Guest Post: Welcome To The Nuthouse: How Private Financial Fiat Creates A Public Farce

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Of Two Minds contributing author Zeus Yoammouiannis

Welcome to the Nuthouse: How Private Financial Fiat Creates a Public Farce

Nothing succeeds like failure when you are a big bank. We’ve already seen that. Too many articles have already been written about that.

Heads, the big banks win through their hugely profitable derivatives and other fake wealth vehicles on the way up the phony growth curve.

Tails, you, the citizen, loses as you are forced to redeem this toxic trash for real money in the form of government bailouts and Federal Reserve purchases as fake value collapses.

“O, the inhumanity, O the injustice.”

Hey, we get it. You can stop pounding the drums. Bring on Act II: “The current anti-capitalist farce and its riotous effects.”

Capitalism turned on its head

What happens to functioning capitalism when its core operating principles of value and money, risk, private property, profit, supply and demand, price discovery, transparency and accountability, productivity, and exchange of worth can selectively be erased on the whim of self-interested, politically connected players?

What happens when every standard of the game is turned upside-down by rule-rigging fat cats and then cravenly excused by international governments, prosecutors, and regulators? You get a leaky economic charade riding on a sea of debt bailed out with “expert” psycho-babble, high-level cheerleading, and government assurances that sound more each day like sick punch lines to bad jokes:

• “Deficits don’t matter.”
• “The recession has ended.”
• “The weak dollar is good for trade.”
• “Debt just needs to be ‘restructured.’”
• “We just need more government stimulus spending.”
• “Federal zero interest rate policies (ZIRP) help everyone.”
• “Unemployment is down.”

Enough of the minstrel show and its official nonsense. Here is the real deal on the current corporate/government war against capitalism:

Farce #1: “Market value” and “free markets” have become a joke.

In order for “value” to have financial value in the free market it, 1) must have real worth to someone else, and 2) must be freely chosen. The whole point of a market is that people choose according to their desires and needs, not yours. No one is entitled to a profit.

That’s what “market value” and “free market” mean. Other people, known as “the public,” interactively determine what your asset, good, or service is worth. You may think something is financially worth a lot. If others do not, it’s not worth squat.

If you can merely create private fiat by assigning your own value to your “assets” and products and then force others to buy them, there is no valid market value or free market. It is simply financial dictatorship.

Farce #2: Private, self-assigned, fake value is being traded for public money at 100 cents on the dollar.

Even basic monetary standards for public exchange of value no longer apply. Now big banks have been given the executive go-ahead to self-assign value to their assets at any price they choose. This is called “market to model” (i.e. profitable lying with complicated mathematical formulas).

This violation of capitalism comes not only in refusing to allow the market to determine price of assets, but in forcing the public through government capture to pay for “impaired private assets” with “real” public money at 100 cents on the dollar!

This is nothing more than the exchange of publicly accepted money for worthless, private, counterfeit crap.

Farce #3: Printed money is backed by nothing.

However, what “value” does that public money have? What is the current U.S. dollar tied to? Nothing of worth. It refers to no credible public asset, good, or service. The Treasury and the Fed are just printing money, period.

The abstract future ability of the U.S. to pay off an exponentially increasing debt amid a long-term contracting economy is not even close to being a plausible substitute. If that money was invested in infrastructure, perhaps a case could be made, but can you name even one project that the 800 billion dollars of “stimulus spending” has funded?

In order for money to be a credible marker of exchange it must be tied to an asset, good, or service that has collectively established worth (i.e. commodities, present and future national productivity, or local networks of exchange of services and goods).

Current money needs to become rebased in things that produce value, that preserve and enhance present and future life. At bottom, neither banks nor governments are doing that, and if anything they seem to be working hard together to kill off both broader prosperity and free market capitalism.

Farce #4: We have a “free” enterprise system dominated by monopolies that force people to buy inferior goods and services at exorbitant rates.

