Throughout the world, businesses are failing, families are losing their homes, their livelihoods and their futures. Is the financial system and its so-called leaders to blame? James West and his film, Crime of the Century, seek to illuminate the players, methods, history and present configuration of financial disaster that prevents the average citizen from investing profitably, borrowing fairly, or even saving for retirement safely.
Mr. West’s career as a capital markets entrepreneur has spanned 20 years and included roles as CEO, Corporate Development, Investor Relations, Corporate Finance, editor, publisher, writer and public speaker. He is a regularly featured guest on BNN, Canada’s Business News Network, and provides market insight and investment strategy through his newsletter at MidasLetter.com. Listen in to this episode of The AMA Show to discover this hit film’s attempt to stop this cycle of financial abuse occurring around the world today.
Narrator: Welcome to the American Monetary Association’s podcast. Where we explore how monetary policy impacts the real lives of real people, and the action steps necessary to preserve wealth and enhance one’s lifestyle.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the podcast for The American Monetary Association. This is your host, Jason Hartman and this is a service of my private foundation, The Jason Hartman Foundation. Today we have a great interview for you, so I think you’ll enjoy it. And comment on our website or our blog post. We have a lot of resources there for you, and you can find that at AmericanMonetaryAssociation.org or the website for the foundation which is JasonHartmanFoundation.org. Thanks so much for listening and please visit our website and enjoy our extensive blog and other resources there.
Start of Interview with James West
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome James West to the show. Mister West is the writer and executive producer of a fantastic new movie, and I’m looking forward to sharing this with all of you listeners. James, welcome to the show.
James West: Thank you very much for having me.
Jason Hartman: Tell us about your new movie coming out.
James West: The title of the film is Crime of the Century. It’s a feature length documentary film that examines the relationship between monetary policies of global governments and the financial boom and bust cycles that have typically permeate the economic business cycles over the last hundred and fifty years.
Jason Hartman: Now, that’s a very interesting topic because I assume you’re going to talk in the film about the Federal Reserve and its involvement in our economy. Wasn’t that one of the things that the Federal Reserve really sort of promised when they pitched the idea back in the early 1900’s, was an end to these harsh cycles?
James West: Exactly, and the thinking back then was that the last panic before the establishment of the US Federal Reserve was the one that occurred in 1907 and that one got under way because of a panic with copper stock. And what happened was JP Morgan led a consortium of bankers to lend money essentially to other banks at the request of the government because otherwise the other banks and brokerage firms were going to fail. And the perfection of government at the time was, well we can’t be seen to be going cap in hand to the bankers every time there’s a liquidity problem in the financial market. This needs to be a government solution, not a private banking solution. That was the logic anyways that drove the establishment of the Federal Reserve from the government side.
Jason Hartman: Which oddly enough turned out to be a private bank anyway, right?
James West: Exactly. While JP Morgan stipulated at the time that he would help establish the Federal Reserve as long as it was run by bankers and not by government representatives. That is actually the key moment in time where we had an opportunity to have what properly should be a government run issue of our monetary policy and our money. But in instead, it turned out to be a private organization.
Jason Hartman: It is really amazing the way this country seems to be held hostage to its central bank. These private people and foreign banks also are benefiting from the misery of us, the people, we the people. Our currency is being devalued, our taxes are going up, our government is broke. It seems like we would at least be hitting on one cylinder right, but it seems like every cylinder is going the wrong direction, does it not?
James West: It sure does. And again, that’s something we try to examine in the film, is that the entire episode as it unfolds seems to be a case of woops, and oh, this is an accident, and we made this mistake and we made that mistake, but the premise of this film is that you look back over the last 150 years, once big business sort of got married to banking and banking started to influence the direction of government and what was allowed and what wasn’t allowed.
There’s a pattern that we’ve identified in that the bankers tend to flood the system with liquidity because their product, what drives more money into their pockets than anything else is the extension of credit. So as creditors, their product is money. So when the economy uses lots of money, the bankers are at the top of that food chain and they extract fees and percentages and all of this all the way along, and now derivatives. And so it’s very much within their interest to see the growth phase of the business cycle over capitalize so that you drive prices up much higher than you would normally see for both commodities and for other asset classes, like stocks and their derivatives.
