THE COMING ECONOMIC
MELTDOWN: ARE YOU READY?
"And he causeth all, both small and great,
rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or
in their foreheads:
"And that no man might buy or sell save
he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding
count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his
number is Six hundred threescore and six (i.e., "666"). (Rev. 13:16-18)
There are perhaps no other verses in the Bible more well-known than
these (i.e., Revelation 13:16-18) - not only to believers, but to unbelievers
as well; the number "666" permeates our literature and art (both secular
and religious); it is the theme of countless horror stories and fables;
it is the gist out from which innumerable sermons and religious speculations
have been fashioned; it is the subject of untold amounts of gang graffiti
in our ghettos and inner cities, on the sides of trains and subway cars.
The deranged are bewitched by it; religious fanatics claim to see it
hidden in the insignia and logos of some of the major institutions of
our culture; and even the so-called "learned" are left with a feeling
of unease by its persistent presence in the darker recesses of our civilization.
But there are many more issues "at play" in these verses than those
associated with the "666" enigma - issues which are much broader in
scope, and we ignore these other issues at our own peril.
The fact is, so beguiled are most Christians by the "666" conundrum
that they easily miss the larger meaning behind these verses; and that
is this: that they are soon to face a great test, and this test revolves
around the issue of money (and their love of it) more than it does anything
else, including even the matter of "false doctrine."
DOCTRINE: IS IT YOUR GUIDE OR IS IT MERELY A
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE WAY YOU ARE ALREADY LIVING?
It isn't that doctrine isn't important - it is! But more often
than most Christians care to admit, doctrine doesn't play a
particularly large part in their lives, and insofar as it exists
at all as a factor in them, it exists more as a JUSTIFICATION
for the way they are already living their lives than it does
as a genuine GUIDE to their living.
In other words, rather than acting as a lamp in the darkness to guide
them in the way they should go, doctrine exists to most Christians merely
as a phony explanation for the path they have already chosen based on
"other" criteria having very little to do with a search
for Truth. When doctrine is reduced to a justification for the way people
live rather than as an authentic guide to their living, then it is capable
of being molded and shaped in any way people choose. And what is that
"other" criteria: usually love of the "here and now" which
the "love of money" and the "things" that money can buy engenders in
people. Isn't this what I Tim. 6:9-10 says? -
"But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and
into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some
coveted after, they have ERRED from the faith, and pierced
themselves through with many sorrows. (I Tim. 6:9-10)
Clearly it is!! - clearly what these verses indicate is that the love
of money causes people to "err from the faith." In other words, it's
love of money that prepares the ground out from which false doctrine
springs. You've never heard that before? - well, it's unlikely you ever
will in the churches of America and Western Europe.
Nonetheless, one would do well to take note of the fact that most people
don't simply fall into false doctrine by "accident" or because they
have somehow or other "misread" the Scriptures. The Scriptures are not
all that complicated!! They become "complicated" only when people approach
them with a pre-disposition of mind, and in order to exculpate
(vindicate) that pre-disposition of mind, they twist (pervert)
the Scriptures into a shape that fits it, in the end making the Scriptures
say things they clearly do not say. This is especially true when the
"love of money" is involved. When one attempts to buttress or sustain
one's lust for wealth by recourse to the Scriptures [the same Scriptures
which say, "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate
the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise
the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)], then one
has no other choice but to twist and purposefully misrepresent the Scripture
- to force, as it were, round pegs into square holes.
This is the kind of perversion that the purveyors of the "Green Gospel"
and the "Name it and Claim it" crowd are involved in! No fair reading
of the Scriptures can possibly sustain what these men teach; but money
has so blinded them to the truth, that they have come to a point in
their lives where they are no longer capable of recognizing the truth,
so that -
"... hearing, they no longer hear, and seeing, they no longer see."
