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Poster's Note: There is a lot of valuable information and analysis in this important article:

The Economy Comes Unglued

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

www.counterpunch.org

June 06, 2012

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/06/06/the-economy-comes-unglued/

Ever since the beginning of the financial crisis and Quantitative Easing, the question has been before us: How can the Federal Reserve maintain zero interest rates for banks and negative real interest rates for savers and bond holders when the US government is adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt every year via its budget deficits? Not long ago the Fed announced that it was going to continue this policy for another 2 or 3 years. Indeed, the Fed is locked into the policy. Without the artificially low interest rates, the debt service on the national debt would be so large that it would raise questions about the US Treasury’s credit rating and the viability of the dollar, and the trillions of dollars in Interest Rate Swaps and other derivatives would come unglued.

In other words, financial deregulation leading to Wall Street’s gambles, the US government’s decision to bail out the banks and to keep them afloat, and the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy have put the economic future of the US and its currency in an untenable and dangerous position. It will not be possible to continue to flood the bond markets with $1.5 trillion in new issues each year when the interest rate on the bonds is less than the rate of inflation. Everyone who purchases a Treasury bond is purchasing a depreciating asset. Moreover, the capital risk of investing in Treasuries is very high. The low interest rate means that the price paid for the bond is very high. A rise in interest rates, which must come sooner or later, will collapse the price of the bonds and inflict capital losses on bond holders, both domestic and foreign.

The question is: when is sooner or later? The purpose of this article is to examine that question.

Let us begin by answering the question: how has such an untenable policy managed to last this long?

A number of factors are contributing to the stability of the dollar and the bond market. A very important factor is the situation in Europe. There are real problems there as well, and the financial press keeps our focus on Greece, Europe, and the euro. Will Greece exit the European Union or be kicked out? Will the sovereign debt problem spread to Spain, Italy, and essentially everywhere except for Germany and the Netherlands?

Will it be the end of the EU and the euro? These are all very dramatic questions that keep focus off the American situation, which is probably even worse.

The Treasury bond market is also helped by the fear individual investors have of the equity market, which has been turned into a gambling casino by high-frequency trading.

High-frequency trading is electronic trading based on mathematical models that make the decisions. Investment firms compete on the basis of speed, capturing gains on a fraction of a penny, and perhaps holding positions for only a few seconds. These are not long-term investors. Content with their daily earnings, they close out all positions at the end of each day.

High-frequency trades now account for 70-80% of all equity trades. The result is major heartburn for traditional investors, who are leaving the equity market. They end up in Treasuries, because they are unsure of the solvency of banks who pay next to nothing for deposits, whereas 10-year Treasuries will pay about 2% nominal, which means, using the official Consumer Price Index, that they are losing 1% of their capital each year. Using John Williams’ (shadowstats.com) correct measure of inflation, they are losing far more. Still, the loss is about 2 percentage points less than being in a bank, and unlike banks, the Treasury can have the Federal Reserve print the money to pay off its bonds. Therefore, bond investment at least returns the nominal amount of the investment, even if its real value is much lower. ( For a description of High-frequency trading, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_frequency_trading )

The presstitute financial media tells us that flight from European sovereign debt, from the doomed euro, and from the continuing real estate disaster into US Treasuries provides funding for Washington’s $1.5 trillion annual deficits. Investors influenced by the financial press might be responding in this way. Another explanation for the stability of the Fed’s untenable policy is collusion between Washington, the Fed, and Wall Street. We will be looking at this as we progress.

Unlike Japan, whose national debt is the largest of all, Americans do not own their own public debt. Much of US debt is owned abroad, especially by China, Japan, and OPEC, the oil exporting countries. This places the US economy in foreign hands. If China, for example, were to find itself unduly provoked by Washington, China could dump up to $2 trillion in US dollar-dominated assets on world markets. All sorts of prices would collapse, and the Fed would have to rapidly create the money to buy up the Chinese dumping of dollar-denominated financial instruments.

The dollars printed to purchase the dumped Chinese holdings of US dollar assets would expand the supply of dollars in currency markets and drive down the dollar exchange rate. The Fed, lacking foreign currencies with which to buy up the dollars would have to appeal for currency swaps to sovereign debt troubled Europe for euros, to Russia, surrounded by the US missile system, for rubles, to Japan, a country over its head in American commitment, for yen, in order to buy up the dollars with euros, rubles, and yen.

