Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category
Interested in the real story behind the creation of the Federal Reserve System, I was able to examine source notes of G. Edward Griffin’s Book “Creature from Jekyll Island” and a few others. I am able to provide digital copies of enough source material to confirm the essential details of the secret meeting and allow my readers to see it for themselves in the words of those who actually attended this meeting. One such participant was Frank A. Vanderlip, President of National City Bank in New York. He provides the details in his autobiographical account “From Farm Boy To Financier” in chapter 21: A Conclave on Jekyl Island.
There was an occasion, near the close of 1910, when I was as secretive, indeed, as furtive as any conspirator… I do not feel it is any exaggeration to speak of our secret expedition to Jekyl Island as the occasion of the actual conception of what eventually became the Federal Reserve System.
Mr. Stillman in Paris … had just had a long conference with Senator Nelson Aldrich (Zivil in our code) who was very keen to get to work on banking and currency revision. Mr. Stillman said he had told Mr. Aldrich that freedom from interruptions was essential, but that it could be accomplished by getting Davison and me down to his estate in Rhode Island without any one’s knowing of it. Mr. Stillman expressed to me his fear that after revision the banks might not be so well off … from that time on Davison and I ought to follow the matter very closely, and keep in touch with Aldrich.
Senator Aldrich was the father-in-law of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and himself a very rich man. Now then, fancy what sort of head-lines might have appeared over a story that Aldrich was conferring about new money legislation with a Morgan partner and the president of the biggest bank.
On October 28, 1910, I wrote to Mr. Stillman in Paris: “Senator Aldrich met with what came very near being a severe, if not fatal automobile accident … the accident has naturally postponed the conference.
As the time for the assembling of Congress drew near, Senator Aldrich became increasingly concerned about the report he must write on behalf of the joint monetary commission; likewise, there ought to be, he knew, a bill to present to the new Congress and none had been drafted. This was how it happened that a group of us went with him to the Jekyl Island Club on the coast of Georgia.
Those who had been asked to go were Henry Davison, Paul Warburg, Ben Strong, and myself. From Washington came A. Piatt Andrew, who was then an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and who now is a member of Congress from Massachusetts. We were told to leave our last names behind us. We were told, further, that we should avoid dining together on the night of our departure. We were instructed to come one at a time and as unobtrusively as possible to the railroad terminal on the New Jersey littoral of the Hudson, where Senator Aldrich’s private car would be in readiness, attached to the rear end of a train for the South.
We addressed each other as “Ben,” “Paul,” “Nelson,” “Abe” (it is Abram Piatt Andrew). Davison and I adopted even deeper disguises, abandoning our own first names. On the theory that we were always right, he became Wilbur and I became Orville, after those two aviation pioneers, the Wright brothers. Incidentally, for years afterward Davison and I continued the practice, in communications, and when we were together.
… it was the names of all printed together that would have made our mysterious journey significant in Washington, in Wall Street, even in London. Discovery, we knew, simply must not happen, or else all our time and effort would be wasted. If it were to be exposed publicly that our particular group had gotten together and written a banking bill, that bill would have no chance whatever of passage by Congress.
“What we ought to do· first,” I said, “is to set down those things about which we are agreed; then, one by one, we can take up those things about which we seem to disagree.” … of course we knew that what we simply had to have was a more elastic currency through a bank that would hold the reserves of all banks.
We were taken by boat from the mainland to Jekyl Island and for a week or ten days were completely secluded, without any contact by telephone or telegraph with the outside. We had disappeared from the world onto a deserted island.
Thanksgiving occurred during that week and we ate wild turkey with oyster stuffing and went right back to work.
I enjoyed that period as I never have enjoyed anything else. I lived during those days on Jekyl Island at the highest pitch of intellectual awareness that I have ever experienced. It was entirely thrilling.
If it was to be a central bank, how was it to be owned, by the banks, by the government, or jointly? When we had fixed upon bank ownership and joint control, we took up the political problem of whether it should be a number of institutions, or only one. Should the rate of interest be the same for the whole nation or should it be higher in a community that was expanding
too fast and lower in another that was lagging? Should it restrict its services to banks? What open-market operations should be engaged in?
