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Precious Metals

Gold – Can it remain above $1,800?

Or is there too much momentum? It’s been a wild ride for gold this past few weeks and the latest moves highlight just how much uncertainty there is in…



This article was originally published by Market Pulse

Or is there too much momentum?

It’s been a wild ride for gold this past few weeks and the latest moves highlight just how much uncertainty there is in the markets right now.

The yellow metal saw incredible support earlier this month as inflation indicators flashed and central banks pushed back against accelerating their policy response.

The transitory claim was starting to fall on deaf ears and that worked out well for gold, a traditional inflation hedge. Low real yields continued to be supportive for gold prices as long as policymakers remained dovish and the data remained good but not great.

With the data improving, gold started to run out of steam and the retail sales data showed the consumer is thriving. Brainard missing out on being the next Chair today appears to have been the straw that broke the camels back and the dollar soared, dragging gold lower.

So what next? As I’ve mentioned, these markets are a bit crazy at the moment and I’m not expecting that to change. But as far as the near-term is concerned, the key test for gold now is $1,800.

Aside from being the next big round number – which often has a psychological impact – it’s also the 61.8 retracement of the November lows to highs and falls around the 200/233-period SMA band on the 4-hour chart.

Needless to say, a break below here could be painful with $1,760 the big test below. A rotation higher could suggest there’s more to come for the gold rally. The challenge is momentum which hasn’t eased on approach to $1,800. Gold’s resolve may soon be tested.

Author: Craig Erlam


Now Or Never: The Great ‘Transition’ Must Be Imposed

Now Or Never: The Great ‘Transition’ Must Be Imposed

Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

A new wave of restrictions,…

Now Or Never: The Great ‘Transition’ Must Be Imposed

Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

A new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect…

Were you following the news this last week? Vaccine mandates are everywhere: one country, after another, is doubling-down, to try to force, or legally compel, full population vaccination. The mandates are coming because of the massive uptick in Covid – most of all in the places where the experimental mRNA gene therapies were deployed en masse. And (no coincidence), this ‘marker’ has come just as U.S. Covid deaths in 2021 have surpassed those of 2020. This has happened, despite the fact that last year, no Americans were vaccinated (and this year 59% are vaccinated). Clearly no panacea, this mRNA ‘surge’.

Of course, the Pharma-Establishment know that the vaccines are no panacea. There are ‘higher interests’ at play here. It is driven rather by fear that the window for implementing its series of ‘transitions’ in the U.S. and Europe is closing. Biden still struggles to move his ‘Go-Big’ social spending plan and green agenda transition through Congress by the midterm election in a year’s time. And the inflation spike may well sink Biden’s Build Back Better agenda (BBB) altogether.

Time is short. The midterm elections are but 12 months away, after which the legislative window shuts. The Green ‘transition’ is stuck too (by concerns that moving too fast to renewables is putting power grids at risk and elevating heating costs unduly), and the Pharma establishment will be aware that a new B.1.1.529 variant has made a big jump in evolution with 32 mutations to its spike protein. This makes it “clearly very different” from previous variants, which may drive further waves of infection evading ‘vaccine defences’.

Translation: a new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect. And what of inflation then, we might ask.

It’s a race for the U.S. and Europe, where the pandemic is back in full force across Europe, to push through their re-set agendas, before variants seize up matters with hospitals crowded with the vaccinated and non-vaccinated; with riots in the streets, and mask mandates at Christmas markets (that’s if they open at all). A big reversal was foreshadowed by this week’s news: vaccine mandates and lockdowns, even in highly vaccinated areas, are returning. And people don’t like it.

The window for the Re-Set may be fast closing. One observer, noting all the frenetic Élite activity, has asked ‘have we finally reached peak Davos?’. Is the turn to authoritarianism in Europe a sign of desperation as fears grow that the various ‘transitions’ planned under the ‘re-set’ umbrella (financial, climate, vaccine and managerial expert technocracy) may never be implemented?

