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Episode 26: Gold in the Time of Coronavirus

This week’s episode of the Gold Exchange Podcast, Keith Weiner interviews independent precious metals advisor Claudio Grass. Claudio explains his sound money origin story and how the rest of the world understands gold vs Americans’ understanding. The wide ranging conversation spans everything from history, to covid lockdowns, to how societies change, to our relationship to money and even political principles and philosophy.

Highlights from the episode include:

-Independent thinkers are drawn to gold once they investigate our credit monetary system
-Keith explains his “sniff test” on housing and macro economic policies
-The United States is the last domino to fall in the global economic collapse but has nowhere to turn
MMT and central planning and fiat currency will not work
-Negative interest rates and losing trust in institutions and new first time gold clients
-Claudio discuss Bitcoin vs Gold and decentralization and money

Additional Resources 

Gold Wars


Keith Weiner: You’ve been involved in gold for a long time. What’s your origin story? How did you first become interested in it? What was your first encounter? What made you think this shiny heavy metal was important?

Claudio Grass: Well, everything started with a book I purchased in, I think, 2001. It was called Gold Wars from Ferdinand Lips. It was a book about monetary history, how money came into existence in 2000 when we had Enron Swiss MCI, the 911, of course. And I only heard that Greenspan was saying, we can print this much money. And everyone was cheering Greenspan saying, yeah, perfect. The guy really knows what to do. And I was sitting there and I thought, hey, I have no clue what they are talking about.

I don’t understand the world I’m in. So basically I started to dig a bit deeper. Fortunately, I found this book about monetary history. And then I got in touch with Ferdinand Lips. So he pointed me out to the classic Liberals. He told me read Hayek and Ludvig von Mises. And that was the beginning of my journey. And then I think it took 2004. I started buying a physical gold for the first time, and since then I knew that I somehow want to move into physical gold business.

I understood that sound money is necessary for sound society. And I also understood that central planning is always a problem. I also understood that politics is always the problem and never the solution. That let me then basically, to where I am today.

Keith Weiner: It’s interesting you mention Ferdinand Lips in the US. I don’t think he’s very well known person, but in my studies I came across him and I heard a story that I don’t know if it’s true or not, that he was speaking to some bankers in Washington, DC and said to them that the average Swiss peasant knows more about gold than the average American banker.

Claudio Grass: Well, yeah, I think that’s absolutely possible because it’s also the truth.

Keith Weiner: They’re probably both true and offensive at the same time. I don’t think he made many friends with that remark. What do you think? Do you perceive a difference between how US Americans view gold versus the Swiss or the Germans?

Claudio Grass: Honestly, most of my customers, I would say I have 50% of my custom bases coming from the United States and then the other 50%, basically from all over the world. So I think certain Americans understand real money. They also understand how an economy basically would work. They also understand that this big experiment that we are in is going to end. So I think decent, humble people who can think for themselves independently, who are questioning some basic stuff, who ask the basic questions or thought about basic questions:

Where is money coming from? How money came into existence? Is it good that we have money which is depreciating over time? Private property rights, stuff like that.

Keith Weiner: Depreciating money creates jobs and exports and prosperity, doesn’t it?

Claudio Grass: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a Keynesian viewpoint. In a credit based system, it has to grow and people have to consume faster. And at the same time, you have to make sure that you keep products cheap. So that’s why the US sold out their industry to China, for example. Quite a lot of the Western world did that, of course, because they just opened up the slave market. By doing this, they were able to still get the product for cheap price and still make a good margin on it. But this is always going for certain periods of time then it’s over and credit.

You can fill up a house with credit up to the roof, but one fine day it’s over. That’s basically where we are. I think the world really has changed. I think the current system is really coming to an end. Everything has an end. Only the sausage has two. And we are now. I mean, what people have been told in universities, most of it is absolutely nonsense. It doesn’t make sense. It’s intellectual idiot. Idiocy. How do you say that in English, but people are completely confused.

Keith Weiner: I have a concept that I call the sniff test, and that is does something pass a basic quick inspection. And so perfect example of this. Some alleged economist on Twitter said that there is only one reason why people own houses, and that is it provides rent control. It doesn’t pass the sniff test. I mean, I think if you ask ten people who own a house, why do you own the house? You’re going to get ten different reasons for the economics profession so called to go and declare these things.

Nobody really believes that. That’s absurd. But they say it because it helps them on their way to some other politically useful conclusion where they want to oppose a certain policy. And these rationalizations serve to bolster that policy.

