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  1. #1
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    Tower Of Babel Economy

    Tower of Babel Economy


    July 1, 2008 | From theTrumpet.com

    The economy resembles a financial tower of Babel. And it is starting to crumble. By Robert Morley

    In an inflationary economy, big numbers quickly lose the shock factor.

    Over the course of just a few years, a single banana becomes 10 times more expensive than what a four-bedroom home used to cost. A simple two-ply square of toilet paper sells for $417, while a full roll is priced at more than $140,000. And don’t even torture yourself by guessing how much a gallon of gas can go for under these conditions. The numbers get so big, not only do people stop trying to understand them, they begin to ignore them.

    So it is alarming that the latest report from the Bank of International Settlements (bis) went largely unnoticed.

    According to the bis, the number of outstanding derivative contracts in the global marketplace soared by double-digit percentages last year. Anything going up by double digits should elicit interest in and of itself, but in this case it is the sheer magnitude of the numbers involved that raises red flags.

    The bis reported the total amount of outstanding derivatives has reached a practically incomprehensible $1.28 quadrillion. Yes, you read that correctly—quadrillion! And as astounding as this astronomically huge number is, the actual totals are even bigger because this number does not include derivatives related to the commodity markets (which the bis says it can’t track because values aren’t available).

    A quadrillion dollars is hard to wrap your mind around. It takes a thousand trillion to make a quadrillion. Start with 1 million and multiply by 1,000, then multiply by 1,000 again, then multiple by 1,000 yet a gain—and then finally you get to 1 quadrillion. You can think of it as more than 92 times the value of all goods and services produced in America during 2007, or almost 20 times global gross domestic product.

    Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of derivatives. Outside of banking circles they are less known, but you can think of them as essentially unregulated, high-risk credit bets. Although a more traditional definition might be that they are financial contracts designed to enhance returns, reduce costs, or transfer risk on loans, investments and other assets from a protection buyer to a protection seller, without transferring the underlying asset.

    When derivatives first came into vogue, they were largely used to help individuals and businesses reduce risk—kind of like an insurance package—pay a bit more now, and have coverage later.

    The example Kevin DeMeritt, president of Lear Financial, uses is of a farmer utilizing a futures contract to “hedge
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  2. #2
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    Well, recently Zimbabwe just issued the first printing of the $100 trillion note.
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  3. #3
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    Wow, they must have alot of cash in their treasury.
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