Guest Post: A Run On The Global Banking System - How Close Are We?

Tyler Durden's picture

Guest Post via Gonzalo Lira

Nine weeks after its bankruptcy, the general public still hasn’t quite realized the implications of the MF Global scandal.

My own sense is, this is the first tremor of the earthquake that’s coming to the global financial system. And how the central banks and financial regulators treated the “Systemically Important Financial Institutions” that had exposure to MF Global—to the detriment of the ordinary, blameless customer who got royally ripped off in its bankruptcy—is both the template of how the next financial crisis will be handled, and an accelerator that will make the next crisis happen that much sooner.

So first off, what happened with MF Global?

Simple: It went bankrupt—because it made bad bets on European sovereign debt, by way of leveraging positions 100-to-1. Yeah, I know: Stupid. Anyway, they went bankrupt—which in and of itself is no big deal. It’s not as if it’s the first time in history that a brokerage firm has gone bust. But to me, the big deal in this case was the way the bankruptcy was handled.

Now there are several extremely serious aspects to the MF Global case: Specifically, how their customers were shut out of their brokerage accounts for over a week following the bankruptcy, which made it impossible for those customers to sell out of their positions, and thus caused them to lose serious money; and of course how MF Global was more adept than Mandrake the Magician at making money disappear—about $1 billion, in fact, which still hasn’t turned up. These are quite serious issues which merit prolonged discussion, investigation, prosecution, and ultimately jailtime.

But for now, I want to discuss one narrow aspect of the MF Global bankruptcy: How authorities (mis)handled the bankruptcy—either willfully or out of incompetence—which allowed customer’s money to be stolen so as to make JPMorgan whole.

From this one issue, it seems clear to me that we can infer what will happen when the next financial crisis hits in the nearterm future.

Brokerage firms hold clients’ money in what are known as segregated accounts. This is the money that brokerage firms hold for when a customer makes a trade. If a brokerage firm goes bankrupt, these monies are never touched—because they never belonged to the firm, and thus are not part of its assets.

Think of segregated accounts as if they were the content in a safety deposit box: The bank owns the vault—but it doesn’t own the content of the safety deposit boxes inside the vault. If the bank goes broke, the customers who stored their jewelry and pornographic diaries in the safe deposit boxes don’t lose a thing. The bank is just a steward of those assets—just as a brokerage firm is the steward of those customers’ segregated accounts.

But when MF Global went bankrupt, these segregated accounts—that is, the content of those safe deposit boxes—were taken away from their rightful owners—that is, MF Global’s customers—and then used to pay off other creditors: That is, JPMorgan.

(The mechanics of how this was done are interesting, but insanely complicated, and ultimately not relevant to this discussion. To grossly simplify, MF Global pledged customer assets to JPMorgan, in a process known as rehypothecation—customer assets which MF Global did not have a right to. Needless to say, JPMorgan covered its ass legally. Ethically? Morally? Black as night.)

This was seriously wrong—and this is the source of the scandal: Rather than being treated as a bankruptcy of a commodities brokerage firm under subchapter IV of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy law, MF Global was treated as an equities firm (subchapter III) for the purposes of its bankruptcy.

Why does this difference of a single subchapter matter? Because in a brokerage firm bankruptcy, the customers get their money first—because after all, it’s theirs—while in an equities firm bankruptcy, the customers are at the end of the line.

In the case of MF Global, what should have happened was for all the customers to get their money first. Then everyone else—including JPMorgan—would have picked over the remaining scraps. And the monies MF Global had already pledged to JPMorgan? They call it clawback for a reason.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which handled the bankruptcy, should have done this—but instead, the Merc was more concerned with making JPMorgan whole than with protecting the money that rightfully belonged to MF Global’s 40,000 customers.

Thus these 40,000 MF Global customers had their money stolen—there’s no polite way to characterize what happened. And this theft was not carried out by MF Global—it was carried out by the authorities who were charged with handling the firm’s bankruptcy.

These 40,000 customers were not Big Money types—they were farmers who had accounts to hedge their crops, individuals owning gold (like Gerald Celente—here’s his account of what happened to him)—

—in short, ordinary investors. Ordinary people—and they got screwed by the regulators, for the sake of protecting JPMorgan and other big fry who had exposure to MF Global.

That, in a nutshell, is what happened.

Now, what does this mean?