And when they decide that the system has grown out of control, then they can track the availability of credit, the system goes into a freefall and they mop up the assets that have become so quickly devalued in that the builders of those assets can no longer afford to hang onto because suddenly they’re over leveraged and their credit is no good. And so that is the crime of the century in argue, is that the over tabloidization of the system is a pattern that we see happening again and again.
Right now I’m reading about the financial panic of 1907 and the similarities in some of the loans that are being extended to save financial institutions, if you read the New York Times in that period you would think you’re reading the New York Times of the last six weeks. It’s so identical, except then they’re talking millions, now we’re talking billions and trillions.
Jason Hartman: It’s really amazing. So that’s a very interesting concept of the Crime of the Century, which is the title for your film. So what you’re saying is that what they’re doing is they’re flooding the markets with credit, all this money floods the system, you have too many dollars chasing a limited supply of goods and services, and so we’re talking really about goods or assets. So asset prices rise, so we’ve seen that with housing, stocks, some areas in precious metals markets certainly and other things. And these prices rise, then they contract the credit, asset prices fall as they’re doing now, and then they go in, these bankers and so forth and the various elites, and buy up these assets on the cheap. That’s the story, right?
James West: That’s right.
Jason Hartman: That is the crime of the century.
James West: That is one of the crimes of the century. We saw that happen with Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, the banks that collapsed and disappeared and been absorbed are far too numerous to mention in a single conversation. But everybody will remember that during the course of the summer of 2007, Goldman Sachs came out and said, who was at that time trading at seventy dollars, which was just mind boggling in 2007. When Goldman Sachs came out and said well, you think seventy dollars is bad? We predict that you’re going to see a hundred dollars a barrel within the next two years.
Well what happened was as soon as they issued that statement, oil raced up over a hundred dollars right away; within the next two weeks it topped a hundred dollars. So they used the media to sort of create perception on our part, that wow, it’s going much higher. So another part of the Crime of Century is that some financial institutions are so large and so far up the ladder, that they don’t sort of react to the market, they drive market behavior and they know when they say something that they’re going to elicit a certain kind of behavior by all the layers of the financial players underneath them.
So that, you come out and you’re Goldman Sachs and you say gold’s going to go to a hundred. Well then, all the private equity firms that are also commodities traders are going to rush out and bid up oil future because the perception is that is Goldman Sachs said that oil is going higher, oil is going higher. So they create the reality by putting it out there that hey, this is what’s going to happen so that’s what happens.
Jason Hartman: Isn’t that always true that any big player in any type of market makes the market to some extent? Of course if Trump says he’s going to buy up a bunch of land in a certain area, won’t that cause people to follow and react? That’s not inherently bad, is it?
James West: Well that’s completely contrary to, for one thing, to the Sherman Antitrust Act. The whole point of the diversity of market is to prevent monopolization of markets. So no single entity can have that great of an influence on any given market.
Jason Hartman: Well I certainly agree with you with that. The trust should be busted, no question. But the trust is a matter of degree. Should someone have 10% of the market, 20-50% of the market, how much is too much? Obviously 100% is way too much. But you’re always going to have large and small players, and so this would say that the central planners and the consolidation of the banking world is bad, and I’m certainly going to agree with you there. But you’re always going to have larger and smaller players. And they’ll always influence to some extent, right?
James West: True. But when it comes to the currency of the world, and you’ve only got… we’re talking the US dollar which is now the reserve currency of the world. And ostensibly you’ve got the Federal Reserve and the Treasury acting in the interest of the US citizenry to protect its value and to protect our interests.
Jason Hartman: We certainly see that as a big myth, right?
James West: Well exactly. Then what’s actually happening is you’ve got the layer of banks above government which is JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, was bearing but the derivatives of the Rothschild’s and the derivatives of the Rockefellers which is city banks. And you’ve got that layer sort of operating with the US Federal Reserve because that’s a private institution. And they dictate the terms under which they think things should happen to the Treasury.
So it comes out as government policy and government decisions, but the pattern is that there’s a layer operating above government here, and the key to their continuation of this ongoing cycle of boom and bust is the suppression of gold. And really that’s at the key of our film here, is that this whole thing couldn’t happen if gold was allowed to trade in unfettered manner.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, I definitely agree with you that there’s lots of manipulation. I just want to go back to your thought though earlier on what is really the big crime of the century, which is drive up asset prices, plunge asset prices, manipulate markets in other words, and then buy up assets on the cheap when markets are low. It’s an interesting concept. If we want to just look at that a little more closely though… we have to see a point, if that crime of the century is going to work where the asset prices are cheaper than they were at the previous low, or at least in inflation adjusted terms they are cheaper than they were, to make that work and to make the enrich the Rothschild’s and the Rockefellers and so forth.