Exhibit A: “Health” care: U.S. health “insurance” is dominated by regional monopolies that are notorious for denying treatment and charging double what the rest of the world charges. What do we get for that? We get a record number of uninsured citizens, and health results (infant mortality, etc), which are near the bottom, rather than the top, of industrialized nations.

The U.S. health care system is also possibly one of the most inefficient in the world in delivering services, wasting some 750 billion dollars per year in unnecessary spending, including hundreds of billions of dollars per year in excessive administrative costs.

“The best health care system in the world”? Hardly. Maybe if you are rich or have generous subsidized benefits.

Even then, you are not immune to hospitals that cut safety corners to save on costs, and both slash pay and increase work hours for the people treating you. Think about it. Medical error is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S, killing some 200,000 people per year.

Exhibit B: Military industrial complex boondoggles: The United States is currently spending almost as much on its military as the rest of the world combined.

What kind of value are we getting for that? We’ve gotten pointless wars built on politically expedient lies, that have lasted longer than any wars in modern history, that have cost trillions, and that have made us less secure.

Farce #5: High-level financial crimes, no matter how egregious or widespread, are not being prosecuted.

Instead, corrupt and fraud-ridden organizations like Countrywide, Goldman-Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan, and Citigroup, get bought up and/or pay a small percentage of their ill-gotten gains to settle civil suits in which they do not admit fault.

The leaders of these anti-capitalist organizations (Anthony Mazillo, Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, et. al.) still walk away with enormous compensation, after having ruined their companies and tanked the world economy. When they have to hire legal representation, they do it at the stockholders’ expense, adding insult to injury.

There are probably millions of forged documents, involved in “fraudclosure”, the pervasive property assignment control fraud that includes all the big financial players. Companies and citizens have brought civil lawsuits, but these are taking time.

There has been negligible government investigation, much less criminal prosecution. Here you have millions of cases of the very foundation of private property, clear ownership, being decimated by rampant, obvious fraud, and you do nothing?

Oh, I forgot, you extend the big banks a reprieve in the form of yet another settlement, this time with States’ Attorney Generals (basically a 25 billion dollar slap on the wrist for trillions of dollars of interconnected fraud). What does it take for law enforcement to do its job?

What effect does this have? It screams, “Crime pays!” It destroys the morale of hard-working, law-abiding citizens, and it keeps zombie banks not only alive and kicking, but prospering on the backs of citizens.

It sinks the global economy even more by encouraging financial criminals to double-down on the profitable crime that got them their unreal returns in the first place.

Where do you think that’s going to end? Too-big-to-fail is now bigger. Bailouts from central banks are more frequent. Overt and covert citizen subsidies for this crime keep climbing. Welcome to the financial cancer club.

Farce #6: Risk is gone. Now there is only liability borne by citizens.

Corrupted capitalism expects you, the citizen, to pay for “their,” the crony capitalists’, failure. In functioning capitalism, a company and its investors take their own risks, profit from the gains, and stomach the losses. Other people do not pay for their mistakes or their crimes.

That core element of capitalism is now gone. Irish citizens have had to pay many billions just to cover the losses of one of their private banks. Greece has learned, with its enforced austerity programs, that if this liability is not paid in dollars (or the phony dollars of debt restructuring), it gets paid in diminished quality of life.

Farce #7: Productivity has been supplanted by parasitism

There is hardly anything more important to thriving functioning capitalism than productivity, and sharing the fruits of productivity. It is notable that productivity among U.S. workers actually skyrocketed over the last decade and a half, but real wages have flattened or declined.

Where did the surpluses go? To parasitic financializers who have seen their share over all corporate profits grow from 10% to over 45% in recent decades.

After costing trillions and wiping out the world economy, what asset, good, or service do big banks produce that has genuine public worth?

• “Expert advice”, in which brokers intentionally sell junk to consumers, as shown in investment bank emails?
• “Financial services”, which turn out to be so laden with hidden fees and loosened/fabricated credit qualifications that the lendee is worse off?
• Allegiances that concentrate financial wealth the top 0.1% of the population, causing the vast majority of the world to get poorer?

If anything, citizens would stand to gain more by paying big banks to close their doors.

