The debate about the yuan versus dollar rages onwards. Many American participants fight this battle with the equivalent of box cutters while the Chinese use sabers. The US still adamantly refuses to raise the value of yuan via holding yuan in our own FOREX savings. No, we want to save virtually no capital and whine about the Chinese. So today, I pull up a 2005 story I wrote about gold/silver ratios and the history of money to explain the mess we are in. And we visit Britain which is having the worst of the Japanese ZIRP system and the worst of the US deindustrialization problems.
Just as China can set a value of its currency against the dollar, the US government can set a value of the dollar against the yuan. The Chinese government currently supports an exchange rate at which the dollar can buy 6.8 yuan. This high value of the dollar makes US goods uncompetitive relative to China’s. To make US goods more competitive, the US could adopt a policy through which it will sell dollars at a much lower price, say 4.5 yuan.
HAHAHA. We will print more dollars and give them to the Chinese? HAHAHA. And think the Dragon will be fooled by this faint feint? Incidentally, in the past, ever since we killed the gold/dollar balancing act under Nixon, the US has tried to force trade partners to revalue the German mark and the Japanese yen and did this fix our trade deficit?
No! It made things worse, not better. And I wrote about all this long ago. Below, I included a good chunk of my 2005 article on this matter, ‘China Will Now Destroy Detroit’. Well, in 2005 it looked inevitable that China will do this except Japan did this before 2010. What a catastrophe this has been.
. The difference in exchange rates would provide an enormous incentive for Chinese businesses and individuals to exchange their yuan at the Treasury rate rather than the official Chinese rate. While this may violate Chinese law, the enormous potential profits would make the law difficult to enforce. In a relatively short period of time, the US exchange rate is likely to become the effective market exchange rate.
Wow. Talk about insane! So, Mr. Baker imagines the Chinese will defy the Dragon Throne and break Chinese laws? HAHAHA. Gold plated bullets to the back of the head can concentrate one’s thoughts, big time! More: the Chinese exporters are HAPPY with the Dragon in Beijing! They know that the US wants to destroy them, not make them richer.
Unlike the US wealthy, Chinese wealthy people know that if their sovereign base is destroyed, they will also be destroyed. The Chinese are very aware of past anti-Chinese riots during the last 200 years as the Chinese tried to work in other countries such as the US, just for one glaring example.
A strong sovereign base protects Chinese nationals doing business abroad. We should understand this dynamic: it is true with us, too. The top elites have forgotten this vital lesson and in their lust and desire have looted their home base, corrupted the political process and beggared the populace and set the US on the road to bankruptcy. And we, not the Chinese, will be destroyed when we go bankrupt. China will get singed. We will burn to death.
. Of course, this situation of warring exchange rates would lead to a period of instability and unnecessary hostility between the two countries. However, it would send an important signal that the US government is in control of its dollar destiny: Washington has the ability any time it chooses to push the dollar down to a more reasonable level against the yuan.
Baker talks lightly of WWIII! Talk about insane. Washington DC can’t assault the Chinese sovereign powers without China dumping all our debts and cash on world markets and cause all of our trade allies and major suppliers of stuff like oil to turn on us in greatest fury. Yes, we can crash our dollar jet into the World Trade Centers and annihilate the dollar but this suicide mission will turn us into international pests and trade pariahs. And how will this fix anything?
Such a bold move carries a price. Short-term negatives of a lower-valued dollar include higher import prices, which translates to higher inflation and somewhat lower living standards. Politically, it may be difficult for Washington to intentionally overpay for China’s currency at a time of high unemployment, even if the goal is to boost jobs at home.
One major feature of the internal systems of the Cave of Wealth and Death is the Minotaur. And the Minotaur is the Horns of Dilemma. That is, both choices are evil. This is akin to the concept that Zero and Infinity are dire sisters who create death and destruction, not happiness. The US is trapped on the Horns of Dilemma, deep inside the Cave of Wealth and Death.
We thought we could get rich by handing out IOUs and then gloating over the possibility that we might just cheat everyone. Well, I like to think there is this force we call ‘Libra’. The ancient Egyptians realized that balancing things is important. So they created the concept of a guardian goddess with some scales, weighing things. Well, to carry this further, all things get balanced one way or another, eventually. And the old saw, ‘The higher they climb, the further they fall,’ is instructive.
