For centuries bank deposits have come with a comforting guarantee. Depositors have always been able to quickly convert them at par into cash.
But this guarantee is slowly being eroded. Banks in Canada, Ireland, Australia, Denmark, and Sweden are closing full-service branches and adopting a less-staffed “cashless bank” model. In a cashless branch, customers can no longer deposit or withdraw cash over the counter.
The next step will be when banks remove their external ATM machines too. Once this happens, we’ll have entered a strange new world where bank deposits are permanently inconvertible.
But if we don’t want a world with cashless banks, here’s a potential solution. Maybe banks should be allowed to issue their own unique brand of banknotes. By doing so, bankers may have more of an incentive to promote cash availability.
Bankers have been steadily introducing cashless banks over the last few years in response to falling customer demand for cash. With fewer people wanting to withdraw or deposit cash, the cost of offering these services gets harder to justify to shareholders.
Some commentators worry that banks are not simply reacting to customer preferences but are taking an active role in reducing cash usage. In a recent opinion piece, Brett Scott accuses banks of nudging customers away from cash by re-designing the withdrawal and deposit processes to be less accommodating.
As Scott points out, banks have an incentive to move customers into cards and other digital channels because that way they can make more profit off of transactions and suck up more data. Furthermore, deposits compete with central bank-issued banknotes as a form of saving. Banks prefer that consumers lodge cash at the bank because deposits are a low-cost source of funding for banks.
That banks are sole distributors of a third-party product that they directly compete with represents a major conflict of interest. This arrangement is unfortunate given cash’s many benefits. To begin with, it makes for a great back-up payments system — unlike card-based systems, cash can’t crash. It is also used by many people for budgeting purposes. And finally, banknotes allow people to regulate how much personal information they must give up in transactions. I’ve talked about many of these advantages before.
Given that cash is important to society, but banks have a perverse incentive to prevent its circulation, what is the solution? Perhaps the answer is to get banks on side by allowing them to issue their own banknotes. If they have a direct financial stake in the fate of cash, then banks will be less conflicted in the role they play as society’s main distributors of coins and banknotes.
Ireland is an interesting case study. The Bank of Ireland is the largest private bank in both the Republic of Ireland (a separate country) and Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK). Oddly enough, even as the Bank of Ireland threatens to make most of its branches in the Republic of Ireland cash-free, the northern arm of the bank is rolling out new polymer banknotes in 2019.
Banks in Northern Ireland and Scotland enjoy a long tradition of issuing their own banknotes. Of the four note-issuing banks in Northern Ireland, the Bank of Ireland is the largest issuer followed by Ulster Bank, Danske, and First Trust. As of the end of 2018, the big four had issued £2.9 billion worth of banknotes. These banks aren’t obligated to provide Northern Ireland with cash. They print it because their customers want it.
The Bank of England, UK’s central bank, requires Northern Ireland’s private note issuers to “back” each pound they issue with at least 60 cents in Bank of England notes or coins. The other 40 cents in backing can be held in an interest-yielding account at the Bank of England.
Northern Ireland’s cash-issuing banks thus enjoy two advantages relative to banks that cannot issue cash. Since they needn’t pay any interest to their banknote customers, but enjoy interest on the backing assets held in their account at Bank of England, they earn a recurring flow of income on each note that they put into circulation. Secondly, the circulation of their particular brand of banknotes serves as a form of free advertisement. The more of its notes that a bank can get the public to use, the more visibility it steals from competitors.
Thus, the Bank of Ireland’s northern operations have an incentive to ensure that cash is always available to depositors. But the bank’s southern arm, which distributes euro banknotes, does not have the same incentive, since it doesn’t directly share in the financial advantages of promoting cash usage.
The benefits of issuing cash can be sizable. For instance, at the end of 2017 Ulster Bank has issued £803 million in banknotes. This accounts for 7% of the bank’s total £11,501 million in liabilities. Given that Ulster Bank currently pays as much as 0.85% on its other liabilities, including savings accounts, the ability to issue notes at 0% significantly reduces its funding costs. I doubt that Ulster Bank would want to sabotage this gift.
Critics will point out that allowing banks to issue cash comes at the expense of the tax payer. That’s true. All of the profits that the Bank of England earns are paid back to the state, and ultimately the taxpaying citizens. By directing a bit of interest to the Bank of Ireland and other private issuers, that leaves less for the state.
