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Jim Rogers is Right

Simon Black

Jim Rogers saw the writing on the wall for America several years ago. He uprooted his wife and family from New York and went where the opportunity was – Singapore. Rogers has famously said that the best career advice he can give a young person setting out to make a fortune today is to become a farmer.

Unlike some news anchors, who seem to take the comment in jest, I believe he is completely serious. Forget investment banking, derivatives trading, or managing a hedge fund. The big fortunes of the coming decade or two may well be made in agriculture.

Those quick to dismiss the notion assume this means toiling in the fields all day from dawn to dusk. Wrong. There are MANY ways of making a buck in farming and agriculture.

Farming itself is just one part of the supply chain. You could supply seeds, chemicals, fertilizer or stock feed. You could breed some exotic variety of cattle or pigs. You could provide logistics services to get products to market. You could even set up a fund to invest in agribusinesses on behalf of others.

There are literally dozens of ways to play this.

I just finished reading an uplifting account of a young Filipino entrepreneur (only thirty-one years old) who’s well on the way to floating his diversified agribusiness company on the Philippine Stock Exchange for P2 BILLION ($46.5 million).

In just 7 years, he’s grown the company, which does everything from selling livestock feed, to running rural supplies stores, to raising chicken hatchlings.

Annual sales have increased 9-fold from P200 million to P1.8 billion. Profits this year should hit P137 million based on company projections. By 2013 they’re targeting P425 million. That’s US$10 million, give or take, in net profit, all from doing something very basic.

Put simply, so little new blood and talent has entered the agriculture business in the past generation that many business practices remain stuck in a time warp.

How many people do you know who majored in agricultural science at university? How may people can you think of who stayed on to run their parents’ farm, or returned to the land to run their own business?

Now, compare that to how many bankers, brokers, accountants, and lawyers you know…

Ten years ago, NOBODY studied geology and people looked at you as though you had two heads if you said you wanted to be a mining engineer. Today, agriculture is in the same boat, and the complete dearth of new talent in the agricultural industry is a sure sign to me of the wide-open field of opportunity.

In the Philippines, so low-hanging was the fruit – if you’ll pardon the pun – that this young entrepreneur I just mentioned was able to double profits at his parents’ farm supply business when he took it over, simply by installing some off-the-shelf accounting software.

You may think this is an extreme example, but I can tell you that there are dozens of countries in the same situation. Paraguay is one of them.

We talk a lot in our discussions about ‘adding value’ as a means to generate income, either as an employee, professional, investor, or entrepreneur. This is an important principle to understand because being able to generate independent income is absolutely necessary to become more self-reliant.

I’m quick to point out that the value creation process is often derived from solving problems – the bigger the problem, or the more people it affects, the greater the value created… and hence, the greater the reward.

Quite simply, there are a lot of problems to be solved in developing markets – lack of modernization, lack of technological know-how, lack of best business practice know-how, lack of financing and appropriate capital management, etc.

These are often second nature to many westerners who typically have both the knowledge and experience to make a big difference, and hence create a lot of value, overseas. One just needs the courage to do it… and prove Jim Rogers right.

Ron Paul: I Totally Disagree with Bernanke’s Central Economic Planning

There’s Something Happening Here…

Dave Pollard

Some things I’ve noticed lately:

  1. The NYT, and the few other mainstream media that still have a shred of credibility remaining, have recently been filled with Op Eds and editorials urging various powers (corporations, Obama administration, Supreme Court) to do (or not do) things. But these urgings have an increasing tone of hopeless wishful thinking, since to the informed reader it is almost absurd to believe that what they are urging will actually transpire, given that these powers have been doing precisely the opposite for years now and show no inclination to change.
  2. The progressive alternative media have become tedious reading lately. When Bush was in power, they were all about the need to overthrow that psychopath and undo all the damage he had done. Now it’s all whining about how terrible things are still. There is no action agenda, just a growing sense of hopelessness, anger, and despair. Will the anomie and disenchantment of the young build into anger, and a ’60s-style outpouring of generational outrage ? Will there be a new party of the left working to take over the Democratic party like the tea party of the right is striving to take over the Republicans? As the US continues to go bankrupt and its citizens give up on the ability of its federal government to work even at a rudimentary level, is there a tipping point here signalling the Soviet-style collapse of the US (Dmitri Orlov seems to think so), and if so will power devolve to communities, and how quickly?
  3. I have always believed, based on my study of history, that change happens only when (per Pollard’s Law) there is no alternative to change left, or when it’s easy to change, or when it’s fun. Times of great change seem to occur either at tipping points (when some seemingly-minor event is just enough to start an avalanche of people dramatically changing behaviours or beliefs, who weren’t ready to change before), or after “black swan” events (unexpected, unpredictable events with catastrophic consequences). But lately we’ve seen at least three “black swan” events (Katrina, the BP Oil Disaster, and the Japan Tsunami/Reactor leaks) that, rather than shifting the collective will, beliefs or actions, have caused us to retrench, and resist making any change that might avoid recurrence of such events.
  4. A lot of the political discussions of the day seems to presume that our civilization’s problem is one of power imbalance and collective political and social will (or lack thereof). Their premise seems to be that with the right people in power and the right re-balancing of power (political/legal, economic, police/military, and ideological/media, all could be right with the world. These arguments seem oblivious to the reality that, in our complex modern world, no one is in control. Not the government. Not vested interests of the left or right in the US. Not the global corpocracy. No one.