These currency swaps would be on the books, unredeemable and making additional use of such swaps problematical. In other words, even if the US government can pressure its allies and puppets to swap their harder currencies for a depreciating US currency, it would not be a repeatable process. The components of the American Empire don’t want to be in dollars any more than do the BRICS.

However, for China, for example, to dump its dollar holdings all at once would be costly as the value of the dollar-denominated assets would decline as they dumped them. Unless China is faced with US military attack and needs to defang the aggressor, China as a rational economic actor would prefer to slowly exit the US dollar. Neither do Japan, Europe, nor OPEC wish to destroy their own accumulated wealth from America’s trade deficits by dumping dollars, but the indications are that they all wish to exit their dollar holdings.

Unlike the US financial press, the foreigners who hold dollar assets look at the annual US budget and trade deficits, look at the sinking US economy, look at Wall Street’s uncovered gambling bets, look at the war plans of the delusional hegemon and conclude: “I’ve got to carefully get out of this.”

US banks also have a strong interest in preserving the status quo. They are holders of US Treasuries and potentially even larger holders. They can borrow from the Federal Reserve at zero interest rates and purchase 10-year Treasuries at 2%, thus earning a nominal profit of 2% to offset derivative losses. The banks can borrow dollars from the Fed for free and leverage them in derivative transactions. As Nomi Prins puts it, the US banks don’t want to trade against themselves and their free source of funding by selling their bond holdings. Moreover, in the event of foreign flight from dollars, the Fed could boost the foreign demand for dollars by requiring foreign banks that want to operate in the US to increase their reserve amounts, which are dollar based.

I could go on, but I believe this is enough to show that even actors in the process who could terminate it have themselves a big stake in not rocking the boat and prefer to quietly and slowly sneak out of dollars before the crisis hits. This is not possible indefinitely as the process of gradual withdrawal from the dollar would result in continuous small declines in dollar values that would end in a rush to exit, but Americans are not the only delusional people.

The very process of slowly getting out can bring the American house down. The BRICS–Brazil, the largest economy in South America, Russia, the nuclear armed and energy independent economy on which Western Europe ( Washington’s NATO puppets) are dependent for energy, India, nuclear armed and one of Asia’s two rising giants, China, nuclear armed, Washington’s largest creditor (except for the Fed), supplier of America’s manufactured and advanced technology products, and the new bogyman for the military-security complex’s next profitable cold war, and South Africa, the largest economy in Africa–are in the process of forming a new bank. The new bank will permit the five large economies to conduct their trade without use of the US dollar.

In addition, Japan, an American puppet state since WW II, is on the verge of entering into an agreement with China in which the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan will be directly exchanged. The trade between the two Asian countries would be conducted in their own currencies without the use of the US dollar. This reduces the cost of foreign trade between the two countries, because it eliminates payments for foreign exchange commissions to convert from yen and yuan into dollars and back into yen and yuan.

Moreover, this official explanation for the new direct relationship avoiding the US dollar is simply diplomacy speaking. The Japanese are hoping, like the Chinese, to get out of the practice of accumulating ever more dollars by having to park their trade surpluses in US Treasuries. The Japanese US puppet government hopes that the Washington hegemon does not require the Japanese government to nix the deal with China.

Now we have arrived at the nitty and gritty. The small percentage of Americans who are aware and informed are puzzled why the banksters have escaped with their financial crimes without prosecution. The answer might be that the banks “too big to fail” are adjuncts of Washington and the Federal Reserve in maintaining the stability of the dollar and Treasury bond markets in the face of an untenable Fed policy.

Let us first look at how the big banks can keep the interest rates on Treasuries low, below the rate of inflation, despite the constant increase in US debt as a percent of GDP–thus preserving the Treasury’s ability to service the debt.

The imperiled banks too big to fail have a huge stake in low interest rates and the success of the Fed’s policy. The big banks are positioned to make the Fed’s policy a success. JPMorganChase and other giant-sized banks can drive down Treasury interest rates and, thereby, drive up the prices of bonds, producing a rally, by selling Interest Rate Swaps (IRSwaps).

A financial company that sells IRSwaps is selling an agreement to pay floating interest rates for fixed interest rates. The buyer is purchasing an agreement that requires him to pay a fixed rate of interest in exchange for receiving a floating rate.

