As humanity ages the numbers of people with dementia will surge

The world is ill-prepared for the frightening human, economic and social implications




A few days shy of her 90th birthday, tortured by leg ulcers and arthritis, Vera, one of some 850,000 Britons with dementia, has kept herself alive, it seems, to meet her first grandchild, due any moment now.

But when the happy day comes and the baby is brought to her, she is confused. She recognises her daughter-in-law, but is puzzled by the bundle in her arms. “That’s nice, dear,” she says.

“But why have you brought me a coconut?”

Dementia is a cruel condition, robbing people of their deepest joys and hopes. It may start as a “mild cognitive impairment” (mci): forgetfulness or “senior moments”. But as it progresses, attacking mental agility and eating away memory, it steals much of what counts as identity.

When severe, people become incapable of looking after themselves. They lose the ability to read, cook and shop.

They forget to drink and get dehydrated, or become incontinent. They suffer delusions, or become frightened or angry, or they sink into an apathetic slump. They require care for all their waking hours, and often supervision when asleep.


The covid-19 pandemic has been a huge ordeal for people with dementia. The loss of routine and social contacts under lockdown have hastened cognitive decline. Dementia patients have proved highly susceptible to the virus—in Britain some studies suggest it has been the commonest “pre-existing condition” in those dying from covid-19. And deaths where “dementia” has been identified as the cause have also risen.

In April it came second only to covid-19. Those with dementia often have conditions that make them vulnerable—above all, being old, but also being overweight, depressed, smoking, having high blood pressure or diabetes.

And dementia makes it hard to understand the danger of the virus, or to remember social-distancing or hygiene precautions. Many have endured the pandemic in care homes, which have accounted for nearly half of all deaths from covid-19 in the rich world.

Dementia affects more than 50m people worldwide, a number that is rising fast. It has many causes and is imperfectly understood. But nobody doubts that its prevalence increases with age.

By some estimates, 1.7% of 65- to 69-year-olds have dementia, and its incidence (the number of new cases) doubles every five years to the age of 90. Another estimate is that at the age of 85, between a third and a half of people have dementia.

In this sense dementia is collateral damage from one of humanity’s triumphs: increased lifespans. A hundred years ago life expectancy at birth was not much more than 30. By 1960 it had reached 52.

Today it is about 70 for men and 75 for women, and in rich countries, over 80 apiece.

Nonagenarians and even centenarians are no longer rare. Despite covid-19 medical progress will continue, further lengthening lives.

Yet dementia is stubbornly resistant to efforts to find a cure. It was long seen as a natural part of growing old, the last of the seven ages of man defined by Shakespeare’s Jaques: “second childishness and mere oblivion”.

Kate Swaffer, an Australian diagnosed with dementia in 2008 who chairs Dementia Alliance International, a campaigning group, sums up the advice she got: “Go home and prepare to die.”

Another estimate is that, at the age of 85, between a third and a half of people have dementia

Dementia used to be called “senile dementia” or simply “senility”. But a small minority of sufferers are not old at all. In 1906 Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, conducted an autopsy on Auguste Deter, a woman who had developed dementia in her 40s.

He noticed abnormalities also found in the brains of older people with dementia. Of the dozens of forms of dementia identified, the pathology known as “Alzheimer’s disease” is the commonest, accounting for between 60% and 80% of cases. Next, each accounting for 5-10%, are vascular dementia, caused by an inadequate flow of blood to the brain, and Lewy body dementia.

All forms of dementia become more prevalent in old age, and so will become more widespread as life expectancy rises. As people in less well-off parts of the world enjoy longer lives, that is where three-quarters of new cases will arise.

In 2015 the oecd estimated that by 2030 the number of cases of dementia would increase by 50% in rich countries and 80% in poorer ones. Some 82m people will have dementia by 2030 and 152m by 2050.

Encouraging recent research in America and parts of Europe suggests that changing lifestyles may be bringing down the incidence of age-specific dementia. But it appears to be rising elsewhere, so global projections are unlikely to be revised downwards.

Dementia disproportionately affects women, even allowing for their longer life expectancy. In America two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s are female, and 60% of carers at home are women. China has more people with dementia than any other country—an estimated 9.5m people (it includes Taiwan in its total).

