Reading time: 1,330 pages, 4 pages, 3 to 5 minutes.
Precious metals (PM’s) got hit hard this past week, as did oil, copper and many other commodities. I still recommend buying gold & silver but the bottom for gold & silver may not be in yet so there’s no rush to buy large quantities as they may still get cheaper in the short run. There are a multitude of conspiracy theories explaining what happened. None of them really matter. What’s important is that gold, silver and other precious metals are on sale. This is a terrific opportunity to accumulate gold and silver at bargain prices.
One thing is certain; there’s a well-orchestrated campaign to tarnish precious metals (no pun intended). Chris Martenson says, “the past week has all the earmarks of a high-gloss propaganda campaign complete with well-placed anti-gold stories in the media and the careful use of language aimed at sowing doubt about gold’s ability to be a store of wealth.
“But for those who consider gold a store of value, the recent gold slam is a gift: an invitation to purchase more sound money with fewer units of paper currency. In other words, a sweet deal.”
So, do not panic and do NOT sell your gold & silver. Instead, be prepared to accumulate more.
Don’t believe the anti-gold propaganda. As one of Jim Sinclair’s readers said,
“Has the Western world stopped printing money? No.
Has Japan stopped printing money? No.
Has China stopped buying gold? No.
Has the world economy started to boom? No.
Has Europe solved all their problems? No.”
The Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB) provides a level-headed European perspective. ”… the [U.S.] dollar is the ultimate bubble. All the United States’ supremacy rests on dollar domination, and the whole objective of their foreign policy is to preserve this domination at all costs. However, they don’t have this option anymore. The dollar role is fading away on all sides, with sudden swap agreements or ex-dollar foreign trade; abrupt loss of confidence, in the United States included, where the Fed’s inflationary policy has led several States to authorize gold as a currency or at least to consider it; China’s progressive dumping of US treasury bonds (would be this only be because it’s amazing trade surpluses have disappeared), etc. The Bitcoin bubble again illustrates this distrust in the dollar…”
The chart below shows the recent damage to the price of gold. The triangle in the price of gold (red lines) was breached to the downside and gold went into free-fall.
There are a number of precious metals beside gold and silver such as platinum and palladium. For the rest of this article, consider ALL precious metals when I use the word ‘gold’.
As I’ve explained paper currency is becoming more worthless with each passing day because it is losing its purchasing power. Gold is real money that does not lose its purchasing power over long periods of time. Other than short-term volatility, gold buys the same things today as it did hundreds or even thousands of years ago. You can insure your wealth against the ravages of inflation by converting paper money into PM’s. Even Jim Cramer recommends gold coins.
Not to put too fine a point on it but you do NOT invest in PM’s. PM’s are money, not an investment. Gold and silver are money and, unlike phony paper (currency, derivatives, ETF’s etc.) they NEVER go to zero.
James Turk says, “Because physical gold and silver are tangible assets, they do not have counterparty risk. Their value is not based on any bank or central bank’s promise, but rather, on those individuals who appreciate their 5,000-year history as sound money and usefulness in economic calculation.”
Gold will increase in price in the long term but it will probably do so slowly because it has left a bad taste for now. Eventually gold will go ballistic in a final sell-off and that will be the time to convert gold into other real assets. However, that’s a long way off yet.
Prices will increase over a long period of time with much volatility along the way. Gold may even get close to $1,000 on the downside over the next few weeks at which point many gold mines become uneconomic. The chart below shows the cost of mining gold has increased sharply over the last five years.
This certainly puts the lie to governments’ “official” inflation rate as I’ve explained in Non-Recovery Alert and in Our Incredible Shrinking Economies.
It is important to note that gold fell in price largely in the ETF market (Exchange Traded Funds). ETF’s are NOT real. They are a type of Derivative which is a structured financial instrument based on a real asset like gold but they are NOT gold itself. They are paper gold. They are a way to gamble on the price of gold but they do not give the speculators access to actual gold. In fact, there is more paper gold ETF’s than all the real gold in the world which demonstrates several things:
1) How artificial ETF’s really are.
2) How easy it is to distort an asset’s official price by the big money ‘shorting’ an ETF.
3) How easy it is to fool suckers. ETF is paper; not real.
The REAL price of gold has nothing to do with the ETF’s price. The real price is what you pay for gold coins or bullion on the open market when you buy or sell gold at a distributor or coin dealer. This real price of gold is 10%, 20% or as much as 30% higher than the “official” price set by ETF’s although this varies from dealer to dealer. This shows you how artificial the “official” (ETF) price is. The real price is what you pay for the real thing.