Claudio Grass:  Yeah.

Keith Weiner: Anyway, so getting back to the question about how Americans view gold versus other people. I’ve had an opportunity before COVID I was traveling more than 50% of the time and mostly outside the US. So I had a chance to spend a lot of time, I think I met with you once or twice in Zurich, but I met with a lot of people in most of the European countries and many of the countries in Southeast Asia and other places. I always try to be alert to the difference between my perceptions and my values and my take on things versus as an American versus how are the people perceive things.

I ended up thinking that I still do think that Americans probably understand gold the least of anybody in the world, and it’s because we’ve been in the fortunate position of not experiencing hyperinflations and currency collapses and the kind of disruptions obviously total war. There’s a lot of things that have happened in other places in the world where nobody has had the luxury of taking the currency for granted, as Americans have had. Arguably, Canada is similar. And so Americans just put it out of mind and just say, Well, I’m sure that the Fed isn’t going to let that happen or something.

It’s just a very naive. Well, I’m sure it’s fine. And a little bit of hand waving have another glass of wine. Of course, something is going on in the world today that’s never gone on before, which is the entire world has gone all in, as they say, in the game of Texas Hold’em Poker, every country in the gold is betting on the same exact system, which is this dollar based irredeemable currency that’s been severed for gold. And every country in the world is in on it.

We’ve never had before. Whenever one country or another has had their money collapse, there’s always been other countries that had a much better monetary system, and so aid and capital and investment could come in from other places that weren’t ruined by the event in that particular country. But today, when it happens, it will be global and there won’t be any place from outside that can come in and invest or deploy capital, which makes this particularly particularly scary.

Claudio Grass: Yeah. I mean, the US really had the checkbook world currency reserve. They had the freedom. Instead of paying international trades in gold, they basically were able to print as much dollars as they wanted. That’s what shall we gold called the exorbitant privilege with the Bretton Woods agreement. Of course, it’s like the Cantillon effect. America really has been the key leader of the world and at the same time, the biggest central bank, with the US dollar becoming the world currency reserve, it has also corrupted a lot of the American society, like everywhere, I mean of course.

But I think America really that’s why it’s the capital market capital, the biggest debt market credit market for the other countries. It was perfect. It was really going. We have lived the last 50 years. Look at the total debt of the United States. Everything has been done. 99% has been done since 1971, when Nixon went off the Gold step.

Keith Weiner: And you really have that doubles about every eight years, right?

Claudio Grass: Yeah. I think today even faster. It’s going into this exponential curve at the end of today. But people are completely decoupled from how the real economy is working. They don’t even understand that. First you have to produce and to save so that you are able to invest today. People believe just take on credit and consume. And this has been the story for the past decades. And this is also when people don’t save it’s a destruction of civilization. I think that’s what we are witnessing for a longer period, several decades already.

And now it’s really coming out now it’s the end. We also have these cycles with long term debt cycles, Jubilee, which we already have in the Bible 50 years, slaves are freed. That’s forgiven. I mean, it’s completely absurd. What we are witnessing today in the markets. What’s going on in the mainstream media. Everything is fake. I mean, everything is fake. Then you have the sheep who basically go with the flow and investing. They don’t own. An investor is completely different than an owner. People only use their own things 100%.

Everyone is invested in something which is driven up by artificial credit. And it has been a great party. But now the sound is getting calmer and soon dancing most likely is also going to stop.

Keith Weiner: To comment about saving. What’s the incentive to save if the interest rates are zero or negative?

Claudio Grass: I mean, absolutely. That has been the message for at least since 2008. The message was basically don’t say take on credit. Consume as fast and as much as you can. And here is the credit. If you want to know how much money is worth and try to go and borrow it, if you get the money almost for free, then you know it’s worth not that much.

Keith Weiner: Easy come, easy go.

Claudio Grass: Absolutely.

Keith Weiner: I think a lot in terms of incentives. What is the incentive saying to people? If savings get no return or even negative return and borrowing every day, borrowing becomes cheaper? What is the incentive that that encourages people? What is that encouraging them to do? You made a comment earlier about the corruption of the system corrupts everybody. If the top of the system is funny money and dishonest. Do a lot of people look at that and say, “Well, if they can do that, why shouldn’t I do this?”

