20 March 2013

Precious metal commentary: propaganda, porn or entertainment?

I'm still alive. Haven't blogged for a while due to a lot of work on, primarily on a few Perth Mint Depository related business initiatives as well as trying to get up a research section on our perthmint.com.au site.

One of the more radical blogs I follow is Unqualified Reservations. His recent post on propaganda is a worthwhile read for those interested in social media manipulation and the state of precious metal "commentary".

Below is a quote from a book by Jacques Ellul that Unqualified Reservations refers to. I've edited it and changed a few words to make it read like it applies to precious metals:

Investors are faced with choices and decisions which demand maturity, knowledge, and a range of information which they do not and cannot have. The individual wishes to be conversant with economics and precious metal markets. He wants to form an opinion on them. But in reality he can't. He is caught between his desire and his inability, which he refuses to accept.

For no investor will believe that he is unable to have opinions. Public opinion surveys always reveal that people have opinions even on the most complicated questions, except for a small minority (usually the most informed and those who have reflected most). The majority prefers expressing stupidities to not expressing opinion: this gives them the feeling of participation. For this they need simple thoughts, elementary explanations, a "key" that will permit them to take a position, and even ready-made opinions.

As most investors have the desire and at the same time the incapacity to participate, they are ready to accept a propaganda that will permit them to participate, and which hides their incapacity beneath explanations, judgments, and news, enabling them to satisfy their desire without eliminating their incompetence. The more complex, general, and accelerated precious metal market phenomena become, the more investors feel concerned, the more they want to be involved.

And the investor does not want information, but only value judgments and preconceived positions. Here one must also take into account the investor's laziness, which plays a decisive role in the entire propaganda phenomenon, and the impossibility of transmitting all information fast enough to keep up with developments in the modern world. Besides, the developments are not merely beyond man's intellectual scope; they are also beyond him in volume and intensity; he simply cannot grasp the world's economic and political problems.

Faced with such matters, he feels his weakness, his inconsistency, his lack of effectiveness. He realizes that he depends on decisions over which he has no control, and that realization drives him to despair. Man cannot stay in this situation too long. He needs an ideological veil to cover the harsh reality, some consolation, a raison d'etre, a sense of values. And only propaganda offers him a remedy for a basically intolerable situation.

Following that quote, Unqualified Reservations observes that "the modern propaganda addict (we cannot call him a victim) experiences political authority ... entirely as porn. That is, as a simulation entirely without substance."

Simulation entirely without substance. Exactly what a lot of precious metal commentary is - Propaganda/Porn. Maybe to be less harsh I should say a lot of it is Entertainment (making it amusing to read them ranting against the main stream media when they themselves engage in the same dumbing down).

All very dangerous to your financial health, unless you know you are consuming entertainment. But how to identify it? I'd suggest asking: what do you associate the word "propaganda" with? I'd say Emotion. Propaganda is emotive, angry, fearful, blindly patriotic. Not rational or calm. That is one of its "tells".