Tag Archives: high-frequency trading

Economic Inequality: Putting Off the Day of Reckoning

Right before our eyes the common person’s hope for the “good life” is unraveling, like a loosely woven tapestry being steadily picked apart thread by tread. Life, as we know it, is getting progressively more difficult and more insecure for billions of people in this world due the dramatic rise of economic inequality.income_inequality teeter

In its just released annual report, the United Nation’s Development Program warned that much of the 20th Century’s “improvements in longevity, education and income—the three main components of what is called the index of human development—are slowing due to worsening inequality and economic disruptions, to droughts and other natural disasters and to poor government policies.” (The Associated Press, “Improvements in people’s lives being put at risk, UN says,” Times-Colonist, July 25, 2014)

This UN report noted that the 85 richest people in the world now have as much accumulated wealth as about half of all humanity–some 3.5 billion people or 48 percent of the world’s population. Think about it! Eighty-five individuals have as much as roughly half the world’s population! Something is seriously out of balance and systemically broken or, if you prefer, distorted and corrupted.

wealth-pyramidThe financial writer Paul Rosenberg asserts that this chasm of disparity wouldn’t have been possible without the rise of the modern nation-state and what we call democracy. Before the rise of the “modern” state, the debts of the chief rulers of a country were his personal responsibility alone. However, such men surely made their problems the people’s problems, too! Obviously such wealthy, ruling elites of old would shake down the populations under their control to raise funds to pay THEIR debts–just like old King John of England and his nobles, who were made famous for such a tale of avarice through the Robin Hood legends.

But now loans are not taken out in the personal name of a “King John,” but in the name of an entire nation’s population. As Paul Rosenberg writes:

From the institution of democracy onward, loaning money to a government gave the banker [the central bank, international banks, etc.] a claim against the taxes of the people… a claim that never expires. All the citizens, and their children [and all the succeeding generations], become responsible for repaying the loan.

This was a clever trick: The person who signs for the loan ends up bearing almost no responsibility, and gets to spend all the money. At the same time, millions of people who greednever approved the debt—who probably had no way of even knowing about it—are left holding the bag… and passing on the obligation to their children. (Casey Research newsletter, The Room with Dan Steinhart, July 25, 2014)

Ballooning indebtedness is happening not only to the West, but throughout the entire world. According to Switzerland’s Bank of International Settlements [the B.I.S. is the central banker to the world’s central bankers like the U.S. Federal Reserve], since the financial crisis of 2007, the worldwide debt load has soared more than 40 percent to the current 100 trillion dollars! http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-09/global-debt-exceeds-100-trillion-as-governments-binge-bis-says.html

sminequality_scanlon_r2U.S. Federal debt alone is more than US$56,000 per American. Total European Union public debt averages about 23,000 Euros or about US$ 31,000 per person. http://www.eudebtclock.org/

But, of course, skyrocketing debt isn’t the only factor fostering the growing inequality. Consider what Rex Van Schalkwyk, a financial writer for the Casey Report newsletter says:

The real cause of the inequality that so troubles politicians [are they really bothered?] is the systematic destruction of the free markets over the last century. The essential wealth-building effects of those markets became, at first, more elusive and finally, altogether inaccessible to all but the privileged elite: those who have systematically benefited from an exclusive arrangement. This includes the unlawful front-running of equities and other financial markets through the mechanism of high-frequency trading, a device of the exclusive economy.

Because there is today no free market in the cost of money (interest rates), there cannot be a free market in anything that is counted in money. Low interest rates—systematically depressed by the Federal Reserve over the past two decades—have enriched the bankers, the borrowers, the financial institutions, and the speculators at the expense of the frugal, the pensioners, and the teachers.

Financial asset and property prices have exploded, making them accessible only to those richest getting richerwho already have them. The result is that 90% of the wealth has gone to the 5%, while 10% has gone to the 95%. The predictable outcome is that the 95% have experienced no real income growth in the past 30 years. The middle class has been eviscerated. (Casey Research newsletter, The Room with Dan Steinhart, July 25, 2014)

Actually the real cause for the growing erosion of the world’s hope for a better material future is more profound, and more foundational than even the UN’s Development Program, the Bank for International Settlements, or the writers of Casey Research might suggest. I’m not saying they’re wrong, but that what they point out are just symptoms or consequences of something more foundation to this issue of our obscene inequality.

The actual roots of the inequality problem can be found in the fact that humanity, generally, and certainly this world’s governing financial and political elite, specifically, have turned their backs on and completely rejected the revelation on the financial and economic fairness principles that were presented to us all for all time by our Creator.

From our Creator’s perspective, human society by its very nature needed a financial system that would systematically, and regularly purge accumulated debt from both individuals and society as a whole. It also needed an episodical re-distribution of what constitutes the foundation of wealth accumulation in this world –  land. Specifically, land that is or can be economically productive. By periodically re-distributing a nation’s economically productive real estate, a society can avoid concentrating wealth in the hands of the few and the disenfranchising the majority from owning the foundational source of economic wealth – land. The Creator of humanity instituted two main features in His program to maintain social equality, economic balance and fairness – the Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee.

“At the end of every seven years [the Sabbatical year] you shall grant a release. 2 And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed.” Deuteronomy 15:1-9 (ESV)

“You shall count seven weeks of years [seven Sabbatical years], seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month On the Day of Atonement [an annual event designed to restore spiritual harmony between God and man, as well as that of everyman with his neighbour] you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. 10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants [The inscription of this verse is found on the American Liberty Bell in Philadelphia]. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. Leviticus 25:8-10 (ESV) 

politics how worksOf course the bankers, multi-nation corporations, and wealthy elite would hate the Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee for obvious reasons. But what they don’t understand, is that such a godly system would provide them with security and peace instead of a day reckoning, a time of financial disaster and social turmoil, that is coming.