As the concept, ‘the bigger the bubble, the bigger the pop,’ also applies. As many old saws about how we have to be careful of inflating anything. The present ‘depression’ is the opposite dynamic of the recent credit bubble. This is all about basic physics of gravity and force of rebounds, the application and expression of energy systems. Money and credit are most peculiar because all the laws of liquid actions applies to this subject! It is definitely a physical force and all our attempts at reaching infinity are doomed to spectacular failure.
The US created over $6 trillion in trade deficits over time as well as $12 trillion in national debts and over $44 trillion in total credit creation. And we created and grew the monster, the $600 trillion Derivatives Beast. Creating all this wealth via paper pushing of various sorts will now rebound back to true value. As we see in the rising price of things like gold, just for example.
China disagrees to the suggestion of a “Group of Two” (G2), Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at a meeting with visiting U.S. President Barack Obama here on Wednesday.
OK: in all my running around the web, I saw little about ‘Group of 2’ except in China where it is being discussed. You can bet, this was a topic between Obama and Hu. This entire lead article in the Chinese news is an indication of great Chinese anger in the recent negotiations. I am assuming the US was being snide about things and made threats. So the Dragon will threaten back.
. China is still a developing country with a huge population and has a long way to go before it becomes modernized, Wen said, stressing “We must always keep sober-minded over it”. China pursues the independent foreign policy of peace and will not align with any country or country blocks, Wen said.
So, did Obama offer an alliance? Ah! I bet Japan is reading this editorial out of China with greatest interest….and great fear. Something is afoot here! I detect an attempt by the US to make a private deal with China whereby we merge with China’s foreign affairs and thus, try to control it from within. Forget about it!
One thing about China: when it comes to sovereignty, they are very, very prickly! After all, they lost it for several generations and saw China ripped to shreds. We can’t fool them in this matter.
Global issues should decided by all nations in the world, rather than one or two countries, he added….
… The United States and China are important trade partners for each other, which has brought huge benefits to both countries, while trade protectionism does no good to either side, Obama said. He said the United States appreciates China’s efforts to adjust the economic structure, expand domestic demand, protect intellectual property rights and reform the Renminbi exchange rateregime.
The United States would properly handle bilateral trade frictions so that they would not harm the interests of the two countries, Obama said. The United States has noted China’s concern over the export control to China and is willing to take measures and increase high-tech product exports to China, he added.
As per usual, Hu won! That is, he demanded the US start serious trade and not keep various things off the markets in China such as high tech stuff. And basically, Obama agreed. But the bilateral deal is hinged on China raising the value of the yuan, I am guessing. And this obviously irritates the Chinese just like the other aspects of bilateralism. So I will watch the news for more developments. They are certain to come.
Now, to the old story I wrote several years ago, explaining Japanese trade, gold, silver ratios and money creation, it is a good read even today, I may presume:
This is so funny, actually. Japan is a province we occupy. They, in turn, control us in a million ways. They suck us dry even as we bully boy around Asia. When Bretton Woods II happened, the deal was, the Japanese would let their currency float and in return, they would get really rich, quick, off of cheap American dollars. .
So they went shopping here! Buying our realestate was a cinch! This graph shows clearly how the Japanese exploited Bretton Woods II…only, having no plans, they bought very stupidly indeed.
Note how the spending shot up for three years after Bretton Woods II until the money was all used up from that windfall. Note also, the Japanese then started to buy American bonds to keep our deficits afloat, foreign purchases of our gov. bonds shot up from 1986 to today whereby foreign governments buy over 85% of these bonds!
The yen no longer floats against the dollar. When we were heroically trying to depress the dollar, the euro shot up but the yen stayed exactly pegged at the 105-110 range it has sat at for the last 15 years despite everything. We have now given up on trying to ditch the Chinese via depressing the dollar and are back at threatening them. Yet are silent about the Japanese.
Both Koizumi and Bush will try to whip up anti Chinese fervor when the cars for Japanese companies built in China flood into America. Another thing to note in this graph is what China is buying: companies that matter, cutting edge ones in energy and computers. Not impressionistic paintings.
From my own blog, February 2008: Money Matters: History of Gold/Silver Ratios
The first troubling thing is right here: the severing of the historic silver/gold ratios of 16/1. Gold prices on Friday were $944.95 per ounce. Silver was only $18.02 per ounce. This is nearly 54X differential! Gold has obviously gone stratospheric here. If the traditional ratio were in force, gold should be only $288.32 an ounce right now.