We returned to the North as secretly as we had gone South. It became known to the country as the Aldrich Plan.
Too ill to write an appropriate document to accompany his plan, Ben Strong and I went on to Washington and together we prepared that report. If what we had done then had been made known publicly, the effort would have been denounced as a piece of Wall Street chicanery… As is now well known, the bill we drafted did not get through Congress.
Now, although the Aldrich Federal Reserve plan was defeated when it bore the name of Aldrich, nevertheless its essential points were all contained in the plan that finally was adopted. The law as enacted provided for twelve banks instead of the one which the Aldrich plan would have created; but the intent of the law was to coordinate the twelve through the Federal
Reserve Board in Washington, so that in effect they would operate as a Central Bank. There can be no question about it: Aldrich undoubtedly laid the essential, fundamental lines which finally took the form of the Federal Reserve Law. Frank A Vanderlip Ch 21 from From Farm Boy To Financier
Another participant, Paul M. Warburg, appears in a biographical sketch produced by B. C. Forbes, founder of the famous financial periodical Forbes. Here is the account appearing in the chapter on Paul M Warburg in B.C. Forbes’ book “Men Who Are Making America”
Senator Aldrich issued a confidential invitation to Henry P. Davison of JP Morgan & Co.; Frank A Vandeilip, president of the National City Bank and an ex-Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; Paul M. Warburg, then of Kuhn, Loeb & Company, and A. Piatt Andrew, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, to accompany him on an extremely important – and secret – trip. Mr. Davison had gone with the Commission to Europe as an adviser, Mr Vanderlip was a recognized authority on banking and currency fundamentals, Mr. Warburg had written most learnedly on the subject, and Mr. Andrew had done a great deal of work for the Commission.
After a journey hedged with the utmost secrecy, the party were landed in a small boat at the deserted Jekyl Island, off Georgia.
“The servants must under no circumstances learn who we are,” cautioned Senator Aldrich. “What can we do to fool them?” asked another member of the group. The problem was discussed. “I have it” cried one. “Let’s all call each other by our first names. Don’t ever let us mention our last names.” It was so agreed.
Nelson had told Harry, Frank, Paul, and Piatt that he was to keep them on Jekyl Island, cut off from the rest of the world, until they had evolved and compiled a scientific currency system for the United States, a system that would embody all that was best in Europe, Every member of the group voted for a central bank as being the ideal corner-stone for any national banking system. The actual dictating of the measure was done largely by Frank and occasionally by Paul.
Later Benjamin Strong, Jr , was called into frequent consultation and he joined the “First-Name Club” as “Ben” I want to add explicitly that this information did not come from Mr Warburg; indeed, he and other members of the group will be very much astonished when they read this.
Mr. Warburg was a Central Bank advocate, yet as early as 1910, realizing the political difficulties, he evolved a plan for “A United Reserve Bank of the United States,” the underlying principles of which are embodied in the law now in force. The centralization of reserves under properly balanced authority and the rediscounting of an improved type of commercial paper so as to transform immobile promissory notes into bills of exchange, were the two cardinal reforms he constantly emphasized – reforms which were written into the Owen-Glass law.
The depth of his sincerity and of his zeal for currency reform can be partly gauged by the fact that he gave up an income of at least $500,000 a year to accept a salary of $12,000 a year as a member of the Federal Reserve Board.
For centuries Warburgs have figured prominently in German commerce, particularly in Hamburg. Their entrance into the banking field dates from the time George Washington was President of the United States. Mr Warburg’s great-grandfather then founded the banking house of Warburg & Warburg in Hamburg, and Warburgs have conducted it ever since, no outsiders being eligible for membership. None was ever needed, for the Warburg fathers saw to it that the Warburg sons were trained to maintain and expand the business.
Paul Warburg married Nina J. Loeb, daughter of the late Solomon Loeb, of Kuhn, Loeb & Co.
B. C. Forbes Paul Warburg section from Men Who Are Making America
While Mr Forbes makes it clear that his information was not obtained by Mr. Warburg, Nathaniel Wright Stephenson offers an account attributed to Mr. Warburg in his 1930 tome, entitled: Nelson W. Aldrich A Leader in American Politics. I was unable to obtain a full copy of the book and very much desire to see the remainder of his account. I provide what is available, I hope someone will contact me with the remaining pages of the account.
