Posted Sep 7, 2015 by Martin Armstrong
Angela Merkel and IMF chief Christine Lagarde can laugh it up as Europe burns down. The whole crisis stems from antiquated ideas that center on what money actually is. If you do not grasp what the true function which money actually provides within the economy, then you will be unable to get anything else right either. This entire idea of austerity is the crazy notion that money somehow should be a store of value. This is up there on the list of myths with those who also argue that markets decline because of shorts rather than comprehending that eventually longs do also sell.
Money is the OPPOSITE of assets and has always been historically. This is incredible important to understand far more than you may realize. If you want money to retain its purchasing power/value, you are creating a false image of how the economy functions. For Germany to be politically obsessed with the days of hyperinflation and constantly attempt to impose austerity, they are adopting the anti-asset position and that is the source of deflation.
Interest is actually supposed to be a measure of expected inflation and is essentially dealing in options. Whatever the rate of interest, the lender is expecting that the money will buy the same amount of assets upon repayment plus some profit in excess – the interest rate + inflation. Bankers want the same purchasing value back upon repayment plus their profit which is the entire purpose of lending money. Yet historically, the boom and bust cycle is the rise and fall in the purchasing power of money as measured in terms of assets. That is what is rising and falling – the purchasing power of maney against tangible assets/services (labor). When the purchasing power of money declines and assets rise, we call this a BULL MARKET. When the purchasing power of money rise and assets fall, we call this a BEAR MARKET.
I have written many times that there is no magic level in interest rates that will cause the stock market to fall. As a market rises (BULL MARKET), interest rate MUST rise for that is the option on money and its future purchasing power upon return. Thus, it has NEVER BEEN the direction of interest rates that determines the direction of assets, for they are historically linked and must be. Only a fool, indoctrinated by Marxist-Keynesianism, does not grasp that the economy cannot be manipulated by interest rates. This is why doing empirical studies of these two factors on a correlation model reveals simply that the stock market HAS NEVER peaked with the same level of interest rates twice in history. The level of interest rates is indistinguishable from a option premium on the future expectation of that particular asset. Therefore, interest rates are a reflection of anticipated decline in the purchasing power of money.
The Federal Reserve keeps talking about the “normalization” of interest rates. They will not come out and explain what I am writing right now because it would expose that the emperor is naked. The Fed sees that negative interest rates proposed by the legendary banking advocate Larry Summers who may have been an agent from Hell sent to Earth to wipe out the economy, are highly destructive and amount to a tax on money. Negative interest rates can only be totally destructive to all asset classes and furthers deflation to the extreme. People then would hoard money outside of banks to avoid the tax and this leads governments on their quest to eliminate physical money and embrace the age of electronic money. That changes the entire game and embraces economic totalitarianism.
These people are fundamentally destroying everything because they are clueless about what is really money. Both China and Japan rose from the ashes without gold, proving that the wealth of a nation is not its gold reserves, but the total productive capacity of its people. Returning to a gold standard will not provide some magical check and balance where assets still rise in value yet gold/money would retain its purchasing power. They are totally lost in the rambling of their own mind. When gold was used as money, it rose and fell just as anything else that has ever been money proving it does not matter what you use for money, the same result will always emerge – money is on the opposite side of money. If you cannot grasp this fundamental realization, then you are doomed to screwing up the economy and society big time.
The only politician throughout history who truly understood this fact of life was Julius Caesar. To solve the debt crisis, he realized that the value of money rose above what it once had purchased and the price of assets reflected in terms of money had declined. He realized that when a banker lent you money to buy a home say $100,000, and the market crashes, a $100,000 can perhaps buy two houses. The banker then reaps a huge profit demanding full repayment. Caesar’s solution? He appointed a board to revalue all assets to the point when the debt was entered. He then attributed all previous interest payment to reduce that capital borrowing and therein settled all accounts. Caesar reduced the profits demanded by the bankers in purchasing power terms. He revitalized the economy and ended the debt crisis.
Money is merely a reflection of its purchasing power. It has NEVER been historically a store of wealth and cannot possibly be under any circumstances where assets rise in terms expressed in money. For assets to rise in terms of money, that means money must decline in purchasing power. This is rather simple to understand. Money is simply a medium of exchange that fluctuates in purchasing power rising and falling based upon human activity. We are lost in understanding the future because we cannot understand the past and the role of money no less debt and interest rates, which are merely an option on the future expectation of the purchasing power of money.
The wealth of a nation is the total productivity of its people. If I have gold and want you to fix my house, I give you the gold for your labor. Thus, your wealth is your labor, and the gold is merely a medium of exchange. So it does not matter whatever the medium of exchange might be. You will give your labor provided you know someone else will accept the medium of exchange from you in purchasing something else. It is the labor of the people and their productive capacity that creates the wealth of any nation. Germany rose from the ashes in Europe to be the strongest economy without gold all on the back of the total productive capacity of its people. The same is true for Japan and for China. Where corruption prevailed as in Russia and they relied upon selling a commodity rather than the productive capacity of its people, then its economy has not soared as did China, Japan, or Germany. This also explains the third world status of South America and Africa. When a country exploits is natural resources to gain wealth rather than educating its people, its long-term viability will diminish with the reduction in the supply of its natural resources or in the case of oil, against rising cheaper alternatives. We do not get this fundamental principle correct, we will destroy our economies with excessive taxation, which in turn, reduces the total productive capacity of its people.