Also, be aware that demand for gold (all PM’s) is so great right now that there’s a waiting period between three to five weeks or more. Most dealers have been cleaned out and are waiting for re-supply. 41 year market veteran Bill Haynes says buyers are outpacing sellers 50 to 1.
You may be able to use a credit card for a down payment (refundable deposit) but expect to pay the full amount with either a money order or certified check. Again, this depends on the dealer and if you’ve dealt with them before.
Do NOT attempt to buy gold from a bank. Banks do NOT carry precious metals because PM’s are their enemy. They deal only in funny munny (fiat or paper currency). Banks hate gold because gold’s price increase over the last twelve years proves that money is becoming more worthless.
If you don’t already have a PM dealer, do your own due diligence when buying PM’s. Make sure the dealer is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Ask around. You may know people who have experience with PM dealers. I’ve been dealing with Gatewest Coin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for more than ten years but there are many reputable dealers.
And, most important of all; TAKE DELIVERY. Do not leave your gold stored at a dealer or in a bank or Credit Union safety deposit box. If you don’t have it; you don’t have it.
By the way; mid-level safes are getting hard to find, too. That’s a pretty good indication of two things:
1) People are losing confidence in the banking system and keeping cash at home.
2) More people are buying and taking possession of gold & silver.
Another thing to consider; don’t store it all in one place. In a worst case scenario you may be forced to cough up the contents of your safe or hiding place to robbers, thieves and government thugs (that’s redundant, isn’t it?)
Stay tuned. It keeps getting more interesting; just like the ancient Chinese curse: “may you live in interesting times.”
April 20, 2013
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“Prices will increase over a long period of time with much volatility along the way. Gold may even get close to $1,000 on the downside over the next few weeks at which point many gold mines become uneconomic.”
This is similar to the premise presented by The Automatic Earth on oil.
Before we see $500/barrel oil (and likely $20,000/oz. gold), demand/price will have to collapse so badly that the means of production (offshore & arctic oil wells / alternative energy sources / gold mines) will dry up.
Only then can any sort of commodity squeeze occur where people wake up to the real value of oil, gold, silver, etc. – the point at which it costs far too much to bring any more up out of the ground, thus what we have in our possession becomes far more valuable.
Thus, while I agree with most of your premise above Gerold, I think buying gold/silver now is buying it at an incredible premium. I got into gold around $1,300 – $1,500 and into silver around $23 – $26; I don’t regret doing it because I bought a small amount as a *hedge* against my view that massive deflation (i.e. crash in asset/commodity prices and spike in demand for dollars due to a collapse of credit markets) in the near future is unavoidable.
But I do not continue to “stack” like so many others do, as I recognize there will be a time when physical dollars will be in very high demand (prior to the collapse of fiat currency when they will become worthless) – that would be the best time to buy.
Even then, I don’t feel most of the people out there really can *afford* gold when they have so few of the basic necessities of life under their control. Having a homestead, free and clear of debt, where you can produce your own food/water/energy would be probably one of the most important investments, followed by other necessary consumables like food/water/shelter and perhaps ammunition. Well-built tools that allow you to harvest the food/water/energy around you would also probably be good investments, even though they are overpriced at this time (they are not overpriced, however, in terms of utility – being able to purify water is worth its weight in gold).
Sure, an ounce of gold has historically bought something like 300 loaves of bread going back as far as the ancient Roman days… but I have to ask which is a better investment – an ounce of gold, or the same value in 30-year freeze dried foods (http://www.bridensolutions.ca)?
The only benefit I see over holding the gold is that I could potentially use it to buy something other than food, as while food is a huge necessity there will be other needs we will have if our society were to severely slow down or collapse. But gold is not as easily divisible as people would suggest (though the Valcambi CombiBar is interesting: http://silvergoldbull.com/50g-valcambi-gold-combi-bar), leading to trust issues in trade and it also probably runs a risk of theft/confiscation (as you mentioned previously) that is much higher than freeze-dried food. But to be fair, I suppose all your freeze-dried food could also be wiped out in a flood, fire or some other sort of unfortunate event.
Anyways, basically wanted to suggested that even at current prices gold/silver might be too expensive and is not worth the investment beyond a small “hedge” holding, especially if one has not yet secured the basic necessities of life free and clear of debt.
If one has, gold and silver might be viable investments, but would still experience losses in purchasing power versus the person who holds physical dollars through massive deflation brought on by the collapse of debt markets.
Another investment worth considering – social/community.
