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#TL18: WHY YOU NEED GOLD AND SILVER

Edited by Frederick Mann

THE UNRELENTING COLLAPSE OF THE DOLLAR -- THE GRADUAL COLLAPSE OF AMERICAN CIVILIZATION?

The chart above illustrates the gradual, relentless collapse of the U.S. Dollar. The currencies of most other countries have suffered similarly, or worse. Historically, all unbacked government-monopoly paper currencies have always declined to a value of zero. The U.S. Dollar and all other government fiat paper currencies are subject to the same fate.

If you read certain books (like The Great Reckoning by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg; Bankruptcy 1995 by Harry E. Figgie, Jr.; The Death of Money by Joel Kurtzman; The Downwave by Robert Beckman; and How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization by Robert J. Ringer) and you examine "societal health statistics" (like crime, divorce, suicide, literacy, inflation, government spending deficits, etc.), you might reach conclusions like:

Harry E. Figgie, Jr. and Gerald J. Swanson, Ph.D. wrote the book Bankruptcy 1995: The Coming Collapse of America and How to Stop It, in which they accuse:

"[T]he president of the United States and our honorable lawmakers of... bleeding this country to death... they are doing to us what George III, Adolf Hitler, and Nikita Khrushchev tried to do but failed: They are destroying this country and the dream that has sustained the American spirit for more than two hundred years.

Why are they killing our country? Because we let them, you and I. We've not only let them, we've encouraged them, because we wanted to keep hearing the lies they told us."

To understand what is happening to Americans, and similarly to people in most other countries, it is essential that you read the book: The Economic Rape of America: What You Can Do About It..

There is a critical need for alternative banking, currencies, and financial institutions. If you'd like to get involved in working on free enterprise solutions, then you should also read the section towards the end of this report. But for now, let's look at how everyone can prepare themselves in other ways...

Why Gold and Silver?
Historically, gold and silver have been the money of choice. In many civilizations, replacing gold and silver with political paper money has led to the decline and eventual collapse of civilization.

(Private paper money, being subject to the competitive forces of the marketplace, could work very well. Government paper money is invariably accompanied by "legal tender laws," outlawing competition. This leaves government free to debase and eventually completely destroy their paper currencies. This is the fate of the Federal Reserve Note, mistakenly called the "U.S. Dollar.")

Take a good look at the chart above. Notice that between 1800 and 1900 the value of the dollar more than doubled. Since 1900 the value of the dollar (compared with the 1940 standard of $1.00) has dropped from over two dollars to less than nine cents. Zero isn't all that far away!

What is left of the dollar can be wiped out in a few days as a result of a financial panic. Foreigners such as overseas Central Banks probably own dollar-denominated assets amounting to trillions of dollars. If one of these big players decides to dump dollars, others may follow suit to try to protect themselves. You need gold and silver to protect yourself against such a catastrophe.

It is very important to realize that if such a calamity occurs, all dollar-denominated assets -- government securities, pensions, insurance policies, savings accounts, bank deposits, etc. -- will be wiped out and become worthless.

So, I believe we should individually acquire gold and silver, gradually move out of using Federal Reserve Notes, stop paying any taxes we don't owe, and start creating a private banking and financial system to replace the government system.

*****

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN BUYING AND SELLING GOLD

by Jim Robertson

Descriptions and Types of Gold Bullion Coins
"Gold bullion coins" are coins such as American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and South African Kruggerands. They are technically "legal tender" in the countries of origin, but most of their value derives from their gold content. They are normally not pure gold, but about 99% gold. The small percentage that is not gold consists of alloys that allow the gold to be molded into sharp-looking coins. Weight of the gold is in troy ounces (very slightly different from the "ounces" used for weighing most other objects). Almost all gold bullion coins are available in one-ounce size. Many of the coins come in half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and tenth-ounce sizes. Generally the cost per ounce is a bit higher for the smaller denominations.

The price for one-ounce coins is normally at a slight premium over the spot price of gold on any given day. American Eagles, for example, often buy/sell for say 5% or 6% above the spot price of gold on that day (the premium amount itself varies over time, as does the price of gold itself). Maple Leafs might buy/sell for 4% above the spot price. Because of various political developments in recent years in South Africa, the premium has fluctuated widely for Kruggerands. (You may ask: Isn't that a disadvantage to have to pay a premium for the gold bullion coins? Answer: Not really, because approximately the same premium will be paid to you when you sell the coins. The premium varies slightly, of course, but stays fairly constant over time. Most of any value change occurs because of changes in the value of the gold itself. And gold bullion coins are much more liquid (easier to buy and sell) than gold bullion itself in non-coin form.)

