Youth march with a banner saying “We demand” during a protest against unemployment and government austerity measures in Lisbon March 31, 2012. (Reuters/Jose Manuel Ribeiro)Unemployment among young people in the eurozone hit a record 23.9% in October with Southern member countries among the worst affected.Those under-25s out of work in the eurozone is up from 21.2% year-on-year, The Guardian reports. There are now 3.6 million Europeans under the age of 25 out of work in the region. These figures vary starkly between northern and southern European countries as Spain saw 56% of its young people out of work, while in Germany only 8.1% of the young are unemployed. Austria and the Netherlands also saw a lower youth unemployment rate of 8.5% and 9.8% respectively. For comparison, Greece reported 57% young people out of work in the third quarter of the year.Last month the Eurofond research agency reported that young unemployed Europeans aged 15 to 29 who are not in employment, education or training – so-called NEETs – had reached a record level. The total costs associated with the rising numbers of NEETs are €10.8bn in public finance and €142.1bn in estimated loss of output, according to the research.The number of young adults in work across the EU is the lowest on record with 30%, or 5.8 million young adults in the region in part-time employment, a 9% increase over a decade, according to the Eurofond report.Meanwhile the total jobless rate in the eurozone reached a record high of 11.7%, from 11.6% in September, meaning 19 million people in the bloc were out of work. The gap between southern and northern member countries is wide too, ranging from 4.3% rate in Austria to in 26.2% in Spain. Meanwhile the average unemployment rate in the 27 member states of the EU was at 10.7%.”Since the labor market usually lags the economic cycle and the overall eurozone economy is likely to deteriorate further in the fourth quarter, unemployment rates could climb further well into next year,” Christian Schulz at Berenberg Bank told The Guardian. …
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Many of today’s investors have only lived through the long term bull market of financial assets, between 1980 and 2000. Those two decades have been characterized by strong growth in bond and equity markets. At the same time, gold & silver prices experienced a slow and steady decline. Nick Barisheff remembers it was remarkable how the Central Banks, Wall Street and the media were exploiting every opportunity to make negative comments about precious metals.
The cycle before that started in 1968. It included US President Nixon putting an end to the Gold standard in 1971 and peaked with the gold and silver mania in 1980. And here we are again; gold and silver have outperformed every other asset class for 12 years in a row. Still, precious metals are almost off the radar in the mainstream media. There is less than 0.5% of the total portfolio invested in bullion and mining stocks globally in institutions, while less than 1% is invested by the general public.
Here is the key point: if you’ve only lived through one cycle, it’s very difficult to change your mind. Clearly most people today aren’t able to see beyond the financial asset bull market; they still tend to ignore today’s spectacular gold bull market. Essentially it requires a major paradigm shift in your way of thinking. It’s at this point where the psychological factors come into play. In his book, Nick Barisheff mentions 3 psychological factors that are preventing people from looking at this with an open mind:
Complacency, which is the “routine” behavior that prevents us being open-minded to new evolutions or trends (in this context: willing to admit that the new economic cycle)
Cognitive dissonance indicates the difficulty of making a choice between conflicting options
Normalcy bias is our natural tendency to downplay the probability of a non-regular event (in this context: a currency collapse, a long period of economic stagflation, a hyperinflation)
If you take a closer look, you will recognize these patterns constantly around you. Unless you are able to move past these mental issues, you will stay blindfolded. It doesn’t matter which evidence is presented, like for example a ten-year gold price chart or the decline in value of currencies.
Main street public ignores gold’s real benefits
We have strong evidence of gold’s upward move, with a gold price that has gone from $ 275 in 2001 to a new 11 month high at $1,796.50 on October 10th. The economy continues to look worse with the day, as the Eurozone keeps on struggling with debts and the IMF just issued a grim warning of a weaker global economy. And yet, people keep on talking about gold being overpriced. The most common arguments you hear are that a further price increase is irrational and that it’s too late to invest. Apart from the earlier discussed mental factors that are into play, here is a more fundamental reason barrier: the lack of understanding of the monetary system. It’s mandatory to have a basic understanding of what money and currencies are.
Nick Barisheff often uses the following example. A lot of people still think that gold’s only purpose is for jewelry. With a price of nearly $1,8000, gold is probably overpriced as far as jewelry is concerned. This point becomes perfectly clear on a day like September 13th, when Bernanke announced QE3. The price of gold went up by more than $ 25 in less than an hour. So does that mean that everyone stood up to buy jewelry right after Bernanke’s speech? The central point here is that an announcement was made to debase the US dollar, without any limit, without any timeframe. Anybody with a basic understanding of how money and currencies work, could connect the dots. It’s almost a sure thing that the gold price will continue to rise.