But notice that Bank of England strikes a careful balance. It only allows the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, and other private issuers to keep 40% of their backing assets in an interest-yielding account, the other 60% being lodged in no-yield Bank of England banknotes. So the current Northern Irish arrangement illustrates how it is possible to accommodate both taxpayers, banks, and their customers.
Alternatively, banks could invest the 40% in a higher yielding loan portfolio. Although some people might have financial stability concerns, we know from Selgin and White’s explorations of free banking that private banknote systems can be quite sound.
Allowing private banks to issue banknotes may seem like a radical solution. But by fixing the dysfunctional relationship between banks and cash, this option may help prevent an equally radical scenario from emerging; a world with only cashless banks.
All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him…The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
– H.L. Mencken
It does not take a majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
– Samuel Adams
Fiat justitia ruat caelum
“Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”
I believe it is the duty of every single American citizen to sit down and watch the following mini-documentary. In just 45 minutes, you will learn more about the state of the union and the world around you than decades of schooling and mainstream media could ever provide. Ignorance is not bliss, and if it weren’t for the blinding levels of ignorance pervasive in modern society, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this current deplorable state we’re in — on a knife’s edge between manageable serfdom and total tyranny.
No one in American society is supposed to be immune from criminal prosecution, yet the Justice Department in the Obama administration took it upon themselves to grant such immunity to the mega banks and their employees. This is a tale of the traitors operating within the highest levels of the U.S. government, and it is a saga of how the rule of law was openly torched in front of our very eyes.
Readers often ask me “what can I do to help.” Here’s what you can do. You can watch this video, then send it to every single person you know and plead with them to watch it. If necessary, make it a point to to sit with them and watch it. That’s how important this is.
Until justice is served, this nation will never heal. Economically, culturally or spiritually.
Do you distrust the banking system? Prefer to do business in cash? Complain about the encroachment of Big Brother into every facet of your life?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’d better watch out. You’re a “person of interest” – and a growing number of businesses must report your “suspicious activities” to the feds. If they don’t, they can be fined and the responsible parties even imprisoned.
These requirements originated in a law called the “Bank Secrecy Act” (BSA). Of course, this Orwellian law has nothing at all to do with protecting bank secrecy. Indeed, the BSA has all but eliminated confidentiality.
Regulations issued under the BSA require financial institutions to notify the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a Treasury Department bureau, of any unusual transactions in which their customers engage. Reporting is mandatory for transactions that exceed $10,000 and are not the sort in which the particular customer would normally be expected to engage. For money transmitter businesses, a $2,000 threshold applies.
The businesses covered by these requirements must file “suspicious activities reports” (SARs) secretly, without your knowledge or consent. FinCEN makes the reports available electronically to every US Attorney’s office and to dozens of law enforcement agencies. No court order, warrant, subpoena, or even written request is needed to access a report.
Objecting to completing Currency Transaction Reports (required for transactions over $10,000);
Changing currency from small to large denominations;
Buying cashier’s checks, money orders, or travelers’ checks for less than the reporting limit ($10,000 for a cash transaction);
Making deposits in cash, then having the money wired somewhere else; and
Withdrawing cash without counting the cash first.
Now, FinCEN has issued preliminary regulations that could extend these rules to investment managers. All SEC-registered investment advisers would be required to design and implement an anti-money-laundering program. They would also need to file SARs with FinCEN.
Once these rules come into effect, investment advisors would no longer be accountable to you, their client. Their highest duty, reinforced by civil and criminal sanctions, would be to act as unpaid undercover agents for the US Treasury.
But FinCEN’s suspicious transaction reporting rules are just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, official guidance from the FBI and other government agencies indicate that all of the following actions make you a terror suspect:
Making an inter-library loan request for “The Little Red Book” by former Chinese communist leader Mao Tse-Tung;
[B]eing a citizen is sufficient cause to suspect a person of criminal conduct, thereby constricting civil liberties protections for that person. That situation is hard to distinguish from the legal status of citizens of Nazi Germany.
In a world that views virtually everything you do as suspicious, there aren’t a lot of options to protect yourself. Indeed, simply by expressing your interest in privacy, asset protection, precious metals, or any of the other topics I cover routinely, you’re likely on one government watch list or another already.
