Sunday, June 10, 2012

Differential Rates of Currency Decay Explain Europe's Unsolvable Dilemma

10 June 2012

Quick comment.

Since the nations of the world, led by the example of the United States, aboandoned the gold standard, all of them have allowed their currencies to decay at a steady clip. We call it "inflation," perhaps a euphemism. My suggestion, we should call currency destruction what is is, "currency decay."

If you understand this concept, you will understand the present problem with Europe.

In brief, the Deutsch Mark, if it stil existed, would rise relative to other currencies, as German monetary policy is less inflationary than that of most other major nations. Note - it is still inflationary, just less so relative to the policies of its peers.

In brief, this is why the European Monetary Union is failing. Greece has always permitted a rapidly decaying currency, as Greek citizens have a habit of taking long holidays, retiring at 60, not paying income and property taxes, and not even paying for government-provided services, including electricity. Similarly, Spain, Portugal and even Italy are "relaxed" when compared to the more industrious French and German economies.

So what we are seeing now is currency decay to the point of outright "rot" in Greece, and quickening currency decline in Spain (with Portugal, Italy, Ireland and certainly others "following along").

How does one maintain monetary union in such a case?

In brief, it can't be done.

The nations with slowly decaying currencies must continuously bail out those that tolerate more rapid decay and outright decomposition, with Greece being the current poster child.

It's not fixable.

(Thanks to Hookedblog for today's images.)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

What Is Wrong.... A One-Paragraph Summary

7 June 2012

This is a paragraph that I wrote to a liberal friend today (slightly expanded from the original):

I am not a conservative, but I also differ with many liberals, so I'm not sure what category I fall in. I believe in free markets, but our present market is manipulated. Our corporate "titans" seem to manage businesses for themselves, not for their shareholders. General Electric Corporation, as an example, has shed 58% of its value since the year 2000, and the broad markets have punished shareholders for 12 years. The ultra-rich are taking everything private, and closing out public participation in ownership of assets. Governments are adding gatekeepers and regulators, and shedding service providers, builders and maintenance workers. The income tax code is a Byzantine labyrinth that favours the rich and punishes the middle class. We are conducting costly wars on drugs, privacy and terror. Paul Krugman is calling for more debt, which cannot possibly work long-term (look at Japan for a trip down that road). Unions are losing the battle to protect their members, but winning the battle to prevent young people from entering the workplace. I hope you grasp my dilemma. It seems that everyone on both the left and the right is doing exactly the wrong thing. My personal investment strategy (precious metals) is predicated on the assumption that decision-makers everywhere, given a choice, will take action without consideration of long-term consequences. Our governments are accumulating debts that the young cannot pay, and the prospect is that we shall all be taxed at ever greater levels in order to fund the ballooning cost of a world that none of us wants. There are of course bright spots out there, but the broad trend is as negative as I have ever seen.