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Ep 50 – Brent Johnson: Has the Dollar Milkshake Spilled or Just Begun?

Summary:
Is the dollar heading to new heights or new lows? Brent Johnson of Santiago Capital joins the Gold Exchange Podcast LIVE in New Orleans! Listen to Brent discuss the historic rise of the DXY, the effects on (d)emerging markets, and how he sees a currency and sovereign debt crisis playing out. Will Powell be able to solve Triffin’s Dilemma? Can foreign central banks escape the zugzwang position? Will the financial justice warriors finally be vindicated? Watch the full episode to find out! Connect with Brent on Twitter and his website. Connect with Keith Weiner and Monetary Metals on Twitter: @RealKeithWeiner @Monetary_Metals [embedded content] Additional Resources Brent’s Speech on Being a Financial Psycho Fed Zugzwang Position The UK Pension System The Dollar

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Is the dollar heading to new heights or new lows? Brent Johnson of Santiago Capital joins the Gold Exchange Podcast LIVE in New Orleans! Listen to Brent discuss the historic rise of the DXY, the effects on (d)emerging markets, and how he sees a currency and sovereign debt crisis playing out. Will Powell be able to solve Triffin’s Dilemma? Can foreign central banks escape the zugzwang position? Will the financial justice warriors finally be vindicated? Watch the full episode to find out!

Connect with Brent on Twitter and his website.

Connect with Keith Weiner and Monetary Metals on Twitter: @RealKeithWeiner @Monetary_Metals

Additional Resources

Brent’s Speech on Being a Financial Psycho

Fed Zugzwang Position

The UK Pension System

The Dollar Milkshake Theory

Fed Rate Hike Graph

Ukraine and Useless Ingredients

Fed Hammer Article

Podcast Chapters

00:0000:15 Intro

00:1500:33 Brent Johnson

00:3301:38 The Dollar Milkshake Theory

01:385:02 Gold vs the Dollar

5:026:21 DXY Drawdown

6:219:48 Triffin’s Dilemma

9:4812:48 What They Can’t Ignore

12:4813:41 Right for the Wrong Reasons

13:4116:19 The Dollar Derivatives

16:1919:20 A Tragic Story

19:2021:28 Zombification

21:2823:00 Transparency and Projection

23:0024:00 Banks and Bonds vs Currency

24:0025:19 De-dollarizing

25:1926:20 Weaponizing the…

26:2028:42 Financial Justice Warriors

28:4229:16 Santiago Capital

29:1629:55 Wisdom

29:5530:35 Outro

Transcript:

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Welcome back to the Gold Exchange Podcast. I’m Benjamin Nadelstein from Monetary Metals. We are here at the New Orleans Investment Conference in 2022. We are joined, as always, by founder and CEO of Monetary Metals, Keith Weiner. And our special guest today is Brent Johnson. Brent, how are you doing?

Brent Johnson:
I’m good, thanks for having me.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Brent, we’re going to give you your five minutes in the limelight. It’s time to gloat. The dollar milkshake theory. You’ve obviously had this thesis for a while. 2022 is the year for the milkshake. So why don’t you tell us, what have you seen so far in 2022 and how’s the thesis been holding up?

Brent Johnson:
Well, I think overall the thesis is holding up. I mean, ultimately the thesis is how I think a sovereign debt and currency crisis plays out. Despite all the innumerable problems that the United States has, despite all the fiscal sins we’ve committed, we have many advantages the rest of the world just doesn’t have. And since they’ve committed many of the same sins and they don’t have the advantages, on a relative basis, the US Dollar rises versus them. That’s the thesis, and I think we’ve seen that pretty well play out this year.

Keith Weiner:
I just have to interject the one thing, which is anybody who’s bearish at DXY is effectively bullish the euro. And whatever complaints you may have about the dollar, and there’s a lot of other reasons why the DXY has to go up and the milkshake theory makes sense. But whatever complaints you have about the dollar, look at the euro and tell me they don’t apply times ten over there.

