Whenever the world starts going crazy, investors instinctively begin flocking to precious metals. So it wasn’t exactly a surprise when gold and silver prices started to move upward aggressively as global leaders continued to talk about the possibility of World War III and nuclear conflict. The price of gold spiked to a five month high on Tuesday, and as I write this article gold is currently sitting at $1277.10 an ounce. Right now silver is at $18.35 an ounce, and many analysts believe that it is poised for a dramatic jump in the weeks and months to come as global tensions continue to rise. Google searches for the phrase “going to war” are the highest that they have been at any point in recent years, and many people out there are starting to understand that the U.S. could soon be facing military conflicts in Syria and in North Korea simultaneously.
In response to persistent threats from the Trump administration, the North Koreans are promising that they will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if they are attacked by the U.S. military.
Most analysts do not believe that North Korea has any missiles that can reach the U.S. mainland, so that is probably an empty threat, but they can definitely hit Seoul, Tokyo and all U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan.
And even if the U.S. was able to locate and take out all North Korean nukes in an overwhelming first strike, the North Koreans would still have thousands of artillery guns and rockets aimed at Seoul. Military analysts in the western world have estimated that North Korea could fire off up to half a million rounds within one hour of being attacked, and the devastation that such a barrage would cause in Seoul would be beyond anything that we have ever seen in the modern world.
Personally, I have come to the conclusion that it is going to be nearly impossible to conduct a conventional military assault on North Korea that does not result in an absolutely catastrophic death toll.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump appears determined to do something anyway. A couple of days ago we learned that he “has ordered his military advisers to be ready with a list of options to smash North Korea’s nuclear threat”, and on Tuesday he told the world that the U.S would “solve the problem” whether China helps or not…
Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbor, said in a tweet that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.
Just like he did with Syria, Trump’s words have now committed us to taking military action in North Korea.
Let us hope that any military action is delayed for as long as possible, but it is definitely alarming that Trump boasted to the Fox Business Network about the “very powerful” naval armada that is sailing toward North Korea right now…
“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox Business Network. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”
Meanwhile, it is being reported that the Chinese have deployed 150,000 troops to their border with North Korea as they continue to warn both sides against taking military action.
Over in the Middle East, things continue to get even more tense as well.
Russia and Iran have pledged to “respond with force” to any additional U.S. attacks, but the Trump administration is not showing any signs of backing down. In fact, White House press secretary Sean Spicer has substantially lowered the threshold for more military conflict by suggesting that the use of “barrel bombs” may be enough to justify another attack. Considering the fact that everyone in the Syrian civil war has been regularly using barrel bombs for many years and that approximately 13,000 were used in 2016 alone, it is very alarming for Spicer to say such a thing.
On Tuesday, Trump told the American people that “we’re not going into Syria”, but what happens if he orders another missile strike and the Russians and Iranians respond by shooting down some U.S. aircraft or by sinking an entire aircraft carrier?
I can guarantee you that members of Congress from both parties will be absolutely screaming for war if CNN starts endlessly playing footage of a U.S. aircraft carrier sinking after it has been struck by the Russians or by the Iranians.
We are so close to World War III erupting in the Middle East, and there was no need for the U.S. to get involved in the first place. According to former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, evidence continues to mount that Assad had absolutely nothing to do with the chemical attack that Trump got so upset about…
Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and director of the Council for the National Interest, stated on the Scott Horton show that “military and intelligence personnel” in the Middle East, who are “intimately familiar” with the intelligence, call the allegation that Assad or Russia carried out the attack a “sham.”
Giraldi said the intelligence confirms the Russian account, “which is that they [attacking aircraft] hit a warehouse where al-Qaeda rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties.” Moreover, Giraldi noted, “Assad had no motive for doing this.”
Investors that can see the writing on the wall are already getting out of stocks and into precious metals while there is still time to do so.
Because if we get into a direct military conflict with Russia and Iran in Syria, global financial markets will crash and gold and silver will soar into the stratosphere.
And of course a similar scenario would play out if we attack North Korea and the North Koreans respond by firing off nuclear or chemical warheads at targets in South Korea and Japan.
I did not expect that we would be on the verge of World War III less than three months into the Trump administration, but here we are.
These are perilous times, and those that are wise are moving their money and are making key preparations before things spiral completely out of control.
Why is George Soros selling stocks, buying gold and making “a series of big, bearish investments”? If things stay relatively stable like they are right now, these moves will likely cost George Soros a tremendous amount of money. But if a major financial crisis is imminent, he stands to make obscene returns. So does George Soros know something that the rest of us do not? Could it be possible that he has spent too much time reading websites such as The Economic Collapse Blog? What are we to make of all of this?
The recent trading moves that Soros has made are so big and so bearish that they have even gotten the attention of the Wall Street Journal…
Worried about the outlook for the global economy and concerned that large market shifts may be at hand, the billionaire hedge-fund founder and philanthropist recently directed a series of big, bearish investments, according to people close to the matter.
Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages $30 billion for Mr. Soros and his family, sold stocks and bought gold and shares of gold miners, anticipating weakness in various markets. Investors often view gold as a haven during times of turmoil.
Hmmm – it sounds suspiciously like George Soros and Michael Snyder are on the exact same page as far as what is about to happen to the global economy.
You know that it is very late in the game when that starts happening…
One thing that George Soros is particularly concerned about that I haven’t been talking a lot about yet is the upcoming Brexit vote. If the United Kingdom leaves the EU (and hopefully they will), the short-term consequences for the European economy could potentially be absolutely catastrophic…
Mr. Soros also argues that there remains a good chance the European Union will collapse under the weight of the migration crisis, continuing challenges in Greece and a potential exit by the United Kingdom from the EU.
“If Britain leaves, it could unleash a general exodus, and the disintegration of the European Union will become practically unavoidable,” he said.
The Brexit vote will be held two weeks from today on June 23rd, and we shall be watching to see what happens.