Big banks have largely stopped lending to businesses or individuals because that’s not profitable enough and because they need to retain capital to reduce their exposure due to their own foolish overleveraging. This depresses community and small business entrepreneurship and productivity.

Bottom line: Big banks’ “services” take far more in costs than they provide in benefits. Much would be gained, and little lost, if they were allowed to fail or were decommissioned outright for their criminal behavior.


In short, the non-accountability of big banks means American honest work and honest gain will be increasingly ripped off. This is a zero-sum game in which not even a single, direct, effective champion of the interest of broader American and middle and working class interest exists in the actual machinery of Washington.

Those few heroes, the former and present prosecutors and officials who have attempted to enforce transparency and accountability, Elizabeth Warren, Brooksley Born, Harry Markopolos, Neil Barofsky, and William K. Black have either been ignored, pushed out, or shut down.

Says Neil Barofsky of President Obama:

“I thought that if there was ever going to be a political figure that would take on the interests of Wall Street, and put the American people… above the monied interests, it was going to be President Obama, and that just didn’t happen. In fact it was the opposite. He had the same ideology as Timothy Geithner [and others from Wall Street]: ‘Protect the banks. What is best for the biggest banks is what’s best for the country.’”

This is pretty grim stuff, but it has a silver lining: When you don’t have champions to manage the economy fairly or effectively, you organize yourselves to transform your economy.

Both liberal and conservative officials have turned themselves from public servants into private servants. We, in response, have no excuse but to turn ourselves into necessary public champions. We must decide and act upon our choices to drive the economy in a healthy direction.

Economy cannot exist without people and their agreement. It is our job now to form the next principles and new, healthy practices as we turn away from a corrupted system.

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CPL's picture

Farce #8:  technology will save us.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Bribery* of public officials is not only legal, now, but encouraged.  It is not hard to figure out where that leads.  Public officials should only be able to earn a salary.  Stop the "campaign finance" farce and we solve many problems. 

Good luck leaving it up the the lawmakers to self-regulate.



redpill's picture

10. Pain can be avoided indefinitely

TruthInSunshine's picture

Regardless of your economic or political persuasion, read, attempt to interpret and ponder, generally speaking, the bolded, indented quote below the next paragraph (from Modern Money Mechanics, Page 6, last paragraph). It's incredible that the gatekeepers at the Fed and its allies haven't scrubbed history clean of that extremely important, extremely revealing truth.

The Federal Reserve Fractional Reserve Bank is just the latest entity & iteration of the literal Ponzi scam that perpetuates pure fiat monetary systems (see remarks/footnotes below regarding Plaza Accord and Nixon Shock, which closed the Bretton Woods pact) that some refer to as fractional reserve banking (see Modern Monetary Theory as described and admitted to in their own publication, 'Modern Money Mechanics' - Modern Money Mechanics is a booklet produced and distributed free by the Public Information Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; MODERN MONEY MECHANICS*) , whereby this non-bank entity and front for The Money Masters uses taxpaying slaves, many of whom ostensibly believe they are free and sovereign citizens of a sovereign "nation," as collateral, to conjure what they claim is 'money,' but that which is really debt (since there is nothing of inherent value backing it), from thin air, leveraging it up by many multitudes (money multiplier/deposit multiplier, derivative contracts and other forms of leverage can ratchet this debt up by a magnitude of a thousand times or more from the point of inception/creation), getting a nation to endorse it as monopolistic fiat (and enforce the monopolistic recognition of it as such for the payment debt, both public and private, via codified law and corollary enforcement agencies). 

 *  The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, describing, in small part, the ruse of Modern Money Mechanics (quote from Page 6, last paragraph):

"What they [banks] do when they make loans is to accept promissory notes in exchange for credits to the borrowers' transaction accounts. Loans (assets) and deposits (liabilities) both rise by [the amount of the "loan"]."

When was the last time you lent money to a friend and suddenly found you had more funds?

