Silver prices have been sideways this week, cooling off from a mid-June rally sparked by inflation-minded investors wary of the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish talk.
The Library of Economics and Liberty defines the Law of Unintended Consequences as such: Actions of people-and especially of government-always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.
Our current economic state is a perfect example. Central banks have flooded the economies, and yet the world still inches toward deflation. But for savvy investors looking at the right stats, this is an opportunity to buy one sector in particular.
Here's a great bargain and why it's a great buy now...
On February 8, Venezuela devalued its currency, the bolivar. They hacked it by 32% - from 4.3 to the U.S. dollar to 6.3 to the USD.
Nobody was really shocked by the move. When it comes to the currency wars, massive devaluation is simply one of the keys to the"race to the bottom."
But Venezuela's bad fiscal behavior does mean trouble. We've seen it before; Venezuela has defaulted no fewer than 11 times in its 202 years of existence as an independent nation. And the effect is hardly isolated. If half the continent goes bust, it can't be good news for the other half.
Indeed, I believe Latin American countries are now likely to suffer hyperinflation or declare bankruptcy.
Here's what that means for anyone invested in Latin America...
Truth is, it would be a nightmare.
In an episode of hyperinflation, money loses value so rapidly that people spend it as quickly as possible, which only feeds the cycle of pushing prices higher and higher at a faster and faster rate.
Imagine prices at the food store and gas pump not just going up a few cents at a time, but doubling in a matter of months, weeks, or even days.
And now some economists and market experts think many of the ingredients for hyperinflation are brewing in America.
That's because years of profligate U.S. government borrowing and spending have created trillions of dollars that lurk in the reserves of foreign countries and major financial institutions. The situation escalated after the 2008 financial crisis, with the U.S. Federal Reserve's policies of "quantitative easing" creating even more money.
"The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have committed the system to its ultimate insolvency, through the easy politics of a bottomless pocketbook, the servicing of big-moneyed special interests, gross mismanagement, and a deliberate and ongoing effort to debase the U.S. currency," said John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics in his annual report on hyperinflation.
Historically, governments that have suffered bouts of hyperinflation - most notoriously Weimar Germany from 1922-1923 - have set the table by printing too much money during a time of economic contraction.
The trouble is, once it starts it's impossible to stop. Hyperinflation in America isn't here yet, but we're edging dangerously close to the point of no return.
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After their most recent meeting on Sept. 21, Fed policymakers said low inflation warranted looser monetary policy. Minutes from the meeting said central bankers were prepared to ease policy to boost inflation expectations "before long."
The Fed is seeking ways to boost the U.S. economy after keeping interest rates at record lows and buying in $1.7 trillion of U.S. securities. The next move may be another round of quantitative easing that would expand the Fed's balance sheet even further.
But as it feeds more and more money into the financial system, the central bank may very well be sowing the seeds of hyperinflation.
But we're not...yet.
Classic economic theory says that money supply can be used to stimulate the economy and our central bankers seem to agree. That's why they've pumped more than $1 trillion dollars into the economy, engineered countless bailout bonanzas for zombie institutions, put Detroit on life support, and delivered a bunch of financial Band-Aids to the trauma ward - all in a desperate bid to make Americans feel better about the global financial crisis.