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Ron Holland on Gold, Switzerland and the European Secessionist Movement
With Anthony Wile - October 28, 2012
The Daily Bell is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Ron Holland
Introduction: Ron Holland is an author, financial expert, Austrian economist, entrepreneur and international business strategist who believes in a return to limited decentralized government like the Swiss Confederation and the former US Articles of Confederation. He has provided strategic business consulting and advisory services to numerous private and publicly traded companies over the past 42 years in diverse areas of finance and marketing including banking, trust department leadership and real estate, as well as in the investment industry, from broker and retirement consultant to president of a national investment firm. Selections of his essays can be found in the archives of LewRockwell.com and TheDailyBell.com.
Daily Bell: Let's jump right in. Give us some feedback on these monetary easings and the US dollar. Harmful? Helpful? Please put it in context.
Ron Holland: Cutting rates, monetary stimulation and creating more fiat money seems to be the only option left to the central banking cartel in Europe and America. For the US, this creates a higher stock market thus making citizens feel more prosperous and less destitute than they really are. This always occurs during a presidential election campaign as the party in power and the president up for re-election need a positive − or in this case an improving − economy to increase their chances of winning the election. Both parties have done this for the last 40 years or so; nothing unusual here.
I really don't view monetary easing as particularly harmful as it only postpones the inevitable for a little while longer, like moving up the angle of the Titanic as it was sinking from the bow with the stern higher up in the air. You stay dry for a few minutes longer but in the end, you still drown. Today politicians and central bankers are sort of like some crews on recent sinking cruise ships. They are using their time to steal the passenger lifeboats and safely get away while leaving the passengers to swim to shore or drown.
Also, the European Central Bank (ECB) and banking elite efforts to postpone their day of reckoning in Europe and New York is actually somewhat helpful to American citizens and investors. The investor risk in Europe is actually propelling funds into the American stock and bond markets as well as the dollar buying us a little extra time before the crisis crosses the Atlantic. In addition, the EU problems are helping the dollar in the near term on a relative basis to be stronger than it would be otherwise.
Daily Bell: You felt the system of control itself was not working so well anymore last time we interviewed you. Can you elaborate?
Ron Holland: Today, in the middle of the Internet Reformation where truth and alternative views are available to all who are interested in doing their research, is a scary time to be in the power elite. Someday soon, the people will have had enough of the propaganda, lies and misinformation distributed to cover up the truth about all the theft, political and market manipulation and wars coordinated and waged by those with goals different from the working, productive citizens of most countries. The price and negative consequences for their actions could be high.
Daily Bell: Are people waking up?
Ron Holland: Yes. To a degree people are waking up both in the United States, primarily because of the previous Ron Paul campaign, and in Europe, due to the EU sovereign debt and forced austerity crisis. Still, most Americans continue to have their heads in the sand but this is to be expected.
Daily Bell: Where do you think this is all headed? Are people abandoning their illusions?
Ron Holland: Since almost everything people know about the world is an illusion, it is asking a lot for the average person to wake up and discover they live in a "Matrix" type of daily existence. Your question makes me think of the cartoon with two sheep out of the entire herd talking with each other while the shepherd and sheep dog are watching from a distance. One sheep says, "Sometimes I get the feeling we are being manipulated." The other sheep responds, "You are so paranoid. Who would ever think such a thing?" This is the view of maybe 85 percent of the world. But that percentage is thankfully decreasing at a dramatic rate thanks to the Internet Reformation.
The serfs of the world (all of us but the elites) have been lied to about most religions, current events, economics, history and even ancient history. This includes all current and former government structures ranging from tribal chieftains, theocracies, monarchies and the divine right of kings and representative republics to democracy and mob rule, communism, fascism and the regulatory and debt democracy most Western nations suffer under today.
Daily Bell: Are we going to see Europe's social discontent happening here?
Ron Holland: Yes. As in Europe, the social discontent here will come from higher taxes, reduced benefits and extreme austerity measures designed to steal our savings, government and private retirement benefits and our remaining gold and wealth. Of course, none of this will likely begin until after the January inauguration.
Personally, I don't think we've seen even the real beginning of social or political discontent in Europe. I believe it will directly impact the PIIGS as well as wealthy Germany far more than what we've seen so far. Eventually, the German people will get tired of bailing out German, French and Anglo-American banking interests and other European nations and say, "Enough is enough." This is when the sh*t will hit the fan. I think Germany may exit the EU far earlier than some other countries in southern Europe.
