By Lee Ohanian – Re-Blogged From Prager University
By Rob Williams – Re-Blogged From Newsmax
Marc Faber, editor of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report who has earned the nickname “Dr. Doom” for his pessimistic forecasts, said he wouldn’t buy stocks even if the S&P 500 dropped 20 percent.
“We have a bubble in everything,” Faber said on CNBC. “We have global debt as a percent of global GDP that is 30 to 40 percent higher than it was in 2007. All of us and I also own lots of assets. We’re going to lose 50 percent. Either the government will take it through taxation or expropriation, or there’ll be a deflation in asset prices that is surprising most people on the downside.”
Major stock indexes have risen to record highs in the months since Republican Donald Trump won the November presidential election on a pro-business platform. Investors piled into stocks on the possibility of tax cuts, less regulation and billion-dollar spending on roads, bridges and airports.
By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com
– What wages in ancient Athens can tell us about the silver price today
– Wages paid in silver in ancient Athens compared to wages today
– Silver massively undervalued compared to the past few thousand years
The cost of building the Parthenon was 469 silver talents, or about £5.6m.
by Dominic Frisby
Today we look at the wages paid to oarsmen on warships in ancient Athens in 450BC.
I bet you’ve never read a Money Morning that began like that before.
Why on earth would I want to do such a thing?
Because it tells us a great deal about the silver price today…
How Wages In Ancient Athens Compare To Today
In The Economy of Ancient Greece, historian Darel Engen describes how the Athenian unit of money – the talent (about 26kg of silver) – could purchase nine years of a skilled man’s labour. If we assume 250 working days in a year, that works out at about 11.5g of silver per day – a little under 0.3 of a troy ounce.
A kilo of silver today is about £460, so nine years’ skilled labour would amount to about £12,000 in today’s money. That makes a year’s skilled labour about £1,333, and a day’s £5.29.
Fast forward to today. The average wage in the UK construction industry, which I’ll use as an equivalent, is about £30,000 per annum, or £120 per day. It seems that today’s British labourer is earning considerably more than his ancient Athenian counterpart.
We must, however, factor taxation into our calculations in order to appreciate what the worker actually took home with him. Enlightened souls that they were, there was no direct taxation on income in ancient Greece. The large part of the expenses of the city were shouldered by the rich, who made their donations voluntarily – sort of – through the system of liturgy.
In the UK today, on the other hand, somewhere between 40% and 55% of the average worker’s income is taken, one way or the other, to pay for the state, depending on whose figures you use (and that’s before you factor in inflation taxes).
For the sake of simplicity, let’s use a 40% figure and go with an after-tax income of £72 per day – or £18,000 per annum. So even after taxes, the modern labourer would seem to be earning considerably more than the ancient – over ten times as much.
As Greece was the most advanced civilisation in 450BC, perhaps we should only be comparing it to the developed world. But even if we factor in less developed nations, the modern worker appears to be earning more than the ancient.
Globally, according to the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO), the average salary is $18,000 – say £14,000, or £56 per day. That would be £34 after 40% taxes.
An Athenian warship, the trireme, cost about a talent to build (£12,000). A trireme’s unskilled oarsman would be paid 4.3g of silver each per day (£2). The cost of building the Parthenon was 469 talents, according to Professor Thomas Sakoulas. That works out, according to my maths (469 x 26 x 460) at about £5.6m. The cost of building the Shard, by way of comparison, seems to have been around £435m.
Silver Price Is Dirt Cheap Compared To The Past Few Thousand Years
To compare modern and ancient prices might seem like a ridiculous and redundant exercise – the two worlds are so different – but there is a point to all this. Measured in silver, salaries actually remained fairly constant until the 20th century.
The Babylonian worker might have been looking at 2g of silver (92p). The Roman unskilled worker, like the Greek, might have been on around 4.2gs of silver, at least until Romans started chipping their coins.
The wages of the medieval English worker seemed to have fallen back towards Babylonian levels by 1300. He got 2.8g, while a skilled city craftsman might have expected 5.6g – about half what an Athenian was paid.
That would grow, however, over the next 500 years, until by the 19thcentury the skilled labourer might be looking at around 24g of silver per day, according to author David Zucherman, and an unskilled between a third and half that. The labourer in the 19th century was getting around double the pay of his 450BC Athenian counterpart. It’s more, but it’s not that much more.
Compare that to today. I used the figure of £30,000 earlier – the average wage of a construction worker – £120 per day. That amounts to 260g of silver, compared to 11.5g for that Athenian worker. Today’s pay dwarfs that of any pre-20th century worker in history.