It’s a very subtle effect that undermines any desire for people to act ethically. Of course. Now I don’t know if you saw the news that so far two regional Fed presidents have resigned. I’m sorry, not resigned to announce their retirement due to health. But one of them said health. The other one got caught with his hand in the cookie jar trading his personal account. And these are multimillion dollar trades. That’s the interesting thing. A day before the Fed would make a major announcement of a policy, he was trading his personal account.

I know things like S&P futures, so not investments, but just a bet on how the markets were going to react to what the side was going to do next. It’s not surprising to me that you’re taking on this as well, but it’s not surprising to me that the people who are in power are seeking personal gain from it. That’s not the surprising part at all. The surprising part is how brazen and blatant it was that nobody thought anything of this. Nobody thought maybe this is going to be a problem.

Maybe this is going to be on the front page of The New York Times or ZeroHedge. Maybe I don’t want to do this. There’s a term that Bastiat coined almost 200 years ago. So everyone says this is insider trading. My argument is no insider trading is when you trade based on what you know, this is different. These people are trading based on what they have the power to do to you. And so Bastiat coined the term I think, called spoliation, which is related to taking the spoils, like the spoils of an armed robbery or murder or war.

You’re grabbing the spoils. I think the world should adopt that term for when politicians and central bankers are trading for profit here on their own policy decisions. Do you have any comments or thoughts on that?

Claudio Grass: Yeah. I mean, power corrupt. Absolute power corrupts. Absolutely, of course. And I think what we have witnessed over the past decades, there is corruption everywhere. And as I mentioned before, the insider trading, if you are in the right position or political, then I think you’re even protected. They really do whatever they want to do. We can see those now with the whole Corona pandemic, the mass media campaign, everyone that is basically a bit still sane sound realizes that it’s smelly, it stinks and it’s amazing how orchestrated lies can be pushed out.

Misinformation can be pushed. I mean, the fake news debate came out because of alternative news. The fake news debate came up because people realize that all the mass media, most of it is really about. And once you understand the system we are in and the lies and the framing on TV and in the media, once you realize that it’s all bullshit, then you’re just watching in front of the TV and you’re laughing what they are telling you.

Keith Weiner: I have a thing I say sometimes, which is you have to laugh because otherwise you have to cry.

Claudio Grass: Absolutely. Even now, I’m surprised to see how many people really started. The Awakening started really last year in March, because up to then I had lots of friends of mine, happy life. They always told me Claudio. I understand the system. I’m doing fine. As long as I make more than inflation, everything is okay. I have a house mortgage, few cars, nice apartment. It’s okay. And then when that stuff happened in March, with 40 people dying in a 12 million city in Wuhan and the world, decided to close down the ground fleets and so on.

Some people realize this is now what’s going on. This is completely insane. Since then, the brave ones, the ones who try to understand, the ones who still can think independently. And they are brave enough to ask certain questions. They get it. I would say here in Switzerland, most likely we’ll talk about roughly 20% of the people and the rest are really servants. They are sticking to the system. They are afraid. They also realized something is smelly. They realize that the world has already changed, but they still hope for the nanny state, that the nanny state will take care of them.

They don’t want to hear about these big moves and changes because they are just scared or they are extremely profiting from the current system, so they don’t want to hear about it anyway. But I think society has shifted and society is divided, and that’s why we cannot bring it together any longer. I think one solution fits it all. I think that’s over because like this vaccine, I think that’s the red line for lots of people. 18 months ago, I already have the feeling that Corona is the end of the nation state.

You had the First World War, the old transformation from the monarchistic old structures into nation States, Second World War into Ideologies. And now, basically, this is the bigger end behind Corona, of course, is the new green deal, the useful idiots from the melon fraction outside green, inside red and the core Brown. They push for the new green economy, CO2 emission free that will bring us back to the Middle Ages.

Keith Weiner: In the United States the governor of Arizona. But I took all the governors that divided businesses and workers into two categories essential and non essential. And did you have anything like that in Switzerland?

Claudio Grass: Well, I mean, also over here, basically, politics. I mean, you only know that from totalitarian authoritarian system.

Keith Weiner: That leads very obviously. I don’t think you need to be a PhD in sociology to understand once you declare a group of people to be nonessential, and then you say, Well, these people, of course, have to be forced to be unemployed, and then we have to give them your money because they have to live. Then they become over a parasite class. You’ve already labeled them nonessential. It’s not too many steps to say, let’s exterminate them, right?

Claudio Grass: Yeah.