Switzerland, by not foolishly joining the EU or the euro, will be the only nation in Europe to likely escape the turmoil. Of course, Switzerland didn't join because, with their confederation direct democracy style of government, the voters wouldn't allow their politicians to join.
Two points I would like to add about Switzerland: First, they have the best government structure designed to meet the needs for our new 21st century environment, which should be copied by nations around the world. Second, although I believe Switzerland will certainly escape the internal strife that will get far worse across Europe, they have their own unique risks from criminal gangs as the economy worsens in neighboring countries.
Recent press reports show Switzerland expanding its number of military police units in case the coming EU collapse threatens their national borders. A close look at European history would suggest this threat should be the least of their concerns.
This island of security and safety in a collapsing Europe has approximately 7,000 tons of gold stored both privately and as government reserves. This is approximately 8 percent of the 85,000 tons of gold in the world held as bars and coins; the other 50 percent is mainly jewelry. Add to this the trillions in financial wealth held in and managed from Switzerland and you have a very tempting target for public criminal gangs (governments, central banks and politicians) to want to get their hands on.
I'm not saying Germany, Italy, France or the United States and UK will threaten or actually invade Switzerland, I'm just saying desperate political leaders and financial elites in times of economic crisis have done this hundreds of times over the last couple of centuries.
Here is a list of Major Wars & Conflicts Just In the 20th Century. You might notice how many times Switzerland's neighbors and the United States have been involved in these conflicts while Switzerland has remained armed but at peace. Still, 8 percent of the non-jewelry gold in the world would be a tempting target and most threats of aggression by nations have been for far less.
It's just something to consider. I hope Switzerland decides not just to increase military police battalions but also to modernize and increase its defensive military capability. I have a fictional essay coming out in a few weeks about how such a military aggression, although unlikely, could happen in the future.
Daily Bell: What's your take on China these days and the slowdown? Central bankers have been trying to manage China's "soft landing." Do central bankers ever get it right?
Ron Holland: Frankly, I'm impressed with the government and private sector in China. They might well be able to manage a "soft landing." Their economic miracle, even with likely fabricated economic statistics just like the United States, is really something to behold and this says a lot for the work ethic and solidarity of the Chinese people.
Yes. I think central bankers usually get it right. Remember, the central banking franchise is the ultimate money-making and power-building structure in the history of the world. They usually get it right for the powerful economic and financial interests behind central banking; the reason their efforts always appear to be a failure is because what is best for elite profit and expansion is seldom what is best for a nation, national economy or its average citizens. This is where the difference between perception and reality of the situation comes from. After all, how could any group with the singular monopoly right to create money out of thin air really make a mistake?
I believe China will get it right economically and the China Central Bank will do the right thing because their bank, almost but not quite uniquely in the world, just may serve the interests of China first rather than the central banking cartel. Time will tell whether I'm right about this.
Daily Bell: As the world is an increasingly miserable place, wars seem to be heating up. Coincidence?
Ron Holland: First, wars are necessary in order to create the climate of hardship and fear necessary for governments to take the strong actions against their citizens required to hold on to power and authority. Second, all wars are economic in nature and the future dividing line between a resurgent China and a defensive Anglo-American alliance is the Middle East with their oil resources. Add in Israel, which to the Arabs is a modern-day European style crusader-like state in the Middle East, and you have all the ingredients for a massive conflict and even a miniature third world war starting in the region.
Daily Bell: Give us your take on Middle Eastern "youth rebellions." The real thing?
Ron Holland: We probably disagree somewhat here. I believe many of the "youth rebellions" have been made up of disaffected youth wanting a better life for their generation and the Internet has helped to spawn this movement. On the other hand, there is no question that many of the rebellions like Syria today have been manufactured to a degree by Anglo-American intelligence efforts. Finally, the real near-term winners in these rebellions have been Islamic extremists, although I agree with the Daily Bell that this might have been the intent of Western interests all along.
China has made great headway in the Middle East and Africa versus the West and maybe the Western power elite need the conflict and possible transition to major war in the region in order to position military forces necessary to counter Chinese expansion.
On the contrary, I believe American security interests and the control of Islamic militants would be better served by withdrawing from the nations we occupy, curtail our drone attacks and leave the Middle East to the Muslims who inhabit the region. The US needs a reverse Monroe Doctrine for the region. Israel is strong enough militarily to protect itself.
Daily Bell: What about Iran? Is war going to happen?
Ron Holland: Yes, Israel and the United States will launch a "politically acceptable in the West" targeted strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, military command and control centers, naval and air defense targets. Of course, Iran will respond as it should and from this point I don't have a clue about the future.