*On August 15, 1971, the United States unilaterally terminated convertibility of the dollar to gold. As a result, "[t]he Bretton Woods system officially ended and the dollar became fully fiat currency, backed by nothing but the promise of the federal government." This action, referred to as the Nixon shock, created the situation in which the United States dollar became the sole backing of currencies and a reserve currency for the member states. At the same time, many fixed currencies also became free floating.


Fractional reserve banking systems using pure fiat money (i.e. units printed at zero cost/backed by nothing of value) are insidious as they always, inevitably lead to greater and greater boom-bust periods, because they inherently depend on the issuance/uptake/creation of greater and greater aggregate amounts and waves of debt in order to perpetuate and kick the can as a result of the last 'bust' cycle (think of the housing bubble replacing the one).

Additionally, with each successive boom, debt is issued and taken on to finance increasingly marginally productive activities and increasingly marginally useful goods (some would argue, and rightfully so, that we've crossed the rubicon into net-net negative sum value activities and goods - think of the law of diminishing returns in the context of increasingly negative externality costs - whether pollution, human injuries or deaths due to toxins, the production of weapon systems, etc. - associated with production). 

Here's an example of how this works, based on recent events: Even Krugman, in either a moment of unintentional candor or just a slip of the tongue, succinctly summed up the scam that is fractional reserve banking using pure fiat money that's printed at zero cost & backed by nothing of value:

2002 NYTimes article: Paul Krugman says we need a housing bubble

By PAUL KRUGMAN, published 2002

Writes the future Nobel laureate in the NY Times, August 2, 2002:

“To fight this recession the Fed needs…soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. [So] Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.”


*Krugman Caught in Lie on Housing Bubble

LEVERAGE simply allows the harvesting to happen on an accelerated basis and at more frequent intervals (i.e. ramps up the boom-bust cycles).


The 7 easy steps to controlling the world without doing any honest physical or mental labor (fractional reserve CronyKapitalistComrade Model):


  1. Buy off/bribe/blackmail/extort/destroy any lawmaker/politician/military officer who poses a risk of thwarting your plans. For those who doubt the feasability of this, or its relevance to current times, please refer to your course materials and the historical record regarding the events surrounding the meetings held by dominant global banking interests on Jekyll Island, off the Georgia Coast, in 1910.   *Very important first step.
  2. Create fiat from thin air at zero cost basis, using nothing more than a literal stroke of a key, that's backed by nothing of inherent value, that has nation-state enforced legal recognition (due to that which is stated in #1 above), and in fact, is a monopoly currency with no legally recognized alternative in the payment of debt, both public and private.
  3. Circulate such fiat via "loaning it out" (which is an oxymoron amongst oxymorons), charging interest upon it, and dramatically increase the volume of fiat/debt created in step 2 by many, many multiples, via the use of leverage (whether by allowing the mule banks to have articicially low capital requirements, or purposefully not regulating credit derivatives, or via a plethora of other mechanisms).
  4. Successfully get nations (war is a fantastic motivator to borrow), business entities and individuals (the need for food, energy, health care, security, etc. are great motivators) to borrow said worthless fiat that was conjured from thin air, and pay interest, pledging their real, inherently valuable assets in exchange for said worthless fiat (i.e. meaning that their real, inherently valuable assets can be taken if the conditions that make it impossible for them to repay the worthless fiat are [intentionally] induced).
  5. Set the rate of interest payable on the loans of fiat that was conjured from thin air, solely at their discretion (don't be Krugman-level disingenuous and proclaim anything remotely close to 'free market mechanisms' set these rates, especially at a time when the Bernank has just purchased [using fiat-debt conjured from thin air, so no skin of the Fed's nose] a massive chunk, roughly equaly to 60%+ of U.S. deficit spending- i.e. monetization- of U.S. Treasury Notes for about a 28 month period).
  6. Supply more of such fiat, or withdraw fiat, to/from the system, at their discretion, bringing about inflation or deflation.
  7. During times of large scale loan defaults, on the repayment of the fiat that they conjured from thin air, backed by nothing of inherent value, seize the most valuable assets that exist on the planet, many of which mankind depends on for its very survival.


