually, have you? Silver and gold are money metals, stores of value and have been so for thousands - maybe tens of thousands - of years. This is the same argument we have with Bischoff. Why deny what is evident and obvious? Why try to parse a fact? Silver is a money metal just like gold. Was. Is. Will be ...
Posted by memehunter on 09/16/11 03:55 AM
From FOFOA's latest offering (and quite appropriate to today's topic):
Once upon a time...
Click to view link
"Now let's look back at the first monetary committee that deliberated in Genoa from October, 1445 until June, 1447. The Hundred Years' War was already more than a hundred years old at that time, as was the economic and monetary havoc that protracted war brings. By 1420, the French currency, the livre, was under severe market pressure to devalue. The King valued his livres at .78 grams of gold each, relative to the gold mark, the contemporary unit of weight for gold. But the marketplace was trading livres at only about 11% of that official value, or .09 grams of gold. The market had already devalued the livre by 90%.
Jacques Rueff describes the French King's response: In 1421 Charles VII "resorted to a series of measures bearing a remarkable likeness to those which were to be adopted in France five centuries later: the prohibition of exchange transactions by unlicensed dealers and the fixing of a scale of fees for such transactions; a ban on the export of gold and silver specie; the imposition of fines on notaries who stipulated payments in gold and silver marks, that is, in bullion rather than in livres, the intensive exploitation of France's silver mines; and an attempt to achieve a balanced budget by rigorous and methodical management… But all these efforts did not succeed in alleviating the financial distress. A variety of monetary adjustments-which might be termed devaluations-were devised, as usually happens in such troubled times."
Genoa spent 15 years under French domination during the war, but by 1445 it was its own city-state, a maritime republic and an important trading center and port for international commerce. It was also home to the Bank of St. George (1407-1805), one of the oldest chartered banks in the world. In 1444, the Bank was chartered to manage the public debt and make loans to the government, not unlike a modern CB or Treasury. "Niccolò Machiavelli maintained that the Bank's dominion over Genoa made possible the creation of a 'republic more worthy of memory than the Venetian.'" 
The Bank of Saint George
So when the fluctuations, weakness and debasement of the local and foreign exchange currencies "gravely unsettled" its marketplace in 1445, the Genoese government convened a "committee of experts" consisting of mint officials and Bank of St. George trustees to figure out a solution to all the monetary turmoil. The committee labored for almost two years, but could not come to an agreement. So instead, it issued a report in which the majority and minority set forth their views.
The minority report, which was rejected, recommended a "basket" monetary standard (although they didn't use the word "basket") consisting of 1/3 gold, 1/3 silver and 1/3 in the depreciating currencies of the countries involved in any transaction. The majority report on the other hand, signed by 15th century "Trail Guide" Benedetto Centurione of the house of Centurione and trustee of the Bank of St. George, recommended the adoption of the gold standard pure and simple."
Benedetto Centurione appears to have been the head of the house of Centurione, one of the wealthiest influential houses of international commerce. It had many foreign branches, each run by one or more of the Centurione brothers. As Rueff told it, "Nicolo and Giovannie were in Majorca, Raffaelo was at Bruges, and Paolo at Lisbon." They later opened branches in Antwerp and in the Indies, "and Christopher Columbus [a Genoese native] was undoubtedly one of their traveling salesmen."
But in 1445, as Rueff tells it, Benedetto "was quite aware of the fact that for half a century a large number of trading countries had adopted the gold standard. One after the other, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Hedjaz, and some parts of the Greek world had adopted… gold." (Reminds me of a more recent Trail Guide who noted a certain Eastern taste for gold.)
In his majority report, Centurione wrote, "The banks will be obliged to pay in [gold] florins, exchange will take place in [gold] florins; in this way gold will not leave the country and, in time, by driving out bad money, it will constitute the wealth of the people." This was the opinion that prevailed in 1447. Soon the banks were required to settle credit imbalances in gold, the new banking system reserve, and to deposit one hundred gold pieces as security for fines in case they broke the rules. And all bank drafts drawn on Genoa abroad had to also be denominated in gold, thus making it the new international bank reserve, in the modern sense of the term.