The reason for a seller to take the short side of the IRSwap, that is, to pay a floating rate for a fixed rate, is his belief that rates are going to fall. Short-selling can make the rates fall, and thus drive up the prices of Treasuries. When this happens, as the charts at Market Oracle illustrate, there is a rally in the Treasury bond market that the presstitute financial media attributes to “flight to the safe haven of the US dollar and Treasury bonds.” In fact, the circumstantial evidence (see the charts in the link above) is that the swaps are sold by Wall Street whenever the Federal Reserve needs to prevent a rise in interest rates in order to protect its otherwise untenable policy. The swap sales create the impression of a flight to the dollar, but no actual flight occurs. As the IRSwaps require no exchange of any principal or real asset, and are only a bet on interest rate movements, there is no limit to the volume of IRSwaps.

This apparent collusion suggests to some observers that the reason the Wall Street banksters have not been prosecuted for their crimes is that they are an essential part of the Federal Reserve’s policy to preserve the US dollar as world currency. Possibly the collusion between the Federal Reserve and the banks is organized, but it doesn’t have to be. The banks are beneficiaries of the Fed’s zero interest rate policy. It is in the banks’ interest to support it. Organized collusion is not required.

Let us now turn to gold and silver bullion. Based on sound analysis, Gerald Celente and other gifted seers predicted that the price of gold would be $2000 per ounce by the end of last year. Gold and silver bullion continued during 2011 their ten-year rise, but in 2012 the price of gold and silver have been knocked down, with gold being $350 per ounce off its $1900 high.

In view of the analysis that I have presented, what is the explanation for the reversal in bullion prices? The answer again is shorting. Some knowledgeable people within the financial sector believe that the Federal Reserve (and perhaps also the European Central Bank) places short sales of bullion through the investment banks, guaranteeing any losses by pushing a key on the computer keyboard, as central banks can create money out of thin air.

Insiders inform me that as a tiny percent of those on the buy side of short sells actually want to take delivery on the gold or silver bullion, and are content with the financial money settlement, there is no limit to short selling of gold and silver. Short selling can actually exceed the known quantity of gold and silver.

Some who have been watching the process for years believe that government-directed short-selling has been going on for a long time. Even without government participation, banks can control the volume of paper trading in gold and profit on the swings that they create. Recently short selling is so aggressive that it not merely slows the rise in bullion prices but drives the price down. Is this aggressiveness a sign that the rigged system is on the verge of becoming unglued?

In other words, “our government,” which allegedly represents us, rather than the powerful private interests who elect “our government” with their multi-million dollar campaign contributions, now legitimized by the Republican Supreme Court, is doing its best to deprive us mere citizens, slaves, indentured servants, and “domestic extremists” from protecting ourselves and our remaining wealth from the currency debauchery policy of the Federal Reserve. Naked short selling prevents the rising demand for physical bullion from raising bullion’s price.

Jeff Nielson explains another way that banks can sell bullion shorts when they own no bullion. Nielson says that JP Morgan is the custodian for the largest long silver fund while being the largest short-seller of silver. Whenever the silver fund adds to its bullion holdings, JP Morgan shorts an equal amount. The short selling offsets the rise in price that would result from the increase in demand for physical silver. Nielson also reports that bullion prices can be suppressed by raising margin requirements on those who purchase bullion with leverage. The conclusion is that bullion markets can be manipulated just as can the Treasury bond market and interest rates.

How long can the manipulations continue? When will the proverbial hit the fan?

If we knew precisely the date, we would be the next mega-billionaires.

Here are some of the catalysts waiting to ignite the conflagration that burns up the Treasury bond market and the US dollar:

A war, demanded by the Israeli government, with Iran, beginning with Syria, that disrupts the oil flow and thereby the stability of the Western economies or brings the US and its weak NATO puppets into armed conflict with Russia and China. The oil spikes would degrade further the US and EU economies, but Wall Street would make money on the trades.

An unfavorable economic statistic that wakes up investors as to the true state of the US economy, a statistic that the presstitute media cannot deflect.

An affront to China, whose government decides that knocking the US down a few pegs into third world status is worth a trillion dollars.

More derivate mistakes, such as JPMorganChase’s recent one, that send the US financial system again reeling and reminds us that nothing has changed.