However, you can take steps to avoid having a bank or other financial institution – including an investment manager – file an SAR on you. If you’re considering doing anything out of the ordinary in your account, talk to an officer at the bank, brokerage, or other financial institution first. For instance, you might want to let someone know before you pay off a loan or make or receive a large transfer.
If you have a reasonable explanation for the transaction, it’s much less likely to set off an alarm. And in a country in which all citizens are considered criminal suspects, that’s definitely something you want to avoid.
Last week we attempted to dispel some of the confusion surrounding the World Bank and the IMF, how the two are differentiated, and what the World Bank actually does. (see: So What Does The World Bank Do Exactly?)
As you’ll recall, Bretton Woods architect John Maynard Keynes admitted that the confusion over these two bodies was embedded in their names; the World Bank should rightly be referred to as a fund (for development projects) and the International Monetary Fund as a bank (to help countries cover balance of payment deficits and ensure financial stability). The World Bank itself is a body that ostensibly provides long-term low interest or no interest loans secured on the global bond market to fund sectoral reforms and infrastructure development projects in some of the poorest countries in the world.
As we saw last week, however, the Bank is used as a weapon by the economic hitmen identified by John Perkins and others, directing infrastructure development funds to crony corporations and forcing countries into debt obligations that they will be unable to meet. These impossible debt obligations are then used to give the Bank leverage over the developing world economically and geopolitically.
What’s more, both the IMF and the World Bank have historically been controlled by the US and Europe, and clamors for reform in governance from the developing countries have fallen on deaf ears.
It is in the context of this IMF/World Bank stranglehold over the global financial architecture that we have to understand the stunning development that took place at the 6th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil last month: the creation of a New Development Bank (NDB) to compete with the World Bank in providing funds for infrastructure development to developing nations and the creation of a Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) to compete with the IMF in providing liquidity protection to countries with balance of payment difficulties.
The development was by no means surprising: the idea for a BRICS development bank has been bandied about for years now and was written about in the pages of this newsletter extensively last year. Nor does it represent (at least at this point) a fundamental challenge to the World Bank or IMF’s dominance; neither the NDB’s $50 billion USD in subscribed capital nor the CRA’s $100 billion liquidity pool come close to the World Bank’s $232.8 billion in subscribed capital or the IMF’s $755 billion in liquidity ($1.4 trillion if you include emergency funds). Neither do they have the infrastructure yet in place to coordinate and deploy these funds, nor a track record of working with the world’s poorest countries to ensure that funds reach their intended targets and not the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt politicians and middlemen.
Still, there is something of a revolutionary feel to the obligatory pictures of the smiling BRICS leaders coming out of this year’s summit. This year the smiles do not seem quite as forced. Perhaps they even seem a little self-assured. It may be a baby step, but after all it is a step toward a world where the poorest countries do not have to turn cap in hand to the IMF or World Bank for financial aid.
But what are the implications of this for the developing countries themselves and the prospect of genuine development? What does this development say about the BRICS and their growing ambition on the world geopolitical stage? And where does this fit into the age-old banker quest for global government? To answer these questions, we must first examine the institutions in question.
Under the terms of the Agreement signed by the BRICS leaders at Fortaleza, the New Development Bank’s mandate is to “mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.” To accomplish this goal they will “support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.” The initial subscribed capital of $50 billion will come from initial payments of $10 billion from each of the five BRICS members. Total authorized capital of the Bank will be $100 billion. Membership of the bank will be open to all members of the United Nations and each members’ voting power will be equal to its subscribed shares in the Bank’s capital stock. The Bank will be headquartered in Shanghai and its governance will consist of a Board of Governors, a Board of Directors and a President.
The Contingent Reserve Arrangement, meanwhile, “is a framework for the provision of support through liquidity and precautionary instruments in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures.” Its initial $100 billion in committed resources will come in tranches: 41% from China, 18% each from Russia, India and Brazil, and 5% from South Africa. Governance of the CRA will consist of a Governing Council including one Governor and one Alternate Governor appointed by each of the five parties and a Standing Committee consisting of one Director and one Alternate Director appointed by each party. The Arrangement’s two main instruments will be a liquidity instrument for providing funds in response to balance of payment problems and a precautionary instrument for permitting access to funds ahead of anticipated balance of payment problems.
A Global Power Struggle?