Put these things together – a tone of hopelessness in the mainstream progressive media, a largely useless outpouring of outrage in the indymedia, a giving up of citizens on the viability of centralized representative governments, reactionary responses to black swan events instead of constructive ones, the ratcheting up of existing systems to prolong the period before tipping points, and a naivete about the powerlessness of even the most powerful in modern complex systems – and what do we have?

In his book Beginning Again, David Ehrenfeld describes our civilization as a ragged flywheel, over-built, patched and rusty, spinning faster and faster and beginning to rattle and moan. He describes its coming apart in chilling terms:

There goes a chunk – the sick and aged along with the huge apparatus of doctors, social workers, hospitals, nursing homes, drug companies, and manufacturers of sophisticated medical equipment, which service their clients at enormous cost but don’t help them very much.

There go the college students along with the VPs, provosts, deans and professors who have not prepared them for life in a changing world after formal schooling is over. There go the high school and elementary school students, along with the parents, administrators and frustrated teachers who have turned the majority of schools into costly, stagnant and violent babysitting services.

There go the lawyers and their hapless clients in a dust cloud of the ten billion codes, rules and regulations that were produced to organize and control an increasingly intricate, unorganizable and uncontrollable society.

There go the economists with their worthless pretentious predictions and systems, along with the unemployed, the impoverished and the displaced who reaped the consequences of theories and schemes with faulty premises and indecent objectives. There go the engineers, designers and technologists, along with the people stuck with the deadly buildings, roads, power plants, dams and machinery that are the experts’ monuments.

There go the advertising hucksters with their consumer goods, and there go the consumers, consumed with their consumption. And there go the media pundits and pollsters, along with all those unfortunates who wasted precious time listening to them explain why the flywheel could never come apart, or tell how to patch it even while increasing its crazy rate of spin.

The most terrifying thing about this disintegration for a society that believes in prediction and control will be the randomness of its violent consequences. The chaotic violence will include not only desperate ruthless struggles over the wealth that remains, but the last great violation of nature. What will make it worse is that, at least at the beginning, it will take place under a cloud of denial and cynical reassurances.

That, I think, is what is happening here.

The corollary to Pollard’s Law is: Things happen for a reason. If you want to change things, first understand what that reason is.

So what is the reason that, despite millions of people being aware that the “flywheel” of our civilization is starting to come apart, and wanting to change it, we seem unable to do so?

I believe the reason that all human civilizations have crumbled is that the qualities of our species that produce civilizations are precisely the qualities that make them unsustainable. We have those qualities because they – notably our exceptional intelligence and exceptional ferocity – have been an evolutionary success story. Intelligent species that are not ferocious (perhaps including Bonobos and Neanderthals) have been unable to adapt to the niches that humans have. They were, I think, not up to the violence towards the rest of nature, and towards each other, that was needed to survive in places they were not biologically equipped to live.

We admire and reward both ambitiousness and ferocity, so it should be no surprise that the most ambitious and fiercest of us have dominated the gene pool. We admire winners. Our myths, in literature and film, are overwhelmingly about people with the determination and ferocity to overcome incredible adversity, to defeat those more powerful, to tame wild lands. That ferocity, I believe, is fed by our inherent assertiveness. Women love, and have children with, men who are assertive, powerful, “successful” at having and doing more, so the propensity is reinforced and carried on.

At the same time, our ambitiousness is driven by our intelligence, our realization of what is possible. We aspire to be more than we are and have more than we have. We want to build, to create, to “develop”. When we imagine something, we want to realize it.

When there were only a few intelligent (and hence ambitious), assertive (and hence fierce) members of our species, there was room in Earth’s laboratory for their excesses. But as they “succeeded”, they grew in numbers and impact, overcoming natural balances and constraints, and finally created a civilization embodying this ambition and ferocity – the industrial growth civilization that has, since its beginning, been catapulting us towards the sixth great extinction on our planet, and the first “caused” by a living creature. Our world is now exhausted, overcrowded with humans and our decaying artifacts, and taxed to the point we are all suffering from stress-related physical and mental illnesses.

As we begin to realize this, our tendency is to think that the way out of the excesses and crises of industrial growth is, not surprisingly, more of the same. If our intelligence and ingenuity have gotten us into this mess, perhaps technology and innovation can get us out of it? If ferocity and assertiveness have created the problem, perhaps great collective determination, hard work under some brilliant and inspiring leader, and if necessary violent subjugation of those not doing their share, is the answer? And both progressives and reactionaries see centralization – globalizing and making even more “efficient” what we are already doing – as the means to make things better, though for progressives it is globalizing and centralizing “rights” and social services, while for reactionaries it is globalizing and centralizing the military and industry.