Cut short rather, as spending plans are hobbled by accelerating inflation; as the climate transition fails to find traction amongst poorer states (and at home, too); as technocracy is increasingly discredited by adverse pandemic outcomes; and Modern Monetary Theory hits a wall, because – well, inflation again.

Are you paying attention yet? The great ‘transition’ is conceived as a hugely expensive shift towards renewables, and to a new digitalised, roboticised corporatism. It requires Big (inflationary) funding to be voted through, and a huge parallel (inflationary) expenditure on social support to be approved by Congress as well. The social provision is required to mollify all those who subsequently will find themselves without jobs, because of the climate ‘transition’ and the shift to a digitalised corporate sphere. But – unexpectedly for some ‘experts’ – inflation has struck – the highest statistics in 30 years.

There are powerful oligarchic interests behind the Re-Set. They do not want to see it go down, nor see the West eclipsed by its ‘competitors’. So it seems that rather than back off, they will go full throttle and try to impose compliance on their electorates: tolerate no dissidence.

A 1978 essay “The Power of the Powerless” by then dissident and future Czech President Vaclav Havel begins mockingly that, “A SPECTRE is haunting Eastern Europe: the spectre of what in the West is called ‘dissent’”. “This spectre has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting.” Well, today, as Michael Every of Rabobank notes, “the West has polarisation, mass protests, riots, talk of obligatory vaccinations in Europe, and Yanis Varoufakis arguing capitalism is already dead; and that a techno-feudalism looms”. Now, prompting even greater urgency, are the looming U.S. midterms. Trump’s return (even if confined just to Congress), would cut the legs from under BBB, and ice-up Brussels too.

It was however, precisely this tech revolution, to which Varoufakis calls attention, that both re-defined the Democrat constituency, and turned tech oligarchs into billionaires. Through algorithmically creating a magnetism of like-minded content, cascaded out to its customers, it has both smothered intellectual curiosity, and created the ‘un-informed party’, which is the today’s Managerial Class – the party of the credentialed meritocracy; the party, above all, smugly seeing themselves as the coming era’s ‘winners’ – unwilling to risk a look behind the curtain; to put their ‘safe space’ to the test.

Perversely, this cadre of professionally-corralled academics, analysts, and central bankers, all insist that they completely believe in their memes: That their techno-approach is both effective, and of benefit to humanity – oblivious to the dissenting views, swirling around them, down in the interstices of the internet.

The main function then of such memes today, whether issued by the Pharma Vaccine ‘Command’; the MMT ‘transition’ Command; the energy ‘transition’ Command; or the global managerial technocracy ‘transition’, is to draw a ‘Maginot line’ – a defensive ideological boundary, a “Great Narrative” as it were – between ‘the truth’ as defined by the ruling classes, and with that of any other ‘truth’ that contradicts their narrative. That is to say, it is about compliance.

It was well understood that all these transitions would overturn long-standing human ways of life, that are ancient and deeply rooted and trigger dissidence – which is why new forms of social ‘discipline’ would be required. (Incidentally, the EU leadership already refer to their their official mandates as ‘Commands’). Such disciplines are now being trialled in Europe – with the vaccine mandates (even though scientists are telling them that vaccines cannot be the silver bullet for which they yearn). As one high ‘lodge’ member, favouring a form of global governance notes, to make people accept such reforms, you must frighten them.

Yes, the collective of ‘transitions’ must have their ‘Big, overarching Narrative’ – however hollow, it rings (i.e. the struggle to defend democracy against authoritarianism). But it is the nature of today’s cultural-meme war that ultimately its content becomes little more than a rhetorical shell, lacking all sincerity at its core.

It serves principally, as decoration to a ‘higher order’ project: The preservation of global ‘rules of the road’, framed to reflect U.S. and allied interests, as the base from which the clutch of ‘transitions’ can be raised up into a globally managed order which preserves the Élite’s influence and command of major assets.