THERE IS GOING TO BE A RECKONING
Nonetheless, there is going to be a reckoning - and you are going to
play a part in that reckoning, whether you want to or not!! Soon - very
soon now - we all are going to be tested with regard to the question
of money; and in the process, we will be revealed for what we really
are: whether of the kingdom of the "here and now" that money undergirds,
or the kingdom of heaven which has nothing to do with money! - and that
test is already being prepared. The conditions necessary to the test
are being arranged and set in order - right now even as you read this
material, especially insofar as those of us who live in the United States
are concerned, and to a lesser degree in Western Europe and throughout
the West in general. And what exactly do I mean by this? - I mean precisely
this: many of us are about to be stripped of our wealth on a personal
basis, and then what will we do? Will we "sell ourselves" (i.e., our
souls) to get it back, or well we be able to say with the prophet Habakkuk:
"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be
in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall
yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there
shall be no herd in the stalls:
"Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
One should carefully bear in mind the words of our Saviour regarding
"And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also,
he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow me.
"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever
shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?
"Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:34-37)
God help those of us who refuse to take this matter seriously!!
MANY HAVE ALREADY BEGUN THE TEST
You doubt all this? You think the "good times" will roll on forever?
Well consider just for a moment what's been happening financially in
the world recently, and what it all portends to us as individuals: While
there have never been so many millionaires in the country as there are
today (5 million all told - and Silicon Valley has been adding 64 million
new millionaires a day to the total), and despite the fact that the
United States now boasts over 300 billionaires; and despite the fact
that nine million individuals now boast annual paychecks exceeding $100,000
a year, the ranks of the working poor have never been
as great as they are today. The fact is, the United States is evolving
second by second and minute by minute into a two-tiered (i.e.,
rich and poor) society.
The fact is, of the ten job categories that are growing the fastest
in the United States in absolute numbers, seven pay average wages less
than $11 an hour. Now, stop for a moment and think about that - $11
an hour: that translates into a weekly pay check of $440 a week,
or about $1,700 a month. Take out a minimum of 20 percent for taxes
of all sorts (i.e., social security, FICA, state and local taxes, etc.),
and that means that seven of the most plentiful jobs available today
for most Americans produce net paychecks of about $1,400 a month. Think
about that: $1,400 a month!! Do the math: rent on an average house in
a lower-middle class neighborhood runs about $750 a month (in Silicon
Valley, rent on a one bedroom apartment runs $1,200 a month, and on
a two bedroom home, it can run as high as $2,500 a month); another $350
for utilities; gas, insurance and upkeep on an old clunker, about $300.00
a month - and there goes the family income, and we haven't even talked
about food, clothing, entertainment, etc. yet.
Obviously, the wife has to work - and not because she is pursuing some
kind of wondrous and exotic career that's been ballyhooed on the pages
of Vogue or Cosmopolitan, but only because she has to
do it to make ends meet for the family. This usually means a part-time
job paying less than $8.00 an hour; and for that, the family must purchase
a second clunker, pay for gas, insurance and upkeep on that, and in
addition - now that she isn't home to take care of the children - childcare
must be thrown into the new equation. She's lucky if she is able to
net out one-third of the paycheck she earns. This is what is happening
everywhere today in about one-third of American households!! - and with
each year as more and more old, high-paying manufacturing jobs are shipped
over seas, these numbers increase, both in absolute terms and as a percentage
of the overall workforce.
YOU SAY IT WON'T HAPPEN TO YOU?
You say it won't happen to you? You've "invested" in the stock market.
You have a 401k account. You have stock options! You're safe. Well,
think again!! Take what's been happening in the stock market in recent
months. In mid-April the go-go NASDAQ fell a sickening 25.3 percent.
It was the worst one-week decline ever posted by a broad U.S. market
index. Other indexes fell too.
Alan Sloan of Newsweek reports that the week ended on an especially
nauseating note, with stocks on all the major U.S. markets losing an
amazing $1 trillion of market value, which Wilshire Associates says
is the biggest one-day market loss since money was created. That
raised the losses in the various markets during all of April to a staggering
Although most of the markets have recovered somewhat since, the alarm
and apprehension on Wall Street is still palpable, despite all the recent
"surface talk" about a recovery. The fact is, the gains the market has
made since last April are focused in a narrow band of stocks, and the
extremely low volume of trading on all the indexes since April suggests
that many people and institutions are no longer participating in the
market. [Please see Eileen Glanton, "Bearish Shadow Darkens Market,"
released by the Associated Press, May 30, 2000.] That's bad! - at least
insofar as the market is concerned. Sloan says that mutual funds have
been dumping stocks by the carload, and since late April market brokers
have been mercilessly selling out the portfolios of customers who can't
meet the demand for more collateral on loans against their holdings
- in other words, those clients who can't meet their "margin calls."
