Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gold and Silver Prices Signal the Destruction of the Dollar

And with the imminent arrival of a second round of "quantitative easing" from the Fed, the big guns of dollar destruction are being locked and loaded. The move looks poised to set off a frantic race to the bottom among global currencies, which will have important ramifications for every investor. Unfortunately, this is one race the United States is poised to win.

The goal of those trying to win the race to the bottom is to promote exports and create jobs. However, people don't work simply for their love of labor. They work so that they can earn enough to consume the things they need and want. Under normal conditions, a nation only exports its production, rather than consuming it domestically, to leverage its comparative advantages. If a country can produce one type of good especially efficiently, it can trade that good for other goods it doesn't make as efficiently at home. As a result of this process, its citizens will be able to consume more goods than if consumption had been limited to domestically produced goods.

However, when a government debases its currency in order to gain sales overseas, the nation earns less foreign exchange for the goods that it exports. As a result, its comparative advantage is blunted, and its citizens consume less as a result. In other words, as a nation's currency declines, its citizens are forced to work harder for less.


The irony for the United States is that its currency debasement plan has little to do with saving export jobs. We don't have many of those left to save. The government is debasing our currency merely to "pay" its own bills, preserve bank profits and Wall Street bonuses, allow us to continue buying homes we can't afford, and prevent many service-sector workers from having to find more productive jobs. In return, they will perpetuate an unworkable economic model. So while the US will probably "win" the currency war, we will definitely lose the far more important battle to improve our quality of life. -Peter Schiff: Race to the Bottom

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