Predictions of an economic apocalypse are no longer restricted to the realm of fringe doom and gloomers lurking in the dark corners of the internet. As we’ve previously suggested uncertainty now pervades the social consciousness, not just in America, but the world over. Every major media outlet in developed nations is now reporting on the headwinds facing the so-called recovery. The problems and threats confronting the stability of the globe can no longer be dismissed as theoretical arguments, because they are now being actualized – in real time.
Greek strikes have nearly driven that country to a standstill, and the former deputy finance minister told CNBC a Greek default is “inevitable,” and that the only hope was for an orderly approach to dealing with the fallout.
You’ll note that this week Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke used exactly the same word, “orderly,” when discussing the threat posed to the European and U.S. economies resulting from a Greek default, going so far as to say that if such an event were “disorderly” it would “have a very substantial impact not only on our financial system, but on our economy.”
We now have reports that President Obama, in an attempt to distance himself from the blame which will assuredly be placed squarely on the White House once it becomes apparent that the government’s multi-trillion dollar attempts to stabilize the economy have failed, has indirectly joined with the protesters on Wall Street by pointing the finger not at himself, but the too-big-to-fail banks:
“I think it expresses the frustrations the American people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country … and yet you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place.”
October 6, 2011
Never mind that he happens to be the President of the United States and the executive officer of the Treasury Department and SEC, and has had three years to implement regulatory reform and perp walk those individuals responsible for defrauding the American people and investors who lost trillions of dollars due to fraudulent business practices by the very banks who donated millions of dollars to his campaign and those of other Congressional representatives.
President Obama, the US Congress, the Federal Reserve, the European Parliament, the IMF, institutional investors, and corporate leaders know what’s coming.
Former U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce and current senior advisor to the IMF, Robert Shapiro, said today in an interview with the BBC that only a credible plan can prevent a total meltdown:
“If they can not address [the financial crisis] in a credible way I believe within perhaps 2 to 3 weeks we will have a meltdown in sovereign debt which will produce a meltdown across the European banking system. We are not just talking about a relatively small Belgian bank, we are talking about the largest banks in the world, the largest banks in Germany, the largest banks in France, that will spread to the United Kingdom, it will spread everywhere because the global financial system is so interconnected. All those banks are counterparties to every significant bank in the United States, and in Britain, and in Japan, and around the world. This would be a crisis that would be in my view more serious than the crisis in 2008….”
And he’s not the only one. We recently noted that financier George Soros has warned that an inability for Europe to come together would have” incalculable political consequences” and lead the world into another “great depression.” Other influential figures like former Secretary Treasury Paul Volcker, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, and economist Nouriel Roubini have all warned that what we’re facing today could be potentially worse than the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the Long Depression of the 1870’s.
The acting Governor of the Bank of England (the British equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve), Sir Mervyn King, emphasized how bad the situation has become:
“This is the most serious financial crisis we’ve seen, at least since the 1930s, if not ever. We’re having to deal with very unusual circumstances, but to act calmly to this and to do the right thing.”
Given that it has been almost exactly three years since the onset of the crisis in 2008, and that world leaders are once again scrambling to find last minute solutions as Secretary Henry Paulson attempted to do with backdoor deals and secret meetings at that time, we can only assume that we are on the very edge of the precipice yet again.
We must also assume at this point that there is absolutely no credible plan to deal with the inevitable default of the Greek state, the subsequent collapse of European banks, the freezing of credit markets as was the case in 2008, or the substantial negative impact these events will have on the U.S. economy. What’s coming next will be complete and utter panic in European debt markets, the result of which will likely be a shift of capital from Europe to areas of the globe deemed “safer,” leaving, ironically, US Treasury instruments as one of the few bastions of safety as investors look to save themselves from financial annihilation. This means that money will flow back into the U.S. dollar, and we would not be at all surprised to see a strong move up against other currencies. On the flip side, this means we could potentially see a massive crash in stocks on Western exchanges. The panic may lead to unprecedented selling of stocks, commodities and even precious metals as individual investors rush for the exits.
But all of that is just the first phase of the next leg down. After Europe goes, we in the U.S. will likely be next, with events perhaps playing out over several months or years, eventually leading to similar circumstances – collapse of our financial institutions, destruction of our currency, a complete wiping out of the U.S. middle class, political instability, riots, and the historically traditional outcome in such cases of collapsing nations – war.
The reality of the situation has now gone mainstream. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.