Resolution #1: Let's Call Things What They Really Are In 2014

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The Status Quo system is failing. Its collapse will be messy. Starting to call things what they really are is a necessary first step to working with this reality.

Longtime correspondent Harun I. has offered a refreshing resolution for 2014: let's start calling things what they actually are, rather than continue using officially sanctioned half-truths and misdirections. Language defines the context, meaning and agenda--in other words, everything. If we continue using Orwellian language, we get an Orwellian world of officially sanctioned deceptions passing as reality.

Here are Harun's suggestions should we accept the value of Calling Things What They Really Are. This may well be one of the most insightful explanations of our financial system you will ever read:


"Let’s start off the new year by resolving to call things exactly what they are with words a 5th grader would understand.
Bank Deposit: An unsecured personal loan. The bank can do whatever it wishes with the money. The money may not be returned (ironically, people pay for this “service”).

Fractional Reserve Banking (Lending): Leverage. A bank has only a fraction of what it owes to its depositors. In a 10% fractional reserve system, the bank is only required to have ten cents of every dollar in its vaults.

The IMF is suggesting a 10% default by European banks. In a 10% reserve system, this is a reversal. Effectively, one person is going to get their money back and nine others are not. This may reset the banking system but the economic consequences due to the loss of purchasing power at such a scale will be significant.

Bank Bailout: The bank has lost its depositors money and thence government forces the public to borrow money they have a) already earned, b) from the very banks that supposedly have no money, and c) do so at interest (which must be borrowed). Effectively it is a failure and therefore a default.

Bank Bail-in: Every dollar placed at a bank is a dollar it owes to someone (liability). When the bank has lost all or a portion of its depositors' money, it cannot return what it owes. Rather than forcing the people that are owed money by the bank to borrow money to put back in their accounts, the bank merely points out that it doesn’t have the money. This is a default.

Default = Default.

Money: Has no other purpose than to allow people to trade things they have worked to make or services they have performed. Holding on to it may allow one to trade for more or less of a particular good or service in the future. Money is a promise but not a guarantee that it will be exchangeable for something in the future. It is credit and debt.

Without a tangible good or service to trade money is worthless. If I have made a fine overcoat and you, with your skills in carpentry, have made an exquisite chair, we can trade these things directly. In this case money is worthless. It does not work the other way around. Goods and services do not become worthless in the absence of money. My coat will still have value even if I choose to wear it to keep warm. Your chair will have value even if you just choose to sit in it.

This is a critical distinction — and it has been completely lost on just about everyone. We have become completely divorced from the goods and services we make and provide and the money we use to trade these goods and services. At the core of this divorce is Fractional or zero Reserve Banking.

Let’s propose that you and I traded our goods and we deposited our goods in a bank. The bank immediately pledges my chair and your coat to ten other people. Some time later I engage in a redecoration of my home and want my chair. Winter comes and you want your coat. Immediately there is a problem. The bank owes our goods to ten other people. The only way for them to resolve this situation is to either get everyone to accept a fraction of the coat and chair, which of course isn’t very practical, reduce their liability by giving one person the chair and one person the coat and the other ten people get nothing (bail in), or get you and I to bail them out by producing eleven more chairs and coats (10 plus interest).

You see, if in the definitions of bailout and bail in we simply substitute the word money with the words goods and services, the situation loses its ambiguity. When we understand internally what money represents, then we understand what the term Bank backstops really mean. A bank can only be backstopped, bailed out or bailed in, by labor because that is the only thing that "money" represents.

If we understand the definition of money then when we discuss the Federal Reserve's leverage, e.g. 72 to 1, we immediately understand that for each unit of labor performed 72 are owed. If for each hour of labor 72 is owed, how is this ever make that up? The clever person would pipe up and say, I’ll just work for 72 hours straight. But for each of those 72 hours he has worked he now owes 72. When we understand this, we understand that it is an event horizon.

We then understand that every bit of QE (quantitative easing) is a pledge of labor someone must perform at some point in time and that the rate of performance required is impossible.

If we now understand money and leverage and are to propose debt forgiveness then we must embrace rather than bemoan austerity because austerity is the necessary result of 10 other people not getting a chair to sit in or a warm coat for the winter.

With these concepts firmly in tow we begin to see that all of this hand wringing over paying off the $17 trillion in debt is, at best, a fools errand. Yes, in public politicians try to sooth us by appearing concerned. But behind closed doors, the Fed, Treasury, the Congress and the Executive, are all trying to figure out how we are going to borrow more so that over the next doubling period (about 10 years) debt will expand to a necessary $34 trillion.