Wages have risen, of course they have – but not by this much relative to the cost of living, status and so on within a society.
The issue is not that wages have soared. It’s that silver – now that it no longer has any monetary role – has fallen to absurdly cheap (on a historical basis) levels. (It’s also absurdly cheap on a geological basis, as I argued here
If today’s wages of £120 were to equal the Athenian equivalent of 11.5g (say 12g for simplicity’s sake), you could make the argument that silvershould be £10 per gramme (currently 46p per gramme). That’s over 20 times higher than today’s silver price of $18.50 an ounce – more like $400 per ounce.
At $400 per ounce, not only do wages correspond, but so does the cost of building a ship or a landmark city building.
One day we will get some kind of silver reversion to its historical mean. Does that mean we should all go out and buy shedloads of silver with the expectation of making 20 times our money?
Not really. That day of historical mean reversion probably won’t come in our lifetime and most of us invest within three to five year time frames. But you should all own a little bit, just in case it does.
By Dale Netherton – Re-Blogged From iPatriot
The politicians mutter the word “jobs” as if they understood where jobs come from and what conditions are necessary to sustain jobs.
First, without revenue to pay wages no job can exist or if created continue to exist. The question then becomes, where will the revenue come from? There are two sources of revenue for jobs. One is the direct granting of revenue by the government which funds government jobs. If there is funding available the job can continue until the funding disappears. The other source of revenue is profit. If a job is created to supply a good or service and it is sustained by paying for itself, this job is sustainable as long as it is competitive. This is the only job that can exist that doesn’t rely on confiscation and redistribution. Jobs that rely on “government funding” are not self sustaining since they must have confiscation and redistribution. Government cannot create wealth, it has nothing it doesn’t confiscate or borrow.
All government created jobs are necessarily temporary. Debt and eventual inflation destroys the foundation for government funding of jobs as the private sector that supports sustainable jobs shrinks under the regulation and taxes that eventually destroys the profit motive and therefore the only source of self sustaining jobs. The CCC camps could not have been retained as permanent jobs. The demise of the Post Office and Amtrak are examples of where government “jobs” must eventually falter. The source of these two government jobs comes from the government subsidies. Neither is self sustaining based on the income they generate. This means a private sector is being taxed and the confiscation of their earnings is being channeled to the subsidy the government is supplying.
By Rick Ackerman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com
Is it possible that wage inflation is re-emerging in the US after a 35-year hiatus? That’s what the experts seem to believe, but there are good reasons to think they will be wrong. Consider the substantial pay increase that minimum-wage workers received in many cities and states where this issue was on the ballot in November. In theory, they will have more money to spend, and this will push the prices of goods and services higher. In practice, because their employers, particularly those in the fast food business and brick-and-mortar retail, are in a last-ditch fight for survival, it is far more likely that a vast number of low-wage jobs will be eliminated. Even now, we are seeing workers who received raises in 2017 ask their employers to reduce their hours so that they can continue to qualify for food stamps and Obamacaid.
This is the reality of the minimum wage world, and arbitrarily boosting hourly pay to $15/hour will only make things worse for employers and employees. At best, the economic result will be a push with the broad benefits of higher wages offset by a reduction in entry-level and low-paying jobs. In any event, the day is surely coming when McDonald’s will be able to operate a busy franchise with just two or three employees behind the counter. Amazon is already making similar strides in the grocery-store business. And Uber, having already made taxicab medallions worthless in many cities, could someday displace half the taxi drivers in America with driverless fleets like the one they are testing in Pittsburgh.
By Dale Netherton – Re-Blogged From http://www.iPatriot.com
If you look at the structure of our government and compare it with how unions are structured you see one fundamental similarity. The government and the unions do not target a bottom line. Both of these organizations have nothing to rein in their spending in the case of government and nothing to rein in their demands in the case of the unions. This oversight by these organizations places them on an eventual clash with the reality of fiscal sanity.
We have seen the unions that have bankrupted the companies they have infiltrated by making demands for wages and benefits that eventually became unaffordable. We are seeing that phenomena played out in the state of Wisconsin. Likewise the government has reached a point where it too cannot just spend with impunity as it has done in the past. The reality of living off of borrowed money has appeared as the fact that creditors that don’t get paid don’t continue to loan money. When the source of loans dries up there is no longer an alternative for the government to acquire money. The illusion that the government can always tax the citizens reaches a point of diminishing returns not only by the unavailability and the affordability but also by political unpopularity. This in the world of finance is bankruptcy whether the government wants to declare it or not.