Sorry about the insulting headline, but every last shred of evidence I can find suggests that the most people remain utterly clueless about silver, despite the efforts of the silver vigilantes, led by Max Keiser and Mike Kreiger. Their brilliantly simple plan (go get some physical silver) promises to topple the criminally insane fraud that has become US economy. It doesn't require politicians or regulators to lift a finger either, you simply take advantage of what is undoubtedly an artificially low price. I can completely understand anyone who is skeptical of that last statement; I'm sure you've been burned before, but that doesn't mean you should stop seeking truth.Part 1. A little math
I'm not sure when performing basic arithmetic made you a conspiracy theorist, but here we are.
The 2009 World's population was about 6.8 Billion. According to the Silver Institute, total silver supply in 2009 was 889 million ounces. That means there was .13 ounces of silver produced for every human being on the planet. That looks like this:
Yep, your fair share of Worldwide silver production is a little less than the silver content of two pre-1965 dimes. That's all. A bargain at about four bucks when you consider the amazing properties of this element. FYI: World oil production per capita is 190 gallons.
This represents more than ten years of worldwide silver mining production divided by 2009 population. Less than $35, and hell of lot easier to transport than 7,600 quarts of Quaker State. Please note that so-called "World production" includes government sales and scrap. Government sales and "scrap" have accounted for more than 25% of "World Silver Production" from 2000 to 2009. I'm not sure I believe that one out of every four ounces of silver gets recycled, but understand that without that bonus production, demand exceeds supply by 37%.Part 2. Who needs silver?
Just about everybody, it turns out. Sadly, another way to get yourself labeled a conspiracy theorist is by reading government documents like the Constitution, or the Department of the Interior's 2009 U.S. Geological Survey which states:
Yet you can actually find dunces out there claiming that digital cameras have made silver obsolete. You should live so long…
Fun Fact: Silver (not gold, copper or anything else) is the element with the highest electrical conductivity.Part 3. People lie…..
Lesson: When someone says you can exchange paper for precious metals - make the swap before they change the rules.
Since the invention of paper, people have been writing bogus notes, and if there are two time-tested methods to become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, they are: 1)Selling stuff that doesn't exist and 2) Selling stuff you don't actually own. Unless you believe there has been a sudden outbreak of integrity in the banking industry, there's no reason to believe these dynamics are not still in play, is there? As recently as 2007, Morgan Stanley settled a class-action lawsuit with 22,000 clients who bought and paid storage on "phantom" silver (check out the Ted Butler article Money for Nothing).
At today's prices, a million dollars in gold weighs less than fifty pounds, but a million dollars in silver weighs more than 2,300 pounds! So ask yourself, how many rich people are storing their own silver? How many hedge funds hold physical silver in their own storage facility? Or have they entrusted the storage to the big banks?
JP Morgan is the custodian of the ishares Silver Trust (SLV), which now holds over 350 million ounces of silver, provides sovereign and corporate investors with precious metals solutions (JP's website), and is the largest short seller of silver in the history of the world. Berkshire Asset Management's Eric Fry writes:
If you can, forget about the conflict of interest, and ponder the enormity of the explosion.Part 4. A little more math
Estimates of total silver production since the dawn of man range from 46 to 53 billion ounces (roughly 11x gold production), but unlike gold, we've used pretty much all of it (although squandered might be a better word). It's in our cemeteries (fillings) and scattered throughout our landfills. There hasn't been a significant surplus since 1990. Ted Butler and others estimate that there is far less silver bullion in the world than gold bullion and they back up their case with numbers that the paperbugs have never even bothered to refute. So why does gold trade at more than 45 times the price of silver? Because JP Morgan, the US government, and every other psuedo-capitalist parasite wants it that way. But that's a truth for another day.Part 5. Other things you should know
The Treasury has sold 34 million one ounce American Eagles so far in 2010. Those sales total less than one Billion dollars. Apple (AAPL) trades about that much every hour the market is open. Meanwhile the Treasury has issued more than 1.5 Trillion in new debt (1,500 times more) in 2010. Just for fun, let's multiply 1500 by 34 million. A transaction of that size would have equaled every last bit of silver ever discovered at $30 an ounce. Yet you can actually find people who believe silver is the bubble.
Treasury doesn't make it easy to buy silver
They'll sell you bills, bonds and notes directly online, but not precious metals at anything close to market price. The mint only does business with 11 Authorized Purchasers (a list can be found here), Why the lack of savvy?
China can blow up the COMEXs silver market in the blink of an eye, at any moment. They can do it with their pocket change, as a goof. And if we piss them off enough, they will.Part 6. So what's silver worth?
The short answer is: more. If silver were priced based on its occurrence relative to gold, it would be over $125/oz. If it were priced on its availability - somewhere around $2,000. But if you are content to let the likes of Blythe Masters dictate the value based on truckloads of worthless paper promises, you can expect ultra-low prices until the whole thing blows up. Of course at that point, we'll be so busy killing each other for food no one will have time to say, "I told you so."
The silver vigilantes just want you to re-learn what the phrases like, "cold, hard cash," and "payment in full" are supposed to mean. There not asking you to sink everything you have into physical silver, just a little. Silver can't be printed into oblivion, or stolen by a cyber attack. Why wouldn't you want to own some of your very own?
A paper dollar from 1960 is worth exactly the same as a paper dollar in 2010, but four quarters from 1960 are worth more than $21. Given the fiscal insanity of the US government, I can't imagine the US dollar surviving another 50 years, but I'm quite sure that silver will still be useful.
Please consider getting some.
Mark McHugh ponders the great issues of our time with, what many have called, a less-than-great brain. He is a Wall Street outsider (a.k.a. the black helicopter crowd), who believes there should not be antonyms found in the phrase, Truth, Justice and the American Way.
I wanted my own blog for three reasons:
I don't want to have to get someone else's approval to publish. When I put the time and effort into creating something, I don't want an editor rejecting it because it reflects badly on his/her site. I write primarily to amuse, and occasionally I enjoy using profanity (which is my natural medium) more than a grown man should.
As far as I know, there are no financial blogs that try to capture market history as it unfolds. We forget things so quickly; for example, when did the SEC prohibit naked short selling of the Primary Dealers? and when did it end? We spend much time analyzing charts, yet forget the driving forces that shaped them. I hope to use this space to chronicle the extraordinary events shaping the future (o.k., with the occasional conspiracy sprinkled in).
To provide a place where opinions are welcome about anything financial any time. Some of the most enjoyable reads I've ever had were open threads at Barry Ritholtz - The Big Picture. The enlightening, amusing discussions that group dynamics can yield (when you've got the right group) is nothing short of amazing to me. I just want to provide a space where that can happen at any time. So don't worry about being off-topic; post if you've got something to say.
Someday, I'd like to compile a list of all the authors and bloggers that I love to read. I hope that some will find their way here and share their insights.
Keep in mind, that this blog is little more than a "hobby in progress" at this point, so you may find things changing day to day as I tinker with it.