Many of our readers are familiar with John Williams of Shadow Stats. We often refer to his economic analysis to get the real story about GDP growth, unemployment and most matters of government accounting.
In previous articles, we’ve discussed the threat of Hyperinflationary Depression – No Way of Avoiding Financial Armageddon and What is Money When the System Collapses?
Mr. Williams was recently interviewed by The Gold Report and the discussion revolved around the real possibility of hyperinflationary collapse of the US Dollar and an economists view of what the effects of such a collapse would be. If you haven’t read our previous articles, we’d recommend reading those now as they may provide some ideas, tips and strategies to help you whether the storm in the event that it does happen as Mr. Williams suggests it may.
The following excerpts are just snippets from an excellent interview that is worth your while to read in its entirety.
There’s strong evidence that we’re going to see an intensified downturn ahead, but it won’t become a great depression until a hyper-inflation kicks in. That is because hyper-inflation will be very disruptive to the normal flow of commerce and will take you to really low levels of activity that we haven’t seen probably in the history of the Republic.
Again, if you start to see a great depreciation of the U.S. currency or a tremendous increase in lack of confidence in the soundness of the government’s fiscal condition, there is a problem. You mentioned Greece, for example. The sovereign solvency issues there are minuscule compared to what we have with the United States, which is the elephant in the bathtub. The markets know it’s there. The central bankers know it’s there. Again, with the downturn in the economy, all the issues are going to be brought to a head. As they come to a head, there will be that effort to dump the dollar. I would expect that, indeed, it will be decoupled from its reserve status, although it could follow after the fact as opposed to before the fact.
Beyond income issues, the problem with the hyper-inflation is that very quickly the use of cash will cease. Let me contrast our circumstance here with a very popularly followed hyper-inflation case that’s now run its course in Zimbabwe. There you had probably the worst hyper-inflation that anyone’s ever seen. After devaluation upon devaluation, they successively lopped the zeros off the bills. If you took a $2 bill that they first issued back in the ’80s and then tried to come up with the equivalent of a $2 bill in the last form of the currency, it would be very difficult to do because it was so worthless. If you put a pile of those together to equal the original $2 bill, it would actually stretch from the earth to the Andromeda Galaxy. We’re talking light years. There are not enough trees on earth to print them. Yet the Zimbabwe economy survived and functioned. They had a lot of problems, but they operated. The reason they functioned was because they had a back-up system, which was a black market in U.S. dollars. People switched out of the Zimbabwe dollar to U.S. dollars. They could live with that. In the U.S., we don’t have a back-up system.
In terms of preserving the purchasing power of your assets, the best thing I can think of is physical gold. That’s worked over the millennia. I’m not per se a gold bug. It just happens to be a circumstance in which it’s the cleanest asset around for that. You don’t need to put all your assets into gold, but hold some. Hold some silver. I’d look to get some assets out of the U.S. dollar and look to get some assets out of the U.S. When I say outside of the U.S. dollar, again, I look at the Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, Swiss franc in particular. I think they will tend to do particularly well, whereas the U.S. dollar is going to become effectively worthless.
As the dollar breaks down, you’ll also likely see disruptions in supply chains, including shipments of food to grocery stores. People should consider maintaining stockpiles of basic goods needed for living, much as they would for a natural disaster. I sit on the Hayward fault in California. I have a supply of goods and basic necessities in case something terrible happens-natural or man-made-that will carry me for a couple of months. It may take that long for a barter system to evolve, which I think is what you’re going to end up with; at least until a new currency system is reorganized and you get a government that’s able to bring its fiscal house into order. No currency system in the U.S. is going to work unless the fiscal conditions that drove it into oblivion are also addressed.
I like physical gold and silver. I look to gold as a primary hedge. If you can come out of this holding gold, you’ll be in a position where you’ll be able to take advantage of some extraordinary investment opportunities that will follow.
It’s coming, and top (non-mainstream) economists are telling us to get ready.
Contrary to what we hear from Mr. Bernanke, Mr. Geithner, and Mr. Paul Krugman, the economy will not continue to grow indefinitely and we have not completely recovered yet. This is all part of a greater depressive trend in the economy and if Mr. Williams is right, the real numbers will show economic contraction in the latter part of 2010. What will the stock market and bond markets do once global investors and US debt buyers realize that the so-called recovery was nothing more than a mirage?
The Federal Reserve is printing trillions of dollars, and when it becomes apparent that the plans put forth by President Bush and President Obama have failed, we are going to be in serious trouble.
We are going to side with Mr. Williams on a coming hyperinflationary destruction of the US Dollar at some point in the near future (timeframe: +- 5 years), and we hope that Mr. Williams’ assessment of a brief period of disruption to commerce is accurate. Because if it is anything longer than that, then the shit will most certainly be hitting the fan in the style of The Day the Dollar Died or Patriots, and that will not be in any way pleasant, even for those of us who are ready for it.