But Soros is not just concerned about a potential Brexit. The economic slowdown in China also has him very worried, and so he has directed his firm to make extremely bearish wagers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the last time Soros made these kinds of bearish moves was back in 2007, and it resulted in more than a billion dollars of gains for his company.
After 73 consecutive months of year-over-year growth, online jobs postings have been in decline since February. May was by far the worst month since January 2009, down 285k from April and down 552k from a year ago.
That may seem counterintuitive in an industry that has been rapidly shedding workers, with more than 350,000 people laid off in the oil and gas industry worldwide.
Texas is one place feeling the pain. Around 99,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Lone Star state have been eliminated since prices collapsed two years ago, or about one third of the entire industry. In April alone there were about 6,300 people in oil and gas and supporting services that were handed pink slips. Employment in Texas’ oil sector is close to levels not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009. “We’re still losing big chunks of jobs with each passing month,” Karr Ingham, an Amarillo-based economist, told The Houston Chronicle.
At this point it is so obvious that we have entered a new economic downturn that I don’t know how anyone can possibly deny it any longer.
Unfortunately, the reality of what is happening has not sunk in with the general population yet.
American taxpayers are quick to criticize the federal government for its ever-increasing national debt, but a new study released Wednesday found taxpayers are also saddled with debt, and are likely to end 2016 with a record high $1 trillion in outstanding balances.
Wallethub, a site that recommends credit cards based on consumers’ needs, said that will be the highest amount of credit card debt on record, surpassing even the years during and before the Great Recession. The site said the record high was in 2008, when people owed $984.2 billion on their credit cards.
Will we ever learn?
This has got to be one of the worst possible times to be going into credit card debt.
Sadly, the “dumb money” will continue to act dumb and the “smart money” (such as George Soros) will continue to quietly position themselves to take advantage of the crisis that is already starting to unfold.
We can’t change what is happening to the economy, but we do have control over the choices that we make.
So I urge you to please make your choices wisely.
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
Why in the world has JP Morgan accumulated more than 55 million ounces of physical silver? Since early 2012, JP Morgan’s stockpile has grown from less than 5 million ounces of physical silver to more than 55 million ounces of physical silver. Clearly, someone over at JP Morgan is convinced that physical silver is a great investment. But in recent times, the price of silver has actually fallen quite a bit. As I write this, it is sitting at the ridiculously low price of $15.66 an ounce. So up to this point, JP Morgan’s investment in silver has definitely not paid off. But it will pay off in a big way if we will soon be entering a time of great financial turmoil.
During a time of crisis, investors tend to flood into physical gold and silver. And as I mentioned just recently, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon recently stated that “there will be another crisis” in a letter to shareholders…
Some things never change — there will be another crisis, and its impact will be felt by the financial market.
The trigger to the next crisis will not be the same as the trigger to the last one – but there will be another crisis. Triggering events could be geopolitical (the 1973 Middle East crisis), a recession where the Fed rapidly increases interest rates (the 1980-1982 recession), a commodities price collapse (oil in the late 1980s), the commercial real estate crisis (in the early 1990s), the Asian crisis (in 1997), so-called “bubbles” (the 2000 Internet bubble and the 2008 mortgage/housing bubble), etc. While the past crises had different roots (you could spend a lot of time arguing the degree to which geopolitical, economic or purely financial factors caused each crisis), they generally had a strong effect across the financial markets
And Dimon is apparently putting his money where his mouth is.
If Dimon believes that another great crisis is coming, then it would make logical sense to stockpile huge amounts of precious metals. And in particular, silver is a tremendous bargain for a variety of reasons. Personally, I like gold, but I absolutely love silver – especially at the price it is at right now.
Over the past few years, JP Morgan has been voraciously buying up physical silver. Nobody has ever seen anything quite like this ever before. In fact, JP Morgan has added more than 8 million ounces of physical silver during the past couple of weeks alone. The following is an extended excerpt from a recent article by Mac Slavo…
According to a detailed report from The Wealth Watchman JP Morgan Chase has been amassing a huge stockpile of physical silver, presumably in anticipation of a major liquidity event.
They’re baaaaack. Yes, “old faithful” is back at it again!
Of course, they never really left silver, and have been rigging it non-stop in the futures market, but for awhile there, there were at least no admissions of newly-stacked silver being made in their Comex warehousing facilities.
Yet, after a 16 month period of “dormancy” within their Comex warehouse vaults, these guys have returned with a vengeance.
In fact, our old buddies at JP Morgan Chase, not only see value in silver here, but they’re currently standing for delivery in their own house account in such strong numbers, that it commands our attention. Let me show you what I mean.
Here’s a breakdown of the Comex’s most recent silver deliveries to JP Morgan:
April 7th: 1,110,000 ounces
April 8th: 1,280,000 ounces
April 9th: 893,037 ounces
April 10th: 1,200,224 ounces
April 14th: 1,073,000 ounces
April 15th: 1,191,275 ounces
April 16th: 1,183,777.295 ounces
This is a huge bout of deliveries in such a short space of time. In fact, within the realm of Comex world, it’s such an exceptionally large amount, that it even creates quite a spike on the long-term chart of JP Morgan’s vault stockpile:
All in all, JP Morgan has added over 8.3 million ounces of additional silver in just the past 2 weeks alone.
Do they know something that the rest of us do not?
Meanwhile, JP Morgan Chase has made another very curious move as well. It is being reported that the bank is “restricting the use of cash” in some markets, and has even gone so far as to “prohibit the storage of cash in safe deposit boxes”…
What is a surprise is how little notice the rollout of Chase’s new policy has received. As of March, Chase began restricting the use of cash in selected markets, including Greater Cleveland. The new policy restricts borrowers from using cash to make payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines, and auto loans. Chase even goes as far as to prohibit the storage of cash in its safe deposit boxes . In a letter to its customers dated April 1, 2015 pertaining to its “Updated Safe Deposit Box Lease Agreement,” one of the highlighted items reads: “You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value.” Whether or not this pertains to gold and silver coins with no numismatic value is not explained.
