Economics ~ SurviveTheChanges.com
Holistic Reality Learning
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Survive The ChangesLearning Module
by Jon David Miller, M.A., M.Div.
The financial transformation of the world is in progress.
Challenges ~ Oil ~ Currency ~ Inflation ~ Debt ~ Collapse ~ Planned Crises ~ Resources
Economics is a study of how people and institutions behave and interact with each other in regard to exchanging value. The dictionary definition refers to it as a science analyzing the creation, distribution, and use of goods and services.
The purview of economics includes investment, real estate, resources, production, distribution, transport, markets, prices, assets, liabilities, financial instruments, currencies, banking, other financial institutions and more.
It is important to know some simple basics about this to understand how the TICK has accomplished what they have.
Since most people think of economics as incomprehensible and boring, we will explain these basic concepts as simply, concisely and enjoyably as possible.
Key Economics Concepts
Scarcity, Demand And Supply
As our current economic system has developed, people, business enterprises and governments are forced to compete for what are considered "scarce" resources and other goods.
Economics studies the methods that have been developed for making goods and services available, marketing and distributing them, receiving appropriate value in return, and the ultimate consumption and use of these valuable goods.
The amount of "demand" for something desirable compared to the available "supply" is considered the major factor in the pricing of that good or service.
Uniqueness, quality, processing expense, risk, promotional costs, and market manipulation are other factors in the determining of a price.
When there is a high degree of control of a widely desired resource or product, or dominance of the marketing of that item, a significant extra profit may be built into the price of it.
Our global economic system is based on the concept of scarcity and the unhealthy idea that individuals and social organizations are all separate entities with competing interests.
Originally, simple small items of agreed upon value that are easy to store and carry were used as "means of exchange". In a barter economy, so many beads could be exchanged for so much grain or blankets for example.
Certain metals became recognized as precious, and nuggets, bars and coins made of these metals became a common means of trading at some point long ago.
Eventually, with development of the banking system, paper currency representing precious metals in storage, became the common way of transacting business.
The tie between paper currency and gold was loosened in the 1930's. The U.S. government attempted to stimulate a depressed economy, under guidance of the Federal Reserve Bank, by pumping out more dollars than all the gold in Fort Knox could back.
In 1971 the dollar was divorced from gold entirely. Soon inflation became a serious financial concern as government spending for the Viet Nam War and other projects mushroomed.
This is a major economic problem that can effect virtually every business and household, which they cannot really control. The gradual erosion of the value of a currency known as "inflation" results in a lessening in the value of all cash-type assets.
The term inflation is derived from the idea of pumping up dollars with air so they look bigger, but each one has less "weight" and will actually buy less. This results from an increased money supply without a balancing increase in the amount of goods produced for consumers to buy.
Anyone who has experienced "cost-of-living raises" probably understands that their paycheck increased, but the total received would be worth about the same or even less in purchasing power than in the past.
We usually think of inflation as rising prices. The "Consumer Price Index" is the average retail value of a common selection of consumer goods that economists use to indicate what prices are doing.
More about inflation below.
The term "deflation" refers to air leaving an inflated dollar, meaning prices going down. This may occur during a period of stagnation where economic growth subsides to practically a standstill, or recession when the economy contracts.
We saw a period of some amount of deflation after the Crash of 2008, especially in real estate. Producers and vendors of goods and services also lowered prices or ran sales and specials as they attempted to prompt reluctant consumers to purchase.
Deflation has been rare in modern times. Our modern economic slowdowns have been times of "stagflation" where inflation continues in a stagnant economy, or even inflationary recessions where there is still a little inflation.
The U.S. and several other western nations have been pouring more and more money into the world economy. With such massive government spending, inflation is inevitable, and will likely become very significant eventually.
Meanwhile, with a combination of the temporary end of "Quantitative Easing" money creation by the FED, and manipulation of markets, such as oil, gold, stocks and bonds, near the end of 2014 the dollar strengthened to its strongest relative value in years.
If the lower price of oil persists, it could engender a deflationary period. Although goods and services would be less expensive, there may be few people having enough work and income to afford to purchase much.
If the economy slows down, companies cut expenses. Workers are laid off; then people may have less in their bank accounts and also spend less. Merchants have lower receipts and not as much to deposit in their bank accounts.
As a result, the banks have less loan money available and fewer loans are made. Then even less funds are available to be spent or deposited.
Economic contraction develops in waves, usually anticipated by dives in the stock market. We have seen major market dives and waves of contraction in the last few years, and there are likely more to come.
Recession and Depression
Economic slowdowns are not unusual. They are an aspect of a modern economy continuously changing to reflect new trends, technologies and markets, as well as changes in interests and in lifestyle. Contractions can also be effected by monetary and fiscal policies.
Deflation is more likely during a serious recession, a time of economic contraction and sluggish activity; or worse, a depression in which the economy suffers a longer period of decline and greater unemployment.
An inflationary recession or depression could also occur, especially when there is massive amount of debt, particularly government debt.
Economists describe four different forms of industries or markets:
~ pure or perfect competition -- There is easy entry to the market and a lot of competitors, each with little control over resources or price. A business in such a market must respond quickly to changes to be able to survive. This is the most efficient way of doing business. Small, family owned businesses often exemplify this model.
~ partial or practical monopoly -- An example of this is a local store that serves a neighborhood or a larger area with particular products or services. Within price extremes and depending on levels of service, they control most of their market within a certain radius. Their appeal diminishes in the areas where possible customers reside who are drawn to shop at the nearest similar store.