It means that nobody’s money is safe. It means that regulators care more about protecting the so-called “Systemically Important Financial Institutions” than about protecting Ordinary Joe investors. It means that, when crunchtime comes, central banks and government regulators will allow SIFI’s to get better, and let the Ordinary Joes get fucked.

So far, so evil—but here comes the really troubling part: It is an open secret that there are more paper-assets than there are actual assets. The markets are essentially playing musical chairs—and praying that the music never stops. Because if it ever does—that is, if there is ever a panic, where everyone decides that they want their actual asset instead of just a slip of paper—the system would crash.

And unlike with fiat currency, where a central bank can print all the liquidity it wants, you can’t print up gold bullion. You can’t print up a silo of grain. You can’t print up a tankerful of oil.

Now, question: When is there ever a panic? When is there ever a run on a financial system?

Answer: When enough participants no longer trust the system. It is the classic definition of a tipping point. It’s not that all of the participants lose faith in the system or institution. It’s not even when most of the participants lose faith: Rather, it’s when a mere some of the participants decide they no longer trust the system that a run is triggered.

And though this is completely subjective on my part—backed by no statistics except scattered anecdotal evidence—but it seems to me that MF Global has shoved us a lot closer to this theoretical run on the system.

As I write this, a lot of investors whom I know personally—who are sophisticated, wealthy, and not at all the paranoid type—are quietly pulling their money out of all brokerage firms, all banks, all equity firms. They are quietly trading out of their paper assets and going into the actual, physical asset.

Note that they’re not trading into the asset—they’re simply exchanging their paper-asset for the real thing.

Why? MF Global.

“The MF Global scandal has made it clear that the integrity of the system has disappeared,” said a good friend of mine, Tuur Demeester, who runs Macrotrends, a Dutch-language newsletter out of Brugge. “The banks are insolvent, the governments are insolvent, and all that’s left is for the people to realize what’s going on—and that will start a panic.”

He hit it on the head: Some of the more sophisticated people—like Tuur, like some of my acquaintances, (like myself, frankly)—have realized that the MF Global scandal means that there is no safety for any paper investment: The integrity of the systems has been completely shattered. If in the face of one medium-sized brokerage firm going under, the regulators will openly allow ordinary people to be ripped off for the sake of protecting the so-called “Systemically Important Financial Institutions”—in this case JPMorgan—what will happen if there is a system-wide run? What if two or three MF Globals happen simultaneously?

Will they protect the citizens’ money? Or will they protect the “Systemically Important Financial Institutions”?

I think we know the answer.

And I think we all know the answer to the question of whether there will be crisis flashpoint in the near-term future: After all, as Demeester pointed out, all the banks and all the governments are broke.

Thus it’s only a matter of time before they come for your money.

At SPG, we’ve been putting together Scenarios for other black swan events which are becoming increasingly likely: What to do if the eurozone breaks up, what to do if you have to leave America, what to do if there is an Israeli-Iranian war, what to do if there is forced dollar devaluation, and so on.

Now, because of this open kleptocracy and cronyism being shown by the financial authorities in the wake of the MF Global bankruptcy, we’ve been obliged to put together a new Scenario, devoted exclusively to preparing for a run on the markets: What to do in order to protect your assets from regulatory malfeasance, if there is a system-wide MF Global-type breakdown and a subsequent run on the entire financial system.

And there will be such a run on the system: It’s only a matter of time. In fact, the handling of the MF Global affair has sped up the timeframe for this run on the system, because the forward-edge players—such as Demeester, myself, and my other acquaintances who understand the implications of the bankruptcy—realize that the regulators will side with the banksters, and not the ordinary investors: So we are preparing accordingly.

Once there is a full-on panic, anyone with money in the system will lose at least a big chunk of it, in one of two ways, or a combination thereof:

• One, the firms—commodities brokerage firms, equity firms, investment banks and commercial banks—will not allow people to withdraw the totality of their money, and/or they will put a withdrawal cap of some sort, enforced by the central banks and other regulatory bodies. (Like they did in Argentina.)

• Two, the central banks will “provide liquidity”—that is, print money—while simultaneously declaring a banking holiday to, quote, “calm the markets”. During that bank holiday, the currency will be devalued by double digits—which will mean that your cash holdings will essentially be taxed to save the banksters—again. (Like they did in Argentina.)

Thus apart from proving that the United States really is Argentina with nukes, the MF Global bankruptcy has proven something crucial: The central banks and government regulators have completely fallen into the trap of confusing the welfare of the “Systemically Important Financial Institutions” with the welfare of the system itself. They don’t seem to realize that the SIFI’s are actors within the system—not the system itself.

