By Alasdair Macleod

Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership.

The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region.

This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of…


By Alasdair Macleod

The sense of general unease that I detect among those I meet and discuss economics and financial matters with is increasing —with good reason. Clearly, what everyone calls inflation, rising prices or more accurately currency debasement, will lead to higher interest rates, threatening markets which are unmistakably in bubble territory.

The consequences of rising prices and interest rates are still being badly underestimated.

In this article I get to the source of the inflation problem, which is the monetary debasement of the dollar and other major currencies. …


By Alasdair Macleod

Remarkably, in a speech on monetary policy given at the Jackson Hole conference last Friday, Jay Powell never mentioned money, money supply, M1 or M2. With money supply expanding at a record pace to fund both QE and intractable budget deficits the omission is extraordinary.

The FOMC (the rate setting committee) appears to no longer take the consequences of monetary expansion into account. But the fact is that rising consumer prices caused by monetary expansion have driven real rates sharply negative and are leading to pressure for higher interest rates.

This article looks at the consequences of…


By Alasdair Macleod

Despite negative interest rates and money printing by the European Central Bank, which conveniently allowed all Eurozone member governments to fund themselves, having gone nowhere Eurozone nominal GDP is even lower than it was before the Lehman crisis.

Then there is the question of bad debts, which have been mostly shovelled into the TARGET2 settlement system: otherwise, we would have seen some substantial bank failures by now.

The Eurozone’s largest banks are over-leveraged, and their share prices question their survival. …


By Alasdair Macleod

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Nixon Shock, this article explains why fiat currencies have become joined at the hip to financial asset values. And why with increasing inevitability they are about to descend into the next financial crisis together.

I start by defining the currencies we use as money and how they originate. I show why they are no more than the counterpart of assets on central bank and commercial bank balance sheets. …


By Alasdair Macleod

Climate change bears all the hallmarks of a state-sponsored crisis, useful to shift attention from other political failures. But the absence of financial accountability which characterises government actions also introduces behavioural errors.

The absence of a profit motive in any state action exposes the relationship between governments and their electors to psychological factors. We all know that governments use propaganda and other tools to manage crowd psychology and influence their electorates. What is less understood is that governments themselves are misled by a crowd psychology in its own ranks which contributes to policy failure.

This article does…


By Alasdair Macleod

This month is the fiftieth anniversary of the Nixon shock, when the Bretton Woods agreement was suspended. And the expansion of commercial banking into credit for purely financial activities became central to the promotion of the dollar as the international replacement for gold.

With the introduction of Basel 3, commercial banking enters a new era of diminishing involvement in derivatives. The nominal value of all derivatives at the end of last year amounted to seven times world GDP. …


By Alasdair Macleod

There has been a significant shift in geopolitics in recent months, with the US consciously deciding to withdraw from Asian conflicts, notably in Afghanistan. But the diplomatic war against Iran also appears to have been downgraded and the US presence in Iraq is to be wound down. Furthermore, President Biden has downplayed his objections to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.

In this, the greatest of Great Games, America has seen the strategic advantage move to the China — Russia partnership, which probably explains why the US is backing off from Asia. …


By Alasdair Macleod

Current levels of equity markets are not only divorced from their underlying economic and business realities but are repeating the madness of crowds that led to the Wall Street crash of 1929 — 1932. The obvious difference is in the money: gold-backed dollars then compared with unbacked fiat today.

We can now begin to see how markets and monetary events are likely to develop in the coming months and this article provides a rough sketch of them. Obviously, the financial asset bubble will be burst by rising interest rates, the consequence of rising prices for consumer essentials…


By Alasdair Macleod

The draft PRA rules complying with Basel 3 regulations have now been issued six months ahead of their implementation to allow banks to adjust for them in time. From now, senior bankers, their lawyers and bank treasury managers will be planning amendments to their business strategies accordingly.

As a division of the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority recognises the importance of gold trading in London and has inserted a clause into the new rules (Article 428f) which will allow the LBMA’s centralised settlement system to continue to function. But in line with Basel 3’s apparent…

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