Year…….Ratio……Offical Price……Real Price
1862…….20.67——-$15.35……$23.42 Civil War
1879…….18.39——-$20.67……$20.67 Inflation ends
1919…….18.44——-$20.67 WWI Ends
1929…….38.78——-$20.67 Great Depression
1941…….99.73——-$35.00 Silver Weakest
1968…….18.29——-$35.00 Vietnam War
1973…….38.21——-$42.22…..$97.81 Bretton Woods II
1987…….63.84——-$42.22……$447.95 Plaza Accords
2006…….54.41——-$42.22……$610.00 Iraq War Rages
*Note: from 1879 to 1967, the price of gold was government regulated and matches the government numbers EXCEPT for during the Civil War. 1864 it run up to $42.03 an oz, a 100% hike over pre-Civil War prices. Returned to ‘normal’ in 1877.)
It always pays to look at several things at once which is why I put this partial chart together. We all read many things about money and the economy but when I actually look at some relationships we often don’t talk about, we see some interesting trends over the centuries. Generally speaking, from 1600 to 1873, the official price of the English Crown and then the new United States were not only one and the same but quite stable. The ratios between gold and silver were set in stone, it seemed. Indeed, the early revolutionaries, when debating the value of the new mint, believed that the ratios would be stable forever.
The US as well as England went through several bank collapses and bad times but the ratios moved against each only slowly. Gold very gradually increased its value against silver. Generally, it was between $14-16 an ounce of gold to $1 an ounce of silver in the distant past then—boom! The Civil War sends the ratio reeling. After the panic of 1973, gold’s ratio with silver is set at 16/1 which cannot hold. It never returns. Hereafter, the ratio between the two metals diverge for good. For 59 long years, the official price of gold sits at $20.67 an ounce. The ‘street price’ is identical. But look at the silver ratios! They rise to a 38/1 level at the time of the 1903 panic. WWI brings the ratios back into classic levels but only momentarily. But in 1929, it takes off again. This signals a collapse of the currencies used by people. Most people do business with money based on silver, not gold. So the real inflation rate is often expressed in the deterioration of the value of silver. During the Great Depression, the ratio of silver to gold value sees its greatest ratio differentials in our history. Obviously, things are falling apart even as interest rates were in the 0.03% range, the true nature of this deflation of the coin versus the value of gold is quite striking. The government dealt with this by basically preventing gold markets from functioning in an inflationary way, they kept gold at an artificial level and kept it there for another 40 years. The illusion of stability is betrayed by the fluctuations in this ratio. After 1968, it falls apart, rapidly. Before 1968, the Treasury used Fort Knox to keep the ratios at the 16/1 level and this drained 3/4ers of the gold from our reserves. Then the government threw in the towel. They decided to go for a free-for all market model.
The result is obvious. After 1972, they decided to let currency traders and interest rates set by the Federal Reserve determine the value of the dollar and this has been a very bumpy ride since then. The ratios of gold to silver have been well over 30/1 since then. And this, with silver disappearing as a part of the currency. The ‘silver’ coins are barely washed with any silver at all at this point. Which is a gross debasement if we look at how the ratios have risen during this!
Let’s take a look at Britain’s gold history, the strength of their empire and its total collapse showing up quite clearly:
History of British gold:
1718—- 4.25—- £ 4.31
1800—- 4.25—- £ 4.26
1811—- 4.25—- £ 5.19…….War against Napoleon
1812—- 4.25—- £ 5.48
1813—- 4.25—- £ 5.76
1814—- 4.25—- £ 5.21
1815—- 4.25—- £ 4.99
1932—- 4.25—- £ 5.90…….Great Depression
1933—- 4.25—- £ 6.24
1934—- 4.25—- £ 6.88
1935—- 4.25—- £ 7.11
1936—- 4.25—- £ 7.01
1937—- 4.25—- £ 7.04
1938—- 4.25— £ 7.13
1939—- 4.25—- £ 7.72…….World War II
1940—- 4.25—- £ 8.40
1941—- 4.25—- £ 8.40
1945—- 4.25—- £ 8.40
1949—- £ 8.40
1950—- $ 34.71……London Market ends
1974—- $ 159.26
1975—- $ 161.02
1976—- $ 124.84
1977—- $ 147.71
1978—- $ 193.22
1979—- $ 306.68
1980—- $ 612.56
1981—- $ 460.03
2006—- $ 603.77
The Bank of England kept rates on this very short leash. During the War with Napoleon, as usual, the value of street gold shot up while the bank struggled to keep the value under control. This shows clear inflation. The government dealt with this by deflating the entire economy after the war and many people suffered greatly in that depression. Most wars after this has featured attempts at preventing a wholesale depression afterwards. The US was the most successful at this, post-WWII. A great deal of this was due to the GI Bill and the housing bills encouraging home ownership.