This politics of crafted, credentialised meme-politics is here to stay, and now is ‘everywhere’. It has long crossed the partisan divide. The wider point here – is that the mechanics of meme-mobilisation is being projected, not just in the western ‘home’ (at a micro-level), but abroad, into American ‘foreign policy’ too (i.e. at the macro-level).

And, just as in the domestic arena, where the notion of politics by suasion is lost (with vaccine mandates enforced by water-cannon, and riot police), so too, the notion of foreign policy managed through argument, or diplomacy, has been lost too.

Western foreign policy becomes less about geo-strategy, but rather is primordially focussed on the three ‘big iconic issues’ – China, Russia and Iran – that can be given an emotional ‘charge’ in order to profitably mobilise certain identified ‘constituencies’ in the U.S. domestic cultural war. All the various U.S. political strands play this game.

The aim is to ‘nudge’ domestic American psyches (and those of their allies) into mobilisation on some issue (such as more protectionism for business against Chinese competition), or alternatively, imagined darkly, in order to de-legitimise an opposition, or to justify failures. These mobilisations are geared to gaining relative domestic partisan advantage, rather than having strategic purpose.

When this credentialled meme-war took hold in the U.S., millions of people were already living a reality in which facts no longer mattered at all; where things that never happened officially, happened. And other things that obviously happened never happened: not officially, that is. Or, were “far-right extremist conspiracy theories,” “fake news,” or “disinformation,” or whatever, despite the fact that people knew that they weren’t.

Russia and China therefore face a reality in which European and U.S. élites are heading in the opposite direction to epistemological purity and well-founded argument. That is to suggest, the new ‘normal’ is about generating a lot of contradictory realities, not just contradictory ideologies, but actual mutually-exclusive ‘realities’, which could not possibly simultaneously exist … and which are intended to bemuse adversaries – and nudge them off-balance.

This is a highly risky game, for it forces a resistance stance on those targeted states – whether they seek it, or not. It underlines that politics is no more about considered strategy: It is about being willing for the U.S. to lose strategically (even militarily), in order to win politically. Which is to say gaining an ephemeral win of having prompted an favourable unconscious psychic response amongst American voters.

Russia, China, Iran are but ‘images’ prized mainly for their potential for being loaded with ‘nudge’ emotional-charge in this western cultural war, (of which these states are no part). The result is that these states become antagonists to the American presumption to define a global ‘rules of the road’ to which all must adhere.

These countries understand exactly the point of these value and rights-loaded ‘rules’. It is to force compliance on these states to acquiesce to the ‘transitions, or, to suffer isolation, boycott and sanction – in a similar way to the choices being forced on those in the West not wishing to vaccinate (i.e. no jab; no job).

This approach reflects an attempt by Team Biden to have it ‘both ways’ with these three ‘Iconic States’: To welcome compliance on ‘transition issues’, but to be adversarial over any dissidence to mounting a rules framework that can raise the ‘transitions’ from the national, to the supra-national plane.

But do the U.S. practitioners of meme-politics, absorb and comprehend that the stance by Russia-China – in riposte – is not some same-ilk counter-mobilisation done to ‘make a point’? That their vision does stand at variance with ‘the rules’? Do they see that their ‘red lines’ may indeed be ‘red lines’ literally? Is the West now so meme-addicted, it cannot any longer recognise real national interests?

This is key: When the West speaks, it is forever looking over its shoulder, at the domestic, and wider psychic impact when it is ‘making a point’ (such as practicing attacks by nuclear-capable bombers as close to Russia’s borders as they dare). And that when Russia and China say, ‘This is our Red Line’, it is no meme – they really mean it.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/04/2021 – 23:30

Author: Tyler Durden

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Precious Metals

Sound Money Is A Prerequisite To Peace, Prosperity, And Freedom

Sound Money Is A Prerequisite To Peace, Prosperity, And Freedom

Authored by Patrick Barron via The Mises Institute,

There are many good recommendations…

Sound Money Is A Prerequisite To Peace, Prosperity, And Freedom

Authored by Patrick Barron via The Mises Institute,

There are many good recommendations promoted by Austrian school economists for improving the economy. Although we enjoy successes periodically, most–such as deregulating trucking and airline pricing–involve eliminating previous government interventions. These successes are to be celebrated, of course. But no one can deny that government intervention into the economy has continued, despite these occasional success stories.