We critics of the current, corrupt state of affairs also sometimes confuse the SIFI’s with the system itself, whenever we say, “The whole system is corrupt!”

But the system is not corrupt—it’s the regulators and SIFI’s who are corrupt. If nothing else, the handling of the MF Global bankruptcy has proven that, once and for all. That’s why we’re pulling out our money now—while we still can.

Because once the general public catches on to what we already know . . . oh boy.

 

If you’re interested, check out the SPG preview page. The various Scenarios I discussed above (”When the Euro Breaks”, ”Exit America”, ”An Israeli-Iranian War”, etc.) are currently available. The Scenario discussing how to protect assets from a system-wide run will appear on January 20.

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Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Close, bitchez

Gonzo had an interesting podcast with Turd the other month.  I respect a lot of his views, but his love of Fiat is a little weird.  How can we have financial stability when everyone and anyone is allowed to create debt/credit ad infinum?  I understand the flip side, that resources should be on an even playing field, but that is not the reality of things.  It is not like people will not share either.  Still, a good podcast.

TFMR Podcast #2 - Gonzalo Lira:

http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/podcast/2727/tfmr-podcast-2-gonzalo-lira

NotApplicable's picture

How can we have financial stability when people are willing to provide the excuse of "incompetence" when a quick perusal of the facts clearly show how everything has been gamed for maximum destruction of the little guy in order to make JPM whole.

There are times when uncertainties should be stated as such to allow a person to consider their likelihood. This however, is not one of them. Instead, it is a obfuscating "critique" lacking a critical focus.

Eighth biggest bankruptcy in history, and golly gee, somehow it ended up in a place where it didn't belong, which means that the looting can continue unabated.

The only incompetence I see here is Mr. Lira's. (or am I wrong, and his support of JPM is actually intentional?)

spiral_eyes's picture

We're an oil shock away from a global bank run. And we're a Strait of Hormuz closure away from an oil shock. And now we "know" Iran did 9/11, we're pretty close to provoking them into closing the Strait of Hormuz.

http://azizonomics.com/2011/12/23/iran-did-911/

roadhazard's picture

Neocons are like zombies, if you don't shoot them in the head they just keep on coming.

coffee_sponge's picture

It is better to make one contribution to Ron Paul 2012 than to curse the Neocons.

https://secure.ronpaul2012.com

I just made another one before coming here.

I encourage everyone else to do the same.

Franktastic's picture

Been making contributions for the past two elections, its good to see finely pay itself off, he is who we need now.

akak's picture

Roadhazard, I am dismayed that there were even five neocons perusing this site to vote you down.

But your comment was entirely appropriate --- force is the only thing that neocons fundamentally understand.

dogbreath's picture

kak

 

 i am shocked that i find myself agreeing with you completely............cough

GoldBricker's picture

Don't be dismayed.

The attention is like the shill attacks on Ron Paul; it means that ZH has become sufficiently influential that paid shills must be deployed against it. Expect the trend to continue until the collapse or ZH and its kindred sites are shut down.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Seriously Spiral Es.

The Iran did 9/11 meme would be the cruellest cut of them all.

ori

Potemkin Village Idiot's picture

I could make up a story and say that my dear old Aunt Gertrude had a ton of pirate gold that she'd somehow inherited and had hidden in the barn...

In 5...4...3...2... we'd learn that it was "Aunt Gertrude" who was responsible for 9/11...

bank guy in Brussels's picture

According to Gonzalo Lira:

« But the system is not corrupt ... »

Ha!

DeadFred's picture

I have to disagree with the claim that the regulators are the problem. The systematically important financial institutions ARE the system and the regulators know it. They are charged with protecting the integrity of the system and they know if JPM goes down the system goes with it. By screwing the investors they may have planted a crop of mistrust to be harvested later but the alternative was for a more immediate collapse. My guess is we were closer to the abyss than we think. It's commonly believed that in the Yom Kippur war when the Golan Heights were about to be overrun the Israelis had Nukes loaded on planes and on the runways ready to to take off. Later in the war when the Israelis were across the Suez Canal and trucking toward the pyramids the Soviets had paratroopers loaded into transports, the US was on DEfCon 2 and the world was minutes away from being vaporized. I think that's how close we got to a financial meltdown and the regulators decided on a short term fix by throwing the investors under the bus to buy some more can-kicking time. I doubt they were clueless about the effects of their actions, they just wanted to delay armageddon. In their eyes it was the right thing to do because JPM was more important than the integrity of the market. After all preserving the integrity of the market is a bit like preserving the virtue of a two buck prostitute.