My guess is the corresponding military actions and nations and people pulled into the conflict will expand but to what degree I haven't a guess. It is a scary situation and bad environment to have American troops involved. After all, military control is not necessary for oil imports, as most oil is sold on the market and any nation can purchase it.
Daily Bell: What are the economic ramifications? Inflation?
Ron Holland: Yes, I believe the major ramifications of a Middle East war starting with Israel and Iran − expanding, of course, to the US and other nations in the region − will be of an economic nature to the West. Oil will likely skyrocket in price, gold will boom and the fragile US and European economies will tank. I'm not sure whether the result will be deflation or inflation but, like the German inflation, it will probably be the worst of both. America has no reason to attack Iran but we will certainly pay the economic price for getting involved. But then again, maybe this is why we will be attacking another nation in the Middle East, as our troops serve as cannon fodder for other interests.
Daily Bell: Where do gold and silver go?
Ron Holland: Short term, I haven't a clue but over a longer period, and quickly if war breaks out in the region, I would bet on far higher prices for gold, silver and oil.
Daily Bell: Where do you keep your physical purchases? You mentioned Global Gold last time.
Ron Holland: It is no one's business where I might keep my physical gold purchases either in North America or elsewhere should I have any, though I will comment generally. I like Global Gold as well as other secure facilities outside of my home country, although citizens of all nations should keep some gold and silver stored privately close by, in or near their home. The last place I would store anything of value is in a bank safe deposit box in the US. Second, no gold owners should ever publically state where they keep their gold or silver holdings.
Daily Bell: What do you hold? Paper metals? Physicals? ETFs?
Ron Holland: I will only comment here that I do hold a major grudge against those who have destroyed our republic and are now working to create a war and a crisis situation so they can steal the rest of our wealth and liberties. Although I prefer physical metals for crisis diversification purposes, some advisors are offering some excellent gold-trading strategies and I believe this product mix can provide an opportunity for investment profits. Also, I must say that I have concerns about paper metals and ETFs as to whether the gold will be there should a major financial crisis develop. No one knows the extent of the fake tungsten gold bar problems and this is a scary situation. When in doubt, ask for the real thing and have it essayed.
Daily Bell: What about tax ramifications?
Ron Holland: Everything Americans do in the world is taxed so I seldom concern myself about tax ramifications. If there is a tax benefit to do something, then you can bet your last dollar the benefit will be gone when you liquidate your hard assets.
Daily Bell: What's your take on South America generally?
Ron Holland: Most South American countries seldom go to war and in the event of a nuclear confrontation they will likely be outside of major radiation areas so I love the region as a place for a safe haven location. Second, I love the culture, the coffee and the people, as well as the climate in some areas.
Yes, many of the nations in South America have corrupt governments but so do most other nations in the world, including the United States. Personally, I've found corruption in government employees there who need extra money to make ends meet but compared to the massive police state apparatus now being constructed across the West, government is almost inconsequential in the lives of most citizens and expats who live there. This is a welcome change from the 1984 lifestyle most Americans and UK citizens are now forced to deal with.
Daily Bell: What about Argentina and its confiscations?
Ron Holland: Again, while I like Argentina as a country and vacation destination, it is turning back into a populist, Peronist style government very similar to the fascism and National Socialism of the 1930s without the German organization and industrialism. Today, I would only suggest investing there if you want to have a 1930s wealth confiscation experience sooner rather than later when the US goes this route.
Daily Bell: Where do you stand on Colombia?
Ron Holland: As I've written in several editorials, I really like the nation of Colombia, both as a safe haven jurisdiction and for a second home location. High in the mountains around Medellin real estate is inexpensive, no heat or air conditioning is required because of the perfect weather and, most important, there are no bugs so no screens in the windows. Add in the beautiful women, fantastic restaurants and culture and the place is almost unbeatable for North and South America.
My wife, Tami, and I enjoyed a great trip to Colombia a few weeks ago. We may well consider an exciting new real estate opportunity there and become involved in a unique high mountain resort designed only for successful, freedom-oriented individuals from around the world.
Think of an accessible Galt's Gulch, only minutes from an international airport, world-class cardiac heart facility and private school together with nearby world-class city amenities where likeminded producers and entrepreneurs can relax, network and enjoy privacy and sophistication in their own private community. More information on this will be forthcoming soon in another editorial.
Daily Bell: Let's jump back to Europe. Will the euro survive?
Ron Holland: I want the euro to compete with other public and private currency alternatives and let the market decide what currencies succeed and fail. I believe it probably will survive as a hard currency used by Germany, the Nordic countries and maybe Austria and others.
