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Claudio Grass

Claudio Grass

Claudio Grass is a passionate advocate of free-market thinking and libertarian philosophy. Following the teachings of the Austrian School of Economics he is convinced that sound money and human freedom are inextricably linked to each other. He is one of the founders of GoldAndLiberty.com.

Articles by Claudio Grass

Love him or Hate him: Trump is the Revolution Against the Establishment

November 24, 2016

The U.S. Elections: The Latest Crack in the System
The 2016 U.S. presidential elections are unprecedented: I don’t believe we have ever witnessed before a campaign year so toxic, so dangerously divisive and full of ad hominem attacks. Both camps have vilified the opposition and their followers, creating a schism in society. There has been no rational dialogue on the issues that truly concern the American public.
Instead, we have witnessed personal insults and petty attacks, rumors and gossip. At this point, as a result of this catastrophic campaign, the public will not vote in favor of the candidate they agree with the most or the one they like, but against the one they hate!
In this article, we do not focus on comparisons between Clinton and Trump; enough has been said and written about the candidates themselves. Here, we look at their supporters – the crowd behind the candidates, those that will in fact shape American policy making in the coming four years.

The schism

Illustration by : M. C.

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Gold Bull Market Remains Intact – Long Term Fundamentals Outweigh Short Term Market Gyrations

November 22, 2016

A Strong First Half of the Year, Followed by Another Retreat
In early 2016 gold had a big bull run. The precious metal rose close to 25% this year, pushed higher in a summer rally that peaked on July 10th. Gold experienced a bumpy ride over the remainder of the summer though, as investors became increasingly concerned about a potential rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Uncertainty returned to gold market and has intensified further since then.

Gold Price(see more posts on gold price, )Initially, gold rallied sharply in 2016, but then retreated again in the second half as concerns over Fed rate hikes and the impact of Mr. Trump’s election victory have pushed bond yields and the US dollar up in the short term. – Click to enlarge

Trusting the Establishment a Bit Too Much?
Investors cannot be blamed for their skittishness, considering the misleading information released by officials. Fed chair Janet Yellen stated at the Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers that the case for rate hikes had “strengthened”, yet she gave markets little guidance on timing, saying that rate hikes would be “gradual” and happen “over time”.
This probably discouraged investors from buying gold, because they still trust the establishment and consider the Fed to have credibility.

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Is It Safe To Travel To Europe?

October 17, 2016

Lurid Media Coverage
In recent months, more and more of our clients and friends from overseas are asking us whether it is safe to travel to Europe. These fears are understandable, given the media coverage of the tragic events that occurred this year. The press painted a sinister and truly graphic picture of Europe as a war zone, as a target of global terrorism.
The attacks in Brussels, the horrors we saw in Nice on Bastille Day and the Normandy Church attack, as well as the Munich shooting – all were tragic and shocking to us all. Nevertheless, as a Swiss and European citizen (noting that Switzerland is a federal republic within Europe but not part of the EU), I can confidently and emphatically reassure our clients: Yes, Europe is safe, to visit, to live, and to do business in.
Similar attacks occur worldwide – only this past weekend, there were bombings in New York and New Jersey. Does this mean that New York is no longer safe? These fears and concerns make it all the more important that we go deeper and understand where they came from, see how they were fostered and fueled, so that we can hopefully dispel them altogether and regain confidence and trust in our societies.

Inside the Brussels airport shortly after the bomb blast in March.

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The Undemocratic Nature of TTIP

September 27, 2016

Mounting Resistance
Thousands of people recently demonstrated in Brussels against free trade deals negotiated by the EU. This happened just days before a meeting of EU trade ministers in Bratislava last Friday, which was considered the last push to salvage the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States. Not only is Europe divided on the deal, but the talks have been extremely secretive.
It appears that the two partners wanted the negotiations process to remain well under the public’s radar, counting on people being distracted by other matters, such as “Brexit”, terrorism, the refugee crisis, and the ongoing economic slump.
It proved impossible though to keep voters and taxpayers on both sides of the Atlantic completely in the dark about the terms of a deal that has the potential to affect their lives, jobs and businesses directly and decisively.
What is the story behind this secret agreement that Obama and Merkel have been  pushing for so strongly? Why is there no transparency?  Why has information that is of crucial public interest been withheld throughout the process?

