Gold Goes Mainstream

Gross: Stock and bond managers today must be alchemists: turn lead into gold. NOT likely. Too much lead (bubbled assets).
–Tweet from Bill Gross, Founder of PIMCO, which manages $1.8 trillion


“Do you own gold?” “Oh yeah. I do…There’s no sensible reason not to have some.”
–Ray Dalio to the Council on Foreign Relations

This is being written to put the precious metals market in a larger context for those people who still see the world proceeding much as it has proceeded in the past, a world without the large financial and supply chain disruptions that we foresee.

Strong multi-year upmoves in the price of any asset, aka a secular bull market in that asset, go through three stages:

  1. The speculative, early-proponent phase during which the mainstream investment community ignores or derides the potential of that asset.
  2. The mainstream phase, where the mainstream decides that exposure to that asset is a good idea for just about everyone.
  3. The mania phase, where just about everyone feels that they must own that asset and will tell you so when you meet them by chance in the supermarket.

Phase 1 for gold has been marked by derision from the mainstream investment community. Quoting Keynes, they call gold the “barbarous relic.” Otherwise-intelligent economic commentators such as Nouriel Roubini have been calling for a price top in gold for several years. Some who are old enough to have experienced the gold bull market of the 1970s have been saying, “We heard all this before in the 1970s, anyone who buys gold now will regret it later.” All of these people have been wrong all along as gold and silver have powered higher in price.

During most of Phase 1, the major central banks of the world have been sellers of gold, preferring to buy government bonds of various countries (such as Greece and Spain!) to “get a return” on their money. Gold has been a far better investment for the last 12 years. Over the last three years, central banks have become net buyers of gold, to the tune of hundreds of tons per year. Most but not all of this buying has come from Asia as the western central banks have been preoccupied with printing money in a mad scramble to keep their markets afloat.

Gold has been in Phase 1 since 2001. Most in the financial community regard it as an annoyance when their clients ask about it. The price increased from $256 in 2001 to $1,911 in August, 2011.

A couple of weeks ago, Ray Dalio gave a presentation to the CFR. He was asked if he owned gold, and he said, “Oh yeah. I do.” This marked the start of Phase 2, the mainstream phase.

Who is Ray Dalio? Most people in the investment community respect him as the best active hedge fund manager on the planet. We mentioned his firm, Bridgewater Associates, in a previous post. They manage about $140 billion. Ray is highly respected in both financial and political circles.

And the CFR is the Council on Foreign Relations. If you had to pick one organization that has the most influence on the mainstream political thought in the US, it would have to be the CFR. It was founded by the Rockefellers. You have to apply for membership. There are currently 4,700 members, including Bill Clinton, Robert Zoellick, Janet Yellen, Paul Wolfowitz, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon…in other words, the CFR is the public face of The Powers That Be/Were.

Now that all of these mainstream movers and shakers have heard from what some consider the smartest money man on the planet that owning gold is a good idea, well, if we haven’t yet convinced you to get rid of a mainstream financial advisor such as a broker, said broker is likely to be calling you in the not-too-distant future with their “innovative” idea that you should get some gold. Of course, being mainstream, they will likely advise you to own it in paper rather than physical form, which will be a big mistake, but that will be their advice. And they will advise that you put a maximum of 5% of your assets into gold or gold mining stocks. In normal times, this would characterize the mainstream phase for gold, during which its price would rise steadily for years.

More evidence that we’ve entered the mainstream phase comes from Bill Gross, known to many as the “Bond King.” Gross founded PIMCO, which manages over $1.8 trillion. Yes, that’s trillion with a T. Almost all of the money is in conservative bond funds. But here’s a tweet this week from Gross:

Gross: Stock and bond managers today must be alchemists: turn lead into gold. NOT likely. Too much lead (bubbled assets).

Note that Gross, the Bond King, is saying that stocks and bonds are bubble markets. That money managers should turn that lead into gold. Though he also says that’s not likely.
Those who hate gold claim gold is in a bubble. Great examples of bubble markets are internet stocks in 1998 through early 2000; or real estate running up to 2006; or government bonds now. Gold, on the other hand, has had a nice steady rise for years, nothing meteoric or bubble-like at all. And here is someone, Bill Gross, who may know more about bonds than anyone on the planet, saying that bonds and stocks are the bubble, not gold.

Gold can’t possibly enter a bubble until it enters Phase 3, the mania phase. During this phase, you will be regaled on a regular basis from media sources and individuals with stories of people who got rich from gold and silver. Like the stock day traders of the year 2000, or the real estate flippers of 2006, there will be lots people trading gold on a daily basis, probably at gold trading shops like the day trading shops that were operating in 1999. People will be quitting their jobs to trade precious metals to “make their fortune.” 90% of people who talk about gold will assure you that it is the surest thing on earth to guaranteed riches. CEOs of gold mining companies will be like rock stars, getting interviewed by Charlie Rose. That’s what a bubble looks like. How many people do you know who own gold and silver?