~ oligopoly -- There are several giant companies striving for brand identity and a bigger share of an important market. The competitors monitor each other, and strategize their product development, advertising, marketing and determination of a pricing range that makes them the most money in a certain period.
Reactions to financial or economic changes are sluggish. There is a lot of waste. A company may advertise lower prices than another for a time to win customers from the competitor, possibly then charging more for an adjunct product or for service. This is a less efficient way to do business, but it is how most major industries function, usually involving a corporate structure with officers and a board of directors. Example: the auto industry.
~ monopoly -- There is one source for a good or service, with no competition, no motive to have a low price or to strive for quality, minimal control on spending, and a slow response to changes in the market. Monopoly is the least efficient way of doing business. An example of a local monopoly is a utility, such as electric or natural gas delivery. These are usually regulated.
Which of these do you think a government is most like? Examples of government monopolies include local water and sewer service, automobile titles and registration, and various licenses.
Economic & Financial Challenges
The "Great Recession" arising from the 2008-09 financial crash did not fully end, despite government and media claims of recovery. That crisis was just the beginning, the early warning signal of much more serious economic conditions.
We have continued to bounce somewhat sideways yet gradually will slide downhill economically into what may be eventually be thought of as "The Greater Depression". The manipulated financial markets will eventually change dramatically to reflect reality unless there is some dramatic intervention.
A recession may last a few quarters as the economy adjusts. Our economic funk has lasted more than 10 years. That is far beyond a recession. It is a depression. If you haven't realized it, the pitch about "recovery" and the reported economic numbers during at least the last two presidential administrations are less than accurate portrayals of reality.
Quantitative easing and near zero interest rate (ZIRP) kept the U.S. economy limping along, but layoffs, store closings, jobs moving elsewhere and honestly corrected statistics of economic activity are revelatory of worsening prospects. Further interest rates rises may precipitate major trouble.
The world economy continues to be seriously distressed as shown by the long running low numbers of the Baltic Dry Index of international shipping cargo, the Cass Freight Index of domestic shipping and other industrial statistics, which have been indicating significantly low activities for a few years.
Many economists think post-"Brexit" Europe is in the process of falling into a deep depression of unknown length, possibly many years. Even China, after years of growth to become one of the top economies, has major challenges now. These have been made severely worse with the massive coronavirus quarantine.
The overwhelming debt, the mortgage-backed securities and speculative derivatives that contributed in large part to the "Crash of 2008", remain as one of the greatest financial threats ever, with little attention in the press, and virtually no investigations by authorities. In fact, similar conditions to that crash prevail now and worse than before. It is estimated the global sovereign debt is now over 200 trillion dollars.
Some major financial institutions continue holding highly leveraged contracts that leave them very vulnerable to financial disaster. Major banks showing monstrous losses in recent years is just one tip of a large iceberg.
The Federal Reserve Board was running "Quantitative Easing III" for about two years. It had been set at $40 billion per month of the FED buying mortgage backed securities with the fake money they have been allowed to create out of nothing for about 100 years. They were simultaneously conducting what some call "QE IV" or "Quantitative Easing to Infinity", with the FED also buying $45 billion per month in U.S. bonds themselves.
$85 billion per month is over $1 trillion per year, so at least another couple trillion dollars was added to the "national debt" with QE. This spending was eventually "tapered", with each program reduced a few billion at a time, supposedly to nearly nothing. In actuality, the FED has continued to be the buyer of last resort for U.S. debt.
Industry experts insist the un-audited FED is still quietly pumping out funny money and buying U.S. Treasury paper at massive levels, as well as trading in stocks, commodities and mortgages. Many watchers expect the FED to publicly announce more money creation in some form before long.
The accumulation of Treasury Bonds by our central bank is unprecedented. The FED has been funding public debt that should not even be, as that is not the way our government was supposed to finance itself according to the Constitution. Further, they do this using fake money created out of nothing. Then they charge interest on it!
The FED has garnered into the trillions of dollars of assets in U.S. bonds, sub-prime mortgages and real estate, stocks from propping up the market, as well as gold, silver and other assets. These include many "toxic" derivative contracts from the ongoing bailout of risk threatened banks.
The ridiculous "national debt" of the USA is now over 20 trillions of dollars. With rising rates the interest on that for the taxpayers to pay is becoming so substantial that it seems the U.S. government might never be in a position to reduce the principal. A halt to increasing it is not even considered by our spendthrift representatives!
The FED's actions have perpetuated the flood of dollars around the world. For years this spreading of dollars worldwide has delayed painful inflation in the U.S. Now the tide is changing as other nations are starting to bypass the dollar in international trade.
Meanwhile, Japan increased its similar money production, so the spotlighted flow of "Quantitative Easing" simply moved over to a new spigot. Central banks continue to act to keep bubbles from crashing the world economy until the controllers are ready for that.
The use of the dollar is being bypassed in some international business interchanges. A devaluation, or possibly a total dollar collapse, may be coming before long for the United States, seemingly preceded or accompanied by several European nations. It may take until 2021 or so for this to manifest, as the dollar is so well-imbedded in the world economy.
The bond rating of the United States was reduced twice in recent years, as the government struggles every year to fund its bills. Further, Moody's rating service has downgraded 15 major global banking institutions, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
At the end of 2019 and in 2020, the FED has been bailing out the financial markets and banks again with a resumption of debt money creation, without calling it "Quantitative Easing" this time. It is referred to as temporary support for the "repo market".
