by Egon von Greyerz, Gold Switzerland:
Stock investors are rejoicing about stock markets making new highs in many countries, totally oblivious of the risks or the reasons. It seems that this is an unstoppable rally in a “new normal” market paradigm. No major increase is expected in the inflation rate or the historically low interest rates. The present rally has lasted 8 years since the 2009 low. There is virtually no fear in markets so investors see no reason why this favourable climate would not continue for another 8 years at least.
Yes, of course it could. All that is needed is that governments worldwide print another $20-50 trillion at least and that global debt goes up by another $200-500 trillion.
“IF YOU TELL A BIG LIE OFTEN ENOUGH ….”
The gullibility of people today is exacerbated by the power of the internet and social media. Anything we read is accepted as fact or truth whilst a major part of it is just fake news. This is of course nothing new as it has been used by governments for centuries. Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister, who was an expert at manipulating the German people, said: “If you tell a big lie often enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually believe it.” The power of the internet and other media has facilitated spreading news and propaganda to billions of people and very few can distinguish if they hear or read “real” news or “fake” news.
Anyone in government is in capable of telling the truth. Automatically when someone assumes an elected position his Pinocchio nose grows extremely long since his entire purpose is then to be all things to all men in order to be re-elected. This is why virtually no elected official has a backbone nor any morals or principles. Because if they had, telling the truth would make them unelectable.
THE OLD STYLE HONEST BANKING IS A THING OF THE PAST
During my early professional years as a banker at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, I spent some time with a prominent UK Merchant Bank. This is what the old-style Investment Banks used to be called before the Americans came to dominate the sector. The senior bankers used to arrive at work around 10am and then go to lunch at 1pm. The lunch would consist of at least one gin and tonic to start with and then a good three course meal with a bottle of wine or two. Afterwards some Port with cheese and maybe a beer or two at the pub to finish off. Then back to the office at around 3pm for 4-5 hours of work. And this is how the City of London would operate when it was the financial centre of the world.
Any transaction was based on a handshake and a brief contract. Lawyers played a very small role in this process. Banking was based on trust, personal relationships and high moral standards.Banks displayed total loyalty to their staff and employees did not fear for their jobs. Major deals were concluded with a minimum of legal interference and compliance hardly existed. And still there was very little deception or fraud.
Today the financial world in London and major parts of the world is dominated by the US investment banks, the US legal system and the US government. Trust and loyalty are gone. Handshakes are worth nothing. Lawyers and compliance officers dominate everything and contracts are now running to hundreds of pages. Staff fear for their jobs since the banks have no loyalty to them. The only thing that counts is short term performance. This makes staff totally disloyal too as they know they can be fired on a whim.
Investment bankers are now Masters of the Universe and as the former Goldman Sachs CEO said, “Doing god’s work”. Well, one thing is certain there is certainly no humility in the financial world today or as Michael Lewis said in his book “Liar’s Poker”, major parts of US investment banks are dominated by “Big swinging di–s”. (Bankers with very big egos.)
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