“We use the term “reserve currency” when referring to the common use of the dollar by other countries when settling their international trade accounts. For example, if Canada buys goods from China, it may pay China in US dollars rather than Canadian dollars, and vice versa. However, the foundation from which the term originated no longer exists, and today the dollar is called a “reserve currency” simply because foreign countries hold it in great quantity to facilitate trade.
The first reserve currency was the British pound sterling. Because the pound was “good as gold,” many countries found it more convenient to hold pounds rather than gold itself during the age of the gold standard. The world’s great trading nations settled their trade in gold, but they might hold pounds rather than gold, with the confidence that the Bank of England would hand over the gold at a fixed exchange rate upon presentment. Toward the end of World War II the US dollar was given this status by international treaty following the Bretton Woods Agreement. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was formed with the express purpose of monitoring the Federal Reserve’s commitment to Bretton Woods by ensuring that the Fed did not inflate the dollar and stood ready to exchange dollars for gold at $35 per ounce. Thusly, countries had confidence that their dollars held for trading purposes were as “good as gold,” as had been the Pound Sterling at one time.
However, the Fed did not maintain its commitment to the Bretton Woods Agreement and the IMF did not attempt to force it to hold enough gold to honor all its outstanding currency in gold at $35 per ounce. The Fed was called to account in the late 1960s, first by France and then by others, until its gold reserves were so low that it had no choice but to revalue the dollar at some higher exchange rate or abrogate its responsibilities to honor dollars for gold entirely. To it everlasting shame, the US chose the latter and “went off the gold standard” in September 1971.
Nevertheless, the dollar was still held by the great trading nations, because it still performed the useful function of settling international trading accounts. There was no other currency that could match the dollar, despite the fact that it was “delinked” from gold.”
Via Zero Hedge
“There is a reason why every fiat currency in the history of the world has eventually failed. At some point, those issuing fiat currencies always find themselves giving in to the temptation to wildly print more money. Sometimes, the motivation for doing this is good. When an economy is really struggling, those that have been entrusted with the management of that economy can easily fall for the lie that things would be better if people just had “more money”. Today, the Federal Reserve finds itself faced with a scenario that is very similar to what the Weimar Republic was facing nearly 100 years ago. Like the Weimar Republic, the U.S. economy is also struggling and like the Weimar Republic, the U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve has decided to adopt the same solution that the Weimar Republic chose. The Federal Reserve is recklessly printing money out of thin air, and in the short-term some positive things have come out of it. But quantitative easing worked for the Weimar Republic for a little while too. At first, more money caused economic activity to increase and unemployment was low. But all of that money printing destroyed faith in German currency and in the German financial system and ultimately Germany experienced an economic meltdown that the world is still talking about today. This is the path that the Federal Reserve is taking America down, but most Americans have absolutely no idea what is happening.”
“The Economic Collapse…people envision bank runs, life WROL (without rule of law), piles of worthless currency, rampant homelessness, and breathless news reports on CNN and the network channels (if you happen to still have access to a television, that is). They imagine a grim, gray world, devoid of entertainment, with unwashed citizens digging desperately through the trash.
Because of this apocalyptic image, the idea of an economic collapse seems pretty far-fetched to most people. After all, we still see cars in every driveway, lights in every window at night, children going to school and parents going to work. Everything’s fine, right? The economic collapse is only a conspiracy theory, cooked up by those crazy libertarians and right-wingers, right?
Sadly, no. It’s a fact and it’s all around us, right now. The economic collapse has occurred quietly and stealthily. In fact, many people probably think that it has only happened to them, as job losses occur, utilities get cut off, and the pantry gets more sparse. They don’t talk about it because poverty is a humiliating state – they suffer quietly, not realizing that the next-door neighbor is probably in the exact same situation. They don’t realize that they aren’t alone.”
Via Activist Post
“What does it look like when a 30 year bull market ends abruptly? What happens when bond yields start doing things that they haven’t done in 50 years? If your answer to those questions involves the word “slaughter”, you are probably on the right track. Right now, bonds are being absolutely slaughtered, and this is only just the beginning. Over the last several years, reckless bond buying by the Federal Reserve has forced yields down to absolutely ridiculous levels. For example, it simply is not rational to lend the U.S. government money at less than 3 percent when the real rate of inflation is somewhere up around 8 to 10 percent. But when he originally announced the quantitative easing program, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that he intended to force interest rates to go down, and lots of bond investors made a lot of money riding the bubble that Bernanke created. But now that Bernanke has indicated that the bond buying will be coming to an end, investors are going into panic mode and the bond bubble is starting to burst. One hedge fund executive told CNBC that the “feeling you are getting out there is that people are selling first and asking questions later”. And the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries just keeps going up. Today it closed at 2.59 percent, and many believe that it is going to go much higher unless the Fed intervenes. If the Fed does not intervene and allows the bubble that it has created to burst, we are going to see unprecedented carnage.”
