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  • #140389
    Jax
    Keymaster

    I was listening to an interview on NPR tonight and they were talking about the Euro and how this french guy has done a lot to stabilize it through the financial crisis, staying neutral to individual countries and making hard decisions.  I liked hearing that in general because it’s almost unheard of these days.  But then I got to pondering the euro and the idea of universal currency.  I’ve heard many ‘scary’ stories about a new world order and how dangerous a global currency is.  People point to the troubles recently (and currently) in Greece, Portugal, Ireland and so on and say “see! This is why the euro is bad! It’s dragging everyone else down, forcing us to bail them out.”  But I thought differently today.  While there is danger if there aren’t intelligent and neutral people in charge there is also a benefit.  Unity.

    It’s often a natural instinct during times of crisis to attempt to look after our own.  This results in a smaller focus than the situation at hand.  If it’s a global crisis we look at our country.  If it’s a national crisis we may look after our state.  A state crisis we’ll focus on a city identity…and on down to something that causes us to get very focused on our closest friends and family.  We withdraw and view the outside as a threat.  We blame them for the problem (no matter if it’s right or wrong to blame them…or even beneficial).  But when we are truly interconnected – needing others for goods and services, or needing to help them because if we don’t it’ll destroy our own currency – we can’t just withdraw.  We have to face the issue and we have to care about others.  Even if the caring is selfish in nature, I can’t help but think this is better than having no connection. 

    What if, instead of this horrible new world order idea, concepts like the UN and euro actually bring the world together because we have these ties that aren’t easily broken?  What if it actually brings about more peace?  It isn’t easy, but no one expects it to be.  In the end, people with different and sometimes conflicting interests are forced to compromise.  I think it’s quite possible that we’ll be able to look back one day and say “wow, that actually worked out pretty well for the world!”

    And of course, once the aliens come I’m sure many people will be quite happy they have the relationships built up through the UN and the EU because we can speak with a more unified voice. ;-)

    So that’s what I pondered today.  Even if I’m wrong, I always feel better when I can bring a little balance to my perspectives.

    #160333
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    Most of those countries that are in trouble are those that had high benefits for their people, corruption and waste.  Greece has like a 300 Billion Euro debt… which is like 500 Billion US. And, places like Germany (one of the most stable countries in those Euro groups) does not like the idea that they have to bail out Greece so it can pay out on pension benefits which are more extensive and juicier then what Germany has.. and Germany has some nice ones.

    Spain and the other places… they played the stock market and blew money like candy as well… and now it is coming back to bite them.  They really are having to look at making drastic changes to their spending and their programs so they can sustain what they have.. or make rather deep cuts in programs and benefits to keep from having to go under.

    In the old ‘pre Euro’ days, a country could ‘fix’ a money problem by printing more of their own currency.  Now, they can’t do that and they are finally waking up to the fact that money does not grow on trees anymore.  Portugal and Ireland are also hard hit.  Portugal because it has zippo beside a tourist economy.. well, almost.  And Ireland got hit more by the business speculation thing where a lot of ‘offshore’ companies pulled out… which hurt.  I think Ireland will bounce back but they are going to do it through some deep deep cuts.. which will hurt for a long while nonetheless.

    Unity is good. We should be looking out for ‘our neighbors’ as much as we look out for ourselves.  But, it must be done wisely and responsibly… not to where one country can drag down an entire continent.

    #160338
    Jax
    Keymaster

    I can definitely see how the wrong leadership could have resulted in the euro already crashing.  Thankfully that didn’t happen.  It’s going to be years of challenges still as the world learns how to manage money and resources better without being selfish about it.  But that’s a good thing I figure.  Self discipline applies to large groups as well as individuals. 

    #160716
    Tranquility
    Participant

    Unity is a good thing, I think, and especially in today’s tightly-knit world a means of unified governance and economic exchange is helpful.  Such a structure doesn’t have to be the sort of diabolical, fascist thing that’s often envisioned (though that’s certainly one possible reality); it could also be more democratic with a system of checks and balances, just like what works well with national governments. 

    The problem with the Euro right now is that the countries of the European Union agreed to a common currency but not a common policy of economic management – so imbalances have grown over time between thrifty and profligate countries.

