Las Vegas ...
An entire city built as a grandiose backstage for the largest deliberate illusion man has ever created. A city built with a single purpose in mind: to take your material possessions in return for hopes and dreams. An ostentatious illusion created to make you believe that with a role of the dice, you too can change your luck.
Just like most other religious cities, like Guadalupe in Mexico or the city of Medjugorje, the pilgrims to Las Vegas believe that their fate will not follow that of the millions who depart worse off. Instead, they all hold the belief that they are the chosen ones; the few and far between that will be blessed with a miracle.
But it’s not Las Vegas alone. This faith is the very heart of the American dream, or as some may call it, “The Great American Delusion.” It’s the delusion that luck and alchemy can turn debt into ever-lasting prosperity.
So far, however, the alchemy has worked in the opposite direction. Generations of American economic growth has yielded 12 trillion dollar debt. That is, every man, woman and child in America owes someone overseas over $35,000. The debt is of such magnitude that no economist, academic or politician knows how to tackle the problem. It’s a debt that cannot be paid by our generation, which makes us the first generation in modern history that robbed wealth from their children. This dubious honor will not be forgotten by future generations who will not be able to afford the life that today we take for granted.
It’s absurd that the more economically successful America has been the bigger its debt has grown. After all, common sense dictates that an economy that has been expanding since WWI – as we are often told – should have accumulated wealth rather than debt. But common sense has not been part of any financial policy for quite some time.
It’s nonsensical to believe that we can increase debt forever, without bearing the consequences. Because if there is one thing we know about debt, it’s that it does not go away by itself. For a country, just like for an individual or a company, when the last lender has refused to lend any further, financial collapse is imminent. Who will be our last lender?
It’s irresponsible to base our entire financial system on millions paying for the very few at the top of the pyramid. This is a pyramid scheme, also known as a Ponzi scheme. When Madoff’s scheme was found out he was sent to 150 years in jail. When an entire country is based upon a similar scheme, we call it ‘economic model’. Whatever we call it, there are two things we know about Ponzi schemes. The first is that they always collapse. The second is that collapse happens without a warning. A great success today can turn into a total ruin tomorrow. And once collapse has occurred, recovery is impossible.
Like any other Ponzi scheme, this one is based upon faith – the belief that with a stroke of luck, debt will turn into prosperity. This is the very same belief that built Las Vegas.
Just like in Las Vegas, millions of hopeful pilgrims pay for a handful of winners. Unlike Las Vegas, where casinos always win, this house is bankrupt.
… and the dice keep rolling.