Economic Outlook: The Eerie Wisdom of CV Myers

To those who were listening, the economic outlook and investment advice CV Meyers provided in his Myers' Finance & Energy newsletter made investors a lot of money in the late 1970s.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
March/April 1980

In the late 1970s, self-styled financial gurus never got it right as often as CV Myers got it right.
ILLUSTRATION: FOTOLIA/SCOTT MAXWELL


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One wise elder of the tribe is worth at least twenty million slick buffoons.  

I walked right through the door,
Not knowing any more . . .
Than I was ready for.
 — Jessie Coulter


There is a slightly grizzled and very wise 67-year-old man by the name of C.V. Myers that you should know about. Why? Because C. Vernon Myers is a genuine oracle. A visionary. An elder of the tribe who possesses the repeatedly demonstrated ability to divine the future.

Would you like to be rich? Vern Myers can make you extremely rich. (See. I told you you should meet this guy.) And I know that to be a documentable fact because Mr. Myers has made many people—most of whom he has never even met—rich beyond their dreams during the past ten years.

I will tell you exactly how C. Vernon Myers did that. He did it by publishing something called Myers' Finance & Energy . . . a roughly semi-monthly eight-page newsletter published 14 times a year. For at least the past decade, MFE has been one of the best—if not the best—bargains in the world.

A bargain, that is, if you had any money at all in the early 1970's. Because on January 1, 1972—when Vern still lived in Canada—he told his readers to take their funds out of the stock market (which, in real terms, was worth about half again as much as it is today) and out of the banks (which have been paying less interest than the rate of inflation throughout the past decade). "Put your money 100% into gold," C.V. said—gold was then selling for $35 an ounce—"and gold mining shares."

Mr. Myers next took his readers out of gold in August of 1975, when the yellow metal was between $165 and $170 an ounce, and had them park their funds in U.S. Treasury notes paying eight to ten percent.

And that's where Myers left his disciples until January 28, 1977, when he put them 50% back into gold at $135. On February 18th of that year—when the metal was selling for $140 an ounce—C.V. told his readers to invest the remaining 50% of their funds in gold.

And finally, on October 31, 1978—when the precious metal had already "skyrocketed" (in most people's minds) to an "incredible" $220, while gold mining stocks had hardly started to move up again—Myers advised his subscribers to sit tight. "If you simply have to do something, though," he said, "the best action you can take is to sell one-third of your gold and invest the proceeds in South African mining stocks." And that's where ol' Vern has left his readers to this day (January 17, 1980), which finds gold selling on the New York market for $800 an ounce.

And the bottom line of those few easy actions is this: For every $1.00 you had in your savings in 1970 or even January 1, 1972 .. . you (if you had listened to C.V. Myers) would now have more than $20.00. If you had backed his advice with only $10,000, in other words, you would now be sitting on a tidy $200,000! The people who trusted Mr. Myers' judgment to the extent of $100,000 (yes, a goodly number of folks did just that) currently have $2,000,000 salted away. And those who put $1,000,000 on the play have parlayed their fortune into an incredible $20,000,000! And not a penny of that gain, remember, is taxable until the lucky individuals in question sell—or until they sold—some of those appreciated assets.

This, of course, is an impressive track record. One that C. Vernon Myers can be justifiably proud of ... even if it stood alone. But it didn't stand alone. Because while Vern was making all that money so effortlessly for the folks who believed in him, most of the rest of us (perhaps even you) were following a far more "conventional" economic path . . . and getting only poorer in real terms by the minute.

Let me say that another way. If you did not get your financial information during the last decade from C.V. Myers' little eight-page, twice-a-month newsletter ... you probably got it from other places: The radio at work. The nightly TV news. The Wall Street Journal. The newsweeklies. Business Week. Changing Times. The local paper. PBS's Wall Street Week. "Hot tips" from the guy down the street. Pointed suggestions from your in-laws. Bank advertisements (which still try to con you into believing that it's smart to draw 5% interest while inflation rages at 12% or better). Fatuous promises from politicians. Telephone calls from your stockbroker. And so on. And on.

And on. Not only that, but you got all this "hot" financial advice instantaneously, man. I mean this is the Electronic Age, right? Anything happens anywhere in the world, man .. . we got it in living color. And we bounce it right now, man, off a coupla artificial satellites and right inta television sets in every bedroom and bathroom and kitchen in the whole world, man. Right inta next week's news magazines too . . . inta this evening's paper . . . inta your own personal home computer, man, if that's what you want.

