The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- As is often the case, the only way in which we can properly understand our present circumstances is by stepping back (in historical terms) to provide ourselves with the necessary context to comprehend these modern day parameters. The first point which must be made is that if we go back even a century, the concept of investing was almost entirely alien to the average person. Instead our markets were 100% the playgrounds (or casinos) of the wealthy.
Why was this so? In part, this was a function of opportunity. A century ago ordinary people were much less sophisticated in their understanding of finances. Financial advice was reserved exclusively for the wealthy. So, to some extent, ordinary people were shut out of markets. However, that is literally only half the story.
Take refuge in the sanctuary of precious metals.
More importantly, ordinary people didn't need to invest (i.e. gamble with) the fruits of their labors. In part, this was a function of lower expectations with respect to our standard of living. A century ago, we were not being continually bombarded with advertising first telling us how we needed an infinite number of consumer goods for a normal existence, while we were simultaneously bombarded telling us how easy/affordable it was to get credit.
Thus, a big part of the reason why ordinary people a century ago did not need to invest while ordinary people today are forced to invest is that today people have to find a way to pay off their debts (along with a hefty rate of interest) incurred buying a plethora of consumer goods which they never needed.
But there is still more to this story than that. A century ago, people were paid fair wages. Today, with the real rate of unemployment being above 15% in every Western economy, and with real wages (i.e. accounting for inflation) having been falling steadily for the last 40 years, the modern worker is little more than an
economic slave -- indentured with debts. And (according to the bankers and their advertising) the only hope these 21st century serfs have to purchase their freedom is through investing -- i.e. entering the
"rigged casinos" of the banksters and entrusting our wealth in their hands.
Thus, the crimes of the pseudo-regulators who condone this market-rigging (via
automated trading algorithms, naked shorting and a near endless list of other tolerated crime) are doubly heinous. It would be bad enough if these supposed protectors of the integrity of our markets were only allowing people to be fleeced who were drawn to the markets by greed. Indeed, the attitude of many toward any "rigged casino" is that those who venture inside deserve their fate. However, when ordinary people are being forced to gamble their tiny nest eggs due to the relentless economic oppression of debts plus interest, then the corruption of these regulators is absolutely intolerable.
We now see the cycle of theft take shape. Bury ordinary people in debt (nothing like a good housing bubble to do that!). Squeeze them further by relentlessly shrinking their meager paychecks. Herd them into the banksters' casinos via the illusion of investing their money and climbing out of economic slavery. Fleece the sheep. Rinse and repeat.
The more indebted we become, the more our paychecks shrink, the bigger the risks we must take to offer ourselves any realistic chance of escaping the bankers' debt-slavery...unless we refuse to play this game of enslavement and then robbery -- by escaping the bankers' world of paper and taking refuge in the sanctuary of precious metals.
There is yet one more reason why the ordinary person of a century ago saw no need to be an investor (i.e. a gambler). In the days of a genuine gold standard, our paychecks were not permanently shrinking, since a bona fide gold standard prevents almost all of the bankers' game of printing excessive quantities of their paper currencies and then stealing from us via
With the fruits of our labors preserved via the integrity of a
gold standard, and with ordinary people not being brainwashed into incurring vast amounts of debt, the average citizen of a century ago was largely immune to the scams of the bankers. Not so today.
Today, with our paper currencies (and thus our wages) being slaughtered at the altar of
competitive devaluation, we can only insulate ourselves from the crime of theft by currency dilution through choosing to regularly and rapidly convert this debauched paper to the pristine financial integrity of gold and/or silver.
Along with this we must be equally resistant to the siren songs of excessive consumption and easy credit. There is nothing noble in gluttony. There is never anything easy about debt plus interest (just ask the
government of Greece.
We don't have to choose to participate in (and be destroyed by) the gambler economy. We can become more sophisticated in our financial management (ironically) by emulating our ancestors. We must entrust the fruits of our labors to the multi-thousand year security of gold and silver - not some thief in a fancy suit.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.