So if you take the DOW, the DOW is much lower, it’s off it’s high for sure. Even when it was at its high I was saying that that was sort of an illusion really created by inflation and the dollar. Well, deflation and the value of the dollar, but inflation as it’s called, which is kind of a misnomer is many ways.
But we don’t see asset prices cheaper than where they were yet. Are you saying we will? That has to be the case to enrich people. They can get people to pay higher prices, buy at the peak, asset prices are inflated, credit contracts and then the big banks and all the big players and the elites come in and buy cheap later. But they’re not buying cheaper than the last low, are they?
James West: It’s not so much that they’re paying the prices that’s quoted on the DOW, but what happens is for example in the case of say, Warren Buffett’s ten billion dollar investment in AIG, shortly after Paulson decided that they were going to invest a further ten billion dollars in AIG. I’m not sure if it was AIG now or JP Morgan or one of the banks, but the terms under which the treasury invested some of its bail-out money were far more onerous than Buffett’s experience for his investment. And so…
Jason Hartman: So the tax payers are paying to increase the price of Buffett’s investment. Is that what you’re getting at?
James West: Well essentially yeah. The cost of his investment is being offset by public money. And so the other thing is the share price that he’s paying to buy into this entity would never be so low if the company was not in such a state of distress. It’s in a position that it needs the money or it’s going to fold. So the offering price of the securities in exchange for the investments are far lower than they would be in normal times, and far lower than what the average investor has put into it while the economy was functioning normally. And so that’s where the whole asset doesn’t necessarily disappear but what happens is control positions and large ownership positions are obtained by elite financial interests that take advantage of the distress of some of these [0:13:30.4].
Jason Hartman: This is really interesting because what really is happening there is a transfer of wealth from the middle class investor, who rode the market, did all the things that, I call it the vast Wall St conspiracy, tells us to do, invest for the long term, buy a stupid mutual fund, etc. And so it’s always that middle part of the populous that did all that, they stuck their 401K’s in it etc. etc. and then they lost the value and essentially transferred that wealth to the elite, to Buffett, to the other players. Because they drove up the price of that asset. It’s really just unbelievable.
And of course, it’s incumbent upon them to keep this huge PR machine out there. You see Warren Buffett go on and say I’m buying up stocks right now, so every typical middle class investor probably thinks, oh if Buffett is doing it then I should too. But he’s in on the game! He comes out of a meeting with Bernanke and Paulson and says, well yeah buy stocks in American companies. Well of course he’s going to say that.
James West: Right. That’s because he just got them for cheap and he needs somebody to sell them to.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, right. Very good. I love the simplicity of your statement right there. That’s excellent. Tell us what else is involved in this Crime of the Century, if you will.
James West: Well essentially our position is that there are fourteen mechanisms to this cycle. There’s the US Federal Reserve system which is sort of a private gateway through which these bankers influence monetary policy. There’s the fact of the US dollar being the golden reserve currency of, having no choice really of what the situation is now. Then there is the depression of gold. If gold is allowed to trade freely, typically it’s the canary and the coal mine when a currency is being over diluted, when they’re printing too much. Typically gold goes up in relation to any currency indicating that the investment world perceives that there’s too much currency relative to the amount of gold that’s out there and so people start to sell the currency and buy the gold, which drives the price up.
Jason Hartman: Gold is supposed to be the consistent measuring stick, and of course it’s not in today’s world because it’s manipulated.
James West: Yeah, exactly. It’s manipulated right now, but if you step back to a geological sense of time for our brief snippet of recorded history, call that five thousand years, gold has been the standard by which all things of value are measured. It’s always the case. Well, how much gold can you get with that currency, with those sea shells, with the whiskey. It’s always been about the gold, and certainly now gold is suppressed and has been for, call it the last 30-40 years from the advent of the Gold Carry Trade, which we’ll get to in a moment. But gold has always been that monetary standard.
