如何在不景氣裡全身而退 (2007年十月的老文章)

如何在不景氣裡全身而退

如何在不景氣裡全身而退

有句老話是這麼說:你的鄰居失業叫經濟衰退,但如果你失業,那就叫不景氣了。(原文念起來比較有味道:It’s a recession if your neighbor loses his job. It’s a depression if you lose your job.)

如果你有關心金融議題,會發現最近很多人在問:「美國是不是正邁入不景氣?」以我站在略高於一般人的位置來看,答案是肯定的。我甚至認為在某些特定產業,例如房地產,事情還會變得更差。

經濟的漣漪效應
在我進一步解釋為何經濟衰退即將來到前,我們先來看它的定義。很簡單,經濟衰退就是國民生產毛額(GDP)連續兩季下降。換句話說,在聖誕節前就知道是不是真的經濟衰退了。

我們可以說,即將到來的經濟衰退是徑動(precession)下的產物。所謂徑動,就是某個運動中的物體與另一個也在運動中的物體間的交互作用。或者簡單一點,漣漪效應。當你丟一顆石頭進池塘,會產生一圈圈漣漪,而這漣漪反彈回來後又會彼此交疊產生複雜的交互作用。
在造成經濟衰退的這麼多"漣漪"中,一個重要的漣漪是美國的貨幣政策並不正直。在最近的歷史上美國政府違背了他在經融上的承諾很多次。1934年,美國政府違背了國內黃金贖回的承諾。那一年,政府說擁有黃金是違法的。每個人都要交出他擁有的黃金,然後政府會以每盎司黃金20元的價格發還給你一些紙鈔。等到黃金都被政府收刮光了,政府就說現在黃金漲成每盎司 35 元了,想要一盎司黃金,拿 35元紙鈔來換。
講到政府的不誠信那可多了。1968年,又違背白銀贖回承諾,1971年,又在國際上搞了一個黃金贖回騙局的翻版。(譯者按:政府騙百姓看來是舉世皆然。不要把政府法規當成道德基準,法律是由沒水準的立法院定出來的,不必完全拿來當成自己的規矩方圓、道德良知。)

國際的影響
另一個經濟衰退的原因是次級房貸造成的混亂。雖然次貸風暴看起來好像只是美國自家的事,事實上卻對國際有很大影響。別以為次級房貸只影響那些付不起正常房貸的中低收入戶,事實上這只是它造成的國際風暴中的冰山一角。讓我告訴你為什麼:
9/12號發行的 Business Week中,Kerry Capell問了一個問題:「在這次次貸風暴裡,難道有其他國家的金融體系會比美國受創更重嗎?」「你不會相信的,英國就比美國還要悽慘。」
不像歐洲其他國家,英國也吞了很多美國次級房貸的毒蘋果。在最後幾年,輕易就可支用的信用支撐了英國整整十年的經濟繁榮,房地產價格在這段時間上漲了整整三倍–這甚至比次貸根源的美國還誇張。房價高漲,便可用便宜的代價向銀行貸款出來,英國消費者讓英國經濟過熱,消費者的消費力道支撐了英國經濟的 2/3。
今天,英國經濟比美國還要依重金融服務業,所以經濟衰退更是必然。如果英國和美國經濟同時在次貸風暴後走入衰退,國際經濟會如何?這個連鎖反應將會很可怕 — 特別是對領死薪水的工作者而言。

錢實在太多了
對一般人來說有件怪事,這次的經濟問題不像從前是錢不夠 — 事實上是,這次是錢太多了。全世界都快被過多的美元淹死了。
正常來說,一國通貨若遇到像現在美元遇到的問題,央行會做的都是升息,這樣事情又會回復正常。不過因為次貸風暴的影響才剛開始展露,聯邦儲備銀行(FED)不能單純的升息或降息。
簡單的講,要挽救國內經濟,FED就要降息。但降息又會讓其他國家拋出美元、停止購買美國國債。這也是為何黃金價格狂飆的原因 — 黃金實際上才是真能保值的國際貨幣。金價狂飆(油價也一樣)代表美元的實質購買力下降,所以全世界都不喜歡美元了。這就是 1971 年美國強行用美元取代金準位的漣漪效應。

多反而變少?
過多美元造成的悲劇是,全世界領死薪水的工作者雖然更努力但卻越賺越少。這是因為各國通貨的實質購買力都下降。雖然薪水有調升,但調升的幅度卻跟不上幣值下跌的幅度。幣值下跌激烈造成的影響是,汽油變得超貴、房價似升實降、股票的實際價值降低、小老百姓的稅卻必須越繳越多。
我們看看最近十年就好。十年前,金價一盎司$275,現在一盎司是$700。也就是說,若用金準位,你的薪水要漲兩倍半才跟得上實質購買力。若用汽油更誇張。十年間原油價格由每桶$10漲到$80,漲了 800%,而我不相信一般上班族的薪水能在十年內漲八倍。
當然,還是有很多人的實質年所得在十年內增加八倍以上。問題是大部分薪水階級收入跟不上物價狂飆的腳步,所以他們實際上陷在經濟衰退的漩渦中逃不出來。
給自己一條救生索
當全球經濟不斷變化,你會聽到越來越多人呼籲FED要趕快升息或降息。問題是,FED不像以前那樣有那麼大影響力了。
如果FED想降息解救國內經濟,國際上其他經濟體就會給我們重擊。如果FED想升息以恢復美元在國際的地位,它又會毀了國內經濟。
與其靠FED來救你,不如,我建議你投資真正的國際通貨來自己救自己。保值的原物料投資有很多,白銀就是一種。金價已經飆很高,白銀相對便宜。當經濟衰退來到,漣漪效應會讓你的經濟前景很難預測。
(譯者按:保值的原物料投資有很多,我不懂清崎幹嘛獨沽白銀一味。不過我同意清崎說的,通膨遠比政府公佈的數字高。如果你擁有的錢一年不能漲 5%以上,你大概算是賠錢。)

