Anybody remember the group of shriveled-up grapes singing and dancing their way through "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"? If you're under 40 then maybe not, but it was a big hit during a 1980s-era TV ad campaign. They even hired Michael Jackson to sing the theme song that Marvin Gaye made famous—can't get any bigger than that!
What's the point of all this? The whole dancing grapes phenomenon was a marketing plan masterminded by the California Raisin Marketing Board with the goal to persuade people to buy more California raisins. Nothing unusual going on here. Organizations that are created to further economic goals (make more money, eh?) are literally everywhere. You might not always notice them, but they're there. In fact, that's the point—get the sales price of the avocado or zucchini or raisin as high as possible in order to maximize the profit of the company without agitating or driving away the customers. (By the way, for everyone in Sacramento or Albany this means trying to make a — gulp — profit.) "Oooooo, the horror! Everyone knows that "profit" is just code for "exploitation" which is just code for excessive "profits"! "Quick, someone call the FDA... or the FBI... or the CIA! For God's sake, call 911!"
So, when I ran across the following story, I literally had a "WTF?" moment.
(CNN) -- Fire up the griddle! Much of a huge cache of maple syrup snatched from a Quebec storage facility has been recovered, police say.
Three people have been arrested and five others are being sought in connection with the theft from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec Provincial Police said in a statement Tuesday. The theft occurred between August 2011 and July 2012, police said.
The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check of the warehouse, which "had been secured by a fence and locks, and visited regularly," federation president Serge Beaulieu said in a statement in August.
The barrels that originally contained the syrup were empty, meaning it was somehow transferred to other containers to complete the theft, the federation said.
Police said Tuesday that they had seized vehicles that were used to transport the stolen sticky stuff as well as carts, lifts, scales and kettles.
They said their investigation of the thefts covered the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario as well as the northern United States. Almost 300 people were interviewed as part of the investigation, police said.
As much as 80% of the world's maple syrup comes from Quebec, the federation says.
Are you kidding me? There's actually an organization for maple syrup producers? Well, duh! (smacks forehead with palm of hand) Of course!—this makes complete sense. The guys and gals who "tap" maple trees and work an untold number of hours in half-frozen "sugar shacks" want to make as much coin as possible for all their effort. I sure would, so I don't blame them one delicious, sticky drop! If the group can "coordinate" a maximum price for their product—without significantly reducing overall demand—then voila!, they've achieved economic success.
I apologize for the long setup, so I'll steer this ship back to our bread & butter—the precious metals markets. In this case I will be focusing on silver—the extraordinarily beautiful metal used thousands of different ways all over the world. Inquiring silver investors would like to know the answer to the following question:
Is there ANY organization that (1) defend's the companies that bust their butts day after day to find and produce silver and (2) successfully lobbies for—and justifies—the highest possible price for silver?None that I'm aware of.
Oh, yes, there's the Silver Institute (SI). You may have heard of it, or visited their website. I'm sorry, but the SI won't cut it. Give-me-a-break. First of all, the data you can find there you can also find on a bunch of other websites. Second, it's an "institute". I'm not sure what they mean by that, except that maybe the board of directors of the companies who are members should be in an "institute"? But wait! My third point is the best. The real problem
is that the SI membership list includes (plain as day on their website).... drum roll please.... Tiffany & Co.
Are you kidding me!
For cryin' out loud, Tiffany is ALSO on a member of the Silver Users Association (SUA)! But THAT makes sense. Right? They USE silver.
Now let's focus for a second. I know it's hard, but you can do it. We're just going to connect a couple of dots.
The Silver Users Association is a non-profit organization that was established in 1947 to represent the interests of companies that make, sell and distribute products and services in which silver is an essential component.The Association’s members employ more than 200,000 workers and process 80% of all silver used in the United States. Members include representatives from photographic, electronic, silverware, mirror and jewelry industries, producers of semi-fabricated and industrial products, and trading and service organizations responding to member needs.
