Are the ravens leaving the Tower?
Ah, the good old BBC. For us limeys (I use this word only because Screwtapes' audience seems to come mostly from across the Pond), there's nothing quite like it. It's the oldest broadcaster in the world, and its name is synonymous with sobriety, calm reflection and (supposedly) unbiased reporting. It's hard to explain its place in the British psyche to non Brits. It is the news equivalent of a comfy pair of pyjamas: not very sexy, admittedly, but calm, comforting and trusted.
An old English legend goes along the lines that if the monarchy is about to collapse, then the ravens will leave the Tower of London (rather unsportingly, the current unkindness of ravens* at the Tower have their wings clipped to prevent such an event). Similarly, during the Cold War, BBC Radio 4 - the most hard-hitting, trusted, and influential source of news for Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - formed part of the Royal Navy's letters of last resort: in other words, if the station ever went off air, it was to be assumed that London had fallen to a massive Soviet nuclear strike and our submarines were to immediately launch a retaliatory attack.
So, given all of the above, imagine my surprise in reading this report from the economics editor of Newsnight (roughly the equivalent of the US '60 minutes'): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14579710
Please read this article in full. It is the best summary of where we are currently that I have seen in the traditional media since 2008. It is, of course, UK-centric, but all of the arguments apply equally to the US and the rest of Europe.
Paul Mason is one of the three most respected economic reporters in the UK, along with Robert Peston (also of the BBC; he scooped the collapse of Northern Rock and predicted most of the events that have taken place since 2008) and Gillian Tett of the FT, who predicted the collapse of the sub-prime derivatives market and credit default swaps long before 2008. A gold-bug/anti-Keynesian/conspiracy-theory-loving Glenn Beck type he certainly ain't. A prophet of doom he ain't, either - or at least he wasn't until yesterday.
No, the fact that a previously 'main stream' (albeit highly respected) senior economics reporter for a flagship British current affairs programme could have produced something that would not look out of place in some of the more paranoid parts of the PM blogosphere should really tell us something. It's worth noting that the FT (perhaps the most staid of all UK broadsheets) is following suit, and appears now to be quite happily printing articles about $5000 gold.
The anti-Keynesian backlash is becoming mainstream. Gold's break from its well-trodden bullish channel (2008 - 2011) into a new, steeper channel has been to the traditional media what a red-hot poker was to Edward II's backside. Now even the most conservative analysts seem to be sitting up and taking note.
Some of you will be interested in all this simply because your investments in Au and Ag are likely to do very, very well over the next few years. I'm interested in it because it feels like a paradigm shift is taking place, and one in which the so-far relatively comfortable lives of millions will be utterly overturned. It seems to be only a matter of time before another big bank fails (SocGen, RBS, take your pick) and this time no-one will be able to afford a bailout. Be afraid.
* yes - that really is the collective noun for ravens.