Could this be the grand finale of banker scams? It would seem the international cartel of major multi-national corporations and banks, the global control system I have described as the "Transnational Interlocking Corporate Kingdom", is wrapping up their century of plundering the United States and its people. This cabal has nearly full financial ownership of the government, and shares owner control of half or more of the property in the U.S.A. with their Chinese lender buddies.
That probably will eventually include your property. If you think you own any "real estate", realize that you are only a tenant. You pay for the privilege to occupy it, like a football stadium seat license, and then pay the tax (rent) to the "real" owners, the corporate state conglomerate.
Significant international currency and banking changes are said to be in progress that may have a really dramatic impact in multiple markets.
Numerous financial watchdogs agree that precious metals prices, especially silver, have been manipulated by major players using paper contracts and currency trading. These prices have been artificially held down as China, Russia and some other nations, central banks and wealthy elite have accumulated large amounts of these tangible assets at bargain prices.
With the ongoing economic uncertainty, the large demand for real touchable silver and gold has made them scarce. Yet the prices have remained relatively low, mostly due to manipulators placing phony low-bid paper orders that expire unfulfilled. Some experts look for dramatic rises in the precious metals eventually, especially in relation to the dollar as it continues losing world reserve status.
Those who are investing or playing games of risk in the various financial markets should be very cautious. Virtually all markets are rigged, and the elite profit repeatedly from insider knowledge at the expense of those who think the markets are real.
A number of major corporations that have made a profit in recent years have bought back their stock rather than investing in new or better production. The number of people out of work or working less than enough to earn a living, is far greater than the doctored, government-reported unemployment statistics. Many of these have gone deeper into debt, while others have gone homeless.
The bond market is on very shaky ground, with a possible collapse looming, especially if interest rates are nudged further upward. As bonds are abandoned, there may be a temporary strengthening of good quality stocks. However many major investors have reduced or cleared their participation in the stock market.
The breakthroughs to new highs in the Dow Jones stock market average in the last couple years reflect a major bubble in the market that was being propped up by FED quantitative easing. Although some analysts thought this was the start of a new bull market, others think the market will drop severely again before long. It is already showing signs of fragility.
The Chinese stock market lost almost 40% of its value in just two months' time a few years ago. Then they devalued their currency on successive days. Even so, their stocks resumed the decline. The Chinese economy had been the growth engine of the world for the last several years. As it subsides along with the European financial crisis and the overextension of debt and dollar creation by the U.S.A. and the Federal Reserve, we could be talking about the "Greater Depression" for years to come.
Experts in economic and societal trends anticipate much worse major economic challenges and social changes in the next few years. Some warn of an impending total financial collapse within the next three years, with a few voices saying it is already in progress.
The financial crisis in Europe has been flirting with massive collapse there, especially in Greece. Some economic analysts think that "Brexit", the British departure from the European Union, may contribute to a world economic catastrophe.
If European collapse were to happen, it would probably bring the U.S.A. down to ruin as well. If Western economies fail, the rest of the world would also suffer considerably. Most independent economists in the know believe a crash is inevitable that may effect most of the world.
The substantial surprise "haircut" tax on all bank accounts in Cyprus mandated by the European Union and the international bankers a few years ago, is thought to have been a prelude to a similar process in Europe and the United States, a "beta test".
In fact, the International Monetary Fund has recommended this type of sudden bank account tax on the "wealthy" (meaning non-insider upper middle class) for member nations having financial challenges. That action would probably trigger a cash panic, possibly a "run on the banks". A bank holiday, a "bail-in" of bank accounts and retirement programs, a limit on withdrawals of what funds are left and/or an elimination of cash might be imposed.
Depositing money in a bank turns over ownership control of the funds to the bank. Do you trust the bankers to allow you full access to the deposited funds as economic conditions deteriorate?
If you were to try taking out more than $10,000 in cash, especially in smaller increments over several days, you might be surprised at the trouble you would have. You could be arrested and imprisoned for "financial structuring".
Financial transactions are recorded and accessible to authorities, so there is no point in trying to hide major movement of funds.
Wise financial advisors suggest judicious gradual transfer of institutionally held paper or digital assets in reasonable amounts to personally held substantial assets as much as possible.
Some think the FED may be getting out of the currency game if the Treasury begins issuing its own notes, possibly in conjunction with a serious devaluation of the dollar and a global reformation of currency valuations and exchanges. (See the section further below on currency.)
Much of the manufacturing work that has gone to cheap labor markets in other nations is no longer available to U.S. workers. These old factory jobs are not likely to come back. Lower cost production in other parts of the world is better for the bottom line of giant corporations.
Many of the U.S. jobs created during this recession have been governmental jobs. However, there is a limit on how many the government can hire. Now government workers are being laid off as well. Local, regional and state governments face financial crises as much as the national government.
With the number of people that are out of work in the U.S.A., or working only part-time, the layoffs now underway by strapped businesses and governments, and the concerns of many about their financial future, people are not buying much beyond necessities. As a result, under-employment continues to be substantial, even though it is claimed unemployment is low. Even large retailers are cutting hours, laying off workers and closing stores.
Many companies have reduced employees to part-time status to avoid having to provide insurance under the "Affordable Health Care Act". Then the worker is responsible to obtain coverage, but has less income to do so. Raising the minimum wage would contribute to both inflation and job losses, making the situation much worse.