In the autumn of 1910, six men went out to shoot ducks. That is to say, they told the world that this was their purpose. Mr. Warburg who was of the number, gives an amusing account of his feelings when he boarded a private car in Jersey City, bringing with him all the accoutrements of a duck shooter. The joke was in the fact that he had never shot a duck in his life and had no intention of shooting any. His five companions, whatever their past might have been, were as far as he from a sporting purpose in this journey. The duck-shoot was a blind. Mr. Aldrich and representatives of three extremely significant New York banks were taking this elaborate mode of getting away by themselves without putting anybody on their track. It was Mr. Davison who had devised the plan. Their objective was a hunt club on Jekyl Island off the coast of Georgia. Why all this mystery?
Nathaniel Wright Stephenson Nelson W Aldrich A Leader in American Politics ch24: Jekyl Island
Finally, Mr. Warburg admits the meeting in his work “The Federal Reserve System: It’s Origin and Growth 1930 volume 1. In chapter 4: The Aldrich Plan (1910-1912) he discusses the the secret meeting of November 1910. He gives no details of the location or participants but he does confirm the account by Nathaniel Wright Stephenson in his footnotes. These volumes are too large to supply here, however, an astute search will find them. I have pdf copies of both volumes. I will add links to the copies hosted by the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve at the end.
In November, 1910, I was invited to join a small group of men who, at Senator Aldrich’s request, were to take part in a several days’ conference with him, to discuss the form that the new banking bill should take.
During this conference I had my first opportunity of studying the Senator carefully…I was impressed by the fact that, although he was a very shrewd politician, he showed a surprising disregard for party politics in dealing with our particular problem. We were, after all, discussing a proposal which involved a revolutionary break with old Republican banking traditions; but not once in all the deliberations was that phase of it mentioned. On the contrary, he always stressed the imperative necessity of dealing with the question on a non-partisan basis.
When I joined the conference, I was quite at sea as to what its outcome would be and frankly skeptical as to its prospects of success. During the first days’ sessions, Senator Aldrich was much inclined to discuss the possibilities of a full-fledged central bank on the European order—a model he seemed loath to abandon. But when the conference closed, after a week of earnest deliberation, the rough draft of what later became the Aldrich Bill had been agreed upon, and a plan had been outlined which provided for a “National Reserve Association,” meaning a central reserve organization with an elastic note issue based on gold and commercial paper. This was not a central bank in the European sense. It was strictly a bankers’ bank with branches under the control of separate directorates having supervision over the rediscount operations with member banks.
In its main principles and in many important details the Aldrich Bill was closely akin to the plan proposed in the “United Reserve Bank of the United States,” but there were quite a number of differences…
Moreover, the Senator had not yet agreed to a provision, which seemed to me of fundamental importance, that of giving the notes of the National Reserve Association the status of lawful reserve money when in the tills of member banks. The bill frankly followed the Republican doctrine of “keeping the government out of business;” but, as a starter, it was encouraging beyond all expectation. Indeed, the highest hopes seemed warranted that a most satisfactory piece of legislation could eventually be developed from it.
The results of the conference were entirely confidential. Even the fact that there had been a meeting was not permitted to become public. 2
footnote 2: Though eighteen years have since gone by, I do not feel free to give a description of this most interesting conference concerning which Senator Aldrich pledged all participants to secrecy. I understand, however, a history of Senator Aldrich’s life by Professor Nathaniel Wright Stephenson is shortly to be published, and that this book will contain an authorized account of this episode.
