What do you believe to be the fundamental factors behind the increasingly high level of economic uncertainty in the United States and the world?
Jeff Christian: A problem that we have as a society is that you have this division between capitalists who own the means of production and the people that they no longer need to work. So, that's caused a lot of the political friction that has divided the country and it's not going away. In fact, it's going to get worse. In fact, it's going to get worse on a global basis.
Adidas is putting in a factory today to manufacture running shoes in Europe using 3-D printing. So, all of those running shoes, about 30 million running shoes manufactured and sold per year, they're only going to start with half a million a year in one factory, but they're already planning a second factory. All of those shoes that are made in sweat shops in the developing world, will be made by machines within a few years, and it will go very quickly. It's not just running shoes, it's t-shirts, it's underwear, it's manufactured products.
If you look at the mining industry, we've gone from the classic miner with a jackhammer to a miner, today, who’s running a machine that has eight drills, to already in some underground mines, a guy up on the surface with computer screens running five different machines with 12 different drills. So, there's no one underground if there's an accident and it's one guy doing the work of 60 people.
We have a manufacturer who makes little pieces that go into hearing aids. He bought a 3-D printer, and he got rid of 12 people per shift, and the machine runs 24-hours a day. So, as you go forward, this division between manufacturing output and manufacturing employment is going to get worse, it's going to get worse in the United States.
It's going to get worse in service industry too--McDonald's and other fast food companies already have robotic kitchens and they can replace people at the counters too if they want. It's going to get worse throughout society and it's going to get worse around the world. That's going to create an even greater divide, which is going to cause even greater political tensions. One of my views is that, politicians around the world are fully aware of this and have no clue how to solve it, but they're very well aware that there is no political solution readily apparent.
When François Hollande won the Presidency in France several years ago, I was talking to a French socialist friend of mine. Yes, I have French socialist friends, and I said, "What's his plan for unemployment?" He said, "More leisure time--guaranteed incomes, fewer working hours, more time to attend sporting events, and artistic events and things like that." I said, “Really?" He said, “Do you know any politician anywhere in the world who has a better plan?" I don't. So, I think that's one of those long-term issues that's going to keep people interested in owning gold and silver, because there's no ready, political, or economic solution to that.