This placard carried by anti-TTIP protesters in Brussels goes to the heart of the problem, namely the secrecy characterizing the deal. Photo via flushthetpp.

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Crimea: Digging For The Truth

September 16, 2016

Renewed Escalation
This summer witnessed a renewed escalation between Russia and Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of sending saboteurs to attack Russian troops, targeting “critical infrastructure”. Kiev denied the allegations and claimed Russia’s “fantasy” was nothing but a false pretense to launch a “new invasion”.
But what does the media tell us about what has been happening in Ukraine? I’m sure that if we base our opinion solely on mainstream information, the picture of this conflict will be completely different than if we followed independent sources.
I am a big fan of Dr. Daniele Ganser, the founder of the Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy Research, Dr. Ron Paul, the Mises Institute and people linked to them – all these I consider valuable sources, particularly due to the investigative approach they took in their analyses on Ukraine.
I therefore decided to write a short article about my personal impressions, which also takes a study by the University of Ottawa into consideration. The situation in Crimea is extremely delicate: it is already described as a ‘new cold war’, which can easily turn into armed conflict.

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The Fabian Society and the Gradual Rise of Statist Socialism

August 10, 2016

The “Third Way”
“Stealth, intrigue, subversion, and the deception of never calling socialism by its right name” – George Bernard Shaw
The Brexit referendum has revealed the existence of a deep polarization in British politics. Apart from the public faces of the opposing campaigns, there were however also undisclosed parties with a vested interest which few people have heard about.
And yet, they have been instrumental in transforming Great Britain into a State based on the principles of democratic socialism.
This happened when new ideas such as liberty, self-determination, the rights of man, parliamentary representation and constitutional government threatened the old order.
Unfortunately, liberalism and capitalism were not victorious; instead, a “third way” was adopted, a notion developed and promoted by the Fabian Society.

An emblem of the Fabian Society: a wolf in sheep’s clothing – click to enlarge.

The Origins of the Fabian Society
The group emerged out of the British socialist movement, which became popular between the late 1800ds and 1914. Guided by socialist ideals, the group believes in a top-down approach to political rule, using government and intellectuals to bring about societal change.

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Investing in Gold in 2016: Global Paradigm Shifts in Politics and Markets

August 5, 2016

Crumbling Stability
In the past few months, we have witnessed a series of defining events in modern political history, with Britain’s vote to exit the EU, (several) terror attacks in France and Germany, as well as the recent attempted military coup in Europe’s backyard, Turkey.
Uncertainty over Europe’s political stability and the future of the EU keeps growing. These worries are quite valid, as geopolitical developments have the potential to shake markets to the core. The current high-risk environment makes it especially important to take prudent investment decisions in order to protect one’s wealth.

Global stability continues to be undermined – click to enlarge.

Helicopter Hopes
Markets have greeted the rumors of helicopter money with intense enthusiasm, beginning with Ben Bernanke’s visit to Japan. This is a symptom of the economy’s addiction to loose monetary policy and “something for nothing” fiscal remedies.
Helicopter money, the next evolutionary stage of QE, is the manifestation of the failing, yet persistent, monetary policies adopted and enforced by modern-day central bankers.

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Claudio Grass Interviews Ronald Stoeferle: Central Banks In A Lose-Lose Situation

July 28, 2016

A Fragile System
Claudio Grass, Global Gold: Ronald, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with you. We’ve known each other for a very long time, both on a personal and professional level. Because of our central banks, we find our economies today operating on artificial stimulus and negative interest rates. How would you summarize the consequences of this policy?
Mr. Stoeferle: I have always considered it impossible to create a “self-sustaining” economic expansion by means of the printing press. By so doing, central bankers only succeeded in suppressing symptoms, but the underlying structural problems that created the 2008 financial crisis in the first place, have only gotten worse.
The primary goal, namely to stimulate the economy, has not been achieved. Low interest rates have provided artificial life support for unproductive and highly indebted companies, as well as for states. According to Standard & Poor’s, budget deficits in the euro area would on average be 1-2% of GDP higher, if the average level of interest rates between 2001 – 2008 were applicable today.