Naturally, you're not reading much about all this on the business pages
of the nation's newspapers (because business editors don't want to "precipitate"
a panic - and not give the "big boys" time to get out), but that's nonetheless
what's been occurring.
WHY IS THE MARKET FALTERING?
What's happening here? Well, it's not all that difficult to fathom.
The market has at last reached a height that is no longer sustainable
under any conditions. Moreover, the peak that the market has reached
is at such a stratospheric level, that the decline - when it finally
comes - could be utterly disastrous.
Think just for a moment how high the market is! The average "price
to earnings" ratio on the Dow Jones average (the average that measures
the wealth of America's 30 best blue chip stocks) is better than 60
to I; on the NASDAQ the average "price to earnings" ratio has reached
a dizzying 270 to 1. Put in language that people can understand, that
means it would take 60 years worth of quarterly dividend checks [the
profits of a company that accrue to the owners of that company (i.e.,
the shareholder)] to just recover the money used to purchase the shares
in the first place. That's ridiculous!! - and that's what
one can expect from the earnings of America's BEST corporations.
On the NASDAQ it would take 270 years for a person (or more reasonably
a person's great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great,
great grandson) to recover the price originally paid for the stock.
That is the equivalent of buying stock in a company in 1730 and just
now recovering enough money from the company's profits to cover the
initial price paid for the stock (in other words, "to break even").
That's not only ridiculous, it's nonsensical!! One would
have done better digging ditches for 270 years.
Today's stockholders, of course, would retort, that's not why they
bought the stocks. But if a person does not buy stock in order to participate
in a company's profits, than that person is a SPECULATOR
- a gambler who is trying to "game" the system; he might as well be
shooting craps in Las Vegas or counting cards at Harrah's in Reno. He
may be wearing a three-piece, $5,000 Armani suit, $1,000 Italian shoes,
individually tailored shirts, monogrammed underwear, and all the rest,
but he is no better than a bookmaker in the Bronx.
And just how much speculation has there been in the stock market? As
we indicated a year and a half ago, estimates vary, but one can begin
to get an idea when one examines the run-up of the market since the
Nixon Administration. At the close of the Nixon/Ford presidencies the
stock market (specifically, the Dow Jones Average) hovered around the
700 mark. Today it flutters around the 10,500 level - a run-up of
over 1,500 percent in just over twenty-five years. Does anyone actually
believe that the real value of American corporations has increased by
this amount - especially when the GNP has only been increasing by a
tiny fraction of that figure? If one thinks so, he's very, very naive
or just a plain fool. What's to account for this rise? We're talking
about billions and billions and billions of dollars here. And be clear!
- the money didn't materialize out of nowhere. The greatest amount of
this growth came during a period of low inflation (during the Reagan,
Bush and Clinton presidencies), so the government printing office didn't
"create" the money. We're talking about REAL dollars.
WHERE DID THE MONEY COME FROM?
Obviously, the money has been diverted from elsewhere. Essentially
it's come from:
- (1) Lowering the wages of average American workers and diverting
the money thus saved into the market.
- (2) Opening up sources of funds which used to be "off-limits" for
investment into the stock market [i.e., pension and retirement funds,
public funds, funds held in trust (both public and private), etc.]
and pouring this money into the market.
- (3) The creation of mutual funds and 401k accounts to expand the
amount of people capable of participating in the market.
[And here's a little secret that the mavens of Wall Street would just
as soon not want you to know: The creation of these two devices (i.e.,
401k accounts and mutual funds) is probably the slickest thing ever
put over on an unsuspecting public by the nation's financial elites.
What these devices have insured is a "regular-as-clock-work" twice monthly
infusion of cash into the market which has done wonders to insure the
regular upward spiral of stocks for the past two decades - and all this
regardless of the real conditions of the market. So the market slips
for a few days - so what! That's okay - as soon as the first or the
fifteenth of the month rolls around, fresh cash from the paychecks of
the country's ordinary wage-earners will appear and boost it back up
again - kind of an insurance policy for the elites courtesy of the nation's
THE CREATION OF A MONEY VORTEX
As money has poured into the stock market, the sheer volume of it has
pushed stock prices up. As stock prices have soared, others have joined
in the stampede to "get in" on the "easy money," creating an upwardly
spiraling vortex which, as it grows in size and strength, sucks in ever
greater amounts of money which in turn pushes stocks that much higher
reaching eventually into the absurd. Everyone's been in on the rush
- a blind dash for money motivated by greed and avarice: individual
investors, "day-traders," investment clubs, mutual fund managers, hedge
fund managers - everyone.
