Originally Posted by Cylon Baby
Supposedly there are private firms in Taiwan that store Bullion in their own facilities. I say "supposedly" because I can easily see said companies showing the same Bullion to 10000X the customers who pay for it. So whenever an investor gets nervous they can see "their" bullion not realizing many other people think it's there's as well.
Mind, I have no proof of any of this, I just think there is a movement to fleece investors with Gold investments. Spend time listening to any Right Wing oriented radio show in the US, you will hear numerous commercials for buying Gold, all tied to the theory that the Federal Government is going to collapse soon, and Gold will become currency. In the town where I live, an affluent area with lots of Professionals, there are easily a dozen stores offering to sell Gold.
Well, gold is traditionally a reasonably good barometer for the health of an economy. And gold prices have undoubtedly rocketed. Whether we are on the verge of a catastrophic meltdown (a doomsday prepper's wet fantasy) I'm not sure. I mean, I understand the basic principles of and differences between money and wealth. But the global economy is such a mind-bendingly complex and chaotic system it defies even simple analysis - and that's leaving aside the dizzying web of socio-political interactions, motivators and so forth.
However, you don't need a Ph.D. in Chicago-style economics to know America (not to mention the rest of the world) is facing enormous challenges.
A quick and rough search (apologies in advance for errors) tells me that yet another recession is threatening to break upon us. Whilst wallowing in more money than they know what to do with America's banks seem completely unwilling to open the faucet.
Approximately 40 million Americans are now reliant on food stamps.
Since 2008 the US has spent several trillion dollars and yet debt has increased by approximately five trillion.
By the end of the decade the "official" national debt will pass twenty trillion dollars.
Unofficial estimates (including off-the-books expenditure by the likes of the Pentagon) are anywhere between fifty and one-hundred trillion dollars.
Sure, the FED has kept the economy afloat, but only with the help of its magical printing press. In terms of GDP, debt is somewhere close to what is was at the end of WWII. But the US economy was just cranking into gear at that time and the country experienced the best part of thirty years of not just good but great times.
I really don't know whether the above adds up to a giant warning light flashing "IMMINENT CATASTROPHE". But I do know it's going to be incredibly difficult - perhaps even impossible - to balance the books and get back to the days of milk and honey given the perfect storm of potential mega-calamities which is bearing down on us like a stolen eighteen-wheeler.
1. If we haven't already passed peak oil (which would explain the recent oscillations in fuel costs we've been experiencing) we surely can't be far away. Even if we come up with some magical technological fix it will take the best part of forty years to install the necessary infrastructure. And those years will likely be hard.
2. Ditto various other mineral resources which are becoming increasingly difficult to extract from the earth at a cost-effective price.
3. We are less than twenty years away from anywhere up to a third of the world's population living in areas of extreme water stress. I find it more than disturbing that most of the world's biggest rivers now no longer reach the ocean.
4. Global food production is currently maxed out feeding the current population figure. Given that production increases at a linear rate whilst population growth is exponential, and the not-so-irrelevant fact that the former is entirely dependent on cheap oil (which we no longer have), it's difficult to see where the solution is coming from.
4. Bad enough that climate change is already having a tragic and costly impact in third world countries, many of our leading climatologists (such as James Hansen) are now saying we may already have passed the point where catastrophic runaway warming (up to 10 degrees) is inevitable.
And then there are the "little" issues such as the spread of drug-resistant diseases that ten years ago we thought we'd licked, the looming question of what to do with the mountain of lethally radioactive waste sitting in supposedly "temporary" storage pools beside reactors (not to mention the astronomical costs of decommissioning) etc. etc.
It would be bad enough facing just one of the above challenges. And that's with a balanced and functioning economy which now almost seems like a thing of the past.