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End of an Era: The Rise and Fall of the Petrodollar System

July 18, 2016

The Transition
 
“The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or euros. The sooner the better.”
Ron Paul

The intricate relationship between energy markets and our global financial system, can be traced back to the emergence of the petrodollar system in the 1970s, which was mainly driven by the rise of the United States as an economic and political superpower.
For almost twenty years, the U.S. was the world’s only exporter of petroleum. Its relative energy independence helped support its economy and its currency. Until around 1970, the U.S. enjoyed a positive trade balance.

A new oil pipeline is built in the Saudi desert… this one is apparently destined for the Ghawar oil field, one of the oldest fields in Saudi Arabia and still the largest in the world Photo credit: Saudi Aramco
Oil expert and author of the book “The Trace of Oil”, Bertram Brökelmann, explains a dramatic change took place in the U.S. economy, as it experienced several transitions: First, it transitioned from being an oil exporter to an oil importer, then a goods importer and finally a money importer.

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Towards Freedom: Will The UK Write History?

June 21, 2016

Summary:
Every freedom loving person on the planet has their eyes fixed on this referendum. A clear majority voting for Brexit and therefore for more decentralization, would show that the British realized they can break free from their self-imposed nonage, and reclaim individual liberty.

Mutating Promises
 We are less than one week away from the EU referendum, the moment when the British people will be called upon to make a historic decision – will they vote to “Brexit” or to “Bremain”? Both camps have been going at each other with fierce campaigns to tilt the vote in their direction, but according to the latest polls, with the “Leave” camp’s latest surge still within the margin of error, the outcome is too close to call.
It is a rare moment in history. The British haven’t had their say since they voted to join the European Community back in 1975. What was initially thought of as a project to unite Europe into one common market, with the benefits of free trade and great promises of increasing national wealth, has mutated into a completely different entity.
The British have, instead, found themselves being dragged into a regional economy of zero growth, a weak currency and heavily indebted states.

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Claudio Grass Talks to Godfrey Bloom

June 15, 2016

Godfrey Bloom, back in his days as UKIP whip Photo credit: Reuters
Introductory Remarks – About Godfrey Bloom
[ed note by PT: Readers may recall our previous presentation of “Godfrey Bloom the Anti-Politician”, which inter alia contains a selection of videos of speeches he gave in the European parliament. Both erudite and entertaining, Mr. Bloom constantly kept the etatistes of the EU on their toes.]

Before becoming a politician, Godfrey Bloom worked for 35 years in finance and investment management. Discontent with over-regulation of this sector, he entered the world of politics in 2004, as a Member of the European Parliament. Bloom started as a representative for the UK Independence Party until 2013, then continues as an independent MEP.
He is known as a fierce libertarian and a firm opponent of government regulation and centralization. Bloom is also widely known as a euro-skeptic and is currently heavily involved in the Brexit “Leave Campaign” as an independent activist.
He is also a good friend of the Mises Institute Europe. In recognition of Mr. Bloom’s role at such a decisive moment in the history of the UK, the president of the Mises Institute, Jeff Deist, had the following words to say about Mr. Bloom:

“It’s great to see Mr.

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Claudio Grass Interviews Felix Zulauf

June 1, 2016

Felix Zulauf Photo credit: Sigi Tischler / Keystone

Government Intervention is Making Things Worse
Claudio Grass, the CEO of Global Gold, has recently interviewed legendary Swiss fund manager Felix Zulauf. A wide range of topics was discussed, including monetary policy, the market outlook, investment decisions and precious metals.

