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By Egon von Greyerz

Founder and Chairman

The final phase of Empires normally ends with the same signals whether it was 2000 years ago in Rome or  today in the US.

One of the first signs is losing wars together with excessive debts, deficits, devaluations and decadence  The US being defeated and hurriedly fleeing from Afghanistan in a few days clearly signifies the end of the US empire.

The mighty US military has in the last few decades conducted disastrous wars against very small countries with no big armies or weaponry. Vietnam, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan come to mind but there are many more as we show below.

Brown’s University has just made a study of the US cost of wars since 9/11. They arrive at a staggering $8 trillion and the loss of 900,000 lives .

So in the last 20 years, the US has spent $8 trillion or 40% of annual GDP on conducting totally unsuccessful wars. The report also states that even after the exodus from Afghanistan the US is still involved in wars in over 80 countries.

Current extent of the US empire


The cost of being involved in some kind of war activity in 85 countries will continue to cost the dying US empire dearly for decades to come.


Are the 2020s going to be a return to Orwell’s 1984 with Big Brother watching us everywhere?

Well, it certainly looks like many governments and the elite is leading us in that direction.

Covid has been a superb excuse for controlling the people in a number of countries. Free speech has been banned in the media and unacceptable censorship is now the rule on social media whether it relates to vaccines, climate or race.

Dont you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.

George Orwell, 1984

But it gets worse as we are seeing severe clampdowns on free movement. There are  lockdowns, quarantines, restrictions or bans on travel both domestically and internationally, ban on shopping, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, stadiums with offices and schools closed. And then we are not allowed to see friends, parents, or even go to work. The list of restrictions is endless and they seem to be deliberately and regularly turned on and off in order to control confuse the people.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

George Orwell, 1984

There have been great variations of these restrictions. Countries like Australia and New Zealand have locked people in. Then we have, for example, Sweden on the other hand which has had virtually no restrictions, and no closure of schools, shops or offices. No masks have ever been mandated.

I have spent part of the summer in Sweden and it has been refreshing to see people conduct their lives normally. You hardly ever see anyone wearing a mask anywhere. The Swedish government doesn’t get involved and instead it is the health officials who decide. The Chief Epidemiologist Tegnell in Sweden has conducted a non-intervention policy, telling the people to take their own precautions. He doesn’t consider that masks fulfil any purpose either but rather that they have a negative effect. Quite a contrast to Australia. When it comes to infections and deaths, Sweden has fared better than many countries.

As regards treatment of Covid, conventional medicine has had very limited success. But sadly, alternative treatments are totally suppressed. This despite major parts of India and Central Africa having used Ivermectin with almost 100% success and virtually eliminated Covid. Some hospital doctors in the US have also used Ivermectin with great results.

The map below shows in blue the area of Africa where Ivermectin has been successfully used. The blue line at the bottom shows deaths per 100,000 in that region. A massive difference to the deaths (yellow line) in the yellow areas.

African Ivermectin and non-ivermectin countries.

Ivermectin was invented 50 years ago against parasite infestations. Over 4.5 billion doses have been given and the creator received the Nobel prize. Still the WHO, Big Pharma and  Western governments refuse to even test Ivermectin against Covid. It is too cheap to produce and compete with the vaccines.


In the US and the UK history is now being rewritten especially at university campuses. Statues, paintings and books related to slavery are being taken down even if the historical  person was a major benefactor to the university in question.

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

George Orwell, 1984

The problem with rewriting history is where do you stop? Throughout history there have been wars and invasions which were all unjust. But we can’t reverse history. Just take America as an example. Both North and South America have been invaded and taken over by European countries in the last few hundred years, whether they were English, French, Spanish or Portuguese.

In North America a major part of the original population was killed and the rest moved to reservations. If we rewrite history the Europeans must obviously pull out and give the land back to the Indians.

Hardly practical!

The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink

George Orwell, 1984


Rich Land – Poor Land – Destitute Land is the natural cycle of most countries and empires.

As a country goes from rich to poor, it finds it hard to accept that it is in a permanent decline.

For some countries like Venezuela that can’t borrow money externally, the process from abundance to destitution was very quick and for others like the Roman Empire it took centuries.

For more powerful countries, running out of money is no problem. Since deficits are only  believed to be temporary, they can easily be financed by debt. And this is exactly what happened to the US empire in the early 1960s. There was gradually less money in the till than the country spent, so it started borrowing.

For 60 years the US has increased the Federal debt every year with the exception of 4 years. So the US is now living on not just borrowed money but also borrowed time.

Excessive debt has throughout history killed empires and the already-dying US empire will be no exception.

It took 200 years for the US to reach just under $1 trillion. Reagan managed to treble that debt in just 8 years. Obama inherited a $10t debt from Bush and doubled it to $20t in 8 years.

Debt of the US empire.

