We are potentially entering an “Ice-9” situation where the entire world may “freeze” over economically, said Jim Rickards, best-selling author of “The Road to Ruin” and “Aftermath: Seven Secrets of Wealth Preservation in the Coming Chaos.”
Rickards is using a metaphor, alluding to a Kurt Vonnegut book, “Cat’s Cradle.” In the book, a vial of “Ice-9”, a liquid that has a freezing point of room temperature, leaks into the streams and rivers and turns all water into ice, effectively covering the planet in an ice age and wipes out all life.
Something similar may be underway, financially, when markets halt trading activity, he said.
“If you shut down the New York stock exchange, and I can’t sell stocks and get cash, I’m going to sell my money market funds or redeem my money market funds. Then you’ve got to shut down the money market funds industry, and then people say ‘ok, I’ll go to the banks or the ATMs,’” he said. “And then you’ve got to shut down the banks so the point is, it spreads from exchange to money markets, to brokerage accounts, to banks, and you end up shutting down the entire system.”
At the end of an Ice-9 scenario, the entire global financial system shuts down, and any Federal Reserve intervention may no longer be effective.
Rickards noted that contrary to conventional economic thinking, now is not a bad time to own gold.
“People say that gold does well in inflation, and you don’t want to have gold in deflation, and we may be looking at deflation, that may be coming, but the point I make is the greatest period of sustained deflation in U.S. history was 1927 to 1933 and in that period, gold went up 75%,” he said.
Gains in gold in today’s condition would be even higher, Rickard said, since gold was fixed in 1933, which is no longer the case today.
Additionally, Rickards said investors should store their gold “a bicycle ride” away so that in the worst case scenario, it would become accessible should people need to evacuate cities by bicycle, which would be more effective during a gridlock than cars.