Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
Could Gold Price Reach $7,000 by 2030? - 6th Aug 20
Bananas for All! Keep Dancing… FOMC - 6th Aug 20
How to Do Bets During This Time - 6th Aug 20
How to develop your stock trading strategy - 6th Aug 20
Stock Investors What to do if Trump Bans TikTok - 5th Aug 20
Gold Trifecta of Key Signals for Gold Mining Stocks - 5th Aug 20
ARE YOU LOVING YOUR SERVITUDE? - 5th Aug 20
Stock Market Uptrend Continues? - 4th Aug 20
The Dimensions of Covid-19: The Hong Kong Flu Redux - 4th Aug 20
High Yield Junk Bonds Are Hot Again -- Despite Warning Signs - 4th Aug 20
Gold Stocks Autumn Rally - 4th Aug 20
“Government Sachs” Is Worried About the Federal Reserve Note - 4th Aug 20
Gold Miners Still Pushing That Cart of Rocks Up Hill - 4th Aug 20
UK Government to Cancel Christmas - Crazy Covid Eid 2020! - 4th Aug 20
Covid-19 Exposes NHS Institutional Racism Against Black and Asian Staff and Patients - 4th Aug 20
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Zombie Parasites vs. Productives, Turning Argentine

Economics / Inflation Apr 03, 2013 - 01:33 PM GMT

By: Bill_Bonner

Economics

Here in Argentina, most things were closed on Monday for the Easter holidays... and are closed again today, too.

What do these Argentines think they are? French?

We wandered the streets. Here in the Palermo Soho neighborhood of Buenos Aires, where we are staying, there were thousands of people window-shopping, eating in restaurants and drinking in outdoor cafes.


Inflation is running about 30% per year. The government is proposing to use citizens' pension funds to pay off its creditors. You get 50% more for your money if you trade your dollars for pesos on the black market. And experts are predicting another big devaluation of the peso after the October elections.

"The Argentine economy has been supported by strong farm sector prices," reports the local paper. "High agricultural prices should help support the peso and the Kirchner government."

Eager to Spend

People on the streets seem to have money to spend. And they are eager to spend it.

"Are you kidding?" said an Argentine friend. "Nobody wants to save pesos. You get them. You spend them."

"I've seen this show before," said another friend. "I was here in Argentina in the 1980s, when we had inflation of 1,000% per month. And I was in Moscow when the Soviet Union fell apart. Inflation hit about 800% there in 1993. I see signs of a big takeoff in inflation again. Watch out."

But for well-to-do Argentines, the quality of life here must be among the highest in the world. There are dozens of restaurants within a five-minute walk. You can sit outside. The weather is nice. And prices are cheap, if you convert your money on the black market.

But the quality of life is more than just sitting in outdoor cafes sipping a café con leche. Being able to work is important too... and so is being able to keep your money. You need to be able to save money... and then you'll have enough money to be able to hang out in outdoor cafes!

The world is a rich place. It is so rich that it can afford more and more people who don't have to work and more and more people – such as Ben Bernanke – whose work reduces standards of living for practically everyone.

The waiter who brings your morning coffee is providing a valuable service. The plumber who makes sure your water flows is also giving you something of value. So is the autoworker who welded together your automobile.

All increase the real wealth of the planet.

But Bernanke? Is there any evidence that any central banker from the dawn of time until April 2, 2013, added a centime or a farthing to the wealth of the world?

Not that we know of!

Instead, Bernanke fiddles with the monetary base... jiggles interest rates... and generally diddles the economy.

You might say, if it weren't for his jiggling and diddling and so on, that the "crisis would be worse" or even that "we would have had a depression." But you might also say that if he hadn't been diddling and fiddling with it, we wouldn't have had a financial crisis in the first place!

Subtracting Value

How about Nancy Pelosi or Lindsey Graham? Do they provide a useful service? Do they make the world richer... or better... in any way at all? Are they productive members of society or bloodsucking parasites?

It seems obvious here: Argentine politicians do not add value. They subtract it. They spend money that is not theirs and sap wealth they never created. They drain away the real wealth of the world by transferring money from those who earn it to those who consume it. Then it is gone.

Is it any different in North America?

"You get what you pay for," said Milton Friedman. You pay for zombies, you get all you want – and then some.

What about tax lawyers? People on disability? Defense contractors?

Aha! You will say that defense contractors provide a useful service. Without their work, the U.S. would be attacked and invaded.

In the 1930s, major industrial nations were on the march... and there was at least some remote danger that they could march against the USA. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, but it never posed much of a threat to the continental U.S. And Nazi Germany couldn't even conquer Britain, let alone America.

Back then, the U.S. spent 1% of GDP on defense, which was probably more than enough.

Today, the Pentagon consumes nearly five times as much. There are no hostile, aggressive nations endangering the peace of the world – as far as we know. So, for our purposes, we assume that the Pentagon wastes an amount equivalent to about 4% of GDP.

That is to say, it takes wealth from the productive sector and destroys it. Maybe worse. By overspending on "security," the U.S. armed forces may make Americans less secure.

But wait – we're not going to spend our time complaining about the zombies. Instead, we're going to come to the point...

Which is, no matter how rich a place is, it can always be impoverished by careful government planning!

Argentina is a rich country. It has boomed in spite of itself. Thanks to a productive agricultural sector, it earns enough revenue to keep the economy functioning and the government supplied with payoff loot.

But as revenues rise, so does the number of people who want to be paid off: unions, the poor, the rich.

No matter how much they get, the authorities will find ways to spend more. This is how they caused a disaster in the 1980s... and again at the end of the 1990s.

Is Argentina ripe for another financial crisis? Maybe.

The U.S. is an even richer country, but not so rich that a determined government cannot ruin it. Maybe it already has.

Bill Bonner
Bill Bonner is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of Agora, one of the largest independent financial publishers in the world. If you would like to read more of Bill’s essays, sign-up for his free daily e-letter at Bill Bonner’s Diary of a Rogue Economist.

http://www.lewrockwell.com

    © 2013 Copyright The Daily Reckoning, Bill Bonner - All Rights Reserved
    Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules