The Austrian Endgegner

Impossible predictions aside, it seems fair to say the US dollar will be a mere shadow of its former self by 2014 (if recognizable at all in its new form). If we aren't on some kind of pure gold standard by that time (an extremely tough logistical nut to crack), we could be on some type of digitized commodity standard instead, under which the currency units in one's bank account are tied to an intrinsic-value basket. One resourcebuck = a fixed allocation of 30% precious metals, 30% base metals, 20% energy, and 20% timberland. Or something to that effect.

Whatever happens, it's important to keep hold of the fact that the world does change. Many things will stay the same, but others will look quite different... including global monetary policy.

The Austrian Endgame

Returning now to the recent past (mid August actually), your Macro Musings editor still has a sore fist from pounding the table for gold stocks. Specifically we said the following:

We feel gold stocks could put in a triple or quadruple from current levels -- over the course of months to years -- and it isn't clear when the move will begin in earnest. Given that it could be sooner rather than later, we think it's time to buy.

The timing was indeed "sooner." Gold stocks took off like a rocket within a few weeks of that call... the price of gold itself adding a none-too-shabby $50 per ounce or so.

Patting one's self on the back makes for a sprained shoulder, so we'll say little more there. It just seems prudent to add, in this discussion of golden milestones, that we are no johnny-come-lately to the bullish gold argument.

Events of the past few years have played out in classic fashion, just as the Austrian Endgame (a personal term) predicted. Here we quote from an explanatory note to readers, penned by yours truly, back in August 2005:

The [Austrian Endgame] is rooted in a basic observation of Austrian economics, articulated by Ludwig von Mises:

"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom expansion brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."

Here is how it works:

1. In attempting to stave off recession or depression, the powers that be induce a credit boom through monetary stimulus.

2. The following boom is enjoyed at the cost of a massive debt buildup.

3. Excesses of the credit boom eventually lead to inflationary pressures.

4. The powers that be find their hands tied; they cannot kill rising inflation without killing the debt-laden economy at the same time.

5. The Fed's choice thus becomes take real steps to reign in inflation and destroy the economy, or let inflation run and eventually destroy the currency.

Anchors away

We are now heading into the thick of stage five. The sharpest evidence for this is gold above $700 (on the way to new all-time highs), the dollar at fifteen year lows (bye-bye long term support), and loud clamoring for a Fed rate cut from nearly all parties, even as the greenback is getting pitched headfirst down a well. (There is plenty more evidence too of course. Those are merely the most visible symptoms.)

~by Justice Litle (Consilient Investor)

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