Quick's picture

Dishonesty by government is ok if it is to cover the previous dishonesty that got us here.

If government doesnt abide by and enforce the law then no one has reason to abide by the law

jeff montanye's picture

it is not true that the non bankruptcy of the sifi is crucial for systemic financial functioning.  although more complex than smaller institutions, these firms can be reorganized in an orderly fashion.  the big lie is that they can't and so must be bailed out endlessly.  not only is it not true, its continued belief/operation is what prevents organic recovery (see japan, last two decades plus).  as in europe, banks will not loan money to each other without counterparty transparency.  for more detail please see  http://www.hussmanfunds.com/wmc/wmc111003.htm

oh and regulators are so part of the problem.

Bringin It's picture

If you're saying that the regulators understand the needs and wants of their owners, then I agree with you.  This is a serious problem we must over come.  The regulators, like the media like the courts are captured, ... unfortunately.  Kind of obviously at this point.

GoldBricker's picture

I plussed you for good grammar and spelling, but your line of reasoning has a hole.

Your argument implies, without actually claiming it, that financial meltdown is like a nuclear war. This is an unsupported leap. In the latter, there is actual death and destruction; in the former, none. In a pinch, a government can simply default and tell its citizens that their debts (especially those owed to foreigners) are cancelled. This has been done many times in history, for example, Argentina. Even the US in 1933 simply declared gold contracts to be null; no big deal. The same could be done with, say, derivatives. Once a major country does it, the others will likely have to follow.

preserving the integrity of the market is a bit like preserving the virtue of a two buck prostitute

If you're an investor and you don't trust the market, why would you participate? It's even worse than a casino card game, where at least you know the odds against you. Of course, this begs the question of why so many players are still in the markets, to which I have ideas but no ready answer.

boattrash's picture

How dare you compare a two-dollar whore to this market! Show some respect to the whore, she's more honest.

cfh.moridin's picture

that makes more sense than most of the other BS reasoning ive heard thus far...

Pike Bishop's picture

Who is the regulator? The CME is the (self) regulator with 100% auditing responsibility. CFTC can't step in, unless there is evidence for probable cause regarding Regulation.

Rameirez(?) and Kuch were the two assigned CME auditors, for the sole purpose of balancing out the Daily Client Seg Funds statement for Oct 26. Noting that any statement from Oct 27, 28, 29 had no meaning, without the the 10/26 statement reconciled. After 4 working days, they were sent home Oct 31 at 3AM, with the 10/26 statements still unresolved.

They were sent home after a clear anomaly of information flow. All info on the unbalanced 10/26 funds had been coming up from those 2 auditors and their supervisor, to all Partys' Upper Management. Which was mostly hunches and nothing.

Suddenly Sunday night, Sr Management from MFGI walks into the CME's top guy on site, and tells him $700MM from the Restricted Fund Client ledger had been transfered to MFGI's Operating Ledger on the 27,28,29th. Yet they had absolutely no intimacy with the data in the audit go on in IT, where the CME Auditors were asking IT to run data retrievals. At their level, think how easily that could have been seen. Summary Funds in the Chart of  Accounts.

Apparenty Daily Client Seg Reports are like horseshoes and grenades, if its within +/- $100MM or 2, what-the-fuck. And they had spent the W/E, hoping some plausable bullshit would come out of the reports, so the IB deal would go through with some accomodation on their part, (which they would still have to pull out of their ass)

The prior week as MFGI's revolving credit Facilty manager JPM is watching MFGI running it down to 0, and getting commitments, would JPM get those commitments without mentioning they didn't want any of their major clients getting fucked in MFGI deals which JPM had got them involved?

JPM was already running the show, and picking the winners and losers, before Oct 31. Giddens just showed up to make sure the already executed state-of-affairs, couldn't be reversed.

BTW, if i wanted to make sure the money would never be found... Out of the FBI (whose chicago office has Patrick Fitzgerald, the last honest/capable man in the DOJ),  who can make a request for assistance of the GAO's audit-devils... or... the CFTC who has no people left with investigative experience. Led by Julie Sommers whose only Lead investigator experience is comparable to shutting down a 3 Card Monty game in wheelchairs on 42nd and 6th, and BTW2, has never run a criminal Investigation, only cases for civil complaint....

