“If you’re not out of the euro yet, get out as soon as possible.”

Thanks to Doug Casey, ‘International Man’ (global market predictor and investor) for his predictions on the EU’s looming financial crisis.  Which is ‘Get out now!’

doug_casey11” The Social Democratic, Christian Democratic, Socialist, Communist, and similar parties have ruled Europe since the end of World War 2. They’re all pretty similar in that they promote massive welfare benefits, strong labour unions, large state bureaucracies, very high taxes, strict regulations, and an atmosphere of Cultural Marxism. Then, every few generations, the voters react and install a right wing regime. The last time this happened was in the 1930s. In those days it was spurred by the Great Depression. This time it will be spurred by the Greater Depression, plus massive waves of Muslim migrants from the Near East and Africa.

Oddly, the Europeans can’t seem to imagine a libertarian alternative of private charities, limited government, minimal taxes, an unregulated economy, and intellectual and psychological freedom. It’s another reason the Continent is a sinking ship.

On the question of Italy – the Italian banking system is insolvent. Italian banks combined have a staggering $400 billion-plus worth of loans that are 90 days past due and unlikely to be repaid in full. These nonperforming loans (NPLs) account for over 18% of all outstanding bank loans and add up to over 20% of the Italian GDP.

By comparison, 5% of all outstanding loans in France are nonperforming… the figure is 1.5% in the UK… and 2% in the US. Italy’s NPLs are an enormous problem.

It took years to build up, but now the situation is coming to a head. I think it’s quite clear the Italian banking system is headed for collapse.

All of the Italian banks are bankrupt truly and totally at this point, so who’s going to kiss that and make it better?  Is the rest of the European Union going to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to make the average Italian depositor well again? I don’t think so. At this point, there’s an excellent chance that Italy is going to get rid of both the euro and the EU. After the UK, Italy will be the next to go. Europe’s terminal condition is increasingly hard to hide, its symptoms obvious; they are even making headlines now.

Deutsche Bank, one of the biggest banks in the world, is underwater by scores of billions of euros. In fact, most of the banks in the world are essentially bankrupt, and will go under once the economy turns down in earnest. What are the central banks going to do? Bail them out? Or let them go under? If they let them go under, it’s going to lead to an economic catastrophe without precedent. People will lose their savings, day-to-day commercial activities will be disrupted, businesses will collapse and the entire economy will come to a screeching halt. On the other hand, if they bail them all out through even more freshly printed money, currencies will lose all value. It’s a disaster either way.

At the end of the day, actions have consequences. They’ve been experimenting and tinkering with the world’s economy and monetary system for decades now and finally the price will have to be paid.

I expect a truly major banking crisis. Much worse than that of 2007–2009. Governments, who are all bankrupt, borrow money from commercial banks. Commercial banks have lent it to them because they believe it’s a risk-free loan. Governments encourage them to lend recklessly, hoping that will jump-start sluggish economies. Central banks, which are the arms of their governments, have taken interest rates to zero and below for that reason and to make it easier for governments to service their debts. This policy has encouraged businesses to take on debt. It’s an idiotic and reckless experiment that will end—likely in this cycle—with bankrupt central banks and governments bailing out bankrupt commercial banks and businesses. Just the way they did in 2007–2009. Except this time, the situation is much more serious.

Europe is a giant monument to socialism, where everyone believes they can live at the expense of everyone else. As a result, the average European sees his government as a magic cornucopia, a source of unlimited wealth. When something goes wrong, Europeans look to their governments to “do something.” With this in mind, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi made the front pages earlier this year by saying he is “ready to act” with a “whole menu of monetary policy instruments.”

This is central banker speak for “I’m willing to print an incredible amount of money in my attempt to keep my job and stimulate the economy by making people think they’re richer than they really are.”

Draghi’s money printing is a disastrously misguided attempt at creating prosperity. It will create bubbles, and cause people and companies to do all manner of things they’d never consider without the false economic signals he will send. If printing money were the path to prosperity, Zimbabwe and Venezuela would be the richest countries on earth instead of economic basket cases.

The euro will cease to exist. The Esperanto currency was doomed from the beginning. It’s a sure bet to join the ranks of many hundreds of defunct paper currencies. Not one currency in today’s world is backed by a commodity (like gold); they’re backed only by confidence, which can vanish like a pile of feathers in a hurricane. And, of course, the ability of governments to steal from the people. But the euro doesn’t even have that going for it. The European Union doesn’t have the power to tax. Right now, the Eurocrats in Brussels really only have the power to regulate. I’ve long said, “While the US dollar is an ‘IOU nothing,’ the euro is a ‘who owes you nothing.’”

The euro is on track to reach its intrinsic value—namely zero—long before the dollar does. The euro, in anything like its present form, will likely cease to exist within a decade, and probably far sooner.

I expect there will be a panic into gold. You’ve heard this story many times before. But it’s truer than ever as we approach a genuine crisis. There are no stable paper currencies anywhere in the world. The dollar has been strong only because it’s liquid. Liquidity is good, but here, we’re talking about liquid like nitroglycerin. Hedge funds will start buying gold in size. As will central banks, who don’t want to hold each other’s paper. As will individual investors.

If you’re not out of the euro yet, get out as soon as possible.”

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