So what does this all mean? Is this the first salvo in the long-expected economic war between the developed world and the developing world? Does the creation of the NDB and the CRA mark the rise of the BRICS as a force on the world stage? Does it threaten the existing IMF/World Bank empire?
The agreements for both the NDB and the CRA take pains to point out that they are meant as a “complement [to] existing international monetary and financial arrangements” rather than as competition to them. And the World Bank has formally welcomed the announcement of the NDB, with World Bank President Jim Young Kim telling reporters at a recent press conference with Indian Prime Minister Modi “The only competition we have is with poverty” and “Any bank or any group of institutions that try to tackle the problem of infrastructure investment to fight poverty, we welcome.”
But behind the polite words and ‘we’re all working toward the same goal’ rhetoric is the cold fact that the developing world has been increasingly vocal about their interest in World Bank reform in recent years and specific complaints from the BRICS nations themselves over the strings that are inevitably attached to World Bank lending. It is also perhaps significant that all of the BRICS nations except China will be paying more into their capitalization of the NDB than they do to the World Bank.
Although much talk has been made about how the BRICS are attempting to subvert the dollar’s hegemony as the world reserve currency, that is not the case with these institutions, at least not at this point. All of the capitalization payments and fund commitments in the agreements for the NDB and CRA are explicitly denominated in ” the official currency of payment of the United States of America.”
The main competition that many are expecting from the NDB as opposed to the World Bank is that there are expected to be far fewer (if any) conditionalities attached to NDB lending. As we saw last week the Structural Adjustment Programs of the IMF and World Bank require a whole series of political and economic reforms dictated by Washington and its cronies before developing countries can qualify for development funds. Now members of globalist institutions like Matt Ferchen of the Carnegie Tsinghua Center for Global Policy are openly fretting about the possibility that NDB funding will undermine this structure: “China has this rhetoric in terms of its foreign policy and especially as it relates to China’s engagement with other developing countries, that China won’t interfere in other countries’ domestic politics, that China respects the domestic, economic and political systems of other countries, in a way that they want to be seen as different from the World Bank, the IMF, or countries like the United States.”
For those who understand that the IMF/World Bank system is and has been used to subjugate debtor nations and impose the will of the Western powers on those countries, this seems like a potentially transformative moment. Could it be that the BRICS nations are creating a global institution that will truly undermine the Washington consensus stranglehold over the global south? Are the BRICS creating a global institution we can get behind? Should we be happy about this potential NDB/CRA revolution?
‘Good’ Globalization vs. ‘Bad’ Globalization
Like with so many other situations, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that the only alternatives that are being presented to us are the only alternatives that are possible. In this case, it seems that we are being presented with the choice between supporting a development paradigm led by the ‘bad’ globalists of the IMF/World Bank crowd that seek to control other countries through financing and the ‘good’ globalists who are selflessly looking to spur development for the good of humanity. This is just such a false choice.
First, the underlying assumption that the BRICS countries are doing what they’re doing out of some selfless love of humanity needs to be confronted head on. The BRICS countries in general, and China in particular (which is the strongest proponent of the anti-interventionist stance), have much to gain by offering no strings development loans. This was made clear by Gaddafi when he made the argument that China would beat out the US for control over Africa because it’s non-interventionist foreign policy was better at winning Africans hearts and minds. China is interested in securing African resources. It cannot challenge the US directly at its leverage-and-threats approach to gaining control of those resources, so it plays the good cop in the good cop / bad cop game. This allows it to create deep (and lucrative) ties with precisely those nations, such as Sudan, that the US is most interested in ‘reforming.’ It may be a mutually beneficial relationship, but let’s not kid ourselves that China is interested in building up Sudanese infrastructure out of sheer goodwill. Did China finance the construction of a $1.3 billion railway from Khartoum to Port Sudan because they care about Africans or because they care about establishing the infrastructure to service their 2 million ton oil terminal in the port?
Secondly, the idea that the BRICS are creating a ‘good’ globalist institution rests on the further assumption that, even if the current batch of BRICS leaders are benevolent and altruistic, that the next batch (or the one after that…) will be as well. The World Bank, too, started out as a humble institution making very limited loans for very specific projects. It wasn’t until Robert McNamara took the reins of the Bank in 1968 that it started to take on the characteristics that we recognize today. Similarly who is to say that the BRICS leaders (or their successors) won’t allow the potential power of being a global financing body go to their heads? Why should we trust that any sprawling globalist institution will act always and forever in the interests of the greater good?