Some additional clarification may be needed to explain leverage and work. At 72 to 1 the other option is to create 72 units in the time it takes to make one. In other words, if it took you and I one month to create our goods, we must create 72 coats and chairs in that one month. Broken down into hours, if we worked at full capacity 8 hours per day to create one coat and chair, we must do enough work in that 8 hours to create 72 coats and chairs.

Ultimately, work is nothing more than an exchange of energy, and the equation for any exchange of energy is quantifiable and finite (the equation must always balance). If we measured labor output in calories instead of money, the deception disappears. People may not be willing to expend 10 calories for 1. We would also understand that 1 calorie cannot create 10.

These concepts (thermodynamics) are esoteric to the point a 5th grader would have trouble understanding. But what is easily understandable is that if we all did the same work everyday but got less food because of an increase of incoming workers, yes, we would all have food – and we would all soon become malnourished or starved.

How would people react if the Fed said that for every loaf of bread it takes out of the system 72 loafs of bread will disappear?

We must also understand that a lever transmits torque, it does not create more torque.

It is at this point of awareness that it becomes clear that to balance the equation, it is unavoidable that people are not going to get most or all of what they have been promised (austerity). It is at this point that the sober realization arises that we have to dramatically change our expectation of the future.

Credit: Allows trade of something for a promise. Regardless of whatever expectation that may exist, something has been traded or given for no service performed or product yet created. Simply, something has been traded for nothing.

Federal Reserve System: A group of secretly privately owned banks (which, logically were among those who lost all of their depositors money and most certainly compose the primary dealers), that control the global money supply by making more or less credit/money available. It is also supposed to regulate banks within its system.

Even if this system functioned as designed rather than what it has morphed into, it still reads: a subsidiary formed but not funded by member banks and sanctioned by government to lend money to corporations and member banks (to themselves) against strong collateral (which no other bank would touch). Meaning the assets they own are good, but nobody wants them (i.e. the assets are worthless). In essence, this gets those great and wonderful assets off corporation’s and member bank’s books at full value.

Today this subsidiary of the member banks (the banks that own the Fed), loans money to its parent banks to buy all sorts of debt (mostly government debt), then goes about removing that debt (asset) from its parent bank's balance sheet by buying it from them at full price, regardless of what it would have fetched in the market place.

At the most cursory glance, one begins to see how this farcically incestuous relationship would open the door to cronyism, political capture, monetary dominance, and serious abuses of public trust. Whether there is an awakening on the part of of the public is irrelevant. This system is failing. Its collapse will be messy.

There is no need to fret over debt or the monetary system, or the Feds economic and monetary “models”. There is no need to grouse about their manipulations. These things are destined to fail and are already doing so. What we will do in the aftermath of their complete failure, however, is probably of utmost importance."

Thank you, Harun, for an excellent start in Calling Things What They Really Are. Off the top of my head, here are two more:

Capitalism: in the U.S. and global economy, this is a cover-word for crony/State capitalism, in which the Central State (rather than the marketplace) chooses the winners and losers.

Growth: Heavily manipulated statistics that reflect the increasing dominance of crony/State capitalism, passed off as "growth" in the real, lived-in economy. Those crony cartels that are receiving the Federal Reserve's "free money" from quantitative easing (QE) are "growing," and everything that isn't receiving the Fed's "free money" is stagnating.

I am sure you can add your own list of "calling things what they really are."

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HedgeAccordingly's picture

SidewayZ with a upside skew with 1 quarter price fractures like clockwork

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

It would be nice to get some truth telling around here.  From .fed and .gov.  I am noy holding my greath.

Even some QUIET truth would be nice...

CH1's picture

Government: Geo-stationary conquest.

SmackDaddy's picture

Previous article on catholic church proves this doesnt work in every situation.  For example, pederast (glad I had to look that up).  While technically correct, I prefer child butt fucking faggot.

NoDebt's picture

Now that we've studied the possible implications of all this truthiness.... how about we NOT call things what they are until after the next election?  



Every single politician in DC

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

And then after that election, how about we wait until after the next election, and then after that, how about we wait until....

Tall Tom's picture

Previous article on catholic church proves this doesnt work in every situation.  For example, pederast (glad I had to look that up).  While technically correct, I prefer child butt fucking faggot.


Isn't that just another name for "Central Banker" or "Politician"? Actually I don't prefer them at all. Personally I wish them death...a horrible death...preferably by halftime in the Super Bowl.

Keyser's picture

Orwellian Doubletalk : Press secretary Jay Carney. 

