“While boasting of our noble deeds, we are careful to control the ugly fact that by an iniquitous money system, we have nationalized a system of oppression which, though more refined, is not less cruel than the old system of chattel slavery.” – Horace Greeley
“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.” – James Madison
“Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” — Thomas Jefferson
“The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is, perhaps, the most, astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banks can in fact inflate, mint, and un-mint the modern ledger-entry currency.” — Major L.L.B. Angus
“Banking was conceived in iniquity, and was born in sin. The Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen, they will create enough deposits, to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and the great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But if you wish to remain slaves of Bankers, and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits.” — Sir Josiah Stamp, (President of the Bank of England in the 1920?s, the second richest man in Britain)
“Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.” — President James A. Garfield
“The world is headed toward financial disaster. We have built such a complex, global apparatus. We get our fruit from Chile, our cars from Germany and Japan, our winter vegetables from Mexico, our clothes from the cheapest producer of the moment and most everything else from China. Debt and irresponsible monetary policy are about to throw the world into the final major depression. In all likelihood, this will derail our fragile production and delivery systems. War in the Middle East could disrupt our oil supply and send fuel prices soaring. An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) or even a solar flare could disrupt our satellites and power grids causing the nation to grind to a halt. Just one crisis could disrupt our complex, interconnected system throwing this sedate, civilized society into utter chaos.” –Dene McGriff
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given socio-economic context or country. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past, a standard of deferred payment. Any kind of object or secure verifiable record that fulfills these functions can be considered money.
Money is historically an emergent market phenomenon establishing a commodity money, but nearly all contemporary money systems are based on fiat money. Fiat money, like any check or note of debt, is without intrinsic use value as a physical commodity. It derives its value by being declared by a government to be legal tender; that is, it must be accepted as a form of payment within the boundaries of the country, for “all debts, public and private”. Such laws in practice cause fiat money to acquire the value of any of the goods and services that it may be traded for within the nation that issues it.
The money supply of a country consists of currency (banknotes and coins) and bank money (the balance held in checking accounts and savings accounts). Bank money, which consists only of records (mostly computerized in modern banking), forms by far the largest part of the money supply in developed nations.
The use of barter-like methods may date back to at least 100,000 years ago, though there is no evidence of a society or economy that relied primarily on barter. Instead, non-monetary societies operated largely along the principles of gift economics and debt. When barter did in fact occur, it was usually between either complete strangers or potential enemies.
Many cultures around the world eventually developed the use of commodity money. The shekel was originally a unit of weight, and referred to a specific weight of barley, which was used as currency. The first usage of the term came from Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC. Societies in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia used shell money – often, the shells of the cowry (Cypraea moneta L. or C. annulus L.). According to Herodotus, the Lydians were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver coins. It is thought by modern scholars that these first stamped coins were minted around 650–600 BC.
The system of commodity money eventually evolved into a system of representative money. This occurred because gold and silver merchants or banks would issue receipts to their depositors – redeemable for the commodity money deposited. Eventually, these receipts became generally accepted as a means of payment and were used as money. Paper money or banknotes were first used in China during the Song Dynasty. These banknotes, known as “jiaozi”, evolved from promissory notes that had been used since the 7th century. However, they did not displace commodity money, and were used alongside coins. In the 13th century, paper money became known in Europe through the accounts of travelers, such as Marco Polo and William of Rubruck. Marco Polo’s account of paper money during the Yuan Dynasty is the subject of a chapter of his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, titled “How the Great Kaan Causeth the Bark of Trees, Made Into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All Over his Country.” Banknotes were first issued in Europe by Stockholms Banco in 1661, and were again also used alongside coins. The gold standard, a monetary system where the medium of exchange are paper notes that are convertible into pre-set, fixed quantities of gold, replaced the use of gold coins as currency in the 17th-19th centuries in Europe. These gold standard notes were made legal tender, and redemption into gold coins was discouraged. By the beginning of the 20th century almost all countries had adopted the gold standard, backing their legal tender notes with fixed amounts of gold.
After World War II, at the Bretton Woods Conference, most countries adopted fiat currencies that were fixed to the US dollar. The US dollar was in turn fixed to gold. In 1971 the US government suspended the convertibility of the US dollar to gold. After this many countries de-pegged their currencies from the US dollar, and most of the world’s currencies became unbacked by anything except the governments’ fiat of legal tender and the ability to convert the money into goods via payment.
Currently, most modern monetary systems are based on fiat money. However, for most of history, almost all money was commodity money, such as gold and silver coins. As economies developed, commodity money was eventually replaced by representative money, such as the gold standard, as traders found the physical transportation of gold and silver burdensome. Fiat currencies gradually took over in the last hundred years, especially since the breakup of the Bretton Woods system in the early 1970s.
