Aberrant Central Banks

In a report to be presented on Wednesday June 17 in London, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) will reveal that central banks are increasingly investing in the stock market and that they will most likely continue to do it in the future. “A cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets” can be read in the report, according to an article published in the Financial Times. What should be considered an aberration, that is, that central banks, whose “raison d’être” is maintaining the purchasing power of the currency, engage in such market distorting and destroying activities, is presented as a, at most, minor mistake, a quirk, a curiosity, something not to be ashamed of or worried about. Here you can reach the OMFIF press release, here the FInancial Times article and here the Zerohedge comments about this conspiracy theory turned fact.

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4 April 2013 TYR reads

Helicopter QE will never be reversed @ The Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard hints at what the nature of the end-game of this monetary era might be…and it is printing money…forever. With an apparently neutral style and quoting potentially apocalyptic outcomes if permanent money printing by Central Banks is not considered ( “A breakdown of the global trading system might be one, armed conquest or Fascism may be others – or all together, as in the 1930s.”), the idea of a radical change of the monetary and economic system, without democratic consent, is being gradually introduced to a public opinion that is largely unable to understand the consequences of such monetary policies. He concludes: “Bondholders across the world may suspect that Britain, the US and other deadbeat states are engineering a stealth default on sovereign debts, and they may be right in a sense. But they are warned. This is the next shoe to drop in the temples of central banking.”

97% Of Spanish Social Security Pension Fund In Domestic Bonds @ Zerohedge “It appears, since the Spanish government does not explicitly have its own Fed to monetize debt, that it has merely plundered another quasi-governmental entity to do the bond-buying reach-around.”

Bank of Japan unveils aggressive easing @ Financial Times “The BoJ said it would double Japan’s monetary base from Y135tn ($1.43tn) to Y270tn by March 2015, mainly by buying more long-term government bonds.”. “We can’t escape deflation with the incremental approach that’s been taken until now,” Mr Kuroda said after the announcement. “We need to use every means available.”.

As Mr. Evans-Pritchard mentions in his article, “There were two extreme episodes of money printing in the inter-war years. The Reichsbank’s financing of Weimar deficits from 1922 to 1924 – like lesser variants in France, Belgium and Poland – is well known. The result was hyperinflation. Clever people made hay. The slow-witted – or the patriotic – lost their savings.”. The policies and situations described in the articles above suggest that it might happen, again.

Bitcoin a virtual currency that defies the NWO

Bitcoin the emerging monetary phenomenon created by a pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 is no longer a joke, but a potential real threat to the neofeudal NWO whose visible components are the western Central Banks, from the Federal Reserve (FED) , to the European Central Bank (ECB), to the Bank of Japan (BoJ), to the Bank of England (BoE), to others.

Bitcoin poses a direct challenge to fiat based Central Bank created currencies that are continually being debased in order to maintain a “dual” economic system in which the banking industry is continually being subsidized (thru access to cheap money via the Central Bank, thru continuous bailouts paid by taxing the rest of the economy, thru covert inflation achieved by distorting the inflation measures).

It is likely that if the threat posed by Bitcoin materializes, Central Banks will fight it (they have already started), but whatever the outcome, Bitcoin is the most brilliant and lethal tool devised so far to fight a social order described decades ago, in “1984”. Forget, “Occupy Wall Street”, forget “indignados”, Bitcoin might be “it”.

It should thus not be a surprise that, as Zerohedge reported today, “US Begins Regulating BitCoin, Will Apply “Money Laundering” Rules To Virtual Transactions”.

So…What is Bitcoin?

According to Wikipedia, “Bitcoin (sign: BTC) is a decentralized digital currency based on an open-source, peer-to-peer internet protocol. It was introduced by a pseudonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.”

“Internationally, bitcoins can be exchanged by personal computer directly through a wallet file or a website without an intermediate financial institution. In trade, one bitcoin is subdivided into 100-million smaller units called satoshis, defined by eight decimal places.”

According to Erik Voorhess, that provides an excellent introduction to Bitcoin in his blog, “Bitcoin is two things: it is a digital currency unit and it is the global payment network with which one sends and receives those currency units. Both the currency unit and the payment network share the same name: Bitcoin.”