Anusocracy's picture

Voter: God's successful attempt at creating the perfect fool.

czardas's picture

I can possibly see a failure (I lean heavily toward a slow, controlled crumble over time - too many folks inside and outside the business too invested in the status quo).  I can also see the chorus, "THIS time we need more government oversight, more control, more rules and mandates and then everything will work fine."   The media will gladly spin this into a tale of "failed capitalism" and the result of not trusting in the benevolence of the State and its altruistic politicians who, of course, whose only concern is the "little guy". 

acetinker's picture

You been here before, or are you just naturally intuitive?  It works fine until it doesn't.  Even then, it seems to levitate far longer than the pragmatists (like me) can comprehend.  Must be inertia, or sumpin'.

Keyser's picture

I have the nagging feeling that the ax will fall swiftly, on a Friday afternoon. Not by some self inflicted wound, but via an outside source to push it over the cliff. With the sheer volume of US paper floating around the world, both in USD and Bonds, all it would take is one of our "allies" to dump them on the open market and the dominoes start falling. All while the numbnutz in DC have their thumbs up their collective asses. Once ALL of the gold travels from west to east, that giant swishing sound you hear will be the US economy flushing down the porcelain convenience. 


acetinker's picture

Shades of Ross Perot.  Much appreciated.  The sky's been slowly falling on me and mine, though, and I've become tired of looking up.

acetinker's picture

Shades of Ross Perot.  Much appreciated.  The sky's been slowly falling on me and mine, though, and I've become tired of looking up.

acetinker's picture

Why in the fuck are these comments showing up twice?  It's startin' to piss me off.

OldPhart's picture

Those show up twice when you double-click the 'save' button.  My nerves have me doing the same thing from time to time.

Tall Tom's picture

It is a side effect of the Psych Meds. Over time they give ya the tics.

swmnguy's picture

"czardas":  I tend to agree with you on the slow, controlled crumble outcome.  Predicting the timing is the tricky part.  We can all see the problem, the outcome, and its imminence. The wrench in the works is the abstraction.  If money is completely abstract, how can we say a thing which doesn't really exist has no value?  It's dividing by zero.  Since money is now whatever people believe it is, then who knows how long the charade can be maintained?  Until it can't any longer, of course.  But it's already gone on far longer than I ever expected.  No doubt it will continue to go on far longer than I think possible.  When it's all lies and fakery, how can one say, "That lie is one too many," and down it comes?  I don't think there will be any media spin of "failure" at all.  What's one more lie?  It'll be "brilliant success," not "failure."

Dr. Destructo's picture

We call that "Insider Trading" on the outside. Though it's perfectly ethical for them to try and bullshit us out of our savings with fabricated numbers and overvalued garbage.


Say What Again's picture

The only place you'll hear unbiased news on TV is RT and Al Jazeera

Now that makes me as sad as the Gubner Christie




Speaking of Aljazeera, check this out...

Lack of trickle-down in West Virginia leaves poorest high and dry

Gotta love the catchy headline.

czardas's picture

RT is to true journalism what Obama is to statesmanship. 

acetinker's picture

Same could be said of any network.  Those things don't just pop up from organic demand.  Not anymore.

Keyser's picture

Much like the neutered version of Al Jazeera in the US. 

ebworthen's picture

You mean Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News isn't telling it like it is?

Next you'll tell me there is no Easter Bunny!

Keyser's picture

Brian, much like Dear Leader, has a teleprompter. No need to think, they have someone else do that for them. 

dbTX's picture

But they said it would be different this time.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

CHS writes..........''I am sure you can add your own list of "calling things what they really are."

many people have been banned from ZH for 'calling things what they really are'..........just sayin


Keyser's picture

One doesn't pull on superman's cape without being banished to the nether regions of the ether. 

acetinker's picture

Yeah, but another but-  If you insist on blaming a particular tribe for all the ills of the world, you are either intellectually lazy or simply hateful of a culture different from your own.

I found, for instance, francis_sawyer both entertaining and informative.  However, he suffered from the aforementioned hatefulness and intellectual laziness.  The dysfunction in leadership is simply too universal to be exclusively the fault of the joos.

I am well aware that there are a disproportionate of dual-citizenship individuals in positions of power in the western world, but what does that mean, really?  Is it the Jewish half, or the City/Vatican/DC half?

