Moving Paper and Digits

is not the way to preserve wealth.  IMHO, one NEEDS precious metals, food and other things to sustain life.

There are some folks in America who will wake up this morning and read that Jefferies has been sued for its role in a bond deal with MF Global and they will vote with their feet (Zero hedge Link). They will close their accounts with JEF and move to a safer address. That’s an example of capital flight…

Capital flight is a perfectly logical consequence in today’s world. Barely a day passes where we are not reminded that nothing is safe any more. Not our currencies, not our equities, not our bonds and certainly not our banks/brokers.

In Greece there are many example where capital flight is undermining stability. The most obvious is the capital flight from the Greek banks that has taken place over the past few years. This flow of money is also perfectly logical. There are many risks of leaving money in a Greek bank:

-The Bank could default. The principal in the account is at risk. The guarantee (up to E100k) is from the government. What’s that worth? If the banks were going under so would the solvency of the government.

-The government could default. The chaos that would follow would result in a freeze of all bank balances.

-The government could announce one morning that it was re-establishing the Drachma. This would mean that any Euros in a Greek bank would be automatically converted into Drachmas at the old official rate. The value of those Drachma would be worth half (or less) as a result of the immediate devaluation that would occur.

Put yourself in the mind of a Greek who had some savings in a local bank. What would you do? You would do whatever you could to get your money to high ground. It would be perfectly reasonable for you to do that. And that is exactly what the Greeks have done. They’ve moved billions of Euros to Swiss banks in an effort to preserve their wealth. In the process they have crippled the Greek banks and have added to the downward spiral in Greece and the rest of the EU.

There was (IMHO) a very significant development on this front last week. A move is being made in Brussels to “force” the Swiss government/banks to transfer all of the assets of Greek citizens back to the Greek banks. For a Greek this means that your money is hostage. It has been functionally expropriated. It will be transferred into a banking system that is fraught with risk. Some portion of the money that goes back to Greece will certainly be lost.

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