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Rome Is On The Verge Of Detroit-Style Bankruptcy

Tyler Durden's picture


With European peripheral bond yields collapsing every single day to new all time lows (primarily driven by Europe's near-certainty that a US-style QE is imminent as we first showed here in November, despite Mario Draghi's own words from November 2011 that a QE intervention is virtually impossible), increasingly more of Europe is trading just as safe, if not more, as the United States. And in keeping with the analogies, considering a major US metropolitan center, Detroit, recently went bankrupt, it is only fair that Europe should sacrifice one of its own historic cities to the gods of negative cash flows. The city in question, Rome, which as the WSJ reports, is "teetering on the brink of a Detroit-style bankruptcy."

Rome, the eternal city, which survived two millennia of abuse from everyone may be preparing to lay its arms at the hands of unprecedented corruption, capital mismanagement and lies.

On the first day of his premiership, Matteo Renzi had to withdraw a decree, promulgated by his predecessor, that would have helped the city of Rome fill an €816 million ($1.17 billion) budget gap, after filibustering by opposition lawmakers in the Parliament on Wednesday signaled the bill had little likelihood of passing.


Devising a new decree that provides aid to Rome will now cost Mr. Renzi time and political capital he intended to deploy in promoting sweeping electoral and labor overhauls during his first weeks in office.


For Rome's city fathers, though, the setback has more dire consequences. They must now face unpalatable choices—such as cutting public services, raising taxes or delaying payments to suppliers—to gain time as they search for ways to close a yawning budget gap. If it fails, the city could be placed under an administrator tasked with selling off city assets, such as its utilities.


"It's time to stop the accounting tricks and declare Rome's default," said Guido Guidesi, a parliamentarian from the Northern League, which opposed the measure.

Alas, if one stops the accounting tricks, not only Rome, but all of Europe, as well as the US and China would all be swept under a global bankruptcy tsunami. So it is safe to assume that the tricks will continue. Especially when one considers that as Mirko Coratti, head of Rome's city council said on Wednesday, "A default of Italy's capital city would trigger a chain reaction that could sweep across the national economy." Well we can't have that, especially not with everyone in Europe living with their head stuck in the sand of universal denial, assisted by the soothing lies of Mario Draghi and all the other European spin masters.

So what is the catalyst that would push the city into default? Trash.

No really: an appeal for a €485 million transfer from the central government to compensate Rome for the extra costs it incurs in its role as a major tourist destination, the nation's capital and the seat of the Vatican. "Rome is unique compared with other cities" and deserves state support because of huge numbers of visitors who use services but don't contribute much to the economy, Mr. Marino said in a recent interview. But even before the government of Enrico Letta fell this month, the proposed transfer had prompted complaints that the aid was unfair, given the dire straits of other cities.


Rome has long struggled to balance its books. Because of its dearth of industry, the city depends heavily on trash-collection levies and the sale of bus and subway tickets. It struggles much more than other European cities to collect either one. About one in four passengers on Rome's public transit system doesn't buy tickets, costing around €100 million in lost revenue annually, compared with just 2% of passengers on London's public transit network.

Meanwhile, employee absenteeism at Rome's public-transit and trash-collection agencies runs as high as 19%, far above the national average.

But how can Rome's clean up costs be a surprise? Well, they aren't. What is however, is the severity of the recession that crushed the national economy.

Just six years ago, some €12 billion in city debts was transferred to a special fund subsidized and guaranteed by the national government in a move aimed at giving Rome a fresh start. But Italy's economy has shrunk by almost 10% since then, eroding the tax base just as national austerity programs pushed extra costs onto local governments.


Even before the withdrawal of the "Save Rome" decree, Mr. Marino was facing unpalatable choices. He has already raised cremation and cemetery fees and plans to centralize city procurement, which he says will save €300 million a year.


Now, without the transfer from the central government, he may be forced to impose income and property tax surcharge—already among the highest in the country—and to cut salaries to the city's 20,000 employees or trim city services such as child-care centers or job-training programs—also unpopular moves.

