by Zeus Yiamouyiannis, from Of Two Minds
Money from Nothing: A Primer On Fake Wealth Creation And Its Implications (Part 1)
“Only God can create… value out of nothing”—Justice Martin V. Mahoney in First National Bank of Montgomery vs. Jerome Daly.
“(I’m) doing God’s work.” – Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein
What is fraud except creating “value” from nothing and passing it off as something?
Frauds interlink and grow upon each other. Our debt-based money system serves as the fraud foundation. In our debt-based money system, debt must grow in order to create money. Therefore, there is no way to pay off aggregate debt with available money. More money must be lent into the system to make the payments for old debts. This causes overall debt to expand as new money for actual people (vs. banks) always arrives at interest and compounds exponentially. This process is called financialization.
Financialization: The process of making money from nothing in which debt (i.e. poverty, lack) is paradoxically considered an asset (i.e. wealth, gain). In current financialized economies “wealth expansion” comes from the parasitic taxation of productivity in the form of interest on fiat lending. This interest over time consumes a greater and greater share of resources, assets, labor, and livelihood until nothing is left.
Only in a debt-based money system could debt be curiously cast as an asset. We’ve made “extend and pretend” a quaint phrase for a burgeoning market for financial lying and profiteering aimed toward preventing the collapse of a debt- (or lack-) based system that was already doomed by its initial design to collapse. This primer will detail the major components and basic evolution of fake wealth creation, accelerating debt expansion, hollowing out of the economy, and inevitable financial implosion.
Stage one—Fiat money origination, multiplication, and distribution
The U.S. Federal Reserve System (“The Fed”): A private, non-transparent entity, formed in 1913, representing and serving private, profit-driven banks that creates money from nothing (fiat) and to which the U.S. government has delegated and effectively ceded its constitutional power to coin money.
The Fed essentially lends our “sovereign” public money to us at interest, paying for things like government debt with more debt, thus expanding debt. By contrast, the Fed currently gives away money to its constituent private banks at zero percent interest, allowing those banks to buy U.S. Treasury bonds, which yield a 2-3 percent interest mark-up to be paid by taxpayers, adding to citizen debt.
Fractional reserve: Private fiat fabrication of exchangeable public “money” as a bookkeeping entry through “multiplication” of public fiat held in private bank reserves. Holding 100,000 dollars of depositors’ money may allow me, as a bank, to lend out 1,000,000 dollars. By what authority? None, really, just my say-so and my action.
In the court case referenced in the heading quote, Justice Mahoney ruled against a bank acting in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its efforts to foreclose upon and “buy” a U.S. citizen’s house by simply creating “the entire $14,000.00 foreclosure purchase in money or credit upon its own books by bookkeeping entry.” Further, “Mr. Morgan (the plaintiff/bank representative) admitted that no United States Law or Statute existed which gave him the right to do this.” (First National Bank of Montgomery vs. Jerome Daly)
Stage two—Delusional, unregulated value assignment, manipulation, and expansion
After money is created out of thin air, other market mechanisms have been propagated to magnify, funnel, and package value-from-nothing further still, creating financial vehicles that add more numbers without adding more value.
Leverage: The practice of arbitrarily multiplying one’s alleged value in order to acquire controlling interest in another property. This mechanism is a favorite of now-discredited corporate raiders and leveraged buy-out firms that currently go under the euphemism “private equity firms”. This claimed private equity can be a fictitious multiplication of self-assessed asset value used to buy a controlling interest in a productive company.
Typically the acquired company is put into debt, its real assets hollowed out and harvested, and then the acquired company is allowed to go bankrupt thus making a killing for the raiders while destroying the ability of displaced workers to make a living. (Unhinged: When Concrete Reality No Longer Matters to the Market (and What to Do About It)).
Over the counter (OTC) derivatives: Purely unregulated, non-transparent, and malignant uncollateralized bets and hedges on market movements requiring no assets or stake in assets. Of the over 700 trillion dollars of “notional value” in disclosed OTC derivatives by International Bank of Settlements for 2011, the majority were supposedly “benign” interest rate and currency swaps, not the more toxic credit default swaps. However, it was a Goldman Sachs currency swap with “a fictitious exchange rate” that sunk Greece, nearly doubling its liability on just one deal from about 2.8 billion euros to over 5 billion euros. (How Goldman Sachs Helped Corrupt Politicians to Screw the Greek People) Also remember the undisclosed OTC derivatives market may easily be bigger than the disclosed market.
Rehypothecation: The process of recycling or using the same collateral with multiple deals and entities. Apparently England has no legal limit on how many times collateral can by rehypothecated (Shadow Rehypothecation, Infinite Leverage, And Why Breaking The Tyranny Of Ignorance Is The Only Solution):
Simply said: when one truly digs in, MF Global exposes the 2011 equivalent of the 2008 AIG:virtually unlimited leverage via the shadow banking system, in which there are practically no hard assets backing the infinite layers of debt created above, and which when finally unwound, will create a cataclysmic collapse of all financial institutions, where every bank is daisy-chained to each other courtesy of multiple layers of “hypothecation, and re-hypothecation.” (Why The UK Trail Of The MF Global Collapse May Have “Apocalyptic” Consequences For The Eurozone, Canadian Banks, Jefferies And Everyone Else)
Note: For a concise explanation of the related mechanisms of collateralized debt obligations (CDO’s), synthetic CDO’s, credit default swaps (CDS’s), naked short selling, and high frequency trading (HFT), see When The Market Has Cancer.
Stage three—Usurping democracies and cannibalizing functioning capitalism
A cartel of international wealth counterfeiters have boldly made claims on Greece’s national wealth through super-national entities like the European Central Bank. These claims are not backed by clear legal authority or logic, but they are being enforced anyway, administered by unelected technocrats and “agreed to” by complicit politicians acting against the interests of actual citizens.
Greece (with more countries to come) is being treated like a company town where “costs” (i.e. social services) are to be cut, productivity milked through greater taxation, and debt servitude reinforced. Corrupted capitalism continues thus to metastasize. Now that phantom paper profits are collapsing for the counterfeiters, real assets must be taken over to fill in the gaps.
Greece’s national assets have been put up for sale endangering its national sovereignty and right to control its own property. Greek well-being is being diminished through austerity programs. This has only caused the economy to contract at an accelerating rate. Seizing control of productive assets, and cannibalizing real wealth to feed counterfeit demands seem to be the primary unstated goals of these strategies because the empirical results of these strategies clearly run counter to stated objectives.
Disaster capitalism: (The Shock Doctrine) The intentional infliction of insecurity, suffering, and scarcity on a population to cause panic, compliance, and amenability to exploitation and extraction of wealth. It is a thoroughly vicious business model that operates in plain sight. When abuse no longer has to be organized and covered by conspiracy, one can confirm that capitalism’s illness is in advanced stages. It is amazing how easily assets can be acquired and individual rights denied (as with fraudclosure) when people are overwhelmed by corruption on all sides.
Stage four—Implosion of the body politic or necessary transformation and redirection?
This stage has yet to be fully entered, but the fraying of Greece’s current social and political order sends a strong signal for the future of the wider world: Passivity equates with more abuse and exploitation, more austerity, and greater hijacking of national and personal assets. Active, civil resistance is necessary to stop the loss of public sovereignty to private interests. Creative, viable alternatives to the currently corrupt and fraud-ridden global economic system are vital. These alternatives and the implications of our current counterfeit wealth trajectory will be explored tomorrow in Part 2 of this article.