A reader asked,
Q1) What happens when the dollar crashes?
Q2) “How will we then buy and sell?
Q3) “Is this Revelation 18 in our faces?”
Al: Our debt-based monetary system has produced a debt-based economy that is so strange and irrational that we’re now deep into “uncharted waters”. As a result, no one really knows what might follow a dollar crash.
However, we can speculate.
For example, a dollar “crash” doesn’t necessarily mean that the dollar suddenly ceases to exist. There could be a partial collapse wherein the dollar might still exist, but its value might suddenly fall by, say, 50% or 75%. Maybe more. Gasoline that cost $2/gallon yesterday, might cost $10/gallon today or next month. We’d tend to slip into hyperinflation like that of the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. Prices could begin to rise every week, every day, every hour.
This hyper-inflation would be great for debtors (like the US government) since they’d be able to repay their debts with cheaper dollars. On the other hand, hyperinflation would tend to destroy creditors since they’d be robbed when they were forced to accept these cheaper (inflated) dollars as payments for debts.
While the “crashed” dollar survived but continued to inflate and lose purchasing power, you might only rarely find any gasoline, or milk or potato chips for sale at any price denominated in paper or digital dollars. Some other fiat currencies might continue as a viable means to purchase goods and services. So long as there was anything available to be bought and sold, gold would hold, or gain, in value.
In anticipation of such problems, you might do well to stock up now on whatever you might need but be unable to afford in the event of a dollar “crash”.
• As alternative to a partial collapse of the dollar, we might suffer a sudden and complete dollar “crash” that takes everyone by surprise. One day the dollar works. Then next day it’s worthless. That scenario strikes me as extremely unlikely.
If there’s going to be a complete dollar crash, it will probably be orchestrated and instigated by the government. President Obama will take the podium with a stern look in his eye and say something like,
“My fellow Americans, I must speak to you today with great sadness as I announce that the dollar has crashed and, as of tomorrow, will be deemed to be basically worthless.”
Well, if President Obama, Janet Yellen, or anyone else in authority starts to make that speech, you can bet they’ll continue by explaining that, “Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to trade your green paper dollars for new-and-improved pink paper dollars”—at a ratio of, say, ten “greenbacks” for one, shiny new “pinkback”.
My point is that it seems unlikely that The Powers That Be will cause or allow the current dollar to completely crash without: 1) their approval and control; and, 2) having an alternative monetary system already in place and ready to go.
As long as some kind of “dollar” exists, we may be impoverished, but we’ll still be able to buy and sell.
A2: However, if we had a complete dollar crash and there were no government-prepared alternative, your second question (“How will we buy or sell”) is extremely interesting since, if the dollar crashed, we wouldn’t simply run short on dollars—there’d be no credit.
Most of our current buying and selling is done with credit. Even our paper checks are a form of credit since the seller isn’t actually paid until the check clears your bank. We live and work according to the slogan, “Buy Now, Pay Later.”
But if the dollar crashed, the slogan would become, “ Buy Now, Pay Now.” That means, no credit.
• If the dollar crashed and credit disappeared and you wanted to buy some chicken to feed your family, what could you use to persuade the grocer to give you some chicken?
The answer is “barter”. You trade some of your property to the grocer for some of his property (the chicken).
OK—barter it is.
But what do you have to trade that the grocer might deem worthy of five pounds of chicken? Maybe that Big Wheels tricycle you bought for Billy last Christmas or some of the other plastic junk you’ve got piled up in your garage? Your computer? Your bed, your couch, your TV? What do you have and/or what can you produce that anyone’s likely to want after a dollar collapse?
For barter to work, everyone must have some property that others would want in the chaos following a dollar collapse.
For barter to work for long, most people must have a job whereby they personally produce something of value that they can trade with others who are also producers. Barter is unlikely to work for long for those who are non-productive and welfare-, subsidy-, or pension-dependent.
I’d bet that 70% of Americans don’t have anything to barter that others would want after a dollar collapse. Ohh, you might be able to “barter” your $1,000 flat-screen TV for five pounds of chicken (maybe even ten pounds). But how long will you be able to trade your “stuff” at fire sale prices before there’s nothing left in your house to trade but the trim around the windows and doors?
If the dollar crashes, and credit crashes, and barter doesn’t work because you’ve got virtually nothing to barter, How will you buy and sell?
Maybe if you had a stash of cigarettes, toilet paper, or gold and silver coins, you’d have something to barter. Maybe if you had the tools necessary to fix someone’s plumbing or replace a broken door, you’d have something to barter.
But, if the dollar crashed and credit crashed and you didn’t have anything in your house to barter other than the usual do-dads that everyone seems to own—you might not be able to buy or sell in the event of a dollar crash. Then what?