What in the world is that all about?
Why is JP Morgan suddenly so negative about cash?
I think that there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes than we are being told.
JP Morgan Chase is the largest of the six “too big to fail” banks in the United States. The total amount of assets that JP Morgan Chase controls is roughly equal to the GDP of the entire British economy. This is an institution that is immensely powerful and that has very deep ties to the U.S. government.
Could it be possible that JP Morgan Chase is anticipating another great economic crisis?
We are definitely due for one. Just consider the following chart from Zero Hedge. It postulates that our financial system is ready for another “7.5 year itch”…
JP Morgan certainly seems to be preparing for a worst case scenario.
Did you know that the number of gold bars being purchased by ultra-wealthy individuals has increased by 243 percent so far this year? If stocks are just going to keep soaring, why are they doing this? On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 both closed at record highs once again. It is a party that never seems to end, and there are a lot of really happy people on Wall Street these days. But those that are discerning realize that we witnessed the exact same kind of bubble behavior during the dotcom boom and during the run up to the last financial crash in 2007. The irrational exuberance that we are witnessing right now cannot go on forever. And the bigger that this bubble gets, the more painful that it is going to be when it finally bursts. Those that get out at the peaks of the market are the ones that usually end up making lots of money. Those that ride stocks all the way up and all the way down are the ones that usually end up getting totally wiped out.
To get an idea of how irrational the markets have become, all one has to do is to look at Twitter.
Would you value “a horribly mismanaged company” that is less than 10 years old and that has never made a yearly profit at 31 billion dollars?
Well, that is precisely how much the financial markets say that Twitter is worth at this moment.
Even though Twitter will probably never be much more popular than it is right now, it continues to bleed money profusely. On a GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) basis, Twitter lost an astounding 145 million dollars during the second quarter of 2014…
Twitter’s GAAP net loss totaled $145 million, up from $42 million a year ago. On a GAAP basis, Twitter lost $0.24 per share. Investors, however, were not expecting Twitter to be profitable by GAAP measurements, so the loss isn’t too much of a drag.
Why would anyone want to invest in such a money pit?
Currently, Twitter (TWTR) is valued at $31 billion.That’s 18X revenue, but the catch is that the revenue in question is it’s lifetime bookings over the 18 quarters since Q1 2010.
When it comes to profits, the numbers are not nearly so promising! For the LTM period ending in June, TWTR booked $974 million of revenue and $1.7 billion of operating expense. That why “NM” shows up in its LTM ratio of enterprise value to EBITDA. It turns out that its EBITDA was -$704 million. In fact, its R&D expense alone was 83% of revenues.
Of course the truth is that Twitter should be able to make money.
And it probably would be making money if it was being managed better.
The following is what Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel said about Twitter on CNBC the other day…
“It’s a horribly mismanaged company — probably a lot of pot-smoking going on there.”
But because Twitter is a “hot tech stock” investors are literally throwing money at it.
And there are many other tech companies that have similar stories. Off the top of my head, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Yelp and Pinterest come to mind.
Fueled by the quantitative easing policies of the Federal Reserve, U.S. stocks have enjoyed an unprecedented joy ride.
However, as David Stockman recently told Yahoo Finance, the subsequent crash is likely to be enormously painful…
“I think what the Fed is doing is so unprecedented, what is happening in the markets is so unnatural,” he said. “This is dangerous, combustible stuff, and I don’t know when the explosion occurs – when the collapse suddenly is upon us – but when it happens, people will be happy that they got out of the way if they did.”
The behavior that we are observing in the stock market simply does not reflect what is happening in the economy overall whatsoever.
In many ways, U.S. economic fundamentals just continue to get even worse. Small business ownership in the United States is at an all-time low, the labor force participation rate is the lowest that it has been in 36 years, and the U.S. national debt has grown by more than a trillion dollars over the past 12 months.
But on Wall Street right now, there is very little fear that the party is going to end any time soon.
The following is how Seth Klarman recently described the market complacency that he is seeing at the moment…
To put it a bit differently, writer and investor John Mauldin is right when he says that there is “a bubble in complacency.” Fear has effectively been banished. The members of the Fed know it. Stock traders who chase the market to new highs almost daily know it. Implied volatilities (and realized volatilities) are historically low (the VIX Index recently hit a seven-year low), and falling. The Bank for International Settlements recently cautioned that financial markets are euphoric and in the grip of an aggressive search for yield. The S&P has gone over 1,000 days without a 10% decline, according to Birinyi Associates. Dutch and French 10-year government bond yields are at 500 and 250 year lows, respectively; Spain, 225 years. Spanish debt yields were recently inside of U.S. levels.
But as Klarman also observed, just because “investors have been seduced into feeling good” does not mean that this current bubble is any different from what we witnessed back in 2007…
It’s not hard to reach the conclusion that so many investors feel good not because things are good but because investors have been seduced into feeling good—otherwise known as “the wealth effect.” We really are far along in re-creating the markets of 2007, which felt great but were deeply unstable when shocks started to pile up. Even Janet Yellen sees “pockets of increasing risk-taking” in the markets, yet she has made clear that she won’t raise rates to fight incipient bubbles. For all of our sakes, we really wish she would.
Meanwhile, the ultra-wealthy are making moves to protect themselves from the inevitable chaos that is coming.
For example, the Telegraph recently reported that sales of gold bars to wealthy customers are up 243 percent so far in 2014…
The super-rich are looking to protect their wealth through buying record numbers of “Italian job” style gold bars, according to bullion experts.
The number of 12.5kg gold bars being bought by wealthy customers has increased 243 percent so far this year, when compared to the same period last year, said Rob Halliday-Stein founder of BullionByPost.
“These gold bars are usually stored in the vaults of central banks and are the same ones you see in the film ‘The Italian Job’,” added David Cousins, bullion executive from London based ATS Bullion.