When you buy/sell your gold bullion coins, the marketplace acts largely like any other marketplace. The "spot price" of gold is the price at that instant in the marketplace. Around that spot price, traders build the "bid/ask spread." When you buy, you pay the higher price; when you sell, you receive the lower price. (Advanced topic for those interested: The size of the spread (difference between bid/ask prices) to you personally depends on, among other things, how close to "wholesale" or "retail" you are when you interact in the marketplace and what the size of your transaction is.)

Put simply, you pay the "price for buyers" when you buy and the "price for sellers" when you sell. The difference between those prices for transactions in the $1,000 range from a highly-competitive dealer (i.e., a dealer who makes his or her living by dealing in relatively large "retail" volumes) is about 2% to 2.5%. In your area you may not have dealers available who operate on such a narrow retail spread. You may have to settle for 4%. If the spread is much over 5%, it's probably advisable to look for another dealer, a bigger city, or a different city in which to buy/sell your gold bullion coins (more important consideration for larger or more frequent transactions - not worth your travel time & expense if a one-time $1,000 transaction). To find the most competitive quotes, you should prefer dealers who specialize in, or devote a substantial portion of their resources to, gold bullion coin buying and selling. Retail coin dealers who deal in rare gold coins, coin collections, jewelry, and other valuables often view gold bullion coins as a sideline and are therefore often not motivated to offer the very competitive quotes mentioned earlier in this paragraph.

To calculate what a dealer's spread is, just ask the dealer for his buy price (for you his/her customer to buy) today for (for example) one-ounce American Eagles. Ask also for the sell price. Subtract the sell price from the buy price. Take this difference and divide it by the spot price of gold. This gives you the approximate spread. Shop around. Also apply the principles from the preceding paragraph.

On top of the spread, some dealers make money by charging an additional commission. This practice was probably more widespread during the boom times for sheer volume of transactions in the gold and silver markets that occurred in the late 1970's and early 1980's. These added commissions, if charged by your dealer today at all, can vary from 1% to 3% of the transaction amount. Today you can probably fairly easily find a competitively-priced dealer who does not add-on such commission charges.

All else being equal, we recommend dealing most often with one-ounce American Eagles (at least for United States residents - non-US residents might prefer Maple Leafs, Kruggerands, or other 1-ounce gold bullion coins). US residents will probably get fewer hassles over the years from American bureaucrats since those bureaucrats make money by encouraging the purchase of their country's gold bullion coins. One-ounce sizes are recommended because they are widely recognized and reasonably convenient. If your company wants to begin paying partners and workers in gold, you may need to use tenth-ounce sizes for divisibility considerations. As of this writing, each one-ounce American Eagle is worth about $400. Current price information is readily available in the financial section of better newspapers or from your dealer.

In general, gold bullion coins are a better form in which to hold your wealth than diamonds, colored gemstones, rare coins, or other comparable valuables (unless you are an expert in those fields dealing at the wholesale level). For non-experts dealing at the retail level (this category fits most readers), you are far better off avoiding the 10% to 40% spread prevalent in these other hard-money investments. Also, non-experts usually have to rely on other experts for independent appraisals and evaluations - which costs considerable time and money. You don't have to worry about big spreads or whether an expert is telling you the truth when you deal with gold bullion coins. Just jump right in! (With normal prudence of course, and following the guidelines of this report and other reliable information you use.)

In the short term, the price of gold goes up and down. In the long term, gold is an excellent store of value because it has intrinsic hard-money value in and of itself. There are no false promises with gold.

Sales Taxes
If you operate with like-minded individuals in the true free enterprise sector, sales taxes normally are not a significant concern. If you wish to use a conventional dealer in gold bullion coins in the United States today, how to deal with sales taxes is of significant practical value.

Most states in the United States do impose a sales tax on the purchase of gold bullion coins by individuals from dealers. There are two absolutely legal ways to avoid this.

One way to is purchase by mail order from reputable out-of-state dealers using the normal precautions such as registered mail. The other way is to buy your gold in person in states with no sales tax on the purchase of gold bullion coins. Examples of two such states are Arizona and New Hampshire.

Occasionally cities or other local governments will impose a sales tax. To legally avoid this tax, just shop in jurisdictions with no such tax.