As Jacques Rueff described it in 1932, this "plain and simple" recommendation would "endow the world with the most marvelous instrument of international co-operation in its history… The system was to function perfectly well until it was shattered-also at Genoa-by the second committee of experts, which in April and May, 1922, contrived to demolish the work of the house of Centurione."
Posted by memehunter on 09/16/11 03:47 AM
"Unless you understand that the definition of money is necessarily different from that of a currency, you will always be stuck in circular reasoning.
A currency can be anything. It can be precious metal like gold and silver, it can be a commodity like salt and cattle, it can be whiskey and cigarettes, it can be redeemable or irredeemable paper currency."
Thanks for this clarification. I try to differentiate between "currency" and "store of value" instead of using the word "money" which is not always clearly defined.
"There are 80 years of annual production of gold in above ground inventory. That of platinum is 2 years of production and that for silver is not that much higher."
Exactly. And that is, in my view, one of the main reasons why silver is a long way from becoming a store of value again. A currency, yes. An investment/speculative play, maybe. But not a store of value over the long run.
Reply from The Daily Bell
For goodness' sake. The AMOUNT of gold and silver available may have an impact on value but not on the fundamental nature of money metals. They are STILL a store of value and have been treated so from the dawn of time. Nothing new under the sun, etc ...
Posted by Bischoff on 09/16/11 02:53 AM
It all comes down to definition again. We are so used to call paper currency "Money", because at the time when the paper currency was redeemable into gold, it did in fact make sense.
However, when the same look-a-like currency had the tiny writing on its faced changed from "Redeemable into lawful money of the United States" to "This note is legal tender in payment of all debts, public or private", it changed that piece of paper from a claim on money (gold) to being merely a currency with a claim on nothing else, except another piece of paper of its kind.
Unless you understand that the definition of money is necessarily different from that of a currency, you will always be stuck in circular reasoning.
A currency can be anything. It can be precious metal like gold and silver, it can be a commodity like salt and cattle, it can be whiskey and cigarettes, it can be redeemable or irredeemable paper currency.
What it cannot be is "sex". Had you said that in hard times some humans become sex objects which are treated like a medium of exchange, I might have agreed with you. Humans who sell themselves for sex are still humans, and they are not a commodity that could be used as medium of exchange. Such humans provide a service for which they are paid, but they are not money, nor could they ever be money.
Money was something that developed out of barter. When the success of barter gave rise to markets further and further away from the point of production, it was covenient to use a intermediate commodity to facilitate "trade". The most "liquid" commodity which served as an intermediate was termed "Money". Some 2,500 years ago that intermediate commodity turned out to become gold.
This Money(Gold)was used along all the major trade routes, and while away from the trade routes other commodities with more direct utility like salt and cattle where used as an intermediate, in the end only gold was the most liquid commodity.
As to silver, because it was found in greater amount, but with a relatively constant ratio to gold, silver was used as money for purchases in the "small", while gold was used for purchases in the "large". This allowed both metals to be "Money" and thereby facilitated the expansion of production.
However, the "money system" (using gold and silver as the intermediate commodity) increased trade which in turn increased the demand for products. Both the supply of silver and gold was soon insufficient to both pay for the production of goods and to facilitate the purchase of such goods.
The solution to that problem was the development of "Real Bills" as clearing instruments which were settled with gold upon maturity, but which thereby greatly freed up gold and silver which was then only needed to pay the difference between all the purchases and all the sales.
When gold and silver stood in a fixed ratio to each other, then silver was money, as gold was money and both were currency. However, as the banking system evolved using the "Real Bills Doctrine", it became more important that money was a "standard of value" (measuring work like a yard stick measures distance) than that it be plentiful to be used as a currency.