No, the ‘good’ globalization / ‘bad’ globalization here seems like a ruse to further globalization. Whether the world comes to accept a greater reliance on and submission of sovereignty to globalist institutions led by the West or institutions led by the BRICS countries does not seem to be a genuine choice.
So what are the alternatives? Surely it is important to build up the infrastructure of the developing countries, isn’t it? Surely this can’t be accomplished without the massive resources of a World Bank or a New Development Bank, can it?
It should first of all be noted that the urge to assume that developing nations cannot possibly find solutions to their own infrastructure and development problems without the aid of the rich global power players is not only paternalistic and patronizing, but contra-indicated by the evidence at hand. What, precisely, has the last 50 years of World Bank/IMF intervention and “aid” to the developing world achieved, exactly? Is Argentina in a better position than it was before IMF intervention, or a worse one? Has sub-Saharan Africa improved its political and economic clout on the world stage as a result of its World Bank financing, or become even more subservient to the countries that have provided it those loans? Are the success stories of economies that have risen out of poverty like South Korea because of or despite IMF/World Bank meddling? The answers to these questions, all easily enough documentable, speak for themselves.
Also, it shows a profound lack of imagination to believe that funding can only come through mega-grants delivered by bodies with hundreds of billions of dollars at their disposal. In recent decades the concept of microcredit has transformed our understanding of what is possible in terms of funding business and enterprise in the developing world, and it is currently challenging assumptions that infrastructure like affordable housing and sanitation systems can only be provided by the “grant aid lottery” of the World Bank (or NDB). Local communities know best what local needs are and how local manpower, resources and services can be organized to meet those needs. Granting bodies in Washington or Shanghai cannot possibly be expected to have that type of knowledge, or expect that throwing dollars at these problems will achieve the same results as providing small-scale, goal driven aid for specific local projects created and run by local community organizations.
It is not a question of ‘good’ global banks vs. ‘bad’ global banks. It is global banks versus the people, as it always has been, and when we understand the situation from that perspective the sheen comes off of the ballyhoo surrounding the New Development Bank.
Whither the NDB?
Before anyone gets too carried away with speculation about the NDB and the CRA and their likely role on the world stage, it would be good to conduct a brief reality check. There was another announcement of another alternative development bank just a few short years ago that received a similar amount of coverage and hoopla at the time that turned out to be all talk and no action. Remember the Bank of the South? Neither do most of the people who wrote about it at the time, and yet it seemed like a major development when it occurred.
That the BRICS are serious about following through with the NDB and the CRA is not in doubt, but that they can keep these organizations together and working toward a unified vision is very much doubtful at this moment. Internal divisions within the BRICS delayed the creation of the bank for years and even now tensions continue between the members. Brazil and China, for example, remain locked in disputes over China’s economic relation to the South American country; Brazil accuses the rising dragon of plundering their resources and dumping cheap manufactured goods on the country in return. China and India have also butted heads over control of the NDB’s policies and vision, and there is ongoing concern about whether South Africa will be able to live up to its financial obligations in these institutions.
All of this being said, the bank is hoping to make its first loan in 2016. When that happens, there will be no doubt that we will be living in a different world. The question is whether it will be a better one.
About the author:
James Corbett is editor, webmaster, writer, producer, host, and the inspiration behind The Corbett Report, an independent, listener-supported alternative news source. The Corbett Report operates on the principle of open source intelligence and provides podcasts, interviews, articles and videos about breaking news and important issues, from 9/11 Truth and false flag terror to the Big Brother police state, eugenics, geopolitics, the central banking fraud and more.
James has been living and working in Japan since 2004. He started The Corbett Report website in 2007 as an outlet for independent critical analysis of politics, society, history, and economics. Since then he has written, recorded and edited over 1000 hours of audio and video media for the website, including a weekly weekly podcast and several regular online video series. Corbett also produces video reports for GRTV, the video production arm of the Centre for Research on Globalization, and BoilingFrogsPost.com, the website of noted FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. He is also an editorial writer for The International Forecaster, the weekly e-newsletter created by the late Bob Chapman.