Do they know something that we don’t?
The ultra-wealthy are able to stay ultra-wealthy for a reason.
They are usually a step or two ahead of most of the rest of us.
And any rational person should be able to see that this financial bubble is going to end very, very badly.
Did you know that you are involved in the most massive Ponzi scheme that has ever existed? To illustrate my point, allow me to tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a man named Sam. When he was younger, he had been a very principled young man that had worked incredibly hard and that had built a large number of tremendously successful businesses. He became fabulously wealthy and he accumulated far more gold than anyone else on the planet. But when he started to get a little older he forgot the values of his youth. He started making really bad decisions and some of his relatives started to take advantage of him. One particularly devious relative was a nephew named Fred. One day Fred approached his uncle Sam with a scheme that his friends the bankers had come up with. What happened next would change the course of Sam’s life forever.
Even though Sam was the wealthiest man in the world by far, Fred convinced Sam that he could have an even higher standard of living by going into a little bit of debt. In exchange for IOUs issued by his uncle Sam, Fred would give him paper notes that he printed off on his printing press. Since the paper notes would be backed by the gold that Sam was holding, everyone would consider them to be valuable. Sam could take those paper notes and spend them on whatever his heart desired. Uncle Sam started to do this, and he started to become addicted to all of the nice things that those paper notes would buy him.
Fred took the IOUs that he received from his uncle and he auctioned them off to the bankers. But there was a problem. The IOUs issued by Uncle Sam had to be paid back with interest. When the time came to pay back the IOUs, Uncle Sam could not afford to pay back the debts, pay the interest on those debts, and buy all of the nice things that he wanted. So Uncle Sam issued even more IOUs than before so that he could get enough notes to pay off his debts. As time rolled on, this pattern just kept on repeating. Uncle Sam repeatedly paid off his old debts by taking out even larger new debts.
Meanwhile, since the notes that Uncle Sam was using were backed by gold, everyone else in the world decided to start using them to trade with one another. This was greatly beneficial to Uncle Sam, because the rest of the world was glad to send him oil, home electronics, plastic trinkets and anything else that Uncle Sam wanted in exchange for his gold-backed notes.
Eventually, however, the rest of the world started to suspect that the number of gold-backed notes that Uncle Sam was issuing far exceeded the amount of gold that Uncle Sam actually had. So the rest of the world started to trade in their notes for gold.
And by that time Uncle Sam definitely did not have enough gold to back up his notes. Realizing that the scheme was starting to collapse, one day Uncle Sam announced that his notes would no longer be backed by gold. But he insisted that the rest of the world should continue using his notes because he was the wealthiest man on the planet and everyone should just trust him.
And the rest of the world did continue to trust him, although it wasn’t the same as before.
As Uncle Sam got greedier and greedier, he started to issue IOUs and spend notes at a rate that nobody ever dreamed possible. The great businesses that Uncle Sam had built when he was younger were starting to decline, and Uncle Sam started buying far more stuff from the rest of the world than they bought from him. The rest of the world was still glad to take Uncle Sam’s notes because they used them to trade with one another, but they started accumulating far more notes than they actually needed.
Not sure exactly what to do with mountains of these notes, the rest of the world started to loan them back to Uncle Sam. It eventually got to the point where Uncle Sam owed the rest of the world trillions of these notes. Even though the notes were losing value at a rate of close to 10 percent a year, Uncle Sam somehow convinced the rest of the world to loan him notes at an average rate of interest of less than 3 percent a year.
One day Uncle Sam woke up and realized that the amount of debt that he owed was now more than 5000 times larger than it was when Fred had first approached him with this ill-fated scheme. Uncle Sam now owed more than 16 trillion notes to his creditors, and Uncle Sam had already made future financial commitments of 202 trillion notes that he would never be able to pay. Meanwhile, the notes that Fred had been printing up for Uncle Sam were now worth less than 5 percent of their original value. Uncle Sam was becoming concerned because some of his other relatives were warning that this whole scheme was about to collapse.
Sadly, Uncle Sam did not listen to them. Uncle Sam knew that if he admitted how fraudulent the financial scheme was, the rest of the world would quit sending him all of the things that he needed in exchange for his notes and they would quit lending his notes back to him at super low interest rates.
And if the rest of the world lost confidence in his notes and quit using them, Uncle Sam knew that his standard of living would go way, way down. That was something that Uncle Sam could not bear to have happen.
When a financial crisis almost caused the scheme to crash in 2008, a desperate Uncle Sam went to Fred and asked for help. In response, Fred started printing up far more notes than ever before and started directly buying up large amounts of IOUs from Uncle Sam with the notes that he was creating out of thin air. Fred hoped that the rest of the world would not notice what he was doing.
It seemed to work for a little while, but then an even worse financial crisis came along. Once again, Uncle Sam started issuing massive amounts of new IOUs and Fred started printing up giant mountains of new notes to try to fix things, but their desperate attempts to keep the system going were to no avail. The rest of the world started to realize that they had been sucked into a massive Ponzi scheme, and they lost confidence in the notes that Uncle Sam was using. Suddenly nobody wanted to lend notes to Uncle Sam at super low interest rates anymore, and people started asking for far more notes in exchange for the things that Uncle Sam wanted.
Uncle Sam’s standard of living dropped dramatically. Since he could no longer flood the world with his notes, Uncle Sam could not continue to consume far, far more wealth than he produced. Uncle Sam sunk into a deep depression as he watched the scheme fall apart all around him.
Uncle Sam had once been the wealthiest man on the entire planet, but now he was a broke, tired old man that was absolutely drowning in debt. Unfortunately, once he was down on his luck the rest of the world did not have any compassion for him. In fact, much of the rest of the world celebrated the downfall of Uncle Sam.
All of this could have been avoided if Uncle Sam had never agreed to Fred’s crazy scheme. And once Uncle Sam made the decision to stop backing his notes with gold, it was only a matter of time before the scheme was going to collapse.
