The Unknown Bottleneck

We used to live in a microwaveable age.  Whatever you wanted could be cooked up in less than a minute.  Times now are immeasurably faster.  Everything is instant, immediate, and unlimited.  Whereas just-in-time inventory distressed us 20 years ago, today it’s expected.  Why look any further than tomorrow?  Next-day delivery is the norm, twitter spews the mental sewage of millions as soon as their brains erupt, and we can gorge ourselves on information, goods, and lust, never ending. 

We’ve got it all. 

Yet our souls are famished, starving.  We are filled up, yet never satiated.  We gorge but are actually withering away.  But…wait…our Instagram feed just refreshed.  Wait, wait there was a topic here…oh yeah, right!  Right now…tomorrow…gold…silver…there we go!

Such immediacy gives us a false, disconnected view of reality and all kinds of lunacy shifts from the periphery to center stage, becoming the norm.  I’ll give you an example of what I mean.

A few years ago I raised pastured poultry and sold them to customers in the burbs of a nearby major city.  A large portion of these customers were quite idealistic about their food choices.  In particular, soy was evil.  Granted, I agreed with them to an extent but reality is often the brick wall our ideology crashes into.

One of my customers particularly objected to soy in my chicken feed.  When I explained to her there was simply no readily available and affordable alternative, she quipped, “Well what about road kill?”

“What about it?” I asked.

“Well I’ve heard that if you gather some roadkill and hang it in your mobile chicken pens, the flies will come, lay eggs on the carcass, and maggots will drop down, feeding your birds.”

It was a grace from God that kept me from laughing and hanging up right then.  I was dumbfounded.  I literally didn’t know where to start.  Why did she think I had the time or the desire to drive through the countryside gathering roadkill?  Would she be hanging the roadkill in the pens for me?  What about her idea turning the mundane task of feeding chickens into a nuclear nostril assault?  What about the concept of raining maggots? 

Reality.  That’s what was missing.  Reality.  That’s what’s missing with us today.  We are so caught up in the virtual world that when real events hit us, we pass judgements based on the assumption that the real world should operate just like a cell phone does, at our every beck and call, regardless how insane our desires happen to be. 

Markets won’t do this, folks.  They can’t.  And here’s the long-delayed point.  There was a time, in the days of yon and yore.  There was a day, long, long ago.  This was a time known as 2008.  Bad, bad things happened.  Economic things.  Money problems.  Everyone got scared and everyone wanted gold and silver.  They wanted it right now. 

BUT

Within two weeks, retail and wholesale dealers did not know from one day to the next what physical precious metals would be available for delivery in a reasonable time.  By reasonable time I mean less than three months (usual delivery times are two to three weeks).   This happened because the physical gold and silver markets are very, very thin.

They are small – a lot smaller than we think.  And there will come a time in the current market when delivery times on physical precious metals will stretch out to such a length that no reasonable person can expect real delivery.  There is going to be a big, big bottleneck that will greatly affect not only availability, but also, ultimately prices somewhat. 

Today there may be plenty of physical gold and silver to go around.  Tomorrow…well…why worry about tomorrow?  Our twitter feed’s refreshing.

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