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The Economy Isn’t Just “Spending Money”; We Need Savings

The Economy Isn’t Just "Spending Money"; We Need Savings

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The Economy Isn't Just "Spending Money"; We Need Savings Tyler Durden Fri, 06/19/2020 - 15:35

Via SchiffGold.com,

Over the last several decades, the Federal Reserve and the US government have almost exclusively directed their policies toward “stimulating” spending. Artificially low interest rates incentivize borrowing and discourage savings.

But spending money isn’t the only thing that makes the economy go around. Savings are crucial and the lack of saving in America has hollowed out the US economy.

Modern economists trained in Keynesian thinking eschew savings. As economist Frank Shostak explains in an article published by the Mises Wire, “It is held by most mainstream economists that spending is the heart of economic activity. Economic activity is depicted as a circular flow of money. Spending by one individual becomes part of the earnings of another individual, and vice versa. In contrast, saving is viewed negatively as it weakens the potential demand for goods and services.”

Driven by this mainstream view, modern monetary policy almost always emphasizes economic stimulus. We see this in the unprecedented Federal Reserve money printing and the massive borrowing and spending binge by the US government in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But this approach ignores the process of creating goods and services.

One undeniable truth is you have to produce before you can consume. Shostak offers a simple example.

For instance, when a baker produces bread, not everything he produces is for his own consumption. In fact, most of the bread he produces is exchanged for the goods and services of other producers, implying that through the production of bread, the baker generates an effective demand for other goods. In this sense, his demand is fully backed by the bread that he has produced.”

The development of capital goods  – tools and machinery – drives production. But these have to be produced as well. That requires some consumer goods to be sacrificed or diverted for the production of capital goods. As Shostak put it, “In order to make them, people must allocate consumer goods that will sustain those individuals engaged in the production of tools and machinery.”

This allocation of consumer goods is what savings is all about. Since saving enables the production of capital goods, saving is obviously at the heart of the economic growth that raises people’s living standards. Observe that the saved consumer goods support all the stages of production, from the producers of consumer goods to the producers of raw materials, the producers of tools and machinery, and all the other intermediate stages of production and services. Also, note that individuals do not want various tools and machinery as such but rather consumer goods. In order to maintain their life and wellbeing, people require access to consumer goods.”

The introduction of money into the economy tends to obscure this process. But as Shostak observes, it doesn’t fundamentally change the equation.

In the money economy, ultimate payment is made by exchanging real goods and services for other real goods and services, with this exchange simply being facilitated by money. Thus, a baker exchanges his bread for money and then employs that money to buy other goods and services, implying that he pays for other goods and services with his bread. Money only facilitates this payment.”

Peter Schiff has been saying that money printing doesn’t really add anything to the economy. As he explained in a podcast episode, in effect, money derives its value from the production of goods and services. Everything that’s produced gets divided up based on the amount of money in the system.

Well, if you just increase the supply of money, it doesn’t do anything to change the supply of goods and services. So now, when you divvy those goods and services up, you just have to assign a higher price to all of those goods and services so that the market clears. But nothing of real value is actually added.”

Shostak expands on this point, explaining how money-printing ultimately depletes savings and lowers production – and thus demand.

Contrary to popular thinking, it does not follow that one can lift economic growth via the printing presses. When money is printed—that is, created “out of thin air” by the central bank or through fractional reserve banking—it sets in motion an exchange of nothing for money and then money for something. This results in an exchange of nothing for something.

An exchange of nothing for something amounts to consumption that is not supported by production.

When money “out of thin air” gives rise to consumption that is not supported by preceding production, it lowers the amount of real savings that supports the production of goods of a wealth producer. This, in turn, undermines his production of goods, thereby weakening his effective demand for the goods of other wealth producers.

The other wealth producers are then forced to curtail their production of goods, thereby weakening their effective demand for the goods of yet other wealth producers. In this way, money “out of thin air” that destroys savings sets up the dynamics of the consequent shrinkage of the production flow.

Observe that what has weakened the demand for goods is not the sudden and capricious behavior of consumers, but the increase in money out of “thin air.” Every dollar that was created this way amounts to a corresponding dissaving by that amount.