When the great silver finds in the 1860s threw the normally constant ratio of gold finds to silver finds out of whack, the fixed silver to gold ratio no longer worked. Silver thereby started to have a "price" in terms of gold. The legal status as Money was sealed with the Gold Standard Act of 1900. Franklin Roosevelt abanded the official gold standard as far as Americans were concerned in 1933, and Richard Nixon did so for everybody else in the world in 1971.
Did the abandonment of the official gold standard mean that gold was no longer moeny? Of course not. Evenso, the official gold standard was abandoned throughout the world, gold is still the most "liquid" commodity in the world today. There are 80 years of annual production of gold in above ground inventory. That of platinum is 2 years of production and that for silver is not that much higher.
The value of the USD/FRN lies primarily in its ubiquity. The USD/FRN is ubiquteous because it is used as the world's reserve currency. Everybody must use it to buy crude oil. The marginal cost oil producer, Saudi Arabia will quote oil in no other currency, but the USD/FRN, while the US controls all the oil shipping lanes.
On the other hand, if you want to check the value graph of Saudi crude, you will find that it perfectly tracks the value graph of gold in terms of USD/FRN. This proves that gold in money, and only gold is money.
The market does indeed determine what money is, but what is the market? The market is the entire world population, and they had made their decision about gold as money some 2,500 years ago. In the light of the volume of recent gold purchase, are you maintaining that the world population has changed its mind?
As to real estate, you labor under the same confusion as to definition. "Real property" or undeveloped land is not the same as "personal or private property". Personal or private property can be owned. Real property or undeveloped land can only be used. If you study our governmental structures for state governments, you will come to realize that. There is no concept embodied in that structure that lets you "buy" so you can hold it out of use until tax money and other improvements around your property have raised its value. You can call "buying" your property good business, but it is not the system the founding fathers wanted for the states to engage in, evenso the politicians, bankers and real estate speculators are having a field day these days.
Reply from The Daily Bell
This is simply inaccurate, Mr. Bischoff. Discoveries of gold in the New World flooded Spain with the yellow metal. But that did not cause Spain to go "off" the gold standard. Likewise, a plethora of silver would not cause a country (let alone the world) to go "off" a silver standard or abrogate the gold/silver ratio.
Yet the entire world went off the silver standard in the 1800s. The putative reason may have been that there was too much silver - but that is in our humble view nothing more than cheap propaganda. The great banking families wanted to sever the link between paper and money metals and have been doing so since 1850. To maintain anything else or to justify it, is nothing but a kind of casuistry. Sorry.
Posted by memehunter on 09/16/11 01:29 AM
Silver may be used as a currency, but gold is the better store of value.
As pointed out by Bischoff and Fekete, silver is also used as an industrial commodity and its price is more volatile, historically speaking, than that of gold.
FOFOA and other bloggers such as Mencius Moldbug, put it differently by framing this difference in terms of the stock-to-flow ratio. Gold is the commodity that has, by far, the highest stock-to-flow ratio, and this is one of the main reasons why it can be used as a store of value over extremely long periods. Silver, because it is used industrially, has a smaller stock-to-flow ratio. Indeed, one of the reasons why gold is such a good store of value (apart from fungibility, durability, etc... , properties also shared by other precious metals such as silver) is that it has only few industrial usages or can be substituted by other metals such a silver for most of them.
"the word silver is synonymous with money in over 30 languages. gold and silver are money and for over 100 years were part of a bi metallic monetary system that worked better than most systems in all of history."
Yes, but things change and the world has moved on: nowadays banks and governments have no silver reserves, and so it is very unlikely that silver would ever assume an official role as money again (even though it may be used as a currency). Moreover, I do not think that the free market would prefer silver to gold, at least as a store of value, for all the reasons mentioned above. In fact, the market has already made its choice a long time ago - why do you think that central banks chose gold instead of silver?