The list is long. There is a limit to how many stupid mistakes and corrupt financial policies the rest of the world is willing to accept from the US. When that limit is reached, it is all over for “the world’s sole superpower” and for holders of dollar-denominated instruments.

Financial deregulation converted the financial system, which formerly served businesses and consumers, into a gambling casino where bets are not covered. These uncovered bets, together with the Fed’s zero interest rate policy, have exposed Americans’ living standard and wealth to large declines. Retired people living on their savings and investments, IRAs and 401(k)s can earn nothing on their money and are forced to consume their capital, thereby depriving heirs of inheritance. Accumulated wealth is consumed.

As a result of jobs offshoring, the US has become an import-dependent country, dependent on foreign made manufactured goods, clothing, and shoes. When the dollar exchange rate falls, domestic US prices will rise, and US real consumption will take a big hit. Americans will consume less, and their standard of living will fall dramatically.

The serious consequences of the enormous mistakes made in Washington, on Wall Street, and in corporate offices are being held at bay by an untenable policy of low interest rates and a corrupt financial press, while debt rapidly builds. The Fed has been through this experience once before. During WW II the Federal Reserve kept interest rates low in order to aid the Treasury’s war finance by minimizing the interest burden of the war debt. The Fed kept the interest rates low by buying the debt issues. The postwar inflation that resulted led to the Federal Reserve-Treasury Accord in 1951, in which agreement was reached that the Federal Reserve would cease monetizing the debt and permit interest rates to rise.

Fed chairman Bernanke has spoken of an “exit strategy” and said that when inflation threatens, he can prevent the inflation by taking the money back out of the banking system. However, he can do that only by selling Treasury bonds, which means interest rates would rise. A rise in interest rates would threaten the derivative structure, cause bond losses, and raise the cost of both private and public debt service. In other words, to prevent inflation from debt monetization would bring on more immediate problems than inflation. Rather than collapse the system, wouldn’t the Fed be more likely to inflate away the massive debts?

Eventually, inflation would erode the dollar’s purchasing power and use as the reserve currency, and the US government’s credit worthiness would waste away. However, the Fed, the politicians, and the financial gangsters would prefer a crisis later rather than sooner. Passing the sinking ship on to the next watch is preferable to going down with the ship oneself. As long as interest rate swaps can be used to boost Treasury bond prices, and as long as naked shorts of bullion can be used to keep silver and gold from rising in price, the false image of the US as a safe haven for investors can be perpetuated.

However, the $230,000,000,000,000 in derivative bets by US banks might bring its own surprises. JPMorganChase has had to admit that its recently announced derivative loss of $2 billion is more than that. How much more remains to be seen. According to the Comptroller of the Currency the five largest banks hold 95.7% of all derivatives. The five banks holding $226 trillion in derivative bets are highly leveraged gamblers. For example, JPMorganChase has total assets of $1.8 trillion but holds $70 trillion in derivative bets, a ratio of $39 in derivative bets for every dollar of assets. Such a bank doesn’t have to lose very many bets before it is busted.

Assets, of course, are not risk-based capital. According to the Comptroller of the Currency report, as of December 31, 2011, JPMorganChase held $70.2 trillion in derivatives and only $136 billion in risk-based capital. In other words, the bank’s derivative bets are 516 times larger than the capital that covers the bets.

It is difficult to imagine a more reckless and unstable position for a bank to place itself in, but Goldman Sachs takes the cake. That bank’s $44 trillion in derivative bets is covered by only $19 billion in risk-based capital, resulting in bets 2,295 times larger than the capital that covers them.

Bets on interest rates comprise 81% of all derivatives. These are the derivatives that support high US Treasury bond prices despite massive increases in US debt and its monetization.

US banks’ derivative bets of $230 trillion, concentrated in five banks, are 15.3 times larger than the US GDP. A failed political system that allows unregulated banks to place uncovered bets 15 times larger than the US economy is a system that is headed for catastrophic failure. As the word spreads of the fantastic lack of judgment in the American political and financial systems, the catastrophe in waiting will become a reality.