With debt on average doubling every 8 years since Reagan became president, my target,  set 5 years ago, was that in 2025 the US debt would be $40t. But with Biden’s profligacy I would now expect that to be at least $50t !!!!!  Just think about it, in 2025 US debt will be 50x higher than when Reagan took over and 100x higher since the gold window was closed in Aug 1971.

federal debt of US empire

So we are now in the exponential phase of the debt explosion. Exponential moves are almost without exception terminal as I explained in this article from 2017:

There is a more scientific illustration how these exponential moves occur and also how they end.

Imagine a football stadium which is filled with water. Every minute one drop is added. The number of drops doubles every minute. Thus it goes from 1 to 2, 4, 8 16 etc. So how long would it take to fill the entire stadium? One day, one month or a year? No it would be a lot quicker and only take 50 minutes! That in itself is hard to understand but even more interestingly, how full is the stadium after 45 minutes? Most people would guess 75-90%. Totally wrong. After 45 minutes the stadium is only 7% full! In the final 5 minutes the stadium goes from 7% full to 100% full.

It is of course impossible to predict where we are in this debt explosion. If we are in the final 5 minutes then debt can still increase almost 15x. And if we get hyperinflation which is very likely, the increase could be substantially higher.

As debt will have grown 50x since 1981 by 2025, tax revenues will probably stay at a measly $3.5t as the economy slows down or even collapses. The consequences are obvious. When the interest rates rise, which is guaranteed as the Fed loses control, the US empire can’t even afford to pay the interest and will default.

This is how all empires end, they lose not only wars but also total control of money.

What a bloo-y mess!

The only problem is that once fortunes have turned, there is a very, very long way back to prosperity. This is what history and the laws of nature teach us although most political leaders are too arrogant to learn from history.


As empires reach the end game, money printing and debt accelerates as I show above. This leads to a total debasement of the currency. For example the Roman silver coin, the Denarius, lost almost 100% of its silver content between 180 and 280 AD.

The US dollar of the dying US empire has not fared much better and has lost 98% in real terms since 1971. As the currency collapses more and more fake money must be produced to keep the illusion going. By definition, money which is created without any service or goods offered in return is always fake and has zero real value.

During times of rapid credit expansion with fake money, the ones standing nearest the printing press always benefit greatly since they have access to the money before it totally loses its value. This happened for example during the hyperinflation in Zimbabwe or in Venezuela and it is now happening in the US.

The chart below clearly demonstrates how the wealthy Americans are getting the money first and rapidly increasing their wealth in relation to GDP. In 1982 the 400 wealthiest Americans had a wealth equal to 2% of GDP and today their share has risen 9-fold to 18% of GDP. Wealth inequality is rampant, becoming a neo-feudalism.

wealth inequality of the US empire


As debts, deficits and currency debasement accelerate, the consequences are crystal clear and inevitable.

The epic bubble in stocks is coming to an end and could implode at any time. Whether it expands further due to the massive expansion in money supply is irrelevant. Neither a company nor a country can show real growth based on fake money. When the bubble bursts, the world will learn that it consisted mainly of air that will just evaporate.

As the markets implode, so will all the debt and the bubble assets such as stocks, bonds and property. These asset values were all illusory, based on hope and fake money. Once the markets start breaking down, we will see the same process as the stadium above filling up with water. But this time it will be in reverse and values will decline by unthinkable percentages in the “first 5 minutes”. Remember that in the last 5 minutes, the stadium went from 7% full to 100% full.

For our investors and ourselves, we have owned physical gold and some physical silver in Switzerland (obviously outside the financial system) since 2002 when gold was $300 and silver $4.

We were convinced then that the risks we saw necessitated a high percentage of one’s financial assets in gold for wealth preservation purposes. What has happened since  completely confirms our position.

But the world has still not understood how undervalued gold is in relation to the massive expansion of money supply. Therefore I will continue to show the graph below which tells us that gold is as cheap to buy today as it was in 1971 when gold was $35 or in 2000 when gold
 was $288. In the face of the dying US empire, there is no better asset to own.

Gold is as cheap to own now as in 1970 relative to money supply.

About Egon von Greyerz
Born with dual Swiss/Swedish citizenship, Egon's education was mainly in Sweden. Egon von Greyerz began his professional life in Geneva as a banker and thereafter spent 17 years as the Finance Director and Executive Vice-Chairman of Dixons Group Plc. During that time, Dixons expanded from a small photographic retailer to a FTSE 100 company and the largest consumer electronics retailer in the U... More...

Egon von Greyerz
Founder and Chairman

Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 213 62 45

VON GREYERZ AG global client base strategically stores an important part of their wealth in Switzerland in physical gold and silver outside the banking system. VON GREYERZ is pleased to deliver a unique and exceptional service to our highly esteemed wealth preservation clientele in over 90 countries.
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