As long as the pool of real savings is expanding, the central bank and government officials can give the impression that loose monetary and fiscal policies drive the economy. This illusion is shattered once the pool becomes stagnant or starts declining.

What enables the expansion of the flow of production of goods and services is savings. It is through savings, which give rise to production, that demand for goods can be exercised. There can be no effective demand without prior production. If it were otherwise, poverty in the world would have been eradicated a long time ago.

Saving is integral to a sound economy. But the government and central bank policies today undermine savings – and thus the overall economy. Instead of a robust economic system, we end up with a series of bubbles. We get the illusion of wealth without the actual wealth.

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Economics

Five things you can do to help you have a more positive birth experience

Becoming a parent can be nerve-wracking – but there are many things you can do to feel more in control.

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Don't be afraid to make your preferences clear to your care provider. Syda Productions/ Shutterstock

Whether you’re a first time parent or have had children before, you’re probably willing to try anything to ensure you have the most positive birth experience you can. After all, the kind of birth experience you have can not only affect your own mental health, but can have an affect on parent-child bonding, as well as partner-to-partner relationships for years after giving birth.

It can be confusing to know what to expect or where to turn to for advice, especially as maternity services have changed due to falling staff numbers and the continued impact of COVID-19. But here are a few things you can do yourself as you navigate your maternity care, which may help you have a more positive birth experience:

1. Get educated

Studies have shown that signing up for antenatal classes can help reduce fear, depression and anxiety – both during pregnancy and after birth.

Typically, antenatal classes will help you understand what’s happening to your body during pregnancy and explain the birth process. They may also teach you coping strategies to help relax during labour, alongside guidance on caring for your new baby. Antenatal classes can also be a great way of meeting other parents going through the same thing as you.

Another option is creating a personalised care and support plan, which is offered by most NHS trusts in the UK. This is a tool you can use with your care providers to explore what’s important to you – and discuss what your range of options are, such as your preferred place of birth, or whether you prefer skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth.

Understanding what your body’s going through, and making a personalised plan for your birth, may help you feel more prepared and less anxious about what to expect.

2. Know your carers

Being cared for by one nominated midwife, or being assigned to a team of familiar midwives, is shown to be associated with better outcomes for you and your baby – including decreased chance of having a premature labour and lower likelihood of needing interventions (such as birth with the help of forceps). You’re also more likely to be satisfied with your overall experience.

When an allocated midwife is not an option this makes choosing the right birth partners crucial. They can not only offer you reassurance, encouragement and support but can be your advocate, help you try different positions in labour and help provide you with snacks and drinks. Most typically these would be trusted loved ones. But be aware that research shows birth partners may also feel anxious or overwhelmed at taking on this role, and may struggle with seeing a loved one in pain – so it’s important to be realistic about your expectations, and choose the right person. It may be the best birth partner for you is a close friend or relative.

3. Challenge care recommendations if you aren’t happy

There are likely to be many other options available to you – such as where you might give birth, or how you want to be cared for during labour.

During antenatal appointments be sure to pause, think and ask about benefits, risks and alternatives to the care being proposed. Research shows how important choice and personalised care are for expectant parents who want their voices and preferences to be acknowledged, and to receive consistent advice.

Expectant couple speak with female doctor in doctor's office.
Bringing a loved one or partner with you can make it easier to voice any concerns you may have. wavebreakmedia/ Shutterstock

If you have concerns over a suggestion your care providers have made or have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Take your birth partner with you if you prefer, who can empower you to ensure your voice is heard. After all, care providers are duty bound to ensure you make fully informed choices.

4. Don’t always listen to your friends and family

Once people hear you have a baby on the way it seems everyone feels the need, without asking, to tell you the full (and often graphic) details of their own children’s birth.

But it’s perfectly acceptable to politely change the subject if you don’t want to listen, or if hearing these stories makes you nervous or worry. It’s also worth remembering that each person has a different labour and birth, even with their own children – so what was true for someone else is likely not to be the same for you. While it can be helpful for some people to debrief after the birth, it’s okay to avoid hearing this yourself if it makes your nervous, and maybe suggest they speak with a professional about their experience instead of telling you.

5. Visit your preferred place of birth

Many maternity units are now opening up their doors again to tours and informal visits – and those that aren’t are doing this virtually.

