Austria To Repatriate Gold

OZB

After increasing pressure from the Austrian people on the government and the central bank to increase the ratio of the gold effectively held in the Austrian Central Bank in Vienna, the central bank has finally made the decision to effectively do so. Less than 20% of Austria’s (relatively) sizeable gold reserves were held in its own vaults with the remainder being stored in Switzerland and London. Austria will now remove 63% of the gold from London and transport it to both Switzerland and Austria. This will be an interesting test case to see how long it will take the Bank of England to ship the 140 tonnes of gold (4.5 million ounces) to Vienna, and we dare to bet this will either take much longer than anticipated, or we’ll suddenly see another gold withdrawal from the Federal Reserve which will very likely be the magical 125-150 tonnes number.

That’s an interesting move, as Vienna originally said it stored the gold in London because it would make their lives much easier to trade the gold as London obviously still is a major center of the international gold market. This seems to be indicating Austria has no intention to trade any of its gold at all in the near future as there seems to be no apparent need to keep the gold in London.

This follows right on the heels of the news China is setting up a gold investment fund with several other countries, and the fact that Russia has once again added in excess of a quarter of a million ounces of gold to its reserves. On top of that, semi-satellite state Kazakhstan has also bought an additional 2.44 tonnes of gold (78,500 ounces) and its total amount of gold held as reserves has now surpassed the 200 tonnes mark. Kazakhstan is really stepping up its investments in gold as in just 3.5 years time, the country has now more than doubled (!) the amount of gold on the balance sheet of its central bank.

Kazakhstan Gold

Source: Tradingeconomics

This might not sound like a big deal, but it definitely is. China is setting up a new fund to facilitate investments in gold, its new best friends Russia is buying more gold and Austria is reducing its gold holdings in London by 63%. And whilst all of this is happening, the western governments and central banks are still trying to tell the masses to trust the financial system.

And oh, while they’re at it, they might also ban cash transactions. For your own safety, of course!

http://www.blacklistednews.com/The_End_Game_Continues%3A_Austria_Repatriates_Gold/44175/0/38/38/Y/M.html

The Myth Of Free Markets

There are no free financial markets in America, or for that matter anywhere in the Western world, and few, if any, free markets of any other kind. The financial markets are rigged by the big banks, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury in the interests of the profits of the few big banks and the dollar’s exchange value, which is the basis of US power…

http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/free-financial-markets-hoax-paul-craig-roberts/

Recall:

…Economics is often referred to as “the dismal science.” The reason for the demeaning moniker is the limited predictive ability of economics. Economists are usually able to predict the direction of economic change, assuming that the economists are not influenced by the political agenda of whoever pays his or her salary. Economists have only a fair ability to predict the magnitude of economic change with a poor ability to predict the timing of economic change. Why such limited predictive ability?

One reason is the vast number of often nested variables that affect an economic calculation. A second reason is politics. Often these variables are politically determined (in accordance with the utils of the decision makers). Other variables simply cannot be accurately predicted on a consistent basis. Weather certainly affects economic activity, but cannot be accurately predicted for any significant length of time. A third reason is faulty economic concepts, concepts that do not reflect reality. For example, economists most often do their analyses assuming the concept of free markets, markets that are not regulated, subsidized, or politically impacted. Such free markets, if they exist, are extremely rare.   You doubt? Show me a free market…

http://www.jamesrgrangerjr.com/2015/05/18/a-black-man-looks-at-economics-the-dismal-science/

Trailer Park Millionaires

America is filled with lots of poor people these days, and there’s plenty of money to be made off them.

With Wall Street already turning once-homeowners into renters in housing neighborhoods, billionaires and entrepreneurs are now investing in trailer parks, where they are making considerable fortunes off of raising the rent on the poorest among us.

The economic concept is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

Generally speaking, these people moved into trailer parks for the cheap rent, and even with rent prices soaring, these poor people have nowhere else to go.

“The economics are compelling… there’s a lot more poor people than rich people,” one investor said.