And right now we’re living in a time where it’s popularly perceived to be a barbarous relic, it’s not something that’s practical. It’s merely a commodity. It’s just a metal that has no value in anything except jewelry. And that’s all going to change, because the one thing that’s happening now is that with the currency becoming so diluted, and gold even though it’s being suppressed with every effort on the part of the major future changes, or rather the central banks. The imbalance is reaching an explosive point. We’re seeing that certainly with the near default of Komex that seems to be unfolding.
So eventually the price of gold is going to explode. When that happens, US dollar is going to plummet. And so part of this strategy is suppression of gold, and then the fourth thing would be the unregulated derivatives market which is part of how they keep the price of gold suppressed. We won’t go into too much detail there, because that’s just so arcane that I’ll put everybody to sleep within ten minutes of talking about how the derivative trade works to suppress the perceived price of gold or the spot price of gold.
Jason Hartman: That’s fascinating though. I hope you cover that in the film. Do you? Because I really can’t wait to hear more of that.
James West: Well, we do touch on it but if we were to explain it in its full depths, two thirds of the audience would not be interested; I think they’d become very bored. The only thing you have to know about derivatives is it’s gambling. So think of the derivatives market as a giant Las Vegas casino. Two things about gambling in Las Vegas: The house always wins, and you always leave with nothing.
Jason Hartman: It’s amazing how some people still don’t realize that, huh?
James West: That’s right. If I make you think that the tricks in this casino are better than that casino down the street, you’re going to come and play in this casino. So that’s what they’ve done with gold is they’ve made it look like well, there’s no point in playing with gold because it’s just so volatile and so unpredictable. And the market’s so small, and there’s just no point in even being here.
So that’s the perception that’s especially been perpetrated for the most part throughout the United States. Now there’s a small part of the population that sort of see through that, and that’s where the upward pressure on gold is coming from. From them as well as more substantially from countries like Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, etc.
Jason Hartman: First of all, the reserve currency issue: the dollar has been the world’s reserve currency for decades now. Why is the world willing to accept the dollar as the reserve currency when it continues to be debased and debased and debased. And it’s not like the whole world is that stupid that they don’t know that we’re mismanaging our currency and our whole government and economy in general. Why are we still the reserve currency? I sort of can’t believe everybody’s agreeing to that still.
James West: To understand that, we’ve got to look at how we became the reserve currency. That was a process that occurred through the Bretton Woods act of 1944 which was in fact also oversaw management of the gold standard. So at that time gold was pegged to 35 dollars, and the US said our money will back the gold. And so that if you want to redeem or you want to trade in gold, it’s much easier if you just do it through the US dollar. Because the United States was the arbiter of the gold standard, you don’t want to trade in gold, we’ll use US dollars. So you use the similar amount in US dollars to sort of pay for things like oil and from oil it just sort of branched out from there.
It was really the advent of the big oil industry which saw US dollars start to accumulate representative of a certain amount of gold theoretically so that it wasn’t so much that countries were willing to take US dollars, as they thought they were taking something that represented the value relative to gold. So that’s how, because of the billions and billions of barrels of oil that have been sort of taken out of the ground since the early 1900s we’ll say , that’s what sort of built up the US as the reserve currency globally.
Now, at this point we’ve got two interesting phenomenon happening. We’ve got the G8 with major portions of the US treasuries and US denominated assets held in foreign reserves. So they see that while we’ve got a grossly elevated dollar value presently because of the financial crisis that has caused the repatriation of US dollars on maps because suddenly all of these firms around the world that have been trading in US dollars that have been leveraged out at 10-1, 20-1 and 30-1; now they’re being forced to deleverage which means they’re selling assets which means they need US dollars which is putting undue demand on the US dollar currency, which makes it look like it’s very strong right now.
Jason Hartman: That is a critical understanding right there. These US dollars are being soaked up in abundance right now around the world, as various funds and institutions unwind their investments and their overleveraging and that is causing a false dollar strength in our opinion. So I agree with you there.
James West: Also to sort of add to the upward pressure on the US dollar, right now because gold is so widely perceived as well that should be the safe haven sort of investment during times of financial trouble, but it hasn’t been performing that way. So a lot of people who would traditionally gravitate towards that as a safe haven investment are staying away and instead putting their money in US treasuries. Which again, only adds to the demand for US dollars which gives them some justification between the US Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to continuously come up with these trillion dollar bail-out packages because it looks like the dollar is strong, and it looks like it’s only getting stronger.