Keith Weiner: I don’t think the culture in the Western world is ready for that just yet. I think it’s time to bubble up and ferment, and it takes more events and more things and more propaganda before people will be ready to return to the 1930’s ideologically. But it’s a very scary that to me, there’s a couple of things that really hit me, particularly as an American citizen, because we have this Constitution that gets in the politician’s way all the time. There were two other things that they were talking about that they didn’t do, but they were talking about it openly, and it became, are familiar with the Overton window?

What’s the spectrum of allowable discussion or debate?

Claudio Grass: Okay.

Keith Weiner: The Overton window moved pretty far to the authoritarian because there were two things that were being discussed. And one is for States that temporarily had lower COVID rates that they were talking about prohibiting travel from people from other States. The US Constitution is pretty clear that people and goods and money have to be allowed to flow freely between States, in fact that was the meaning of regulating state commerce. It didn’t mean impose 100,000 pages of what we call regulation. It meant to make it regular and not allow any state to get greedy or xenophobic and lock out their neighbors. That came on the table.

And the other one was that they still were talking about. Trump was talking about if an American citizen was visiting a foreign country that had a high coverage rate, maybe we wouldn’t allow the US citizen back into the US, which, if they tried to do that would be a constitutional crisis. How can you not allow a citizen back into the country? And so many things are proposed. It tears up the fabric of the entire political legal constitutional system. And if those things go, then what else would go?

If anything goes, they can do anything they want. And the people are just either living a fear or cheering it on and demanding more.

Claudio Grass: Some of those things were very concerning to me when Corona started to me, it was always in the type of, a kind of that’s a cultural revolution for the Western civilization, for the Western world. I compare it with the Bolshevik revolution in Russia or with Mao in China. So now what we are witnessing with Corona is basically a cultural revolution in the Western world because it’s going against individualism. It’s really the fight between individualism and collectivism. At the same time, it started decades ago, the Russian propaganda, the Soviet propaganda.

They invested the most amount of money in propaganda. They also understood that individualism is more superior, and that’s why one of their goals was to destroy Western values such as self responsibility. Man is born free. We are not the means to an end freedom of speech, freedom of choice, private property needs to be protected. I mean, basically, that’s all at stake. And Corona basically canceled all those values which made the Western world so successful. And then this cancel culture, of course, and all that stuff. We were the only culture that decided to end slavery and not because a King or President that decided because people came to the conclusion.

First of all, that it’s not right. And second, they also understood that slavery is more expensive than when people are working freely because they have different motivations and hardworking person if he can make his own money and he’s free, he will always be more productive than slaves. And now they even basically are telling us that we are the guys responsible for slavery and all that stuff and that capitalism and industrialization has been an exploitation of people. I also believe they’re not going to succeed to destroy Western culture, Western civilization.

I mean, I was shocked, of course, because I also did a movie. I saw the movie as a friend of mine, Planet Lockdown. So basically, last year, we were already traveling around doing interview with Epidemiologists biologists, professor of economics, statesman, private entrepreneurs, because we wanted to show the impact of Corona, not from this flu and fear perspective. We also wanted to show the implications of that political doctrine when it comes to free society, when it comes to the global economy. When it comes to the international division of labor.

I think a lot of people in the west realized that this is the big agenda behind it. But it’s still a small minority. People just lack imagination. They cannot even imagine that government can go bankrupt these days.

Keith Weiner: I think in the US, at least specifically regarding lockdown and covid. I think it’s not a small minority. I think it’s a big minority. I think it’s probably 47 percentage points of the population are sick of lockdown and then either changed their view that originally believed in lockdown. And now come to realize that this is a big power grab by the politicians. Or I know several people that at the beginning they said two weeks to flatten the curve. And there were a lot of people that said, okay, if it’s two weeks and this is going to avoid people dying in the hallways, in the hospitals to avert this humanitarian crisis sure will agree to this.

But then at the end of two weeks, of course, it wasn’t over. That was only just beginning. So I think there’s a lot of people, at least in the US, that are increasingly upset about Lockdown and increasingly demanding that all the lockdowns go away. And so in the States like Arizona, here, there is no covert policy anymore. In Arizona, there’s no masks. There’s no vaccine. You can get the vaccine if you want it, but there’s no requirement to wear masks. There’s no limits on gathering indoors, anything like that.

And in fact, the government went pretty far as to prohibit any government agency from acquiring a mask or a vaccine.

Claudio Grass: Okay.

