Hyperinflation Guaranteed

Yes this is it! We have crossed the Rubicon and events in the world economy are now likely to unfold in a totally uncontrollable fashion. Clueless governments still don’t understand that it is their ruinous actions that have created a credit infested and bankrupt world. They will continue to prescribe the same remedy that caused the problem in the first place, namely more credit and more printed money. The consequences are clear; we will have hyperinflation, economic and human misery as well as social unrest.

When will the world finally begin to understand that we have reached the point of no return and that “the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries” (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)? Sadly, we are probably not very far from that point. It is already starting to happen in many countries.

The latest EU and IMF package of $1 TRILLION (Euro 750 billion) is yet another futile attempt by governments to abolish poverty by printing paper. Let’s be absolutely clear, this money does not exist and the EU governments are hoping by declaring such a large amount that they can con the Wolfpack speculators. At this point the EU has just picked a large round figure out of the air. But when their bluff is called by the Wolfpack and the next attack happens, EU governments will after initial huffing and puffing start printing unlimited amounts of paper.

So the world is now on its road to ruin and there is no action, no leader and no new amount of printed money that can save the world or prevent a hyperinflationary depression.

Never in history has the world been in a situation when virtually all industrialised countries are bankrupt. Therefore there is no precedent for what will happen in the next few years. What we can be quite certain about is that events will happen in a seemingly random pattern and that it will be impossible to forecast where the next crises will start.

But although we will not be able to predict in what order events will take place, we can expect much of what is outlined below to happen.

Wolfpack Attacks

Already back in 2007 we warned about the very high risk of the CDS (credit default swap) market. This is now one of the primary instruments used by the Wolfpack (expression coined by the Swedish Finance Minister Borg). The Wolfpack, speculators with enormous fire power such as hedge funds and investment banks, use the CDS market to attack any weak financial sector, be it a country, a bank or a company. The combination of the leverage of the CDSs and the massive capital available to the Wolfpack makes it possible for them to bring down or badly maul whatever they attack. It was not the Wolfpack that caused the problem in for example Greece but they can bring down a weak victim quickly and profit immensely and immorally from it.

There are so many weak potential victims that the Wolfpack can attack and they will start with the most vulnerable ones like, Portugal, Spain and Ireland etc. But when the time is right they will also attack the US and the UK.

So in the coming year we will see country after country coming under attack from the Wolfback which will lead to acceleration in money printing and higher interest rates.

Iceland – Ireland – Greece – Who Is Next?

The EU support package of $ 1 trillion is supposed to be sufficient to protect the rest of Europe from another Greek tragedy. The dilemma with such a massive EU commitment is that no government expects to have to pay the money out. If they did the voters in the respective EU countries would throw out their government. Why should the German people, who are also having hard times, pay for the Greeks, Portuguese or the Spaniards, especially since these loans will never be paid back?

Greece is bankrupt but is still taking on additional EU loans of € 140 billion. In addition, their austerity measures are supposed to bring the deficit down from 12% of GDP today to 3% in a few years time. But who can be so stupid as to lend to a bankrupt nation which will sink into the Ionian and Aegean Seas in the next few years. With massive cuts in government expenditure, with major falls in output, with unemployment rising fast, with tax revenues collapsing how can Greece possibly be expected to improve the economy and pay a high interest rate on their exploding debt? In addition, as long as they have the Euro they will be totally uncompetitive. So if they couldn’t manage their economy in the so called good times, it is absolutely guaranteed that they have no chance of surviving in bad times. So Greece will default and so will Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, the UK, the US and many more. But before that there will be the most colossal worldwide money printing exercise which would have used up most of the trees in the world but for electronic fiat money.

So, if virtually bankrupt nations don’t cut their deficits, they will definitively go under and if they try to cut, they will also go under due to collapsing output and tax revenues and colossal debts. Thus whatever actions governments take or don’t take, they are damned.

The table below shows debt as a percentage of GDP for various OECD countries. The official debts (in red) are massive and unlikely to ever be repaid in real money. Total debts (grey bars) include unfunded liabilities such as pensions and health care. Spain has the lowest total debt to GDP of 250%. Germany and the UK have around 400%, the US over 500% and Greece over 800% debt to GDP. These figures are absolutely astronomical and prove that most governments in the world will be totally incapable of repaying their debts or funding the pensions or medical care which they have committed to. It doesn’t matter however much governments cut expenditure or raise taxes, all these countries are insolvent and nothing can save them.

The World Must Permanently Readjust

Most governments still believe that deficit spending and money printing is the solution to all their problems. Because the world economy’s expansion in the last 100 years and particularly in the last 40 years has been primarily based on credit and not real growth, governments live under the false impression that money printing will work this time too. But we have reached the point when investors will no longer buy worthless government debt that will never be repaid with real money. We will first go through a period when governments issue and buy their own debt thus monetising the debt or print money. This will be the hyperinflationary phase. Thereafter the world will realise that none of the government debt and very little of the bank debt will ever be repaid. Credit will then implode and so will also the assets financed by credit. Eventually there will be a new monetary and financial system and the world will start afresh. The adjustment period will be very long and will involve economic and human misery, leading to social unrest and major political change. It will be a horrible experience for the world during this extended period of adjustment. But it will be like a forest fire that clears out the deadwood and creates the conditions for strong new growth. Once the new era starts it will therefore be from a very much lower level and individuals will be rewarded for hard work with little or no social security safety net. Credit will only be granted for sound capital investment projects, not for consumption or speculation. Ethical and moral values will return and the golden calf will not be worshipped. But before that, the period of readjustment will be very long and extremely difficult for the whole world.

Egon von Greyerz
Gold Switzerland
Whiskey & Gunpowder

May 24, 2010