Now, with the acceleration that is all around us, it is unlikely that we will proceed through these three phases of a secular bull market as we would in normal times. It is far more likely that gold will have a meteoric rise quite soon. But if you think that the world will proceed in a conventional manner in the years to come, we have outlined the path of the precious metals for you.

Beware the False Flag Attack

Cruisers, aircraft carriers and minesweepers from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war.
The Telegraph

What do Daniel Ellsberg, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former high-level CIA officers Robert David Steele and Michael Scheuer, Seymour Hersh, and the Brookings Institution have in common? All have warned of the possibility of a false flag attack staged by the US and/or Israel to make it look like Iran has attacked and killed US citizens. This is covered in its usual excellent way by Washington’s Blog: “What I Fear The Most Is a False Flag – Something Happening Where One of Our Ships Goes Down, Or … a Plane Goes Down, And of Course It HAD To Be The Iranians, You Know, For Sure, For Certain”

A false flag attack is a war operation carried out by a government against its own people but appearing to be carried out by another group or nation; or an attack about which a government knows in advance but which it allows to freely proceed to demonstrate the evil nature of an enemy it wishes to attack.  The World Trade Center attack on 9/11 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are excellent examples of false flag attacks.  If there is anyone still left on the planet who thinks 9/11 was what the US government says it was, please see the following documentary aired recently on PBS: 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out.

As the US marks its eleventh year of war in Afghanistan, where 2,000 US soldiers and far greater numbers of Afghanis and Pakistanis have died, many as “collateral damage” from unmanned drone attacks, we think it appropriate to sound the warning because we are convinced that the Powers That Be are aiming to ramp up war to a much greater level.

Why do we think that a large false flag attack is on the way?

To gain public support, large increases in war-making are typically preceded by a false flag attack that is devastating enough to be an emotional shock for in the citizenry. The shock makes people sitting ducks for war propaganda against the alleged perpetrators. People are confused by the shock and are then told precisely where to channel their rage, fear, dismay, etc.

Governments faced with insoluble financial predicaments often try big war as a way out. And many governments, including that of the USA, are in precisely such a predicament.

People and governments around the world are clearly on tenterhooks as shown by recent rioting in many countries, acrimonious borders disputes between Turkey and Syria, China and Japan, etc.

In a few days, the US will have three aircraft carrier groups in the waters off Iran.

And the war propaganda machine is in high gear, in both blatant and subtle ways. Here is a perfect example of the war propaganda machine in its more subtle form. This was the lead story on the front page in a recent USA Today: Defense cuts starting to pinch economy.

First, the idea that war helps the economy, propaganda that most of us were fed in school and which fallacy is still perpetuated by economists such as Paul Krugman, has been debunked by many. Washington’s Blog has covered this topic in great detail: Proof that War Is Bad for the Economy.

Second, while the US Department of Defense (DoD) and its military contractors claim defense spending is falling, others see it, well, otherwise.  Here’s the chart of US defense spending from wikipedia, not including black ops for which no budgets are published:

The bottom area is the budget for the DoD. Above that are other categories of defense-related expenditures that are not included in the formal DoD budget. Both the formal DoD budget and the combination of all expenditures have been rising strongly in unison, even while we have had a Nobel Peace Prize winning president. Also note that most numbers to the right of the vertical dotted line, numbers for the future, are projected to decline. But wikipedia has some honesty here. If go to detail page for this chart, you’ll see previous versions of this chart from prior years. In each of those previous charts, future expenditures were projected to drop. But they never did. When future becomes present, these expenditures always rise strongly. In other words, there are threats of defense expenditure cutbacks, but since the Clinton years, they have never materialized.

Third, whether or not war is good or bad for the economy is clearly a topic of debate. We think it is horrendous, but others claim it is good. So what USA Today is doing here is taking sides in a debate in what was printed as a Page 1 news story. This article is an editorial disguised as news. As such, it is a lie.

Fourth, how about a little common sense. The article, by linking military spending with the concept of a “good economy,” is telling you that war spending is good for you. Tell it to more than a hundred million people who died in wars in the last 100 years.

Fifth, how about some more common sense. The following countries each have one operational aircraft carrier: Russia, UK, France, India, China, and others. The US has eleven operational carriers and three more under construction. Can it really be “good for an economy” to spend trillions on hardware that is very rarely actually used, which is paraded around the world with an armada of other ships in what is called a “carrier group” devouring incredible amounts of fossil fuels, and which hardware is ultimately scrapped when it is deemed obsolete? Does the US really need eleven carrier groups?

This covers just the tiniest slice of the war propaganda machine. But you get the idea. We ask that whenever you hear a report about war, military spending, the countries that are said to be our enemies, weapons systems, or people who go off and get killed or maimed being characterized as heroes rather than as people who were duped by politicians, that you recall this little post and ask: What is really being said here? What is the real point? Who is the actual enemy?