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Five Weeks Of Silver Backwardation

Five Weeks Of Silver Backwardation

By: Trace Mayer, J.D.

-- Posted 25 February, 2009 | Digg This Article | Discuss This Article - Comments: 0


During an interview with Contrary Investors Cafe on 24 February 2009 I discussed both gold backwardation and silver backwardation. After the interview I was asked why more commentators are not discussing this issue. I do not know.

Regarding money there are two competing views: (1) money is determined by the market or (2) chartalism which asserts that ‘money is a creature of law.’ Governments can only manage money if they create it. Obviously, the market determines money because money existed before governments were created.

Regarding gold there are two competing paradigms: (1) gold is a commodity and (2) gold is money. Paradigm (1) asserts that gold is a hedge against inflation and there is no monetary demand for gold. On the other hand, paradigm (2) asserts that gold is a hedge against currency collapse and the primary demand for gold is monetary. I subscribe to the second paradigm and assert that at all times and in all circumstances gold remains money.


Under which paradigm does silver fall? Is silver a commodity or is silver money? For a commodity to be money its primary demand must be monetary.

Like gold for thousands of years silver functioned as money in the market. The term dollar, as used in Article 1 Section 9 Clause 1 and the Seventh Amendment of the US Constitution, is defined as 371.25 grains of fine silver under Section 9 of the Coinage Act of 1792. Governments stockpiled billions and billions of ounces. However, on 24 June 1968 the United States government defaulted on their silver certificates. Over the decades silver, like gold, has been demonetized in ordinary daily transactions. Supposedly there are large stockpiles of gold in central bank vaults. Unlike gold there are no reported large above ground stockpiles of silver stashed in central bank vaults. Additionally, a large portion of silver demand is industrial as it is used in cell phones, refrigerators, dental equipment, computers, etc.

Therefore, it appears that silver is confused about its role. In other words, silver functions as a commodity and as quasi-money.


While similar there are differences between future and forward contracts. For example, future contracts are traded on exchanges, use margin and are marked to market daily. In contrast, forward contracts are generally traded over-the-counter (OTC derivatives) and are not marked to market. Therefore, forward contracts are subject to greater counter-party risk than future contracts.

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SteveMT's picture

"Do not get caught with your paradigms down!"

I like the way he ends the article. Something is going to break loose or HTF soon.

SIERRA, What did you decide on doing about the medicine?