But we are almost at the peak of that process, and it’s going to probably coincide with Barack Obama’s taking the office in January, that suddenly the dollar is going to go the other way. And when that happens, you’re going to see two things happen: you’re going to see the dollar plummet as gold rockets. And people are very critical of that statement, because gold bugs have been saying that for the last ten years.
Jason Hartman: Well they’ve been saying it for a lot longer than that; they were saying it in the 70s and they were true for a time. They were saying that in the 80s and they were wrong, they were saying that in most of the 90s and they were wrong. What this really reminds me of on the gold thing, is that quote, and I don’t know who said it off the top of my head, I can look it up but it said this: “The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” Can’t remember who said that off hand, but can the gold price be manipulated longer than we can wait for a return? Because I just don’t think gold is the solution. It should be. It makes sense that it is; it’s totally logical and I understand the thinking. But the powers that be are so powerful, and they’re getting more and more powerful. Paulson is like the world’s global financial czar at least until he retires. It’s like there’s a fourth branch of government now. I call it the financial branch. We’ve got the Judicial, the Legislative, the Executive and the Financial!
James West: Right. This is what inspired the whole idea of doing this as a film. Was that I was talking to Bill Murphy at GATA, which is a gold anti-trust action committee. That’s the group that’s more or less been jumping up and down and screaming about the manipulation scheme and the gold carry trade…
Jason Hartman: They’ve been filing law suits and talking about nothing’s happening.
James West: Exactly, and I said this feels like The Matrix. Because I just started talking to him because I suddenly felt that wait a second, the world is not as it seems. And just like in The Matrix when the character Neo, he’s sort of going about his business and Morpheus comes to him and says haven’t you always felt that something’s not quite right? And here if you eat this blue pill you’ll figure it all out, and if you don’t want to know just eat the red pill. Well it seems to me that nine tenths of Americans haven’t been presented with a choice, and the one tenth that have, have chosen to eat the red pill and go back to sleep. And the blue pill is being consumed by very few people. But that’s essentially what’s happening, is we’ve got this great facade of everything’s under control, and some people have said to me in the past, if the government can suppress the price of gold for so long, what’s to stop them from doing it indefinitely?
Jason Hartman: Maybe another ten years? What if you need to retire in ten years? Can you be a precious metals investor?
James West: I don’t think that’s possible. Because if you follow all the research that’s been published by the various analysts who have been following what’s going on in this gold suppression scheme, all of that gold has come from the central banks. Now, they must be out of that gold and that’s why Comex is close to capitulation is because they’ve got gold on hand, which is registered ounces. And before last Friday the amount of gold they had on hand in registered ounces was 2.6 million ounces. Well every Friday the CFTC, the Commodities Future Trading Commission issues their commitment of traders report which tells you what are the contract positions of the various non-commercial traders in the future’s market. And they do this for all the futures.
Well what happens typically, every Friday you see that approximately 1% of the trade wants to take the liberty of their commodity gold on the due date of the contract.
Jason Hartman: You said 1/3rd?
James West: No sorry, 1%.
Jason Hartman: So only 1% of the people actually take delivery off of the Komex or the Nynex. So that means that 99% of the people are basically engaging in another kind of fiat money system, just like the Federal Reserve and the Treasury play.
James West: Well if you look at the 697 trillion dollar notional value of the entire CFTC trading scheme, you’ll start to understand where has all this negative value been accumulating. And that is the great white elephant in the room. However, not to digress acceptably here. What happened was two Fridays ago, 5% of the closing contracts decided they wanted to take physical delivery, and some of those contracts that wanted physical delivery were HSBC, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
So now these are the guys that typically have the bulk of the short contracts. Now they’re demanding delivery of the closed long contracts, seem to indicate a conflict within the system. But what it actually is, is that even the banks themselves are starting to demand physical delivery for what gold is left because they know that the Komex is about to collapse. And when that happens, either the Federal government is going to have to step in and make good on all of that gold that’s supposed to be delivered that’s not there…
Jason Hartman: So it will be the next bail-out.
James West: Or it will be the next bail-out, or they’ll just say sorry we can’t afford to bail that out. It’s going to have to collapse. So if that happens, then you’ve got to ask yourself what happens to the other futures contract? We’re talking 697 trillion dollars in futures contracts under the domain of the CFTC.
Jason Hartman: Which is larger than the economy of the globe in many years is my understanding. I can’t remember what the global GDP is, but that’s a giant number.
