Tuesday, January 1, 2008
I crashed the world economy
All of my money is in gold. I have 50 ounces. That's a lot of gold. It's in a variety of 1oz, 2oz, 5oz and 10oz ingots. Gold is absurdly heavy. Were you to hold even a 1oz ingot in your hand you would be amazed. I was the first time I bought some. I was also unimpressed. People think this stuff is valuable? I don't get it myself. My first thought was that it would make a pretty sinker for fishing. But everyone thinks it's worth having and they always have. It's idiotic but what can you do?
The people who sold me the gold offered to store it for me. Since I'd read Roosevelt's speech explaining to the American people that their gold was to be confiscated I figured it would be foolish to entrust my gold with the very people who would be the first port of call in any antipodean version of Roosevelt's gold grab. So I buried it. It's in the Wollemi National Park. If you want to look for it, knock yourselves out. I bet all my gold that you'd die trying. This is Australia. It's a hard hard country out there.
Never mind that, as impressed as I am with my 50 ounces the TV soon sets me straight. Whenever gold is discussed we see the usual library footage of gold. Monstrous great bricks stacked in pallets. All my gold put together doesn't even come close to a single one of those bricks let alone a pallet-load of bricks, let alone a room-load of pallets, let alone a building-load of rooms.
But my gold, and it comprises all my assets, keeps me interested in the price of gold. Not acutely so - I'm not doing this for short-term profit-taking. I'm too lazy and my brain doesn't work that way. There are people out there who are less acquisitive than me but they daub their bodies in ashes and speak to the gods. And hats off to them. I'm not that brave. I bought my gold simply because I believe in money less than gold. Was anyone to say that I watch the gold price to confirm my own cleverness I wouldn't disagree. I hang on to the self (or, as much as I dislike the word, ego) because I'm not as fearless as those people daubed in ashes.
It's also occurred to me that's there's a vulture-like aspect of my gold watching. Gold is precisely in competition with 'money', whatever that is. Did you know that less than ten percent of money is actual bits of paper? The rest of it is a series of ones and zeros in computers. 'Money' has value because people agree it has value. It's a curious concept. A thing is so because people believe it is so. I'm still wrestling with what this means. My problem is that belief can be, and is, manipulated. And for selfish reasons natch. Those that manipulate beliefs are, one way or another, a variety of motherfucker. Call me old-fashioned but I don't care to be manipulated by motherfuckers.
Back to gold v money. As much as people like gold it is heavy and inconvenient and when their belief in paper money's value coincides with reality they prefer it. But the 'value' of money, which is to say the strength of the collective belief, rises and falls. Watch the exchange rates to see this in daily action. Whilst small fluctuations in value/belief are the norm, huge fluctuations are perfectly possible. More people believe in money than believe in God. A belief of this scale is slow in the making but it's collapse won't be. It will be faster than you can imagine. Fires in cinemas ain't in it. From carefree distraction to screaming panic in the blink of an eye. Absurdly, gold does not collapse in this fashion. Paper does. Without belief paper is worthless. In fact it would be marginally worth more if there was no printing on it because at least then we could use it to write on.
And so I turn slow circles in the sky and watch the world economy crawl to its demise. My gold is worth more if the paper that people have otherwise spent their whole life pursuing becomes worthless. It doesn't reflect well on me. That I encouraged all my friends to get out of debt and into gold doesn't excuse me. I failed and nobody listened. They're all in debt up to their eyeballs. And of course when economies collapse nothing holds its value - money, shares, assets - it all turns to smoke. Except for two things - debt and gold. Debt is somehow immune to recession, depression, collapse, or any other goddamn thing. My friends chose debt. All of them are thick in Sydney's unstoppable real estate bonanza.
Do I pray that a collapse comes and maximises my gold's value and ruins my friends? Of course not. My 'out' is that gold is not either/or. Should the economy continue soaring onwards and upwards my gold still has value. It's possible I could lose but not by much. And really, it's only 50oz of glorified sinkers. I could lose it. I've done it before. But never mind that - only an inhuman monster would wish such suffering on people. It's just that I understand the appeal. Me owning gold is my glimpse into inhuman monstrousness, ha ha.
As the arse drops out of the economy and my gold appreciates I can imagine what it must be like to have one of those buildings full of rooms full of pallets full of gold. People own that gold you know. If you think only governments or corporations or some other faceless gigantic worthy could possibly possess such wealth think again. Know this - the US Federal Reserve is privately owned - by a handful of families. And they 'own' all the US dollars in creation. They printed them and loaned them to the US government. The dollars remain 'owned' and must be repaid. The Fed's name is stamped on each bill so that there's no confusion. Don't take my word for it. Watch 'The Money Masters' on googlevideo. Be amazed.
Anyway, loans require collateral. And since only gold and debt are ultimately worth anything (and they already have the debt) the collateral they required was gold. The Fed demanded and got all the gold in Fort Knox. Roosevelt didn't seize everyone's gold for nothing. It went to the owners of the Fed. How much gold do they have? Pretty much all of it. Where is it? Who the fuck knows? Oh. And every Reserve Bank in the world is the same. Even mine. The Australian gold reserve was flogged off for pennies in the pound years ago.
And if the collapse of money and the rise in gold suits me, you should see them! They ain't trailing along in the wake of others. They are the others. They make the wake. It's their collapse and they made it fair and square. They made the boom and dammit they'll make the bust too. Booms and busts are theirs to make. If you think they're in it for profit you'd be wrong. They're looking to take the whole fucking thing. The economy is global now. In a 'game' with six billion people in it, they win. Imagine playing monopoly and the winner doesn't just get all the property, they get you too. You and everyone. It will be a win of such enormity that the word hubris falls short. Greed at this epic, indeed mythic, scale will require an epic downfall. Never in the history of myth has a deed even a fraction of the scale of what's coming escaped punishment. And these people are not greater than the immortals. Their fall shall be truly terrible.
Okay, so I didn't crash the world economy. I'm just a penny-ante bit player who had a mad dream. Everyone should relax and carry on as per usual. Any future events that resemble what I've written here will be sheer coincidence.