Same Shit, Different Day, only now, there's vastly more leveraged fiat/debt/credit in the system when (not if) everything implodes, versus the last time the system imploded, so MOAR & BIGGER BUBBLES will inevitably be required to perpetuate the paper Ponzi... (i.e. tragic misallocation of resources, wealth, capital, what could have been truly productive endeavors had banksters been forbidden from controlling the destiny of the global economy by controlling the volume of fiat in their ability to create boom-bust cycles at their sole discretion, etc.).

redpill's picture

'On August 15, 1971, the United States unilaterally terminated convertibility of the dollar to gold.'

You could have purchased gold at the time for $40 an ounce.

TruthInSunshine's picture

More on how Krugman is a deceptive, slippery charlatan, because it can't be overstated:

Krugman's Caught in Lie on Housing Bubble
Not sure if you saw this, but I watched the video mentioned in the comment section on your site and the poster is correct.
Starting around 19:40 or so of this video from his Bloomberg appearance the other day:
Krugman claims that it is the "great lie" that the Fed created the Housing Bubble.  However, he wrote this in his blog in 09:
"What I said was that the only way the Fed could get traction would be if it could inflate a housing bubble. And that’s just what happened."
This is hardly unique, just as his editor at the NY Times pointed out in his final column:

"Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults."

And then the exchange between Krugman and his editor showed how Krugman cannot handle being defeated in a debate, just as we are seeing now after the Ron Paul showdown.


Krugman is the ultimate statist  tool. He hawked his book "End This Depression Now!," and spoke of the  reality of the economic depression we are now in, right up until about 8  weeks prior to the election, when he suddenly started to applaud Obama  for policies that helped create an economic recovery, despite objections  from Congress.

q99x2's picture

Can you find bargains for bribery on Craigslist?

Clowns on Acid's picture

Rove didn't know what the London oddsmakers did - Fraudulent voting in swing states would carry Obama.

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

This is news? Most of these conclusions became obvious in 2008...

CPL's picture

Took four years to shake it out of people.  Sooner than I expected.

Nothing To See Here's picture

And yet, most sheeple still believe that the financial crisis occured because of an excess of capitalism and out-of-control free markets...

swmnguy's picture

Frankly, most of this stufff was fairly apparent a lot earlier than 2008.  I figured it out when I refinanced my tiny starter home in 2003, bought for $49,900 in 1996, to lock in a rate on the remaining $40,000 in principal.  My credit union (not a high-flying scam house by any means) tried to get me to go up to $135,000, taking the balance in cash out.  They thought I was the dumbest guy in town when I refused their generous offer.  Figuring out how that made sense to them led me to realize a lot of these things, or at least the suspicions began to dawn...And I'm far from the most plugged-in on these matters.

akak's picture

Moral of the story: NEVER go along with what your bank (or credit union) "suggests" or pressures you to do --- there is always going to be some benefit in it for them, and some cost to you.

swmnguy's picture

True 'dat.  As I recall, I smirked at the lender and asked her, "That sounds great.  Do I have to pay it back, though?"  She didn't think it was very funny.  Actually, I don't think she got it at all.  That was another warning sign, though one I didn't quite understand for a while.  They didn't give a damn if I paid it back or not.  That realization, when it came, made a whole lot of other things make sense.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Your anecdote underscores an important and critical truth that forms one of the cancers in our monetary system.

I absolutely remember when banks were literally begging developers to borrow money during the housing bubble. I'm not exaggerating in the least.

See a banker at a restaurant? "Hey so and so, when are you going to come in so we can give you some cheap money?"

Bubbles, bubbles, fractional-fiat-reserve toils and troubles.

The boom-bust cycle claims more victims than it creates winners by a wide margin, and it has to be so for the harvest that allows our system to survive.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Yes, and more closely, techonological improvements will be able to get oil in abundance forever.  This is a farce because oil is finite, and if technology can get us more production (as is happening with shale) the reserves will only be drained more quickly, and the peak of production will be that much steeper.