“Do you want to know the primary reason why rapidly rising interest rates could take down the entire global financial system? Most people might think that it would be because the U.S. government would have to pay much more interest on the national debt. And yes, if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rose to just 6 percent (and it has actually been much higher in the past), the federal government would be paying out about a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt. But that isn’t it. Nor does the primary reason have to do with the fact that rapidly rising interest rates would impose massive losses on bond investors. At this point, it is being projected that if U.S. bond yields rise by an average of 3 percentage points, it will cause investors to lose a trillion dollars. Yes, that is a 1 with 12 zeroes after it ($1,000,000,000,000). But that is not the number one danger posed by rapidly rising interest rates either. Rather, the number one reason why rapidly rising interest rates could cause the entire global financial system to crash is because there are more than 441 TRILLION dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there. This number comes directly from the Bank for International Settlements – the central bank of central banks. In other words, more than $441,000,000,000,000 has been bet on the movement of interest rates. Normally these bets do not cause a major problem because rates tend to move very slowly and the system stays balanced. But now rates are starting to skyrocket, and the sophisticated financial models used by derivatives traders do not account for this kind of movement.”
“When we talk of our standard of living most people equate that to all of the stuff and the money that they have. They feel that the more of each they have the better they are doing. Unfortunately for most, the last few decades have seen an artificial prosperity in the U.S. with an artificial standard of living. The standard they think they have is propped up by massive amounts of fiat money that can and will evaporate soon.
We have been brought to this point by irresponsible policies created by irresponsible people that seek only to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses. Many Americans have massive amounts of mortgage debt, automobile debt, credit card debt, student loan debt, business debt, medical debt and/or recreational equipment debt.
When the money ends and the people can no longer pay for the things that make up their standard of living, they will lose most of those things and be left with a lot of cheap trinkets made in China, many of which are probably broken already, to signify their standard of living.
When the artificial standard of living collapses into the real standard of living that most will end up with, there will be a lot of denial then a lot of anger. This will be a dangerous time for everyone, especially those that made prudent decisions most of their lives and lived within their means and will still have most of their wealth in tact when it’s over.”
Via Alt Market
“Did you know that you are involved in the most massive Ponzi scheme that has ever existed? To illustrate my point, allow me to tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a man named Sam. When he was younger, he had been a very principled young man that had worked incredibly hard and that had built a large number of tremendously successful businesses. He became fabulously wealthy and he accumulated far more gold than anyone else on the planet. But when he started to get a little older he forgot the values of his youth. He started making really bad decisions and some of his relatives started to take advantage of him. One particularly devious relative was a nephew named Fred. One day Fred approached his uncle Sam with a scheme that his friends the bankers had come up with. What happened next would change the course of Sam’s life forever.”
“Did you know that Barack Obama has been secretly negotiating the most important trade agreement since the formation of the World Trade Organization? Did you know that this agreement will impose very strict Internet copyright rules, ban all “Buy American” laws, give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and force even more domestic manufacturing offshore? If you have not heard about this treaty, don’t feel bad. Obama has refused to even give Congress a copy of the draft agreement and he has banned members of Congress from attending the negotiations. The plan is to keep this treaty secret until the very last minute and then to railroad it through Congress and have it signed into law by October. The treaty is known as “the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and the nations that are reported to be involved in the development of this treaty include the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. Opponents of this treaty refer to it as “the NAFTA of the Pacific”, and if it is enacted it will push the deindustrialization of America into overdrive.”
“This is no time to be complacent. Massive economic problems are erupting all over the globe, but most people seem to believe that everything is going to be just fine. In fact, a whole bunch of recent polls and surveys show that the American people are starting to feel much better about how the U.S. economy is performing. Unfortunately, the false prosperity that we are currently enjoying is not going to last much longer. Just look at what is happening in Europe. The eurozone is now in the midst of the longest recession that it has ever experienced. Just look at what is happening over in Asia. Economic growth in India is the lowest that it has been in a decade and the Japanese financial system is beginning to spin wildly out of control. One of the only places on the entire planet where serious economic problems have not already erupted is in the United States, and that is only because we have “kicked the can down the road” by recklessly printing money and by borrowing money at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately, the “sugar high” produced by those foolish measures is starting to wear off. We are going to experience a massive amount of economic pain along with the rest of the world – it is just a matter of time.”
“The mainstream media is not telling you this, but the truth is that most Americans are steadily getting poorer. The middle class is being absolutely eviscerated, and poverty is soaring to unprecedented heights. The fact that 90 percent of the population is constantly sliding downhill is not good for our society. The United States is supposed to be a land of opportunity with a vibrant free market system that enables average people to make better lives for themselves. Unfortunately, free enterprise is being strangled to death in the United States today. Entrepreneurs and small business are being pounded into oblivion by rules, regulations, red tape and oppressive levels of taxation. At the same time, millions of jobs have been shipped out of the United States by corporate giants and sent to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. All of this has happened under both Democrats and Republicans. Meanwhile, wealth and power continue to become even more heavily concentrated in the hands of big government and big corporations. Our founding fathers warned that we should not allow such large concentrations of wealth and power, because they tend to funnel the rewards of society into the hands of a select few. We need to change the rules of the game so that entrepreneurs, small businesses and average workers can thrive in this country once again. If big government and big corporations continue to gobble up even more wealth and power, the wealth inequality that we see right now will only get even worse.”