Does this little story sound crazy to you? It shouldn’t. The truth is that you are involved in such a scheme right now. In case you haven’t figured it out, “Uncle Sam” is the United States, the “notes” are U.S. dollars, and “Fred” is the Federal Reserve.
Please share this story with as many people as you can. Our country is headed for complete and total financial disaster, and we need to get people educated about this while there is still time.
It turns out that the poster child for the European debt crisis is not actually poor at all. In fact, the truth is that the nation of Greece is sitting on absolutely massive untapped reserves of gold, oil and natural gas. If the Greeks were to fully exploit the natural resources that are literally right under their feet, they would no longer have any debt problems. Fortunately, this recent economic crisis has spurred them to action and it is now being projected that Greece will be the number one gold producer in Europe by 2016. In addition, Greece is now opening up exploration of their massive oil and natural gas deposits. Reportedly, Greece is sitting on hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and gigantic natural gas deposits that are worth trillions of dollars. It is truly sad that Greece should be one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe but instead the country is going through the worst economic depression that it has experienced in modern history. It is kind of like a homeless man that sleeps on the streets every night without realizing that a relative has left him an inheritance worth millions of dollars. Greece is not poor at all, and hopefully the people of Greece can learn the truth about all of this wealth and chart a course out of this current mess.
I have written extensively about the nightmarish economic conditions that Greece is experiencing right now. Just check out this article, this article and this article. Since the depression began in Greece, the Greek economy has contracted by more than 20 percent. In April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only 11.8 percent. Since then it has skyrocketed to 25.1 percent.
The government debt to GDP ratio in Greece is projected to hit 198 percent this year, and there are persistent rumors that Greece will be forced to leave the euro.
But all of this is completely and totally unnecessary. Greece is not actually poor at all. In fact, after you account for untapped natural resources, Greece is actually one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe.
According to Bloomberg, there is a massive amount of gold in Greece. This recent economic crisis has accelerated the approval of mining activity, and it is now being projected that Greece will soon be the number one gold producing country in all of Europe…
Gold mining is gathering momentum after Greece began what it called a “fast-track” approvals program. The Canadian and Australian companies said their projects will add about 425,000 ounces by 2016, worth $757 million at the Oct. 5 spot price, to the 16,000 ounces the country produced in 2011.
“There’s clearly evidence that Greece has woken up to the potential of their mining industry,” said Jeremy Wrathall, chairman of Perth-based Glory Resources. “Politicians increasingly realize that a pro-mining stance is appropriate due to job creation potential.”
Greece, which is also fast-tracking state property sales, is set to overtake Finland as the continent’s largest gold producer within four years, as regulators in Athens sign off on mines kept on hold for more than a decade by red tape and environmental rules.
But Greece doesn’t just have gold. Greece is also swimming in oil and natural gas. It turns out that Greece is sitting on the western edge of an absolutely mammoth sub-Mediterranean oil and gas field, and there are also huge deposits of oil and natural gas in the western parts of the country.
A Reuters article back in July discussed how foreign firms are now rushing to exploit these tremendous resources…
Greece has received eight bids by companies to search for oil and natural gas in three blocks in the western part of the country, the energy ministry said on Monday, as debt-laden Athens seeks to save money on energy imports.
Greece, which produces almost no oil or natural gas, aims to develop potential hydrocarbon reserves as part of an effort to overhaul its economy and lessen dependence on energy imports.
So exactly how much oil and natural gas does Greece have?
The numbers that are being reported so far are staggering. The following comes from a Greek news source…
Until now the offers for hydrocarbon exploration have concerned three blocks: The first is in the Gulf of Patra, the second off the coast of Katakolo — both in Western Greece — and the third at Ioannina, northwestern Greece.
Early estimates suggest that the Gulf of Patra may have 200 million barrels of crude oil, and that there are another 80 million at Ioannina and nearly 3 million off the coast of Katokolo.
Furthermore, according to the United States Geological Survey, in the sea between Crete, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, there are about 15 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and oil just waiting to be extracted.
The truth is that Greece has enough oil and natural gas to be able to pay off all of their debts. The value of the natural gas that they are sitting on alone has been estimated to be worth trillions of dollars. The following is from an article earlier this year by F. William Engdahl…
In December 2010, as it seemed the Greek crisis might still be resolved without the by-now huge bailouts or privatizations, Greece’s Energy Ministry formed a special group of experts to research the prospects for oil and gas in Greek waters. Greece’s Energean Oil & Gas began increased investment into drilling in the offshore waters after a successful smaller oil discovery in 2009. Major geological surveys were made. Preliminary estimates now are that total offshore oil in Greek waters exceeds 22 billion barrels in the Ionian Sea off western Greece and some 4 billion barrels in the northern Aegean Sea. 
The southern Aegean Sea and Cretan Sea are yet to be explored, so the numbers could be significantly higher. An earlier Greek National Council for Energy Policy report stated that “Greece is one of the least explored countries in Europe regarding hydrocarbon (oil and gas-w.e.) potentials.”  According to one Greek analyst, Aristotle Vassilakis, “surveys already done that have measured the amount of natural gas estimate it to reach some nine trillion dollars.”  Even if only a fraction of that is available, it would transform the finances of Greece and the entire region.
Tulane University oil expert David Hynes told an audience in Athens recently that Greece could potentially solve its entire public debt crisis through development of its new-found gas and oil. He conservatively estimates that exploitation of the reserves already discovered could bring the country more than €302 billion over 25 years.
So unlike several other nations in Europe, things actually look quite promising for Greece in the years ahead if they manage their resources correctly and don’t let foreigners come in and steal all of their wealth.
And perhaps this is why there is such hesitation to boot Greece out of the EU. It seems probable that many of the top politicians in Europe know about all of this gold, oil and natural gas that Greece is sitting on.
