The goal of the liberal elite is to "elect a new people", to turn their first-world nations into a facsimile of the neo-feudalist nations they envy. It's so much more fun to be at the top when those below are scrabbling for survival. The middle classes are boring, and more distressingly, have just enough time and energy left after providing for the basics to be interested in politics on a level beyond the usual spoils system. They might make real, structural demands that would actually threaten the powerful.
So import 2.2 million tired and poor to a tiny island nation, and transform it into the kind of place those people came from. The kinds of places that are eternal shitholes because their elites have a firm grip on power, and use it to enrich only themselves.
US elites are no different than UK elites. They're just slightly behind.
Billionaires and nations are taking physical delivery of 'their' gold. Or trying to.
Regarding the Bundesbank/Fed situation, recall that the Bundesbank asked to have some portion of its gold sitting - supposedly - in the NY Fed vault in NYC sent back Germany. The total amount is 1800 tonnes. After behind the scenes negotiations, the Fed agreed to ship 300 tonnes back over seven years. To this day, the time required for that shipment has never been explained. Venezuela demanded the return of its 200 tonnes held in London, NYC and Switzerland and received it all within about four months.
Hold on to your hats. And your physical. If you've got any. And you should, if you've been listening to me. We're in for a bumpy ride.
Of course, that's a minor cost compared to the lost production and medical costs of dozens of dead & wounded. Not to mention shutting a whole city down for a few days.
But it gets even worse. One of my first jobs was as a grocery bag boy. During orientation, our boss pointed out an economic reality that teenage boys hadn't considered. Grocery is a notoriously low-margin business. If you buy a bag of chips for 95 cents, and sell it for a dollar, when it walks out the door, you're not losing 5 cents, you're losing that whole dollar. You've got to sell twenty more just to break even.
The same is true of immigration. The value of immigrant labor isn't the total of their productive labor: it's the difference between how cheaply they can do it vs. a citizen. Since they're not doing high-value jobs to begin with, there's not much savings to be had. But suppose each immigrant saves us $5,000 each. It takes 20 immigrants just to make up for one Tsarnaev family, even before you account for the costs of terrorism. It will take thousands just to break even from the costs of terrorism.
If even a small fraction of immigrants go on welfare, or a tiny percentage of immigrants commit acts of terrorism, then immigration becomes a net drag on the economy.
Above a certain level of shoplifting, groceries can't be profitable. Hence, food deserts. Above a certain level of graft and crime, immigration can't be profitable. Hence the necessity to eliminate it, even for those who are marginally productive.
We're going to end up with two Americas. The one where food is grown and things are made, and the one where people spend their time proving that they are the "right" kind of people.
Let’s imagine a future utopia of infinite technology. Robotic factories produce far more wealth than anyone could possibly need. The laws of Nature have been altered to make crime and violence physically impossible (although this technology occasionally suffers glitches). Infinitely loving nurture-bots take over any portions of child-rearing that the parents find boring. And all traumatic events can be wiped from people’s minds, restoring them to a state of bliss. Even death itself has disappeared. What policies are useful for this happy state?
First of all, we probably shouldn’t have a police force. Given that crime is impossible, at best they would be useless and at worst they might go around flexing their authority and causing trouble.
Second, religion seems kind of superfluous. Throughout history, richer civilizations have been less religious and our post-scarcity society should be no exception. What would you pray for? What fear is there for faith to allay? With vast supercomputers that know all things, what lingering questions are there for the Bible to answer?
Third, assuming people still have jobs or something, we should probably make them as nice as possible. It doesn’t matter if it hurts productivity; we’re producing far more than we need anyway. We should enforce short work hours and ample maternity and paternity leave so that everyone has time to concentrate on the more important things in life.
Fourth, interest in the environment. We have no shortage of material goods; if our lives lack anything it is beauty and connection to nature. So it will be nice to have as many pleasant green spaces as possible; and if this means a little less oil, it’s not like our Oil-Making-Machines can’t make up the extra.
Fifth, free love. There’s no worries about STDs, the family unit isn’t necessary for any kind of economic survival, and the nurture-bots and trauma-erasure-centers can take care of the kids of anything goes wrong. And since we don’t have anything else to do, we might as well enjoy ourselves with infinite sex.
I was going to go for ten here too, but you get the picture. This world of infinite abundance is a great match for leftist values. I imagine even a lot of rightists and Reactionaries would be happy enough with leftism in a situation like this.
I should also mention what would no doubt be the main pastime of the people of this latter world: signaling.
When people are no longer constrained by reality, they spend most of their energy in signaling games. This is why rich people build ever-bigger yachts and fret over the parties they throw and who got invited where. It’s why heirs and heiresses so often become patrons of the art, or donors to major charities. Once you’ve got enough money, the next thing you need is status, and signaling is the way to get it.