Brent Johnson:
That’s exactly right. And the reality is, the way I came to this whole thesis was that years ago, as someone who was an advocate for gold then and still an advocate for gold now, I was of the belief because a lot of the gold industry is built on the foundation, that the dollar is going to fall. And I just almost accepted that as a given. But then I did a bunch of analysis on the United States, and it confirmed that. And I said, wow, this is pretty obvious, the dollar is going to fall. And then when it didn’t, I was like, what the hell is going on? Why is the dollar not falling? And when I would talk to other people, they would say, oh, just wait, it will. But nobody really wanted to get into it. And so I kind of went back and said, I got to figure this out just for my own sanity, what the hell is going on? And I reviewed all my analysis on the United States. That’s really correct. But then what I had never really done is I had never applied it to Europe. I had never applied that same analysis to Japan or to China or as a whole.

And so I realized that my focus had been extremely narrow, even though I thought it had been very broad. And once you do that and you kind of step back and you just brutally objective, the answer to me was fairly obvious. And part of the reason I knew it was obvious, as I hated the answer, I was like, this cannot be. But the more I studied it, the more I realized it is. And so I think we’re seeing that. I’m not surprised at dollar strength this year versus other currencies. But I think what I would highlight though is it hasn’t just been against emerging market currencies and smaller currencies. The euro is down close to 20% in the last year. The yen is down 30% in two years. Those are enormous moves for currencies. It would be a big move for an emerging market currency. It’s a massive move for major currency.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Now Europe is an emerging market apparently.

Keith Weiner:
Demerging…

Brent Johnson:
Apparently, and emerging. And a lot of times over the last couple of months when you’ve seen these headlines, the bank of England has to intervene, the bank of Japan has to intervene, Christine Lagarde has to buy periphery bonds. I often try to put myself in the shoes of an emerging market central banker who wakes up and sees these headlines and he’s thinking, holy cow, if this is the bank of England, what the heck am I going to do? What power do I have? So I think it’s going to be really interesting how the next few years develop. I don’t expect it to be a straight line. The dog had a heck of a run. It wouldn’t surprise me to all of it pauses for a little bit but I would encourage people that have not positioned for a strong dollar if we get dollar weakness, use that time period to prepare for a stronger dollar rather than like between 2020 and 2021 everybody doubled down on the dollar shorts rather than preparing for more strength. And so that’s kind of hurt them your state anyway.

Keith Weiner:
If you look at you’re talking about pauses and the dollar even draw downs. If you look at gold in the 1970s, obviously incredible bull case goes from $35 to over $800. But there was wicked drawdowns in the middle of it that from the perspective of history, 30, 40 years later, it’s easy to just lost over that. But for people living through that, wasn’t there a 50% drawdown? Was that 1975 or 1976? And in retrospect, wow, it was gold at 1600 bucks. That draw down looks like nothing, but at the time 50%.

Brent Johnson:
Yeah, right.

Keith Weiner:
So I don’t think the DXY would have a 50% drawdown. That would be insane, but 10 or 20 percent drawdown wouldn’t be at all surprising.

Brent Johnson:
Well, at some point I kind of expect that to happen because I do not think this is going to play out over the next six to seven months. I think it’ll play out over the next three or four years, maybe six to seven years. The only way that can happen is if there are pullbacks along the way. If the dollar goes to 160 next month, it’s kind of game over and then the reset happens, so to speak. But I think it’s unlikely that the world just stands back and let it go to 160. There will come a point where the Fed will pivot. I don’t know exactly when that will be, but they will pivot and they will do something to try to ease the pressure. And I think it will work for a while when they do that, just like it worked for a while in 2020. The problem is that now the world is facing inflationary pressures, and so any moves they put on in order to weaken the dollar, it actually enhances inflation, which is what they’re trying to kill. So it’s a little bit of a different situation now that the challenges are a little bit different.

Ultimately, I think the dollar could get away from them to the upside. I think markets are ultimately power more powerful than central bankers and politicians. But it’s not going to be a straight line.

