A Step Towards a Structurally Higher Gold Price - U.S. Protectionism & Capital Controls
Source: Julian D.W. Phillips, Gold Forecaster - Global Watch (8/3/07)
As the move to keeping what nations have already Protectionism is in full swing. This will inevitably disturb the currency world, who quite rightly will look to something that will protect them from the rising volatility in the currency markets alongside seeping confidence from the U.S $. This ‘something’ will include gold and gold investments.
Will the States do such a thing? Of course it would. The games played to prevent China acquiring U.S. oil companies with reserves in Central Asia demonstrated this aptly, last year. U.S. patriotism will ensure this happens wherever it is obvious. The necessary legislation is in position already, albeit in a seemingly unrelated form. It is always hard for Politicians to pass unpopular or freedom-inhibiting measures, so they are best attached to causes that persuade individuals and Congress to accept such limitations, such as the recent powers over troublesome individuals in Iraq. This paves the way for full control over financial markets of all types. Here is an example of how a popular cause can be used in this way from the White House itself.
“Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people……….. In these previous Executive Orders, I ordered various measures to address the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in that country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq.
My new order takes additional steps…………by blocking the property and interests in property of persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing……… The order further authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, to designate for blocking those persons determined to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for. I delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, the authority to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of my order. - “GEORGE W. BUSH"
Such moves seem reasonable in this case. Our reason for the inclusion of this quote is to clarify just how quick and easy it is to impose restrictions on the spending of the U.S. $ in the hands of any person, institution or nation, not acceptable to the U.S. Administration, [whether he be a foreign national or a U.S. citizen, just as it is in any other nation’s hands [Whether it be Germany, or China itself or any other nation – this is the power a politician has always].
In all the historic instances of either Protectionism or Capital Controls, but in particular Capital Controls, such measures were and can be imposed overnight and became an instant unchangeable reality. Protectionism appeared to be the most reasonable and less dramatic but produces softer but similar consequences in each case. Applied globally [and nations hit, usually respond by imposing their own protectionist measures] they rupture the smooth flowing of trade and finance.
Capital Controls are more draconian than Protectionism however broadly spread, causing huge swings in currency values, so are halted as quickly as possible so as not to damage what is left of a nation’s economy. However, in the case of Britain, where a dual currency system was instituted it stayed for a couple of years. In South Africa where Exchange Controls have been present for more than 30 years now, the Capital Control component lasted for around 20 of these years. In both cases a main component of these controls covered investments of all kinds, loans and any transaction of a Capital nature. In both cases the “discount” on the value of the sales of shares for the repatriation of Capital reached 30%.
Bear in mind that as far as we can see ahead Asian and other nations’ surpluses will continue to burgeon. As they become so bloated that they pose a threat to the $ by the sheer risk of their movement from the U.S. Consequently the possibility of even a partial exit of foreign nation’s surpluses from the $ becomes almost inevitable. So, the nation will, at some point, just have to impose Capital Controls, if only over the removal of foreign nation’s surpluses from the Treasury market.
If such Capital Controls were imposed in the U.S., which would be an almost certainty at some point in the future as money floods from the country, the entire global money system would be irreparably damaged and a flight to hard assets [lead by gold, silver and other precious metals] certain. The break in confidence in currencies themselves would be savage.