For more information about Corbett and his background, please listen to Episode 163 of The Corbett Report podcast, Meet James Corbett. This article originally appeared in The Corbett Report Subscriber newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter and become a member of The Corbett Report website, please sign up for a monthly or annual membership here.
It’s time to admit that we live in a false economy. Smoke and mirrors are used to make us believe the economy is real, but it’s all an elaborate illusion.
Out of one side of the establishment’s mouth we hear excitement about “green shoots”, and out of the other side comes breathless warnings of fiscal cliffs and the urgent need for unlimited bailouts by the Fed.
We hear the people begging for jobs and the politicians promising them, but politicians can’t create jobs. We see people camped out to buy stuff on Black Friday indicating the consumer economy is seemingly thriving, only to find out everything was bought on credit.
The corporate media does their best to distract us from seeing anything real. We see the media glorify Kim Kardashian who got rich by being famous, and became famous merely by being rich. She got front page coverage on Huffington Post this week because her cat died. Enough said.
Meanwhile the financial media makes the economy seem complicated and they ban anyone who speaks truthfully about the economy from their airwaves.
Is it any wonder why people are angry and confused about the economy?
Well, hopefully these signs that we live in a false economy will help clear up some of that confusion.
1. Fake Jobs: It’s not just that the “official” unemployment numbers are a fraud, the actual jobs are fake as well. Ask yourself how many professions actually produce something of value? 80% of jobs could disappear tomorrow and it wouldn’t affect basic human survival or happiness in the least. Yes, in our society we need money to survive – and jobs equal money – but that doesn’t mean a “job” has any actual benefit to society. More on this in the next point…
2. Problems Create Jobs, Not Solutions: We can’t fix real problems, because it would destroy more fake jobs. We can’t end the wars and bring all of the personnel home when the jobless rate is already suffering. We can’t end the War on Drugs because where would the DEA agents, prison guards, the court system, parole officers, and the rest of their support staff work. We can’t simplify the tax code because the bookkeepers, CPAs, accounting professors, and tax attorneys would be unemployed. We cannot reduce the bureaucracy of government or streamline healthcare because paper pushers have few other notable skills. We can’t stop spying on Americans because it now employs millions of people. We can’t restrict the Wall Street casino, or hardly anyone will be left with a job. Finally, what will happen to university jobs when people either realize their product is not worth the cost or they discover they can get the same education online for nearly free? In other words, we need these manufactured problems to create phony employment.
3. Money Has No Value: Money is the biggest illusion of all. Our money is loaned into existence with arbitrary interest rates by a private monopoly. It is an IOU. It only has value because a law says it has value, and that value fluctuates based on how much supply is in the economy which, again, is controlled by a for-profit monopoly. It’s actual value is zero since it is just a piece of paper with fancy ink on it. The only things with real value to humans are skills (labor), tools and materials, food and water, and energy.
4. The Fed Now Buys 90% of the Nation’s Debt: Speaking of money, the Federal Reserve loans money to the US government who issues bonds to cover their spending. Those bonds are sold on the open market through auctions to investors who believe in the ability of the United States to make good on those bonds. Apparently, the US has no more investors because the Fed is now buying 90% of new Treasury bonds. This is called monetizing debt, or, essentially, monetizing money. That’s what a Ponzi scheme does. This acts to keep interest rates artificially low because they’d have to raise them to attract outside “investors”. In layman terms, our whole monetary system is a paper tiger, a house of cards, or whatever metaphor you want to use for fake.
5. What is the Value of Anything? The price discovery mechanism, or the process to determine the value of an asset in the marketplace, has become so convoluted that determining the genuine value of anything has become nearly impossible. Between government subsidies for things like food, fuel, education, housing, insurance and even cars; taxes, regulations and laws; the manipulation of the value of money and interest rates; Wall Street gambling on commodities; what is the real value of something? For example, why does an ounce of marijuana (a weed that can grow anywhere) cost up to $500? Is that the real value based on labor and materials, and supply and demand? Of course not. Its value is inflated mainly due to laws and regulations.