    I see this as very serious, as we have a “sorta kinda” global unified economy already.  If Greece defaults or withdraws from the EU (as appears likely), the banks and investment houses across the world who hold their debt are weakened, as are those institutions and people who provided capital to these financiers and possibly anyone holding Greek assets.  The cycle can expand from there; the best number-cruncher I know who keeps tabs on the probable outcome of the current global economic situation points to the most likely near-term scenario being a repeat of the 2009 economic downturn. 

    That’s all perhaps a detour from the topic at hand, but offered in the hopes that it might help some people here and there reflect on their own current financial strategy.  If you have money tied up in bonds or bond funds, or if your money or employment are tied up in a firm that depends on low interest rates to thrive, it might be a good idea to look for alternatives (including just plain cash). 

    That aside – in a world where you can get to almost anywhere on the globe within 24 hours, it makes sense to have a global governing body.  The millenia-old strategy of non-interference between peoples who are abusing each other is too dangerous now to keep in place.  The UN may still be an imperfect institution, but at the moment it’s the best hope we have, IMHO. 

    May the day soon come when those within our political institutions are inspired more by compassion and mutual support than – well, by politics. 

    Tranquility

    #160717
    Jax
    Keymaster

    Very good points.  I don’t pretend to understand economics in any way. But I often listen to marketplace and sometimes planet money on NPR so I’m learning more.  But it’s still over my head.  lol 

    #160718
    Setanaoko
    Participant

    A long time ago, money use to be in the trading of resources.  You have something I need, and I have something you need-let’s trade.  Eventually we started in on the idea of real currency.

    America wants an Amero.  What I think needs to happen is that we need to ensure that each country which enters into an Amero contract meets a certain economic standard-and a legitamate plan to keep that standard up.  I also believe that the USA needs to improve their own economy first before entering that currency.

    Over time, it might not be a bad idea to have a universal currency.  As to that having to do with a one-world government…well look at the diversity of all the countries using a Euro.  They have standards, but they don’t really rule each country.  They are allowed to operate under their own laws (within reason, obviously stuff like a Holocaust isn’t acceptible).  I think that is where people start getting more and more paranoid of the idea of universal currency-they think it means everyone is ruled under one central person/committee.

    Well…the currency bit and the Christian agenda.

    #160819
    TB-1
    Participant

    My question is has anyone wondered who we are in debt to? Our country is in debt, but to who? I have heard the theory that the National Reserve is run by privately owned banks and money is loaned to the country through them. If this is the case, then we owe a debt that will never be repaid. I dislike this idea horribly, but the idea of an Amero, is even more frightening. we will put together our money with that of all the america’s and use said money to pay off our debts and create this currency using the gold value and that is it. This also means we have to create enough Amero’s for everyone to have some. This depretiates the value of the gold, still leaving the Amero a weak form of currency.

    Now assume we do this with all the nations and all the debits. This makes a NWO dollar. This means the NWO controls all the gold in the world. this means they decide how much it is truely worth. This means they can extort the everloving stuff out of everyone in the world, reducing us to slaves to the Beast. Only the super rich will be able to afford anything. Only the super rich will be able to campagne for office, leaving the world ruled nly by the super rich. We become slaves to them. With that much power they can demand all weapons be turned in, for the sake of peace, but really it is to leave us defenseless. Can we stop them? No, because the super rich are the ones making the decisions and they say what goes. Can we fight? Not the NWO army over 1 million strong. Can we run? No they own the world. Maybe I am just a conspiracy theorist, but this is too dangerous and too much power could end up in the hands of too few.

    #160820
    Jax
    Keymaster

    I don’t think most people want some weird thing like the Amero. Just because a small minority like the tea party can make a lot of noise that doesn’t mean they represent this country, continent, or world. 

    I’m not advocating a global or continental currency.  I’m simply pointing out that it’s not just a bad thing.  It can be a good thing, done properly.  In Europe it made sense because you can easily drive across multiple countries in a day. To have to switch currency between them is silly.  In the US you can drive for days and never leave the country.  There’s no logistical advantage to a continental currency.  But I’m not debating economics because it’s all quite complicated. 

    #163102
    Tranquility
    Participant

    I’ve been away from this thread for along time, so sorry for the gap in time to reply.  I also apologize in advance that this is a very long post, but the topic is important – in my opinion, one of the top three or four issues regarding the well-being of both American citizens and those of other countries. 

