Investment Rarities Incorporated
History |  Q & A  |  Endorsements  |  Portfolios  | Flatware | Gold Coins  |  Silver Coins  |  Contact |  Home


Jim Cook



Every once in a while I switch the TV channel from Fox to CNBC to see what the liberals are saying.  After listening awhile I get a deep sense of hopelessness and foreboding for our country.  The most important thing for the left is giving money to people.  They are happy to see the growth of food stamps, disability payments, housing subsidies, free healthcare and all the other welfare benefits.  They utterly fail to see the damage it is doing to the recipients.  Whole cities that once flourished have deteriorated into rotting eyesores populated with shambling hulks of chemically dependent drones.  These people are no longer employable.  They have become incompetent and helpless and the liberals can’t see that it’s their doing.

..Read More »

The Best of Jim Cook Archive

Best of Bill Buckler
February 23, 2012
archive print


Have you ever noticed that amongst people who do a reasonable amount of travelling, there is one linguistic group which stands out? We refer to people whose native (and very often only) language is English. In Europe especially but also in other non English speaking parts of the world, those who get "out and about" are almost invariably bi-lingual and often multilingual. But English speakers (including your Captain it must be said) speak their native tongue wherever they go. This is natural enough, but the amusing aspect is that they expect to be understood wherever they go. When visiting a non English speaking country, they have a tendency to simplify and slow their speech down as if addressing a young child or to shout every second word in an attempt to make themselves understood. When that doesn't work, they fall back on the old standby - "Does anybody here speak English!?" Almost invariably - someone does.
An amazing number of English speaking people regard all languages except their own as dead languages. But what is much more scary is the number of English speaking people who are doing their best to render their own language into a dead language. Nowhere is this more prominent than in the ranks of politicians, academia, the mainstream media, banking and finance and the investment community. Here, words are used not to communicate but to obfuscate. Fundamentals and basic principles are completely ignored. Any type of rational argument is left in mid air without a connection to the "real world". And definitions are twisted to the point at which their original referent is entirely lost.


Humpty Dumpty Revisited:

" When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, ... it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.' The question is,' said Alice, whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

The question is," said Humpty, which is to be master - that's all.'"

That is a part of the dialogue between Alice and Humpty taken exactly as it was written by Lewis Carroll in Through The Looking Glass. It was written in 1871. In that same year, Carl Menger - widely regarded as the "father" of Austrian economics - published his Principles of Economics. Mr Carroll's book is a classic of children's literature, continually in print and read and enjoyed by millions of people of all ages. Herr Menger's work is still in print too but it has been read by hardly anyone who "matters" in our modern world of Humpty Dumpty political economy.
Sadly, in our world, Mr Carroll's "principles" as articulated by Humpty have become the guiding lights of "policy" while Herr Menger and the even greater economists who followed him are unknown, ignored or damned with very faint praise. When the issue is which is to be master, dead languages are very useful.



Three Quotes To Illustrate The Point:

The mainstream financial media on the internet provides a bottomless resource for these quotes, but here are three taken at random from one article which appeared on Bloomberg on February 8. The title of the article is: Bernanke Economy Shows Critics Wrong on Fed.
"I don't see how anybody in their right mind could form a strong argument for persistent, rapid inflation in the US." That's from John Lonski, the chief economist of Moody's Capital Markets Group. "The criticism about the Fed being inflationary is not fact-based." That's from Mark Gertler, an economics professor at New York University. "It just doesn't look like there's any evidence right now. There are no alarm bells going off in terms of the current picture." That's from Peter Cooper, you guessed it - another "chief economist" - this time at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

Imagine the reaction of these "eminent" economists to a doctor who found no evidence of physical trauma while examining them meticulously and blandly ignoring a compound fracture which was pumping blood all over his pristine white coat. Imagine their reaction to an insurance assessor who pronounced their car in perfect shape while omitting the fact that the entire front was missing and the engine was sitting in the back seat. Imagine their reaction to an engineer who praised the design of a dam while happily oblivious to the ten metres of water which was pouring over the top of it.

The language that economists (and politicians) use sounds just like the language that their counterparts in all these other disciplines use. But it isn't, it is replete with words which are either meaningless or which are defined in ways which bear no resemblance to the issue being discussed. "Inflation" - and "deflation" - are but two of them, there are many more.

Dry Streets In A Deluge:

As the old saying among rational economists goes, singling out changes in prices as the "cause" of inflation or deflation is like singling out wet streets as the "cause" of rain. It is a classic case of getting things entirely backward, of putting the cart before the horse, of defining the "cause" as being one of its many effects. It is a very useful procedure if your goal is to hamstring debate on the issue.

There is and always has been only one rational definition of "inflation" - an increase in the total stock of money. Naturally, "deflation" is the exact opposite. This definition has been banned from economic and political discourse for three generations. Had it not been, the continuous inflation of that entire period would have collapsed of its own weight a long time ago. A definition of inflation that focussed on money would have brought forward two other areas of debate. These are - what is money and who has the power to manipulate the stock of money. The answers are clear enough. In our credit-based economy, money is whatever those in power say it is. And those in power have the EXCLUSIVE direct or indirect power to manipulate the quantity of money.

Nobody living in the desert or on the seashore would choose grains of sand as the medium of exchange. Nor would anyone living in the vast open plains of the world choose blades of grass as their money. Having grasped the concept of a medium of exchange, anyone looking around for something to fulfil that function would not choose an economic good which could be procured by anyone without effort and in effectively unlimited quantities. Still less would anyone who DID choose such a medium of exchange assert that it was having no ill effects while watching the beaches stripped and the plains denuded.

Yet that is what modern "chief economists" do when they claim that "the criticism about the Fed being inflationary is not fact-based." The sole purpose of the Fed - or any other central bank - is to manipulate the stock of money. That doesn't "cause" inflation - it IS inflation. The Fed can create (or destroy) as many grains of sand or blades of grass as it deems "necessary". It does this continually and in potentially unlimited quantities. The deluge continually intensifies while the streets allegedly remain bone dry.



.Ó 2009 – The Privateer

(reproduced with permission)


Delivery via email

Trial: 5 issues (once only)

Six-Month: 12 issues

Annual: 25 issues

Two-Year: 50 issues

Subscribe at