The Story of Your Enslavement
When gold and silver are used as money, the money supply can grow only if the supply of these metals is increased by mining. This rate of increase will accelerate during periods of gold rushes and discoveries, such as when Columbus discovered the New World and brought back gold and silver to Spain, or when gold was discovered in California in 1848. This causes inflation, as the value of gold goes down. However, if the rate of gold mining cannot keep up with the growth of the economy, gold becomes relatively more valuable, and prices (denominated in gold) will drop, causing deflation. Deflation was the more typical situation for over a century when gold and paper money backed by gold were used as money in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Modern day monetary systems are based on fiat money and are no longer tied to the value of gold. The control of the amount of money in the economy is known as monetary policy. Monetary policy is the process by which a government, central bank, or monetary authority manages the money supply to achieve specific goals. Usually the goal of monetary policy is to accommodate economic growth in an environment of stable prices. For example, it is clearly stated in the Federal Reserve Act that the Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee should seek “to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.”
A failed monetary policy can have significant detrimental effects on an economy and the society that depends on it. These include hyperinflation, stagflation, recession, high unemployment, shortages of imported goods, inability to export goods, and even total monetary collapse and the adoption of a much less efficient barter economy. This happened in Russia, for instance, after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Governments and central banks have taken both regulatory and free market approaches to monetary policy. Some of the tools used to control the money supply include:
- changing the interest rate at which the central bank loans money to (or borrows money from) the commercial banks
- currency purchases or sales
- increasing or lowering government borrowing
- increasing or lowering government spending
- manipulation of exchange rates
- raising or lowering bank reserve requirements
- regulation or prohibition of private currencies
- taxation or tax breaks on imports or exports of capital into a country
In the US, the Federal Reserve is responsible for controlling the money supply, while in the Euro area the respective institution is the European Central Bank. Other central banks with significant impact on global finances are the Bank of Japan, People’s Bank of China and the Bank of England.
Commercial bank money
Commercial bank money or demand deposits are claims against financial institutions that can be used for the purchase of goods and services. A demand deposit account is an account from which funds can be withdrawn at any time by check or cash withdrawal without giving the bank or financial institution any prior notice. Banks have the legal obligation to return funds held in demand deposits immediately upon demand (or ‘at call’). Demand deposit withdrawals can be performed in person, via checks or bank drafts, using automatic teller machines (ATMs), or through online banking.
Commercial bank money is created through fractional-reserve banking, the banking practice where banks keep only a fraction of their deposits in reserve (as cash and other highly liquid assets) and lend out the remainder, while maintaining the simultaneous obligation to redeem all these deposits upon demand.
Commercial bank money differs from commodity and fiat money in two ways, firstly it is non-physical, as its existence is only reflected in the account ledgers of banks and other financial institutions, and secondly, there is some element of risk that the claim will not be fulfilled if the financial institution becomes insolvent. The process of fractional-reserve banking has a cumulative effect of money creation by commercial banks, as it expands money supply (cash and demand deposits) beyond what it would otherwise be. Because of the prevalence of fractional reserve banking, the broad money supply of most countries is a multiple larger than the amount of base money created by the country’s central bank. That multiple (called the money multiplier) is determined by the reserve requirement or other financial ratio requirements imposed by financial regulators.
The money supply of a country is usually held to be the total amount of currency in circulation plus the total amount of checking and savings deposits in the commercial banks in the country. In modern economies, relatively little of the money supply is in physical currency. For example, in December 2010 in the U.S., of the $8,853.4 billion in broad money supply (M2), only $915.7 billion (about 10%) consisted of physical coins and paper money.
The Death of Cash
Tech giants – and startups like Square – want you to use your phone to pay for everything from gum to train rides. Here’s how they plan to achieve cash-free nirvana.
FORTUNE — Café Grumpy is the kind of hipster hangout that wouldn’t deign to trumpet itself. Tucked away on a quiet street in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, it’s easy to miss. There’s no sign out front, just a frowning face stenciled on a large shop window. And yet when I walked in for the first time, I immediately felt like one of the regulars. “Charge it to Miguel,” I told the barista after ordering a cappuccino, and charge it he did — to my phone. Not that I ever pulled my iPhone from my pocket. Seconds after the barista tapped my order on Grumpy’s minimalist register — an iPad mounted on a stylish countertop stand — my phone vibrated in my coat pocket, signaling that our transaction was complete. I couldn’t wait to check that everything had worked as promised. (It had.) For the first time ever I was tickled by the act of paying for something.