I find we’re very bad at placing real value on the act of investing in others (family, friends, community) to strengthen them and thereby strengthening yourself. It has its risks like any investment (i.e. they might take the money and never give you another thought), but could pay off in dividends of far more value than what one might get by sitting on a few bricks of gold as the world falls apart around them.
Good points as usual, GBV. Gold & silver should be a part of one’s assets, not all of it. The percentage depends on each individual’s situation. A young person starting out needs none or next to none. An older person with wealth, hard assets like land, plus survival skills, gear and attitude should have more but only because he’s covered the former items first.
I favor silver as it’s more versatile in a barter/currency-breakdown situation. Gold is for the wealthy. Picking the exact price bottom is futile so I recommend staging into PM’s when the price is affordable – again depending on each person’s situation. I expect that continued price volatility will give us more “on sale” opportunities in future but we cannot know that for certain or how many more such opportunities will present themselves.
If we’re faced with a worst case scenario, I find Dmitri Orlov’s accounts VERY instructive (careful; there’s also a hockey player by the same name).
I haven’t yet read his book, “The Five Stages of Collapse” but his essay is eye-opening, lengthy and I highly recommend it.
His 5 stages are:
Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.
Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.
Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.
I hope we never go through all five stages. The African tribe Ik are at Stage 5 yet survived in a way that we may not recognize as human by abandoning their children and literally stealing food from the mouths of the infirm and elderly. Their persistence raises the question whether survival at all cost is really worth it?
Orlov says that in a basic survival situation, toilet paper is worth more than gold. He also highly recommends Bic lighters (“thousands of them”) and disposable paper plates (can’t wash regular plates when water is scarce). He doesn’t mention plastic cutlery (plan on licking your knife clean?) but that should also be a no brainer. Also, people die from dirty water so a top quality filter is important. He used silver to buy guns and ammo. You can’t eat silver but you can trade for food and weapons.
Here’s an excerpt “From a Sarajevo War Survivor” in https://geroldblog.com/category/survival-emergency-preparedness/
Experiencing horrible things that can happen – death of parents and friends, hunger and malnutrition, endless freezing cold, fear, sniper attacks.
1. Stockpiling helps. but you never know how long trouble will last, so locate near renewable food sources.
2. Living near a well with a manual pump is like being in Eden.
3. After a while, even gold can lose its luster. But there is no luxury in war quite like toilet paper. Its surplus value is greater than gold’s.
4. If you had to go without one utility, lose electricity – it’s the easiest to do without (if you’re in a very nice climate with no need for heat.)
5. Canned foods are awesome, especially if their contents are tasty without heating. One of the best things to stockpile is canned gravy – it makes a lot of the dry unappetizing things you find to eat in war somewhat edible. Only needs enough heat to “warm”, not to cook. It’s cheap too, especially if you buy it in bulk.
6. Bring some books – escapist ones like romance or mysteries become more valuable as the war continues. Sure, it’s great to have a lot of survival guides, but you’ll figure most of that out on your own anyway – trust me, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands.
7. The feeling that you’re human can fade pretty fast. I can’t tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne. Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity. These things are morale-builders like nothing else.
8. Slow burning candles and matches, matches, matches
You also said, “Another investment worth considering – social/community.” You’re right about that too especially if you add family. From the survival accounts I’ve read, the lone wolf has little chance of survival. I cannot see any loss “investing” in family, friends and neighbors. Cheaters are quickly identified and dealt with.
Humans are social animals. “We may like to go alone for a walk but we hate to stand alone in our opinions.”
I hope friendly aliens land and save us from ourselves but, I’m not holding my breath.
I had read the account from the Sarajevo War Survivor, and it scared the pants off me. Made me start to think beyond a housing and/or banking collapse in Canada and start to see just how bad things could really get.
That being said, I try my hardest to temper those fears with the writings that come out of sources like The Automatic Earth and The Archdruid Report, which suggest while a financial crash might be quick, the decline into Mad Max (if it goes that way) will be a bit more gradual.
If things were to go to Mad Max overnight, I think even some of the most “prepped” people wouldn’t be prepared. A lot of preppers plans are based on getting their gear and bugging out somewhere – if things went bad too quickly, I think a lot of them would be caught off guard.
Thus the only truly “safe” individuals (ignoring black swans like disasters, war, etc.) are those who actually live the prepper lifestyle day-in and day-out, and probably have all but disconnected from mainstream society. That’s a big leap to make for most – for a younger guy like me, I simply don’t have the resources and for those who are older and more wealthy I think that sort of lifestyle might be more difficult on their bodies and the risk of injury may be higher for them.