Hopefully the people of Greece will learn about this massive amount of wealth that is just under their feet. If they can figure out a way to get this wealth to start to flow into the hands of the people of Greece, a lot of their problems could be solved rather quickly and they could start to experience a massive economic turnaround.
Ben Bernanke has decided that he needs to teach all of us why the Federal Reserve is good for America and about why the gold standard is bad. On Tuesday, Bernanke delivered the first of four planned lectures to a group of students at George Washington University. But that lecture was not just for the benefit of those students. Officials at the Fed have long planned for this lecture series to be an opportunity for Bernanke to “educate” the American people about the Federal Reserve. The classroom was absolutely packed with reporters and just about every major news organization is running a story about this first lecture. So the Federal Reserve is definitely getting the publicity that it was hoping for. You can see the slides from the presentation that Bernanke gave to the students right here. It is pretty obvious that one of the primary goals of this first lecture was to attack those that have been critical of the Fed over the past few years. In doing so, Bernanke “stretched” the truth on more than one occasion.
The entire event was staged to make Bernanke and the Federal Reserve look as good as possible. Prior to his arrival, the students gathered for the lecture were actually instructed to applaud Bernanke….
The 30 undergraduates at George Washington University sent up a round of applause. It was, they’d been told beforehand, “appropriate, even encouraged, to politely applaud” Tuesday’s guest lecturer.
But as noted above, this lecture was not for the benefit of those students. A USA Today article even admitted that “addressing the public directly” was one of the real goals of this lecture….
For Bernanke, the GW lectures serve a dual function:
They give him a chance to reprise the role of professor he played for more than two decades, first at Stanford and then at Princeton, where he eventually chaired the economics department.
And they give him a way to expand his mission of demystifying the Fed. As part of that campaign, Bernanke became the first Fed chief to hold regular news conferences and conduct town-hall meetings.
In addressing the public directly, Bernanke has also sought to neutralize attacks on the Fed, some of them from Republican presidential candidates.
So what did Bernanke actually say during the lecture?
Well, you can read all of the slides right here, but the following are some of the highlights….
On page 6 of the presentation, Bernanke makes the following claim….
“A central bank is not an ordinary commercial bank, but a government agency.”
Well, that is quite interesting considering the fact that the Federal Reserve has argued in court that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is not an agency of the federal government and that the various Federal Reserve banks around the country are private corporations with private funding.
So did the Federal Reserve lie to the court or is Ben Bernanke lying to us?
And what other “agency” of the federal government is owned by private banks?
The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations–possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.
The Federal Reserve always talks about how it must be “independent” and “above politics”, but when they start getting criticized they always want to seek shelter under the wing of the federal government.
It really is disgusting.
On page 7 of the presentation, the following statement is made….
“All central banks strive for low and stable inflation; most also try to promote stable growth in output and employment.”
Right now, if inflation was measured the same way that it was back in 1980, the annual rate of inflation would be more than 10 percent.
And when you take a longer view of things, the inflation that the Federal Reserve has manufactured has been absolutely horrific.
Even using the doctored inflation numbers that the Federal Reserve gives us, the U.S. dollar has still lost 83 percent of its value since 1970.
The truth is that inflation is a “hidden tax” that is constantly destroying the value of every single dollar that you and I hold. Those that attempt to save money for the future or for retirement are deeply penalized under such a system.
As far as employment goes, the total number of workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States is larger than the entire population of Portugal.
The average duration of unemployment is hovering near an all-time record high and almost every measure of government dependence is at an all-time record high.
So the Federal Reserve is failing at the exact things that Bernanke claims that it is supposed to be doing.
But instead of directly addressing many of the specific criticisms that have been leveled at the Fed, Bernanke instead chose to spend much of his lecture talking about the problems with adopting a gold standard. The following are statements that were pulled directly off of the slides he used during his speech….
-“The gold standard sets the money supply and price level generally with limited central bank intervention.”
-“The strength of a gold standard is its greatest weakness too: Because the money supply is determined by the supply of gold, it cannot be adjusted in response to changing economic conditions.”
-“All countries on the gold standard are forced to maintain fixed exchange rates. As a result, the effects of bad policies in one country can be transmitted to other countries if both are on the gold standard.”
-“If not perfectly credible, a gold standard is subject to speculative attack and ultimate collapse as people try to exchange paper money for gold.”
-“The gold standard did not prevent frequent financial panics.”
-“Although the gold standard promoted price stability over the very long run, over the medium run it sometimes caused periods of inflation and deflation.”
-“In the second half of the 19th century, a global shortage of gold reduced the U.S. money supply and caused deflation (falling prices). Farmers were squeezed between declining prices for crops and the fixed dollar payments for their mortgages and other debts.”
Bernanke spent more time on the gold standard during his speech than on anything else. At one point during the lecture, Bernanke made the following statement….
“To have a gold standard, you have to go to South Africa or someplace and dig up tons of gold and move it to New York and put it in the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and that’s a lot of effort and work”
Bernanke even blamed the gold standard for the Great Depression. On a slide entitled “Monetary Policy in the Great Depression”, Bernanke made the following claims….
•The Fed’s tight monetary policy led to sharply falling prices and steep declines in output and employment.
•The effects of policy errors here and abroad were transmitted globally through the gold standard.
•The Fed kept money tight in part because it wanted to preserve the gold standard. When FDR abandoned the gold standard in 1933, monetary policy became less tight and deflation stopped.
Bernanke seems to want to frame the debate over monetary policy is such a way that the American people are given only two alternative systems to consider: the Federal Reserve and a gold standard.
But the truth is that there are a vast array of both “hard money” and “soft money” systems that would not include a central bank or a gold standard at all.
So the truth is that the American people would have many different systems to choose from if they wanted to shut down the Federal Reserve and set up something new.
In the past the U.S. government has issued debt-free money and it could certainly do so again.
But in his lecture, Bernanke did not even mention how the Federal Reserve creates money or how whenever new money is created more debt is created.
Under the Federal Reserve system, the money supply is designed to continually increase, and whenever more money is created more debt is also created.