After all. That's what this Age of Electronics is about, isn't it? Information. News flashes. Right now. While it's hot. Served up on the split second to give you that Competitive Advantage. Sure. There are 49 other wire services. Twelve radio stations in town. Four television channels, each with six roving minicams in the field. Two morning and three afternoon newspapers. Microwave transmission of all the telephone circuits we can't cram onto the regular lines. At least seven copy machines in every office in town and 14 more down at the library. And half a dozen new satellites up there 26,000 miles in the air every year bouncing 4,012 additional channels of information into sixteen trillion television antennae, telephone relays, and computer terminals around the world. Man, we are wired. Just to serve you. All for a small monthly fee. Just sign right here. Yeah, it is getting a little noisy. What's that you're sayin' about the Tower of Babel? No. I don't think that's funny at all. Come on, man, pay the bill.

We will now pause while I ask: Just how much money did you and your friends—"helped" as you were by all those instantaneous radio and television and satellite and telephone news flashes from all those "experts" and "leaders" who were "looking out for your best interests"—actually make off the events of the last 10 years?

I mean, with all that activity . . . with all that action ... how much did you really make? Hummm. That bad, huh?

Look. Did you even hold your own against inflation and the increased taxes that all those Washington politicians and bureaucrats created and dumped on you during the 70's? All right! All right! I'm sorry I asked.

Let me tell you again about C.V. Myers.

There's this 67-year-old guy, see, who grew up somewhere out on the plains of Saskatchewan. Somehow he got into publishing by founding a Canadian oil and gas journal back around 1940. Well, he sold that—in, I guess, the early 60's—and after a few years began to get bored, so he started a little eight-page newsletter called Myers' Finance & Energy.

It's an interesting newsletter. Damn interesting. Because during the past ten years—while the Richard Nixons and the Jimmy Carters and the U.S. Congressmen of the world were looting your pockets with one printing-press-financed idiotic scheme after another . . . while their hired "economists" were frantically spewing out apologist theory after apologist theory to "prove" that you weren't really being robbed after all . . . and while even most of the "alternative" financial advisors were dropping the ball (how could, say, Harry Browne and Howard Ruff possibly lose as much money for their clients as they've recently lost if they really believed in what they've said they believe in?)—wise old Vern Myers has called every single major turn on the single most lucrative and safest investment of the decade. And he's called those turns so accurately (despite his rather leisurely twice-a-month publishing schedule) that those who've listened to his advice now have twenty dollars for every one they started with ten years ago.

Not only that, but folks who began taking Vern's advice only three or four or five years ago have done almost as well.

Not only that, but C.V. Myers also predicted the last few months' "silver corner" (which has made one heck of a lot of other people filthy rich) a full decade ago.

Not only that, but Mr. Myers more or less casually recommended the purchase of coal company stocks not too long ago, then kind of forgot all about the recommendation . . . until a subscriber surprised him by noting that he (the subscriber) was already $50,000 ahead on that one analysis alone!

What I'm saying is that C.V. Myers is a very interesting fellow to know about if all you want to do is get rich as big and as fast as possible with the least possible effort.

But there's far more to it than that. Because canny Mr. Myers' positively uncanny financial predictions are only a small part of his semi-monthly newsletters. Unlike far too many of his colleagues—who simply spew out recommendations one month and then contradict them the next—Vern always backs his suggested money moves with painfully reasoned analyses of the global and national forces that have influenced him in his decisions.

And that's where ... something larger . . . always seems to take over Mr. Myers' newsletter. That's where the genius comes in. Because C.V. Myers is an Original. The Genuine Article. The kind that have always been few and far between.

Vern Myers, you see, is somehow not quite like the rest of us. He has a freshness, an innocence, an untainted way of thinking that is so honest, so penetrating, so fearless, and—yes—so clairvoyant . . . that it is at once extremely frightening and very, very comforting.

There is an old folk saying: "Them that know ain't talkin' and them that talk don't know." Vern Myers is one of those rare individuals who both know and are willing to talk about it. He's the old Zen master who can float a hair upon the water and split it with his sword. I don't say that. Vern doesn't say that. His absolutely brilliant and documented record of the past ten years says that.

Certain sophomoric minds among us like to state that if you put enough monkeys behind enough typewriters and let them peck away long enough, then sooner or later, by sheer chance, they'll produce an absolutely error-free copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Maybe so.