Einstein famously said that you cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that gave rise to it. But that is the kind of thinking that the vast majority of people have, thanks to natural selection, and there are no levers of power that will allow a small minority with some different kind of thinking to prevail over the majority, not for long anyway, and not enough – there is, after all, no one in control of our industrial growth civilization, no switch that anyone can flip to stop it.

Most people find the above analysis terribly defeatist and pessimistic. Since I read John Gray’s Straw Dogs, however, I have found this realization liberating. “We cannot save the world”, Gray says, “and happily it doesn’t need saving… Homo rapiens is only one of very many species, and not obviously worth preserving. Later or sooner, it will become extinct. When it is gone Earth will recover. Long after the last traces of the human animal have disappeared, many of the species it is bent on destroying will still be around, along with others that have yet to spring up. The Earth will forget mankind. The play of life will go on.”

So what, if anything, should we do, now that our creaking and unsustainable industrial civilization is beginning to fly apart?

I think it depends on what you’re good at, and what you have passion for. There is a need for rear-guard actions to mitigate what Ehrenfeld calls the “desperate ruthless struggles over the wealth that remains” and “the last great violation of nature.” There is a need for reskilling ourselves and our children and grandchildren with the essential capacities needed to make it through the difficult transition to a post-collapse world. There is a need for models, at the community level, of more sustainable and resilient ways to live and make a living.

I don’t have the ferocity (or energy or courage) for the rear-guard actions, the good fight that activists have always fought and will continue to do so until the end. I am open to supporting them, however, with my imagination and my writing ability, if they think that would be of use. I am working slowly to learn or relearn some essential capacities so that I will be less helpless as our civilization faces the crises ahead. And while I’m not sure I have the patience (or collaborative ability) to help build real-world models of more resilient local community, I am exploring ways to combine my gifts for writing and imagining possibilities in some unique ways (games, visions, simulations?) that might help others cope better, or see their way through these crises better. As I wrote recently, I think the key to resilience will be our ability, in the moment, to imagine ways around the crises we cannot prevent, predict or plan for, and I think I can help with that, at least at the local level.

There’s something happening here, and it’s the beginning of the end. The signs are everywhere. There is no reason to celebrate (it is going to be a hard ride, and there will be no Rapture, no collective consciousness rising, no deus ex machina invention, or other form of salvation). And there is no reason to despair. We were unable to change, so now change is being imposed on us.

Sproing. There goes a chunk.

Currency Dead End Paradoxes

Jim Willie CB

Several very important currency effects are at work. Most economists are either silent on the factors or wrong footed on the dynamics. That is not surprising since they have been incorrectly analyzing, interpreting, and forecasting the financial crisis as it built up in 2005 and 2006, and as it exploded in 2007 and 2008 to surprise almost all of them, even as it has failed to recover in 2009 and 2010 in contrary fashion to their errant rosy positions.

The major currencies must be examined for some key paradoxes. As the monetary system crumbles into its final phase, the foundation under which the major currencies stand, trade, and change is breaking down. Refer to the sovereign debt structure, overly burdened by runaway government debt. The focus here is on some important paradoxes that go directly against both common sense and traditional economic logic. The following paradoxes are powerful contradictions that fly in the face of standard accepted economic theory. Consider the paradoxes after an introduction to an important deception by the financial pharmacy that doles out poison pills under central bank sponsorship.

Witness Greece and Ireland, which took the IMF poison pills under coercion, washed down the gullet by fiat credit based liquidity of the most toxic variety. The economists are the squires to the ruling bankers, and serve to propagate the dogma of the high priests who sit in the central bank marble offices. Genuflection before them by the Jackass will not be done. Leave that for the US press corps. More deceptions and wrongful forecasts will surely come, since the systems are under profound and growing distress. Almost all their constructs are incorrectly built. Let’s examine some important currency phenomena that serve as their most recent erroneous perspectives.

IMF Price Fixing Plan

The IMF plan to create a basket with inherent currency exchange rates is an attempt at price fixing, a blatant ploy to halt the USDollar decline. The once prestigious and respected global reserve currency is caught in a death spiral. The Special Drawing Rights (SDR) includes the USDollar, the Euro, the Japanese Yen, and the British Pound. Talks are brisk and intense to include the Chinese Yuan also. Within the SDR basket, if used as global reserve substitute, the major currencies will have an interwoven nest of fixed relative exchange rates. The idea is to have the major global banks use the SDR as their reserve currency like a block, a basket. But in order to work, any new reserve basket by definition will contain a rigid set of ratios. To begin with, the ratios are very likely not to favor the USDollar (with USTreasury Bonds) as much as the current makeup among the big banks. Therefore, the fixed ratios would be strained immediately at the imposed start of any new system. The initial startup alignment would alter exchange rates and force the IMF plan to change their fixed ratios. Great difficulty will come with the initial price fixing effort, whose challenge will continue with each passing week. Price fixing never works. This time is no different, even while concealed. The entire fiat platform is sinking.