In a previous article I discussed how more money is created on the federal level….
For example, whenever the U.S. government wants to spend more money than it takes in (which happens constantly), it has to go ask the Federal Reserve for it. The federal government gives U.S. Treasury bonds to the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve gives the U.S. government “Federal Reserve Notes” in return. Usually this is just done electronically.
So where does the Federal Reserve get the Federal Reserve Notes?
It just creates them out of thin air.
Wouldn’t you like to be able to create money out of thin air?
Instead of issuing money directly, the U.S. government lets the Federal Reserve create it out of thin air and then the U.S. government borrows it.
Talk about stupid.
The designers of the Federal Reserve system intended to trap the U.S. government in a debt spiral that would expand perpetually.
So has their design worked?
Well, just look at the chart below….
Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.
So I guess you could say that the results have been spectacular.
The Federal Reserve system also greatly favors the big Wall Street banks that it is designed to serve.
When those big banks get into trouble, the Federal Reserve snaps into action.
According to a limited GAO audit of Fed transactions during the last financial crisis, $16.1 trillion in secret loans were made by the Federal Reserve to the big Wall Street banks between December 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010.
The following list is taken directly from page 131 of the GAO audit report and it shows which banks received money from the Fed….
Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch – $1.949 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC – $868 billion
Bear Sterns – $853 billion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
Deutsche Bank – $354 billion
UBS – $287 billion
Credit Suisse – $262 billion
Lehman Brothers – $183 billion
Bank of Scotland – $181 billion
BNP Paribas – $175 billion
Wells Fargo – $159 billion
Dexia – $159 billion
Wachovia – $142 billion
Dresdner Bank – $135 billion
Societe Generale – $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” – $2.639 trillion
What about all the rest of us?
Did we get bailed out?
No, we were told that if Wall Street was rescued that the benefits would trickle down to the rest of us.
Unfortunately, that has not exactly worked out. In article, after article, after article I have detailed the horrible economic suffering that the American people are still going through.
But what Bernanke and the Fed have done is create inflation in commodities such as oil which is affecting the household finances of nearly everyone in America.
The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is now up to $3.87. That is an all-time record high for the month of March.
So far in 2012, the price of gasoline in the United States has risen by 17 percent.
Over the past several decades, every time there has been a major spike in gasoline prices in the United States, a recession has always followed. If you doubt this, just check out this amazing chart.
So will we soon see another recession?
If we are lucky. Hopefully the next downturn will not be a full-blown depression.
The truth is that the Federal Reserve does not help us avoid booms and busts. Rather, it creates them. The Fed was at the heart of the housing bubble which helped bring on the last financial crisis when it crashed, and the current ultra-low interest rate policies of the Fed are creating more bubbles which will have devastating long-term consequences.
Are you unemployed and out of options? Well, if you live in most areas of the country there is not much hope for you. But there is one state where hiring is really hot right now. If you are desperate for a job, you just might want to check out North Dakota. Way back in the middle of the 19th centurty, author Horace Greeley gave young Americans the following advice: “Go West, young man, go West“. Well, we have reached another moment in U.S. history when it may be wise for many Americans to pick up and move to another part of the country in search of opportunity. Of course traveling to North Dakota is not “going west” for all Americans, but for the majority of the population it is. In the 19th century, many Americans traveled west because they believed those that told them that there was “gold in them thar hills”, but today a different kind of “gold” is being found in North Dakota. The state is currently enjoying a boom of “black gold”, and all of that oil is creating a huge number of jobs. If you are unemployed and you are desperate, you might want to check out North Dakota. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
As I write about so frequently, unemployment is an absolute nightmare in most areas of the country right now. But in North Dakota there are plenty of jobs and they pay really well. Just check out what a new CNN article is saying about what is going on in the state….
Believe it or not, a place exists where companies are hiring like crazy, and you can make $15 an hour serving tacos, $25 an hour waiting tables and $80,000 a year driving trucks.
You just have to move to North Dakota. Specifically, to one of the tiny towns surrounding the oil-rich Bakken formation, estimated to hold anywhere between 4 billion and 24 billion barrels of oil.
CNBC also recently ran an article about the jobs boom up in North Dakota. According to CNBC, there are “help wanted” signs all over the place in little towns such as Williston….
Unemployment is a national problem in the U.S., but you wouldn’t know that if you travel through North Dakota.
The state’s unemployment rate hovers around 3 percent, and “Help Wanted” signs litter the landscape of cities such as Williston in the same way “For Sale” signs populate the streets of Las Vegas.
“It’s a zoo,” said Terry Ayers, who drove into town from Spokane, Wash., slept in his truck, and found a job within hours of arrival, tripling his salary. “It’s crazy what’s going on out here.”
If you are desperate for work and you are looking for a “reboot”, North Dakota may be an option for you. According to CNN, there are a significant number of families that have already changed their lives by heading out to North Dakota….
McMullen now works as a nanny in exchange for housing. Her husband, who worked on behavior management programs for a school system in North Carolina where he took home about $1,600 a month, found a job working in the oilfields where he makes that same amount of money in one week — adding up to an annual salary of about $77,000.
“We want to be debt-free, so we came here to play catch-up,” said McMullen. “But when I came here, I thought I was on Mars. It’s just so crazy that the rest of the country has no jobs, and here’s this one place that doesn’t have enough people to fill all the jobs.”
So is North Dakota for everyone?
Of course not.
First of all, it gets bone-chilling cold in North Dakota in the winter.
If you cannot handle really cold weather then you should not go up there.
Secondly, there is not nearly enough housing in the boom towns and the housing that is available is really expensive.
So you may either have to commute a long way or deal with accommodations that are less than stellar.
North Dakota is very flat, the geography is not very pleasant, there is not much to do there, the “boom towns” are very far from major population centers and moving there would entail major sacrifices for most people.
But there are good jobs up there.
So if you are looking for some good news, you just got some.