"Thanks. But he doesn't listen."
DB, you should really read FOFOA, and perhaps Moldbug as well, for a very detailed explanation of why gold and silver are destined to have very different roles. With all due respect, I think that Bischoff is closer to the mark than you are on this topic.
Reply from The Daily Bell
We don't agree. Gold and silver, together, have been used as money traditionally for thousands of years. The ratio is very important because when it goes out of whack, normal people know some funny business is going on. This is a fundamental observation, borne out by history, and no amount of modern analysis in our view can reconfigure the rationale or actions of the past.
Posted by RR on 09/16/11 12:19 AM
Ancient Sanskrit saying: "Vinash kale vipreet buddhi" which translates- when the end time is near the wisdom goes away. I think the money changers have seriously miscalculated. Those who spin a web for others often get trapped in it themselves. There are too many variables and seems impossible for a small group of people to maintain control.
Posted by John Danforth on 09/15/11 11:19 PM
The word 'money' has a lot of different contexts.
As currency and a vehicle for saving, whatever people decide to use will be money. One requirement being that it has to be available for whichever monetary use they choose to use it for.
For our own personal purposes, silver coins can most definitely be used as money, both as currency in trade and to store value. It might not be the best or the ideal, it might be second best for a lot of reasons, but it can be used for those purposes, and for buying a few gallons of gasoline it will serve quite well. In hard times when money disappears, sex, whiskey, and cigarettes are money.
I don't disagree with you about gold being the ideal money. But other things will stand in when there is no gold around. It is the market that determines what money is (absent coercion). Same as real estate as property.
Posted by Bischoff on 09/15/11 08:25 PM
"To say silver isnt money is plain wrong."
That all depends how you define money. I define money as a commodity with constant, or near constant marginal utility. There is only one commodity which fits that definition, and that is gold.
While there has been a bi-mettalic standard in the USA for several years after the US Dollar was defined in terms of grains of silver with the Coinage Act of 1792, the de facto gold standard was ushered in with the Coinage Act of 1853. The dejure gold standard was finally created with the Gold Standard Act of 1900. The reason that gold was legally declared "Money" in 1900 was the fact that it had proved itself the most liquid commodity troughout most of the world for over 2,500 years.
Silver, as part of a bi-mettalic monetary system, had the effect of keeping a check on the value of gold. Silver does have the same effect today, provided the ratio of silver to gold is not fixed.
However, because silver is a highly desired industrial commodity, it introduces extreme volatility into the "market price" of silver (the ratio of Gold to Silver). The editorial by Dr. Fekete, featured on the DB site on September 6, 2011, might be of interest. If you read and understand it, I wonder if you still will argue that silver is money, or as you put it, "to say that silver isn't money is plain wrong". I'd be most interested to hear from you, if you do.
As to the Swiss franc, may I correct you? It was the SNB that fixed the "high" (low) ratio of the Euro to the SFr to be 1 : 1.2
The SNB has no intention of losing Swiss export business to the Euro zone. However, as Frank Suess pointed out in his interview last Sunday, investors will not be deterred by the SNB's threat, because the attractiveness of the SFr lies in the governmental nature of Switzerland itself. Besides, Frank Suess is correct when he says that the SNB cannot stop the increase of the value of the SFr, if FX traders are determined to acquire it.
Posted by Bischoff on 09/15/11 07:12 PM
"Thanks. But he doesn't listen [to the contention that silver is money]."
Oh... .I listen. It is simply that I do not agree that silver is money. Regardless, of how many references quoted to me, and how many assertions made to convince me that silver is money, I have been unable to change my mind.
It all has to do with how I define of money. BTW, the way I define money is exactly how the late JH. P. Morgan defined money. Though, I don't think that I am too far out there with my definition.
Evenso, I fully agree that gold and silver have been used as currency in the past, only gold is money. It has been such for most of 2,500 years.