And what kind of absurdity are we talking about here? - take, for example,
the stock of one company with annual revenues of only $14-million which
was recently bid up to the point where $52-billion had
been dumped into it - and not just by wild-eyed crazies, but by "reputable"
mutual fund managers of some of the most well-known mutual funds in
The stock market today has become nothing more than a mammoth Ponzi
pyramid, and like all such pyramids, greater and greater amounts of
money have to be found to feed into it in order to prevent its collapse.
And the money that is being fed into it are the diverted wages of
American workers, the pension and retirement funds of our senior citizens,
trust funds, and the "savings" of ordinary Americans who have been persuaded
to divert their savings from their bank accounts to mutual funds and
GUESS WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE BUBBLE?
Now one needs to be clear here that when the end finally comes - and
it will - it may not occur in one huge crash. As Dr. Robert J. Shiller,
a professor of economics at Yale University, explains in an article
he wrote for the Washington Post, (May 21, 2000) entitled, "Guess
What Will Happen to the Bubble:"
"... Having watched the recent market swings, like the NASDAQ's 25-percent
drop during a single week in April, some investors ask: Was that 'it'
- was that the bubble bursting? Or does the partial rebound of the
stock market since then mean that 'it' isn't happening? The questions
are all wrong. The current boom in the stock market won't come
to a catastrophic end. When the shift does take place, most Americans
won't realize it's happening - at least at first ... Major speculative
bubbles ... tend to deflate over a period of years. Instead of
a dramatic one-day crash, the real denouement is apparent only to
those who count the days: Over an extended period of time, there will
have been somewhat more down days than up days.
"... We are in the longest business expansion ever, with generally
good news for years about inflation and unemployment rates ... But
the U.S. stock market has soared ... to truly stratospheric levels
... (and) ... the gap between stock prices and their actual worth
(i.e., the "price to earnings ratio") by any standard measure has
never been greater.
"... Some retirees have sunk all of their savings into stocks. Investors
have mortgaged houses to invest more deeply; after a major market
correction, they risk losing not only their investments but their
homes ... Those on Wall Street, and in the media, persist in talking
about 'bull markets' and 'bear markets'. This perpetuates the mistaken
notion that the market is either hot or it's not. If that were true,
the question 'when will the bubble burst'? Would be not only rational,
but crucial. It is neither. A gradual decline is a slow disaster;
it can be just as devastating as a sudden shock. Either way, investors
lose a lot of money. And a longtime erosion in market confidence reverberates
throughout the economy. Consider the 'crash' of October 1929, which
- contrary to popular perception - played out for several years. After
the Standard & Poor's (S&P) Composite peaked on September
7 of that year, there were some spectacular one-day drops, but there
were also spectacular one-day increases. The drops of October 28-29
are widely remembered, but these big drops were almost entirely reversed
by April 10, 1930. Then the decline resumed. The S&P Composite
fell 86 percent between its top on September 7, 1929, and its bottom
on June 1, 1932, and this cumulative decline was the result of 365
up days and 431 down days. [That kind of a drop would be the equivalent
today of the Dow falling to a low of 1890 from its all-time high in
April of this year - Antipas editor.]
"Some investors aren't the least bit concerned about an end to the
bubble. They see the recent 'false storms' and rebounds from market
drops as proof that the bubble is here to stay. I couldn't disagree
more. Sure, that's been the case in recent years. Surging investor
confidence has helped the market rebound quickly as investors buy
after each dip. But such unnatural confidence is itself evidence of
the speculative bubble.
"... The tendency of bubbles to deflate through a long series of
ups and downs, and not burst suddenly, is apparently connected to
the persistence of the public's confidence in markets. That confidence
is unlikely to change suddenly. But in reaction to a protracted period
of market volatility, the feeling of confidence can begin to erode.
