Egon von Greyerz, from the swiss company Matterhorn Asset Management, says that there will be no double dip... it will be a lot worse and the world economy will soon go into an accelerated and precipitous decline. Keep in mind that this compnay specializes in gold investments.
This deline which will make the 2007 to early 2009 downturn seem "like a walk in the park".
He writes today: "The world financial system has temporarily been on life support by trillions of printed dollars that governments call money. But the effect of this massive money printing is ephemeral since it is not possible to save a world economy built on worthless paper by creating more of the same. Nevertheless, governments will continue to print since this is the only remedy they know. Therefore, we are soon likely to enter a phase of money printing of a magnitude that the world has never experienced. But his will not save the Western World which is likely to go in to a decline lasting at least 20 years but most probably a lot longer".
The End of an Era
The hyperinflationary depression that many western countries, including the US and the UK, will experience is likely to mark the end of an era that has lasted over 200 years since the industrial revolution. A major part of the growth in the last 100 years and especially in the last 40 years has been built on an unsustainable build-up of debt levels. These debt levels will continue to swell for another few years until the coming hyperinflation in the West leads to a destruction of real asset values and a debt implosion.
In the last 100 years the Western world has experienced a historically unprecedented growth in production, in inventions and technical developments leading to a major increase in the standard of living. During the same period government debt, as well as private debt have grown exponentially leading to a major increase in inflation compared to previous centuries.
Total US debt to GDP is now 380% and is likely to escalate substantially.
The coming hyperinflationary depression and the credit and asset implosion that is likely to follow will most probably lead to the end of a 200 year era of growth for the Western world. If only the excesses from the 1970s were corrected we might have a circa 20 year decline. But more likely we will correct the era all the way back from the industrial revolution in the 18th century and this could take 100 years or more.
So after the tumultuous and very painful times that we are likely to experience in the next few years, the West will have a sustained period of decline. All the excesses in the economy and in society must be unwound. These abnormal and unreal excesses are not just corporate executives, bankers, hedge fund managers or sportsmen earning $10s to $100s of millions but also a total collapse of ethical and moral values as well as a breakdown of the family as the kernel of society.
Most people believe and hope that this major trend change could not happen today with all the measures that governments have at their disposal. But very few people comprehend that it is precisely the government interference, controls and regulations as well as money printing that have created the problems in the first place. Power corrupts, and the more pressure a government is under the more they intervene. Because they believe that their interference in the economy will save the country – read Obama, or the world – read Gordon Brown. Little do they understand that each interference, each regulation or each dollar or pound or Euro printed will exacerbate the problems of the economy manifold.
Governments now have two options; continue to spend and print money like the US or introduce austerity programmes like Europe. Whichever way they chose will not matter since they have reached the point of no return. The economy of the West cannot be saved by any means. But governments both in the US and in Europe will still apply the only method they know which is to print money.
Deflation Inflation or Hyperinflation
The only reason that the US could build up such a major debt is that the US dollar has been the reserve currency of the world and therefore the US has been able to finance its debts and deficits internationally. The US has now reached a point when debts have to increase dramatically for the country just to standstill. Like all Ponzi schemes this one will also come to an end – and this very soon. The US dollar will decline dramatically and lose its reserve status and the US government will be unable to finance its deficit in any market. This process will lead to endless money printing, collapsing treasury bonds (substantially higher interest rates) and the dollar becoming worthless in a hyperinflationary black hole.
Let us just reiterate that hyperinflation arises as a result of money printing leading to a currency collapse and not from demand pull. The slight deflation that we are experiencing currently is a prerequisite for hyperinflation. The fear of a deflationary implosion forces governments to print money, leading to a collapsing currency which historically has always been the cause of hyperinflation".
Mr. von Greyerz says although many experts make the analogy between the deflationary period in Japan since the 1990s and the US today, the US is in a totally different situation for the following reasons:
- In the early 1990s Japan could still export their production to the rest of the world.
- In the current downturn all countries (even China and India) will suffer and there will be no one to export the problems to.
- The ability to export made Japan a creditor nation with major payment surpluses. US are a major debtor and have been for 25 years.
- Japan had a very high personal savings ratio at the time (which has now disappeared). US has had a declining savings rate for years (the US savings rate is now going up which it always does in a downturn).
- The balance of payments and the personal savings surpluses made it possible for Japan to finance their budget deficit without resorting to QE. Very soon he US will only be able to finance their deficits with QE and so will most of the rest of the Western world.
- Japanese unemployment in 1992 was 2% and went slowly up to 5% by 2000 where it is now. Real US unemployment is 22% and increasing.
"The above are some of the reasons why the current US situation is totally different to Japan. QE will accelerate in the US and worldwide".