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Smarter than your average Bears
on April 27, 2010
This book, like many others written in recent years, documents the problems currently facing the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar; the reasons behind them; and the rationale for the almost inevitable collapse of both that economy and the dollar. And, like the others, this book offers a number of recommendations as to what its readers might be able to do to protect themselves from these eventualities. But this book is different in one happy respect.
It tells this economic story as a historian might tell it, in simple easy to understand language. Presented in this way: The major domestic and international economic decisions which led to today's crises can be seen to have been quite logical at the time and to have quite naturally followed one another. When placed in their proper context in this way, the decisions made down through the years and the rationale for those decisions are much easier to grasp. This makes it possible for the average reader to easily see how the United States in particular, and the world at large, got into this dreadful mess and why. The book is so well written, in fact, that, before checking to see what the authors' qualifications might be, I had almost concluded that they must surely be professional writers, and most likely historians, rather than experts in the fields of economics and investing. I was wrong.
After checking them out, I recalled something I'd learned years ago: When someone attempts to write about something about which he (or she) knows too little or is in doubt, he will invariably go into inordinate detail in an attempt to explain it; but when that same person writes about something he fully comprehends, he can capture the essence of the subject without resorting to great detail. Knowing their subject well, these authors have clearly captured the essence of America's economic and the U.S. dollar's troubles with few large and no wasted words. Their resulting recommendations, particularly those concerning the intricacies involved in investing in gold and precious metals miners, are likewise just as well reasoned, in-depth, and easily understandable.
A few things, in particular, caught my eye while reading this book. Perhaps they'll catch yours too. Here are some of them: (pg. 42) One gram of gold today buys roughly the same amount of wheat as it did in the Middle Ages. (pg. 57) In 1883, Germany became the first welfare state (instituting national health insurance, followed by social, accident, and unemployment insurance). It was soon followed by much of Europe, but the United States held out. [until FDR, LBJ, and then BHO came along] (pg. 62) From the time the gold standard ended in 1971 to the time this book was published, 2005, the U.S. dollar lost 90% of its value. [I.e., a 1971 dollar is now worth less than ten cents] (pg. 87) One of this book's authors derived an indicator, termed the "Fear Index," which, using "M3," the government reported money supply, as an element, was able to predict turning points in the gold exchange rate (up or down). [Note: According to the book "Crash Proof 2.0," for unexplained reasons, the federal government ceased reporting M3 in 2006.] (pg.89) To conceal the fact that the dollar's value has been declining, the U.S. Treasury and the world's central banks have systematically dumped gold on the market over the years to suppress the gold exchange rate, but their remaining reserves are thought to be no longer up to the task. (pg. 147) Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) may not be all they're cracked up to be. [Caution is advised] (pg. 191) As the chart on this page clearly shows: Although the price of oil has skyrocketed in dollar terms, except for minor fluctuations it has remained relatively constant in terms of gold since 1945. (pg. 214) The author's hold out hope for a rational return to a gold standard, perhaps by means of "digital gold," but fear that the United States may become a dictatorship with the possible confiscation of gold as was done by President Roosevelt in 1934.
The authors of this book are obviously bearish on the U.S. dollar and on the American economy and, based on the material they present, well they should be. They may be wrong, and let's hope they are, but as you will discover in reading this book, they're much smarter than the average bears.