India, a younger country, with a median age of 28 compared with China’s 38, and lower life expectancy (70 compared with 77) had some 4m in 2018, mostly undiagnosed, a number that may reach 7.5m by 2030. Other places with big numbers are the European Union, with an estimated 9.1m in 2018, America (about 6m) and Japan (5m).

Set against the size of the world’s population, these numbers may seem manageable. That is illusory. Nowhere in the world, rich or poor, is equipped to deal with the scale of the problems created by dementia. No cure exists, and even the most hopeful new therapies will have only a mild impact. So all these dementia patients will need to be cared for—often for many years.




Humane care will require vast numbers of people, and huge sums of money. An estimate cited by the World Health Organisation (who) put the annual global cost of caring for people with dementia at $1trn in 2018, rising to $2trn by 2030, a total “that could undermine social and economic development globally and overwhelm health and social services, including long-term care systems specifically”.

In Japan, governments have for decades tried to create systems to deal with the problem, but officials admit they are unsustainable. There will be neither money nor carers enough to cope. In 2018 the average lifetime cost of care for an American with dementia was put at nearly $350,000, with 70% being the costs of care at home by families. Many poorer countries have yet to confront the problem at all.

The covid-19 pandemic has shown the fragility of many health-care systems, and drawn attention to the large numbers of people with dementia who occupy hospital beds mainly because of a lack of alternative facilities to care for them. When the virus is defeated, dementia will continue to spread.

In her book “Where Memories Go”, a memoir of her mother who had Alzheimer’s, Sally Magnusson, a journalist, calls dementia “perhaps the greatest social, medical, economic, scientific, philosophical and ethical challenge of our times”. Hyperbole? Yet many politicians seem to agree with Ms Magnusson.

In 2013 David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, used his chairmanship of the g8 to convene a “dementia summit”. Other leaders have adopted the cause. Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, campaigned on a pledge to get the state to take on more of the burden of dementia care. In 2017 the who published a “global action plan on the public-health response to dementia”.

So dementia could hardly be said to be below the radar. In Britain, for example, 52% of people know somebody with the condition. And it has not spared the famous: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher had dementia, along with many other statesmen, sports stars and writers.

Eminently forgettable

Yet campaigners working for dementia charities around the world have a point when they argue that theirs is an underfunded cause. Covid-19 is likely only to make things worse, as the pandemic sucks in money and medical expertise. Already dementia research receives far less money than cancer or coronary heart disease (chd).

A global study in 2018 found 250,000 papers on dementia compared with 3m on cancer. That matches funding in Britain, according to the charity Alzheimer’s Research uk, where dementia attracts 7.4% of the sums that go into cancer, and 12% of the money for chd.

And everywhere, the costs of long-term care for people with dementia can be crippling—and are not usually covered by health insurers.

The comparative neglect of dementia has several causes. One is that it often falls between different government agencies. In the absence of useful medical interventions, health ministries do not want the strain of looking after untreatable and perhaps otherwise healthy people on their budgets. Often the provision of long-term care is the responsibility of local governments, so its availability and quality vary wildly.

More fundamentally, the old notion that dementia is a natural part of the ageing process is deep-rooted—held by two-thirds of people and even by 62% of medical practitioners, according to a survey last year by Alzheimer’s Disease International (adi), an advocacy group. It also found that one in five people attributed dementia to bad luck and almost 10% to God’s will.

As many as 2% blamed witchcraft. That belief, held in some African countries, where those with dementia may be shunned or persecuted, is the starkest example of the stigma attached to dementia. No other disability, Ms Swaffer points out, is treated in the way hers was dismissed.

As adi puts it in its 2019 annual report: “When a person has dementia, the condition takes over as the main descriptor of who they are. The stigma cancels the individual’s personality or personal history.”

On top of the stigma the condition brings, there is another reason why people prefer not to confront the dementia emergency: fear. Knowing how likely they are to develop it, and seeing the difficult lives of those who already have, they prefer to look the other way—and just hope that a cure will one day be found.

miércoles, septiembre 30, 2020

CHINA´S TRIAL BY FIRE / GEOPOLITICAL FUTURES

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China’s Trial by Fire

The Communist Party feels validated by the crucible that has been 2020.