What would happen then is unknown, but hardly pleasant:

The political fallout could be severe. The mayor of Taranto, a southeast city that defaulted on €637 million in debt in 2006, has suffered some of the lowest poll ratings in the country after cutting back services.

Oh well, another government overhaul is imminent then, after all it is Italy. Just as long as it is not elected. Because then there woud be a chance that someone who actually sees behind the facade of lies, like Beppe Grillo for example, may just be elected PM, and then all bets are off.

Howeber, that will never be allowed, and instead Rome will almost surely be bailed out. That however would open a whole new can of worms as every other insolvent city demands the same treatment:

A new appeal for a special transfer to Rome could embolden demands that other cities in distress be helped, even though Italy's public finances are already strained. Naples is close to having to declare bankruptcy. Reggio Calabria has been run by a special commissioner for the past three years, but may still default on €694 million in debt, according to Italy's Audit Court.

And if all else fails, there is the nuclear option: "Some politicians say Rome should sell assets such as ACEA, the electric utility that is worth about €1.8 billion and is 51% owned by the city."

True: and Goldman, or some other bank filled to the gills with the Fed's generous excess reserves, would be happy to swoop in and scoop up hard Roman assets providing it with just the right cover for creeping global encroachment. The benefactors? A select few equity shareholders. Because for every million or so peasants who suffer, a few rich men have to get even richer in the New Feudal Normal.


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Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:21 | 4486046 A Man without Q...
A Man without Qualities's picture


Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:24 | 4486061 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

Detroit, Agenda 21 in action!

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:27 | 4486076 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

never, since the fall of Rome, have we seen the fall of Rome

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:40 | 4486119 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

And we've come and gone a long way my friend. Even minituarized the circus into one convenient iPad, so that every man's circus is his own.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:45 | 4486142 0b1knob
0b1knob's picture

"The endless games played in the timeless zone

Remind me, all roads lead to Rome..."


Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:51 | 4486171 pods
pods's picture

All they gotta do is debase the Denarius, problem solved.  Just take out a little bit of silver and good to go.



Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:20 | 4486293 Four chan
Four chan's picture

ship kevin orr over there. "the system" is working perfectly, enslave a free people to

debt and capture all assets through boom and bust "the  system" creates.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:04 | 4486740 J S Bach
J S Bach's picture

Don't worry... Kerry will probably just give them a couple billion like he did for the "new" Ukranian government.  Nothing for Detroit though.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:19 | 4486788 strannick
strannick's picture

Some of those ruined buildings look  a couple of thousand years old.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:17 | 4486502 MillionDollarBoner_
MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

The denarius was based on the price of ten donkeys.

Fact ;o)

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:24 | 4486538 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

When I want to watch a someone's head spin, I have been known to inquire as to just how Marcus Aurelius added those grams of physical silver back into each coin...

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:54 | 4486180 ThirdWorldDude
ThirdWorldDude's picture

In our fiat ponzi world all roads lead to bankruptcy.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 06:15 | 4487990 Perfecthedge
Perfecthedge's picture

Bring back the Gladiators to entertain the masses.  This time feed the Banksters to the Tigers.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:28 | 4486082 flacon
flacon's picture

There is enough GOLD in the vatican to feed Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, Mercury, and all the rest of the planets. 

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:34 | 4486101 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

flacon you still long gold and short spy? Today seems different. they were going up together until recently. not a big deal but today it seems like they are working inverse to each other, which seems like a change from recent behavior.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:04 | 4486223 HyBrasilian
HyBrasilian's picture

He gets his trading tips from Dan Brown...

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:11 | 4486224 flacon
flacon's picture

I am still long gld and short spy. But I may cut losses if this rally in spy continutes - as assinine as I believe it is. I did buy some slv yesterday since it is more undervalued than gold right now. This is my trading account - I realize that this is paper metals :)


I have May contracts, so I can afford to wait a bit to see. 