Becoming familiar with where you might give birth – even down to where you might park on the day – can help you feel more confident about giving birth. It may also remove some of the unknown, helping you regain a sense of control – which in itself is linked to a more positive birth experience.

For those planning a homebirth, speak to your midwife about how you can improve your space to facilitate the most safe and positive experience. For one of the most important days of your life, visualising where this will take place ahead of time can help you feel more confident and in control.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that no one can predict exactly how your labour and birth journey will go. Even after heeding the above steps – there’s always a chance you may need to consider a plan B, C or even D. But no matter what, remember you’ve done your very best, and you’re not likely to repeat this exact experience the next time.

Claire Parker does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Economics

Is it safe to buy WTI crude oil after bouncing from horizontal support?

A lot has happened in the energy markets in 2022, especially in the oil markets. WTI crude oil price surged to $130 in the second quarter of the year,…

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A lot has happened in the energy markets in 2022, especially in the oil markets. WTI crude oil price surged to $130 in the second quarter of the year, after only in 2020 it had traded in negative territory.

Futures contracts settle daily, and back in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when demand for oil declined sharply, clearinghouses let the futures contracts settle below zero for the first time ever.

Since then, however, the market has bounced dramatically. Few traders have bet on energy prices, especially because in the last years, the rise of the ESG meant many investments fleeing the energy field.

But supply chain issues, monetary and fiscal stimulus during the pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are major drivers in the energy space. After reaching $130/barrel, the WTI crude oil price has corrected but found strong support at the $100/barrel area.

The recent bounce in the last few days came from Macron’s comments during the G7 meeting. He said that the United Arab Emirates does not have spare capacity to produce more oil, something confirmed yesterday by the UAE authorities.

UAE is producing at maximum capacity based on its OPEC+ agreements. Therefore, the price of oil should remain bid on every dip.

A triangular pattern forms on the daily chart

The technical picture looks bullish while the price remains above horizontal support seen at the $100/barrel. Moreover, a confluence area given by both horizontal and dynamic support made it difficult for the market to extend its decline.

As such, a triangular pattern suggests more upside in the price of oil. A triangle may act as both a continuation and a reversal pattern, and traders focus on a breakout above or below the upper or the lower trendline.

Furthermore, every attempt to the downside since last March was met with more buying. Therefore, it is hard to argue with the bullish case, especially since the series or higher lows remains intact.

All in all, the WTI crude oil price remains bullish, and the triangular pattern may break either way. However, as long as the $100 level holds, the bias is to the upside.

The post Is it safe to buy WTI crude oil after bouncing from horizontal support? appeared first on Invezz.

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Spread & Containment

FTSE 100 gains as commodity-linked stocks bounce back

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3% UK’s FTSE 100 gained on Monday, as an easing of COVID-19 restrictions…

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The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3%

UK’s FTSE 100 gained on Monday, as an easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China brought relief to commodity prices, lifting shares of major oil and mining companies.

As of 0704 GMT, the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3%.

The risk sentiment improved after a Wall Street rally late last week and a rebound in copper and iron ore prices on Monday, boosted by an easing COVID-19 restrictions in Shanghai and relaxed testing mandates in several Chinese cities.

The burst of global enthusiasm for equities has put a spring in the step of the FTSE 100 at the start of the week, Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said.

Mining stocks led gains on the FTSE 100 index, with Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore rising more than 3%, after Group of Seven leaders pledged to raise $600 billion private and public funds in five years to finance needed infrastructure in developing countries.

It is hoped this scheme, seen as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, will set off a spurt of spending and demand for commodities around the world, Streeter added.

Among individual stocks, CareTech surged 20.8% after the UK-based provider of care and residential services agreed to be acquired by a consortium led by Sheikh Hoidings in an 870.3 million pounds ($1.07 billion) deal.

Carnival Corp jumped 5.6%, extending its Friday gains after the leisure travel company forecast a positive core profit for the current quarter despite surging costs.

London-listed shares of Rio Tinto added 2% after a U.S appeals court ruled that the federal government may give the UK copper miner a right to lands in Arizona.

BAE Systems inched up 0.4% after the defence company received a $12 billion contract from the U.S Department of Defence.

The post FTSE 100 gains as commodity-linked stocks bounce back first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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