The fall in the price of oil a couple years ago was one sign of a deflationary trend, although other prices had been rising at the same time. Then oil and gasoline prices rose again, which makes it harder for lower income folks to get by. Since then the prices bob up and down somewhat, but remain a challenge the budget of most people.
Meanwhile welfare, food assistance and homelessness numbers continue to be very high. If the presently stronger dollar loses value, the prices of imports and oil products would increase again. Enjoy filling your tank at the gas station while you can.
Are there any significant signs of real economic growth? The situation is much worse than the manipulated and understated government figures and pronouncements try to suggest.
If you live in the United States, consider seeking out products for purchase that are made here. They are usually well-made and often less expensive than imports.
I have always urged people to develop their own home business as best they are able, and to become self reliant in every way possible.
China Overtaking U.S.A.?
There are speculations that after the U.S.A. population suffers for an unknown period as a devastated, depopulated and economically deprived society, that the Chinese interests, who are accumulating a huge share of assets in North Amerca, will begin hiring U.S.A. workers at low wages for their new sweat shops here to make the goods that their expanding middle class will consume.
We need creative entrepreneurship and new industries to emerge soon. China, one of the largest foreign holders of U.S. debt, is flirting with becoming the world's new greatest economic power. Their workforce of what have been essentially controlled slaves, has been cranking out almost any product at relatively lower cost than other industrial nations, but that is changing.
China is the second major holder of U.S. debt and dollars after the FED. For several years they have been unloading dollars by purchasing assets in the U.S.A., in South America and elsewhere, particularly real estate and businesses here. It has been reported that more than half to 60% of the real estate value in Manhattan is owned by Chinese government companies.
Although China has had a stock market crash, and has other financial bubbles that may burst, especially in real estate and banking, they have accumulated and hold a huge portion of the world's gold. It is anticipated they will be making some major adjustments in their currency. It is becoming a part of the International Monetary Fund's basket of currencies that serves a role as world reserve for international trade, especially as the dollar's status declines.
There is evidence that the Wuhan coronavirus was developed in a bio-weapons lab. Did it reach the population by accident or on purpose? If the latter, was it to throw a wrench into China's machine, or is it being used to create chaos that could lead to world economic collapse if it continues spreading?
Chinese leaders have in the past expressed a desire to take over North America for its resources, infrastructure and space.
A couple years ago the oil price showed the most dramatic price fall in memory. At the same time the dollar gained strength, while gold and silver prices were suppressed. These examples of deflation are signs of the unannounced depression that continues despite the propaganda reports of a recovery.
Some think the high volume, low cost oil and natural gas producers, Saudi Arabia and some other Persian Gulf states, were behind the lower pricing to squeeze out higher cost competitors, such as Russia, and the "fracking" industry in the U.S.A.
Controversial, hydraulic fracturing harvests shale oil and gas by shooting a toxic brew of chemicals and sand to crack deep rock formations under pressure, releasing trapped oil and gas. This is now being done horizontally, possibly threatening underground water resources in a much wider area.
Low oil prices also make it harder for alternative technologies to compete on cost, such as electric cars and solar electric that require a substantial outlay to engage.
According to Lindsey Williams, a known source for insider information about "Big Oil" and the elite powers that be, they still intend to move the price of oil up to over $100 per barrel again. (That may be more about the dollar value going down with inflation.)
The cabal insiders have indicated to Rev. Williams that the economic collapse has been delayed for a few years.
(NOTE: I have met Lindsey Williams personally. Back in the 90's, a business associate of mine and I collaborated with Williams on a book. Some do not like his preachy delayed-payoff style of speaking, but he has transmitted a lot of important warnings from insiders over the last 30 years or so, with fair accuracy.
Based on the common practice of the hidden controllers disseminating intentionally misleading narratives, some of what they shared with Rev. Williams could be disinformation to confuse or distract. (More about Lindsey Williams)
It appears the price of oil bottomed a while ago, as it has climbed back up quite a bit. It would likely skyrocket, in U.S. dollar terms, as events that the controllers influence unfold, such as a devaluation of the U.S. dollar, or a shortage of supply due to a worsening of the crisis in the Middle East, a folding of the EU or World War III.
Oil prices have been volatile over the years. Not long before the "Arab Spring" political disturbances in the Mid East a few years ago, the price of oil had previously fallen back to about $50 per barrel briefly.
The Libyan civil war and the fighting in Iraq and Syria, combined with the actions of speculators in oil contracts, pushed oil pricing to $100+ per barrel, where it had also been before.
Since oil is a manipulated market like most of them, big time players in oil poise themselves for multiple rounds of vast profits as the price rises and falls and rises again, all as planned and orchestrated. Those in the know make mega money with any change, down or up.
How did the price of gasoline in the $3 to $4 per gallon range affect you and your neighbors? What if it were to reach $5 or $7 or $10 or more per gallon in the next price rise cycle? It already costs that much in many nations.
Oil is not only used for fuel and energy, it is the source of petrochemicals, which are used in thousands of applications from plastics to agriculture, as well as in pharmaceutical medicines. All of those products would be more expensive if oil prices rise further. So would just about everything else.
There had been a glut in the oil market, partly generated by OPEC to squeeze competition. OPEC then formed a strategy with Russia, one of the leaders in world oil output, to cut back on production. Meanwhile the U.S.A. has increased production to now be the highest producer, some of it from shale and tar sands deposits.
