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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trace Mayer, J.D., author of The Great Credit Contraction holds a degree in Accounting, a law degree and studies the Austrian school of economics. He works as an entrepreneur, investor, journalist and monetary scientist. Follow him on Twitter. This is merely one article of 28 by .
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Curt Evans August 26, 2009 at 10:58 am

Do you have an email address or phone number for Edwin Viera? I’d like to order a copy of Pieces of Eight, if I’m not too late, and I’d like to talk to him about a few legal questions, as he’s located in my area, I believe.

2 cb September 9, 2009 at 4:52 am

Looking at the liquidity pyramid, I am sometimes puzzled by the position of the category “Miscellaneous Assets” towards the top of it. That position might be fine where liquidity is concerned, but it seems quite out of place where safety, or durability is concerned. The motto “The system does not collapse, but evaporate” seems to suggest that the higher your asset class is in that pyramid, the more prone it might be to evaporate, which does not seem right where, say, real property is concerned. From the point of view of safety, or durability, it seems to me that the asset class in question should sit right on top of the metals.

In some countries where inflation is an ongoing scourge, people use bricks as a store of value for their savings. Anyhow, I would like to see some comments on this. Thanks.

3 Trace Mayer, J.D. September 11, 2009 at 1:18 am

Hi Charles,

Here is the response from our email exchange which other readers may find useful.

Yes, the pyramid does blur safety and liquidity. So much information is packed into such a succinct format that something had to give.

RE is not very liquid, currently there are many CRE properties which have been on the market for over a year, and the safety profile is limited.

First, RE is limited to a specific geographic location which is a huge disadvantage in today’s environment of political risk; just look at South America or Africa as an example of what happens to real estate when property rights are eroded. With America acting like a Banana Republic and trampling the rule of law the prosperity enjoyed because of things like ‘property rights’, which are taken for granted, can be rapidly eroded.

Perhaps your view of RE’s value assumes a solid legal infrastructure. A few years ago I was talking with Justice Kennedy of the US Supreme Court about this; the effects of 30+ years of neglecting the national legal infrastructure which is now crumbling much like the roads and bridges.

Second, which is mainly derivative of the first is that RE is subject to all types of ‘real’ events like vandalism, disasters, warlords, etc. Will America have warlords like Africa? Probably not for a few years at least ;)

RE’s value is derivative of its earning capacity which is a function of the underlying business. RE in Nigeria is not worth much because the underlying business does not produce much and the business cannot produce much because of an unstable legal system.

That is not to say RE is not a good investment just that it has a different risk and liquidity profile. I intend to use my monetary metals to buy up lots of cash flowing real estate in the best jurisdictions when it gets cheap.

4 a March 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Thanks for the explanation on how real estate ranks on your diagram.

I think of farm land as being very real and solid, intrinsically worth more than a 3 bedroom house. And the prices have not fluctuated as wildly as other RE sectors in the US, in locations that havn’t been affected by residential land speculation. But there are the questions of where to buy (“which jurisdiction”), and when to buy.

5 John September 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I cant wait to hear your “Tweets” when u figure out twitter . I just wanto say the greatest “tweeters” are those whose tweet less than 3X per day and who generally write there OWN thoughts and dont lazily just link to articles all the time. “GeraldCelente” is great tweeter . SO is “TaoMannaDon” .

Regards Your follower , “TraderJohn990” (30yrs experience prof.investor )

6 Debra Gibbs February 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I am interested in buying gold and live near Monex in CA, so was considering using them. I had already checked them out through the BBB and was a little concerned. I just read your review and would like more information on you. Where are you located as I would also learn more about your firm. Also, is there a way to contact you other than email? Thank you for your help and I’m looking forward to possibly doing business with you.

7 Trace Mayer, J.D. February 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Debra, I do not sell bullion. I wrote about Monex because a few readers had presented their case to me and asked some questions.

8 DCFN Troy White March 12, 2012 at 11:22 am

Hi Trace,
Just at a glance the site looks amazing! I like that it is easy to find the price of different types of metals on your site. Right now I am in Central America, and people like to use the US Dollar. Do you predict that the US dollar is losing its value?I am finding that other countries like Panama, Colombia, and Guatemala are not only accepting the currency, but using it as their own. Whats your opinion about that?
DCFN Troy White

9 Trace Mayer, J.D. March 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Glad you like the price charts. Keep an eye on those 200 day moving averages!

Yes, the USD is the world reserve currency and used by many countries instead of their own like the Balboa in Panama (although they have recently been minting more 2 Balboa coins. The USD is also the settlement currency such as when Russia sells oil equipment to China. But there are quite a few large countries that are moving away from using the USD as the settlement currency and this is going to put more downward pressure on it. There are also lots of bilateral currency agreements like between China and Argentina or Chile, etc. All of this is causing the demand for USD to decrease which will cause its value to go down which is reflected in its gold price over the last 12 years. The trend will continue because of the underlying weakness in the US economy. Additionally, the USD is now a major carry trade currency which will put further pressures on any attempted economic recovery.

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