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Friday, July 10, 2009

Live free or move--to Switzerland!

Bill Bonner compares the debt/gold ratios of the U. S. (48), Britain (139), Japan (323), and Switzerland (2):
Governments are fighting this [depression]…just as they did the last one…but with much more money. The cost is in the trillions – most of it in the form of public debt. How will these debts be paid? We all expect that they will ultimately be eased by inflation – in full or in part. But suppose the feds had to pay up in real money?

Colleague Simone Wapler compared government debt to government gold. The United States has gold worth about $241 billion, she reports. Its official national debt is $11.5 trillion. That gives it a debt/gold ratio of 48 – meaning; the feds have 48 times as much debt as gold.

Britain is even worse. Prime Minister, then Chancellor, Gordon Brown sold much of England’s gold at the worse possible moment – about 10 years ago. This leaves the island with only $9 billion worth of gold compared to $1,274 billion of government debt – a ratio of 1 to 139. But Japan is the worst of all. It has $23 billion worth of gold and $7.3 trillion of government debt, for a ratio of 1 to 323. (Of course, Japan has vast holdings of dollars too!)

What nation has the best gold/debt ratio? Switzerland. It has only twice as much in government debt as it has in gold.
-- from "The Long Road to Ruin" by Bill Bonner

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