Needing the eggs
Because life costs money, we participate in a banking system that runs on illusion
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“This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, ‘Doc, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken’. And the doctor says, ‘Well why don’t you turn him in?’ And the guy says, ‘I would, but I need the eggs” (Woody Allen, Annie Hall).
That’s how I felt walking out of the bank today. My little transaction in there was totally absurd because everybody knows it’s an illusion. Nevertheless, I fully intend to keep going and participating in this charade because, well, I need the eggs.
Here is the bargain I have with the bank: They pretend to give me money that is backed by hard assets, and I pretend they really have assets. That is to say, they pretend to give me money they really don’t have, and I pretend to believe they really have it. I then drive to the food store and they accept what’s in my hand as a fair exchange for their bread and milk. It works—for now—because we all are in the game.
The insides of the bank are a brilliant bit of theater. Our local branch has a floor-to-ceiling walk-in vault with a thick 22-ton door that would laugh at gunpowder, nitroglycerin, and acetylene torches. Surely there is gold in that beast, right? To be sure, I’ve never been inside myself; for all I know it contains only Main Line ladies’ jewelry and secret KFC sauce recipes.
The U.S. government needs money too, and they don’t seem any more worried than I about whether it is real. They ring up the Federal Reserve and say, “Hey, we need $10 billion to run our affairs,” and the Fed says, “Sure thing, we’ll buy $10 billion of your bonds.” So the government takes pieces of paper and writes the words “Treasury Bond” on them and gives those pieces of paper to the Federal Reserve.
The Fed takes their own pieces of paper and draws impressive designs on them and sends them over to the U.S. government. So they trade bits of paper.
Of course today it’s not done by paper at all but by computers and clicks. Godfrey Bloom is a controversial figure but also a financial economist and a former member of the European Parliament. He told a stunned audience in Strasbourg in 2013 that the whole banking system is a scam:
“All the banks are broke. Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, they’re all broke. And why are they broke? It isn’t an act of God. It isn’t some sort of tsunami. They’re broke because we have a system called fractional reserve banking. Which means that banks can lend money that they don’t actually have. … We have something called quantitative easing, counterfeiting by any other name. The artificial printing of money, which if any ordinary person did, they’d go to prison. … And yet governments and central banks do it all the time. … And we talk rather loosely about deposit guarantees. So when banks go broke through their own incompetence and chicanery, the taxpayer picks up the tab. It’s theft from the taxpayer.”
The nations’ contracts with their citizens are broken. There is no money. Everybody suspects that disaster is in our future. But the attitude is like that of King Hezekiah when the prophet told him disaster is in his future because of his foolishness. Not during Hezekiah’s own time, precisely, but postponed until his children’s and grandchildren’s time:
“Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my days’” (Isaiah 39:8).
Meanwhile, here I am with my newly purchased certificate of deposit and money market account. Conjured out of thin air. But I tend to them like the mad brother tending to his delusional chicken. Because, for now, I need the eggs.
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