Maybe you’d have some gold or silver. You could “barter” with that. Maybe you could use those coins to buy some tools or even a viable business that might support you through the “crash” period.
A3) Which brings us to your third question concerning Revelation 18—which describes the economic collapse associated with End Times. According to Chapter 18, there is a moment coming when all commerce—especially, international commerce– is shut down.
The person posing these questions didn’t specify whichever verses in Revelation 18 that he was talking about, so I’ll pick a few and comment as the spirit moves me.
• Revelation 18:11 “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her [Babylon]; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:”
References to “merchants” and “merchandise” make clear that the essence of the End-Times collapse will be commercial in nature. Commerce will fail.
More, the phase “merchants of the earth” indicates that this End Times collapse is global in nature. International commerce will surely fail. Domestic commerce will be impaired.
• Revelation 18:15 “The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!”
Again, the reference to “merchants” makes clear that the essential consequence of the Revelation 18 collapse is a global failure of commerce, or at least of international trade.
The references to “by her,” “stand far off” and “that great city” indicates that Babylon is a specific and limited entity—a particular state or nation. We can infer that that nation is central to the world’s commerce. More, something happens to “Babylon” that is so horrific that people dare not go near. The collapse is not merely “OMG!–we’re in a depression” wherein everyone in “Babylon” is impoverished, but you can walk freely among them. The End-Times collapse is so violent that the “merchants” of the world, as an act of self-preservation, must “stand far off”. This implies that either the people of Babylon will become as violent as starving cannibals, or Babylon will suffer some sort of physical destruction comparable to the result of a thermo-nuclear attack.
By producing most of the products for sale on the global markets, China has become central to the world’s commerce. But I doubt that anyone seriously believes that that the End-Times references to “Babylon” are intended to mean “China”.
If the Bible is true, End-Times “Babylon” must be the one nation that is central to the world’s commerce. That “Babylon” may be (as President Obama said) “the one, essential, exceptional nation”—the United States. If so, the sad and scary truth may be that if Revelation 18 comes into play, the “Babylon” that John the Revelator wrote about 2,000 years ago, is probably the United States.
Nevertheless, there are a few other candidates for the role of End Times Babylon. Revelation 18:15 describes “Babylon” as “that great city”. The financial district in London, England is called “The City” and is deeply involved in global commerce. I wouldn’t say that “The City” of provides a probable answer to the End Times Babylon mystery, but it’s a contender.
Then there’s “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” seen at Revelation 17:3-5. Many believe that “Babylon” is code for the Catholic Church. Others believe it’s the EU (revived Roman Empire).
In fact, there are several other references to End-Times “Babylon” in the Bible. Some of those references are contradictory, so we don’t yet really know who/what will be the End-Times “Babylon”.
• Even so, one of the essential descriptions of that End-Times “Babylon” is seen in Revelation 18:23:
“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee [Babylon]; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”
If we had to pick just one nation whose “merchants” had become “the great men of the earth,” which nation would that be?
• More, I don’t know for sure what the Bible means by “sorceries” that were able to deceive all of the nations on earth. How many nations can be deemed to have deceived the whole world? Not many. Maybe only one.
It occurs to me that those “sorceries” might refer to one or more fundamental falsehoods in the modern Catholic or Christian faiths. But I doubt that’s true.
For me, there’s only one, modern phenomenon that might be described as a “sorcery” that’s “deceived all the nations” of the world: The current, debt-based monetary system where people are “deceived” into accepting paper and digital currencies (that can be spun out of thin air) as payments for their goods and services
For me, tricking people of the world into working all their lives for mere scraps of paper is a kind of “sorcery”.
If so, whoever is primarily responsible for the world’s current debt-based monetary system would be the most-likely candidate to be End-Times “Babylon”.
And what nation is primarily responsible for the world’s debt-based monetary system . . . ?
• Why does Revelation emphasize that we won’t be able to “buy or sell“?
One answer may be that the “Babylonian” money system has failed and therefore “buying and selling” is virtually impossible.
Another question might be Why do we need to “buy or sell”?
The answer to that one may be that Babylon must buy because Babylon can’t produce enough to support itself. Individuals must “buy” food from “merchants” because those individuals can’t grow their own food or produce their other needs. Babylon appears to be a nation or system populated by people who are dependents who must rely on others to provide their food, clothing and shelter. Perhaps there are no truly independent, self-sufficient men and women in Babylon.
Productive people living like farmers or mountain men might be able to support themselves and their families in the midst of an End-Times collapse. Non-productive (and therefore dependent) people living as welfare recipients, subsidy recipients, retirees or even children may tend to starve and perish.
• All of this implies that, if there’s a dollar collapse, and you and I are in, or dependent on, “Babylon,” the proper question might not be “How we will buy or sell?” but, rather, “How will we get right with God?”
We shall see.