The London Guardian spotlighted this trending market for moguls, following a bus load of ‘boot campers’ at Mobile Park University who are learning how to profit from the poor, many of whom are ironically found immobile and ‘trapped’ in their mobile homes:…

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/investors-squeeze-trailer-park-renters-the-economics-are-compelling-theres-a-lot-more-poor-people-than-rich_05252015

Africa’s Second Liberation

 On Monday many African Government offices, businesses and banks grind to a halt in order to commemorate Africa Day. In schools up and down the continent, little children are taught that heroic Africans liberated the continent from racist white colonial regimes and various events and parades are held to celebrate the occasion.

Colonialism in Africa is remembered as one of the worst crimes against humanity of the modern era. The exploitative economic system that underpinned colonialism remains alive and well today.

Africa’s liberation was from racist, colonial government. If this was to be the first stage of liberation, than the second stage must involve freeing Africa from the current white minority, who controls the majority of African land and resources.

True African liberation involves three stages: first, the redistribution of land and natural resources from the white minority to the black majority; second, the rejection of the IMF and World Bank’s counter-developmental neoliberal policies; and third, development of mineral refinement capacity.

Under Gaddafi, Libya was a shining example of how Africans can liberate themselves from Western exploitation and enrich its own people.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had used the three stages of true African liberation to turn Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

Gaddafi practiced the redistribution stage of liberation by nationalizing oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans. Prior to Colonel Gaddafi, King Idris let Standard Oil essentially write Libya ‘s petroleum laws. Mr. Gaddafi put an end to all of that. Money from oil proceeds was deposited directly into every Libyan citizen’s bank account. Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free healthcare and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans.

Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital by adhering to the second stage of liberation and rejecting IMF and World Bank neoliberal policies. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.

Gaddafi was assassinated by the West at a time when he was embarking on a continental mineral refinement program that would have dramatically shifted the economic balance between Africa and the West.

Gaddafi was willing to financially support any African governments that desired to undergo the redistribution stage of liberation.

The World Bank estimates that a staggering 65 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s best arable land is still controlled by white settlers or multinational corporations. The World Bank also estimates that as much as 70 percent of the net wealth in Sub-Saharan Africa is owned by non-indigenous Africans or foreigners…

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/25/africas-second-liberation/

 

Significant Jail Time Needed

On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that 5 major banks will be fined a total of about $5.7 billion. The banks pleaded guilty to manipulating global currency and interest rates as far back as 2007. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Swiss bank, UBS, will pay fines that symbolize the government’s desire to rein in the power of the financial elite.

The New York Times painted the fines as a win because, while banks have entered guilty pleas before, they have always been from subsidiaries of the parent companies. This time, the parent companies themselves pleaded guilty.

While symbolically, the move appears to reprimand evil bankers, the reality is that such fines are minuscule compared to the profits banks reap. $5.7 billion dollars is nothing compared to the $40.24 billion net income that banks earned in the second quarter of 2014 alone. It was the second highest profit total in the last 23 years, surpassed only by 2013. Further, the fines are nothing compared to the trillions of dollars in bailouts that banks received at the outset of the financial crisis.

What is more unsettling about the DOJ tap on the wrist is that while major banks must pay $5.7 billion, in the first quarter of 2015 customers were charged $2.5 billion in overdraft fees. Three major banks (JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America) took $1.1 billion of this total. Some 600 others raked in the rest. Still, the “earnings” made up only 6% of bank profits for the major three involved. Overdraft fees for a single year could easily cover the $5.7 billion charged to the banks today. This discredits the alleged effectiveness of fining financial institutions for these transgressions.

Though it is predictable that a government bought and paid for by bankers refuses to seriously address the stranglehold of their power over the economy and government, it is outrageous that the DOJ is attempting to portray such meager fines as a win for the people.

Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, touted her “success”:

Today’s historic resolutions are the latest in our ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, and they serve as a stark reminder that this Department of Justice intends to vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor; who subvert our marketplaces; and who enrich themselves at the expense of American consumers.

Over and over, the state fines banks hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars for transgressions and policies that hurt a majority of citizens. Over and over, banks still commit crimes, proving fines are not a deterrent. Banks still enjoy record profits and the transfer of wealth from poor to rich continues to destroy the economy. The banking lobby influences the regulations written for their industry. The fines they pay amount to a meager cut of profit for the government that enables them…

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/05/why-57-billion-dollar-fine-on-big-banks.html