Is this “the end of the market economy”, the research department of Natixis asks itself most seriously. Three main reasons are put forward by analysts, starting with the massive intervention of central banks, resulting in asset prices being disconnected from their fundamental value and the level of risk. Just look at how equity markets around the world are performing and are in the process of wiping out the March 12 crash triggered by the coronavirus crisis, as if they seemed completely oblivious to the downturn in the real economy. We here have long been denouncing the harmful policies of the central banks, and it is good to see that this fear seems to be increasingly shared.
The second reason is the regulations, obligations and prohibitions prescribed by the “energy transition”, the new holy grail of policies, especially in Europe it is true, as Donald Trump decided to get out of it (hence the strongest growth in the United States). Energy, transport and housing are affected and forced to their core by this bureaucratic and fiscal surge, and the logic of the markets is retreating accordingly.
The third and final reason is the voluntary relocations and protectionist temptations which, here again, will hamper market mechanisms. Of course, one should not be naïve when trading with China or other nations that use unfair practices (theft of intellectual property, masked protectionism, etc.), but industrial relocation will come from lower taxes, better training of people and a fight against bureaucracy rather than from public subsidies and customs barriers.
What best symbolizes these trends, especially the first two, is Tesla: the company benefits both from the printing presses of central banks that drive up stock market prices, and from the public subsidies poured into electric cars around the world. As a result, Tesla has become the world’s leading car manufacturer by capitalization (more than 200 billion dollars), i.e. its value on the stock exchange, dethroning Toyota, while in the “real economy”, in 2019, the Americans sold 370,000 vehicles and the Japanese 10 million. Needless to say, Tesla erased the crash of March 12 and broke record after record. If the central banks stopped their printing presses and if the governments decided to cut the losses, its value would fall to zero but, fortunately for Elon Musk, we are not going down that road.
Fundamentally, it must be understood that running the printing presses and extending subsidies and regulations amounts to creating a gigantic bubble, putting the whole economy into weightlessness, pushing back market mechanisms to replace them with a vertical and bureaucratic logic. We know how these illusions end, whether it is the Soviet economy, the economy of Zimbabwe or Venezuela: with the general ruin in which hyperinflation is mixed with the collapse of production and income. What can we hold on to in such a situation? To unadulterated assets, first and foremost physical gold, free of corruption.
We must also, each at his or her own level, defend the ideas of freedom and fight against this bureaucratic hold and this monetary veil, with the aim of getting our leaders to change direction. However, as the Irish playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw said: “You have to choose between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, to vote for gold”.
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