James West: Exactly. That’s an amount that nobody can afford to bail-out unless we were all to say okay, this has all been fake and this is all imaginary and we’re just going to go on and pretend that money can be printed in perpetuity and there will be no effect. But the ultimate effect is all of this thing is a big effect and this is where the real crime is is that we’re taking too much out of our capacity to create from the plant and that capacity is coming at the expense of future generations. And that capacity is being generated because these financial elites, this one breed of human being at the top of the food chain doesn’t know when to say thanks, I’ve got enough, I’m gone. It’s just a machine that has now taken on the idea of creating wealth just for wealth’s sake.
And that’s where the real crime is, is that we take all of the oil out of the ground even though we don’t need it for this population which is why we’re in a contraction now. We take all this gold out of the ground, we take everything out of the planet and contaminate it with the effluent from purifying, manufacturing and other products, etc. Well then, where is that going to leave future generations? And the more we proceed in that direction now, the sooner it’s going to be before future generations sort of come to the age of maturity and say well there’s really nothing to vote for because there’s nothing left to eat, there’s nothing left to do because we’ve done it all.
Several generations of this kind of behavior will completely wipe out the resource base of the planet. So that’s the real crime of this century, is that the incredible capacity for resource consumption that is now ongoing to satisfy the rapacious appetites of the financial elite at the top of the food chain will be the crime of this century. And in future generations they’re going to look back and say, wow what was wrong with us back then? Why could we not control ourselves? 95% of the people didn’t live beyond the normal average means. But 5% of these people, they just about wiped out our generation. And so there’s a time coming, in my belief, where these captains of industry and these pillars of society are going to be reviled as criminals and that’s all history will remember them for.
Jason Hartman: It is amazing who we revere in modern society sometimes. These are basically criminals. Wall St, the Federal Reserve system, central banks around the world… it’s the new version of organized crime. It makes Al Capone look like Mother Teresa. What he did is nothing compared to this. These are giant crimes that are effecting the lives of every person on the planet possibly.
James West: Not just on the planet now too, but for generations.
Jason Hartman: In the future. People yet unborn are paying for their complete greed. It knows no bounds. I’ll tell you James, years ago I used to be a little bit more like a knee-jerk capitalist and loving to see these big wealthy people like Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett and all this stuff. And I used to really believe in them. But I don’t anymore. I think they’re part of the big scheme. And I’m not calling them out by name, I’m just saying all of their ilk really. There is just no limit to the power grab of these people, and how much they will take, how much of the wealth they will take out of people’s lives.
Inflation for example and the debasing of currency is such a slow process most of the time, or at least it has been historically. And I think that’s going to change pretty quickly here. It’s just sort of like you put the frog in the water, you turn up the heat slowly, and eventually he just sits there thinking he’s getting a nice warm bath until he’s boiling to death. And that is what is happening. People have got to be made more aware of this, which is why I really commend you for what you’re doing with your film. Tell us quickly how you financed the film and how we can support you in this effort in getting the message out there.
James West: Well, we’re trying to raise two million dollars through donation by talking about the film and the logic underlying it on programs like yours. So far we’re doing it strictly by donation through our website and through public appearances and we have these various events. Two million dollars is a lot for a documentary.
Jason Hartman: If you counted as slow as… how much have you raised so far?
James West: Thus far we’ve probably… we’re still not through 1.5 million yet, so we’re getting there but we still have a ways to go.
Jason Hartman: Oh, okay. Good. Any really big donors in there or are those a lot of small donations?
James West: They’re mostly small donations. There are some larger ones. Our larger donors have requested anonymity so I have to honor that. But some very surprising people have stepped up to the plate. A lot of the individuals, especially the large donors actually come from fairly prominent positions within the industry, and they’re mostly in retirement mode now and they’ve sort of reached this point in their life where they’ve looked back at their role in helping these organizations they’ve worked for and they’ve sort of said my God, I didn’t even realize that this is what I was doing. So they see this film as a way to sort of counter balance what their role has been in assisting these criminals rape the planet. That’s how we’re going to raise all of the money, is hopefully by donation.
Now, we’ve got investors willing to step up if we don’t raise the full amount we need to filming, but we’re already there for production.
Jason Hartman: And they can donate at crimeofthecenturymovie.com, is that correct?