Keith Weiner:
This summer, I gave a talk in Vienna and the title I’m going to try to pronounce that was corrected by German speakers of how to say this word, which is the word that Americans would be familiar with. If you play chess, Zugzwang, which is when you have to make a move, you can’t like, pause. You have to move. And any move you want to make makes your position worse, not better. So the Fed could do this, but that’s going to make prices go up more. Or the Fed could do this, but that’s going to do this. And what are the US’s allies saying in private calls right now when they’re like, they have to be saying, guys, you’re killing us.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Public calls! The UN has actually asked if the interest rates hikes gold stop, please stop the beating. And the Fed has said no. That is a pretty big stare down. But what do you think? Are the pivots going to have to happen in 2022 or can 2023 be the year?

Brent Johnson:
I don’t think they’re going to happen in 2022. Now, over the next two or three weeks, markets fall. In addition, 30 or 40% Vix spikes to 100 and the funding markets seized up. They will absolutely pivot. And that’s one thing that’s important to understand, is there are some people out there who say the Fed should not intervene. The Fed was put in place in order to intervene. That is literally their job. So the idea that they won’t pivot at some point, of course they will. The question is when they will do it. I happen to think that they will be able to do more rate hikes for longer than most people. I fully admit I could be wrong on this. And part of the reason I think that is I don’t think the Fed is surprised by the market volatility that the interest rates have caused. I don’t think they’re surprised by the problems that the emerging markets are happening. And they’re probably not surprised the UN is asking them to stop, but they are not the regulator for the rest of the world. Their mission is the domestic United States. And what we’re in is this thing called Triffin’s dilemma.

Keith Weiner:
I was about to say Triffin’s dilemma.

Brent Johnson:
It could not be more perfectly Triffin’s dilemma. So what Triffin’s dilemma is when an individual country’s currency also functions as the global currency, at some point you will have the needs of the domestic economy come into conflict with the needs of the global economy. And so that’s where we’re at. The US either needs or wants, however you want to define that, higher rates in order to combat domestic inflation. But the rest of the world can’t handle it. But J Powell has come out and said, listen, I hear you, but this is what we need to do for our domestic market, and that’s what we’re doing. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of J Powell. It’s not the right way to say this, but I think he has been more clear on what he intends to do than maybe any central banker since I’ve been doing this job. Now, maybe you can go back before I was involved in this, but there’s no confusion about what his plan is. His plan might fail, but he’s not like speaking in a language you can’t understand. He said, I’m going to raise rates.

People are going to lose their jobs. Some people need to get paid less, and there’s going to be pain, but that will be worth it because that will be better than the pain from sustained inflation. That’s as clear as I’ve ever heard of central bankers say it.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Yeah. And even though we think he might actually be wrong on some of these causes of inflation, that is what the playbook is, right? It’s coming from the horse’s mouth and the horse is drawn along. We’ve seen these rate hikes. Everyone said it’s not going to happen. Then it did happen. Well, it’s got to stop. But obviously there’s actions speak louder than words, right? And Keith, they might commit to doing rate hikes until inflation goes away or whatever this kind of number they’re looking for is. But let’s talk about the actions. They’re going to start breaking things with these rate hikes, as we’ve kind of already seen. What do you think is going to have to break for Powell and the central bankers to say, oh, my gosh, enough is enough, we’re turning around.

Keith Weiner:
I like to use the analogy that people think, okay, well, the Fed reacts when they cause something to break or they cause damage. They’re causing all kinds of things already to break. The question is what rises to the level of attention? So in the last discussion, I made an analogy of the Feds and like, in this ivory tower and they’re on hundreds floor and all sorts of things are on fire, but they’re on fire is like down on the ground. And so from the 100th floor window, it just looks like ants to them. So what causes the flames to rise to the 100 floor window where they can see, oh, there’s flames outside our window. I don’t think they care about unemployment, actually. I don’t think they actually care about inflation either. I think they can use either of those as a cover for something they already want to do anyway. But I think they do care about solvency of their client banks, their crony banks. So when JPMorgan says, hey, we’re taking dreadful losses on our real estate portfolio or other assets that are just getting crushed, there’ll be a point at which the Fed can’t ignore that anymore.

This thing is all comes with a lag. So now we’re trying to guess like, A, how long is the lag? And B, once that information is coming to the Fed, how long does the Fed continue to just we’re going to stay the course before the crescendo reaches the point where they can’t. So I think they can go quite a while before there’s a problem. And that’s going to make the point earlier, when Brent said this plays out over three to four years, or maybe six to ten years, there’s more kicks in that can than anybody thinks.