By: Phillip Orchard


From the COVID-19 outbreak to the subsequent economic crisis, with catastrophic flooding of the Yangtze River thrown in for good measure, 2020 has subjected the Communist Party of China to one existential crisis after another.

Yet, Chinese President Xi Jinping seems to have a preternatural ability to swoop in and save the day.

Not only does his administration appear to have come out from these calamities unscathed, but in some ways it seems to have grown stronger, more confident and more determined to dictate terms to foes foreign and domestic than ever – with Xi himself seizing every chance to turn crisis into opportunity to cement his power.

It was Xi, for example, who Chinese propagandists say commanded the decisive battles in the “People’s War” against the invisible enemy, the coronavirus.

It was Xi, according to his own comments during an August inspection tour of flood damage along the Yangtze, who’s continuing a centurieslong tradition of Chinese leaders demonstrating their mandate to lead by taming floodwaters.

It was Xi who successfully waged a war on financial risk and who prepared China for the day when the U.S. would try to blunt China’s rise as a way to distract from its own problems, or so the narrative goes.

It’s Xi who state media has increasingly been referring to as “the People’s Leader,” elevating the president to almost Mao-like status.

All this should pour cold water on persistent rumors of discontent with Xi in the upper ranks of the Communist Party of China. Of course, as Chinese elites wrangle for power and influence ahead of the Party Congress in 2022 – when Xi is expected to shatter CPC norms by sticking around for a third term as party chairman – palace intrigue will only intensify.

And in a country like China, the next crisis is always just around the corner Beijing is invariably choosing between bad options for dealing with immense problems, with many of its short-term fixes deepening its long-term structural issues, alienating powerful constituencies at home and antagonizing foreign powers.

But the reality remains: A year like 2020 is exactly why Beijing scrapped its Deng-era consensus leadership model and broadly supported Xi’s consolidation of power. His successes this year have been inflated, sure, but they have been real enough to validate his claim that a strongman must be at the helm during trying times.

The most important question then is not whether Xi is strong or China is on the brink of collapse. He and China are simultaneously, perpetually both. What matters most for China and just about everyone else is how this combination of extreme power and extreme vulnerability shapes its behavior at home and abroad. It’s not about to change course.

Crisis Averted?

Two weeks ago, in a triumphant speech, Xi said, “The CCP’s strong leadership is the most reliable backbone when a storm hits. The pandemic once again proves the superiority of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.”

But if there were ever a moment when the Chinese public lost faith in the ruling party’s ability to govern competently, the pandemic could’ve been it. The government’s mishandling of the virus could be attributed directly to its rigidly enforced top-down decision-making structure and institutional cultures shaped by censorship and paranoia.

Indeed, when a popular doctor in Wuhan succumbed to the virus in early February, Chinese censors lost control of a flood of outrage over Beijing’s cover-up of the outbreak, and it briefly looked as if things had reached an inflection point. But the censors regained control of the narrative, and China’s lockdown made it impossible for anger online to become anger on the streets.

More important, it largely succeeded in containing the virus, capping deaths at just a fraction of the numbers seen in major powers across the globe. By March, the president, who had been conspicuously absent from state media for much of the first two months of the year, reemerged to “take command” of the response just as the infection curve was being driven downward.

A month later, he was declaring victory. Since then, bungled responses in the U.S., Europe, India and elsewhere have bolstered his argument that the CPC is uniquely well-suited to crisis response. (Democracies like Taiwan, South Korea and New Zealand have something to say about this.)

The systemic shock from the pandemic could well have exposed China’s economy as a house of cards. China shut down the bulk of its domestic economy almost overnight.

Millions were abruptly out of work. Countless small businesses – which were already weighed down by tariffs and a credit crunch before the pandemic – faltered, searching for rescue from an immature banking system that had already proved ill-suited for meeting the needs of China’s burgeoning private sector.

China’s convoluted financial system, already awash in shadow lending and toxic loans, appeared on the brink. Once Beijing was able to reopen most of the economy, it faced a secondary crisis in the form of collapsing demand for Chinese exports as the rest of the world sunk into crisis.

And yet, Beijing has somehow been able to keep its myriad interlocking systemic risks from triggering a cascading crisis. It never even needed to unleash a firehose of stimulus as it did after 2008 – measures that contributed directly to its staggering financial risks today.