Here is the ratio trade:$SPX:GLD&p=D&yr=0&mn=3&dy=0&id=p40393823914


Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:46 | 4486150 HamRove
HamRove's picture

Also your anus.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:59 | 4486204 pods
pods's picture

So you are saying gold is preferable to silver?

Quick, hide the Monster Box!


Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:07 | 4486234 Silveramada
Silveramada's picture

Detroit? that will NEVER happen to Rome...However Italy in general is almost ready for a ECB bail-out for sure, together with Spain, maybe even France joining the trainwreck soon./....

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:30 | 4486344 Steaming_Wookie_Doo
Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

From the article: "About one in four passengers on Rome's public transit system doesn't buy tickets, costing around €100 million in lost revenue annually, compared with just 2% of passengers on London's public transit network.

Meanwhile, employee absenteeism at Rome's public-transit and trash-collection agencies runs as high as 19%, far above the national average."


So 1 in 4 doesn't pay for the bus and 1 in 5 don't show up for work to drive the bus. I already see an issue...I bet the London transport system is set up so it's not easy to cheat ('cos heaven knows the Brits would cheat too, if they could). Their own tolerance of dishonesty helps create this conundrum. However, I don't hold harmless those who sell CDOs, embezzle or otherwise cheat the municipalities they are meant to serve--and I mean those at the higher level who steal more in a day than most of these twerps steal in a year of solid effort. 

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:24 | 4486063 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Don't forget to pay the binmen.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:25 | 4486066 max2205
max2205's picture

Lazy diegos

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 20:03 | 4486935 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Wrong country. Diego is a Spanish name.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:50 | 4486408 rotagen
rotagen's picture

Tell my again why Rome matters?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:22 | 4486051 john39
john39's picture

congratuations fiat fucks, the world is broke.  mission accomplished.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:52 | 4486176 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Fiat bought Chrysler, right?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:49 | 4486888 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

That was actually very punny.
You deserved moar Up arrows.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:22 | 4486053 Rising Sun
Rising Sun's picture

Another day, another shit show, another up day in the markets.




Fuck you Yellen.  Fuck you Barry.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:23 | 4486056 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Wait what, I thought Rome collapsed a few thousand years ago?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:45 | 4486147 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

And this time I had nothing to do with it.

The Lost Gold of Rome: The Hunt for Alaric's Treasure

In AD 410, the Roman world suffered a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions when a foreign army led by the Visigoth king Alaric sacked Rome and carried off the city’s most valuable treasures. Alaric played a significant role in the dismemberment of the western Roman Empire, but he died before he could leave the Italian peninsula. His followers buried him in a secret tomb laden with the plunder of Rome that may have included the sacred Temple treasures of the Jews.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:55 | 4486183 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Let's get the arc of the convenant to DC and open it for a look see.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:05 | 4486229 trader1
trader1's picture

let's take a trip back in time, friends...

indiana jones, opening the ark of the covenant scene:


Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:24 | 4486060 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

But, but i thought this time was different??

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:24 | 4486062 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Debt wasn't built in a day

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:27 | 4486073 max2205
max2205's picture

Didn't think kicking the can works?   Italys been doing it for fucking 2500 years

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:46 | 4486394 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Yeah, but I need to borrow a couple million Euros from an Italian bank next in the next 60 days, so please- contain the contagion, or postpone the inevitable, since actual job creation also depends on it...

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 06:19 | 4487992 Perfecthedge
Perfecthedge's picture

The Italian Job

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:25 | 4486067 SgtShaftoe
SgtShaftoe's picture

All roads lead to rome...

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:45 | 4486875 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

These days, the other saying might apply: "See Rome and die."

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:26 | 4486069 DavrosoftheDaleks
DavrosoftheDaleks's picture

Just bring Goldman in to fix the mess, they'll package up the risk and sell it to someone else.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:32 | 4486096 Jonas Parker
Jonas Parker's picture

GS will sell it to the Detroit bondholders who will be grateful for the deal...

