Three Trillion Worth Of Zeros

Where is the real wealth created since the November election? Quite apart from the issue of its concentration into relatively few hands, what is the value of the real wealth created by the Stock Market?

Apart from a bunch of zeros, what has ultimately been created by the Stock Market since the November election?

Surely President Trump is basking in their glow, but zeros are empty hollow entities. The glow that they give out can be as easily shut down.

And the glow will disappear as soon as a few individual or corporate stockholders and bondholders will cash in their stocks and bonds, as soon as they will transform their paper wealth into real wealth.

The trigger can be anything. A curb in greed: Some people might say, I got mine Jack—and it is enough for me; the need to repay an accumulating debt might be another trigger.

The few who will do it first will be the lucky ones. They will grab the little cash that lays around as pocket change of the many. As soon as a few others will attempt to carry out the same operation, they—and the rest of the nation—will discover that the pockets are empty. Even the banks do not have enough cash on hand to satisfy the demand. The supply is zero.

Personal credit and national credit have been stretched to their limit of believability.

It is highly unlikely that this Congress will ever again allow the Treasury to bail the failing corporations out and the bail-ins will not last forever.

What can the US government do on its own? The national debt is already bursting at the seams. Few national and international creditors have much residue of trust in the creditworthiness of the government. The faith and credit of the US government is already less than full.

The Federal Reserve System will also be hamstrung this time around: It cannot buy that many more government bonds; it cannot print that much more money. Its accounts are already bursting with unpayable debt. Although everyone knows it, this “secret” is heavily guarded.

The way out is bankruptcy.

The solution is to leave with zeros the many who are caught standing when the music stops.

Panic ensues. Deflated will be the values of stocks and bonds and derivatives and infinities (they do not exist yet, but they will be created when regulators become serious about prohibiting the issuance of derivatives).

Deflation of values for many assets will be down to zero.

Panic spreads in the markets of real wealth; real-estate values will crash; stores cannot sell their wares; food will disappear from supermarkets. Looting and mayhem will occur in the streets.

The government will be imposing martial law but the soldiers will not be able to replenish the stores.

How can these frightening events be prevented?

A convincing solution can be found in the Mosaic laws concerning the seven-year jubilee: At the seventh year, all debts among Israelites were canceled; they were reduced to zero.

The rationale for this solution is without fault; it is unimpeachable. What can you do to a creditor who has exhausted his last resources—foolishly or not. Send this person to jail? That used to be the solution until it was discovered that it costs money to keep people in jail.

It is so much better to forget the debt and put this debtor in a position to be productive again.

Presumably, this person will have learned his lesson, and never incur unpayable debts again.

Only the cancellation of debts clears the slate and makes things new again, Faith and credit are restored to its fullest extent.

What does it ultimately mean that—one way or another—debts are canceled?

Zeros, zeros. This is the meaning of the cancellation of debts. Debt are reduced to zero.

We ought to concentrate on this profound truth. Behind a certain number of zeros, there is no wealth. There is nothing but empty space.

Why not combine this reality of economics with the wisdom of ancient Israelites? Why not?

One has to be that brave. Of course, I hear the howls of those who will suffer psychologically from this destruction of zeros. But a sturdy statesman or stateswoman will stand up and make the suffering howlers realize that, if the reduction of zeros occurs systematically, people will be as rich at the end of the process as they were before the destruction of zeros.

This is why: I have one million dollars. Therefore, I am rich.

What does it mean?

The real meaning is that I am richer than you, because I have one million dollars and you have fewer dollars than I have.

If we all were to accumulate one million dollars each? What then?

Our nature and our intellectual education about things economic is such that too many of us would feel poor (!) and strive to accumulate two or three or four million dollars.

The essential point is that if the zeros are reduced systematically and wisely, the relative position of the players will be preserved. All will feel as rich as before the escalation of zeros in their accounts. All will be in the same relative position as before.

The authorities have to make sure that everyone is affected equally.

Above all, the authorities, national and international authorities, will have to burst the bubble in such a way that values of monetary wealth will now have a nearly one-to-one relationship with the values of real wealth.

This is ultimately the mechanism that Keynes tried to establish at Bretton Woods. Only, instead of advocating the destruction of zeros, he called for the creation of zeros, the creation of Special Drawing Rights by the International Monetary Fund —and, eventually, the system became unsustainable.

Is not the organized destruction of zeros so much better than the unplanned destruction of real wealth that ultimately results from the sudden collapse of the financial system?

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