If I don't get banned for this view, ZH is still neutral.  If I do, you need to watch your ass, Dick.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Unless he is just pissed off at this place about getting banned, why doesn't h just make up a gmail account and create another screen name. It took a long time of Jew bashing for them to actually ban him, after the rules about ethnic slurs he wa around a while. I admit the whole "Jews are responsible for every problem" could get a bit tiresome at times, but I did fond him pretty informative.

acetinker's picture

He didn't bash Jews.  He called them "cheesepopes".  Pretty sure ZH has the technology to identify IP addresses and cpu's.  Might not be as easy to reinvent yourself as you think.

Seasmoke's picture

Let's start with vigilante justice for Kelly Thomas. The cops must understand they need to put down their weapons and badges.

El Vaquero's picture


Bank Deposit: An unsecured personal loan. The bank can do whatever it wishes with the money. The money may not be returned (ironically, people pay for this “service”).

I really, really wish that people understood this and all of its implications.  But instead, we have sheep who think that banks are essential to life for some reason. 

logicalman's picture

When you put your 'money' in the bank, it becomes the property of the bank to do with it whatever it wishes, until you ask for it back.

It's only a matter of time, though, until they don't give it back even when you ask.

acetinker's picture

b-cuz they don't have it?  Who knew?

dick cheneys ghost's picture

bingo.........banks are borrowers, not lenders....

and BTW,  banks should all have the same name, for instance 'Bank of Rothschild'...because they are all same thing, criminal organizations.....the sheeple have an ''illusion of choice'' when they drive down the street and see different banks and this is disgustingly wrong

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I have tried explaining that to people on several occasions. I get looked at like I am growing a third arm out of my forehead. Those that give it a thought point out that they have far less than the FDIC insured amount, to which I explain that the amount of money the FDIC has to do this is a tiny fraction of the amount of money that would be required to do so. Also, what would happen if 10% of the population decided they wanted their money back that they had on deposit, the whole system collapses. And then I get the "that could never happen here" line. To which I reply I bet the thought the same thing in Cyprus, which of course they have no clue bout either. Most people intentionally avoid knowing this kind of shit.

El Vaquero's picture

Yeah, I sent out a copy of that Fed/FDIC/Other Co-Authors paper from last year that bluntly stated that there would be a bail-in in the US if there were another meltdown.  I broke some of it down, and explained the terms, including the gratuitous use of "unsecured creditor."  These are people who would have accused me of wearing tin-foil had the paper not had a .gov URL that they had to click on to get it.  There was no response.  I think that there is some willful ignorance with a lot of people who don't want to admit to themselves that the country that they used to love has gone to shit. 

Canoe Driver's picture

The use of "unsecured creditor" to describe a bank depositor is especially pernicious. The notion of a bank account has been that the obligation of the banker to depositor was higher than his obligation to general creditors. Otherwise, any creditor could seize the funds of a private depositor in a bank failure. Apparently, this was a horrifying prospect for TPTB, and so they trundle out the notion that the superiority of this obligation to depositors is abrogated when the general creditor is the government, supporting the bank in a bail-out. Effecively, this is an expansion of eminent domain. I suggest you all consider resisting it.

DOGGONE's picture

Fellow Citizens: Your collective brainwashability is repulsive.

q99x2's picture

I hereby officailly announce that the collapse is underway. In history, assuming that there is a history in the future (wait that's a mathematical formula...I'm not telling), anyway, the cave writings will state clearly that the collapse started in January 2014. The writings will also conclude that we were fotunate that Hillary Clinton, the Butcher of Benghazi, did not have a chance to be elected.

mobydick's picture

It's called bending reality

WALLST8MY8BALL's picture

Credit Card - A bank created instrument to put you in debt.

GubbermintWorker's picture

Not if you use it right. Pay off the balance every month and don't let the bastards charge you any fees. If merchants still want to eat the fees, let em. I g3et cash back on mine and use it to buy PM's.

GubbermintWorker's picture

Okay, who ever down arrowed me, explain why. I'm starving the beast in my own way by not paying any CC fees or interest. It's up to the merchants to say fuck you. Some alreadhy do by giving a 3 o 4% discount for cash, and even more to starve the state sales tax beast.I can get up to a 10% discount from one of my local retailers by using cash. If they don't accept less for cash, I say "Charge it!"

Keyser's picture

I also put everything and I mean everything on my CC's. I also pay them off every month. This nets me enough reward points for at least 2 round trip airline tickets annually anywhere in the country. Say what you will and down arrow me if you like, it's working the system.


swmnguy's picture

Doing that also gives you another 30 days to pay the bill, another party in the middle in case of fraud or other dispute, and the option to string out repayment (at a cost, perhaps steep) should TSHTF in your personal realm.