The central banks hope to stop the USDollar decline. However, what they earn is a uniform decline in all currencies in terms of commodity prices. Rather than devise a new fundamentally sound platform, they rig the broken reeds, tie them together, and hope the failed system functions despite using broken components. The central bankers are desperate. While they appear to be organized, they are actually at war, among themselves and versus big creditor nations like China. They react with increasing desperation to the gradually recognized failure of the monetary system, sinking under the weight of the rapid and uncontrollable expansion of debt. What compounds the rising sovereign debt is the banker welfare which has backfired badly on the political stage. Main Street has been given a series of carnival ploys like the clunker car program and the home buyer tax credit and extended jobless benefits, ineffective one and all. The bankers have been given $billions, despite widespread fraud. The states have been shown hostile neglect.

The Gold price, the Silver price, the Crude Oil price, even the Copper price and Cotton price and Coffee price and Soybean price and Corn price, will all rise in uniform fashion versus the ludicrous basket that might be forced upon the global banking system. They would solve nothing, but instead impose a socialist pain uniformly. Instead of the USDollar falling more versus other major currencies, it would pull down the others like a huge stone. The true money measures in Gold & Silver would rise in a powerful fashion much more, but in an equitable fashion. Consider the basket creation with Chinese Yuan inclusion out of respect. The ugly cost to Europe and China would be to lose their independence and opportunity to fight off the USDollar. The Europeans and Chinese would lose any discount on commodity prices extended from rising individual currencies. Imagine two good swimmers in a big swimming pool, tied to three or four very bad swimmers. The good would be dragged down by the bad since joined by a fastened rope line. The basket would not float, since its reeds are rotten from old and burdensome debt. Look for Europe and China to nix the faulty SDR basket concept.

Conclusion: A paradox with backfire is at work. The IMF concept is badly flawed, operating as a veiled price fixing initiative. Its SDR basket would be equally toxic to the global banking system. Rather than Gold & Silver rising fast versus the USDollar, the precious metals complex would rise uniformly versus all major currencies. The Gold & Silver bull market would be much more plainly visible from all corners of the world. The currencies would fail together, yoked by the toxic USDollar.

Absent US Exporter Advantage

The US exporter advantage from a weaker USDollar will not materialize, contrary to the mainstream nonsense that reflect hope more than competent analysis. The economists have lost their credibility after crackpot notions like Green Shoots of economic recovery, like an Exit Strategy from the 0% corner of capital destruction, like the empty label of a Jobless Recovery. Now they have another rotten plank to stand upon that will undermine their credibility further. The central banks have resigned themselves to bring the UDollar down in an orderly manner. They mistakenly believe doing so will stimulate the USEconomy and revive the global economy. Instead, a lower USDollar will lift the entire global economy cost structure and serve to dampen all growth while it leads to starvation in poor nations. They expect the US export trade to pick up and lead the economic recovery. They are mistaken. First of all, the US industry lacks critical mass after decades of dispatch of factories to Asia. The start was the electronics departure to the Pacific Rim in the 1980 decade. The climax was the grand industrial buildup in China with Western investment funds, mostly American. The USEconomy lacks sufficient industry to take advantage of export growth. Secondly, many legitimate industrial advantages are in the possession of companies whose products are widely banned for export. See the advanced computer systems, the advanced telecommunications systems, even some advanced bioengineering systems. They fall under the province of national security. Lastly, a much more engrained cancer will affect the few American exporters that can attempt to exploit a lower USDollar exchange rate. It is the cancer of rising costs.

Most global currencies are rising versus the US$, so the USEconomy is actually hit much harder than other economies, and thus the domestic competitor firms. The lower USDollar will be offset by steadily rising costs, eliminating any exporter advantage. The cost squeeze is so profound in fact, that some of the US exporters will simply go out of business from vanished profit margins and a damaged customer base that is squeezed by global food & energy costs. The US export business costs will rise even more than the USDollar will fall, from rising input costs and even rising federal mandates like health care. Most other nations have less of a cost shock than the United States. The domestic US export industry cost shock eliminates the entire USDollar exchange rate advantage, something so basic that it cannot be seen, and surely not admitted for its heavy political effect. The higher cost of food & energy is painful enough. Americans who believe the export advantage will lead to new jobs possess a shallow comprehension of the important dynamics. By denying the cost shock, it does not enter their thought process.

Conclusion: A paradox with backfire is at work. The US export industries will not be able to take advantage of a lower USDollar exchange rate, since their costs will be the fastest rising in the world. The commodity prices are rising faster versus the USDollar than almost all other currencies. No USEconomic recovery will occur, but instead a massive deterioration will unfold as it hits the wall from rising costs.