Keith Weiner: If you’re a private business and obviously you can demand masks if you want most in Arizona do not do that because it’s not popular with the customers. Other States still have various mass measures, and they’re talking about vaccine passports and all these things. So I think it’s pretty close to 50 here in the US.

Claudio Grass: Okay. I mean, perfect the US, the cultural roots of freedom. That’s really part of the US history of the old narrative. People went to the US because of more freedom and more Liberty and the Constitution. And the Americans I know they are all freedom loving individuals. Over here in Europe, people seem to be a bit more obedient. Also here in Switzerland, we always had a weak government. We don’t have one President. We have seven of these guys. Our was always granted in a way. And then, of course, our government, whether we government up to 20 years ago, you haven’t seen any pictures when it comes to political campaigns and so on.

We only knew that from in Germany, but not in Switzerland. Okay, that has changed in the last 20 years. But 20 years ago, when we were still on the gold standard. I mean, Switzerland was really in a good shape for the last 20 years. I think all over the world, everything has been pushed out. It’s globalization. Globalization means no borders, no borders means no private property. You don’t have definition of private property. Clear definitions. And man is becoming a global citizen.

Keith Weiner: Let me just share my perception of one change that occurred in Switzerland. So as listeners we know, and as you may know, I built and sold a software company in 2008. It was a company called DiamondWare, and I sold it to Nortel Networks. The transaction closed August 19, 2008, right before everything began to collapse.

Claudio Grass: Perfect.

Keith Weiner: At first, I was just staring at the market with the amusement. But as I began to realize how serious it was, that was the beginning of my international travel, I looked at, okay, how do I protect myself, get money out of the country, all those things.

So I visited Zurich and I had a meeting with a I’m not going to say who, because that’s not really the point, but a private bank that focuses on probably wealthy expats. I don’t know how much business they do, but they focused on people like me. Although at that point, the American government had started to become pretty aggressive with tax reporting through a lot of the Swiss financial institutions didn’t want to talk to Americans at all, but anyway, they were happy to talk to me. But somehow the topic came up of TARP and TELP and quantitative easing and all these things that were all these new buzzwords that were implemented in either late 2008 or early 2009.

And I think I was in Switzerland in maybe spring of 2009. So all these things that happened, I was talking to the senior Vice President of this bank. Wherever his title was, he was pretty high up in the bank saying, this is crazy. And he corrected me and he said, Well, when you have a crisis, it’s necessary to print money and to go into debt and deficit spending and money printing is necessary. This is what the Swiss private banker said to me. I walked out of the meeting just kind of shaken up that this is somebody that I would have thought would be in agreement that you can’t do this.

There’s terrible consequences. I learned that at least I don’t know if he’s typical of the private banking industry in Switzerland or not. I didn’t have that conversation with enough people to have a sample size and do a study. But it blew me away to hear that being said by that person. This wasn’t some socialist spray painting a hammer and sickle on the front of a jewelry store on Bana Strasse. This was a banker catering to big clients, and I’m sure himself personally worth a lot saying, yeah, we need to print money and go into debt.

Claudio Grass: Yeah, I know some old Swiss bankers, but they have the concept of personal liability. They were not in the credit business. They wanted to find out if the person that shows up is an entrepreneur, that he made his money in the right way because Switzerland was a neutral nation. The old private bankers. They knew it’s just because the Americans are saying, this is the enemy. That doesn’t need to be the truth. It’s all about chair politics. And we have this neutral position. And then, of course, I think it really started in the 90s, middle of the 90s, when you had this whole MBA culture, American coming over to the rest of the world.

And then everyone was talking about, okay, globalization, think, global, act, local, all this bullshit words. And of course, also in Switzerland, we were running on the gold standard until the year of 2000. Our government basically told us, okay, we have to modernize the Constitution. We are not going to take out or make big changes. They never told the people that they basically take out the gold backing, which was part of the Constitution 40% needs to be backed up. They also wanted to join the race for big money.

So they purchased First Boston and Warburg. But they also became a global player with strong inflation to the United States, direct access to the Federal Reserve deal status and so on. And then basically the party started and all these banks, they completely changed, really became some more examples of when the corrupt at the top.

Keith Weiner: The corruption trickles down to all the other layers.