To our knowledge, no jurisdiction in the United States imposes a sales tax when you (as an individual) SELL your gold bullion coins to a dealer. (Readers with specific information to the contrary are invited to submit that information for the next edition of this Report.)

Cash reporting requirements
One very real attempted assault on your privacy to freely conduct business in an honest manner without interference are various cash reporting requirements conventional dealers often feel compelled to comply with: forms to IRS and other "alphabet vampire" agencies. How can you minimize this intrusion into your honest personal and business life?

Usually conventional dealers will feel compelled to ask you to show ID; and fill out form(s) with name, address, Social Security number, and some other information when you buy and/or sell gold bullion coins for cash in amounts over $2,500 to $3,000. They are not likely to feel compelled to do so for lesser amounts. In other words, most conventional dealers are not likely to feel compelled to invade your privacy for smaller transactions - unless you do lots of transactions in a short time, such as less than 24 hours.

Most such attempted assaults on your privacy likely will come when you are BUYING gold bullion coins for cash (some gold dealer might tell you the "government is concerned about 'money laundering'"). Alphabet vampires and value destroyers can dream up countless excuses for invading your honest and private affairs. Be respectful to your gold dealers in general; just tell them privacy in your honest business and investment affairs is very important to you. Most dealers are likely to be sympathetic to you, their customer. The best practical approach is to MINIMIZE THE CHANCES HE OR SHE WILL FEEL COMPELLED to compromise your Free Sovereign right of privacy. Apply the Power Message Principle described in Report #10.

Computer checks for stolen goods
In many local (usually city or county) jurisdictions, there is considerable concern about genuine criminals who are trying to "fence" or "pawn off" stolen valuables. This may have some merit, but it is of course outrageous that you as an honest and ethical person should have your Free Sovereign right of privacy invaded and be treated like a criminal. It is of course an outrage that many conventional gold dealers will feel compelled to invade your Free Sovereign right of privacy by saying that to SELL them gold bullion coins, they will have to ask for ID and have the city police run your name, address, and Social Security number through a national computer for criminals! Gold dealers in at least one city in Mississippi will likely not allow you to sell them gold without taking your fingerprints. How can you, an honest and ethical person concerned about privacy, avoid being treated like a criminal and having your privacy compromised?

One solution, of course, is to use a gold dealer who does not feel compelled to treat you like a criminal (in other words, a gold dealer operating in the true free enterprise economy). Another solution is to sell your gold bullion coins in jurisdictions where most conventional gold dealers will NOT feel compelled to treat you like a criminal.

One such jurisdiction is Phoenix, Arizona. In OTHER cities NEAR Phoenix, conventional dealers treat gold bullion coins like jewelry and diamonds and will not buy your coins unless you fill out a form and show ID. The form then gets run through a national computer for criminals by the local police. Dealers located within the "city limits" of Phoenix, on the other hand, will not feel compelled to do this. In fact, most will not and the subject does not even come up unless you bring it up.

If you transact honest gold bullion coin dealings in the United States, it is worthwhile to look for cities in which the gold dealers do not feel compelled to treat you like a criminal.

Generally, having a gold dealer feel compelled to treat you like a criminal will not happen anywhere when you BUY gold bullion coins - only when you SELL them.

(We specifically welcome feedback from readers telling us of other cities in the United States where conventional gold dealers do not feel compelled to treat their customers like criminals. In addition, such information for cities outside the United States would be of interest for our readers outside the United States.)

*****

Gold and Silver Is Not Enough!
How do you survive if we are struck by the kind of catastrophe Figgie and Swanson envisage in their book Bankruptcy 1995? Ideally, you need to become as self-sufficient as possible. You need to invest in "productive capital" such as land with fruit trees, seeds, tools, and other survival essentials. You may also want to become actively involved with a survivalist network such as LIVE FREE. I quote from one of their brochures:

"We of Live Free hold the position that it is essential to the preservation of the human race and the survival of true individual liberty that all men and women be as self-reliant and well-prepared as possible. To this end we shall do all in our power to aid and support good citizens who strive to be less dependent. We therefore oppose those ideas and actions which would render the individual more helpless and dependent. We maintain that every person has a natural right to be able to provide for his or her own shelter, food, medical care, self-defense, and other physical and spiritual survival needs. We contend that the pursuit of personal independence, self-sufficiency, and preparedness does not and cannot constitute a threat to an honest person, a free society, or a democratic government. We believe that the foundation of healthy families, sound communities, free nations, and a safe world is a free and self-reliant people.