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:26 | 4486070 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

They just need clint eastwood to declare it's halftime in Italy. That should buy them 2 years.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:26 | 4486072 Hulk
Hulk's picture

WHen in Rome, do as the Detroitians do !!!

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 20:05 | 4486942 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Bring in Robocop 2.0.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:27 | 4486074 praps
praps's picture

"huge numbers of visitors who use services but don't contribute much to the economy"


What about all the money they spend on hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, toursit attractions, transport etc etc.  Who gets all that?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:37 | 4486117 Its_the_economy...
Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

they all bring picnic lunches. and then throw their trash on the ground.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:41 | 4486132 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Lunchables and Capri Sun? Sounds about right.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:57 | 4486192 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

La Dolce Vita!

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:43 | 4486138 Traderone
Traderone's picture

And it is one expensive rip off city. 

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:58 | 4486427 Cacete de Ouro
Cacete de Ouro's picture

There are plenty of coins in the Trevi fountain. That should start the ball rolling, and the Mario Bros (Draghia and Montiboy) said they'd match the coins like for like.

So that should keep things going for what, maybe an hour?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:00 | 4486442 Silveramada
Silveramada's picture

But is also the most beautiful city as well to visit & enjoy...

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:46 | 4486151 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re;  Who gets all that?

Not the city.   You think the Italians are paying their taxes?

Nobody is more Libertarian than Greeks and Italians.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:57 | 4486190 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

"Nobody is more Libertarian than Greeks and Italians."

If that's the case then they will be doing great after the current european statist system implodes.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:59 | 4486205 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

But they're running out of Greeks and Italians, for failure to make new ones. They're getting old and weak, and as St Rumsfeld reminded us, weakness is a provocation. The replacement populations will be non Italian.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:03 | 4486219 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  The replacement populations will be non Italian.

That's going to a battle.   You've got the mafia vs the immigrants vs the Russian mafia.   Should be interesting.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:12 | 4486253 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

They don't suffer from the American white guilt complex.  I expect a Nationalistic pushback.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:18 | 4486277 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  I expect a Nationalistic pushback.

That will be interesting to watch (from a distance).   

The whites here could always safely hate "those people" without the hate splintering into white-on-white hate.    "Those people" were always more subhuman than even the least human white group.

But, whites in Europe are European, and they hate each other too, and have lots of recent history with this.   

It will be interesting to see how the haters are manipulated by the nationalistic sociopaths.  

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:27 | 4486336 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Europeans don't hate each other, what they have is national and cultural pride.  Something the US was brow beaten out of by the progressives who are the real haters.  It's going to suck being the reason for the collapse, paybacks a bitch.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:38 | 4486372 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Tell that to the Poles, and Germans.  

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:50 | 4486395 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

They are not subverting each others population or politics.  Infact they all have similar problems.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:09 | 4486473 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  They are not subverting each others population or politics. 

I think you need to read-up on how Brits and Germans currently view their (uh) "lesser evolved" slavic "cousins".   

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 06:01 | 4487983 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

the real problem starts when you live in Canton Ticino (Switzerland) at 20 km from their borders

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 21:28 | 4487173 Silveramada
Silveramada's picture

U must know very little about the system over there: THEY (we) don't pay taxes, simply because about 60% of the taxes are ALREADY took by the gov. in the paychecks BEFORE u can touch that money. Italians use to say all the time" we work for the gov. from January to August, and the remaining 4 months for ourselves", Ah, and don't forget, we pay IVA (sale tax) 21 fucking % versus, say 6.5% in FL... so yeah , I think Italians pay LOTS of taxes bou bou....

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:33 | 4486358 PontifexMaximus
PontifexMaximus's picture

You should ask Marino, where he spends, and to whom he has to pass the envelope.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:34 | 4486103 denverdolomte
denverdolomte's picture

Hmmmmmm.....Never can I say have I seen such an ominous case of history repeating itself. 

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:58 | 4486197 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Never can I say have I seen such an ominous case of history repeating itself

Well, in the past the top 10% or 1% needed cities.    Now,  the top 1% don't even need nations.