This week, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development predicted that China would be the only one of the world’s 20 leading economies to post positive growth this year.

Here, Xi can rightfully take credit for pushing through a series of painful measures to curb financial risk beginning in his first term; these worked better than many expected. Meanwhile, his emphasis on strengthening state-owned enterprises – which in normal times have sapped the economy of its dynamism and are at the core of Western trade grievances – has been validated since SOEs have sopped up surplus labor and kept industrial production humming. Perhaps most important, Beijing’s worst nightmare – a massive spike in unemployment – came true, but without the attendant social unrest.

There’s a case to be made that the experience will ultimately make Beijing confident enough to adopt a more sustainable economic model that doesn’t prioritize stable employment at the expense of profitability and dynamism.

Much of Xi’s success could have been undone by the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam, a structure that best embodies the vast potential and pitfalls of China’s ruthlessly ambitious approach to development. It's huge – so large that its construction in 1994 apparently slowed the earth’s rotation – illustrating China’s capacity to dream big and build bigger.

It's critical; the 22,500 megawatts per day it can produce are vital for meeting the country’s insatiable energy appetite, breakneck urbanization drive, and soaring public expectations for prosperity.

But it also illustrates the fragility of the contract the CPC has made with the Chinese people. The dam was dogged by warnings about its structural integrity even before it was built, and its construction displaced tens of millions of people, many of whom saw their farms and ancestral lands submerged for good.

These people were promised prosperity. If the dam collapsed – or even, as it did in this case, proved inadequate for controlling flooding around economic engines     like Chongqing and Wuhan, killing hundreds of people and displacing millions more – they might quite reasonably wonder if the CPC was capable of honoring its end of the bargain. But it didn’t fail.

In mid-August, Xi showed up in flood-ravaged Anhui province to hail his government’s success in taming the floods and implicitly compared himself to a legendary Chinese emperor who built a network of canals more than 4,000 years ago.

The Tip of the Iceberg

This run of purported successes can be interpreted in seemingly contradictory ways.

On the one hand, you could see it as evidence of the Xi administration’s singular ability to marshal resources and take on colossal challenges – or at least validation of its insistence on centralizing power and micromanaging the country’s affairs.

On the other hand, you could simply see it as a series of narrow escapes that expose just how many intertwined, potentially catastrophic crises are keeping Chinese leaders awake at night.

You could see Xi’s propaganda blitzes as demonstrations of true triumph and confidence – or desperate bids for credit that betray a thinly veiled anxiety about the CPC’s tenuous hold on power

Presumably, all these interpretations are valid. Xi’s administration will need all the luck it can get and all the savvy at its disposal because China has no shortage of crises on the horizon. The current pandemic may be under control, but the culture of censorship and institutional rigidity fostered by Xi may keep Beijing unprepared for the next one.

The scale of the structural damage on the Chinese economy left behind by the pandemic won’t be fully apparent for years to come. The “grey rhinos” and black swans Xi is always warning about in the financial sector are still out there – and many of Beijing’s critical reform plans aimed at thwarting them have been put on hold.

The pandemic, along with the CPC’s increasing dependence on state control, has accelerated the slide toward open hostility between China and the West. The Three Gorges Dam cannot realistically be upgraded. Floods will return. The problems exposed this year are really just the tip of the iceberg.

But to Beijing, the lesson of this year is evidently: trust only the party’s power. Its solution to a dysfunctional public health sector, for example, is to tighten central control over it. The only way to stave off a financial collapse is through painful measures aimed at curbing financial risk, and these can only be implemented with the brute force required to remove opposition and contain the fallout.

If the Three Gorges Dam is flawed or insufficient, in the CPC's mind, then state power is needed to build more and build better – and to forcefully move the population out of harm’s way. If people are inclined to get upset about such things, then the state must be capable of preventing a revolt.

If the West is going to turn against it, then Beijing must have the power to make clear that it won’t be bullied and reshape the region around its needs. And so forth.

Mao may have thrived on a doctrine of perpetual revolution, but Xi appears to be inescapably driven by permanent crises. This mindset is perhaps the inevitable result for a government haunted by China’s history – by the weight of rising public expectation, by the impossible task of meeting the needs of 1.4 billion people, and by the inherent difficulty of trying to make the massive machinery of the state run efficiently through sheer force of central will and ideology.