What would be best is if more of the later-aged Baby Boomers started cluing into the future we faced and started breaking away from the system now, and investing in sustainable communities (as they have the resources, experience and perhaps “moral obligation” if they are truly resentful for the consumption-based lives most of them have led) to get ready for future collapse.
Younger people who can’t get into the current system due to high competitiveness, nepotism, lack of resources/education, etc. would probably see it as a good “social compact” to turn their back on 50 years of consumption-based living (assuming it is even possible to continue this way of living for another 50 years…) and instead invest their hearts/minds/blood/sweat/tears into a sustainable community that at least gives them some hope of a dignified lifestyle as well as some degree of safety/security from collapse.
Unfortunately I don’t meet many later-aged Baby Boomers who have a) been wise with their wealth and saved it rather than consumed it in the form of houses, granite counter tops, BMWs, etc., and b) are wiling to turn their back on the system that has promised them trouble-free living in their “golden years” through unpayable retirement plans.
Likewise, for the young, I don’t see enough of them willing to break away from the system that their parents have promised them is the path to riches (“go to university and you’re set for life!” – not so anymore). But as more of them have their hopes/dreams shattered by the system, I think they are waking up to this reality. I’m hopeful that at least some of them will turn their focus to doing something constructive (i.e. sustainable community living and learning community-beneficial skills/knowledge), rather than destructive (e.g. protesting, rioting, anarchism, cyber-terrorism), but history suggests that is unlikely.
For myself, I’m at a loss.
I’m right in the middle of being young and full of hope/energy for the future, and being a Baby Boomer of any sort of notable wealth. It seems difficult to lead by example when straddled between the two generations that I think can start a sustainable future, so I’m left posting on blogs and sending emails to friends/families that wind up being fairly hollow/ineffective.
Good points again, GBV.
You mention, “investing in sustainable communities”.
I know Doug Casey is involved in such a vineyard community la estancia de cafayate in Argentina and Simon Black in Galt’s Gultch in Chile but these are primarily pre-packaged real estate projects sold at a big markup to people with oodles of money. My instincts make me leery of them. Argentina is a “country whose future lies behind it” with a completely dysfunctional government I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on if it was on fire. Chile seems more stable but like most S. American countries it’s only a step away from being overthrown by leftist desperados.
Funny thing about Casey. He claims to have lived in dozens and visited hundreds of countries, sings the marvels (clean, civilized, quaint, etc.) of Canada after doing countless conferences (mostly Vancouver) and yet he shies away from recommending Canada as a place to live. I suspect he’s keeping it to himself or just doesn’t get it, yet he’s not stupid. I’m encouraged that most people see Canada as the land of ice and snow. It keeps the riff raff out. By the time they figure it out there’ll be no gas and too dangerous for Amerikans to walk to the border.
I doubt there’s any absolute safety from what’s coming. Too many unknowns to prepare for them all. I think one’s best investment is in oneself; acquire tradeable skills and the flexibility to change course as needed. I see no hope for high tech specialties but a lot of opportunities for gardeners, farmers, mechanics, blacksmiths, carpenters, medics and jack-of-all-trades.
Don’t kid yourself about boomer wealth. Most are broke. I work with many well past the retirement age whose investments, RRSP’s and pensions got hit bad during the last downturn. I doubt they’re prepared to have their savings and pensions stolen by the banksters who are determined to rob us all blind before they too meet Madam Guillotine. I’m fortunate in being one of the few with a defined (“divine”) benefit plan but it’s a mixed blessing because I’m convinced there’s no security and the only retirement plan is “don’t retire” or you’ll be dumpster diving. I’m with you; I don’t see Mad Max except in places we already know have descended there. What I see is a slow grinding down of everyone’s living standards.
Interesting sites you mentioned: Archdruid Report and the Automatic Earth and I’ll have to dig into them a little deeper. I’m also a bit leery of the ‘going back to a world made by hand’ as exemplified by the luddite James Kunstler. A lot of wishful & naïve thinking. If we ever hit that level, I don’t think it’ll be as pretty as they think. The veneer of civilization is indeed very thin. Humans are just animals and history has shown how ugly we can be.
You also say about boomers that, “they have the resources, experience and perhaps “moral obligation” if they are truly resentful for the consumption-based lives most of them have led”. Don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone admitting guilt or resentment for consumption-based lives. The only thing that distinguishes humans from the rest of the animal kingdom is our capacity for self-deception. A monkey might fool another monkey but a monkey won’t fool itself. Only humans do that in spades.
I’m almost finished my next post on the normalcy bias that you might find interesting. I don’t think either boomers or young people will change until they’re forced by circumstances and they won’t go quietly. Our normalcy bias is our own worst enemy.