Brent Johnson:
Exactly.

Keith Weiner:
There are more aces up their sleeve, there’s more kicks in a can, whatever analogy you want to use. Adam Smith said, not anticipating this particular situation, there’s a great deal of ruin in a nation, that you have these horrible policies and you think, why doesn’t everything just turn to crap immediately? Well, we’ll turn to crap eventually, but not immediately. And what’s the difference?

Brent Johnson:

Well, your portfolio tells the difference.

Keith Weiner:

That’s right. In 2012, I thought it was six to seven years, and obviously it’s a lot longer than that. And there’s more to go. When you look around in America here, there’s still a great deal of capital. This is a capital consumption process. There’s still an enormous amount of capital here yet to be consumed. And that’s the measure of how long can it go.

Brent Johnson:
And there’s more capital coming in as flees other jurisdictions.

Keith Weiner:
Right. So the other jurisdictions turn to total shit, but they’re all like as they drown, they’re holding up a lot of dollar bills and handing it off to America to consume.

Brent Johnson:
That’s right.

Keith Weiner:
And so perversely for all the wrong reasons. It’s not yay ‘murica! Those people are going to be sort of right for the wrong reasons. Like a stop clock, I guess.

Brent Johnson:
And it will inevitably end bad for America as well. All these things cycle, right? And I don’t want people to think that I am one of these people who thinks that due to American exceptionalism and that we’re the smartest and the greatest. It’s not that at all. It’s just in many ways, without going into too much detail, the system is rigged in favor of the dollar. The idea that these other currencies are going to fail before the dollar…. I never say anything is impossible, but that’s about as close as you can get.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Keith, let’s talk about the dollar derivatives. Right.

Brent Johnson:
Keith’s great at explaining that.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Yeah. Keith, why don’t we jump into that.

Keith Weiner:
The other currencies are all dollar derivatives and a dollar figures prominently not only in every commercial bank and even small to midsize to large business in the world has dollars on both sides of the balance sheet, but every central bank. They’re all dollar derivatives. So in a way this is like a debate as to whether Apple shares are going to go to zero before December Apple calls. How could that be? The derivative, if anything is going to fail, the derivative fails first. And so when there is a desperate, a genuine desperate need for liquidity and credit, people turn to the dollar. And so what drove the DXY up so far and what will drive it more is just a desperate need for liquidity. Obviously, speculators and traders pile on and extend the trend and that’s why I get overextended. But the origins and the roots of it aren’t anybody saying the dollars better or the cleanest dirty shirt or whatever. You don’t have a choice when you’re dealing with margin calls, when you’re dealing with a funding crisis, right? So every firm in the world is borrowing short to finance, not necessarily lending, but to finance long assets.

And then suddenly you can’t roll your short liabilities. That is a desperate, urgent need and you get a margin call from your broker. It’s not optional, it’s not choice, it’s not leisurely. It’s not like I’m going to buy this because I think it’s going to go up. No, you don’t want it to go up. You’re short the damn thing!

Brent Johnson:
Not only that, it’s not your decision. They don’t call you to say, it’d be nice.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Would you like to do this?

Brent Johnson:
They say, send us more cash or we are doing this for you!

Keith Weiner:
Or drastic, dire, terrible things are going to happen to you. And so people desperately do what they have to do and that’s what is driving the dollar. It’s not even really the dollar up, it’s the euro down the pound, obviously, and they had a spike low during their recent crisis. I think I saw on my screen it hit a dollar three, the pound, a dollar three before recovering, if you want to call it that. What is it, a dollar twelve now that’s where the euro used to be. A few short months ago. And now the euro is what? Ninety seven cents today?

Brent Johnson:
The yen is it 148 or nine? Almost 150.

Keith Weiner:
I was about to say that’s 145, 146. And I don’t mean to be flipped about it. And we’re kind of laughing about it. A lot of Americans see this. Oh great, I can take a vacation and it’s cheap or I’m going to buy a BMW and it’s going to be cheaper. I’m not sure if that’s even true. They might just hold the line on the dollar price and make more money. But this is a horrific destruction being brought on the savers and the producers, the corporations in Europe and the UK and in Japan, this is a giant erosion of their capital.