This is so important to understand: it’s the currency that is being debased. The announcement of Ben Bernanke on September 13th stated that the currency was debased to infinity. The rise of the gold price is simply a natural result of that event.
Again, main street public can’t connect the dots as they don’t understand the dynamics of money and currency. They are not to blame in fact, as it wasn’t taught in school or in economic classes. There is even no economic course or university that goes in to the fundamentals of money, how it’s created, the dynamics in that market and so on. The only exception is the Austrian School of Economics.
When you start looking at the history of currencies, there isn’t one example in human history where fiat currency didn’t go through a hyperinflation or complete collapse. Not one! Now for the first time ever we have a reserve currency and a global fiat currency system that is one way or another tied to the US dollar. History is about to repeat once again as we are moving to the same kind of end game.
You really need to get acquainted with topics like money, how the Federal Reserve and the fractional reserve system work, how currencies are being debased and the roles of interest rates and inflation. That’s quite an effort in terms of education for most people.
The primary condition for a better understanding: education
Nick Barisheff is not saying it’s easy to get up to speed with monetary topics. The day-to-day pressure in our society makes it very hard to step back and educate oneself. Today in a typical family, both partners are working. They need to manage their financial and retirement issues, their daily household issues, etc. Our world is subject to a greater level of change than ever before (business, legislation, technological advances, etc). So it’s a big challenge to take the education that is required.
Unfortunately that’s exactly the kind of thing that will cause many people to be blindsided. Educational sites, interviews or books are going to help some people but not the entirety. Most people will jump on board when it becomes totally obvious; that’s probably when hyperinflation hits. For sure it will be too late. That will be the time when gold will be a discussion topic on all cocktail parties and when you will see taxi drivers convincingly explain to people why they should own gold. However, most of them won’t understand why they are investing in it even when the price of gold will probably be rising $100 a day.
We see today already a loss in confidence in traditional institutions like for example the government, banks and (traditional) media. In fact, that trend has been going on for quite some years but it has been accelerating in the past decade. It could bring us faster to the tipping point, as an increasing number of people could turn to alternative media (freely available on the internet) in order to educate themselves.
We saw it all before
You can compare today’s situation with the bull market of the 80’s and 90’s in the high tech stocks on NASDAQ. Although the bull started its run in 1982, it was only in 1998 that 90% of investors started investing. Obviously that was just in time to totally get crushed. A similar evolution took place in the gold bull market of the 70′s.
As from 1974, the US government allowed their citizens to own gold again. If you look at the newspapers back in the 70′s, the main message that was given to the people was how the US dollar was declining x percent against gold. They didn’t say that gold went up with x percent. That’s exactly how the right perception was created. Today’s focus of most media is “how the gold price is going up … for no apparent reason”. All Western economies are accelerating the printing of money, that’s enough reason on itself for gold’s appreciation.
All economic forces are stronger right now compared to the previous gold bull market. Excessive money printing is taking place on a global scale. Also, the 70’s bull market wasn’t global in nature. It was a US phenomenon primarily because the US dollar was declining after it was removed from the gold standard. Gold went up to a lesser extent in Canada and the UK. However, it did not appreciate in German Marks or Swiss Francs.
Why mainstream media avoids talking about the real benefits of gold
There are still big entrenchments from the financial community. The wealth managers, money managers, private banks, pension funds … they are still against the rise of precious metals, perpetuating the idea that gold is a risky asset and that it’s useless as it doesn’t pay any interest or dividend. Those arguments are all easily refuted. But still these negative articles keep on appearing, even now after a fantastic 12 year bull ride. You don’t see something similar in other asset classes. There are considerably less negative articles about oil, potash or natural gas to name some examples. Nick Barisheff admits that he doesn’t know if it’s on purpose, if it’s going to change or when it could change.
Coincidence or not, Forbes announced an article devoted to gold almost exactly the same time of this Q&A with Nick Barisheff: Gold can save us from disaster. The article is written by Steve Forbes himself and will appear in their magazine as well. Could this be a sign that the tide is turning? Are we right now close to the tipping point? Only time will tell, but things are worsening every day in our economy and the least we can say is that the situation is alarming. Do you own physical gold and silver?
Note that BMG offers a lot of valuable insights and resources with an educational character on their website. The information is freely available. Much more insights are published in Nick’s book “$10,000 Gold: Why Gold’s Inevitable Rise is the Investor’s Safe Haven” which will be released later this year and is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.
Read the previous article with Nick Barisheff The Destruction Of Currency And Rise Of Gold
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