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Sunday, February 23, 2014

What the U.S. Economic Collapse May Look Like

An interview between Chris Martenson (of Peak Prosperity) and Fernando Aguirre, a source of expertise on the hyperinflationary destruction of Argentina’s economy in 2001, occurred which may give us an insight on the U.S. economy will collapse. The interview and comments are below, however this interview was preceded by an article, titled "Watch Out, It's Coming" by Bob Rinear on International Forecaster concerning the impending U.S. Economic Crash. First selected comments from Bob Rinear's article, then the interview between Martenson and Aguirre.

Bob Rinear: This are Bob's comment's about the recent Fed taper where the Fed injected (printed) less money than in previous months which affected the Stock Market.

"I’ve said many many times to you all that a global “reset” is coming. The IMF World bank knows that there’s too much debt in too many countries for it to ever be repaid. Global currency fluctuations are so extreme and so rapid, it is sometimes impossible to carry on continuous trade. Just recently when Turkey’s currency was imploding, one carpet manufacturer had to call for currency pricing every 20 minutes so he could quote customers. This goes on world wide, every minute of every day Because of huge disparities over the amount of debts outstanding, versus the “value” of each countries GDP, it is evident that to have a continuous world where things stop blowing up every six months, it has to be changed."

"Countries all over the world are tired of the US in particular, as they’ve destroyed the value of the dollar for years, making it virtually worthless. No matter where we look, the evidence suggests “they have to do something”. Well, they’re doing something as we speak. In the background, in the shadows, outside the spotlight they’re working on a “replacement” for the US dollar as the global reserve. But more than that, they’re working out a complete rebalancing of all Countries debts, versus their “worth” in natural resources, Gold and Silver reserves, output per capita, productivity, demographics, etc."

UrbanMan Comments: The U.S. may be in a slide that is completely irreversible as the national debt continues to soar abve $17 Trillion and the debt limit for annual budgetary spending is suspended until 2015. China actively working to dethrone the U.S. dollar, which will in and of itself devalue the dollar tremendously, as well as all economic indicators - housing prices, unemployment, entitlement spending and stock market instability that will add weight to hyper-inflationary period that seems to be unavoidable. That is the "Watch Out, It's Coming" that Rinear talks about. Now let's look at the history lessons, albeit only a few short 13 years ago, in Argentina:

Background: Argentina is a country re-entering crisis territory it knows too well. The country has defaulted on its sovereign debt three times in the past 32 years and looks poised to do so again soon. Its currency, the peso, devalued by more than 20% in January alone. Inflation is currently running at 25%. Argentina's budget deficit is exploding, and, based on credit default swap rates, the market is placing an 85% chance of a sovereign default within the next five years.

Want to know what it's like living through a currency collapse? Fernando Aguiree speaks to Chris Martenson and gives us good look:



Chris Martenson: Okay. Bring us up to date. What is happening in Argentina right now with respect to its currency, the peso?

Fernando Aguirre: Well, actually pretty recently, January 22, the peso lost 15% of its value. It has devalued quite a bit. It ended up losing 20% of its value that week, and it has been pretty crazy since then. Inflation has been rampant in some sectors, going up to 100% in food, grocery stores 20%, 30% in some cases. So it has been pretty complicated. Lots of stores don't want to be selling stuff until they get updated prices. Suppliers holding on, waiting to see how things go, which is something that we are familiar with because that happened back in 2001 when everything went down as we know it did.

UrbanMan Comments: The U.S. annual average inflation rate since 2009 lays between 1.4 to 3.0% depending upon which government source you use. However, the government also says the unemployment rate is around 7%. How many of us can deny that their grocery money goes far, far less now days than years ago?

Chris Martenson: So 100%, 20% inflation; are those yearly numbers?

Fernando Aguirre: Those are our numbers in a matter of days. In just one day, for example, cement in Balcarce, one of the towns in Southern Argentina, went up 100% overnight, doubling in price. Grocery stores in Córdoba, even in Buenos Aires, people are talking about increase of prices of 20, 30% just these days. I actually have family in Argentina that are telling me that they go to a hardware store and they aren't even able to buy stuff from there because stores want to hold on and see how prices unfold in the following days.

UrbanMan Comments: What would you do if grocery store and other comodity prices doubled within, say even a month, let alone one day? The majority of us living within a budget would have to priotize what we wanted as opposed to what we needed. However, the average American household has something like 3 to 4 days of food in their pantry. Many people would be calling in sick to work in order to be at the grocery store before they opened. Think of the riots when stores would refuse to open or sell until prices were set that day. Who would be setting those prices?

Chris Martenson: Right. So this is one of those great mysteries of inflation. It is obviously 'flying money', so everyone is trying to get rid of their money. You would think that would actually increase commerce. But if you are on the other end of that transaction, if you happen to be the business owner, you have every incentive to withhold items for as long as possible. So one of the great ironies, I guess, is that even though money is flying around like crazy, goods start to disappear from the shelves. Is that what you are seeing?

Fernando Aguirre: Absolutely. Shelves halfway empty. The government is always trying to muscle its way through these kind of problems, just trying to force companies to stock back products and such, but they just keep holding on. For example, gas has gone up 12% these last few days. And there is really nothing they can do about it. If they don't increase prices, companies just are not willing to sell. It is a pretty tricky situation to be in.

Chris Martenson: Are there any sort of price controls going on right now? Has anything been mandated?

Fernando Aguirre: As you know, price controls don't really work. I mean, they tried this before in Argentina. Actually, last year one of the big news stories was that the government was freezing prices on food and certain appliances. It didn't work. Just a few days later those supposedly "frozen" prices were going up. As soon as they officially released them, they would just double in price.

UrbanMan Comments: When there are price controls, you will see several things,... 1 - a burgeoning black market; bartering and alternative currency transactions,..... meaning gold and silver. Again, food riots would ensure.

Chris Martenson: Let me ask you this, then: How many people in Argentina actually still have money in Argentine banks in dollars? One of the features in 2001 was that people had money in dollars, in the banks. There was a banking holiday; a couple of weeks later, banks open up; Surprise, you have the same number in your account, only it's pesos, not dollars. It was an effective theft, if I could use that term. Is anybody keeping money in the banks at this point, or how is that working?

Fernando Aguirre: Well, first of all, I would like to clarify for people listening: Those banks that did that are the same banks that are found all over the world. They are not like strange South American, Argentinean banks – they are the same banks. If they are willing to steal from people in one place, don't be surprised if they are willing to do it in other places as well.

UrbanMan Comments: Hyper inflation and impending economic collapse would force the government to implement banking and other financial controls. This could be banking holidays; could be limits on transaction amounts; could/would be a government order to turn in gold and silver bullion; may be government take over of all retirement accounts. So ask yourself how prepared are you for hyper inflation and a economic collapse?

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