The peasants are just debt fodder.    consumables for the elite.  

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:38 | 4486122 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

zero out the pension funds and give the electric company to the squid

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:40 | 4486129 praps
praps's picture

Some revenue earning suggestions


Sell one of the hills.  Six is enough.

Re-open the Colisseum

Get all those coins from the Trevi fountains


Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:44 | 4486145 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Re-open the Colisseum

This has possibilities...   I'm thinkin' feeding the peasants to some lions would be a big international draw for the top 20%.  

TV rights,   human interest stories of the peasants (and the lions too),  kinda like the Olympics but with more drama.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:41 | 4486134 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Maybe the Greeks would like to buy some Italian assets?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:03 | 4486218 ThirdWorldDude
ThirdWorldDude's picture

There's a good chance for that since the IMF projected Greece will have a budget surplus in 2014.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:44 | 4486137 butchee
butchee's picture

Solution:  Loot the Vatican.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:55 | 4486184 GeorgeHayduke
GeorgeHayduke's picture

Exactly. The Vatican has stolen tons of gold an other treasures over the centuries. A good historical study might show them as one of the earliest and most effective predatory capitalists the world has ever seen. They were right there during the development of colonial capitalism and the genocide it created. That's just the tip of the iceberg of their crimes. Time for them to face the music.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:00 | 4486208 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Yup.    The Bishop of Bling.     Now there's a guy any sociopath would admire.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:54 | 4486908 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

They seem falsely accused once again, just like another group, who (like them) obtained their wealth through donations and lawful acquisitions. ;-)

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:43 | 4486141 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Where is Romes gold ???

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:12 | 4486254 negative rates
negative rates's picture

It's right where they left it.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:01 | 4486444 Cacete de Ouro
Cacete de Ouro's picture

The Rothschilds also have gold at the Vatican. Loot it all, and kill two birds with the one stone

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:44 | 4486144 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Maybe Russia and China will help in the battle against globalists.

Is Greece going to default?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:44 | 4486388 flysofree
flysofree's picture

Russian oligarchs keep residences and money abroad in global banks in London, New York, Switzerland, Germany, Monaco, etc.. The Oligarch economy is resource driven globalist racket which they exploit for only their own benefit. China is even worse. More than than 2/3 rd of wealthiest Chinese already relocated overseas with their money. It's actually China that's driving this globalist economy.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:47 | 4486156 Charles The Ham...
Charles The Hammer Martel's picture

How many times in the last 3000 years has this happened? I can think of at least 5. You would think they have learned something by now. Too many visigoth sacks I suppose, nowadays they are just from Africa though... last time that happened they were riding elephants through the alps, now they just ride on refrigerator doors. Times they are a changin'.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:50 | 4486164 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re;  You would think they have learned something by now

The only lesson that would "fix" the problem is not believing the bullshit created by manipulative sociopaths.

But, name a society that has learned that lesson.

The sociopaths manipulating the dumbasses with bullshit is how the most-fit win.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:50 | 4486161 debtor of last ...
debtor of last resort's picture

I'm offering an ounce of gold to see Merkel and Draghi fight to the death in the Colosseum, watching all the dislikes should be fun.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:55 | 4486185 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

100 bucks on merkel ftmfw

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:56 | 4486188 youngman
youngman's picture

There is going to be a bunch more of those drunk guys dressed as Roman Gladiators around the colliseum now....five euros for a

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:13 | 4486264 Charles The Ham...
Charles The Hammer Martel's picture

Or five Trillion, depending on how the inflation goes*

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:17 | 4486275 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

It would appear symbolically appropriate for the bankruptcy of Detroit in America to be followed by the bankruptcy of Rome in Europe, as harbingers of things to come.

"Alas, if one stops the accounting tricks, not only Rome, but all of Europe, as well as the US and China would all be swept under a global bankruptcy tsunami."

