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$1 Quadrillion of Unregulated Debt At Core of Coming Derivatives Crisis

Posted by commendatori on September 29, 2008

By John Tiffany

Despite all the blather and swearing-on-the-Bible pronunciamentos from establishment “pundits,” our house-of-cards financial system is not fundamentally sound.

Expect such indices as the Dow to tumble even much lower when the Pandora’s box of derivatives is fully opened.

Believe it or not, the Dow is still not far from its all-time peaks, with a lot further to fall. The depression is still in its early stages. We are looking at $1 quadrillion of unregulated debt, with much of it at risk. (And we used to think $1 trillion was a lot.)

These are literally inconceivable sums. Counting one dollar per second, it would take 32 million years to count to one quadrillion.

The stock market in this era of the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank is a giant craps shoot. Much of it is quite unregulated, especially the invisible market of derivatives. The sub-prime mortgage market collapsed, which is now being followed by a giant credit crisis. Now we are looking at the possible collapse of the derivative market.

President Bush failed at every business he has been associated with. He has always had his dad to bail him out to avoid bankruptcy. But this time his dad and even Henry Paulson can’t keep Bush from facing the failure of his economic policies at the helm of the U.S. economy.

America’s oversized debt pyramid has just begun to wind down. The Federal Reserve has announced that it is giving an $85 billion loan to American International Group (AIG), the world’s largest financial conglomerate, in exchange for a nearly 80 percent stake in the firm.

The Associated Press calls it a “government takeover,” but as Ellen Brown, J.D., author of The Web of Debt, says, this is not a real nationalization like the purchase of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac stock by the U.S. Treasury. “The Federal Reserve,” she points out, “has the power to print the national money supply, but it is not actually a part of the U.S. government.

It is a private banking corporation, owned by a consortium of private banks. The private banking industry just bought the world’s largest insurance company.” But they used taxpayer money to do it.

Proposals for reforming the banking system are not even on the radar screen of establishment politics, but the current system is collapsing at train-wreck speed. Says Brown: “We need to stop funding the culprits who brought us this debacle at our expense. We need a public banking system that makes a cost-effective credit mechanism available for homeowners, manufacturing, renewable energy, and infrastructure; and the first step to making it cost effective is to strip out the swarms of gamblers, fraudsters and profiteers now gaming the system.”

John Tiffany is the copy editor for American Free Press. He is also the assistant editor of THE BARNES REVIEW (TBR) historical magazine. For a sample copy of TBR (editor’s choice) send $3 to TBR, P.O. Box 15877,Washington, D.C. 20003.

Just What Are Derivatives?

Derivatives are financial instruments whose value changes in response to the changes in underlying variables. The main types of derivatives are futures, forwards, options and swaps.

The main use of derivatives is to reduce risk for one party. The diverse range of potential underlying assets and pay-off alternatives leads to a wide range of derivatives contracts available to be traded in the market. Derivatives can be based on different types of assets such as commodities, equities (stocks), bonds, interest rates, exchange rates or indexes (such as a stock market index, consumer price index (CPI)—inflation derivatives—or even an index of weather conditions, or other derivatives). Their performance can determine both the amount and the timing of the pay-offs.

Stock index futures and options are known as derivative products because they derive their existence from actual market indices, but have no intrinsic characteristics of their own. In addition to that, one of the reasons some believe they lead to greater market volatility is that huge amounts of securities can be controlled by relatively small amounts of margin or option premiums. One reason derivatives are popular is because they can be transacted off balance sheets.



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