I'd put the CFTC in charge of inding the $700MM,..er..$600..er... $1.2B.

The only better no-brainer, would be to put Mary Shapiro in charge. IRRC, Corzine might be the only ex-CEO of Goldman she hasn't given a blowjob. He was in politics, when she was in the Chair at FINRA, and Handmaiden to the Primary dealers and Investment houses.

bigkahuna's picture

It's true, the system itself is not corrupt. There are rules and regulations and laws that do not allow the type of theft that happened at MF. The problem is corzine and anyone in charge of accounting at MF along with a bunch of the SEC/CFTC/NFA all need to do the perp walk straight into club fed with the nastiest of the nasties. The laws only work if they are enforced and there are a whole lotta people not doing their jobs. There is alot of cleaning that needs to be done--from the top to the bottom-straight into the pokey-in front of a web cam so the rest of the wanna be scum bags can get a look at what happens.

vast-dom's picture

Tipping Point: the amount of times one allows for betrayals, lies, misdeeds, slights and insanity before they get the fuck out! Because by the time the theft occurs we are past the specific tipping point and headed toward The Great Purge = systemic collapse and/or your accounts cleared out.

MF and especially the regulators are despicable. In essence, the regulators ultimately allow for this. And the insanity plea more at excuse is at best moot and at worst a horror-comic-show. 

The only question: How much pain and suffering are you ready to endure?

GoldBricker's picture

his love of Fiat is a little weird

You really need to read FOFOA, who argues that fiat is for spending, gold is for wealth preservation across time and place. This is not easy reading, and there's a lot of it. One of its many lessons is that fiat has a place in the current ecosystem; just don't put your savings into it. Even (or especially if, as JS Mill would say) you don't agree, you still need to understand the argument.

Trying to unite the two functions (medium of exchange and store of value) in a society with universal suffrage is doomed to failure. A gold standard (especially a gold-coin standard) will be under constant assault, and cannot hold during wartime (witness the  UK post-Napoleon, the US post-civil war, and Europe post-WW1). It will also be the target of easy-money advocates (Bryan's 'Cross of Gold' speech).

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

"During that bank holiday, the currency will be devalued by double digits—which will mean that your cash holdings will essentially be taxed to save the banksters—again. (Like they did in Argentina.)"

..........................................

Mr Lira... What will the currency be devalued against? Until you answer this thorny question you are saying little.

1 a devaluation against other fiats will cause other soverigns to devalue, so nothing is accomplished.

2 a devaluation against oil, gold, or a basket of commodities would mean a pegging of a fiat against a commodity or basket of commodities = a difficult to manage scheme when all soverigns are attempting to devalue their paper.

When soverigns had currencies backed by gold, devaluation was a simple matter. It's not so simple when fiat is backed by 'full faith and credit'.

Perhaps 'full faith and credit' of soverigns is to be devalued?

 

 

GoldBricker's picture

You pose a difficult question. As I understand your question "if everyone is racing to the bottom, what fixed reference point is there to judge the winner?" Any designated goalposts are strictly provisional.

The only thing that comes to mind is 'non-fiat', that is, the collective actual capital of the world, whatever that is. Fiats will suffer accelerating velocity (as everyone hurries to pass the hot potato) for a short time, then cease to be accepted for anything that is non-fiat. The fiat decline will not be a continuous function, like 1/x, that degrades gracefully toward zero.

 

 

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

GoldBricker...

While many throw around the term 'devalue', few attempt to sketch out the details of devaluation.

Once we take a hard look at 'devaluing' a currency that is based on nothing but faith, it becomes obvious that devaluation of fiat is next to impossible unless faith in that fiat is lost... and then the 'devaluation' is total. There exists faith or no faith... not partial faith.

When we look at FX pairs what are we really looking at? One fiat is judged by market makers (I use this term loosely) to have more purchasing power than another. But, purchasing power in what?... oil? cereal grains? PMs? pork bellies? automobiles?...

What all central banks know is that the West is enamored with fiat. Even during the Weimar hyper inflation few working class Germans complained about the loss of purchasing power of the currency... The workers simply shouted for more fiat because prices were rising rapidly. This lesson was not lost on CBs. Certainly, at some point faith in a hyper inflating fiat will be lost but we are not there yet... not even close. Faith in the dollar is not lost but it could be if the Fed/gov continue to print massive amounts of fiat with no plan (that I can discern) to drain liquidity from the system if inflation begins to rage.

