Gold News

Attack of the '70s

You know who to blame, right...?

WRITING for the Brownstone Institute at the end of December 2023, Jeffrey Tucker offers a synopsis of the US' recent past, says Tim Price of Price Value Partners.

It is not an auspicious review:

"As we approach the end of the year, we are surrounded by a cultural and economic darkness this generation has never seen before. Most incredibly, public health itself is wrecked.

"Let's just count the ways. Each consequence dates from the beginnings of the lockdowns. That was the turning point, the end of innocence, the great reset, the moment when the choice between freedom and despotism weighed heavily in the most inhumane direction.


"Homeless people are everywhere at record highs (650K), stemming from rampant mental disorder, substance abuse, and incredibly tight leasing standards stemming from the eviction moratorium.

"The middle class can no longer afford to buy a home thanks to high rates from the Fed, deployed in an attempt to mitigate against inflation which is still running hot.

"Every merchant has hidden fees in everything, struggling to find some way to hide the hot potato of inflation that has eaten 20-plus percent of the Dollar's purchasing power since 2019.

"Shoplifting is a major national problem to the point that thousands of stores have closed.

"Shrinkflation affects everything. The groceries have shrunk and the bills have soared – a direct consequence of some $8 trillion in stimulus and money printing.

"Office real estate in large cities is approaching an accounting crisis because people are not returning to work, their routines totally shattered by lockdowns.

"Travel is uncertain with endless delays and cancellations due to pilot shortages stemming from stay-at-home orders, vaccine mandates, and rampant illness.

"The 'great reset' is all around us, as we are constantly nudged to drive EVs, live without comforts, buy less meat, and even eat bugs.

"A wide-open Southern border has created an immigration crisis as government neglected its core duties in favor of insane methods of virus control.

"Restaurants are unaffordable for most people.

"Dependency on government handouts is 28 percent higher than in 2019.

"All stores close an hour or two earlier because they cannot get workers to stay later.

"The learning losses among the kids are unfathomable, two years and rising, and perhaps an entire generation is lost.

"There is a population-wide mental-health crisis in addition to rampant substance abuse.

"The federal budget has been blown to smithereens.

"Political divisions are festering as never before, with neither party willing to discuss the Covid elephant in the room.

"Our conception of what it means to live in freedom with a government that knows limits to its power has slipped away.

"Arts venues are struggling for dear life to survive.

"World trade is shattered, with new trading blocs replacing the old ones.

"The rise of maniacal gender dysphoria of the young is probably connected with this: endless hours online, loss of confidence in the world as it is, plus loneliness.

"One could argue that even the war in Israel and Gaza is a result: security concerns were neglected in favor of microbial activism and shot mandates, and the loss of a moral center to policy then unleashed successive rounds of violence.

"Finally, there is the loss of trust in everything: government, public health, pharmaceuticals, academia, science, media, and each other. Society cannot function without trust. Not even churches are immune from broad incredulity since most went along with the Covid response in every detail.

"This only begins to scratch the surface of what we've lost and what has replaced it. Ultimately all such tragedies come down to individual lives. These days you hear them only among friends and families. And they are terrible stories of sadness and personal despair. The pain is only intensified by the silence on the part of all corporate media, government, and other commanding heights. Because of the news block on the whole topic, there is mass and festering anger beneath the surface."

We know where to point fingers. US and global alphabet agencies, unaccountable lobby groups with the pompous adjective 'World' affixed to their names, the UN, its laughable 2030 Agenda for Sustainable [sic] Development...

All of these agents of malevolent cretinocracy can be summarised simply as the grim return of the Big State.

"The state is a human institution, not a superhuman being. He who says 'state' means coercion and compulsion. He who says: There should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like. He who says: This law should be better enforced, means: The police should force people to obey this law. He who says: The state is God, deifies arms and prisons. The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster." (Ludwig von Mises, 'Omnipotent Government', 1944, Chapter 3).

Our formal brief, though, is not to advocate for political causes, but rather to act as responsible stewards of our clients' valuable capital. This is not as easy as it sounds in an environment of deeply unsound money and in the run-up to monetary system regime change.

Monetary systems change all the time. They changed in 1914, for example, when the combatant powers all abandoned the gold standard, because staying on it whilst continuing to prosecute the war would have bankrupted them almost immediately. (Sound money saves lives.) They changed for the UK in September 1992 when the pound sterling was ethnically cleansed from Europe's exchange rate mechanism because the UK could no longer bear to maintain the peg with the Deutsche Mark. And they will change in the months and years to come as the world increasingly comes to realise that the Petro-dollar is no longer the indisputed unchallengeable force in global finance given the offensive scale of the US' unpayable debt burden.

So we seek safer harbours in assets (not the Big State's liabilities) that are independent, scarce and permanent – gold and silver amongst them.

Arguably the most important short assembly of words in the English language is the phrase 'This Too Shall Pass'. Consider, for example, the cultural and economic situation of Britain in the 1970s. Stéphane Porion ('Reassessing a turbulent decade'):

"Britain was hit throughout the 1970s by skyrocketing inflation and unemployment (stagflation, in other words), a wide range of strikes, power cuts, and states of emergency. Trade unions could be called 'robber barons', as they opposed the Conservatives' statutory incomes policy and brought down the Conservative government, thereby answering the question asked by Edward Heath, when he called a general election in February 1974: 'Who Governs Britain?'

"After 1975 they were also deemed responsible for tearing to pieces Labour's Social Contract, paving the way for the 1978-1979 Winter of Discontent which in turn sealed the Labour Party's defeat. British people suffered from a sense of despair and pessimism, while Britain struggled in the 1973 oil crisis and, on the brink of bankruptcy in 1976, was forced to ask for a loan from the IMF. At the same time, academics started to argue that the country was 'ungovernable' or 'dying', while the power of the trade unions seemed impossible to curb."

Or, as Dominic Sandbrook puts it ('State of Emergency: The Way We Were'):

"The defining characteristics of the Seventies were economic disaster, terrorist threats, corruption in high places, prophecies of ecological doom and fear of the surveillance state's suffocating embrace. The 1970s have merely been lurking, like a mad woman in the attic, waiting for a suitable moment when they can re-emerge and scare us out of our wits all over again."

And then, at the 1979 General Election, Margaret Thatcher was elected, and she would go on to become the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century.

That we do not yet see the Margaret Thatcher of 2024 does not mean that she, or he, is not out there, quietly mustering resistance to the corrupt predations of the overlarge State. The unique energy of the genuine free market – as opposed to the crony corporatism that has largely held sway these last four years – is an endless capacity for reinvention.

"This, too, shall pass."

London-based director at Price Value Partners Ltd, Tim Price has over 25 years of experience in both private client and institutional investment management. He has been shortlisted for the Private Asset Managers Awards program five years running, and is a previous winner in the category of Defensive Investment Performance.
See the full archive of Tim Price articles.


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