Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dress rehearsal for the last contango

It has never happened that gold was unobtainable at any price. It has never happened that all governments have defaulted on their debt obligations simultaneously.

Still, we have to explain the relevance of this to the credit crisis. It is no secret that the bonds, notes, bills, and other obligations of the U.S. government, or any other government, for that matter, are irredeemable. That is, they are redeemable in nothing but more of the same. For example, the bonds of the U.S. Treasury are redeemable in Federal Reserve credit, which is itself irredeemable and is "backed by" the self-same bonds of the U.S. Treasury. Why is it, then, that these Treasury obligations are in demand where one might think that redeemability is a sine-qua-non of issuing them? What makes people participate in this shell game? How can such a crude check-kiting scheme mesmerize the entire population?

Come to think of it, the sight of this Ponzi scheme would shudder the Founding Fathers of our great Republic.
Highly recommended.