Currency - The Dollar & More
When the Federal Reserve Board completed the second round of "quantitative easing" ("QE2") funds in 2011, they had created another trillion dollars in funny money for buying U.S. Bonds as "buyer of last resort". This has substantially increased the national debt, and has fueled inflation, which is much higher than the altered figures put out by the government (see next section below).
For several years, they were operating QE3 and QE4, as quantitative easing was set to be ongoing indefinitely. So a couple more trillion dollars was pumped into the world economy, with a further increase in the national debt. The FED has now supposedly "tapered" this easing, but could jack it up again whenever the banking establishment chooses. They may still be quietly buying treasuries. The FED is privately owned and they do not report all of their actions.
Quantitative Easing created amazing amounts of funny money for banks and other institutions to buy sub-prime mortgages, mortgage backed securities and U.S. Treasury debt. This along with the European bailouts has been inflationary, continuing the trend of the 20th Century that saw the dollar lose more than 90% of its value. The inflation in the U.S.A. would have been much worse if the bulk of these created dollars were not exported in the international banker game.
Deflationary trends in commodities, probably manipulated for multiple reasons, have offset the inflation numbers. Hopefully the consumer has saved enough on lower fuel prices to make up for higher food prices.
The FED is currently the largest holder of U.S. debt, with China and Japan holding most of the rest. These and other nations no longer want to lend to the U.S., as they anticipate losses from either a devaluation of the dollar, or a financial collapse of the United States. The ongoing funding of government debt by the central bank creating play money out of nothing has been horrendous economic policy.
World Reserve and "Petro Dollar"
The U.S. dollar has been the world's "reserve currency" since the Breton Woods conference near the end of World War II. The U.S. gave financial assistance for the recovery of many other nations depleted by war, including Britain whose pound sterling was the previous reserve. For over seventy years the dollar has been the benchmark currency for international trade.
In fact, the dollar had been exclusively used for Persian Gulf oil sales since the early 1970's, when Secretary of State Henry Kissinger traded guaranteed security enforced by the U.S. military for "petro-dollar" status with key OPEC members, particularly Saudi Arabia.
That status is now being undermined somewhat as the "BRICS", Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, major trading nations, some with oil reserves outside of the Persian Gulf, have made agreements to exchange their own currencies in their oil deals and other business. Dozens of other nations are joining in to do business with the BRICS system, which also includes an international bank.
Further, there are plans under consideration by even the Gulf Arab states to change to a basket of currencies in the trading of oil, or another form of international payments that does NOT exclusively use the dollar.
Abandonment of The Dollar
Nations holding astounding amounts of U.S. dollars and treasury obligations, such as China, are reluctant to accept more dollars or U.S. debt, and they are unloading some of their holdings.
China and Japan concluded an agreement not long ago to use their own currencies instead of the dollar in trading various goods between themselves. China and Russia may accelerate their disengagement from the dollar to the point of dumping their U.S. bonds and dollars on the market as a financial weapon to crash the dollar.
Meanwhile, the demand of the British people to leave the European Union drove both the British Pound and the Euro down against the dollar, temporarily strengthening it.
China's economic and military coordination with Russia, and irritations with the U.S. in the South China Sea islands and Syria, suggest that China has lined up with Russia as alliances are developing for a possible world war.
It has been proposed that a new world currency replace the dollar as the primary currency of international trade, perhaps one backed by the Chinese yuan and a few other strong currencies, or using the "Special Drawing Rights (SDR)" accounts through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
(The BIS, the IMF and the World Bank are the key institutions of the global banking establishment and its owners, dominated by western bankers. These agencies deal financially with the various nation's central banks, such as the Federal Reserve Bank ["the FED"] in the U.S. They exert influence or control over these central banks, and thereby the governments through financial power.)
Standard and Poor, one of the primary bond rating services, downgraded U.S. bonds a couple years ago from their longtime AAA status to AA. Then another rating agency lowered the U.S. bonds to a much lower rating. On the other hand, for some reason the rating was recently bumped up for no apparent good reason.
American tourists are finding that many vendors in other countries will not readily accept dollars anymore.
The dollar is dying internationally. Even though it is still relatively strong against most other currencies, it is being slowly abandoned as a medium of trade in many international transactions.
Both the Euro and the dollar could collapse completely before long, or be replaced. This may occur at any time. The Japanese Yen is not in much better shape.
On the other hand, the Chinese yuan may recover sooner even though it was recently devalued as Chinese exports and stock market values declined.
The U.S. had wanted a stronger yuan to ease the trade imbalance with China. Subsequently, demand for goods from China has fallen off in the U.S. with the lingering hidden recession ("depression"), so China is having economic problems too.
However, China appears to have bigger ideas for their renminbi ("legal tender" currency) known as the yuan. They have accumulated vast amounts of gold, possibly with the intention of establishing their yuan as the new world reserve currency of choice with gold backing.
Asset Backed Currency
There is talk of at least the currencies used in international trade, and perhaps all currencies, being required to have backing by assets similar to the old gold standard of the dollar. Supporting assets could include, gold and other minerals, oil, agricultural or industrial production, etc.
Some believe that as fiat currencies fail (backed only by faith in the issuing government), there has to be a return to asset backed currencies tied to commodities. The international financial interests own the bulk of these commodities, however, so they would still be in control.