Claudio Grass: Absolutely. And one time in the bank back then, we have this vaguely in Mr. Homeler. He was one of these old private bankers. He believes that he is a Swiss living in a sovereign nation. And then that’s why he also took American customers on board, believing that when they come from a Swiss Bank, that he might make his share, whatever. But he thought we are sovereign, independent. And he was threatened by the US that he would lose access to US dollar. And of course, if you’re in the banking system and you don’t have access to US dollars, I mean, you’re out.

You’re gone. You’re not part of that system anyhow. Even in 2000, we have this under Clinton, when we basically got accused that we were the guys for long Second World War, that the Swiss were doing all these gold trades and we made a fortune and so on. It’s all bullshit. It really also destroyed Switzerland. That has always been my point of view, because Switzerland is the antidote to the current system, because it’s really used to be non centralized. It used to be based on the principles of subsidiarity everything from the bottom up, based on Aristotle is always at Damos, the village.

Crotia, the rulers. Democracy can work, but on a very low scale, you have to limit the ambitious of the politicians. You have to limit also the wishes of the people. If you have a structure where basically I and Sue can decide something. And the guys in Geneva have to pay for it. I mean, that’s just not going to work. We lost our decentralized model. Our federal government was trying to gain more power, grasp more power. And so that’s how also our country has changed the politicians and the people.

Keith Weiner: A point that I make offering is that it’s the people that are demanding this and pushing this. The politicians simply have to know they can try to propaganda something. But ultimately it has to be popular. Otherwise, any politician who tries to go against the popular will be voted out of office. Ultimately, the voters that are deciding that they want you to be restricted in some way, or they want you to be taxed to give them some benefit. That’s the thing that in the United States now, I think it started when Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson were all talking about or flying into space on their rockets.

People took a look at this with envy and said, hey, why don’t these billionaires get to fly to space? And Meanwhile, there’s always some need somewhere there’s always a child without a pair of shoes or whatever they should be taxed tax the rich. Yeah, the politicians are certainly some of them. Elizabeth Warren is certainly calling for this, but so are 30 or 40% of the people, and then another 20 or 30 or 40%. We aren’t sure whether that’s going to benefit them or not. And then there’s another 30%, maybe that don’t want any more taxes on the rich or anybody else.

And that’s the damnable fact of how politics works. And the unjust idea that you can propose is probably 30% of the people that support it.

Claudio Grass: Yeah. I mean, the free lunch, miss. Still, what people are looking for a very high time preference. I want to have everything now. This is in the nature of man. And so that has been exploited by the politicians, of course, and by this credit based system. But I’m always saying in a credit based system, money is never an issue. Currency is never an issue. It’s always the scarcity of goods and services when it comes to goods and services. Now we are standing today. There we are in a heavy deflationary environment when it comes to monetary supply and so on.

It’s basically inflation. So I think that’s an additional booster for hyper inflation in the future, everything comes to that. If you don’t know the history, then you’re doomed to repeat it. Marx always said the task of a philosopher is not to interpret history has to change it. And when I see in the US or in Europe, all these deillusioned youths, which is basically tearing down statue’s, trying to destroy history good or bad. I think it’s important. It’s part of our culture. And if you destroy everything and take away the history of the people, I mean, then they become really a kind of mass manipulation tool.

You can do everything with them. And when I look into history books, I love to read. I love history, but the more I read, the more I understand. How do I know if this is true? If we only look? History has always been written by the winners. And so maybe I don’t know what Napoleon did in the past. I don’t know if this is true or not. Maybe it’s all bullshit. Maybe it’s all fake, but without freedom, anything else is worth nothing at the end of the day.

Keith Weiner: If there’s no free marketplace for ideas, then a lie can win as long as people are free to be able to talk.

Claudio Grass: To enlighten themselves. By reasoning, reasoning, reasoning, having open discussions, not being afraid to say something that somebody else put you in jail because it does not go along with the official narrative. This is totally terrible. I discussed lots of clouds last year in November when I was in Prague doing this Planet Lockdown documentary. I was talking about what he thinks about social distancing, self quarantine human interaction becomes a medical threat. And he basically told me Claudio, we know that we know that from communism, it’s basically the basis for every totalitarian system.

First of all, you have to destroy the horizontal relationships. And this is what we are witnessing now for 18 months. And this is also what we can see in society. It’s still working. There is nothing new under the sun, it’s always divide and conquer fear and control. This time we basically witnessed with Corona also shock and awe. Really, this military American doctrine of shock and awe. It’s crazy. It’s horrible. I would never have thought that something like this can happen and could be possible.