In the case of the English empire, from the House of Brunswick’s ascent till the Great Depression, the authorities there used some rather brutal methods to keep the pound/gold balance at £4.25 an ounce. This required some heroic measures after WWI bankrupted England. Deals were made like the Barfour Accords which handed over real estate in Palestine which England just seized from Turkey to harsh taxes on salt in India. But England slid into a long depression after WWI. By 1930, she was totally exhausted and out of gold. The gold/pound connection was cut right at the same time the US was enforcing similar gold/money rules used by England for much of their imperial rule.
After WWI, with the failure to keep the Suez Canal and India, the British Empire pretty much expired and so did any connection of the pound to gold. The Bretton Woods I Accords tried to prop up the pound but note how they don’t even try the fiction of having their money connected to any metals at all. It is now denominated in dollars. Sic Transit Gloria.
Now, on to today’s news out of Britain. Remember, both Britain and the US decided jointly that our main ‘industry’ would be the production of magical credit based on fake capital via the Derivatives Beast:
Three way splits (in voting on interest rate changes) are very rare at the Bank, and invariably symbolise moments of deep insecurity about the direction of policy. The last was in July 2008, when Tim Besley proposed raising rates to ward off apparent inflationary forces and Danny Blanchflower voted for a cut.
To me, this one is particularly interesting because of Dale’s vote. As the chief economist, it is Dale who leads the writing up of the Inflation Report. As you may recall, last week, the report itself seemed to hint at an imminent end to QE, and an economy growing far faster than originally anticipated. But in his comments alongside it, King dampened down any optimism and refused to rule out a further bout of QE.
But while it is at least gratifying to understand last week’s befuddlement a little better now in retrospect, the fact remains: we now have an MPC which seems as confused as anyone else out there about what to do next – hardly something to inspire confidence in markets. The next few months are likely to be rather bumpy ones in the gilt and currency markets as people try to get their heads round this disturbing fact.
Imagine how both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve both seem totally clueless as to what forces are at work here! Their job is NOT to stop inflation or prevent depression. Their job is to control interest rates so this can control international trade and prevent trade deficits! PERIOD. I can’t emphasize this enough! The entire concept of the floating fiat currency/free trade economic model is based on forcing nations running trade deficits to raise their interest rates!
This brutally ends trade and causes a bad recession but it also stops trade deficits! Well, no one likes this methodology! NO ONE. Obviously! So the IMF enforces this on nations by making them raise interest rates if they want loans to pay for overdrafts. Except the US runs the IMF. And the trade rivals who are destroying our native industries support letting the US spread its trade and government deficits all over the planet earth!
Now, it is a tsunami of red ink which is destroying international finance. And we have to fix this… by raising interest rates until our trade balances! HAHAHA. Fat chance! And the US and UK will both move heaven and earth to avoid doing this.
Inflation is likely to have troughed now, and at a mere 1.1pc. If it seems incredible to you that inflation dropped only this low in the UK, while almost every other country in the developed world faced deflation, you’re not wrong. This was the worst recession the UK has faced in living memory – how on earth has it avoided deflation – particularly given the weight of debt pushing down on both the public and private sector?
The answer, as you’ve probably already guessed, is thanks to a massive devaluation. Sterling’s 25pc fall since the onset of the crisis is certainly the biggest since the UK left the gold standard in the early 1930s (on some metrics it is even bigger). It is bigger than the falls following Black Wednesday in 1992, and bigger than when depreciation forced Harold Wilson to attempt to reassure the public about “the pound in your pocket”….
. …The problem is that the fall in the pound, while making life more expensive for Britons, who are already struggling with falling wage inflation, doesn’t yet seem to be “working”. Following a devaluation, one would expect exports to pick up as foreign businesses and customers switch from, say, American goods to British ones. This simply hasn’t happened yet; the trade deficit picked up last week to its highest level since the start of the year.
There are three possible explanations: 1. We don’t make anything any more; our manufacturing industry has been stripped bare, and simply doesn’t produce enough goods to be exported. 2. The devaluation hasn’t worked yet and will take time to sink in and take effect. 3. Demand from overseas is too weak, so even though many would be inclined to buy UK goods, they cannot afford to do so yet.
And here it is: Britain has denuded its own landscape and now only suffers pain if there is even a slight attempt at balancing trade via currency devaluations. And this is the same condition for the US: as we deindustrialize, the currency trade tool becomes a sword thrust in our chest instead of a surgeon’s scalpel.
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