But the downside risk of this mindset for Beijing is obvious – and for China’s neighbors, it’s particularly alarming.

Either way, it's the one Beijing is sticking with, whatever storms may come.

INSTITUTIONAL DEMAND WILL DRIVE GOLD EVER HIGHER

by Egon von Greyerz



Embrace uncertainty has long been one of my personal mottos. Because from this moment on, everything is uncertain whether it is your personal health, the stock market or the economy.

Sure, we work with probabilities and the most likely is that the sun will rise tomorrow again and that I won’t die today. But we are now at a point in history when trend extrapolation is going to be not only precarious but also both foolish and impossible.

END OF A MAJOR CYCLE

That we are at the end of a major economic and social cycle is totally clear in my mind. But cycles don’t end overnight, if the world isn’t hit by a massive meteorite or nuclear bomb. Whether we are at the end of a 300 year cycle or a 2,000 year cycle, only future historians can tell the world. What is clear, at least to me, is that the end of this cycle started in 1971 when Nixon closed the gold window.

Since then global debt has gone up exponentially and now we are in the very final stage of the cycle. This end of the end, that we are now in, was first evidenced by gold turning up at the beginning of this century.

This significant trend change in gold that started 20 years ago was a clear indicator that we are now seeing the end of the fiat money system. Even though manipulated through a corrupt paper market, gold still reveals the deceitful actions of governments and central banks. There is no better evidence than the fall of fiat in this century.

CENTRAL BANKS ARE PANICKING

Central banks are failing and they are panicking. The price of gold is telling us this. Since 2000, most major currencies are down circa 85% against gold. That is a total condemnation of the central banks and their failed experiments in creating unlimited money that has ZERO value. The fall of fiat money started in earnest in 1971 and since then all currencies have lost 97-99% of their value.



But as the table shows, only in this century, most currencies have lost more than 80%/

THE US ROAD TO PERDITION

The road to perdition for the US really started in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve – a private bank set up for the benefit of private bankers under the disguise of a national bank. The Fed never had the intention of keeping the money supply and the debt under control. Instead their private agenda was always to create as much money as possible for their own benefit.

It is for that reason that the US federal debt has increased virtually every single year since 1930 when the debt was $17b. There have been 4 years with insignificant reduction of the debt (1947-8, 1956-7). But except for those four years, the US has lived above its means for 90 years.

Everybody believes the Clinton administration’s rhetoric that they created major surpluses in 1998-2001.

One of the objectives of governments is to mislead the people and the Clinton administration certainly succeeded with that. I haven’t met one American who is aware that there were no real surpluses in the Clinton years. Not only did they report surpluses but they were also talking about totally eliminating debt in ensuing years.

Very few people are aware that during the years 1998-2001 when the Clinton administration reported major surpluses, the actual federal debt increased every one of those years. So fake surpluses were created above the line and the actual deficits below the line were never reported. But the increase in debt revealed it all.

Not only were there no surpluses in the final Clinton years but the pipe dream of eliminating the debt didn’t just go up in smoke, but caught fire. Clinton exited with a debt of $5.7t and today it is 5x higher at $26.750t.



US DEBT DOUBLING EVERY 8 YEARS

When Trump was elected president in November 2016, I published the debt and tax revenue graph below. US debt had on average doubled every 8 years since Reagan rose to power in 1981. Thus, I made the simplistic forecast that 8 years after Trump’s victory, the debt would double from $20t to $40t and after the first 4 years the debt would be $28t.

Not many believed that forecast. A $8t increase in debt in 4 years seemed totally outrageous.

My forecast obviously included a severe economic downturn and this is exactly what the US is in now. Currently the debt is $26.750t and is up $3.5t since the end of March. An increase by $1.25t to at least $28t by the time the new president enters office in January 2021 seems very likely to fulfil my forecast.




As the graph above shows, tax revenue has increased 6x since 1981 whilst the debt has gone up 31x. So here we have a country that has been running a real budget deficit virtually every year since 1930 and can only increase taxes at a fraction of the rate of the deficit growth.