Keith Weiner: Yeah. You put everybody behind a mask so you can’t even recognize your friends anymore. And then you make everybody. It’s a muscle.

Claudio Grass: It’s a muzzle. The mask is the muzzle. Just shut up and take it. And we are going into this new whatever green great reset. But the message was shut up. Slaves. I mean, a sign of slaves is muzzles. They always have.

Keith Weiner: The second part is they make everybody fear their friends and their neighbors, which destroys the relationships between people. And everybody has to turn to the government as the only source you can trust.

Claudio Grass: And trust is key in society. I mean, without trust, you don’t have to sound to side.

Keith Weiner: So switching topics. Do you have any thoughts on becoming implementation of Basel III regulations for the gold trade?

Claudio Grass: I mean, honestly, for me, I believe it is irrelevant. The central banks are becoming irrelevant in the future. I don’t believe that it’s the old system. And I think the best people can do today is try to get out of the system as soon as possible because otherwise you’re going to end up with you owe nothing and you will be happy because the banking system that’s the old world. And I think it’s going to end anyway. Basel III and all these regulations, I don’t care. It doesn’t make a difference.

I don’t know how the world would look like in six months time. I have no clue. I think now we are going into one of these hot periods because really now governments, they want to destroy the current system. We know lockdowns don’t work, but they still do it, doing it. And now they basically have society divided. They push this vaccine passports in Italy, in France, in the UK, in Australia. And I think this winter will be harsher than the past 18 months. But I think people are going to write and that’s also what these social paths who are ruling the centralized system are looking for.

You have to destroy old systems, create a new one, chaos out of order as long as you can keep the people in this dialectic. The Hegelian dialectic problem reaction solution. You create a problem, you provoke reaction, then you come up with a solution and then you restart again. And as long as the people are part of that dialectic, then they will be always captured. So to me, I already said 18 months ago, I’m not part of that. I’m not pro or against any longer. I take a step back.

I watch it as an observer and I basically don’t take part in that. Not to show any longer. I just exit the system as good as I can. And I started the thinking process, how I can protect me and my family and my friends. We started a niche taste here in Tegino, where we have our own small municipality, off grid, where we like to attract like minded individuals so that they come up there and we can prepare for what is coming. But to me, the future is decentralized.

I don’t see that. World Economic Forum, Great Reset, Chinese surveillance, Modern Monetary Theory and universal basic income bullshit. It’s not going to work. Central planning never worked. It will not work out in the future. And we are at the end of Fiat is going down the drain just by replacing paper with a centralized digital banking coin. Why should the people accept such a deal? You want to switch from bullshit to another bullshit? I mean, it’s a joke.

Keith Weiner: I don’t think they will. In one of my theories is that credit only works when people are willing to grant it. When we say Fiat currency is going to collapse, a great part of that is going to be collapse and willingness to extend trust. Then there’s no way for them to declare, oh, that currency didn’t work well, here’s another currency. It’s a central bank digital currency. It’s IMF strategic drawing rates currency. Once the cat is out of the bag, you can’t get that cat back into the bag by just declaring a new currency. The trust would have to be earned from zero from the beginning all over again.

Claudio Grass: Right.

Keith Weiner: Which is one of the reasons why I think this collapse will be horrific. It will be if this collapse comes and nothing is done to avert it. This will be like the collapse of Rome. There’ll be a dark age to follow because there’ll be the collapse of trust and nobody will extend any kind of credit, any kind of long term contract. It’s cash on the barrel head only. And I think that’s a consequence of destruction of trust and credit on the scale that they’re doing right now.

Why should they trust anybody else if this is how the world works?

Claudio Grass: Yeah. I mean, everything is absurd. It’s completely absurd and everything is fake and everything is manipulated.

Keith Weiner: Just to touch on one more absurdity. On top of all the other absurdities negative interest rates, which came to Switzerland first and now has spread like a cancer to many other countries, including Japan and obviously Europe. What do you think of negative interest rates?

Claudio Grass: It’s completely insane. It’s nonsense of course. It’s destroying the system anyway, as you say, the system it’s going to collapse and people lose trust in the institution. Even I look at this big Netflix series, the way government, politicians is presented. They’re all crooks. They’re all bandits, they’re criminals. They are murderers. Sometimes I have the feeling that a lot of different interest groups which are part of that system, they are actively working to destroy trust in the institutions. So that’s why I believe like this, George Soros house out of order.