Frankly, the European Central Bank and EU politicians have about bastardized it as bad as the American dollar. There is nothing inherently wrong with more than one nation using a single currency; the problem is only the fiat nature of a currency when currency creation is not restricted or backed in some manner by gold, oil or natural resources.
Daily Bell: How about the EU?
Ron Holland: I hope the EU fails and soon. It is an authoritarian, non-elected, centralized power creation of powerful Anglo-American interests who are using it to control Europe just like the American Union now controls what were "these United States" prior to Lincoln's War and invasion of the newly independent Southern States.
Think about it. Who would have thought the first American government, the Articles of Confederation born during the American Revolution in 1777, would have been overthrown by 1789 and replaced by the Constitution? Second, who would have dared to guess that only 72 years later the Washington federal government would invade and wage war on a region in which the individual states had joined what they believed to be a voluntary union of individual republics? The death toll for this conflict was in excess of 600,000 at a time when the total US population was slightly over 30 million people.
The bottom line is most initial voluntary unions held together by force or coercion eventually turn into tyrannies and the result is war when formerly independent nations or jurisdictions want to withdraw. It is for this reason I hope the death of the EU happens sooner rather than later.
Daily Bell: Who's going to be the next US president?
Ron Holland: Finally, I get an easy question. It will either be Romney or Obama, as no third party candidate has a chance in our two-party monopoly political system.
Actually, I believe Romney would be a far better president on all issues other than foreign policy, due to his neocon handlers, although this is no credit to Romney personally. I still consider him a total empty suit when it comes to conservative, libertarian and free-market principles. In the final analysis, Romney could be a great president precisely because he is Mormon and loves his conservative and free-market oriented Church. If elected, he will be the first Mormon president and to govern from the socialist left would embarrass his Church and he will not do this. I have an editorial draft ready for publication after the election, titled "Thank God Romney Is Mormon," should he win.
The election is too close to call but my counterintuitive view is the liberty movement will suffer should Romney win and expand if Obama is re-elected. Like during Ronald Reagan's term, those who oppose big government and advocate liberty will surely let their guard down if the GOP candidate wins, and likewise increase their opposition if Barack Obama is re-elected. The system is set up this way so the march toward more powerful government continues regardless of who wins.
Daily Bell: What happened to Ron Paul?
Ron Holland: Ron Paul's campaign was infiltrated and undermined from within and outside by the GOP operatives and the Republican establishment. Nothing new here but still, the educational and philosophical success of his presidential campaign dwarfs the feeble efforts of all freedom organizations and think tanks located near or in Washington, DC, which all too often seek acceptance and legitimacy with the Washington insider elites rather than standing for philosophical principles.
Daily Bell: Will he continue to speak out?
Ron Holland: Yes. Ron Paul will continue to fight for our liberties until he is free at last from those who rule over us. I fear this will come from his passing rather than some quick revolution or change of mind by the American electorate.
Daily Bell: Is the global slump going to cause more money printing generally?
Ron Holland: Of course. Money printing will continue until hyperinflation and the collapse of all fiat currencies and sovereign debt take place in the West. Then most governments will repudiate their sovereign debts after austerity measures, tax increases and gold confiscation have fleeced the wealth and savings from most citizens − outside of Switzerland and a very few other countries.
Daily Bell: Is it going to be a proverbial race to the bottom?
Ron Holland: Yes and when the race to the bottom begins in earnest, you can forget the gradualist approach taken by politicians and governments to date. This will happen suddenly and, as I stated earlier, America can and will be locked down with a financial iron curtain almost overnight, probably by presidential executive order.
Daily Bell: Are we going to end up with a world currency or a world war?
Ron Holland: Both but the world war has to come first and it could begin with the Israeli attack against Iran, in the Middle East. Like the manufactured world war horror and destruction created first the League of Nations and later the United Nations following the Second World War, this is the time when the directed answer from the power elites will be a new world currency backed by gold, oil, etc. This is why I believe the confiscation of gold and numismatics, for instance, is so likely in the future across the West and especially America. That's also why Switzerland, the only citizen-controlled government to a degree left in the world today, has so much to fear from other nations.
Daily Bell: Give us your best-case prognosis − an optimistic one.
Ron Holland: My best-case prognosis is simply more of the same that we have dealt with over the last few decades. Maybe there will not be a major war beginning in the Middle East. It is possible we can create unlimited and unpayable amounts of sovereign debt and fiat currency and everything falls together in tandem until such time as debt repudiation and a new currency is forced on the world.
Daily Bell: Is that why you started a hair company?