“As a currency unit, consider Bitcoin like other currencies. The world has euros, dollars, yen, gold and silver ounces, and now it has Bitcoin as well. The properties of the Bitcoin currency unit are as follows:”

  • There will never be more than 21 million in existence, and they are released over time at a declining rate (at the time of writing, about 8.5 million Bitcoins exist).
  • As new coins are released on the set schedule, they are given at random to those who contribute computing power to securing the network. This is called “Bitcoin Mining” but it should more accurately be called “Bitcoin Auditing.” Those who contribute more computing power to this work have better odds of receiving the new coins, but the rate of new coin creation never increases (in fact it diminishes over time until all 21 million coins exist). Inflation is thus pre-determined and ever-decreasing toward zero. The below graph shows the release schedule and inflation rate:

  • Each Bitcoin is divisible by one hundred million. You can thus possess 0.00000001 Bitcoins.
  • Bitcoins are perfectly fungible, they are divided and combined seamlessly in your account.
  • It is theoretically impossible to make a fake Bitcoin (to fully understand why this is true, one needs to study cryptography and fairly advanced mathematics).
  • As a currency existing in a perfectly free market, Bitcoins always have a market price. At the time of this writing, this price is about $4.80 each. Because Bitcoin is global, there are also market prices for Bitcoin in every major national currency from yen to Brazilian reals.
  • Bitcoins are traded like other currencies on exchange websites, and this is how the market price is established. The most prominent exchange is MtGox.com

“So those are the details of Bitcoin as a currency unit, but Bitcoin is also a payment network. As a payment network, Bitcoin replaces the function of banks (especially the Federal Reserve as money creation is not at the whim of any person nor group), inter-bank funding networks (like SWIFT and SEPA), payment processors (like PayPal) and remitters (such as Western Union). The entirety of these massive industries as they relate to the creation, storage, accounting, and transfer of money has been usurped by Bitcoin. If Bitcoin succeeds, it is likely that PayPal and Western Union would be removed from the marketplace. The Federal Reserve (and every central bank) would be made redundant. “Disruptive technology” is thus an understatement.”

Is Bitcoin “money”? Does it have the characteristics that define that elusive concept called “money”. According to the traditional definion, “money” should be a store of value, a medium of exchange and a unit of account. Let’s see:

  • Is it a store of value?. Yes. Why?. Because it cannot be counterfeited and because it is scarce. Only 21 million Bitcoins will ever be issued by 2140. Being a store of value is based on being scarce, and Bitcoin is scarce.
  • Is it medium of exchange?. Yes. Why?. It is used to purchase and sell products and services.
  • Is it a unit of account? Yes. Why?. It is fungible, divisible and can be used to accumulate wealth.

Bitcoin is an experiment, and it could fail. Its success depends on its creators fulfilling the pledge never to issue more than 21 million units, on keeping it scarce. But so far it is succeeding. Check the price of the Bitcoin in USD in this chart provided by Blockchain: It went from 10 USD in July 2012 to 70 USD this last week. Check also the market capitalization of the Bitcoin market in this chart also provided by Blockchain: It went from 100 million USD in July 2012 to about 800 million USD this last week.

Its success also depend on it being widely accepted. This condition has the characteristics of a self-reinforcing loop: The more it is accepted, the higher the chances of it succeeding as a medium of exchange. So far the prospects are good. Transactions mediated by Bitcoin are growing fast.

As Bitcoin is decentralized, it can be hard to find all the resources one might want. Below is a list of some of the most useful websites and tools for learning about and engaging the Bitcoin economy (compiled by Erik Voorhees)

Paytunia.com – Very nice online ewallet service with Android app. Store your coins here.

BitSpend.net – Enables you to buy ANYTHING online by paying with Bitcoin. Very cool.

Bitcoin.org – Official site of the Bitcoin project, download the wallet software here.

MtGox.com – The leading Bitcoin exchange. Buy and sell Bitcoins here.

BitcoinTalk.org – The official discussion forum, and large enthusiast community.

Wiki.Bitcoin.it – Encyclopedia of most aggregated Bitcoin knowledge, very extensive.

Bitcoin.it/wiki/trade – Partial list of companies that accept Bitcoin as payment.