The reason Big Government has continued to grow is that it controls money production. Not only does government grow in terms of spending, regulations, and interventions everywhere (both internally and overseas), but it threatens our very freedoms. In other words, government’s control of money is diametrically opposed to peace, prosperity, and freedom and eventually will destroy our republican democracy. For this reason, returning to sound money–i.e., money that is created by the private market, is part and parcel of the market, and is controlled by no one–should be goal number one for every lover of peace, prosperity, and freedom. Nothing less than the survival of our western-style way of life is at stake.

Here are a few examples of how unsound money progresses and masks its destructive power.

  • One, unsound money allows government to confiscate resources at will. For example, in 2020 America’s bloated military spent as much as the next eleven nations of the world combined. Of course, military spending went up in 2021 and will continue to increase in 2022. America’s annual budget deficit is projected to be somewhere between $1.84 trillion and $3.4 trillion, depending upon whether you ask the Biden administration or the Congressional Budget Office. All of this money is created out of thin air. Americans’ taxes will not increase enough to cover even a fraction of the Biden estimate, and there is no appetite in the bond market for more American debt. Therefore, the Fed will monetize the new debt onto its balance sheet. The resulting increase in base money will cause the prices of most goods and services to rise. This impoverishment of the American people through the hidden tax of inflation is possible only because money is completely fiat; i.e., produced out of nothing except the government’s printing press and computer terminals.

  • Two, unsound money masks the destructive power of government market interventions. An example is former President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods. According to a friend of mine, the data is irrefutable that the tariffs worked. Well, as Mark Twain said, there’s lies, damned lies, and statistics. What really is irrefutable is the economic law of opportunity cost; i.e., that choosing one thing means the giving up of another. Another is individual preference. The very fact that people must not be allowed to purchase Chinese goods means that they valued those goods to a higher extent than American goods. The reason does not have to be financial. There’s always service, availability, quality, etc. So preventing Americans from buying Chinese goods means less satisfaction for Americans. This is just one example. Another is keeping zombie companies in business through artificially lower interest rates means that capital is misallocated to less productive uses. There’s a whole panoply of labor laws that artificially raises the cost of American labor, reduces American productivity, and lowers business income. Some workers are priced out of the market through minimum wage and mandatory benefit packages. Business has less capital to invest for expansion. New business starts are discouraged. There’s something there for everyone! The destruction is masked by monetarily inflated GDP numbers, artificially suppressed Consumer Price Index (CPI) statistics, increased unemployment payments, and other government programs and manipulated data.

  • Three, and most importantly, Americans’ freedom is threatened. Government can print enough money to buy unlimited enforcers of its rules. More IRS agents. More agents for enforcing arbitrary rules of the Occupational, Safety, and Health Administration (OSHA). More agents for enforcing new environmental regulations and laws arbitrarily established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents. Perhaps even agents to confiscate guns.


Returning to limited government, creating a more free market order, having a less intrusive government, etc. requires sound money. Sound money is not a guarantee of a free society, but a free society is impossible without sound money.

I conclude with these quotes from The Quotable Mises. The last quote is especially pertinent to the point of this brief essay. (Emphases are mine.)

  • The gold standard alone makes the determination of money’s purchasing power independent of the ambitions and machinations of governments, of dictators, of political parties, and of pressure groups. The gold standard alone is what the nineteenth-century freedom-loving leaders (who championed representative government, civil liberties, and prosperity for all) called “sound money.”