I can only assume, since Nelson Aldrich had sworn the participants to secrecy and that Stephenson’s book dealt primarily with Mr. Aldrich, that the authorized account was that of Mr. Nelson Aldrich, himself. Who else other than Aldrich could have authorized its telling? Why it took 15 years after his dealth to surface, however, is a bit of a mystery to me. Hopefully I will obtain the rest of this source and more light will be shed on the question. Mr. Warburg’s book was released in 1930, but clearly by the footnote we can tell that those lines were written in 1928. Frank A. Vanderlip did not issue his account until 1935 after the “cat was out of the bag” so to speak. In 1931, the New York Times published a piece eulogizing George F. Baker, a Morgan asset, in which the Jekyl Island Club was referred. Also, B. C. Forbes published an earlier account of the episode in Leslie’s Weekly in 1916. I was unable to dig it up, however, I found a report of the account in Current Opinion for December 1916. This account would have been the earliest report yet known, but was considered speculative at that time. Subsequent accounts from the members themselves validates the story.
- Ch 21 from From Farm Boy To Financier
- Nelson W Aldrich A Leader in American Politics (Looking to obtain the remainder of this volume)
- Paul Warburg from Men Who Are Making America
- JEKYL ISLAND CLUB LOSES LEADER IN BAKER – NYTimes
- Pages from Current Opinion December 1916
- The Federal Reserve System: It’s Origin and Growth 1930 volume 1 by Paul M. Warburg
- The Federal Reserve System: It’s Origin and Growth 1930 volume 2 by Paul M. Warburg
- Saturday Evening Post Part 7 of 9
I think it is now very important to publish this talk on my blog. Gold and Silver are breaking out as I type. The dollar index is down and stocks are down. The so-called ”recovery” looks to be just about over. The Federal Reserve has hinted at QE III (Quantitive Easing Round 3) and so the dollar is now in jeopardy. Quantitive Easing is just a fancy economist’s term for printing money. Just like every other commodity, when the supply of dollars increases, its value drops. You are going to see more inflation. Prices rise when the value of the dollar drops. The most important thing to understand, however, is that this is all by design. Americans need to understand this, because the SOB’s that are doing this are going to offer a solution. That solution will probably be a new dollar backed by some international currency that may or may not have a precious metal or basket of commodities backing it. Why an international currency? The world’s huge banking interests know that economic union is a precursor to political union. This is the same road map used in Europe. The common market in Europe preceded political union by 50 years and was built in the wake of the devastating destruction of WWII. They don’t intend to wait another 50 years. History tells us that these types of economic down-turns often lead to war. We already have war, but the threat of an escalation is real. No one knows the future but the road signs ahead are troubling.
I hope you will watch the following 1994 presentation which reveals what seems to be trending right now:
Come hear Dr. Alieta Eck talk about replacing Medicaid with genuine charity. She and her husband operate a free clinic through their church that reaches some 400 or so patients a month. They take no government assistance.
It will become increasingly more important for neighbors to take up genuine charity as the financial condition of our communities, states and federal government continue to head south.
Many thanks to WhatReallyHappened.com for picking up my youtube video “From Major Jordan’s Diary” which is really an audio file with a few splash pages. Their post is here. And thanks also to Charleston Voice (Bill Rummel) for linking in as well. I loaded this audio because I consider it to be a first-hand historical account of a World War II event that is skimmed over in favor of the alluring accounts of true American Patriotic heroism on the battle field. Don’t get me wrong, I love those gripping tales and I highly recommend the “Band of Brothers Series” for those of you who also enjoy them.
Since this video was added to their news collating service I have had a steady uptick in hits on this video and thought it prudent to provide a link to the pdf and html formats of Major Jordan’s Diary. The pdf is provided by articbeacon.com and I link to it below. The html appears to be an extract from Nexus Magazine. For those of you who have heard the speech delivered by Major Jordan on my youtube channel and have followed this link for more information, see the reference links below.
to The Reality Zone for Capturing this Lecture so long ago.
to The John Birch Society Chapters in California for hosting this speaking engagement in 1963.
to G. Edward Griffin for his concise and professional narration and introductory comments.
to WhatReallyHappened.com for publicizing this important youtube video/audio track.
to “Karen A.” for transcribing the Book
to Bill Rummel whom I suspect had a great deal to do with advancing this story.
to Western Islands (A JBS Publishing Company) for Publishing the Diary after it went out of print the first time.