We of Live Free welcome all people of all races, religions, and national origins who genuinely seek to extend their independence and preparedness to join us. We are a brotherhood not of blood and myths. We are a brotherhood of ideas and deeds. Our members are voluntarily supportive of the organization and of each other while never becoming dependent. We have demonstrated that people must unite in pursuit of personal self-reliance and work together without becoming followers. In a world where the big social experiments, government programs, and regulations have totally failed to cope with any of the real and potential catastrophes of our time, we believe that our programs are the best hope for the preservation of life and freedom for the twenty-first century. The battle for the future is being fought right now in many forms and in this battle our members are true soldiers for saving lives and defending personal freedoms."

You can contact Live Free, International. The Live Free network is organized into regions with local chapters. They also operate a number of computer bulletin boards and publish several newsletters.

The reason that preparedness for physical survival is so important is that if a financial catastrophe strikes, city supermarkets will be emptied in one or two days. There will be looting, pillaging, burning. Please prepare!

The Free Enterprise Solution
One of the basic ideas behind our freedom organization is that we create free-market institutions to replace the coercive monopolies of the public and private sectors. Refer to Economic Means to Freedom for more details on this.

The most important free-market institutions we need to create are free-market currency and financial service systems, that are independent from public coercion. The people operating these systems don't recognize the "authority" of public sector coercion. They find practical ways to escape the evils of coercion.

A major consideration is that we need free-market alternatives for people to shift into, in case the public/private banking system collapses overnight.

ALH & Co. in Orange County, California has been in operation since 1976. It uses gold as currency. It interfaces with the current U.S. banking system. It can be used as a model to expand from.

Ideally, the Alternative Currency System (ACS) needs to enable individuals to conduct financial transactions in a number of currencies (including gold and silver) from anywhere to anywhere in the world in privacy, safety, and security. Interfaces with current banking systems are necessary.

We also need to implement "Riegel-type" systems. Such systems are based on the principles expounded by E.C. Riegel about 50 years ago in his book Private Enterprise Money.

Apart from making a pivotal and decisive contribution to the expansion of freedom, the principals who launch an ACS have the opportunity to become millionaires and billionaires. Imagine all or most of the financial services of the public/private sector shifting into the free market. That is a measure of the potential!

Personally, I'm not interested in being a banker. However, I am interested in helping to bring together a team that will design and implement an ACS. There could also be several teams implementing competing systems. I am available to provide project design and management support.

Getting Started
Please let me know if you are interested in helping to launch an ACS. Write to me your qualifications and what role you want to play or what contribution you would like to make. I will publish a Directory of people interested in an ACS. This will enable anyone to contact anyone else.

We need practical business people with sound freedom philosophies. We need a leader for each ACS (assuming there will be more than one). We need people with banking, financial, and related legal experience. We need people with electronic communication experience. We need people with computer systems design and programming experience (including encryption).

Interested people need to form themselves into an ACS project team (or multiple teams). The team focuses on quickly developing a product and/or service that can be profitably delivered. The project is designed so that a sequence of relatively small steps will gradually lead to a comprehensive ACS. The first product might be a report that describes phase one of the ACS.

Urgent! Urgent! Urgent!
It is absolutely vital that an ACS or several such systems be created as soon as possible. Please contact me (Frederick Mann) if you are interested. The people, technology, knowledge, skills, and experience already exist to create an ACS. We need to immediately help the competent practical idealists to get together and to get going! Help expand freedom and make a fortune!

Update - July 20th, 2002
During the past few years, several viable alternative currency systems have been created -- see E-Gold and Alternative Currency FAQ.

Meanwhile, the US economy is in trouble (to put it mildly). See STORM WATCH UPDATES by Jim Puplava:

"What happens when the final asset bubble in housing collapses? What's next -- a major war? The bubble in housing will come to an end. When it does, the full impact of the debt and spending binge of the 90s, which continues to this day, will hit the economy and the financial markets with full force. The effects will be devastating on households, businesses, and the financial markets, as well as for the country. It is only then we will have learned that there is no such thing as the alchemist's stone. The endgame is drawing to conclusion for central bankers. They thought it could be postponed. But fiat-based money systems have historically ended tragically. The end will be brought about by a financial storm. It is now my greatest fear that we are getting closer to my storm scenario -- a storm front in the credit markets, clashing with storm fronts in the stock market, combining with a storm front in the economy to form The Perfect Financial Storm."

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