Several nations are expected by analysts to significantly reset their currencies. For example, the reinstatement of Iraq's currency has been anticipated for several years, since the dinar was artificially set at a pittance in 2003 during the international boycott of Iraq and the war there.
How a restoration of the Iraqi dinar would be done is controversial and debated widely on blogs by people of varying degrees of credibility. Although some watchers think this will not occur for another year or more, many others are looking for it this year, and quite a few of these think it will be soon.
It is believed that the FED, the U.S. Treasury and the International Monetary Fund are assuming that a dramatic currency revaluation or change will help stabilize the dollar and the Euro, as well as other currencies and financially troubled nations. Another currency being watched for a possible value increase is the Vietnamese Dong.
There is also talk of the U.S. issuing a new U.S. treasury currency backed by assets. If it is backed by gold and/or oil, those assets are primarily controlled by the transnational financial powers and can be used to leverage financial manipulation as well as fiat currency.
Some think we will be going directly to a world currency based on the IMF's "Special Drawing Rights" (SDR's). That would likely be the prelude to a global government through the United Nations, which is the ultimate goal of the corporate state tyrants who run that institution and most national governments as well.
The IMF, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the International Bank of Disputes, the Import-Export Bank and the World Bank are the financial institutions that have controlled the international banking system, including loans and trade exchanges, for most of the last century. The corrupt World Bank has bound many of these countries with loans and serious debt.
The intent has been to prepare the world for a unified international financial system with one currency as a giant step to global governance.
There was until recently an impasse at the IMF in regard to making big changes. The United States held veto power over any decision by way of controlling 17% of the IMF voting power. 85% of the vote was required to make a change. Either the U.S. government did not want the dollar to be cast aside, or it was using its leverage for some other purpose. The required vote to make changes was reduced to 70% recently, so now no one member can block decisions.
Some think the newer financial compact, the BRICS nations, could just leave the IMF and BIS, as they have started their own international banking authority, currency and settlement account system. It is likely they will continue as members of the old institutions, while developing their new ones. Similarly, the IMF will be involved with the BRICS bank.
In any case, the dollar and the U.S.A. may be eventually diminished in importance, and our economy relegated to third world status.
Be on the watch for a major change in the structure of international economics. Meanwhile, it is considered wise to transfer any liquid assets not needed for current expenditures into substantial goods outside of paper and accounts valued in dollars.
With the combination of the U.S. dollar now losing some of its status as the world reserve currency, the FED pouring United States debt obligations like play money into the global economy for years, higher oil prices and especially with rising food prices, inflation is already taking a large toll in the U.S.
Conditions are developing that could again bring budget-busting food prices. A disruption in the delivery system would rapidly leave supermarkets with bare shelves and coolers.
There has been a long term major drought and unpublicized amounts of radiation accumulating on the west coast. The nation must realize that California is not likely able to continue providing the bulk of our vegetable and fruit supplies.
Demand for food has exploded in China in recent years as prosperity has increased. People are eating more meats, corn, wheat and soybeans. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers are reeling from the financial pressures from drought, storms, floods, entrapment in high cost chemical and GMO systems, cost of supplies, crop and livestock losses and foreclosures.
The figures used by the government and the FED for inflation are not the same calculations as were used in past decades. The cost of living formula has been strangely adjusted to exclude gasoline and food, so that the stated inflation rate is much less than reality. Real inflation, which includes fuel and food in the mix, is now considered to have been 8% to 10% or more per year by wary analysts. (See www.ShadowStats.com)
The prices of energy, and anything delivered by truck, plane or boat, and anything sold by a business that has utilities or transportation expenses, are dependent on the price of oil.
With lower oil prices we had some relief for a while. That fed a slight deflationary trend in some sectors. If deflation catches hold, it could be ruinous for many as the economy declines with more companies closing, more layoffs and more mortgages becoming unsustainable as real estate values decline again.
On the other hand, with oil prices rising again, other prices could go WAY UP! Is your income going to go up similarly? That is not likely for most people. If you have an income now, will it even continue?
Inflation has been one of the most persistent aspects of economic life for about fifty years. A modest amount of it has been built-in throughout the economy.
When inflation continues year after year, it accumulates and currency becomes gradually worth far less than it used to be. Most people are aware that it takes a $10 bill today to buy what used to cost about $1. In fact it takes about $100 to buy what $1 bought around the year 1900.
Reasons For Inflation
There are different reasons for inflation. Economics textbooks talk about some of them.
~ "Demand-pull inflation" occurs when consumers have access to extra money, and increase their spending on various wants (perhaps before the prices go up anymore!).
~ "Cost-push inflation" puts the blame for price increases on rising costs. There could be greater costs of raw materials or supplies, or increased transportation costs from higher gas and diesel prices, or organized labor may have negotiated for wage hikes.
Borrow Into Inflation
Inflation benefits those who borrow (including governments), because they can pay back their loans with dollars that are worth less than the ones borrowed earlier.
Lenders try to compensate for inflation by charging a high enough interest rate to cover it. In fact, inflation does not usually hurt the big banks.
Whether banks are borrowing from other banks through the FED or from their depositors, inflation causes the value of the dollars they pay back later to be less than when they borrowed as well.
Meanwhile, if they lend or invest the money at a rate-of-return greater than the interest they pay, they earn income using "other people's money".
Companies and individuals may also take advantage of inflationary times by borrowing, especially for business purposes.
However, access to credit may lead to increased debt spending, adding to demand and contributing to more inflation.