The North American Free Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continues to ravage the US economy and threatens our national sovereignty. Here is a video outlining some of the major events currently unfolding in the north. The Texas efforts, aided by Gov. Rick Perry, ran into some snags as Texas farmers objected to the outright theft of their farming lands for use in building the NAFTA super highway. Little resistance to similar moves exists in Michigan, however, as the economy has been decimated and there are few left with the economic wherewithal to stand up and fight. It seems that the focus has shifted from Texas to Michigan. I am sure the Texas project will be revisited at a later time when resistance has weakened. In the meantime, take a look at the role Canada is playing and the Michigan efforts.
Yes. You read that correctly. We have record low oil prices right now. Let me explain.
According to the US Department of Energy gasoline sold for .27 cents a gallon (leaded regular) in 1949. Now in 1949, our money was backed by gold and silver. According to coinflation a silver quarter has a melt value of $8.15.
Gasoline at the pump in 1949 was equivalent to $8.80 worth of silver today. At $4.00 per gallon we are paying roughly half the 1949 price. In other words, oil is cheaper in terms of silver. You have the federal reserve to thank for destroying the purchasing power of the US Dollar. Your dollar is losing value. Rapidly.
I have heard that gas prices at the pump had an all-time low of around 17 cents in the depression era. I can’t confirm that. However, if we accept that myth as fact and do the math we find that the 17 cent prices equates to about $5.52 per gallon.
I must conclude, that we are now experiencing a record low price at the pump in terms of real money. So why does it hurt so much? Everything is increasing in price. The dollar is dying and wages are flat. When wages are unable to keep up with the rate of inflation, a larger percentage of your income is devoted to the products you buy.
I am not alone in my opinion. Take a look at what Peter Schiff says:
It seems the United Nations has been able to attract members from the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to join its International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA is a UN sponsored Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) whose main objective is to entice local governments to implement United Nations strategy, agenda, and initiatives and to create grass-roots pressure upon the County, State and Federal government to adopt these measures.
If your local government is a member of ICLEI, they are partnering directly or indirectly with other local governments the world-over to transform our very way of life into a United Nations vision of “Sustainable” living. Now there’s a lot of propaganda out there that sells these concepts. The eco-freindly terms “sustainability”, “Biodiversity”, “Multi-Stakeholder partnerships”, “Smart growth”, “comprehensive planning”, “growth management”, etc are designed to disarm and mislead local leaders. Chances are your local leaders look at this group as an aid to formulating 21st century local planning. They have no idea how deep they are in it. Unfortunately, the threat is very real. You see the United Nations knows that their Agenda 21 is so radical that they could never implement it from the top down. They have to convince local leaders that they are implementing a policy that is local in scope and benign to its citizens. The thrust of Agenda 21 is to transform traditional individual property rights into collective property rights. Through regulations, Agenda 21 seeks to develop communities that are “sustainable” on their terms. The rights of the individual are of no concern. Agenda 21 is based upon the premise that government planning should replace the western understanding of private stewardship. Carroll County Maryland agrees with this assessment. Read their Press Release here: Fighting 59th Terminates ICLEI Membership
There are also Constitutional concerns. Local governments cannot bypass the Congress of the United States and establish partnerships that are global in scope. The federal government has authority to set foreign policy. All elected local officials swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.
United States Constitution: Article 1 Section 10
paragraph 1. No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.
paragraph 3. No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in a war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
ICLEI uses the population of the localities and the income level of its citizens to price their membership and they include those population totals when they boast of their membership totals. So essentially, if your local government is a member, they used your tax dollars (minimal amount) to achieve membership for yourself. You may be a member and not even know it !
Lets take a look at the Pennsylvania ICLEI delegation (hyperlinks obtained on ICLEI membership list except Forest Hills):
- Allegheny County joined in 2009
- Cranberry Township joined in 2009 (3 Climate Protection Milestones Awarded)
- East Whiteland Township joined in 2009
- Falls Township joined in 2009
- Forest Hills joined in 2010
- Haverford joined in 2007 (1 Climate Protection Milestones Awarded)
- Lower Makefield joined in 2007
- Lower Southampton Township joined in 2009
- City of Meadville joined in 2008
The City of Meadville is putting the final touches on a Greenhouse Gas Inventory. This inventory addresses the emissions from City owned facilities. Once the inventory is complete, target reductions will be identified and implemented.