Kreditanstalt's picture

"Technology will save us" is a sacred cow to neo-cons and even to many libertarians...I only hope they have enough firewood for the coming winters... :) 

NotApplicable's picture

From a libertarian perspective, I've no doubt that tech will save us (as ingenuity to survive the day is ALL we've really got to go on).

Thing is, tech, like all other productive endeavors, has been sacrificed to the gods of Wall St. So, no... what's left of tech isn't enough to overcome the enormous overhead of living under gang rule.

Joe moneybags's picture

Improvement and advances in technology is a different subject than irresponsible financial practices.  One is neither the cause, or the result, of the other.

However, there will be advances in technology that will have an impact upon a nation's finances, and it's overall wealth and standard of living.  It's also likely that those advances will benefit developing nations to a greater degree than the developed, first-world countries.

q99x2's picture

Tech can provide alternative directions and circumvent human intentions. So tech as a goods or service may not save us but technical solutions to the problem of a centrally planned future may save us.

Kreditanstalt's picture

Agreed!  The Internet, for example.

The problem will arrive for those who think that technology will enable them to consume resources (at today's levels) into the future.  ("Summer driving season"...?   Hahaaahaha...LOL!!!!) 

Invest in buggy-whip manufacturers.

francis_sawyer's picture

Bullish!... Buy!... Hit all stops!...

ArrestBobRubin's picture

Farce 9:

Islam is a threat that's anywhere comparable to the deadly one posed to the American Republic by the internal Enemy that had its puppets create the Fed in 1913.

GOSPLAN HERO's picture

Does Jill Kelley work for Mossad?

NotApplicable's picture

I'm kind of the opinion that (like it or not) we all do.

Memes don't propagate on their own, you know.

I'm a vector.

You're a vector.

He's a vector.

She's a vector.

Wouldn't you like to be a vector too?

stormsailor's picture

try googling images jill kelly with safe-search off.  she probably has worked with mossad and any number of others.

StychoKiller's picture

At the bare minimum, she should be given an invite(s) to attend some grand jury sessions.

Flaming Ferrari's picture

Farce #9: Market is going to crash in the face of massive liquidity.

This is a dip, buy it.

Traianus Augustus's picture


We have reached the end of the Internet folks!  Nothing more to see or do...

Manthong's picture

There is nothing economical about the farce that is today’s so called  market economy.

AnAnonymous's picture

Farce #0: the whole article is a farce. An 'american' farce.

swmnguy's picture

Good thing for you none of these things are true in China, right?

Shizzmoney's picture

Let's back to real news, like how apparently, the director of the CIA loves younger pussy.....

francis_sawyer's picture

It would only be 'news' if Barney Frank started liking younger pussy...

MFLTucson's picture

Can you blame him??  Look at the wife!

swmnguy's picture

Whom do you mean, Bwawney or Petraeus?

Totentänzerlied's picture

Wow! It's almost as if he's a male, with a penis and everything!

swmnguy's picture

At the risk of becoming tiresome, I must ask again, Whom do you mean, Bwawney or Petraeus?

SMG's picture

This can't go on forever, and the collpase will be so awful, that the system that comes next will be better.

Just trying to be optimistic.  World's tough these days and you can't make it through without optimism.


StychoKiller's picture

If people have to work or starve (through lack of working EBT cards), there is cause for optimism.

jimijon's picture

Soon free-energy will be unveiled and then the Mayan will be correct and a new beginning will ensue.

CPL's picture

Because human's like doing things the easy way?  Doubtful.  It'll continue to stretch like taffy.

QE49er's picture

What's missing in this pic?

Well, the link gives it away but you get the point, & sorry it's a bit off topic.

Dr. Engali's picture

Farce number 10) infinite growth is possible on a finite planet.

StychoKiller's picture

Verily, I say unto thee:  "The surface of a planet is NOT the correct place for an expanding technological civilization." (-- R.A. Wilson)

Tinky's picture

Not to worry. The general public is now well aware of the dangers lurking. Much like these folks...