James West: That’s right: www.crimeofthecenturymovie.com. You can donate any amount. Every little bit helps us. And our goal is to divert 600 thousand dollars of the two million will be going towards generating an audience for the film when it comes out. Our goal is to have this film be seen by the broadest possible audience on its release date which will be at some point in early 2010. By sticking to a strictly donation model we’re not driven by issues of salability for the film and we control the distribution destiny of the film as well.
Jason Hartman: That’s fantastic. I am looking forward to seeing this in lots of theaters mainstream because the US population nowadays is just distracted with a bunch of things that just don’t really matter. And we’ve got to start paying attention to what’s happening to the value of our work, our labors, our thoughts, our ideas, our creativity, our innovation, which is money. That is the result of all of our efforts that we make over the course of our lives. And it is being stolen from people little by little, and transferred in the hands of private elites that are just taking the money away from largely the middle class. That’s where it’s really coming from because that’s where you’ve got the biggest amount to take, right?
James West: Yeah.
Jason Hartman: Anything we can do to protect ourselves? Of course we want to support your efforts and the movie. Any advice? You write a fantastic newsletter available at Midasletter.com. What advice do you have? It’s interesting to understand it. My listeners know what my advice is: buy cheap rental properties in areas with really low land costs because we think land is declining in value in most places. Finance it and let inflation, when it comes in a year or two, really start repaying that debt for you by devaluing the value of the debt. What are your thoughts?
James West: That’s an excellent strategy. And in terms of investment, I don’t think you could do much better. In terms of protecting any stored wealth that you might be holding in say, US Treasury Bills or any US dollar denominated asset that does not generate a yield associated with it… I know there’s lots of people rushing to T Bills which I think today they just announced that the yield on a T Bill is now 0%. And so I’ve been advocating to my subscribers at Midasletter.com, try to transfer as much of their US dollar paper wealth into gold and silver.
Jason Hartman: Do you have a preference? Gold or silver?
James West: I’ve always gravitated towards gold, but over the last five years as I’ve become more associated with the economics of silver, I’m starting to appreciate that gold and silver are the precious metal combination and they’ve had a relationship, a fixed relationship over time at a ratio of roughly 50-1 I believe. The analysts that follow the silver markets see that ratio actually shrinking, so there are those out there that say that silver is the better investment. Now, I’m just not that well versed in the silver market to give that advice myself.
And I like gold just because it’s something I understand. Historically it’s very easy to understand. It’s very easy to understand where the idea of value comes from when you look at a piece of gold. It’s worth something. But the problem with acquiring gold, especially in small denomination ounces, which typically come in bars and coins is that a lot of the Bullion dealers are having a hard time finding American gold eagles or Krugerrands or…
Jason Hartman: Yeah, this is the big disconnect between the stock price and the physical market that we’ve talked about.
James West: Try to buy an ounce of gold on eBay, you find that the average spot price of gold on eBay if you were to average out all of the prices being at per ounce, is actually closer to a thousand dollars. So Midas subscribers come back to me and say well the spot prices are 750 and these guys are asking 950. I can’t bring myself to pay that because I can’t wrap my head around the disconnect.
And all I have to say is if you believe, as I do and a lot of other people do who are very close to the gold market, that gold is going to go through 2000 dollars an ounce within the year, and the upper level of its reach is going to be beyond 5000 dollars an ounce, then it’s going to make a difference between paying 900 dollars an ounce, or 700 dollars an ounce, or 800 dollars an ounce look very irrelevant. And so certainly there’s some risk involved when transferring your wealth 100% into gold, and I wouldn’t recommend that but certainly I think that there’s a strong argument for owning the liquid portion of your portfolio, that is the paper dollar, transferring that slowly into gold and silver within the next several months.
Jason Hartman: James West, thank you so much for being on the show. I appreciate it. The listeners will visit your websites; we’ll also link to them in the show notes. We appreciate having you. Thanks so much.
James West: Thank you Jason.
Narrator: The American Monetary Association is a nonprofit venture funded by the Jason
Hartman Foundation which is dedicated to educating people about the practical effects of monetary policy and government actions on inflation, deflation and personal freedom. Our goal is to help people prosper in the midst of uncertain economic times. This show is produced by The Jason Hartman Foundation, all rights reserved. For publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate professional if you require individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of The Jason Hartman Foundation exclusively. (Image: Flickr | Tex Texin)
Transcribed by Ralph
The American Monetary Association Team