Like almost everyone else who reads Zero Hedge, I keep wondering how long the financial pyramid scheme based on the privatized making of "money" out of nothing as debts can continue ??? The structure of that system necessarily drives debt slavery to generate numbers which become debt insanities, which are impossible to ever repay, other than by creating even more "money" out of nothing, as more debts, which becomes even more insane, but which  nevertheless continues to happen, due to the paradox of the SIZE OF THE GLOBAL BANKRUPTCY TSUNAMI WHICH THREATENS!

"Ages are no more infallible than individuals; every age having held many opinions which subsequent ages have deemed not only false but absurd; and it is as certain that many opinions, now general, will be rejected by future ages, as it is that many, once general, are rejected by the present."

-- John Stuart Mill

IF there are any subsequent ages that survive the present times, then they are surely going to regard our fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems as having been "not only false but absurd!"

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:21 | 4486295 NOTaREALmerican
NOTaREALmerican's picture

But if everybody is bankrupt is ANYBODY bankrupt?

If all the nations you mentioned "declared bankrupty" who would win?  Who would lose?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:36 | 4486367 flysofree
flysofree's picture

That's an easy question---99%.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:43 | 4486640 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Well, NOTaREALmerican, I believe that everyone would lose, only some more than others. There will be no winners, only perhaps some severely impoverished survivors. To reply to your questions, I will repeat this quote that I have copied several times on Zero Hedge before:

Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars

"Energy is recognized as the key to all activity on earth. Natural science is the study of the sources and control of natural energy, and social science, theoretically expressed as economics, is the study of the sources and control of social energy. Both are bookkeeping systems: mathematics. Therefore, mathematics is the primary energy science. And the bookkeeper can be king if the public can be kept ignorant of the methodology of the bookkeeping. ... In this structure, credit, presented as a pure element called "currency," has the appearance of capital, but is in effect negative capital. Hence, it has the appearance of service, but is in fact, indebtedness or debt. ... if balanced in no other way, will be balanced by the negation of population (war, genocide)... They must eventually resort to war to balance the account, because war ultimately is merely the act of destroying the creditor ... War is therefore the balancing of the system by killing the true creditors (the public ...)"

We are living inside of a system where the triumph of backing up lies with violence, focused primarily through the funding of the political processes, have resulted in our living inside of a monetary system which has become our STATE RELIGION, which is a bizarre mixture of mathematics and magic, to create mathemagical accounting, that superficially contradicts the basic laws of nature, such as the conservation of energy and matter. The "money" to pay for services and goods is allowed to be created out of nothing, as debts, by private banks, and that magical "money" can also disappear back to nothing, if those debts disappear. Under that system, if there were no more debts, then there would be no more "money." In that system, the mathemagical bookkeeping is done by the FRAUD KINGS, as the private banking systems, whose frauds are enforced as the STATE RELIGION, that everyone must worship and obey.


"In this structure, credit, presented as a pure element called "currency," has the appearance of capital, but is in effect negative capital. Hence, it has the appearance of service, but is in fact, indebtedness or debt."

NEGATIVE CAPITAL operates to negate "capitalism." That goes deep into the philosophy of science, where the entropy equations of thermodynamics and information theory had an arbitrary minus sign inserted into them, in order that the measurements of power and information would end up having positive values, rather than negative values, which is what the mathematics itself said was the true situation. However, the biggest bullies' bullshit dominated the development of the philosophy of science, like it was generally able to dominate all other social enterprises. Therefore, the FRAUD of making "money" out of nothing as debts violates the first law of nature, which is the conservation of energy, and has also inverted the meaning of the second law of nature, regarding the meaning of the concept of entropy.

Since the deeper realities are that money is measurement backed by murder, and that the debt controls are backed by the death controls, the driving of debt slavery systems towards generating numbers which are debt insanities can result in bankruptcies, which could become a GLOBAL BANKRUPTCY TSUNAMI, which could trigger the resort to war to balance the account ...  balancing of the system by killing the true creditors (the public).