Everyone wants a solution, so I will provide one. The US government should simply cancel the $230 trillion in derivative bets, declaring them null and void. As no real assets are involved, merely gambling on notional values, the only major effect of closing out or netting all the swaps (mostly over-the-counter contracts between counter-parties) would be to take $230 trillion of leveraged risk out of the financial system. The financial gangsters who want to continue enjoying betting gains while the public underwrites their losses would scream and yell about the sanctity of contracts. However, a government that can murder its own citizens or throw them into dungeons without due process can abolish all the contracts it wants in the name of national security. And most certainly, unlike the war on terror, purging the financial system of the gambling derivatives would vastly improve national security.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached through his website

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Crashing the Operating System - Liquidity Crunch In Practice

MONDAY, JUNE 04, 2012 6:12 PM

================== http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/crashing-the-operating-system-liquidity-crunch-in-practice.html

==================

2008 was a practice run, or a warning shot across the bow, compared to what is coming over the next few years.

2008 did not demonstrate what a liquidity crunch really means, but this time we are going to find out. As with many aspects of financial crisis, Greece is the canary in the coalmine, demonstrating what happens when liquidity disappears and it ceases to be possible to connect buyers and sellers or producers and consumers.

As we have said before, and for a long time now, money is the lubricant in the engine of the economy in the way that motor oil is the lubricant in the engine of your car, and you know what will happen to your car if you drive it with the oil warning light on.

Greece stands on the verge of an energy crisis caused not by lack of energy, but lack of money within the energy sector. This will become a common refrain throughout Europe and beyond in the coming months and years. Loss of liquidity has a cascading effect on supply chains, causing them to seize up.

For a long time, money will be the limiting factor, and finance will be the key driver to the downside, just as was the case in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Resources will remain available, at least initially, but no one will have the means to pay for them during a period of economic seizure. Harry Papachristou has this for Reuters:

Greek power regulator warns of energy meltdown

Greece's power regulator RAE told Reuters on Friday it was calling an emergency meeting next week to avert a collapse of the debt-stricken country's electricity and natural gas system.

RAE took the decision after receiving a letter from Greece's natural gas company DEPA, which threatened to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.

Greece is seeing a similar dynamic unfold in relation to pharmaceuticals. Reimbursement arrears from the public sector payment system are building up, pharmacies can no longer offer credit, and people are going to have to pay up front for medicines or go without. Many will be going without. Masa Serdarevic writes for FT Alphaville:

Greece: when the drugs run out

The country's pharmacies are owed 500m by the state-backed healthcare insurer, according to reports. From next week patients will have to stump up the cash for their medicines upfront, and then claim a reimbursement from the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY).

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a) medicines tend to be very expensive, B) so paying for them may be very difficult for a lot of people, especially pensioners. And c) if the EOPYY is having trouble paying the pharmacists, it's unlikely to find it any easier to reimburse individuals.

In recent months pharmacies have promised to halt credit to patients unless they get paid, and the EOPYY has thrown some money their way. But its arrears are rapidly rising and clearly the pharmacists can only provide so much credit.

Government attempts to reduce their cost burden are only making matters worse. Parallel trades are developing, with medicines priced artificially low in Greece being sold elsewhere for more. When arbitrage is both possible and profitable, it will happen. Naomi Kresge reports for Bloomberg:

Greek Crisis Has Pharmacists Pleading for Aspirin as Drug Supply Dries Up

The reasons for the shortages are complex. One major cause is the Greek government, which sets prices for medicines. As part of an effort to cut its own costs,Greecehas mandated lower drug prices in the past year.

That has fed a secondary market, drug manufacturers contend, as wholesalers sell their shipments outside the country at higher prices than they can get within Greece.

Strained government finances only make matters worse. Wholesalers and pharmacists say the system suffers from a lack of liquidity, as public insurers delay payments to pharmacies, which in turn can't pay suppliers on time.

Reimbursement fraud compounds the drain on the country's health resources, Richard Bergstrom, director-general of European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, said in an interview. Drugs shipped elsewhere yet submitted for reimbursement to public insurers as if they had been prescribed to patients cost Greece more than 500 million euros a year, Bergstrom said, citing figures he said he got from the Ministry of Health.

In a later e-mail, Bergstrom said he had personally seen packs of drugs with Greek reimbursement stickers on the market outside of Greece, suggesting that exporters were reimbursed and able to ship the packs abroad.

"If the pack is exported, the exporter is obliged to 'cancel' the code, a bar code, by using a black pen," Bergstrom wrote. "But this is not monitored."

Greece's problems are going to increase the more a currency reissue is seen as probable.

