Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Cheap labor and high commodity prices

The gold bugs are all a bit nuts, as they insist, correctly, that the gold market is completely fixed, while constantly advocating that people should buy more gold! Nevertheless, paranoia provides enlightenment. From a market summary at Jim Sinclair's MineSet, here is a letter to Jim Sinclair from "Anonymous Pal" and Jim Sinclair's reply (also reprinted in the Gold Forum at www.gold-eagle.com and reprinted here and here; the MineSet editorials are worth reading):

"Dear Jim:

My Bank in London called me today to inform me that in order to comply with new US laws, they are halting all new services to American residents (citizens?).

I can keep my accounts for the moment, but I cannot add any new currency accounts or any other investment products to my portfolio. They will not allow any US residents to open accounts in the future.

Just my thoughts but:

1. New bankruptcy law (last week)

2. Announcement that travel to other parts of North America will require a passport (papers please)

3. New compliance standards for foreign banks (this past year)

4. Elimination of foreign accounts for US residents (one by one)

Currency controls have been initiated.

Regards,
Your "Anonymous Pal"

Dear "Anonymous Pal:"

I have cautioned the Community that financial privacy is all but a chapter of history - with the exception of bullion coins.

Anyone attempting to open international bank accounts at major and reputable non-US banks will run into the difficulties you have outlined, making it all but impossible to accomplish even with the best of intentions.

The net result is an effective form of currency control as part of Patriot Act II. This covert method of currency control is a preemptive strike at what is coming when it is realized - as the Economist put it - that there is no constituent support and therefore no real political will to reduce the US Budget Deficit.

As a result, the dollar must decline. The result of a declining dollar is logically a move towards other currencies which in itself is a form of Gresham's law.

Of all the possibilities you outline, there is only one that is in the black: Patriot II will be just as effective as any currency control put into law. This has significant implications for gold once all of this hits the proverbial fan.

Regards,
Jim"


The effect of requiring more banking data from international banks dealing with Americans will just be to discourage them from dealing with Americans. It's a soft way of introducing currency controls, which would otherwise be politically unpopular. Apparently, everything is possible if it is part of the 'war on terror'. Soft currency controls will be necessary to manage the upcoming crisis with the American dollar. Some American war in the Middle East will cause the cost of oil to rise so much that Asian countries will have to sell their U. S. treasury bills in order to pay for it, and that will signal the end of Asian central bank support for the American dollar. Once it starts to fall, it will fall fast.


The 'creeping fascism' in the United States is no longer creeping, it's on a full run. The Bush Administration doesn't want to stop spending money on wars and allowing its friends like Halliburton to make out like bandits on war profiteering, and certainly doesn't want to stop its class warfare in the ongoing transfer of money from everybody else to the plutocrat class. Currency controls are needed because the Bush Administration doesn't want to deal with the double deficits, trade and budget, as that would require giving up the war addiction and putting an end to the tax cuts for the rich. The bankruptcy bill has to be seen in the same context of class warfare. Most Americans get into bankruptcy trouble due to health care costs, and bankruptcy has been the only way out. By limiting the only way out of permanent slavery to lenders the Bush Administration makes the average American even less secure, and makes employer-provided health insurance even more vital. As such insurance is almost never portable, and it is increasingly difficult to find a job with such insurance, the interplay between the bankruptcy bill, the insane American health care system, and employer-provided health insurance means that more and more Americans are completely denied any chance of labor mobility, which of course decreases the cost of labor.


Which jurisdiction is going to manufacture the most North American vehicles in 2005? Michigan? Ohio? How about . . . Ontario? Why? Health care costs. The Bush Administration is so interested in pursuing it's cheap labor/high commodity price policies that it is prepared to see GM either disappear or at least be forced into manufacturing outside the United States. GM is a bad example anyway, as it provides its employees with good benefits and a decent salary. Conservatives feel that companies like GM give too much money to their employees. It is much better to have employers like Walmart.


All of the seemingly inconsistent and certainly insane policies of the Bush Administration can be explained in the class warfare known as 'cheap-labor conservatism'. Nothing else matters as long as the cost of labor can be decreased at the same time that commodity prices are increased. Middle East wars, the war on terror, the bankruptcy bill, the tax cuts, the failure to address the deficits, the crazy inefficient health care system - it's all part of the same package. Much of the real-world realities of these policies has been shielded from the American public by the recycling of money paid for oil into the American economy, followed by the recycling of money paid for Asian consumer products into the American economy. Once the recycling stops, and Americans see the full price of conservative policies, it will be interesting to see what their reaction will be.

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