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Precious Metals and the 'Moses Principle'
This is a very good read...
The Moses Principle is an irreverent theory based on the question of why Moses spent 40 years traversing the Sinai desert before leading the Israelites to the “promised land”.
God was powerful enough to send numerous plagues to devastate the Egyptian economy until Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt. Later God caused the Red Sea to part so that the Israelites crossed on a dry sea bed. When the pursuing Egyptian army and their chariots were in the sea bed, the waters crashed back and drowned them.
If God was powerful enough to do all of these things, why not allow the Israelites to go straight to the “promised land”? Why did Moses spend 40 years traversing the barren desert before leading the Israelites to the “promised land”? Here is the irreverent theory. Every Israelite over middle age when they left Egypt probably died during the ensuing 40 years. The younger people were born in the desert or spent their adult lives in the desert. After 40 years the life experience of the survivors consisted of living in the desert. When they finally got to the “promised land” it appeared to be “flowing with milk and honey” when compared to their prior desert existence.
A total generational change had taken place so that the survivors had no knowledge of anything other than the desert. There was nobody who could remember what Egypt was like. The Moses Principle recognizes the fact that over any 40 year period, a generational change takes place.
What has this got to do with gold? Recently we passed the 40th anniversary of 15 August 1971, the date when the last link between currencies and gold was ended by President Nixon. This launched an era of floating “I owe you nothing” currencies. Money was what any government deemed it to be, generally something that the government could create in unlimited quantities. That system, plus the fractional reserve banking system, launched an era of ever increasing debt and credit. It was an era where debt was desirable and money lost its purchasing power.
Everyone in this room has spent their adult lives living under this system. Most have had no exposure to monetary history or what money really is. The new “Moses” generation will have to re-learn the lessons of monetary history before the world can enter a new era of sound money and stable economic growth. The impact of this generational change will be discussed later.
The 15 August 1971 was an important date for me personally. I had grown up in South Africa and in early 1970 started a funds management company with a good friend of mine. The first 18 months was a struggle as we were buffeted by a vicious bear market. By August 1971 our clients were largely in cash awaiting the end of the bear market or an inspirational idea.
That inspirational idea came on 15 August 1971 when I heard that President Nixon had decreed that the USA would no longer exchange US dollars held by foreign governments for gold at $35 per ounce. Gold had limited downside but appeared to have good potential for substantial gain. Gold shares were deeply depressed after 37 years of a fixed $35 gold price, another “Moses Principle” period. We bought gold shares aggressively. This proved to be an astute move and our funds management business was launched on a successful path.
Having locked ourselves into a big position in gold shares, we needed to have some idea of how the gold price might perform and how high it might rise. We ran into the conundrum that has confounded fundamental analysts since 1971. How do you value something that has no utility value, no earnings or net asset value, does not spoil or corrode and is not used up?
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