On the other hand, deflation usually means money is harder to come by, making it harder to pay back loans and interest, especially if the asset purchased with the loan has declined in value while the loan balance remaining is high.
Inflation Hedges And Losers
Sometimes real estate and other real assets like gold and silver will rise in price along with inflation and be a "hedge", a protective buffer, against suffering losses from holding depreciating dollars.
Actually, gold and silver coins are real money and currently worth vastly more than their face value. In an economy where paper currency is no longer trusted, gold coins could be used for larger purchases; and silver coins would be good for small buys and making change for larger purchases.
The dollar price of gold increased dramatically in recent years, similar to how it moved in the late 1970's. Then there was a fall off in 2014 as the dollar strengthened and oil prices declined. Most experts believe it highly likely for both gold and sliver prices to climb again and further than ever when an inevitable substantial inflation returns.
Relative to the high oil prices of 2008, gold should have been nearly $2000 per ounce or more. The price of gold was strangely subdued when the oil price was extremely high.
This may have been partly due to unfamiliarity with purchasing and storing "hard assets", but there also has been manipulation of the gold market by big time players using options contracts to hold the price down. The sell off of gold reserves by governments in deep debt has also subdued the price.
Nonetheless, gold and silver are good assets to have, and they should be a part of any investment portfolio. Accumulating while the prices are low is the best policy.
Significant losses can result from holding assets in a cash savings account, CD, cash value life insurance policy, etc., during times of inflation. These may not return enough value to give you any real gain after accounting for inflation, and they may be serious losers!
Recent Low Inflation
In recent years, inflation has been modest for several reasons:
1) Even though the economy was operating at close to full employment several years ago, workers were willing to work more hours rather than demand more in wages per hour.
2) Increased world trade and low labor costs in developing areas have resulted in competitive prices from imported goods and incited an emphasis on improving productivity.
3) There was an over-capacity of capital equipment in many U.S. factories, especially as jobs went elsewhere, so there was less need for investment in new machinery (which would have raised the cost of making products).
4) Consumers are price-wise in their shopping for bargains.
5) Now we are in a world-wide depression, with high unemployment and a low price of oil. These conditions cause other prices to remain low or be reduced.
The temporary deflation we have experienced may have been assisted by the TICK financiers. It allowed them more time to gather up available assets at bargain prices, and low interest rates, while stemming a consumer uproar over the economic downturn with some price relief.
Is Inflation Inevitable?
In the long term, the main reasons for inflation are expansion of debt, and the way that our currency is issued and handled. Major inflation is due to an overly increased amount of dollars in use.
Inflation can be described as "too many dollars are chasing too few goods."
Because of the excessive debt of both individuals and governments, the supply of dollars (mostly as computer credits in bank accounts) has increased substantially, so the value of each unit of cash is greatly lessened.
As long as the U.S. government spends more than it takes in, borrowing more by selling bonds is the way it pays its bills. There is a consequent interest on the growing "National Debt", but when the rates are very low government is more likely to borrow through, and even from the Federal Reserve Bank, and spend more.
The government doing business this way means ever more debt and more interest to pay. The value of the U.S. dollar diminishes with higher government expenditures and inflation.
Since World War II, when the dollar was set as the primary reserve currency of the world, The FED and the U.S. government have exported vast amounts of dollars to the world. This process was facilitated by the 1973 agreement with Saudi Arabia and OPEC for the "petro-dollar" to be used exclusively for oil purchases.
In essence these agreements caused dollar inflation to be spread around internationally, rather than having the excessive creation of fiat dollars generate hyperinflation in the U.S. Rampant inflation may have upset U.S. consumers enough to react.
Now the dollar's status as world reserve and petro-dollar is subsiding as other nations have begun to trade in oil and other goods using their own currencies and bypassing the dollar. Unless there is a currency reset and a significant reduction or elimination of play money production by the FED, the dollar is likely to collapse leading to big time inflation, especially in oil and imports.
The international bankers have successfully perpetrated their long term strategy to control governments and populations around the world with debt.
Convincing politicians, business owners and householders alike that it makes sense to borrow the funds to acquire what is desired ahead of the ability to pay for it, has created a world of debt slaves.
The bankers have arranged to create these play money funds out of nothing but the confidence of the borrowers. We have been duped into thinking that the funny money was real because we got to purchase real assets with it.
However, now that the financial plug is being pulled and we cannot generate enough funds to pay for either the loans or the interest, as well as necessities like food and utilities, and now that a growing number of anchor assets like real estate are not worth as much as when we got the loans, our economy is in deep debt trouble.
Many state governors and municipal officials in the United States are saying that "the day of reckoning is here" regarding their ability to meet their obligations. 46 states are deep in debt and facing huge budget shortfalls. Governments are cutting projects and jobs, trying to reduce the benefits of public employees, and taking steps to get more revenue from their citizens.
A few governments have already declared bankruptcy. Some of them are not even paying their bills!
Add to the debt bubble the additional game of the derivatives market, in which even the big banking institutions are exposed to trillions of dollars of obligations with little or no security, and it is clear that we are on the verge of a financial crash.
Derivatives are speculative pseudo-securities used to hedge financial positions. They have turned Wall Street and London into giant gambling casinos with the world economy at stake. For examples, derivatives were involved in the AIG crisis, the Lehman Brothers failure, the 2008 crash and subsequent bailouts, and the MF Global collapse.