Chinese Yuan Upward Revaluation

Inside China, a monetary system shared with the United States for a long time has wrought similar problems. They have had a similar structure that funds the system from bank credit to stock market investment to construction. They have a housing bubble, insolvent banks, but also $3 trillion in savings. The currency peg has created common asset bubbles in a systemic manner, much like a three-legged race inflicts similar wounds from falls to the ground to the two people joined. The entire Chinese Economy has had to adapt to rising commodity input costs. Some expected them to revalue the Yuan upward by 10%, which would give all of China a discount on input costs. They would pass on the nearly 10% export price hike to customers, the trade partners. Something has happened in the last two to three years. The Chinese have expanded to the Persian Gulf after continued European expansion, and thus made bigger footprints in the malls to fill the stores. China is not as US-centric so much anymore. They are more willing to raise US export prices and lose a portion of market share in the US.

On the financial front, those who have not noticed the war waged by Beijing simply are not paying attention. The US press does not report on many aspects of the financial war in progress. The Chinese have been busy building up their Yuan currency to be first a globally used vehicle in trade settlement and second a reserve currency held in the financial institutions. Success on both fronts have been realized with key bilateral swap facilities with Russia, Brazil, and pockets of the Persian Gulf. They have been diversifying out of US$-based assets for two years. Last week came a shocker. The Peoples Bank of China plans to shed $2 trillion of US$ assets, a tough task to implement. Even if it turns out to be a multi-year plan, it is significant. The effect is obvious on the USDollar, a downward force, a strong force. Any manifested action to dump US$ bonds will be followed by Japanese and Arabs and Koreans, who will follow the Chinese lead in shedding assets. Such is a topic of the expanded G-20 Meetings, whose initiatives are no longer led by Anglos. In the process, the USFed will be isolated as the global revolt continues. The fact of life extending from the financial crisis is that foreign creditors have abandoned the USTBonds. The USFed is the lone USTBond buyer.

The Chinese must contend with a vicious cycle. As they shed assets with US$ markings, the USDollar will fall further. It is inevitable that the USDollar will fall another 20% to 30%. Only Americans living under the US Dome of Deception believe otherwise, an echo of either arrogance or ignorance. Import prices will rise for Chinese goods sent to the USEconomy. Their asset dump will push up the Yuan, while official forceful action will attempt to formalize the structure behind the Yuan exchange rates. Watch Wal-Mart for clues, which has already warned of higher store prices. China will finally pass on higher costs, reluctant until in recent months. A small Yuan currency upward revaluation buys a commodity discount. But Chinese export trade is much more global and less US-centric than a few years ago. They will permit a US price rise, both from necessity in profit management and the desire to insult the Americans. They will predictably flick the noses of the US leadership, and kick their shins, as the financial war escalates further.

Conclusion: A paradox with backfire is at work. The desired goal is to mitigate higher input costs to the Chinese Economy, whether by edict of a higher Yuan value or by action from massive asset sales. It is coming. The process of disconnect from the US shared monetary policy started with several rate hikes and raised bank ratios. The rest of the process will be more painful in outright asset shedding and currency revaluation in the quest toward becoming a global reserve currency.

Japanese Yen Will Rise

The disaster in Japan has many facets and channels of damage. The after effects in Japan will work in numerous hidden ways to lift their Yen currency. Its steady stubborn rise will confuse the constantly wrong-footed economists. Japan must liquidate assets to finance the broad cleanup, the painful displacement, the urgent market support, and the eventual reconstruction. Their entire array of supply industries is very disrupted. The Japanese financial structure has hit the saturation point in national debt at a 140% Debt/GDP ratio, the highest among all industrialized nations. This is the ugly consequence of endless recessions and being trapped in the corner at the 0% rate. The squires and servants posing as economists in the United States fail to observe the Japanese lesson that a  nation never emerges from the 0% corner. This is basic. To admit this is to admit a failure of the monetary system and central bank franchise control tower.

The next phase inside Japan will include an unspoken emphasis of foreign asset sales in order to fund the staggering costs and to avert price inflation. Additional debt with Yen markings risks a surge in domestic price inflation. They are at a tipping point. Their supply industry will suffer from capital destruction as the profit squeeze hits Japan. It will compound the displacement problem encountered by worker homes being destroyed or declared in an uninhabitable area. It will compound the disruption problem seen in interrupted plant operations from power supply cutbacks and input material shipment reductions. The supply industry will shrink somewhat, but it is unclear how much due to government subsidies that could be raised in a big way. The effect on the global economy has only begun to be felt with the supply chain disruptions. Since the Chinese industrial expansion, a victim has been Japan. They lost their trade surplus, recently turned flat. In the next year, the Japanese trade balance will turn into an outright deficit. The effect of the rising Yen will work in a nasty mix with the disruptions from the earthquake and tsunami to bring about a sizeable trade deficit. This is basic, but still missed by the American economists.