Blockchain.info – Tool for viewing accounts, payments, and numerous economic statistics.

BitcoinCharts.com – Shows current market prices and economic statistics.

Preev.com – Super easy Bitcoin<->fiat calculator, multiple currencies supported.

BitcoinMonitor.com – Live view of transactions as they happen on the Bitcoin network.

Paysius.com – Enables businesses to automatically accept Bitcoin payments on their website.

Bit-Pay.com – Another excellent merchant solution for businesses that wish to accept Bitcoin payments.

Coinabul.com – Leading gold and silver bullion seller for Bitcoin

Coinapult.com – Send Bitcoin via Email or SMS

WorkForBitcoin.com – Bitcoin job board – freelance projects which pay in Bitcoin.

Make nominal spending the new target? We hope not.

In the January 2 2013 edition of the Financial Times Mr. Scott Summer, economics professor at Bentley University, publishes an article titled Make nominal spending the new target, where he argues for the revolutionary, and increasingly MSM-pushed idea of making Nominal GDP Targeting (NGDPT) the official policy of central banks in most western countries. This policy was already hinted last December at a conference in Toronto by the present governor of the Bank of Canada (BoC), and future governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Mark Carney.

This in an article fraught with ideas that, if implemented, will permanently transform the nature of western economies and pave the way for structurally high inflation, potential hyperinflation, economic misallocation of resources, moral hazard (savers, wage earners and pensioners being punished), and general impoverishment of the population except for the few taking advantage of it thru their access to cheap financing: financial institutions and überwealthy individuals.

Mr. Scott Summer states: “Once a central bank sets an inflation target, they have essentially set a path for aggregate demand. In that case, what possible role can there be for fiscal stimulus? But as the past few years have shown, stimulus advocates and opponents are as vociferous as ever. And despite a widespread perception that most developed economies would benefit from more demand, central bankers seem unwilling or unable to deliver that growth.”

TYR states: This paragraph foreshadows the huge amounts of half-truths and outright lies that conform the article. It sets the stage for the assertion that a central bank’s main role is to foster “demand”, foster growth. This has never been the role assigned to monetary policy, whose main aim is, and should be, to preserve the purchasing value of the currency, that is , to keep inflation low. By positing that central banks should aim at fostering demand, the author conveniently ignores the fact that nominal GDP growth comes at the expense of inflation, that by debasing the currency in order to reach a theoretical NGDP target, no real growth is achieved, only the appearance of it, since that growth is basically inflation. This has been well-known since roman emperors clipped their silver coins. A not so obvious harm that such a policy would cause is a further misallocation of resources in the economy. By artificially fostering some sectors of the economy that depend on cheap financing (finance, housing) thru monetary policy, the same misallocation that was an important cause of the 2008 crisis is being perpetuated.

Mr. Scott Summer states: “Inflation targeting failed in two ways. First, it was a poor indicator of the adequacy of aggregate demand. Second, it is susceptible to “liquidity traps”, a period of near zero interest rates where central banks’ favourite tool – interest rate targeting – is rendered ineffective”.

TYR states: Inflation targeting was never intended to be an indicator of aggregate demand, but a (bad) tool to control inflation, the main aim of the guardians of the currency, central banks. Liquidity traps, a Keynesian and non-scientific term, is not caused by inflation targeting, but by debt overhangs, resulting in crisis, like the one in 2008, originated in  previous monetary laxity, precisely what the author recommends as future policy.

Mr. Scott Summer states: “This problem occurs because when the economy is very weak, even a 2 per cent inflation target might not be high enough to generate the sort of bullish expectations needed to stimulate demand. There’s already plenty of money in the system – we need higher spending growth expectations to push that money into circulation.”

TYR states: The author ignores the reasons behind the weakness in the economy, too much debt and misallocation of resources in the economy with some sectors overrepresented, housing and finance.

Mr. Scott Summer states: “Mark Carney’s speech on December 11 in Toronto demonstrated the growing interest in replacing inflation targeting with nominal gross domestic product level targeting, even among central bankers. The central bank would set a growth path for nominal GDP of perhaps 4 per cent or 5 per cent per year, and commit to return to that trend line when spending falls short or overshoots. Nominal GDP targeting would moderate the business cycle by being more contractionary than inflation targeting during a boom and more expansionary during a recession. And NGDP could do this while still delivering roughly the same long-run rate of inflation.”