    Regarding the Amero, I am not too concerned.  For one thing, as much information as I’ve been able to glean indicates that the likelihood some people place on its emergence is overestimated; as far as I can tell, the very real efforts to solidify expanded trade agreements between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have been exaggerated by fear, and rumors of an Amero have sprouted from that.  Officials of those countries have clearly said that the Amero is not under consideration, and I believe them; most Western leaders, most of the time, tend to dodge questions or waffle when they have something to hide, rather than tell an out-and-out untruth.

    That said, in our “sorta kinda” global economic structure there is already a “sorta kinda” single currency, which for the time being is the U.S. dollar.  That’s what is meant when the dollar is described as the world’s reserve currency; most trading countries have to convert their currencies to dollars before buying something from another country.  This state of things could change, as other large nations like Russia, China, and Japan are hinting that they want a new reserve currency – but even if it’s not the U.S. dollar, there will probably still be one. 

    TB-1’s question regarding to whom the American national debt is owed is a provocative one; it personally took me a lot of reflection to understand this, though perhaps it comes more simply to others.  Basically, the debt is owed to the holders of U.S. Treasury-issued debt securities (bonds, bills, and notes), which are all just different forms of a promise to pay money in the future, with interest, in exchange for an advance right now.  So, the question is, who holds these things?  Other countries, particularly China, hold a lot, but they are becoming less and less eager to be our debtors as our financial challenges grow, and the possibility of just printing more money to pay off that debt becomes increasingly likely.  The biggest buyer of U.S. Treasury securities in the last year or two has by far been the Federal Reserve Bank, which makes for a nice seque into just what that means.

    It’s not just theory, but a fact, that the Federal Reserve is not a government agency (despite its name); there’s a roguish history of how it was birthed in the early 1900’s, and how its name was chosen, that’s too long for this post – but it’s a private institution, by charter.  Officially, it is owned by its member banks, which means you can think of it as kind of a fraternal group ostensibly to provide a public service, but with a motive to benefit its own members (big banks).  But, Federal Reserve member banks are themselves just organizational constructs, so it’s important next to understand who owns them. 

    That would be the shareholders of the banks, and this is where things get complicated  – because the shareholders are a mix of mutual funds, institutional investors, and private investors.  It’s hard for most of us to find the discipline and the time to track down where the largest concentration of bank stock is held, though given the allocation of wealth in U.S. society it’s likely that the largest ownership of bank stocks is in the hands of a relatively small percentage of its shareholders.  I don’t know the precise answer myself; figuring it out becomes all the more daunting in the face of some portion of bank stock probably being pledged as collateral in derivative sales and fancy financial transactions which themselves have varying degrees of complexity. 

    If some of the terms used up to this point are not well understood by some readers, don’t worry.  The main point is that the Fed is currently the largest purchaser of U.S. bonds of various sorts, and the nation owes a lot of money to the Fed – which means we owe a lot to whomever has claims to the stock of its member banks. 

    To complicate things a little further, the Fed itself can create currency to buy these bonds, even though that is supposed to be the job of the U.S. Treasury.  Sometimes the Fed denies this, but Ben Bernanke clearly admitted as much in testimony to Congress shortly after the 2008 financial crisis unwound.  They don’t print paper money, but add assets to their financial accounts with keystrokes on a computer (which has led some to disparage U.S. currency with the quip, “It’s not worth the paper it’s not printed on.”)

    So, the net result is that we have a private institution to whom we collectively owe a lot of money controlling our money supply.  There’s tons of room for corruption in this; while not identical, it’s similar to the company to which you make mortgage payments also setting your salary.  That company can insure that you never miss a payment by constantly giving undeserved raises (which does create problems, as nice as it may initially sound).  Or, if it decided that your cumulative raises had become so high that the value of money was being cheapened (because so much of it was being created and given to you), it could cut your payments severely while still demanding your mortgage payments.  In an oversimplified way, that describes the situation the U.S. is in right now. 

    It’s telling that the banking industry made three attempts at creating a central bank like the Fed that failed, before the fourth succeeded with the help of Woodrow Wilson.  Thomas Jefferson ardently fought against it, warning that putting control of our money supply in the hands of bankers would lead to immense power being transferred to corporate interests and ultimately be the downfall of the country.  Lincoln fought the idea too, and some people believe his opposition was a factor in his assassination. 

    Many people seem to be gaining understanding of the situation, either intellectually or just as a matter of gut instinct.  My hope is that we pursue a wise solution that does not carry us down the path of some other kind of extremism. 

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