Here is the paradox. The trade deficit will not keep down the Yen exchange rate down. The deficit will send into reverse the process of suppressing the Yen currency for 20 to 30 years. The key to understanding is to recognize the Bank of Japan (BOJ) for its past role. It has served as a loyal (if not controlled) financial colony outpost for the US, dutifully keeping the Yen down and the USDollar up despite the chronic US deficits, both fiscal (government) and trade (gaps from imports over exports). The final phase of Yen Carry Trade unwind has begun. Their 0% corner is permanent. Japan has been stuck in the corner after 20 years, despite strong trade surplus and significant industry, a point that economists never bothered to explain. No longer will the Japanese financial institutions, led by the BOJ, purchase the USTBonds. Next is the flip into reverse of the Yen Carry Trade. Since 1990 incredibly easy money was made in the biggest financial assembly line of illicit profit, a veritable factory. They used to borrow 0% Yen, with no risk of a rising currency, and invest in high yielding USTreasury Bonds and briskly rising US stocks even if bound in S&P500 baskets. Next Japan will sell assets and send the process into reverse. The YCTrade is never discussed in the US press. Even the venerable Kurt Richebacher never heard of it. Imagine him being instructed on the carry trade dynamics in 2003, a point of embarrassment for him and awkward role reversal for the younger Jackass. Even the Wall Street Journal reported on the carry trade dynamics.

The critical point was reached three weeks ago when an emergency G-7 Meeting was convened. Its purpose was coordination to buy USTBonds and keep the Yen down, ergo Global QE. The Yen Sale Pact was never called Global QE but that is the proper interpretation, since all major central banks became USTBond buyers of last resort. The Gold & Silver market properly interpreted the event, and surged to breakout levels. The effect of the G-7 desperate pact was temporary. The Yen has climbed back, now at the belt-line level of 121 to 123, the level often seen in a long string of weeks in 2011. Turn to the object of the YCTrade. The USTreasury Bonds have reached an elevated nosebleed bubble level of prices, as a result of the asset bubble promoted and fed with full broad support. Recall the primary vulnerability of asset bubbles, that they require an acceleration in funds to maintain a constant price level. The USTBonds have lost their buyers, as foreign creditors abandoned them long ago. They acted upon the disgust by installing broad diversification schemes. The Japanese natural crisis has mushroomed into an economic and financial crisis. They have responded by selling rafts of USTBonds, which is their right. The G-7 Accord is a stopgap, nothing more. They cannot divert their attention, but they already have. The USGovt budget disaster is just that distraction. In rising from 117 to 122, the Yen demonstrates the slipped attention span. The Yen is back above both 50-day and 200-day moving averages, recovering from the natural process that cannot be halted by bumbling central bankers under siege. Their system is failing on the global stage, with the whole world watching, yet comprehending little except the obvious chaos.

The trade deficit will not keep down the Yen exchange rate down. Contrary to standard economic theory, their trade gap will push up the Yen currency. Such a Jackass forecast goes directly contrary to their broken standard theoretical concepts, few if any have shown to contain much validity or sinew to hold together the broken planks of their financial theory. The Japanese Yen currency will continue to rise even though a trade deficit comes. Their trade surplus used to enable vast funds to suppress the Yen, now gone. The Japanese will sell foreign assets to cover the deficits. They will have to avoid price inflation by selling available foreign assets, in particular the plentiful US$-based assets. Banks will lead the final phase of the Yen Carry Trade unwinding process. Insurance companies will unload US$-based assets in order to finance claims. The financial firms will unload US$-based assets so as to protect Japanese stock values. Asset sales will cover deficits, simply stated, a basic fact of finance. The Bank of Japan will not be able to anticipate or keep up with the pace of asset sales. The overall national costs will be a multiple of current estimates. Already this week the estimates were raised on ultimate costs. Ripple effects will be vast in the supply chain for the electronics and car industries. The Yen will be out of the news until it rises past the 123 level, at which time it will be blow away the veil and reveal the crisis.

Conclusion: A paradox with backfire is at work. The Yen currency will continue to rise, despite a growing trade deficit. Standard theory will not explain the phenomenon, which is that the funds usually devoted to suppress the Yen exchange rate and defend the export industries will be sold in order to fund the cleanup, the support, the displacements, and the reconstruction. The primary assets sold will be US$-based assets, since they are held in high volume and whose sale works to prevent the price inflation backfire.

The Besieged USDollar

The USDollar DX index is flirting with a breakdown. Many analysts, the Jackass included, believe the DX index will eventually break below support lines and emergency tethers, seek its true value, and plunge the financial arena into a full blown global financial crisis. The crisis has not ended, and soon will intensify. Rather than embark on debt restructure and systemic reform, the national leaders dominated by the banker syndicate chose to dole of multi-$trillion welfare for the big US banks, redemption at nearly full value of their toxic bonds, coverage of the endless bills at the black holes in Fannie Mae and AIG, and blind approval of executive bonuses for those largely responsible for the national collapse. The entire cost structure of the global economy has risen in full view. The global reaction is to abandon the USDollar and seek an alternative, a great challenge. If foreign nations cannot control decisions or influence them in the USGovt, they can surely discard the USDollar with full vindictive motive. US stewardship has shown itself to be devoted to the syndicate motives.