- Middletown Township joined in 2009
- Montgomery Township joined in 2009
- Mt. Lebanon joined in 2008
- Narberth joined in 2008
- Nether Providence joined in 2007
- Penndel Borough joined in 2009
- Penn Hills joined in 2009
- Philadelphia joined in 2007 (3 Climate Protection Milestones Awarded)
- Pittsburgh joined in 2007 (5 Climate Protection Milestones Awarded)
- Radnor joined in 2007
- Warwick Township joined in 2011
- West Chester joined in 2007
On Topic: Short New American Article on Agenda 21; Order Hardcopy for conventional mailings and neighborhood canvassing.
Reference: ICLEI: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (The Good talks about membership cancellations and citizen resistance)
Reference: Tom DeWeese’s American Policy Center, A leading Authority on Agenda 21
Reference: The United Nations Agenda 21
Reference: Sustainability Presentation for Local Governments Online Video from Ocala Florida
Take Action: Read the Reference Material and Contact your local officials. Use the Carroll County MD Press Release above and/or reprints of The New American Agenda 21 article to inform your local officials as to the nature of the ICLEI and the UN sustainability program. Feel free to link to my blog and formulate opinion letters in your local newspapers as well. Email your neighbors and/or hand them an article reprint about this threat.
Americans need to understand that the world’s oil supply is not in limited supply. The lie is found in the term “fossil fuels”. Oil and gas are not the result of decaying wildlife and prehistoric animals. Rather, oil and gas are the result of natural geological processes within the earth. Have you ever considered if it is physically possible for the remains of animals and plant-life to be drawn by gravity to the depths necessary for our oil supplies to have been originated in this fashion? Many of these wells are far deeper than you might imagine. Furthermore, international oil corporations are funding the green movement. One might ask, “Why would oil producers support the green agenda?”. The reason is simple. The green agenda perpetuates the myth that our world’s oil supply is limited. It allows oil companies to hide behind this myth and gives them a pretense to charge prices based on artificial scarcity. Without this dynamic, profits for oil would suffer and the ability to manage the world’s oil under a limited cartel (OPEC) would become nearly impossible.
More importantly, these myths are used to justify the sacrifice of the lives of our children on Middle East sand dunes. Please do your homework and spread this message. The lives of our children and your standard of living are at stake. The “On Topic” link below shows recent scientific revelations which support the idea of abiotic oil. It includes the research work done by Vladimir Kutcherov, Anton Kolesnikov, and Alexander Goncharov which was recently published in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
On Topic: http://www.viewzone.com/abioticoilx.html
In commodity markets, actual prices are graphed to show price trends. As we reach current spot price per unit, the graph can be extended out into the future. When this is done, the curve of the graph is described in relation to the trend. If prices are steadily increasing based on future contract prices this is called Contango. Here is a graph to illustrate what my fictional commodity “good” would look like in Contango over the current year of future prices. The black center line on the graph illustrates the price trend.
If prices are steadily decreasing based on future contract prices this is called Backwardation. Here is a graph to illustrate what my fictional commodity “good” would look like in Backwardation over the current year of future prices. The black center line on the graph illustrates the price trend.
Now here is where terminology gets confusing. Economists will also describe commodities in Normal Contango or Normal Backwardation. Do not confuse the word normal as we “normally” use it. That is, this is not a description of something which is the opposite of abnormal. Also, do not mistakenly believe that a commodity must first be in backwardation before it can be in normal backwardation. These are mistaken concepts which will confuse you. A commodity in Contango can be in “normal backwardation” at the same time. A commodity in Backwardation can be in “normal contango” as well.
So what do we mean by “Normal”. Normal describes the curve position relative to expected future price. So we have an expected future price and then we have actual future contracts. The actuals will either trade at above expected levels (Normal Contango) or below expected levels (Normal Backwardation).
Take a look at the graphs again. The red diamonds represent an expected future spot price below the futures trend line (in black). If the expected future spot is in the red, the fictitious commodity is in Normal Contango. That would hold true on both graphs. Now the green triangles represent an expected future spot price above the futures trend line (in black). If the expected future spot is in the green, the fictitious commodity is in Normal Backwardation. That would also hold true on both graphs.