Brent Johnson:
To be clear, the whole milkshake theory, whenever I talk about it, I try to have a smile on my face and I make little jokes and little innuendos. Try to keep a light because if you don’t keep a light, you’ll end up crying because this is a really bad situation. Since the very first time I mentioned this thesis, one of the very first sentences I said was, I want to make something very clear. This is not a story that ends well. And really, it’s kind of the worst of all worlds for these other countries because what’s happening is they’re dealing with both inflation and inflation at the same time. Their economies are slowing. They’ve got enormous amounts of debt. The debt that they have with interest rates higher is eating up more of their revenues. A lot of the debt is denominated in dollars. So it’s a kicker on top of the interest rate, they already have to pay. But then on the flip side, in order to counteract their domestic weakness, they have to print more of their own currency, either to buy dollars, to buy oil or energy or food or to their own government programs or whatever it is.

And so then their currency loses value. So they’re getting hit by deflation on one side and massive inflation on the other. And this is how disasters happen, literally. You couldn’t create a more perfect storm for a movie.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Yeah, you almost couldn’t write it worse.

Brent Johnson:
No, you couldn’t.

Keith Weiner:
I think one analogy for this, like for Americans looking at this and saying, okay, European stuff is getting cheaper. Imagine there’s a tractor trailer on the highway and it flips over and then all the content spill across the highway, whether it’s TVs or frozen food or something like that. Let’s assume that the content survives the spill onto the highway and so everyone’s gathering it up, kind of like looting it. And they’re like, oh yeah, this is great. Well, you have a tiny little gain compared to the enormous loss that could be putting somebody out of business if that was a big enough loss. And that’s what’s going on for the.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Life of the driver in some of these cases, right?

Keith Weiner:
Yeah, the driver should be killed and all these things and trucks on fire and damage the bridge. So the road is going to be closer months, but hey, free TVs. And then of course, what do you do for an encore? The TV company is now out of business. There’s follow on consequences that as to Brent’s point, doesn’t end well, even if right now it seems great for Americans.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Well, I want to actually talk about that for a second. So I really like your talk about your analysis. You looked at America and said, wow, they’ve got these problems, the dollars got these problems, gold. It’s clearly where we’re at. But then you said, wait a minute, I actually have to broaden my scope here. America’s not the only country, there’s other countries and they have other currencies that have even worse problems than America does, right. And what we’re doing in October is zombie month. And zombie month is focused on zombie corporations. These are companies whose profits are less than their interest expenses. Now, as interest rates hikes continue, these zombie corporations are going to be going out of business. Now these zombie companies, whether they’re good or bad, they’re employing people, right? They’re producing goods and as interest rates and continue, they’re going to get destroyed. Now, when we talked to some of the researchers into these zombie companies, the first thing that popped out of me, I said, oh my god, America is going to have hordes of zombies. Powell’s going to be like they’re in a shotgun fending off the windows. And the guy said, oh no, Europe is much worse.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
And I said, oh, my gosh. I just did the Brent Johnson. I have to look not just in America and say, oh well, America is going to have zombies galore. You got to look around and say, yeah, we might have zombies, but comparatively, what about Europe? This dollar milkshake theory, you can see it in other places, right. And zombie corporations are one of those areas.

Brent Johnson:
And what could happen, and I don’t know if it will, but what could happen is if capital flees to the United States as a safe haven, it could support our zombies and allow them to survive longer. And that’s part of the way that the US. Outlasts the rest of the world, right? Again, it’s not necessarily that things are good and it’s not necessarily a solution, but it’s maybe a bridge to outlast a competitor or however you want to define that. I’m not really sure how that’s going to play out. But also to that point, like Powell to a certain extent wants some of these zombie companies to fail, right? He doesn’t really care that a couple of companies might go out of business and they will have to cut wages in order to stay profitable or stay in business.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Well, what’s that saying? It’s a recession when I lose my job. It’s a depression when my neighbor loses his. But what is it when JPMorgan is calling pal and saying, hey, listen, we got to stop the pain.