If the Gold & Silver price correction this week was the beginning of a greater correction, or a signal of end of the great bull run, then the USDollar would not display such extreme and vivid weakness. The rise through December and the January resumed decline cleared out the oversold condition, thus permitting further declines. The global monetary system is crumbling. The sovereign debt foundation for that monetary system is suffering from toxemia, a septic flow in circulation within the blood system. The US$ DX index cannot rise above the critical 75 level. The next test is of the 72 level, the generational low that must be defended. If overrun, then the global financial crisis will be squarely focused on the failing USDollar. That is precisely what to expect, as Gold & Silver resume their upward powerful march undeterred by a flood of more fiat paper. The best propulsion for the precious metals is USFed Chairman Bernanke speaking. He reveals the desperation, the failure, the futility. Let him speak every Wednesday. After he admitted more debt monetization and 0% rates for an indefinite period of time, the Gold price jumped strongly (over $1530/oz) and the Silver price jumped strongly (ove $48.50/oz). He unwittingly declared the end of the 3-day precious metals price correction. It is experiencing its latest consolidation pit stop, just like in January. As we exit April, the rally with the bulls running will be the same as when we exited January. The shorts will be stampeded and overrun, made into road kill and served up on internet journals. Faulty perspectives will be exposed and embarrassed.

Mandatory Wage Increase

The Jackass will go out on the limb. A public distress signal has come from cost shock. The effect is lower retail spending, lower discretionary spending, lower business spending. The topline growth is in sales, which enables accounting games and claims of expansion. However, higher gasoline sales is not indicative of USEconomic growth, since less volume. It is evidence of price inflation. My forecast is that a nationwide movement by the autumn months will form. The movement will demand mandatory wage increases at a national level. The objective will be to help households squeezed by higher costs, and to avert an explosion of personal bankruptcies and business shutdowns. In time, look for (maybe hope for) two parts of wage and salary increases, merit raise and cost of living raise. The public demand will be for a grand socialist directive to legislate Cost Of Living raises to all Americans. The tremendous squeeze of business profits and household discretionary spending must invite a reaction, a national movement. Either people show public anger or they win an income hike, even if legislated. Without it the system known as the USEconomy will collapse. Notice the Philly Fed in April plunged down to 18.5 from 43.4 in March, a decline without precedent. It is difficult to hide the breakdown and collapse. If and when a national wage increase to offset the higher cost structure occurs, it will open the floodgate for price inflation. The cost squeeze has ravaged the core of American households, and it is severe. The main shelves of food & energy are just the visible tips of the iceberg.

The leaders must throw the restless natives a bone. But here is the battle. The banking and political leaders have made a national objective to prevent the ‘Secondary Inflation Effects’ from occurring, namely rising wages. They observe the rising cost structure with all its consequent distress. The clownish USFed Chairman will conduct public meetings and press conferences. His mission is to explain the urgent need not to prevent wage and salary increases. HE WILL MEET A FIRESTORM OF PROTEST, HOSTILITY, AND ANGER. His mission in plain terms is to save the system by letting the public succumb to cost pressures. He will explain the need for the people to die an economic death so that the banker assets do not collapse, so that the hidden banking system laden with corrupt credit derivatives does not collapse, so that the scourge of systemic hyper-inflation does not ravage and destroy the US financial system. The people probably do not care about such arguments. They will instead demand supplemental wage increases.

Signal Test for End of Gold and Silver Bull

The basic test is not complicated. It can be administered easily at  home, even by high school dropouts with a functioning stem stem. Have they liquidated any big US banks??  Has any reform come for encouraging the return of US industry??  Has any regulatory reform been pursued for expanding business?? Have they stopped printing money to cover debt??  Has any reduction in USGovt deficits been realized??  The answer is a loud NO on all counts of the basic test, which signals a continued bull market in precious metals. They print money to cover bonds which raises the cost structure and thus works to remove active capital through the natural process of business shutdowns, due to vanished profitability. Watch for job cuts from the pervasive cost shock and its powerful squeeze. Watch for even greater propaganda of economic recovery in supposed business growth, which is almost all price inflation relabeled as growth, fully forewarned by the Jackass over the past three or four months. The Gold bull market will continue for at least a couple more years, as nothing is fixed and the major currencies continue their extreme debasement and ruin. Gold & Silver are currencies of last resort, more widely embraced in the last year or more by foreign reserve management teams. Precious metals are more widely recognized as linchpin to Western control of the financial kingdoms. The Silver bull market will continue for even longer, as nothing is fixed and the major currencies continue their extreme debasement and ruin, while industry must contend with widespread chronic shortages.