In summary, A commodity in Contango (rising futures) can also be in normal contango (rising future above expected spot) or in normal backwardation (rising less than expected spot). A commodity in backwardation (falling futures) can also be in normal contango (falling future but not as rapidly as expected spot) or in normal backwardation (falling faster than expected spot).
I know it gets confusing. I hope you can digest this description. I suppose the following quote will ease your burden:
An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible.
— Alfred A. Knopf
What exactly are interest rates? How are they determined and what is their effect upon the economy? In short, interest rates are the price of money. The Austrian school of economics has a simple explanation that seeks to answer these questions.
The Austrian School Explanation
The Austrians explain that there are two basic types of economic ventures which co-exist at any one time. There is low-order production and higher-order production. Low-order production involves the manufacture of short-term ready supply items. Items that the public demand now. For instance, peanut butter, bread, milk and the like. These items are needed immediately and consumers are ready to purchase now.
High-order production involves long-term projects that seek to produce goods for sale at a later time. Most building projects, farm equipment, labor-saving machinery and like tools would fall into this category.
Now, all production requires capital. Capital could be machinery or it could be laborers or cash. In the case of cash, most high-order production relies on loans and the interest rates for loans will tend to dictate when such ventures will be initiated. In a free market, interest rates fall when consumers choose to save rather than spend. This is so because in the aggregate the availability or supply of cash is increased and as an incentive to move that cash out in the form of loans to producers the interest rate drops.
The higher-order production start-ups are signalled by the lower interest rates. The assumption is, consumer spending is decreasing. The savings rate is increasing. Labor is being released from consumer goods production and servicing. There is a whole chain of events occurring which serves to release resources from low-order production.
Unfortunately, in a manged economy interest rates may be artificially set. An artificial lower interest rate sets a signal, and inducement for higher-order production. In this circumstance, the projects get started but the necessary resources to complete the projects are not released by the low-order production sector of the economy. What follows is a fantastic boom in which labor is in short supply. Both high-order and low-order production is occurring and the timing is not coordinated by the market. The longer it takes the high-order producer to recognize the problem the bigger the boom and the more costly it will be when the projects fail. This is why most economic Booms are followed by corresponding busts and the size of the boom is indicative of the size of the impending bust.
Occasionally, in a manged economy, an unnatural boom or bubble is created which when it bursts threatens to cause a bust or recession. Recession avoidance can lead to an artificial redirection of resources to another economic sector. This may send a signal that the boom was natural and that no bust will follow but in many cases it is simply a temporary delay in the upcoming correction. In some instances this delay allows an additional bubble to be inflated. In due time, the corrections will come.
Implications for Today
Currently, we face the results of the dot com bubble whose correction was diverted by the housing bubble which in turn was diverted by the bailout bubble. The bailout bubble is still inflating. Our economy is clearly ill, however, the corrections needed have been delayed. We should have had a serious correction following the dot com bubble. Instead we had a small correction followed by a real-estate bubble. The real-estate bubble should have caused an even greater recession but government bailouts have delayed the correction. Now we face a bailout bubble. This bubble will have a direct impact on the purchasing power of the dollar and lead to a dollar crises if it continues. In short, we are headed for a long drawn out depression because the economy is being artificially managed to avoid the pain of correction. Correction is needed simply because interest rates were artificially kept low for over a decade in an effort to fuel economic activity. Central planning is no substitute for the free market. These low-interest rates are now an obsticle for savings. Savings is desperately need so that the capital for higher-order production can be naturally created and the market timing restored.
The Importance of High-Order Production
High-order production leads to wealth generation and increased standards of living. This is so, because the high-order production is what enables new technology, labor-saving production tools etc. When we make stuff, or we reduce the cost of making stuff the goods flood the market. Prices drop and even if income levels remain stable the prices of goods reduce. We have all seen this principle at work in the electronics market. The silicon board has reduced the size and cost of a whole host of high-tech toys and tools. The silicon board was the result of high-order production. It clearly changed the lives of everyone and added to the wealth of the nation. When this productivity is artificially frustrated the cost to the economy as a whole can be devastating.