By Catherine Austin Fitts
When the 21st century began, I knew little about silver and gold. I remember one colleague explaining that the gold market was highly manipulated. I started to watch the gold prices and called him a month or so later, saying, “You know, I know nothing about gold, but I know markets. This market is highly managed.” Chris Powell later described it brilliantly: “There are no more markets, just interventions.”
This meant I needed to find some real pros to teach me about precious metals as an asset class and how the precious metals and related derivative markets really worked. James Turk, the founder of Goldmoney, was one of the wisest voices in the precious metals markets. I first heard James speak about gold at a conference in London, introducing me to his brilliant framework of the “central banking-warfare model.” We had met briefly when I was at Wharton interviewing for a summer internship on Wall Street. James was interviewing for Chase Manhattan Bank. I landed at Goldman Sachs instead.
When James learned that I lived in Tennessee, he said, “You know, there is a precious metals dealer in Tennessee who was beat up by the Feds even worse than you. You ought to look him up. He has a newsletter called The Moneychanger.”
And that was how I came to meet Franklin Sanders and became a long-time subscriber to The Moneychanger and a satisfied customer of his family precious metals dealership, now called Volunteer Precious Metals.
For many years, I would drive every month to Franklin’s farm in Dogwood Mudhole, Tennessee to record the Precious Metals Market Report on the Solari Report. We would record after dinner. Those dinners turned into many remarkable conversations during which I learned a great many lessons about building family wealth and the role of gold and silver.
Lesson one was to understand who and what was real. The first time I arrived at Franklin’s home, I admired a large photograph of his family—seven children and their spouses and scores of grandchildren. Franklin smiled and explained that his family was his primary investment. Indeed, when we look at building family wealth, the first thing we need to understand is who is the asset. Your assets are the people important to you—the spouse you love, the children you raise. To learn how to build family wealth, you must understand that your resources are to support, nurture, preserve, and protect this inner circle. It is these people who are the assets, not the resources you accumulate. Without this essential understanding of who should be at the center of your investment strategies, your life will be the chessboard equivalent of sacrificing your Kings and Queens so you can accumulate more pawns.
The second lesson involved measuring wealth in real measurements instead of fiat currency. This was a new way of thinking for me. Franklin’s mantra reflected his family’s investments in their farm. He advised me to measure my wealth in “acres, hooves, and ounces.” Recognizing that much of the manipulation in the commodities and financial markets was in the arbitrage between central bankers’ creation of dollars, euros, and yen and the prices of real assets, I learned that savvy investors needed to be able to price assets by both real asset measurements and fiat currency prices, while steadily managing their participation in the arbitrage to increase their accumulation as measured by real measurements. This is a critical skill in navigating disaster capitalism and understanding how to accumulate when there is “blood in the water.”
The third lesson was the importance of serving others. In their farming business, newsletter, and precious metals dealership, Franklin and his family strove to generate income and build equity in a way that helped others. A significant portion of their savings contributed to building a church in their community. Franklin and members of the church also regularly visited local prisons after a hard day’s work to minister the gospel to prisoners who could receive Bibles with study. I have rarely seen a more hopeless environment than rural American courts and correctional facilities and prisons. Franklin’s many years of efforts in the prisons reflect his appreciation of the fact that we build wealth one person at a time. No wealth can come from liquidating our people.
If we are to rebuild our local economies in a manner that builds family wealth—and if we are to avoid the digital concentration camps that will imprison us if we allow the adoption of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and digital identities—silver and gold will have a role to play, as they have for thousands of years. But they are not a magic bullet. Unless we preserve the rule of law, the only commodities or financial assets that will have value will be what you can protect with a gun.
This is why, as we consider how we use silver and gold, we must also consider how we can establish the conditions of sovereignty and the rule of law—as well as attending to practical needs at the local level for food, water, energy, and shelter.
As both a farmer and precious metals dealer as well as a long-time student of how to build local economies, Franklin was the ideal person to write our 2nd Quarter 2022 Wrap Up, including a review of what state and local legislators can do to create the conditions that will help families build wealth in this environment. Indeed, forward-thinking legislators in Tennessee and other states are working to remove sales tax on precious metals sales and to create state depositories and state banks. Read on for more ideas on what we can do at the state level to bring real solutions to the current financial system.
Franklin’s presentation is necessarily U.S.-centric, so I also asked French attorney Karine Solnon—who is based in the Netherlands and is experienced in international transactions—to write a review of precious metal taxation and other regulations in Europe. While the U.S. is clearly moving to make gold and silver more liquid, no such movement appears afoot in Europe. Europeans would be well advised to start one.
Building Wealth is a theme we will be exploring again in our 3rd Quarter 2022 Wrap Up. The forces of centralization are working diligently to centralize ownership and control of wealth—and are quite willing to destroy great wealth if it serves their own accumulation. In this environment, building wealth is not just an investment strategy, but a war strategy for a war that we must win.
My mother had a friend who escaped Europe before World War II with her family. To finance their travel, they dug up a box of gold coins in the back yard. She told me that at first, they had trouble finding the box. But when they finally did, and my mother’s friend heard the clinking of the coins against the metal box, she knew that they would live. It’s a reminder of one of my favorite quotes:
“Always have enough gold to bribe the border guards.”
October 1, 2022