Perhaps you, too, have experienced a gee-whiz moment at the checkout counter when you used your phone to pay for a Starbucks (SBUX) latte, a blouse at Macy’s (M), or a box of screws at Home Depot (HD). Perhaps you’ve read how smartphone payments, already popular in parts of Asia and Europe, are coming to the U.S. in a big way. Or you may have read about Jack Dorsey, the Twitter co-founder, who is now disrupting the byzantine world of payments with his new company, Square. The white-hot San Francisco startup is already responsible for many breakthrough products, including the so-called digital wallet app I used for my touchless, cashless cappuccino purchase at Grumpy. (The café is a Dorsey favorite, and he steered me there. The coffee’s good too.)
These are telltale signs that the mobile-payments revolution has arrived. But what the glowing profiles of Dorsey — he’s often compared to Steve Jobs — and the breathless predictions about your phone replacing your wallet don’t tell you is this: Changing the way Americans pay for stuff is going to be really hard work. For starters, retailers and their partners will have to offer mainstream shoppers some pretty sweet perks to get them to replace a swipe of a plastic card with a tap of a phone. Then there’s the chicken-and-egg problem: Merchants don’t want to upgrade pricey point-of-sale terminals so that they can work wirelessly with smartphones unless e-wallets become mainstream, and e-wallets won’t become mainstream until consumers can use them just about everywhere.
And it’s not just innovative startups like Square that hope to reinvent payments for the mobile era, but also everyone from mega-technology companies to financial institutions, giant telecoms, and national retailers. Until those companies agree on common technology standards and platforms, mobile payments won’t work across devices, wireless networks, credit card types, and retailers. (Imagine if Target (TGT) took only an American Express (AXP) card that had to be triangular, Wal-Mart (WMT) took only a round US Bank (USB) Visa and a square Citibank (C) MasterCard, and Starbucks would let you pay only with a prepaid Starbucks card. It’s that absurd.)
Yet once these issues are sorted out — and with so many billions at stake, they will be — cash will find itself on the endangered-species list. Paying by phone will be as transformative as the advent of the credit card in the 1950s. It will change the way we shop and bank. With powerful smartphones and tablets taking center stage on both sides of the checkout counter, it will reshape the relationship between buyer and seller. Not only will the phone or the tablet become a wallet for consumers, but it will also turn into a credit card reader and a register for merchants. Shoppers will use their mobile device as a coupon book, a comparison-shopping tool, and a repository of those unwieldy loyalty cards they carry from everyone from giant retail chains to the corner bakery. And your smartphones will serve as beacons that will alert a retailer when you walk into its store so that it can recommend products, show you reviews, or direct you to aisle five, where that beanbag chair you didn’t buy last week still beckons — and you can now have it for 10% off. You won’t even need a few singles to tip the valet or pay the dog walker, because they’ll take mobile payments too.
Source: Read this entire “Fortune Magazine” article by Miguel Helft here >>
National Debt of the United States
The United States public debt is the outstanding amount owed by the federal government of the United States from the issue of securities by the Treasury and other federal government agencies. US public debt consists of two components:
- Debt held by the public includes Treasury securities held by investors outside the federal government, including that held by individuals, corporations, the Federal Reserve System and foreign, state and local governments.
- Debt held by government accounts or intragovernmental debt includes non-marketable Treasury securities held in accounts administered by the federal government that are owed to program beneficiaries, such as the Social Security Trust Fund. Debt held by government accounts represents the cumulative surpluses, including interest earnings, of these accounts that have been invested in Treasury securities.
Public debt increases or decreases as a result of the annual unified budget deficit or surplus. The federal government budget deficit or surplus is the difference between government receipts and spending, ignoring intra-governmental transfers. However, some spending that is excluded from the deficit (supplemental appropriations) also adds to the debt.
Historically, the US public debt as a share of GDP increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. For example, debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell over the following 30 years.
In recent decades, however, large budget deficits and the resulting increases in debt have led to concern about the long-term sustainability of the federal government’s fiscal policies.
On April 2, 2013, debt held by the public was approximately $11.959 trillion or about 75% of GDP. Intragovernmental holdings stood at $4.846 trillion, giving a combined total public debt of $16.805 trillion. As of January 2013, $5.6 trillion or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were the People’s Republic of China and Japan at just over $1.1 trillion each.
Source/Read More: Wikipedia
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The Outstanding Public Debt as of 25 Jun 2013 at is:
The estimated population of the United States is 316,120,337
so each citizen’s share of this debt is $52,975.24.
The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
$2.55 billion per day since September 30, 2012!