Staying High and Dry in a Recession

by Robert Kiyosaki

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2007, 12:00AM

There’s an old saying that goes, “It’s a recession if your neighbor loses his job. It’s a depression if you lose your job."

Watching the financial news networks and reading the financial publications these days, you’ll see many people asking if the U.S. economy is heading into a recession. From my vantage point, the answer is yes. I believe that for many people in certain industries, like real estate, the worst is yet to come.

Economic Ripple Effects

Before getting into why I think there will be a recession, it’s important to know the specific definition of the term. Very simply, a recession is a decline in a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) for at least two quarters. That means that by Christmas we’ll know if we’re in a recession or not.

In some ways, the coming recession is a product of the physical phenomenon known as precession. Precession is the effect of bodies in motion upon other bodies in motion — or, more simply, a ripple effect, like when you throw a stone into a still pond and the waves emanating from it overlap.

While there are many such processional “waves" in the coming recession, one is the lack of integrity in the U.S. monetary system. The United States has defaulted on its financial promises many times in recent history. In 1934, we defaulted on domestic gold redemption. That year, it became illegal for U.S. citizens to own gold. Instead, the government required Americans to turn in their gold, and they were paid $20 in paper money for every ounce of gold they surrendered.

Once the gold was collected, the government raised the price of gold to $35 an ounce. Talk about a lack of integrity. And in 1968, the U.S. defaulted on silver redemption, taking U.S. dollars backed by silver out of circulation. Finally, in 1971, the U.S. defaulted on international gold redemption.

International Impact

Another reason for the coming recession is the subprime mess. And while issues related to the subprime fiasco may seem domestic, they actually have severe international consequences. The subprime mess seems to be a problem associated with lower-income people who can’t afford their homes, yet it’s really the tip of a very large international iceberg, and it’ll affect all of us. Here’s why.

In the Sept. 12, 2007, issue of Business Week, Kerry Capell asked the question, “Could any country be more exposed to the credit crunch than the U.S.?" The answer: “You bet, and that place is Britain."

Unlike many of its European neighbors, Britain shares many of America’s financial traits. In the last few years, access to cheap credit in Britain has fueled a decade of economic growth, with home prices tripling in 10 years — an even faster rise than in the United States. With cheap borrowed money, the English consumer has caused the British economy to boom; consumers are responsible for two-thirds of the British economy.

Today, Britain is more dependent upon financial services than we are. So what will happen to the world if both England and the United States go into a recession? The precessional effect is bound to be dire — especially for working people.

Too Much Money

As strange as it may seem to the average person, the problem is not a shortage of money — it’s too much money. The world is choking on too many U.S. dollars.

Normally, when a currency gets into trouble as the dollar is now, all the country has to do is raise the interest rates on their bonds and things are fine again. But because of the subprime meltdown, the Federal Reserve can’t simply raise or lower interest rates.

In simplified terms, the Fed must keep rates low in order to save the domestic economy. This causes the international economy to dump the dollar by not buying our bonds, which is one reason why the price of gold keeps going up — it’s the true international money. And the rise in its price (and in the price of oil) signals the loss of the purchasing power of the dollar; the world simply doesn’t want any more dollars. This is a ripple effect from 1971, when the dollar came off the gold standard.

Less for More

The tragedy of this excess of money is that most of the world’s workers have to work harder to earn less. This is because the currencies of the world are becoming less and less valuable. Even if workers get pay raises, the boost won’t be able to keep pace with declines in the purchasing power of money, increases in expenses such as oil, decreases in the value of homes, declines in the value of stocks, and increases in taxes.

Just look at what’s happened in the last decade. Ten years ago, gold was about $275 an ounce. Today, it’s over $700. That means that, compared to gold, your income would’ve had to go up by 250 percent just to keep up with the loss in purchasing power of the dollar. Or, compared to oil — which was about $10 a barrel 10 years ago and today is over $80 a barrel — your income would’ve had to go up by 800 percent.

Sure, there are many people whose incomes have gone up way beyond 800 percent in the last 10 years. The problem is that most people’s incomes haven’t kept pace, and they’re technically in a state of personal recession with no way out.

Throw Yourself a Lifeline

As the global economy continues to gyrate, you’ll hear more and more people calling for the Federal Reserve to either lower or raise interest rates. The problem is that the Fed has less and less power to do much.

If it tries to save the domestic economy, the international economy will pound us. If the Fed tries to save the dollar internationally by raising interest rates, it’ll kill the domestic economy.

Instead of looking to the Fed to save you, then, I recommend you save yourself by investing in real international money. One way to do so is by purchasing silver. Gold is expensive, but silver is still a bargain even for the little guy. When the recession comes, the ripple effect on your financial future will be immeasurable.

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