Research

Should the Gold Price Keep Up with Inflation?

The popular belief is that gold is a good hedge against inflation. Owning gold will protect you from rising prices. Is that true? Most people define inflation as rising prices. Economists will quibble and say technically it’s the increase in the quantity of money, however Milton Friedman expressed the popular belief well. He said, “Inflation […]

Interest on Gold Is the New Tempest in a Teapot

Zero Hedge published an article on Canadian Bullion Services (CBS) last week. Other sites ran similar articles. The common thread through these articles, and in the user comments section, is that CBS is committing criminal fraud. Or, if not, then it’s a conspiracy by the Canadian government to confiscate gold. Terms like fractional reserve and […]

Move Over Entrepreneurs, Make Way for Speculation!

Once upon a time, before banks and before even private lending, there was only one way to prepare for retirement. People had to hoard something durable. Every week, they would set aside part of their wages to buy salt (later, it was silver). Assuming it didn’t get wet, the salt accumulated until they couldn’t work […]

Who the Heck Consumes Capital?!

I have been writing about consumption of capital, using the example of a farmer who sells off his farm to buy groceries. It’s a striking story, because people don’t normally act like this. Of course, there are self-destructive people in every society, but, not many. Most people know not to spend themselves into poverty. To […]

The Economy is in Liquidation Mode

If you’re an American over a certain age, you remember roller skating rinks (I have no idea if it caught on in other countries). This industry boomed in the 1970’s disco era. However, by the mid 1980’s, the fad was fading. Imagine running a rink company at the end of the craze. You know it […]

Yield Purchasing Power: $100M Today Matches $100K in 1979

I wrote a story about poor Clarence who retired in 1979, and even poorer Larry who retired last year. I created these characters to challenge the notion of calculating a real interest rate by subtracting inflation. The idea is that the decline of a currency can be measured by the rate of price increases. This […]

There’s Your Hyperinflation

Hyperinflation is commonly defined as rapidly rising prices which get out of control. For example, the Wikipedia entry begins, “In economics, hyperinflation occurs when a country experiences very high and usually accelerating rates of inflation, rapidly eroding the real value of the local currency…” Let’s restate this in terms of purchasing power. In hyperinflation, the […]

Interest – Inflation = #REF

I have to admit that I derive some pleasure in taking on hoary old myths. For example, some economists assert that the interest rate you see on the Treasury bond is not real. You see, it’s only nominal. To calculate the real rate, they say you must adjust the nominal rate by inflation. Real Interest […]

Who Is Worth More: Some Hedge Funds or All our Kindergartens?

“The top 25 hedge fund managers made more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country,” declared President Obama in a discussion of poverty at Georgetown University. Calling them “society’s lottery winners,” he proposed to hike their taxes. Predictably, battle lines have been formed between two polarized sides. One side—let’s call them the Gauche for […]

Falling Yields, Rising Asset Prices – Rising Yields, Falling Prices

Our monetary system is failing, but explaining that isn’t easy. The most popular argument is that the dollar has falling purchasing power and rising inflation. The problem with this argument is that consumer prices aren’t skyrocketing now. So, of course, people remain skeptical. Yields across all markets were falling worldwide. This causes the income generated from assets […]