Get It While You Can

     Americans are used to a condition of abundance. Not Marxist “abundance,” which prophesizes a world in which everything is so copiously available that there’s no need for prices and commerce. Rather, Americans are used to free-market abundance: a condition in which the availability of goods at affordable prices can be relied upon, because there is no forcible interference with production, distribution, or sale. If you have the desire and the means, the goods are there to be purchased…and “the means” tend not to break the bank.

     That condition is being seriously abraded just now. Quite a number of things are getting to be either scarce in the marketplace, or too expensive for those of us with modest means to afford them. Two specific categories of goods are at the top of my thoughts just now:

  • Popular ammunition;
  • Precious metals.

     First, the feds have been putting the squeeze on supplies of the most popular of all ammunition types: the .223 Remington / 5.56 NATO rifle round. Shipments of that type are dwindling, and prices for it are rising. The most popular rifle in America, the AR-15, is the feds’ target. The anti-gunners who currently control Washington hate that rifle with a red passion and have been campaigning against it for decades. While they haven’t succeeded in outlawing it, the alternative of making it useless by limiting the availability of its ammo has always been available, as its round is also used by America’s armed forces. So the expedient of having the Pentagon buy it up is now in play.

     Second, we have this, via the beloved Andrea Shea King:

     The prices of gold and silver are near their historic highs just now. They’ll get higher as time passes. The reason, of course, is inflation. The men who run banks are as aware of it as you and I. Unlike those of us who have to stand on our toes to keep a nostril above water, they have capital to deploy. So they’re buying up as much gold as their reserves will allow. Smaller players are stocking up on silver, which is nearly as universally negotiable.

     World “above ground” gold supplies, if assembled into a single mass, would make a cube not quite 20 feet on a side. It’s being mined, of course, but mining operations are lagging behind world demand: a common condition in times of rapid inflation.

     The history of inflationary government spending is not a pleasant one. As a government gets deeper in debt, it tends to print ever more currency. But the debts escalate two ways: in the principal amount owed, and in the interest rate charged for repeated borrowing. That forces the debtor government to accelerate its borrowing, and therefore its currency-and-credit creation, in a classic positive-feedback cycle.

     Positive feedback always leads to a runaway.

     As the Gentle Readers of Liberty’s Torch are an intelligent bunch, I trust I need say no more. Stragglers and head-scratchers: Please refer to the title of this piece.

1 comment

    • GlennH on November 4, 2023 at 11:16 PM

    In gold mining, when the price goes up the mining companies process lower-grade ore that would be uneconomical to mine when prices are low.
    I recall this concept: Imagine you are walking down the street with a bottle of whiskey in one pocket, and a gold coin in the other. During Prohibition (18th Amendment) you would be breaking the law by possessing the whiskey but allowed to have the gold coin. After Prohibition was repealed (21st Amendment)  you could possess the whiskey, but now be breaking the law by having a gold coin (Gold Reserve Act of 1934 and prior Presidential Executive Order 6102 among others).
    I’m not a “stacker” (the  nickname for those who invest in and keep precious metals) but precious metals have their own industrial uses, and with rising prices add fuel to the inflationary fire.

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