But that seems like a rather inefficient way to merely duplicate what one man of genius has already done. Besides—even if the statement is true—we must never forget (as the folks who so glibly make that statement always do seem to forget) that someone is going to have to wade through one hell of a lot of typed-up gibberish before he or she finds that random Chinese copy of Will's classics.

And the moral of that story is that one wise old elder of the tribe is worth at least twenty million slick buffoons, all their PR agents, all their electronic "progress," all their computers and computer programmers . . . and all the horses they all rode in on.

Or, to get downright nasty about it again: While Vern Myers was divining the economic forces of the planet during the 70's and making vast fortunes for anyone who'd listen to him . . . how much money did your computer-equipped, electronically wired, nationally franchised stockbroker make for you? In real terms? After inflation?

I thought so.

All right. I'm going to tell you one more once. This time largely by quoting Mr. Myers himself for the past 12 months.

On March 30, 1979—when everyone else started crawfishing at gold's then unheard-of price of $241.50—C.V. boldly predicted $1,000 gold. Because, as he explained, the price of the metal had become tied to U.S. use of oil . . . which we were paying for with nothing but paper IOU's . . . which sooner or later would be cashed in. And when those roughly $750 billion in world claims on the dollar were paid off with the approximately 750 million ounces of gold in Europe and the United States ... gold, quite obviously, would be valued at about $1,000 per ounce.

Myers, however, stood alone in those views. By July 20, 1979—with gold at $298.75 and the timorous yelling "sell"—Vern was the only advisor who could see that the metal was being remonetized worldwide. "This is not a speculative market," he said. "It is a huge volcano building steam."

Gold then leveled off, and the more hysterical consultants jumped ship completely. C.V., however, stood fast and—on September 14, 1979, with the yellow metal at $332.20—coolly noted that it had started to gain against all currencies. "This movement is like a . . . tidal wave. The force is so great that the ebbing will be small, while the flow will be strong."

September 27, 1979 found gold at $395.50 and Vern Myers calling it "unstoppable". One newsletter writer issued a sudden "Red Alert" to buy the metal . . . then just as abruptly reversed himself and screamed, "Sell!" Vern never blinked. "A 100% investment in gold is not a risk at all," he said. "It is a retreat into safety." And he tied his statements to U.S. and European energy consumption, Arab oil production, and South African gold output with irrefutable logic.

By October 19, 1979—with gold corrected slightly to $380.50 (enough to really shake out the weak sisters)—Mr. Myers was still holding. He was also predicting $30-a-barrel oil (two months before it became official), a massive decline in housing starts, a serious plunge in auto production, and other economic ills that have already started to come to pass.

November 16, 1979. Gold at $386.00. "Hold," said Vern, who then pointed out that Carter's recent freeze of Iranian assets was the beginning of the end for the dollar. He also noted that $50 and $100 bills were getting scarce around the country. "People are now beginning to hoard greenbacks ... the banks are getting shaky."

December 7, 1979. Gold at $434.00. Myers was adamant about an eventual price of $1,000 for the metal. "It's only a question of time." The rest of that MFE was concerned with Russia's growing shortage of oil and the prediction that the Soviets would soon make a major move in the Middle East. "The military implications are huge. The political stakes the most important we have ever faced. The U.S. must arrive on the scene in force. Nothing less than this can secure the safety of the energy supply for the Western World over the next few years." That's what Vern said. Little Jimmy Carter said, "Ho hum" ... and watched the Russians roll into Afghanistan.

January 4, 1980. Gold at $624. While Carter was boycotting the Moscow Olympics and wounding the American farmer, Myers was predicting that the 80's would be a decade of contraction and that the collapse of the dollar was causing "growing confusion, destruction of material security, and global breakdown". Mr. Myers also noted that the Western World was being held hostage by petroleum prices, that the Third World would never again be able to afford needed oil, and that even the richer nations were slipping into depression. A serious war, he said, is looming on the horizon, and we'd better get some body in charge of the United States—NOW!—or face the prospect of seeing the Western World as we know it destroyed within five years . . . or certainly before the end of the century.

It would really be nice just once—wouldn't it?—if C. Vernon Myers' analysis of the global situation were wrong. But with his track record over the last ten years, I most certainly wouldn't count on it. Instead, it I were you, I'd try to scrape up $135 and subscribe to his newsletter for the next seven months. There's nothing in your doing so for either MOTHER EARTH NEWS or this writer ... but there could well be everything in it for you.


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