Bear in mind that the USFed is actively buying the TIPS, icing down the thermometer. They are doctoring the Treasury Inflation Protection Securities meter itself, done openly, without apology, without critical response by the bank analysts, asleep at the wheel. The upcoming wild card: foreign trade will no longer want the USDollar for crude oil or Chinese products. These two arenas are points of extreme vulnerability to the King Dollar. Foreign creditors and foreign wealth fund managers have embarked on contrary paths. They are angry with the US custodial actions laced with failed policy. They are disgusted with unbridled monetary inflation in the form of accelerating debt monetization. They are disgusted with runaway USGovt budget deficits. They are disgusted with fast rising food & energy prices, attributed directly to the USFed. They are disgusted with lost value of their reserve assets, attributed directly to the USFed. They are disgusted with the USDept Treasury, which accuses other nations of being currency manipulators, when the US with its QE Operations and TARP Funds is the grandest violator. The USEconomy will next react to a massive cost squeeze. The US press seem incapable even to report on a basic fact, that the USGovt has already exceeded the legal debt limit.

Crispin Odey: “The West Will Become Flooded With Inflation”

Some interesting observations from the transcript of Crispin Odey’s Q1 2011 conference call. In a nutshell: inflationary re-exports from the developing world back into the developed is about to make life for chairprinters a living hell.

In our scenario, we do not see interest rates going from 0.5% to 3%. We see interest rates staying very low but when they do actually start to move up through to 6%/7% and even when they get to 7%, basically finding that that is hardly where they are going to stop, they are actually probably on their way higher still. Our question there is obviously if interest rates go from 0% to 7% there are lots of assets which suddenly become speculations and that means that we have to be worried for your portfolio during that period and the whole question is, how can you insulate yourself against that?

So what have we been having over the last couple of years and where are we now? Well the answer is on page 13, of course these numbers are in part exaggerated; wage growth in the UK does appear to be picking up a little bit more than I am showing here but the essence of everything is really what is important. What you can see is that whilst we have an uncompetitive first world, the good news is that because the emerging markets are pegged to the US dollar currency, they have not been able to push up interest rates to offset the wage inflation that they have been experiencing and essentially wage inflation of 20% has been pretty well the norm across most emerging markets and average interest rates have  been around about 5% in these countries so we are nowhere close to slowing things down.

Then the question only is when you get to a position where the West is competitive, we are not going to continue to see wage growth of 1.8% or 1%, because the fact is we are building up this sense in which we are way behind the line in terms of keeping up the cost of living so we anticipate, whether it is 2012 or whether it is 2013, that we will not see a 1% rise, we will see a 8% rise and if we see a 8% rise, 75% of that will come through straight back into inflation. So our forecast is that inflation, far from being 5% at the end of that, it will be at 11%. Which means at that moment interest rates have to rise because that is the moment that the central banks have got that mandate. If interest rates rise from 0% to 7%, you can be sure that at round about 35% to 40% of that rise will make its way again through to inflation.

So our cry is that you move into a very different kind of cost cut inflation coming through in which essentially the central bank remains behind the curve even if they are raising interestrates which themselves are much higher, the rises are much steeper and faster than people anticipate but I think that is the shock bit and that is why I hope with all of you, I spend my life worrying about that bit, not really about where we are now but about that and making sure that we have got the right franchises.

What you have got to keep on remembering is that actually there is a convergence going on here but there is a benefit to the West from the fact that inflation is taking place, the fact is we do end up with much more competitive western economies, albeit at the same time they will become flooded with inflation.

The chairman disagrees with the premise of this argument.

Full transcript: http://www.scribd.com/doc/54148842/Crispin-Odey-s-Transcript-Q1-11

McDonalds Hires 62,000, Turns Away Over 938,000 Applicants For Minimum Wage, Part-Time Jobs

Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
April 29, 2011

This is what the US economy has been reduced to: McDonalds reports that as part of its employment event to hire 50,000 minimum wage, part-time (mostly) workers, subsequently raised to 62,000 it received a whopping 1 million applications, or a Tim Geithner jealousy inducing 6.2% hit rate (h/t X. Kurt. OSis). Alas, the US economy is now so pathetic that the bulk of the population will settle for anything. Literally anything. And the saddest part: over 938,000 applicants were turned away. Here’s hoping to Burger King needs a few million janitors in the immediate future too. And yes, aside from reality, things in America are really recovering quite nicely.

From Bloomberg:

McDonald’s and its franchisees hired 62,000 people in the U.S. after receiving more than one million applications, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Previously, it said it planned to hire 50,000.

The April 19 national hiring day was the company’s first, said Danya Proud, a McDonald’s spokeswoman. She declined to disclose how many of the jobs were full- versus part-time. McDonald’s employed 400,000 workers worldwide at company-owned stores at the end of 2010, according to a company filing.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s said sales at stores open at least 13 months climbed 2.9 percent in the U.S. after it attracted more diners with items such as beverages and the Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus burger. The fast-food chain has about 14,000 stores in the U.S. and more than 18,000 abroad. About 80 percent of all McDonald’s stores are franchised.

Gerald Celente: ‘Bernanke Devaluing the Dollar’