There is a difference between "Money" (a standard of value) and a "Currency" (a means of exchange). Now, if you can convince me that gold is not the most "liquid" commodity in the world, I am ready to listen.
Posted by clark on 09/15/11 06:45 PM
Some interesting comments from the SHTFPLAN article, some confusion:
Friend says, "The new rule about reporting of sales of $600 and above have been removed a few months ago. Its not a problem anymore. Here is the link Click to view link
Steve says, "It was only removed for businesses. If you are an individual you are still reported. Read the article."
Fred says, "If my reading of these articles is correct, it is NOT gone…
Click to view link
Click to view link
Only the generation of the 1099 form for each transaction is gone; it seems you still have to report the transactions, including the name and address of each recipient, at the end of the year."
Two more interesting comments about gold restrictions:
UOB says, "It's happening in Singapore too. You can only buy physical gold bullion and coins from only 1 bank and this bank monopolised the sales (at 12-14% above spot price including sales tax 7%) and buyback ( at 9-10% below spot ). The bank want to know where your money comes from so they make purchasers fill up forms when one purchased more than Sgd20k worth of physical gold. None of the banks sell silver. So creating the idea and mindset to the populace that gold and silver are not money but commodities."
SingPinoy says, "There's another bank in Singapore aside from UOB that sells physical gold (I could not remember but it has the word 'China').
In Singapore, you can buy gold coins and bars from pawnshops, jewelry store without any restrictions.
There are lots of companies selling silver coins and bars in Singapore."
Posted by mark on 09/15/11 05:46 PM
Wasnt one of the reasons that the 1920's turned into a boom that the Genoa Convention in 1922 effectively doubled the Worlds money supply at the stroke of a pen. Gradually as the paper money floated around folks caught onto the fact that there might not be enough gold for the paper. Folks had already started to take the gold and hoard it between 1929 and 1932 as gold held on deposit in banks fell substantially by 1932.The people had already caught on (is my point)
Hence the confiscation and then the revaluation some four months later. In todays dollars the fine was approximately $865000 and/or 10 years in prisonment.
Posted by mark on 09/15/11 05:10 PM
the word silver is synonymous with money in over 30 languages. gold and silver are money and for over 100 years were part of a bi metallic monetary system that worked better than most systems in all of history. the only mistake made was that the link should have been flexible - the market should have decided the ratio. There is no difference to Isaac Newton deciding the ratio should be 15.4 to 1 as the the ECB deciding the ratio to the Swiss franc should be 1.2 - manmade price fixes fail in time. To say silver isnt money is plain wrong.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Thanks. But he doesn't listen.
Posted by Bischoff on 09/15/11 03:06 PM
Gold has a "positive value". No one will use gold as currency, as long as central bank currency is protected by "legel tender" provisions.
No legal contracts can be concluded to stipulate the payment in form of gold. A mutal agreement to honor a "gold" contract can be prosecuted under "legal tender" laws. No confiscation of, or prohibition to hold gold is necessary.
Confiscation of or the prohibition to hold gold would likely result in adverse court decision, anyway.
Posted by Bischoff on 09/15/11 02:56 PM
"Banks around the world will shortly have an affirmative obligation to report American accounts to the IRS, as we understand it. With the US demanding more and more of foreign entities, it's hard to keep up."
This maybe a feable attempt by the New York Fed to promote the US Fed to be the sole central bank behind the BIS facade. I preditc, that it will not be successful in the long run.
The idea that the IRS, as the enforcement arm of the US Fed central banking system, could evoke voluntary submission by other central banks to submit to the full control by the US Fed must be increduleous, even to the most hopeful dreamer of exercising worldwide control.
Posted by Mountainview on 09/15/11 02:29 PM
That's it: To avoid the possibility of Gold be regarded as positive value, property of Gold will be criminalised and confiscated if used for transactions. This will be the ultimate defense of Central Banks and governments to keep their monopoly of money status.