  • All those intent upon sabotaging the evolution toward welfare, peace, freedom, and democracy loathed the gold standard, and not only on account of its economic significance. In their eyes the gold standard was the labarum, the symbol, of all those doctrines and policies they wanted to destroy.

  • The classical or orthodox gold standard alone is a truly effective check on the power of the government to inflate the currency. Without such a check all other constitutional safeguards can be rendered vain.

I do not want to close on a pessimistic note. Therefore, I offer this final quote from Ludwig von Mises, ever the optimist and ever the gentleman: “Every nation, whether rich or poor, powerful or feeble, can at any hour once again adopt the gold standard.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/04/2021 – 19:30

Author: Tyler Durden

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Co-Opted By Wall Street: Bitcoin’s Biggest Risk?

Co-Opted By Wall Street: Bitcoin’s Biggest Risk?

Authored by Rob Price via,

As bitcoin gains mainstream acceptance from…

Co-Opted By Wall Street: Bitcoin’s Biggest Risk?

Authored by Rob Price via,

As bitcoin gains mainstream acceptance from centralized financial institutions, will Wall Street come to ruin what is most powerful about the asset?

Bitcoin’s potential is immense — an independent global reserve asset, the foundation of a more ethical financial system, uncorrupted by centralized financial overlords.

But what is the risk that bitcoin could become co-opted and corrupted by those centralized financial overlords? What if bitcoin loses its independence? What if bitcoin merely becomes another speculative Wall Street plaything?

TLDR: Wall Street’s growing importance is unavoidable as bitcoin goes mainstream, but correlations will not rise indefinitely and bitcoin’s independence remains in the hands of everyday users like me and you.


The great bitcoin mining migration of 2021 further decentralized bitcoin mining, which enhanced its security and reduced the possibility of a technical attack on the network itself. Furthermore, bitcoin showed in 2017 that it is resistant to change. A group of miners and merchants alienated themselves from the community because they ignored the community and pushed for an increase to the blocksize.

So, Bitcoin is technically secure and unlikely to change its underlying principles. The network is decentralized and principles enshrined. Users have vehemently defended those principles. However, technical risks are not the only risks to bitcoin.


Ben Hunt outlined some of these softer, more philosophical fears around Bitcoin in his very thought-provoking article “In Praise Of Bitcoin,” in which he wrote about the prospect of BitcoinTM emerging:

“What is Bitcoin!TM in abstracted form? It’s a securitization or representation of Bitcoin ownership that promises the price appreciation of Bitcoin without the hassle of Bitcoin ownership. It’s a casino chip that represents the price of Bitcoin. Michael Saylor, for example, is only too happy to sell you a MicroStrategy casino chip. Or maybe you’d prefer to play on the Canadian crypto ETF felt? Or try your luck at the wheel of a Morgan Stanley private fund?”

This is a much more insidious risk than a technical attack or government regulation, in my opinion, and it warrants reflection.


I recently noticed that the one-year rolling correlation between bitcoin and the S&P 500 reached its highest levels on record, according to a chart accessed via Glassnode. This shows that there is a growing relationship between Wall Street and bitcoin, which could be a signal that our worst fears are coming to fruition. Should we be worried?

Source: Glassnode and Sound Money


From a technical perspective, different asset classes can be driven by the same factors, even if the assets are fundamentally different in nature. For example, inflation can drive gold and equities higher simultaneously but it can also generate divergent outcomes under different circumstances.

It is no surprise that bitcoin and equity markets are both being driven higher by excessively loose monetary policy, which debases the value of fiat currencies. Many other asset classes are caught in the same theme, including property and bonds.

A rising trend in correlations does not imply that the trend will remain intact indefinitely.

But it could…


If Wall Street creates numerous financial products and trade in these products starts to dominate relative to actual users of the technology, the rising correlation between the S&P 500 and bitcoin could become a permanent feature. What if regulators force users to comply with numerous KYC and AML measures, reducing its censorship-resistant qualities and rendering it less independent?

