Archive for October, 2011

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, Oct 24 (Reuters) – – The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises.

The document from the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department should please the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators and similar movements around the world who have protested against the economic downturn.

“Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority,” was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions.

“The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” it said.

It condemned what it called “the idolatry of the market” as well as a “neo-liberal thinking” that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems.

“In fact, the crisis has revealed behaviours like selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale,” it said, adding that world economics needed an “ethic of solidarity” among rich and poor nations.

“If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid,” it said.

It called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions.

Such an authority should start with the United Nations as its reference point but later become independent and be endowed with the power to see to it that developed countries were not allowed to wield “excessive power over the weaker countries”.

Asked at a news conference if the document could become a manifesto for the movement of the “indignant ones”, who have criticised global economic policies, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department, said:

“The people on Wall Street need to sit down and go through a process of discernment and see whether their role managing the finances of the world is actually serving the interests of humanity and the common good.

“We are calling for all these bodies and organisations to sit down and do a little bit of re-thinking.”

EFFECTIVE STRUCTURES

In a section explaining why the Vatican felt the reform of the global economy was necessary, the document said:

“In economic and financial matters, the most significant difficulties come from the lack of an effective set of structures that can guarantee, in addition to a system of governance, a system of government for the economy and international finance.”

It said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) no longer had the power or ability to stabilise world finance by regulating overall money supply and it was no longer able to watch “over the amount of credit risk taken on by the system”.

The world needed a “minimum shared body of rules to manage the global financial market” and “some form of global monetary management”.

“In fact, one can see an emerging requirement for a body that will carry out the functions of a kind of ‘central world bank’ that regulates the flow and system of monetary exchanges similar to the national central banks,” it said.

The document acknowledged that such change would take years to put into place and was bound to encounter resistance.

“Of course, this transformation will be made at the cost of a gradual, balanced transfer of a part of each nation’s powers to a world authority and to regional authorities, but this is necessary at a time when the dynamism of human society and the economy and the progress of technology are transcending borders, which are in fact already very eroded in a globalised world.” (Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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BY PETER KRAUTH– From Money Morning

Is it really so preposterous to believe the United States and Europe would conspire to keep pole position in the global financial system?

I don’t think so – and neither does China.

That much was revealed in a diplomatic cable recently uncovered by Wikileaks.

According to the 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy, China believes the United States and Europe have, as a matter of policy, suppressed the price of gold to discourage its use as a reserve currency.

And there’s a pretty compelling case to be made for a gold price conspiracy.

The Gold Price Conspiracy

The cable summarized several commentaries in Chinese news media sources on April 28, 2009.

“The U.S. and Europe have always suppressed the rising price of gold,” it reads. “They intend to weaken gold’s function as an international reserve currency. They don’t want to see other countries turning to gold reserves instead of the U.S. dollar or Euro. Therefore, suppressing the price of gold is very beneficial for the U.S. in maintaining the U.S. dollar’s role as the international reserve currency.”

According to the cable, China believes that by building its gold reserves, it can not only safeguard itself against the declining value of the dollar, but encourage central banks around the world to expand their gold purchases, as well. 

“China’s increased gold reserves will thus act as a model and lead other countries towards reserving more gold,” the cable said. “Large gold reserves are also beneficial in promoting the internationalization of the RMB.”

Now, if all we had were the Chinese claiming the U.S. and Europe were suppressing gold prices, it would be easy to disregard as superficial propaganda.

But in fact, there’s evidence that supports this claim. 

In the decade between 1999 and 2009, central banks – dominated by the West – were net sellers of gold in every single year. And that’s despite the fact that gold in that time soared from $250 an ounce to $1,200 per ounce – a nearly 400% gain. 

Then there’s the infamous “Brown Bottom.”

Between 1999 and 2002, Gordon Brown, then U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer (and later Prime Minister), decided to sell nearly half of his nation’s gold reserves. At the time, just the advance notice of these substantial sales drove gold’s price down from $282.40 an ounce to $252.80. 

Those gold sales yielded an average price of $275 an ounce, raising a total of $3.5 billion. Today, those 395 tons of gold would be valued more than $19 billion.

You have to admit, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to sell a solid asset whose price is moving steadily higher each year – especially when the United Kingdom’s debt problem then wasn’t nearly as bad as it is today.

The answer: Because there’s a conspiracy afoot. 

Gold Dust on The Fed’s Hands

Here’s more damning evidence. 

A U.S. District Court this year ordered the U.S. Federal Reserve to disclose to the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) the minutes of an April 1997 meeting of the G-10 Gold and Foreign Exchange Committee, as compiled by an official Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

And it’s a bombshell. The minutes suggest that officials from the G-10 governments and their central banks were, in fact, conspired to synchronize their policies to affect the gold market.

It turns out that U.S. policymakers aren’t just worried about preserving the dollar’s role as the world’s main currency reserve. They’re also worried about the effects higher gold prices could have on the nation’s debt burden.

The minutes include comments by a U.S. delegate identified only as “Fisher,” which is likely Peter. R. Fisher, head of open market operations and foreign exchange trading for the New York Fed. 

Fisher, the minutes say, made the case that rising gold prices would increase U.S. debt.

Fisher “explained that U.S. gold belongs to the Treasury. However, the Treasury had issued gold certificates to the Reserve Banks, and so gold also appears on the Federal Reserve balance sheet,” the minutes say. “If there were to be a revaluation of gold, the certificates would also be revalued upwards; however [to prevent the Fed’s balance sheet from expanding] this would lead to sales of government securities. So the net benefit to Treasury would need to be carefully calculated, since sales of government securities would expand the public portfolio of government securities and hence also expand the Treasury’s debt-servicing burden.”

Indeed, Fisher’s remarks are an open acknowledgement that the United States has an interest in suppressing the price of gold. 

So, clearly, there is a growing body of evidence that Western governments, central banks, and even some of the largest investment banks have a vested interest to subdue the price of gold. Furthermore, they’ve already acted on behalf of that interest.

But now the tide is turning. The dollar and the euro are on the ropes and emerging markets have been steadily increasing their gold purchases.

While authorities in developed countries are making it more difficult for investors to build gold holdings, large China and other developing markets are doing just the opposite. They’re actually encouraging their populations to adopt physical gold and gold investments like futures and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

So I think it’s high time the average Westerner looked to the East for cues on wealth preservation and their attitude towards gold.