Already Greek citizens are delaying payment of taxes, on the grounds that they may be able to pay later in heavily devalued new drachmas. This, of course, worsens the ability of the Greek government to meet its obligations, causing a greater shortage of liquidity and strengthening the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy.

The political risk resulting from the new round of elections - a referendum on austerity measures -is a major stumbling block. Brinkmanship of this kind heightens market insecurity and therefore fear, and fear is catching. Greek political opportunists are holding the members of the eurozone to ransom, threatening to stop making debt payments if future tranches of support are not forthcoming. From Martin Straith at the Trendletter:

Greece's Syriza Threatens to Stop Paying Their Bills.

According to recent opinion polls, Tsipras' party is poised to win the most votes in repeat elections next month, bettering its surprise, second-place finish in an inconclusive May 6 vote that left no party or coalition with enough seats in parliament to form a government.

Tsipras says that, if push comes to shove, Greece can manage on its own. By not paying its debts, the country will have enough cash to pay its workers and retirees. He also proposes cuts in defense spending, cracking down on waste and corruption, and tackling widespread tax evasion by the rich..

The craziness in Greece doesn't end here. The government has been having trouble getting the citizen's to pay their property taxes, so they decided to bundle the property taxes with the electricity bills, since the citizens were more inclined to pay those bills. The government had hoped to raise 1.7bn-2bn from the levy in the fourth quarter of last year.

But a massive unions-led civil disobedience movement against this "injustice" scuppered that and a ruling that it was illegal to disconnect people's electricity supply for non-payment sent the collection rate even lower.

Now the power company is not getting the revenue from the electricity bills and it has now had to be bailed out by the government to avert a nationwide energy crisis.

In addition, international insurers are suspending coverage for shipments to Greece on the grounds that the risk of non-payment is unacceptably high. This will compromise the ability of Greece to obtain all manner of imports.

Top insurer pulls cover for exports to Greece

Trade insurers have been reviewing their Greek exposure ahead of the country's June 17 general election, seen as a potential trigger for a euro exit if victory goes to parties that oppose spending cuts agreed under a European bailout deal.

"It's a watershed - everyone's watching what happens and trying to make contingency plans," said Richard Talboys, head of political and trade credit risk at insurance broker Willis.

"There are smoke and flames coming out of Greece but we don't know if it can be put out, or if the Greeks will pour oil on it by voting against restructuring and austerity."

Reduced availability of insurance cover for exports to Greece will likely make it harder for manufacturers there to source imported components and materials, said Vincent McCue, trade credit client team leader at insurance broker Marsh.

"The trade credit insurers are saying if, as a result of the election a government comes to power that is committed to overturning the austerity package, even the very best of companies in Greece will no longer be able to pay their debts as they fall due," he said.

The drawn-out, yet inevitable, Greek exit from the eurozone is prolonging the agony, while leaving the country open to being asset stripped. The same process has played out many times before, but humans are resistant to learning the lessons of history and applying them to their own situation.

What is beginning now, or more accurately resuming now, is already familiar to the citizens of Russia or Argentina. We can expect payments to dry up, notably public sector obligations. In Russia people went to work anyway, despite being paid months late, if at all, because they had much less dependence on liquidity for rent and utilities.

In Greece (and later elsewhere in Europe and the West in general) this dependence is far greater, and the impact of the loss of liquidity will be far worse as a result.

Europe is at the epicentre at the moment, but contagion will ensure that the dynamic will spread. In the European context, we are likely to see the liquidity crunch currently focused on the periphery spread to the centre.Initially the centre appears to be perceived as a safe haven, but probably not for long as the systemic risk associated with the single currency becomes increasingly apparent.

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I think it's a bit simplistic to call any particular aspect systemic, particularly when it is an analysis by parts of the 'system'.

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That seems to me one of the most pertinent posts for a long time, Douglas. I think my rather shambling topic on FIAT finds something of a synthesis here. Of course, to me, it begs the question of what fundamentally is the problem and the solution.

Interesting that War is hypothesised as an outcome.

It has always intrigued me that the economy forges ahead as if all is on track which indicates to me that the 'correction' is already 'written' and it is not one that is in the interest of humanity but profit seekers that indentured wage slaves will be forced to solve with their meager resources and ultimately lives. For now it is sufficient for the 1% to focus on the rest to keep their (misplaced) faith in the 1% (which ultimately is FIAT, money, debt (and ruin)) by propaganda and force.

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