When one or more of the dollar, debt or derivatives bubbles bursting fully hits, banks may close down for a while, governments at every level may claim to be beyond bankrupt and unable to provide the normally expected payments, services, and companies may shut their doors. Even federal government payouts could be suspended.
California has already released thousands of prisoners early in addition to cutting state jobs. Teachers and other public union members in many states are rallying to preserve their collective bargaining power. They are starting to realize that the cuts that are coming are likely to be MAJOR. (How many Californians know about "Calexit" and the meetings of officials and a diverse group of activists to plan California's exit from the United States?)
A whole lot of people have gradually come to the end of their unemployment compensation. Other government support programs are being cut as well. This is taking another big bite out of the purchasing power of the populace. Less to spend - less sales of goods - less work - less jobs - less income - and so forth.
Many people are starting to realize that things are getting worse rather than better. The repeated volatility in the stock market between new highs and terrible tumbles in the last several years, tells us that the money managers have figured out that the real long term outlook for stocks is POOR. Another major drop is likely to come before long. Meanwhile, insiders are harvesting profits on changes up and down.
Pension programs, both private and public, are vastly under-funded with many in deep doo-doo. Low interest rates have meant that pensions have not grown as needed to sustain their payouts in the future. Now there are secret government discussions of taxing or fully confiscating various retirement funds, including 401K's and IRA's.
Retirement assets took a huge hit in the crash of 2008, then eventually recovered somewhat. With subsequent downturns, some "retirement" funds were harmed again depending on the exposure, but a much worse loss is almost certainly coming.
The artificially low interest rates had sustained high bond prices for governments and banks to maintain their reserve requirements and pad their balance sheets. As inflation and low yield force interest rates higher, bond prices decline.
The solvency crisis will soon be exposed dramatically. With the FED publicly claiming to have wound down the purchase of U.S. Treasury debt, who will buy it? The FED had been pretty much the only one doing so lately. The paper markets, especially bonds, derivatives, and certain options contracts, are bound to fall at some point. Many stocks will suffer as well, especially so with a lot of banks.
Meanwhile, trillions of dollars are missing from local, state and government budgets. Funds have been secretly siphoned into undisclosed off-budget projects, including the secret space program, advanced technologies and underground cities. In the process, vast profits have accrued to private contractors involved, while governments complain about lack of funds.
What if welfare, food assistance and Social Security payments were reduced or curtailed?
What are people already retired that take multiple financial hits going to do? What about the people who depend on government payment programs to pay for food, rent and utilities? Where are they going to get enough income to meet their needs if government cannot pay out and savings are wiped out? The Social Security Administration and other government support bureaucracies are already seeking ways to reduce payouts.
Those whose assets are in dollar based paper forms may suffer tremendous financial losses so rapidly that they would be unable to act in time to prevent it once a financial collapse or dollar devaluation hits. Banks may be closed and withdrawals from accounts restricted or frozen. Bonds, stocks and mutual funds may drop so fast that even acting rapidly to sell may result in a tremendous loss.
The United States could become chaotic as food and energy prices soar with less than half the adult population working, increasing numbers of layoffs and unemployed, retirees becoming broke and the poor left penniless. Supermarket shelves could be empty with deliveries disrupted.
Social unrest or breakdown may occur.
It is suggested to move away from cities if possible. As people become desperate for food and fuel, more of them may turn to crime and violence, and as mass demonstrations increase, riots and violent competition for scarce goods could break out.
Many experts are warning of increased economic and social chaos in the next few years, especially in Europe and the United States with the influx of many refugees, who are unemployed and unaccustomed to their new society. (This has already been dramatic in Greece, Spain, Italy and even Germany and England.)
According to the FBI there are over 33,000 gangs in the United States, with a total of approximately 1.4 million members. These are in most major cities, with a lot of rural locations as well. In some cases they control a whole neighborhood or region.
Some of the crime organizations are more organized and well hidden than ever. Many have very sophisticated cover operations, perhaps with covert assistance from police and various other officials, whether by association, bribe, blackmail or threat.
As one of the largest foreign holders of U.S. debt, the Chinese are also accumulating assets in the United States. They have procured companies, banks, buildings and infrastructure. There are rumors that there are enclaves of Chinese residents being developed -- whole cities of Chinese workers and plants being established in the U.S.
Insiders have reported that the mortgage loan fraud has been so extensive that even mortgages that are thought to be paid off may have claims on them from multiple lending institutions. A massive unanticipated transfer of property ownership may be about to take place. It is conceivable that many more people may face foreclosure and eviction seemingly out of the blue, including some who are up-to-date on their mortgage payments, but perhaps making payments to the wrong institution.
Even worse, are the reports of Russian, Chinese and other U.N. troops being trained and quartered in the United States. There is speculation that these may be in place for serving in a martial law occupation of a disoriented and weakened United States population, post collapse. Is it possible that these soldiers have been offered the spoils of confiscated property like pirates of old as reported by some whistleblowers?
Take A Relaxing Breath
The challenges of life are opportunities for expanding heart love to surround and soften the apparent crisis conditions. Loving is real prosperity.
Caring For One Another
Click here to learn more from Gerald Celente of Trends Research.
Click here to learn more from Catherine Austin Fitts, economist, former Federal Housing Commissioner, former Assistant Secretary of Housing.
Click here to learn more from Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury.
Click here to learn more from Mike "Mish" Shedlock, economist and investment advisor.
Click here to learn how to prepare from economist Michael Snyder at "The Economic Collapse Blog".
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