TYR states: It is a huge mistake to assume that there is a “natural” nominal GDP growth rate, where is the scientific proof for this assumption? For centuries, GDP growth was very low, until the First Industrial Revolution speeded it up. What does that have to do with monetary policy? GDP growth depends basically on population growth and productivity, and productivity depends on availability of resources, capital and technological innovation, none of which are by any means affected by monetary policy.

Mr. Scott Summer states: “And there are many other advantages. If investors had known in 2008 that any declines in NGDP would be quickly made up, then asset prices would have fallen much less sharply, and demand would also have been more stable. The current prices of stocks, commodities and property are strongly influenced by their expected prices several years out. The severe asset price decline of late 2008 reflected the belief that central banks would fail to take decisive action to restore NGDP to the trend line.”

TYR states: Do we have to conclude that the inflated asset prices of 2008 should have been allowed to remain inflated for the sake of mantaining an arbitrarily determined nominal GDP level? In what way is this different from a centrally planned, fascist-soviet economy? What role does the cleansing mechanishm of failure have under such an economic system? This is certainly not capitalism.

Mr. Scott Summer states: “Some fear that inflation will become unanchored if we move to NGDP targeting. In fact, most of the problems that people associate with inflation are more closely linked to high and unstable NGDP growth. Wages tend to follow growth in national income. As long as NGDP growth is low and stable, wages and core inflation will remain well anchored.”

TYR states: Wages do not necessarily follow growth in national income. This has not been the fact in the last 40 years where wages have reduced their share as a percentage of GDP from 53% to 44%. It is corporate profits that have benefited the most from the covert inflation we’ve had since the USA dollar was unlinked from gold in 1971. But even if the author was right in this assumption, assume for example that we have a NGDP growth rate of 5%, an inflation rate of 5% and a wage growth of 5%…do we have any real GDP or income growth at all? No.

Mr. Scott Summer states: “A stable path for NGDP growth will also produce better policy decisions in other areas. Fiscal spending will have to be justified on a cost-benefit basis, once it is no longer expected to boost nominal demand. The cost of bailing out failed companies will be more transparent, as it will be obvious that more jobs in the rescued company are offset by fewer jobs elsewhere. Those claiming that Chinese exports cost jobs will have to provide a mechanism other than “less demand”, and won’t be able to do so. And, most importantly, countries will be able to address the public debt problem, as they should, without fear that austerity will cost jobs.”

TYR states: Here the author assumes that failed companies will be bailed out (moral hazard and misallocation of resources again) and that there will be fiscal prudence just because some mumbo-jumbo cost benefit analysis will conclude that any further spending does not contribute to nominal GDP growth. Central planning, covert economic fascism again. Finally, the author seems to assume that by central banks financing government deficits “countries will be able to address the public debt problem, as they should, without fear that austerity will cost jobs.”. Does anybody believe that by making deficits immune to their collateral negative effects, increase in interest rates and the associated recession, government deficits will be tackled?

Make nominal spending the new target? We hope not.

TYR 4 October 2012 reads

Spanish Prisoners @ NYT The catalan secessionist movement has sound economic, cultural and historical roots. It should be respected. In all aspects but name, Catalonia is a colony of Spain.

Chart Of The Day: The Rise Of Global Central Planning @ Zerohedge It starts like this…”there was a time when the world had (somewhat) free markets.”. The article does not contain a lot of information, but it conveys the idea with perhaps the most explanatory power in order to comprehend the present crisis: western societies are fast morphing into a neo-feudal regime, confiscatory, unelected, undemocratic, repressive, where central banks play the role of exercising the power usurped to individual citizens and democratic institutions. Behind the central banks, the real “owners” of power, a financial elite that in many ways remains hidden. The process started with the Magna Carta goes into reverse.

French Economy Implodes @ Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis the Markit Composite PMI sports the steepest rate of contraction since March 2009 with job losses accelerating at the fastest pace in 33 months and output plunging at the fastest rate in 42 months.