Ron Holland: No. I started a hair company because we discovered a therapy for hair loss that appears to work in over 80 percent of those who have tried the therapy in South America. It is a unique therapy and I believe it will revolutionize hair restoration and make most balding a relic of history.
Please understand that the West is likely facing an economic and political dislocation similar to the end of the Roman Empire, the end of monarchy following World War One and maybe something like the fall of fascism and communism during the 20th century. This isn't the end of the world but rather a very exciting time to live and for those aware of the true situation of political and financial manipulation a very prosperous opportunity. It's exciting for those in the know about the real world we live in.
It is in these times of transition, whether economic like the industrial revolution, political or financial, that massive fortunes can be made for those who are willing to see the big picture and take advantage of the opportunities that only a tiny minority are willing to act upon.
Of course, most people in the West will lose as they always do, following the manipulated and directed mob off one real or manufactured cliff or another. But if you are reading this interview in The Daily Bell or other alternative news sites, there is nothing mob- or sheep-like about you and these troubled times could be the singular investment opportunity of your lifetime.
Given the option, I would prefer to live through these exciting and perilous times with a full head of hair and I believe millions will agree with me.
Daily Bell: How's that going?
Ron Holland: We have been setting up agreements with cosmetic surgeons and hair transplant physicians for almost two months now and it is going very well. Those in the hair business seem to recognize the opportunity available to them to provide our therapy when and if we receive FDA approval within the next few years.
Daily Bell: Any other points you want to make?
Ron Holland: Yes. I would prefer to end on an optimistic note. Do you realize secession fever is now sweeping Europe because of the EU problems and sovereign debt crisis? The establishment press is full of news accounts about secession fever sweeping Europe and this is a positive political development. It is time for the restoration of formerly independent countries with their own unique cultural and ethnic heritage that were forced at gunpoint into larger empire states.
Venice desires to be independent again from Italy, Catalonia demands out of Spain, Bavaria wants the restoration of independence from Germany. Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal may have to leave the European Union and restore their national currencies in order to grow their economies again. Add to this Scotland cutting ties with the United Kingdom, the current split of Belgium into Flemish and Walloon entities and numerous independence movements growing across the West, even in the United States and Quebec in Canada. Even the United States, the most debt-ridden empire in world history, has multiple secession/independence movements, including one in Vermont and in the Southern states.
This is a positive development for Europe as nations become smaller and more localized around historic boundaries and cultural beliefs. Smaller nations and withdrawal from the European Union is just what Europe needs to get its economic house back in order. This is a far more important development than who will be president of the United States or the latest manufactured statistics or central bank proclamation. Again, we live in exciting and interesting times.
Daily Bell: Thank you.
The Daily Bell
It is good to speak to Ron Holland again, a man of action even in perilous times, one who's started a hair company, created options for himself and others in Colombia and discovered outfits like Global Gold that offer options many may find convenient.
His point about secession fever is certainly well taken. While the powers-that-be have spent several centuries creating nation-states – almost always unnatural ones – the 21st century is seeing these agglomerations come under considerable attack.
Some of these movements, of course, seem more legitimate than others. The Scottish secession movement was in part manipulated, apparently, with the idea that Scotland would join the euro – a backwards way of reinforcing the EU, which is experiencing stiff pushback in England.
The Vermont secessionist movement is somewhat questionable as well, having a larger "green" component, apparently, than a libertarian one. The New Hampshire secessionist movement, on the other hand, is almost purely libertarian even though it hasn't made as much progress as its backers had hoped.
But all that may change, as Ron Holland rightly hopes. The key to returning to civil society is to reduce political bigness. The idea that certain individuals are empowered to make decisions on behalf of hundreds of millions or billions is essentially a loony one. And the idea this is to be parlayed into a world government that will make decisions on behalf of even MORE people is even loonier.
In fact, once governments get to a certain size, the reality of input by voters becomes questionable. Votes are used as an endorsement but voters no longer have individual influence. Their votes provide credibility but the actual voice is lacking.
Governments work best when they are local and all those voting can have a say in subsequent policies. When votes are used as an endorsement but voters no longer have legitimate input then leadership devolves into cronyism and purely selfish decisions are portrayed as appropriate without the requisite pushback.
Government may indeed be force; but as has been observed, the best government governs least and we would add that the most effective government is the smallest one practical.
Ron does us a favor by mentioning the secessionist trend throughout the world and especially in the West. It is one of the bright spots in a picture that has many gloomy ones. It is also a "movement" that bears watching and is one of the most compelling developments of what we call the Internet Reformation.