So the people of this final utopia will be obsessed with looking good. They will become moralists, and try to prove themselves more virtuous than their neighbors. Their sophistication will gradually increase as each tries to establish themselves as a critic, as tasteful, as a member of an aristocracy that can no longer be defined in terms of money. They will become conniving, figuring out ways to raise their own social status at their neighbors’ expense. Or they will devolve into a host of competing subcultures, united only by their pride in their defiance of a “norm” which is quickly ceasing to exist.
The ironic thing is - as always - that those who are obsessed with image are those most likely to end up without the basics of life. Infinite technology doesn't exist. For example, liberals cut back on law enforcement, assuming that crime is impossible, and get more crime. They practice free love, and end up destroying the utility of the very drugs they rely on to make it consequence-free.
Those who prioritize conspicuous consumption over production ultimately get neither.
It's even higher in Afghanistan, and over 50% in Jordan, the Palestinian territories, and Malaysia. (You know, the "good" Muslim country.) In truth, any positive result is too high. 1 in 20 would be seriously problematic. For every person who believes that, there are bound to be several more who believe similarly extreme things that are simply incompatible with any sort of modern civilization.
That's very relevant to people who hold paper....
Every time I read a headline about the measles epidemic in Wales I flinch with shame. This is because I used to be one of those people who refused to have their child vaccinated – for anything. My daughter was born in a London hospital in September 2011, and every time the doctors, the health visitors and the nurses at the weighing clinic tried to give her the routine jabs, I put her back in her pram and wheeled her away.
The NHS schedule of inoculations felt so over the top, full of diseases I'd last heard mention of in gloomy Victorian novels. Injections at two, three, four, 12 and 13 months, for diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, pertussis, polio – all these archaic names, not things that you actually think your child is going to catch. OK, so we lived in Hackney, with a diverse immigrant population, sometimes arriving from countries where those diseases are still active. In fact, our borough was one of the few places in Europe where tuberculosis was actually making a comeback. But not in my house – I mean, we had a washing machine and a fridge full of organic vegetables and surely, you know, only weak and sickly people could catch it?
I wasn't a completely barefoot do-gooding type by any stretch of the imagination, but I breastfed, and read a lot of alternative health forums online that left me convinced we had become too over-protective. It was good for children to catch diseases naturally and fight them off by themselves. My baby would build up a strong immune system all of her own, not have it interfered with by some paranoid government programme that seemed to involve pumping metals into her blood.
That was, until she caught pertussis – which turns out to mean whooping cough. Which turns out to mean months of pain. It is a highly contagious disease that comes in stages, but that horrible, hacking cough that kept her up all night went on for so many weeks that she was prescribed an inhaler. She was past her first birthday, so unlikely to die of it, like newborns can, but it's disgusting to watch your child needlessly suffer like that. My parents had to come to help us, and then we grownups all succumbed to the revolting condition too. Of course, having wanted to avoid filling her body with chemicals, I ended up giving her all the medicines I could find.
It's amazing how quickly an encounter with the brutal reality of disease can change a person's mind...
The hippie era ended on December 6th, 1969. The Rolling Stones gave a free concert at the Altamont Speedway. A documentary film crew, intending to film the west-coast Woodstock, instead captured footage of a man right in front of the stage pulling out a gun, and getting knifed to death. (So much for "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight.") It certainly put a damper on that whole peace & love thing.
We just had a repeat in Denver. Coloradans celebrating their new recreational marijuana laws on 4/20 gathered together for a day of peace & love... and a black man whipped out a gun. Except this time there were no Hells Angels there, and a couple of people got shot.
Steve Sailer has a theory that this is the life cycle: Your upper class invents a party scene - circumventing social controls - and it's all fun until the lower classes get involved. Whereupon they rediscover why those social controls were invented in the first place. He further theorizes that Burning Man represents an exception to the rule: letting your freak flag fly out in the desert, with expensive tickets and much preparation required just for basic survival keeps low-time-preference people away, and allows the upper class to enjoy free sex & drugs with other high-time-preference people who won't spoil the fun.
As a once-a-year festival, this works and will probably keep working. But it doesn't scale to an entire society.
At least temporarily.
In the U.S., all of the dealers I talk to are reporting huge demand and brisk buying. Silver in any form is quite hard to come by unless you want to pay premiums of 20%+ per ounce above spot price. Delivery times are 5 to 6 weeks out now – that's an unusual situation. If this recent slam was designed to scare people away from gold, it did not have that desired outcome; in fact, just the opposite.
You can even make a 10%+ premium selling.
This is a very unstable situation. If spot (paper) prices don't go back up again fairly quickly, holders of paper are going to start asking why the supposedly-metal-backed paper they're holding is selling for so much less. That will undermine confidence - as well it should - which will depress spot prices even more. At that point you're into a spiral, and we get permanent decoupling. Paper - at least in the form we have now - never recovers.
Either way, something's got to give.