All I am saying is that authors that use the term 'devalue the currency' should be required to define exactly how that will be accomplished.

MachoMan's picture

Just to nitpick, I think it is true on the micro scale that an individual has or does not have faith in a particular currency; there is not an inbetween.  However, the individual's faith (or lack thereof) does not necessarily determine whether faith (macro) is lost in the currency...  it is only after the macro determination that a currency dies.

In other words, I think many people have already lost faith in numerous currencies...  (preppers, bugs, et al)...  it's just that these people have yet to reach critical mass...  whether they're (micro) early adopters of a new paradigm or speculative losers depends largely on the herd (macro).

However, I think the snowball has started rolling down the mountain so to speak.

I agree on the devaluation aspect, but for a little different reason...  in that it is virtually impossible to determine the level of devaluation, if any, when the measuring sticks (e.g. gold) can be manipulated via fiat.  As a result, anyone claiming devaluation has to state the specific commodity or item it is being devalued against...  (because it is a shot in the dark as to what the "unmanipulated" price would be). 

unnamed enemy's picture

Let me answer the devaluation question, from a Joe 6 pack perspective.

Lets say Joe has 100 k in the bank, enough to buy a modest house somewhere in suburban america.

A black swan event occurs, banks close and printing ensues.

Joe realizes that his money is at risk, he tries to withdraw it but the bank is closed, FDIC gets involved, about a month later, Joe finally has access to his money - its still 100k, just like it was before the black swan occurred.

however the same modest house somewhere in suburban america is now worth 150 k. Joes money experienced devaluation. The devaluation will ocur simultaneously relative to other currencies as well as phisical assets.

 

GeneMarchbanks's picture

Gonzalo Lira has been a leading contrarian indicator up until now.

Snakeeyes's picture
I commented on this plight on Bloomberg Radio this morning. Look at the charts. We can't even fix OUR problems let alone Europe's. The Euro Crisis and The Great Unwind – Why Monetary Policy Can’t Fix Europe’s Woes

http://confoundedinterest.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/the-euro-crisis-and-t...


Obama To Ask For Increase in Debt Ceiling of $1.2 Trillion With No End In Sight

http://confoundedinterest.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/obama-to-ask-for-incr...

Cultural Capital's picture

First world problems..

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

The bible says something about those that are first will be last now doesn't it

Cultural Capital's picture

Yea, well the history channel says the anunnaki want the gold when they come back too. You got that counter-party risk factored in cause that sounds like the mother of all black swan events?.. 

SheepDog-One's picture

The way I heard it, the Anunnaki want ham.

Panic Panic Panic's picture

I could go for some ham...

 

lakecity55's picture

haha, reminds me of How To Serve Man from that old Twilight Zone episode.

AgShaman's picture

Awwwwe.....sweet....I love that "Earthling Cook-Book" episode

TZ was my favorite show growing up

akak's picture

I had seen EVERY episode of the original series, multiple times, by the time I was in junior high school.\

One of my favorites, though: "You are obsolete!"

Oh regional Indian's picture

I thought that was Bob "the frog" Dylan?

;-)

ori

stocktivity's picture

I'm guessing the banksters could care less what the bible says.

DormRoom's picture

Third world problem

 

One hundred trillion zimbabwe dollars:

 

http://i.imgur.com/dNXNt.jpg

 

lmao.. that's like how many stars are in the galaxy.

Cultural Capital's picture

You think kim Jong-un is worried about a credit rating? You think China gives a shit what Moody's or Fitch has to say? You think the highlander in New Guinea's life would be adversely affected if the EU or the US disappeared tomorrow? There might be more lamborghinis brought into this world everyday, but that doesn't mean it really matters what the american middle class has to say. The third world never had the social nets, they can handle the heat.   

blindfaith's picture

At a Christmas Party, a 80 year old lady and I were having a conversation...sadly about the state of 'things'.  She remembering WW11 in England, and now living in America, she can't remember when there was no war going on...(maybe Clinton)...I couldn't either.  Some 20-sometings, maybe 8, sat across from us and joked  that " if there ain't an I-phone app for it, it doesn't matter and we aren't interested".

There you have it....American Middle class thinking 2011....worthless at its best.

fuu's picture

There are only 200-400 billion stars in the Milky Way.

Dapper Dan's picture

And there are only 200-300 billion galaxies in the universe! but who is counting?