A couple of responses to each scenario:


Take a look at the holders of bitcoin today: More than 35% of coins have not moved in at least two years, according to data from Glassnode, which is a strong indication of long-term investment behavior. Some percentage of these holders could be institutional investors. But the fact that they are not trading the asset implies that, for one, they do not view the asset as a speculative plaything and secondly, that they choose to expose themselves to the vagaries and eccentricities of this alternative monetary network for the long haul, i.e., they are investing on bitcoin’s terms, not Wall Street’s.

Source: Glassnode and Sound Money

Bitcoin has no central bank to enter the market during periods of turmoil. The buyers of last resort are everyday bitcoiners who believe in the project and store their long-term wealth in the asset. It’s these bitcoiners who create the price floors during price crashes.

On-chain research via Glassnode shows that the number of addresses with balances less than 1 bitcoin continues to rise in 2021, giving an indication that smaller holders remain a very important dynamic in the market. By contrast, the growth in the number of addresses with balances great than 100 bitcoin has been negative throughout 2021, also per data accessed on Glassnode.

Source: Glassnode and Sound Money

Conclusion: Yes, Wall Street is becoming important for bitcoin, but that does not imply Wall Street dominates bitcoin.


I would like to remind readers that privacy is a human right and is required by all to live fulfilling human lives. You would not want someone peering into your bedroom every morning! Not only is the right to privacy enshrined in the constitution of numerous countries but also in Article 12 of the UN’s “Declaration Of Human Rights” (UDHR), from 1948.

The desire for privacy does not imply tax evasion or criminal activity. Numerous people require privacy to live due to targeted, government-mandated, financial exclusion. There are more obvious examples in autocratic governments like China, Venezuela and Afghanistan, but there are also more nuanced examples in the countries regarded as the “free world.”

Increasingly stringent financial, travel, property and speech restrictions imposed in 2020 and 2021 implies that the number of people who may be forced into privacy will increase.

Thankfully, numerous users across cryptocurrency markets remain focused on privacy, using techniques to protect their human rights, including privacy-focused altcoins and mixing services to protect fungibility .

Conclusion: While greater government oversight of cryptocurrency is inevitable, greater privacy is also available to those who are willing to put in the effort to get it. Moreover, developers continue to work on technical upgrades which enhance privacy, like Taproot in bitcoin.


I am worried about bitcoin being co-opted by traditional financial markets and a rising correlation between bitcoin and the S&P 500 accentuates my fear.

Practically speaking, a rising correlation between bitcoin and the S&P500 indicates less diversification potential for traditional investors investing into bitcoin. I do not think it will dramatically alter people’s allocation decisions (0.4 is still a pretty low correlation), but it could because the optimal risk-adjusted portfolio could advocate for a slightly lower allocation based on mean-variance optimizations.

However, a rising correlation should not be extrapolated higher indefinitely into the future. The reasons for the correlation, its persistence and its breakdown should be assessed.

Ultimately, it is unsurprising that extreme central bank policies are driving all financial markets in 2021. If central banks were to remove their stimulus, even if only temporarily, it would have a negative impact on risk assets, including equity, like the S&P 500 and bitcoin.

Investors should never get complacent about this tighter monetary policy risk despite the incredibly low probability that central banks will be able to implement prudent policies with higher real interest rates for any length of time.

Despite all my worries about large players dominating bitcoin and government oversight negating the censorship resistant characteristics of bitcoin, grassroots bitcoiners continue to grow and access to privacy-preserving techniques is increasing.

I continue to encourage all holders of bitcoin to use the technology. You may hold the asset as an investment and may not want to touch it for many years to come — that’s great! But get a little bit of bitcoin in a wallet, send it to your friend and realize the value of decentralized, borderless value transfer and storage so that we continue to advocate for this independent system maintained by individuals, not institutions.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/04/2021 – 18:30

Author: Tyler Durden

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