Brent Johnson:
I’m going to make another observation here that’s somewhat related to this. And it goes back to the analogy and analyzing the United States in a vacuum or analyzing it with the rest of the world. I come to these conferences, which I love coming to the Kind, I love talking to people and I love giving presentations and hearing their questions. Their questions are always about how’s the Fed going to get out of this? What is the Fed going to do? When is the US going to pivot? But it’s always the fed, the fed, the fed. Nobody has ever asked me how the bank of Japan is going to get out of this, right? Nobody’s ever asked me how the ECB is going to get out of this. Nobody’s ever asked me what the hell the bank of England is going to do. Because all the problems that they are projecting on the US Treasury, which will eventually happen, are already happening right now, today, for these other competitors.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Well, Brent, I’m going to ask every other person.

Keith Weiner:
One thing needs to be sad, which is there’s more scrutiny on America and more transparency. People can mistake greater transparency for greater problems because they’re just not reading the headlines. And particularly I refer to China when people say America is terrible and China is the strong, wise, whatever. Just because the news is being repressed doesn’t mean there’s bad shit that’s happening. And in fact, the need to repress it is probably a sign it’s even worse. And so, yeah, everyone’s got their Keynes on the US treasury, $31 trillion in debt, everyone’s got their eyes on the Fed. Their eyes could be on a lot of other places as well.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Brent. That’s a good point. I even fell in the trap myself. But I’m going to ask everyone else, what is the bank of England going to do? What is the bank of Japan going to do? I mean, they’re in worse dire straits than we are. And it’s a good question.

Brent Johnson:
Well, they’ve kind of already showed their hands. And the way they will play their hand is the way every central banker in history has always played their hand. They will deny it. They will try to support both the currency and the bond market. And in the very short term, that can work. But eventually, because those are cross purposes, they will have to choose one. And history has shown that nine times out of ten, if not ten times out of ten, they ultimately will choose to save the banks and the banking system and the bond market, because that’s how that’s the government’s bread and butter than the currency. They don’t really want either one to fail. But when you eventually have to pick, when there are no other options, they will choose to sacrifice the currency. And you’re already seeing this. If you look at the chart of the yen and the euro and the pound, you’re seeing this already. That’s why those countries currencies are down double digits in the last twelve months.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Well, I think you asked this when has there ever been a time in history where someone’s intervened into the market and said, oh my gosh, we got to do this emergency measure? And they said, oh, that fix it, that band-aid, that’s all we really needed. I mean, this is a bad sign, right?

Brent Johnson:
I’ve never been able to find it. If you ever come across this, or maybe you already know, if there’s ever been a time where a central bank intervened one time and that was it. I’d love to find it, but I don’t think it exists. I cannot find a time where they didn’t intervene. It gold it for a couple of weeks, a couple of months, and then they had to come back and do it even more.

Keith Weiner:
So you and I know, we were chatting on Twitter about this, that there are certain folks shall remain nameless who think that the world is dedolarizing when it’s actually the central banks are desperate with selling dollars to try to prop up their currencies. They’re not dedolarizing. They’re debasing literally taking the base again.

Brent Johnson:
They’re getting the dollar derivatives, they’re getting margin calls.

Keith Weiner:
Basically, their currencies are dollar derivatives. As they sell the dollars on their balance sheet off, they’re literally debasing their currencies. They’re taking the base out of it. And the end of that isn’t, oh, the world’s rejected the dollar. The end of that is the central bank is now completely out of that good assets. And when you’re out of completely out of good assets, then you’re bankrupt.

Brent Johnson:
The other point I made in my presentation there today, I just say this to hopefully spur people to think a little bit. Whether I’m right or wrong, I don’t know. But I think one of the things you’ve got to be careful about is when the exact same thing is happening in two different places, but you see them differently. And what I mean by that is, earlier this year, the US. Kind of led the charges to confiscate assets from Russia. And they quote, unquote, weaponize the dollar and they force other countries to trade for energy in the US dollar. And that’s kind of seen by many as a desperate move by an aging hegemon to try and hold on to the power they have. When Putin forces the rest of the world to use his domestic currency to buy oil or energy, it’s a 3D chess move that ensures that Russia is now the new leader and it’s going to enrich the people and the economy. It’s the exact same thing, but it’s viewed as a positive by one and a negative for another. And so I think you got to be very careful about moralizing.