About Felix Zulauf:
Felix Zulauf started out as a trader for Swiss Bank. He joined Union Bank of Switzerland in 1977, ultimately becoming the head of the institutional portfolio management unit and global strategist for the UBS Group. He is the owner and president of Zulauf Asset Management, a hedge fund based in Zug, Switzerland, which he founded in 1990 and now runs as his private family office. According to Macro Axis, Zulauf Asset Management had AUM of $1.7 billion. Zulauf has been a regular member of the Barron’s Roundtable for almost 30 years. He also provides institutional research services.

Here is the video of the interview – readers can also download a transcript of the interview (download link further below).

[embedded content]
Claudio Grass speaks with Felix Zulauf

Download link for the transcript (pdf)

Claudio Grass is the managing director of Global Gold, a Swiss bullion depository.

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Switzerland About to Vote on “Free Lunch” for Everyone

May 25, 2016

Photo credit: Peter Klaunzer

Will the Swiss Guarantee CHF 75,000 for Every Family?
In early June the Swiss will be called upon to make a historic decision. Switzerland is the first country worldwide to put the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income to a vote and the outcome of this referendum will set a strong precedent and establish a landmark in the evolution of this debate.
The Swiss Basic Income Initiative in a demonstration in front of parliament. As we have previously reported (see “Swiss Parliament Shoots Down Socialist Utopia” for details), Switzerland’s parliament has already rejected the idea, with even the socialists voting against it (proving that they are still in possession of most of their marbles and quite likely in possession of an abacus as well).

The Swiss public will have to approve or reject a change in the constitution that would allow for the introduction of an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI), or a preset, monthly minimum income to be paid out by the government to every adult and child in the country if their income falls below a specific threshold. Even though details of this proposal have been few and far between, the most commonly cited amount of this guaranteed income would be 2,500 Swiss Francs for adults and 625 francs for children.

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Cultural Marxism and the Birth of Modern Thought-Crime

April 18, 2016

What the Establishment Wants, the Establishment Gets
If a person has no philosophical thoughts, certain questions will never cross his mind. As a young man, there were many issues and ideas that never concerned me as they do today. There is one question, however, which has intrigued me for the longest time, and it still fascinates me as intensely as it did back then: Does spirit precede matter or is it the other way around?
In other words, does human consciousness create what we perceive as our reality and physical existence or vice versa; does the pre-existing material world determine our sentience and shape our cognition? In essence, what really lies beneath the surface of this question is the following: is man born as a conscious being with free will and self-determination or not?

You may think citizen, but it will be best if you confine yourself to approved collectivist thought. In case you find yourself unable to do so, you may need to be reeducated. Illustration by LibertyManiacs.com

Do not be alarmed; this is not an article on political philosophy. But it is a fundamental existential issue that I found underpins many of the doubts I have regarding the functioning of our society and our political culture.

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Gold – The Best Defense Strategy

April 8, 2016

The War on Cash is on!
If you are used to making visits to your bank to make your credit card payments, you may find this no longer an option in the future. Some banks are no longer accepting (or limiting their acceptance) of cash deposits. The war on cash forges on. Paper money, which is indeed more or less worthless, is slowly being taken out of circulation and being replaced by digital currency.

This shift presents of course the same fundamental problem as paper money itself: “digital money” is also not backed by gold or other precious metals or any asset representing real value. The whole concept of digitizing our transactions is being marketed as a convenience, a hassle-free payment method and a transparent, easy new way to smoothly run our lives and businesses, without the burden of carrying cash around.
However, the realistic flip side of this joyful argument is more ominous than we might at first realize: Now, account monitoring or freezing, and confiscations will be easier than ever. And of course, by eliminating cash, central banks are getting rid of the last existing barrier to negative interest rates.
 
The Global Economy is Stuck… Gold is on a Roll
In the first quarter of 2016, the gold price rallied by 14.3%, and in February alone, it jumped 9.6% – this was the highest single-month increase in four years.

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