Hmmmm. Let's See... Just for kicks, do you think the SUA would like the price of silver to be higher or lower at any given point in time? Take your time. No hurry. tick-tock, tick-tock By the way, I really appreciate you hanging on this long... and your answer is.... Sorry, I didn't quite catch that... yes, yes, I believe you've got it, old chap.... "LOWER!" Ding-ding-ding.
(Very good. You can take a break while I continue to flesh this out.)
Just for the record, I bet the part in their "mission statement" where they say, "...to represent the interests of companies that make, sell and distribute products and services in which silver is an essential component." was your first clue. While your second clue should have been the fact that...
The SILVER USERS ASSOCIATION is going to represent the interests of the companies that BUY Silver!They don't want silver to cost $100 per ounce! They want silver to cost $10 per ounce. Of course they will never change the prices they charge their customers! This way they can make more money—the evil, greedy corporations they are! Hey, isn't this why businesses are created in the first place? (That, by the way, is a rhetorical question for everyone in Santa Monica.) Folks, trust me, the goal ain't to lose money—it's to make as much money as possible. And by the way, that goes for the "little-guy" silver investor just as much as the huge NYSE-listed corporation!
You bet it is!
Almost all of the biggest silver mining companies are members of the SI. From Coeur d'Alene to Silver Wheaton—they're all there. So, I ask nobody in particular, "What are they doing allowing Tiffany to be part of their club?" I have no freakin' idea! To make membership meetings smell better? To get special discounts on overpriced necklaces and rings? Free shipping coupons? (insert hysterical scream here) Aaaaaaargh! Do they even know that Tiffany is a member of both organizations??
Of course there are fine organizations like the Association of Mining & Exploration Companies in Australia and the Mining Association of British Columbia (and undoubtedly others around the world). And, not surprisingly there are quite a few silver and gold mining companies as members. But, I'll bet an uncirculated silver eagle that AMEC and MBAC spend 99% of their time on "touchy-feely" public relations plus strategies to keep the government off their backs. I get it. But, other than keeping these businesses in business (which is definitely important)—what are they doing to help promote the finished product?
Objective: higher silver prices. Period. For today, tomorrow and the future.
Tactic: The silver producers—companies which produce and sell a lot of silver every year—need to create a single-issue alliance as soon as possible.
It would be easy. All they have to do is copy the folks in Quebec who store syrup in giant warehouses, build up the supply and then systematically release it on the market—to control the price they get paid. This is nothing new. Ever heard of DeBeers? or OPEC? or the "Dairy Boards" of practically every country in the world? So, now we know about the Canadian Syrup Cartel. (Another one of many that we're not yet aware.)
"Co—py Que—bec!" "Co—py Que—bec!" (Intentionally copying anything from Quebec may be a first!)
It may be hard to believe but—collectively—the silver companies are beginning to look dumber than a pile of junk silver.
As far as picking a name goes, no need to be fancy-schmancy here—just keep it simple, eh? So, I'm guessing the most obvious name for this pipe-dream is "Organization of Silver Producing Companies" or "O.S.P.C."
However, OSPC sounds a little too close to "ASPCA"—the well-known group working to prevent animal abuse. Therefore, admitting upfront that I'm no acronym expert, the following is my sincere suggestion for the "name" of the-group-that-someone-is-going-to-finally-organize-before-all-the-companies-go-out-business-because-the-price-of-silver-is-too-low!!:
I don't know about you, but I think it works!
Never forget: it's a great day to be a gold and silver investor!
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Gold Fever is the "contagious excitement of a Gold Rush". It happens over and over again—all around the world—because every few generations the price of gold zooms higher in a scramble to adjust its true value. Nurse Nugget will be happy to help you calm down a bit with a good old fashioned "vaccination".
Hi-Ho Silver, Awaaaay! was made famous by the Lone Ranger when he needed to get his trusty steed's attention and Get Out Of Dodge. On the other hand, mere mortals can gear-up with a T-shirt or baseball cap and show their support for real money. Help wake up the sheeple and get them on the right horse!
$2,000 Gold is going to make headlines in your local newspaper this year. How can I say this? Because when REAL MONEY is this far undervalued it's only a matter of time before market equilibrium is restored. Get yours before we have to make re-make them into "Au$3K" caps!