6. Failure is Rewarded: You know we live in a false economy when failure is rewarded and success is penalized. Citizens everywhere are being told they need to tighten their belts, work harder so we can bailout the failed government, banks, insurance companies and even car companies. And when we work harder and achieve some success, they tax it heavily to indefinitely pay for these fraudulent institutions. Yet this infinite money creation and taxation is light years from solving the root cause of the problem. The reality is that the banks’ solutions are the problem, enriching the investor class at the expense of the middle class. Global bankers are playing with taxpayer money – and the money of many future generations – in a global casino royale that is destined to fail so they can take the people’s assets. They are all-in; but their money is fake, and our assets put at risk are real.
7. Corporate entities have the same rights as humans, but not the same punishments: When the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have free-speech rights of people, it was one of the final nails in the coffin of the republic. Monied interests can now openly finance elections and buy the legislation they need to operate with impunity. Corporations may be comprised of humans, but they are not subjected to the same standard of humanity. It was profoundly argued in the article What if BP Were a Human Being? that judged by common standards of morality, decency, and previously agreed-upon definitions of criminality, BP would be judged a psychopathic killer … and immortal. Ditto for the rest leading the predatory corporate pack; the most obvious being defense contractors. And since these corporations are now joined at the hip with government itself, what does that make government? By changing definitions, they are attempting to change reality. But that still doesn’t make it the truth.
8. People buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have: In a type of trickle-down debt whirlpool, the government’s rampant spending without sufficient assets to back it up is mirrored in the behavior of the American consumer. Despite inflation, rising unemployment, and a continued collapse in real estate, it hasn’t stopped credit spending. The Associated Press just reported that for the month of October:
Americans swiped their credit cards more often in October and borrowed more to attend school and buy cars. The increases drove U.S. consumer debt to an all-time high.
The Federal Reserve said Friday that consumers increased their borrowing by $14.2 billion in October from September. Total borrowing rose to a record $2.75 trillion.
Borrowing in the category that covers autos and student loans increased by $10.8 billion. Borrowing on credit cards rose by $3.4 billion, only the second monthly increase in the past five months. (Source)
Most troubling is the type of borrowing highlighted. The worst possible borrowing would be these negative-return investments such as student loans, credit cards, and cars. It is magical thinking taken to the highest degree.
9. Entrepreneurs are punished: It has become nearly impossible to make a simple living on your own. America has become a land filled with bureaucratic red tape that actively thwarts small business creation and criminalizes independence. There is perhaps no better example of this than the attacks waged against the ultimate entrepreneurial endeavor of self-reliance: the family farm. Through collectivist models such as Agenda 21, long-running family farms are being shut down and supplanted with “protected zones.” In the most recent case, a family oyster farm was shut down based on provably false scientific data that aimed to demonstrate negative environmental and economic impacts. It was completely fake, ending an 80-year local business that generated 50,000 tourists per year and employed 30 full-time local residents. In many of these cases the federally stolen property winds up in the hands of developers who have no interest in a true local economy. It is an inherent part of any false economy to create dependence where none should exist at all. A five-minute video that can be seen here sums up the American economy of illusions and the death of the American Dream.
10. Engineered Slavery: Do you think slavery died in the 1800s? Think again. Economic hitmen (lenders) have successfully enslaved-by-debt everything from nations, entire industries, state and local governments and nearly every person on the planet. And they bought your servitude with money they never had, they simply created it out of thin air. Even if an individual doesn’t have any bank financing or credit cards, they still pay the private Federal Reserve through inflation and income taxes. As author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, would say: the time has come for the banks to collect their “pound of flesh” from average citizens by way of higher taxes, less social services, and taking your pensions — “austerity.” For an enlightening explanation of how economic hitmen work their dark magic please watch this video. If you’re still confused, see these 10 signs you might be a slave. Another, more obvious, form of engineered slavery is prison labor. Laws and regulations are specifically created to add to the prison population which enriches the corporations that own them, while local communities actually become poorer and more dangerous (source).
As George Carlin said, “It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” It would be bad enough if it were contained to only one country, but we are now experiencing a global collective dreaming that fantasizes about a government figuring things out just in the nick of time. However, in the real world, the collapse has begun in earnest. Until we are committed to stop being slaves and counter the 10 points above, we will remain in the grip of an hallucination. However, there are encouraging signs through protests worldwide, alternative currency movements, and myriad creative solutions in the most affected countries like Iceland, Greece, and Spain that people are beginning to shake off their sleep, look in the mirror and realize that the dream economy they have been sold was designed to make them seek solutions in entirely the wrong direction.