Look, it is better to try to do something than to sit around waiting for Barack Obama to save you. As I have written about previously, the Obama jobs plan is a bad joke and even if it got through Congress it would do very little to create jobs.
The truth is that Barack Obama simply does not know what he is doing when it comes to jobs. He continues to push for even more job-killing “free trade” agreements that will result in millions more American jobs being shipped overseas.
Barack Obama continues to run around the country talking about “infrastructure jobs”, but according to ABC News, thousands upon thousands of those jobs are actually going to Chinese workers….
In New York there is a $400 million renovation project on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge.
In California, there is a $7.2 billion project to rebuild the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.
In Alaska, there is a proposal for a $190 million bridge project.
These projects sound like steps in the right direction, but much of the work is going to Chinese government-owned firms.
The sad truth is that the U.S. economy continues to slide even further down the tubes and the vast majority of our politicians have no idea how to fix things.
When Barack Obama first took office, the official U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Today it is 9.1 percent.
There are less jobs in the United States today than there were a decade ago, and the number of good paying jobs continues to shrink.
In 1980, 52 percent of all jobs in the United States were middle income jobs. Today, only 42 percent of all jobs are middle income jobs.
So don’t sit around waiting for the economy to fix itself. There is no reason to have blind faith in the system at this point.
We live during unconventional times, and many of us are going to have to find unconventional solutions to our problems.
There are lots of good jobs in the western part of North Dakota.
If you need a job, you might want to look into it.
Despite what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says, rampant inflation is officially here. The federal government is constantly monkeying with the numbers to keep the “official” rate of inflation below 2 percent, but it is becoming very difficult to deny that the cost of almost everything is really going up these days. The American people are not stupid. They notice the difference when they go to the grocery store or stop at the gas station. The dollar is losing value rapidly now. The price of gold set another new all-time record today and is currently hovering just above $1430 an ounce. The price of West Texas crude has moved above 100 dollars several times recently and the price of Brent crude is currently above 116 dollars. These higher oil prices are really starting to be felt in the United States. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States has now reached $3.38. There are some gas stations in the U.S. where the price of a gallon of gas is already over 4 dollars. But it is not just the American people that are feeling the pain. The global price of food recently hit a new record high and almost every major agricultural commodity has absolutely skyrocketed in price over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, Ben Bernanke just told the Senate Banking Committee that he really isn’t concerned about inflation at all.
When it comes to inflation, the key is not to look at the official U.S. government numbers (they are highly manipulated) or how the U.S. dollar is performing against other major currencies (because they are all being devalued as well). Instead, you can get a truer sense of what is really happening to inflation by looking at what the U.S. dollar is doing against precious metals, commodities and other hard assets.
So are we experiencing rampant inflation right now? Well, just open up your eyes and look at these 5 charts….
1 – The price of oil is racing back up to record levels. The chart below from the Federal Reserve is a couple weeks out of date. As noted above, the current price of West Texas crude is about $100 a barrel….
2 – The price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States seems destined to hit a brand new all-time record at some point this year. Was it really just a few short years ago when the average price of gas in this country was about a dollar a gallon?….
3 – The value of most precious metals is very consistent over time. So when you see precious metals go up dramatically in price, it means that the dollar is being devalued. The price of gold just set another new all-time high and it seems destined to keep going even higher….
4 – The chart below from the Federal Reserve is a measure of the price of all commodities. These price increases are inevitably going to be passed along to consumers in the United States….
5 – After a couple of years of stable food price, the price of food is starting to take off yet again….
In fact, many analysts are warning that we could experience a major food crisis over the next couple of years. The global demand for food continues to grow at a very brisk pace, but all of the crazy weather we have been having around the world has caused some very bad harvests.
Unfortunately, the global price of food has gone up substantially in recent months and it is likely to keep going up very rapidly. Just consider the following five facts….
That says a lot about where we are at as a country.
We have allowed so much of our industrial infrastructure to be exported to China where workers slave away in almost unbelievable conditions.
A reader named Rish recently described what things are like over there….
As a product developer I went to china and saw the way the factory workers lived and worked in person. 50$ a month is about right, but if you are a skilled quality control expert you might make as much as 150$. at least this was true about 2 years ago the last time I went. The barracks were pretty meager, bunk beds with just plywood, no mattresses, if you wanted you could go to a store just outside the factory gate and buy a thick comforter that they sell as a “mattress” .
It will be interesting to see how the next few years changes the face of the USA. Who knows? if the unemployment rate and lack of jobs keeps going and enough people become homeless, we might become the next Bangladesh, and people will be lining up of the 30 cents an hour corporate factory jobs, and living in barracks just like those…
The only way the U.S. has been able to “thrive” during this deindustrialization is by borrowing gigantic amounts of money. But all of this borrowing is slowly but surely destroying the U.S. dollar, and we are getting closer to the point of absolute catastrophe.
Peter Schiff recently shook folks up when he talked about these issues during a recent interview on CNBC….
But it is not just the United States that is printing tons and tons of money. All of the major industrialized nations have been firing out gobs of currency. That is a huge reason why so many investors have been racing to get into hard assets recently.
Now Ben Bernanke and other top Federal Reserve officials have been dropping hints that more quantitative easing may be necessary.
Unfortunately, just like with any other addiction, once you give in a few times it becomes easier and easier to engage in destructive behavior. Now that the Fed has gotten a taste for quantitative easing it is going to be really hard to stop.
Nor can the Fed stop at this point. If they did it would be disastrous for the U.S. economy. But if the Fed continues on this reckless course it will make the eventual collapse of our economy even worse.
Under our current debt-based system there is no way out. The Federal Reserve can attempt to put off the inevitable for a while by pumping up the debt bubble even more, but at some point it is going to burst.
When that happens we are going to be facing a financial crisis which will blow what happened in 2008 completely out of the water.
So enjoy these good economic times while you still can. This is about as good as things are going to get from here on out.