THE PRESENT "MONEY" SYSTEM EXISTS DUE TO THE TRIUMPH OF APPLYING THE METHODS OF ORGANIZED CRIME TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT. When those force backed frauds, or STATE RELIGION, break down, then the return to reality is necessarily a return to the basic fact that money is measurement backed by murder. Those deeper realities are deliberately suppressed and denied by the overwhelming vast majority of the people, including BOTH the rulers and those ruled over. The history of War Kings, based on backing up deceits with destruction, segued into the Fraud Kings, backing up frauds with force. Thus, the private banks became the best organized gangs of criminals, the biggest gangsters, the banksters, whose successful corrupting of the political processes, through feedbacks of funding those processes, enabled them to more and more take control of the monetary systems, while the majority politicians became their puppets, and the vast masses of people became their muppets.

All the way there, real money was measurement backed by murder, but that was achieved through maximum possible social deceits and frauds, which has enabled everything that civilization does to be directed by fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems, whose mathemagical numbers have driven the debt slavery systems to become debt insanity systems, WHICH DRIVE RUNAWAY SOCIAL POLARIZATION AND DESTRUCTION OF THE NATURAL WORLD.

Meanwhile, the established and deeply entrenched systems were built on the basis that the vast majority of people do not understand any of that, because they have been conditioned to not want to understand. Therefore, more radical truth about our monetary system being an INSANE STATE RELIGION is not likely to result in any actual amelioration through applied social psychiatry, but only perhaps in being able to better understand the psychotic social breakdowns that are going to happen when the GLOBAL BANKRUPTCY TSUNAMI that has been rolling out on the deep waters of the fantasies of a STATE RELIGION finally hits the shores of reality, which are beyond the ability of human beings to continue to lie about and/or deliberately ignore.

What we are looking at is the decline and fall of the globalized Neolithic Civilization. The only theoretically better resolutions are to go on through to create a Translithic Civilization, however, it appears necessary that first we go through the psychotic breakdown of the current STATE RELIGION monetary system that dominates the currently globalized Neolithic Civilization, with its astronomically amplified SIZE of force backed frauds.

Nobody is "bankrupt" in the sense that none of the laws of nature have stopped working. However, everyone is bankrupt in the sense of the degree to which we are dominated by a STATE RELIGION BASED ON EVIL DELIBERATE IGNORANCE OF THE LAWS OF NATURE, AND PERVERSE INVERSIONS OF THE PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE LAWS OF NATURE.

Almost everyone could win, IF we could move beyond believing in the biggest bullies' bullshit world view, as expressed through fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems. However, the only apparent political way to actually do that is by going through the psychotic breakdowns of the presently established systems, within which context bankruptcies of symbolic cities, such as Detroit and Rome, are harbingers of things to come, which are relatively trivial waves compared to the quite possible GLOBAL BANKRUPTCY TSUNAMI.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:59 | 4486924 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

And that's why I'm either an Atheist or into Nordic gods -- both of which are perfectly in tune with Nature and its immutable laws.

ps. The new season of Vikings starts tonite. Ragnar Lothbrook!

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 22:37 | 4487416 John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

Or put more generally, does the set of all things which do not contain themselves contain itself?  {Specific example: a barber shaves all men who do not shave themselves.  Does he shave himself?)

Answer:  If it does contain itself it doesn't and vice-versa.  (Getting a headache yet?)

No wonder mathematicians were throwing themselves off rooftops when Bertrand Russell pointed out this conundrum.  Human Language, like set theory, has some built in limitations.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 03:41 | 4487927 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture


Postmodernizing science, especially mathematical physics, has tended to converge back towards ancient mysticism, where it started out from long ago. Due to the inherent limits to measurement, it is, in principle, NOT possible to have a perfectly complete and consistent finite description of the world. BUT, bullies deny that their bullshit "has some built in limitations." The biggest bullies want to brainwash everyone to believe that their bullshit is the "Absolute Truth." It is almost a definition of fanatics that they have no sense of humour, because it takes a sense of humour to asymptotically appreciate the wordless-Word. From a sublime point of view, that makes them even more amusingly absurd, despite the fact that they back up their lies with violence, and therefore, our schools and mass media are in a relentless war against consciousness, in order to prevent people from understanding the elementary principles of philosophy or to develop more genuine spirituality.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:35 | 4486365 flysofree
flysofree's picture

2015.75 according to Armstrong's Economic CONfidence Model.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:22 | 4486307 Paracelsus
Paracelsus's picture

Everone talks about Detroit.Nobody mentions the near default of New York City ages ago.Quite a few cities on the west coast going bellyup these days.