They also have no clue. They know that it’s going to the end. Corona has been a great scapegoat, so that the people don’t believe that government and central banks are responsible for the crash because they are responsible for the crash. So they can blame it now on Corona. They had to shut down to protect the people and so on. But I think in the future, people will realize that this has all been a psyop, a military psyop on the global scale. But it’s all bullshit.

And hopefully the good stuff right now is the Swiss people. I’m now in this gold for 12, 13 years professionally, I have never seen so many Swiss people buying gold, and it’s not the big ones, but it’s mainly the smaller, smaller guys, 20,000, 25,000. Some of my partners are up 400% in terms of new customers. So the little guy on the street, which is not intellectually brainwashed, they got it. They still have the right instincts. They understand that this cannot work and that whatever they are talking, the freaks, the anointed experts, the intellectual idiots.

They don’t believe them anymore. They don’t believe that. It makes sense. The narrative switching from flattening the curve, hospital, emergency capacity and all that stuff. They reduced the emergency capacity by almost 50% over the last seven months.

Keith Weiner: Switching to one last topic Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies versus gold.

Claudio Grass: Okay. Yeah, I still prefer gold. I still prefer tangible. I can own it. I have it physically there because all of these guys and great reset that they are talking about taking down the grid when we look at the bigger agenda, green new economy, blah blah. I mean, we are going to have huge problems with electricity, power supply and so on. So I think at the Internet, as such, is still centralized. So we really have to develop a fully decentralized Internet. But crypto, the concept of cryptocurrencies, blockchain, the digitalization, PeerToPeer as such,

I think that’s the future that’s part of the future. We are right now standing also at the kind of dot com bubble 2.0. And when you think about 20 years ago, I mean, the big players are not around any longer. And maybe Bitcoin can make it. Maybe not because all these exchanges strongly regulated. Everyone wanted to come get the banking license. The hashtag where Bitcoin has been created is coming from the NSA. So I don’t know. It’s still a pure speculation, but I always embrace don’t get me wrong.

I embrace cryptos and so on. I think that’s really part of the solution also for the future, but it needs to be fully decentralized.

Keith Weiner: I can certainly see having been a computer software developer and having worked on architectures that were centralized or decentralized the scalability, the single points of failure. We have this system today where in order to transfer one dollars to somebody else that has to go through one single choke point, which of course, is enormously pleasing to the person who controls that choke point but doesn’t necessarily serve anybody else. And I think there’s something about gold that lends itself to being distributed and if not peer to peer, at least many to many different vaults and different participants in the network and not one central, obviously central bank, but not one central clearinghouse necessary for transfers of gold to go through.

Claudio Grass: Absolutely. What is the function of money? It has basically two medium of exchange and store of value. That’s the way it should be in a free market.

Keith Weiner: And the third, which is to finance productive activity. It has to earn interest for savers and it has to be borrowed and finance growth and production capacity.

Claudio Grass: Absolutely. That’s why you get the interest rates when you lend out when you give money to somebody else to invest and so on, and you basically don’t consume or you have a certain risk not to get it back. That’s why you get an interest rate or a risk premium for this. It has always been like this. It can be also in the future. That will be sound. And I think we’re also going to go back to that one. Gold just has a history of 5000 years and Bitcoin hasn’t proven the test of time.

Let’s call it that way. We should be interested in both in digitalization, in the cryptos, but we all just should be interested in monetary history. And what really has been. Gold is money. Everything else is credit. I see the cryptocurrency more. I mean, it’s open source. So if something is becoming too big, too successful. Then you’re going to have others jumping in the right to fork. So it’s in a constant environment, which is dominated by competition. So to me, I would love to see cryptocurrencies in a very stable way and that you have store value.

So you basically can sell your gold against the crypto, which is stable and you can travel around the world and go back and forth. So I think that’s a bit. I see that combination. The cryptos are superior, medium exchange, but gold will remain store value.

Keith Weiner: All right. Well, thanks so much, Claudia. This has been a fascinating conversation. Spanned the globe and spanned everything from history to lockdown to money to society to political principles and philosophy. It’s been a lot of fun. We should do this again sometime.

Claudio Grass: Sometimes a pleasure talking to you. Please.

Keith Weiner: Alright. Thank you so much.

Claudio Grass: Thank you as well. And stay free.

Keith Weiner: You too. You too.

Claudio Grass: Thank you.

Keith Weiner: Alright.

Claudio Grass: Bye, Ciao, bye.

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