How can anyone believe that the US economy, with the real deficit going up every year for 90 years, has a chance of survival.

GOLD IS THE GUARDIAN OF TRUTH

Yes of course the US could maybe survive for yet a few years by massive money printing, bigger deficits and exponentially higher debt. But the real problem will be the dollar. It is already down 98% since 1971 and 85% since 2000.

These falls are measured in real terms which is gold of course. The US government can try to fool the people with the so-called strong dollar policy but gold stands as the guardian of the truth and reveals governments’ deceitful actions.

TOTAL DOLLAR ANNIHILATION INEVITABLE

The petrodollar and a strong military has so far prevented the dollar from total destruction in the last 50 years. Still a 98% loss of value since 1971 is as near annihilation as you can get. And the dollar has now started its final journey to ZERO. It has only got 2% to go, measured form 1971 but we must remember that the 2% means a 100% fall from now.

No one must believe that the dollar will avoid the same destiny as the Denarius in the Roman Empire between 190 and 290 AD or the French Franc’s collapse in the 1720s. There are dozens of other examples where currencies have gone to zero, like Weimar, Zimbabwe, Venezuela etc.

The demise of the petrodollar could also be accelerated by massive improvements in battery technology. The Quantum Glass Battery invented by the Nobel Prize winner John Goodenough could be revolutionary.

This battery is capable of storing considerable more energy than the lithium-ion battery and can be charged in a fraction of the time. Several companies are now developing the glass battery including Panasonic, Samsung, Tesla & Albemarle. Virtually every car manufacturer in the world is now producing electric cars.

As the Quantum Glass Battery comes into production, this will change the transport industry dramatically and put an end to piston engines as well as the petrodollar. It will also fatally wound the oil industry.

In the US for example, 70% of all oil consumed is used for transportation. So it won’t be that long before every car, truck and bus will be battery driven.

INSTITUTIONAL GOLD BUYING

Until recently, virtually no major investor has bought gold or gold stocks in quantity. But Warren Buffett broke the ice with his $600 million investment in Barrick Gold. It didn’t take long for the next institutional gold investor to follow.

The Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund recently announced that they are investing 5% of their $16b fund into gold. That means a $800 million investment in gold. The interesting question is if they are going to buy futures, an ETF like GLD or physical gold. Few institutions or advisors understand that futures or ETFs are as far from physical gold as you can get.

I have discussed the dangers of investing in these instruments in many articles and most recently in my article “Buyer Beware – Gold ETF’s Like GLD Own No Gold”. Many institutional investors don’t yet understand that gold is not just an investment but it is also the ultimate form of wealth preservation.

This is why it should not be held in paper form but in physical gold held outside a precarious financial system. If you hold gold futures or a gold ETF like GLD, you don’t hold physical gold but just a promise to settle in fiat money. It is similar to holding lumber futures rather than investing directly into physical forests.

The interesting point is that institutions have until now not understood gold and not known that it has been the best performing asset class in this century. The first two investments into gold this year by institutional investors are likely to be followed by a flood of funds into the gold sector. Institutions are now smelling inflation and must therefore hedge against this.

The problem is that there is neither enough physical gold available nor gold and silver stocks to satisfy the coming demand.

THERE IS NOT ENOUGH PHYSICAL GOLD IN THE WORLD

The 21.7 metre cube below represents all the gold ever mined in history amounting to 197 thousand tonnes or $12 trillion in value. Out of this amount, only 21% or 43 thousand tonnes are investment gold. The rest is gold for jewellery, gold held by central banks, or for industrial use. The gold available for investment has a value of $2.6 trillion.





Total above-ground stocks (end-2019)

Total above-ground stocks (end-2019): 197,576 tonnes
  1. Jewellery: 92,947 tonnes, 47.0%
  2. Private investment: 42,619 tonnes, 21.6%
  3. Official Holdings: 33,919 tonnes, 17.2%
  4. Other: 28,090 tonnes, 14.2%
  5. Below ground reserves: 54,000 tonnes


Annual production of gold is around 3,000 tonnes ($187b) and expected to decline.

As the cube above shows, the total gold reserves available underground is 54,000 tonnes which is only 27% of all gold ever mined which means that the world has reached peak gold.

