The Mind of James Donahue

The Illusion of Money

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The World Financial Condition Is a House of Cards

It is no secret that stock exchanges around the world are reflecting a very unstable financial climate. The reasons for this appear to be varied. Money analysts are busy these days, pontificating on our television screens about the causes of the unexpected market fluctuations and trying to assure the public that all is well.

Yet there is a general feeling among the people that all is not well. We don't know why we know it but we know it. This is why our willingness to whip out those plastic credit cards and spend money we don't have has dropped off so abruptly. This is why so many employers, from the people to the automakers, are laying off workers by the droves. This is why the propaganda specialists are busy assuring the people that this is simply a normal "downturn" and that we are not in a recession. This is why the federal reserve is quickly dropping interest rates on that loaned "money." The money merchants want to stop the downward spiral and get everybody thinking positive about debt spending.

But people aren't being fooled this time. Something dark is in the wind and we are thinking it may be time to batten down the hatches.

Now that the ball has started to fall, job insecurity is starting to feed upon itself. Who wants to go deep in debt on a new house, or even take on a small debt for a new kitchen appliance if we can't be sure we will have a steady paycheck in the months to come? And the more unemployed people there are, the more the dilemma intensifies. How can a laid-off Chrysler worker buy a new car if he doesn't have a job and can't even qualify for credit?

The change started just before Christmas and it hasn't stopped. It seems as if our economic system is crumbling before our eyes. But how could this be happening after so many years of steady growth and prosperity? Can we blame the new Bush Administration for this? I think not.

I believe the problem is more deep-rooted than the actions of a political party. It lies in the fact that we destroyed the foundations of our monetary system, at least in the United States, when we secretly did away with the
gold standard.

About a hundred years ago people were issued dollar bills in lieu of an equal amount of gold kept in reserve in a mighty vault, carefully guarded by the U. S. military, at Fort Knox, Kentucky. There was an unstated promise that each "green back" could be exchanged, on demand, for gold, so the piece of paper in our pocket had value.

There used to be a popular phrase that wealth was reflected by "all the gold at Fort Knox." You don't hear that saying anymore because the gold in Fort Knox isn't stockpiled like it used to be. In fact, I wonder if there is any gold left there at all.

Coins in those days were minted in real gold and silver. People could carry these precious metals around in their pockets as assurance that our monetary system was intact. This way of doing things probably has had a lot to do with the stability of the American dollar on the world financial market for so many years.

Eventually, however, the U.S. bankers and money brokers discovered that people would still trust their printed paper money, even after it was no longer backed up by gold. That was bound to happen. Inflation and a fast growing population created a need for more and more printed money. Also there was a limit on the amount of gold available to back up our currency. After a while the decision was made to sell much of our gold stock. If I remember correctly, the gold was sold to pay off some of the national debt.

At about that same time we began issuing plastic credit cards, which got misconstrued as a form of money. We have been operating on a plastic and paper monetary standard now for at least 50 years.

What this means is that the value of the dollar bill is no better than the people's faith in it's ability to purchase goods and services. Once that faith begins to slip, and people understand just how flimsy the monetary system really is, the whole thing is capable of collapsing like a house of cards.

  Personally, I am surprised that the system remained as stable as long as it did.

Money, like a lot of other things we worship, is an illusion. It is a big lie. All a dollar bill really is, is a piece of paper issued by the government. As long as people believe it has value, then we can trade it for goods and services. After we lose faith in its value, we might as well use it for compost.

As the ranks of the poverty stricken grow, more and more people are beginning to understand just how corrupt our monetary system is. The middle class is almost completely erased. And the split between those who have wealth and those who have nothing is growing wider and wider. I read last week that a new study indicates that there are an estimated 100 million homeless people in the world. I think that is a conservative number.

We now live in a world of invented fantasy, designed to keep us pacified. Under the influence of our daily dose of Prozac, we sit in our modest little dwellings, deep in debt, watching carefully orchestrated television game shows that turn ordinary people into instant millionaires. We play the lottery. We watch sports figures sign contracts that earn them multi-millions of dollars. We hear stories about political figures, from local levels all the way to the White House, who take big "payoffs" for political favors. The American dream has shifted from having a steady job, owning our own home and parking a car in the garage, to rising up from poverty like Cinderella. But for most of us, that is all it can ever be. It is only a dream. It is not reality.

This is changing.

It is my personal belief that America's paper money system is teetering on the edge of collapse. And when it falls, the fluttering of the cards might just pull the markets of the entire world down with them. If it happens, expect to see foolish men and women jumping off buildings as they did after the crash in 1923. They worship money so much they will not be able to stand the prospect of losing it.

To me such a crash would seem like a breath of spring air. I am sick of all the scalping, cheating and downright robbery that has become our way of life. Our legislators have passed laws making it mandatory that we pay local, state and federal taxes on every dollar earned, spent, and on all things of value that we own. We are required to pay for high priced "no-fault" automobile insurance. We are bombarded by a daily advertising blitz, designed to make us want poorly manufactured plastic devices we don't need. Yet the jobs we have available for us don't pay nearly enough to maintain the standard of living we are programmed to desire. We have become unwitting slaves to a corrupt system that is attempting to shake every last penny out of our already empty pockets. We can't even die without someone paying a high price to dispose of our remains.

Money has become the real god of the people. People seem to be willing to do anything, even kill to get it.

I believe the collapse of such an evil deity would be a very good thing for everybody concerned.

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