Brent Johnson:
If we’re talking about investing, we got to be. Careful about moralizing, because a lot of times when I talk about what I think is going to happen, the thing I try to make crystal clear is I don’t necessarily want these things to happen. This is not how I would personally do it. But my clients didn’t hire me to be like a financial justice warrior. I think we talked about that one time. They didn’t hire me to step out and pound my fist in the air and say, this isn’t right. They hired me to figure out what the hell is going to happen and hopefully navigate through it correctly. If you’re an entrepreneur and you have a project that you think is going to change the world, and you go all in on that and you really try to solve things-

Keith Weiner:
Don’t talk about that! That’s too close to home 😉

Brent Johnson:
A worthy cause and more power to the entrepreneurs who do that. But if you are investing other people’s money, if that is your job, or if your job is to allocate your assets for investment, not to change the world, but to grow your pile of money, then you kind of need to play the world as it is, not as the world as you would like it to be. Because the central bankers and the governments are not going to do the quote unquote right thing. They’re just not. So the idea that you should place your assets in a way that the Fed is eventually going to do what you want them to do or you think they should do, that’s not the way the world works.

Keith Weiner:
I was going to make a comment about what you want. There’s an epic fantasy series called The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind, and he talks about there’s wizards in the book. And wizard’s first rule is that people are stupid. They’ll believe something is it because they want it to be true or because they fear it to be true? So they want the dollar to go down because they think that’s going to make gold go up. And they believe that Putin is powerful for the same move that they think is weakening the US. They think it’s strange that Russia, because they fear it to be so. And you got that duality of substituting an emotion for gold, hard facts and reason. And when you look at it objectively, it’s like the same move, right? How do you evaluate that move?

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Well, we’ve got one more question for you, but before we go. Where can people find your work? If they want to connect with you, if they kind of want to get dunked on, where’s the best place to go?

Brent Johnson:
I have a web page. It’s literally just a few, like, government regulatory documents that I have to post and my contact information. Okay. It’s Santiago capital. I’m happy to talk to people. If they send me a message, give me a call. I’m very active on Twitter. Let’s see. @santiagoAufund is the handle. If you just type in Santiago Capital, you’ll find a bunch of stuff and just go to YouTube or Google. And if you type in Milkshake Theory or Santiago Capital, you’ll get a number of links.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
It’s been great, great talking with you. What is the best investing advice you’ve received either at the conference or just in life? What can you tell investors?

Brent Johnson:
Yeah, I think it’s kind of what I was just talking about a minute ago is invest for the hand that you’re dealt, not the hand that you want to have or play the world as it is, not how you would want it to be. If your goal is to make money, it depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to make money, place money based on what’s actually going to happen rather than what you think you want to happen.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Brent, I want to thank you so much for coming on the Gold Exchange podcast. We’ll hopefully see you soon, and as the dollar is through, we’re going to have to have you back on.

Keith Weiner:
All right.

Benjamin Nadelstein:
Thanks for coming on.

Additional Resources for Earning Interest on Gold

If you’d like to learn more about how to earn interest on gold with Monetary Metals, check out the following resources:

Ep 50 – Brent Johnson: Has the Dollar Milkshake Spilled or Just Begun?

The New Way to Hold Gold

In this paper we look at how conventional gold holdings stack up to Monetary Metals Investments, which offer a Yield on Gold, Paid in Gold®. We compare retail coins, vault storage, the popular ETF – GLD, and mining stocks against Monetary Metals’ True Gold Leases.

Ep 50 – Brent Johnson: Has the Dollar Milkshake Spilled or Just Begun?

The Case for Gold Yield in Investment Portfolios

Adding gold to a diversified portfolio of assets reduces volatility and increases returns. But how much and what about the ongoing costs? What changes when gold pays a yield? This paper answers those questions using data going back to 1972.


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