FUTURE GOLD DEMAND CANNOT BE SATISFIED AT THE CURRENT PRICE

If we assume that world financial assets are $500 trillion, the total investment gold of $2.6t represents 0.5% of this amount. The Ohio Police Fund is investing 5% of its fund into gold. If 5% of world financial assets were to be invested into physical gold that would be $25 trillion which is 10x all the investment gold today.

Most of his gold is of course not available and certainly not at the current price. But even if just 1% total assets went into gold, that would be $5 trillion which is 2x all the investment gold today. It would be totally impossible to acquire this amount of gold at current prices.

In my view, it is a virtually certain that institutions will be forced by trustees or their boards to inflation proof their assets by holding some gold. The figures above prove that the gold they need is not available at current prices.

The only way to satisfy institutional demand will be with a much higher price. So what will happen is that an institution which decides to invest $1 billion in gold will not get it at the current price of $1,940 per ounce but instead at say 10x that price or more. So instead of getting 16 tonnes at $1,940 per ounce, the institution will receive 1.6 tonnes at $19,400 per ounce for the $1 billion invested.

The paper market in gold is likely to collapse at some point in the not too distant future. There is no possibility to deliver physical gold against the outstanding paper claims which are 100-300x times the available physical. Therefore institutions who are intending to buy gold would be extremely unwise to buy anything but physical gold in their own possession.

The combination of institutional gold buying and private buying will drive the gold price to levels that few can imagine. The $19,400 price example given above is most probably much too low, especially with the amount of money printing that the world will experience.

Gold at $1,970 today is clearly an absolute bargain.

Six Reasons Why the Wrong Party Will Win the Most Important US Election Since 1860
by Doug Casey

 

The upcoming election may be the most important in US history.
 
At least as important as that of 1860, which led directly to the War Between the States. In 2016 I believed Trump would win and placed a money bet on him. This time I'm not so sure, despite Trump's "incumbent advantage"and the fact the Democrats could hardly have picked two worse candidates.

 

I see at least six reasons why this is true, namely:


* The Virus


* The economy


* Demographics

 

* Moral collapse of the old order

 

* The Deep State

 

* Cheating

 

The consequences of a Democrat victory will be momentous. Let's look at why it's likely.


**1. The Virus **Despite the fact COVID is only marginally more deadly than the annual flu, and the fact it's only a danger to the very old (median death age 80), the hysteria around it is changing the nature of life itself. It's proven much less serious than the Asian flu of the late '60s or the Hong Kong flu of the late '50s. And not even remotely comparable to the Spanish flu of 1918-19. None of those had any discernable effect on the economy or politics. COVID is a trivial medical event but has created a gigantic psychological hysteria.
 
The virus hysteria is, however, a disaster from Trump's point of view for several reasons. None of them have anything to do with his "handling" of the virus-apart from the fact that medical issues should be a matter between a patient and his doctor, not bureaucrats and politicians.

 
First, the virus hysteria is severely limiting the number and size of Trump's rallies, which he relies on to keep enthusiasm up.

Second, more people are staying at home and watching television than ever before. However, unless they glue their dial to Fox, they'll gravitate towards the mainstream media, which is stridently anti-Trump.


People who are on the fence (and most voters are always in the wishy-washy middle) will mostly hear authoritative-sounding anti-Trump talking heads on television, and they'll be influenced away from Trump.


Third, older people have by far the heaviest voter turnout, but roughly 80% of the casualties of the virus are elderly. And over 90% of those deaths are related to some other condition. Be that as it may, fear will make older people less likely to vote in this election. The COVID hysteria will still be with us in November. Older people tend to be culturally conservative and are most likely Trumpers.

 

Fourth, in today's highly politicized world, the government is supposed to be in charge of everything. Despite the fact there are thousands of viruses, and they've been with us thousands of years, this one is blamed on the current government.

 

**Boobus americanus** will tend to vote accordingly.

 

**2. The Economy**Keeping his voters at home is one thing. But the effects the hysteria is having on the economy are even more important.
 

The effect of COVID on the economy should be trivial since only a small fraction of the relatively few Covid deaths are among people who are economically active.