I would like to see a comparison on purchasing power (income,dollar value/gold) of a family 70 years ago versus now.

The share of monthly income for mortgages,various taxes and surcharges,and healthcare must be enormous now.Look what happened to Germany when they wiped out the middle class.Lots of pissed off peasants....

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:03 | 4486451 Cacete de Ouro
Cacete de Ouro's picture

I recall that was '77 or '76, the near default in NY.

Better city back then....more sleazy, but more real

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 03:01 | 4487904 dvfco
dvfco's picture

Don't worry, with the new jackass elected Mayor, we'll be reliving the 1970s within 4 years, probably sooner.  Whatever shit people talk about Bloomberg, he was the best fiscal manager NYC has ever had.  Think, he's kept the city strong eve after 9/11, Dinkins, Koch, etc.  He rooted out more corruption than any mayor, probably in the US.  But, DiBlasio will change all the ASAP.  He's the white Obama,

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:31 | 4486351 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

First the income statement, then the balance sheet. Austerity followed by privatization and asset fire sales to the oligarchs. Hard to get really fucked when you have no debt. 

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:41 | 4486641 Alananda
Alananda's picture

Surely an opportunity for Vatican City to offset bank losses with property acquisition.  Reminds me of a comment by another US tourist as my wife and I viewed ruins in Rome:  "Just a bunch of rocks!"  I chuckle at that observation to this day!

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:43 | 4486651 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Been to Italy several times and still have distant relatives who live outside Naples & Sicily.  Absolutely amazed (kind of like India) that Italy manages to function as well as it does despite the epidemic levels of corruption at every level of gov't and the attitude of people towards their fellow countryman especially from other regions. 


Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:36 | 4486836 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture


I pusha you face.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:50 | 4486896 Remnant_Army
Remnant_Army's picture

I've stopped counting those "Italy" headlines now.

Stack and stockpile if any powder is left. And pray.

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 06:07 | 4487985 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

article wrote by Jesus Christ?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 21:16 | 4487141 shutdown
shutdown's picture

One of the most memorable weekends of my life was spent in Rome.

But that was back in 1986, back before it turned into an immigrant-laced cesspool, back when there were actual Italians living there. 

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 21:52 | 4487265 risk.averse
risk.averse's picture

Big deal.  Not ideal but life goes on. Vital difference between most Western countries and Mediterranean countries like Italy is that Italy is used to crisis –  to the point where often nothing happens unless its a crisis first.  Whole country runs on nervous energy...perhaps its all the caffeine they drink...dunno.


Perhaps the word crisis has lost its meaning in Italy? I regularly watch/read the Italian news -- the Italian word for  "crisis" is repeated often, perhaps to the point of losing its impact.

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 23:00 | 4487475 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture


If it fails, the city could be placed under an administrator tasked with selling off city assets, such as its utilities.


How much for the Pantheon?

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 06:34 | 4487994 Perfecthedge
Perfecthedge's picture

Alas, if one stops the accounting tricks, not only Rome, but all of Europe, as well as the US and China would all be swept under a global bankruptcy tsunami.

Let's assume this would happen.  EVERYBODY defaults at the same time (Governments, Banks, Corporations, Individuals, etc.).  What would really happen? We would still have the same amount of physical items (industrial goods, cars, houses, etc.)  Same amount of people and nature etc.  Nobody would "dissolve" or physically dissappear. 

In my scenario only the millionaries/billionaires would end up like you and me, as all the binary sums on their accounts would reset to zero.

Am I missing something here?

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