“I’m also a bit leery of the ‘going back to a world made by hand’ as exemplified by the luddite James Kunstler. A lot of wishful & naïve thinking. If we ever hit that level, I don’t think it’ll be as pretty as they think. The veneer of civilization is indeed very thin. Humans are just animals and history has shown how ugly we can be.”
The Archdruid Report has an article up that I think speaks to what you are suggesting:
“It’s by way of this latter process, I think, that faith in moral progress tends to pop up in the literature of peak oil, and even more often in conversations in the peak oil scene. I’ve long since lost track of the number of times that someone has suggested to me that if industrial civilization continues down the well-worn track of overshoot and decline, the silver lining to that very dark cloud is that the rigors of the decline will force all of us, or at least the survivors, to become better people—“better” being defined variously as more ecologically sensitive, more compassionate, or what have you, depending on the personal preferences of the speaker.
Now of course when civilizations overshoot their resource base and start skidding down the arc of decline toward history’s compost bin, a sudden turn toward moral virtue of any kind is not a common event. The collapse of social order, the rise of barbarian warbands, and a good many of the other concomitants of decline and fall tend to push things hard in the other direction. Still, the importance of faith in progress in the collective imagination of our time is such that some way has to be found to make the future look better than the present. If a future of technological advancement and economic growth is no longer an option, then the hope for moral betterment becomes the last frail reed to which believers in progress cling with all their might.”
Good link to the Archdruid Report, GBV.
Ideological belief is as dangerous as religious belief. Belief of any kind is dangerous because it is based on wishful thinking rather than verifiable facts. I laugh whenever I see a report stating that science and religion are coming together. Science and religion are oxymoronic; completely opposite.
Questioning beliefs is tantamount to heresy because believers, not having a solid platform to stand on except emotion and wishful thinking, feel compelled to defend their beliefs to the death rather than admit the absence of a solid foundation.
For the same reason, arguing politics with a classical conservative on one extreme or a Marxist on the left wing isn’t as dangerous as arguing with a liberal. Conservatism and Marxism have doctrines they can refer to and use as defense. Liberalism rests on nothing. It is a default ‘centrist’ position for people too intellectually lazy to study political theory and choose one that appeals to them. With nothing solid to stand on except their emotions and an unwillingness to admit intellectual laziness, liberals resort to flaming and ad hominem attacks because those are the only weapons they have.
Most people are unconscious most of the time. We operate on automatic pilot. I adhere to Julian Jaynes’ very strict definition of consciousness in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind because it make sense and explains much human behaviour. Consciousness arises only in times of novelty which produces stress.
Learning to play the piano is a very conscious activity as we strive mightily to place our fingers on the correct key. Once we’ve become an accomplished pianist, we tell our central nervous system what to play (not how to play it) and our muscle memory takes over in automatic pilot mode.
Same with speaking. We don’t have to “think” where to place our tongue and lips. Once we’ve learned how to speak we summon our central nervous system to control our lungs, lips and tongue. At most we listen to ourselves as a form of feedback. But even that is mostly unconscious except when a NOVELTY arises like a mispronounced or stuttered word at which point the stress makes us conscious, we interrupt our central nervous system to apologize and find the correct word, turn things back over to our central nervous system again and go back to waking sleep.
Belief is unconscious insofar as we retain vestiges of our ancient Bicameral minds where one side of the brain heard the other side and translated that as the voice of authority: first father, then tribal chief, then king, then God as societies grew. Over time, increasingly complex societies and social and political turmoil made experience (the voice of God) less reliable and diminished the link between the two hemispheres forcing us to think in novel ways (consciousness). Today’s safe and comfortable world makes it possible to sail through most of the day on automatic pilot (unconscious).
Thus, questioning someone’s belief causes the believer great stress. It forces them into unwilling consciousness by making them think for themselves instead of automatic pilot. People don’t like the novelty of having to think for themselves. Automatic pilot (unconsciousness) is more comfortable.
Many of our modern myths like global warming, climate change and offshoots like Earth Day, etc. are merely comfortable beliefs based on pseudo-science and wishful thinking.
As far as I’m concerned, belief is for fools and gullible old women. Unfortunately, most people believe all kinds of shit. If the definition of an asshole is believing what we’re told without question, then most people are assholes. Sad, but true.
More good info, thanks Gerold !
You’re welcome, Fred. My brother’s to blame. He’d ask me about something & stir my curiosity; I’d research it, condense it, write it up and give him the Coles Notes version. Sumbitch’s been doing it for years.