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“Lions Led by Donkeys:” The Irrevocable Decline in US Hegemony

April 13, 2023

In his latest conversation with WTFinance’s Anthony Fatseas, Matterhorn Asset Management principal Matthew Piepenburg answers the question: Is the worst behind us? 

The short answer is: No. The reasons, and signals, however, are many, which Piepenburg addresses from both a broad and market-specific perspective. 

Piepenburg’s analysis begins and ends with a string cite of bond-market-driven signals and crises—from the repo disaster of 2019 to the latest US bank failures of 2023. Piepenburg distinguishes the bank failures of 2008 and 2023, but reminds that the Fed has its fingerprints on every crisis and every artificial “recovery.” The simple math of debt, inflation and monetary policy failures (akin to “credit cards and whiskey”) confirm that cornered central banks have no good options or scenarios left. It’s either tighten into economic depression (hangover) or loosen policy into a hyper-inflationary pain (hangover). The latter is most likely.

Piepenburg also addresses the added stressors of slow but steady de-dollarization and the waning petrodollar by unpacking their impact on desperate and increasingly ineffective Fed and currency options and the invisible tax of inflation. Trust in the experts (from markets, media and foreign policy) is falling because promise after promise has been broken in real-time.

Volatility in the two most important global assets—USDs and USTs–is a clear and present danger. Piepenburg explains how the QT policies of 2022 evolved into the current and predictable market headlines of 2023, including the rise of the BRICS and new trade alliances and alternative payment systems. By welching on the Bretton Woods gold-backed USD of 1944 in 1971, the US has created pent-up distrust of the US currency and IOU’s which means USD hegemony is slowly ending—though this does not mean the end of the USD as the world reserve currency. 

Ultimately, Piepenburg advises more critical thinking, which is not the same as “anti-patriotic.” The facts and math of failed financial and military policies out of DC demand closer scrutiny and greater preparation for informed investors, which, as Piepenburg argues, involves a careful look at commodities in general and precious metals in particular.

Gold Switzerland

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Matt began his finance career as a transactional attorney before launching his first hedge fund during the NASDAQ bubble of 1999-2001

Thereafter, he began investing his own and other HNW family funds into alternative investment vehicles while operating as a General Counsel, CIO and later Managing Director of a single and multi-family office. Matthew worked closely as well with Morgan Stanley’s hedge fund platform in building a multi-strat/multi-manager fund to better manage risk in a market backdrop of extreme central bank intervention/support. The conviction that precious metals provides the most reliable and longer-term protection against potential systemic risk led Matt to join VON GREYERZ.

The author of the Amazon No#1 Release, Rigged to Fail, Matt is fluent in French, German and English; he is a graduate of Brown (BA), Harvard (MA) and the University of Michigan (JD). His widely respected reports on macro conditions and the changing behaviour of risk assets are published regularly at SignalsMatter.com.


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