It's easy to imagine market declines substantially out-numbering market
increases over the next few years, brought about by everything from
changing impressions of other investors' views, to media images. For
example, TV coverage of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, showed
chaos and uncertainty. Over the next 10 days, the Japanese market
fell, as did markets in Europe and South America.
"Today's high investor confidence ... is not a natural, steady state.
It is a sign that the market is likely to decline in coming years.
The signal does not identify a sudden turning point. But there
may never be a better warning."
THE COLLAPSE OF THE INVESTMENT PYRAMID
The fact is, the current, dangerously unstable "investment pyramid"
on the NASDAQ, the Dow, etc. will continue to survive only so long
as new money is pumped into it. When new money finally ceases to flow
into the pyramid - as is beginning to happen - it will collapse. The
truth is, there is not much new money left that can be fed into the
pyramid - the only thing that hasn't been thrown into the maw is the
nation's social security funds - and now there's talk of doing that.
In the end, however, there is simply no way the "price to earnings"
ratios that exist on today's market indexes can be sustained - especially
at the dizzying heights they are now at, and when the deflation begins,
it will play itself out pretty much in the following manner:
- The volatility of the market will increase, with more "down" days
than "up" days. The market begins to slowly drop, drying up as a financing
source for job-creating new companies.
- Consumer confidence begins to plummet; paper profits vaporize -
say good-bye to the "wealth effect" high stock markets engender in
the overall economy. Consumers begin to put off making major purchases.
- Remember downsizing? As sales drop, big employers, from PC makers
to car companies to retailers, are forced to make sweeping layoffs
to cut costs.
- Retirees wake up to find that their pensions are essentially worthless,
their 401k accounts not worth the paper they're written on. All that's
left to them is cash in the bank, and there is not much of that, because
most of it had been "invested" in the stock market. Now there's nothing
to pay the bills with.
- Real-estate crashes: Houses go unsold and offices remain vacant.
- As the economic slump spreads outward to encompass America's trading
partners, these countries try to ameliorate their situation by "exporting
their way out of the slump" - with most of their exports aimed at
the American market - the so-called "market of last resort."
- The resulting flood of foreign imports into the United States -
at levels never before seen or even contemplated - causes American
workers to go "ballistic" and to begin demanding a stop to the flood
of imports which is destroying what few jobs they have left.
- A new labor militancy takes hold with a vengeful "I-told-you-so"
attitude from people on both the extreme right and the extreme left.
Most of the militancy is aimed at elite institutions like the WTO,
the IMF, the World Bank, NAFTA, etc. which both the Left and the Right
blame for the depression.
- As bad as things are in the United States, they're much worse in
the outside world. A flood of illegal immigrants begins swamping the
country - flooding over the Mexican border; arriving by ships from
overseas; washing ashore on rafts from Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican
Republic; and arriving from Africa, India, Pakistan, etc. through
the nation's airports. Most of the new immigrants are "people of color,"
which provokes majority whites into a red-hot fury against the country's
minorities. This in turn leads to an unprecedented outbreak of racial
rioting at levels the elites (and the police) are not able to contain.
- The elites, which fear nothing more than riots in the street, and
dreading the rise of left-wing radicalism (which aims at their destruction
all together) far more than right-wing radicalism, turn to the Right
for help in surviving the debacle, and pour money into the populist
right to insure its victory over the Left.
- As a result, a right-wing, populist-based government ensues.
- The churches join themselves to the new government and use their
alliance with the Right to suppress their cultural enemies on the
Left (i.e., the gay and lesbian community, social liberals of every
stripe, radical feminists, etc.).
- The Left fights back with all the strength it has left, but is
- A dictatorship emerges to finally put an end to the civil strife!
The nation embraces the new ruler! The world also prepares to embrace
him and restore prosperity to the trading system and people in general
- their souls for a little money and a renewed sense of security:
that's the bargain.
Does all this sound familiar? Well, it's happened before; this is exactly
the scenario that played out with regard to the rise of fascism and
Hitler in Germany in 1933.
There is, of course, one caveat to all this; and that is, if the elites
are successful in diverting social security money into the investment
pyramid, such a move will delay things a bit; ultimately, however, it
cannot prevent the pyramid's collapse, all it can do is delay the inevitable.
For how long? - who knows, but it will be that much more catastrophic
when it finally does occurs.
Written By S. R. Shearer
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