 

Presidents always take credit when the economy is good and are berated when it's bad on their watch, regardless of whether they had anything to do with it. If the economy is still bad in November-and I'll wager it's going to be much worse, despite the Fed creating trillions of new dollars, and the government handouts-many people will reflexively vote against Trump.

 

In February, before the lockdown, there were about 3.2 million people collecting unemployment. Now, there are about 30 million.
 
So it seems we have over 30 million working-age people who are . . . displaced. That doesn't count part-time workers, who aren't eligible for unemployment but are no longer working.

 
The supplementary benefits have ended. If they return, it will be at lower levels. The artificial good times brought on by free money will end too. It will be blamed on the Republicans.
 
Worse, the public has come to the conclusion that a guaranteed annual income works. This virus hysteria has provided a kind of test for both Universal Basic Income and Modern Monetary Theory-helicopter money. So far, anyway, it seems you really can get something for nothing.
 
An important note here: Trump-whatever his virtues-is an economic ignoramus. He's supported both helicopter money and artificially low-interest rates since he's been in office. But especially now, because he knows it's all over if today's financial house of cards collapses on his watch.
 
I'll wager that, out of the 160 million work-force Americans, 30 million will still be out of work by voting day. The recognition that the country is in a depression will sink in. The virus hysteria was just the pin-or sledgehammer, perhaps-that broke the bubble.
 
But that's another story. What's for sure is that the average American will look for somebody to blame. As things get seriously bad, people will want to change the system itself, as was true in the 1930s.
 
The only economic bright spot for Trump is the stock market. But it's at bubble levels. Not because the economy is doing well, but because of the avalanche of money being printed.
 
Where it is in November is a question of how much more money the Fed will print, and how much of it flows into the stock market.
 
Even then, there's an excellent chance it could collapse between now and the election.
 
For reasons I've detailed in the past, the economy is now entering the trailing edge of a gigantic financial and economic hurricane. The Greater Depression will be much different, longer-lasting, and nastier than the unpleasantness of 1929-1946. And people vote their pocketbook.
 
Bill Clinton was right when he said, "It's the economy, stupid." If stocks fall, it will compound this effect. A high stock market just gives the illusion of prosperity. And, at least while stocks are up, contributes to the atmosphere of class warfare. Poor people don't own stocks.
 
**3. Demographics**Since the gigantic political, economic, and social crisis we're in will be even more obvious come November, people will want a radical change. Since that-plus lots of free stuff-is what the Democrats are promising, they're likely to win. But there are other factors.
 
The last election was close enough, but now, four years later, there are four more cohorts of kids that have gone through high school and college and have been indoctrinated by their uniformly left-wing teachers.
 
They're going to vote Democrat overwhelmingly.
 
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), and people like her, are both the current reality and the future of the Democratic Party-and of the US itself. She knows how to capitalize on envy and resentment.
 
The Black Lives Matter and Antifa movements have added the flavor of a race war to the mix. Racial antagonism will become more pronounced as whites lose their majority status over the next 30 years.
 
Nobody, except for a few libertarians and conservatives, is countering the purposefully destructive ideas AOC represents. But they have a very limited audience and not much of a platform.
 
Arguing for sound money and limited government makes them seem like Old Testament prophets to Millenials. Collectivism and statism are overwhelming the values of individualism and liberty.
 
It's exactly the type of thing the Founders tried to guard against by restricting the vote to property owners over 21, going through the Electoral College. Now, welfare recipients who are only 18 can vote, and the Electoral College is toothless.
 
For the last couple of generations, everybody who's gone to college has been indoctrinated with leftist ideas. Almost all of the professors hold these ideas-as well as high school and grade school instructors. They place an intellectual patina on top of emotional, fantasy-driven leftist ideas.
 
When the economy collapses in earnest, everybody will blame capitalism.
 
Because Trump is rich, he's incorrectly associated with capitalism. The country-especially the young, the poor, and the non-white-will look to the government to "do something." They see the government as a cornucopia.
 
A majority of Millennials are in favor of socialism, as are so-called People of Color. By 2050, whites will be a minority in the US. A straw in the wind is that a large majority of the people who commit suicide each year are middle-class white males-essentially, Trump supporters.
 
The demographic handwriting is on the wall. Trump's election in 2016 was an anomaly. No more than a Last Hurrah.