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The burning question of our times: Where has all the money gone?

Updated on August 15, 2012

If there’s one phrase heard more often than any other these days it’s “there’s no money for that.”

Of course “that” refers to:

  • Medicare, or medical care in general, particularly for the lower-income classes. (And yes, Virginia, there is a class system in this country, just like all the others – maybe more so.)
  • Social Security, but never mind that all the money paid into the system -- particularly for the “boomer” generation who were required under Reagan to “prepay” their funds -- has been spent on other things to the tune of some $3 trillion. (Something resembling a form of theft or embezzlement to the casual observer like me, but apparently not as this "crime" is never mentioned in any discussion of that liability.)
  • Education -- that is public education.
  • Food stamps – Let them eat cake. Or peas, according to President Obama.
  • Social services for the real poor, the disabled, the marginalized, the helpless. (Believe me, in my work with these people, many living on $624 monthly, “no money” is what I hear from social workers, the city, the county and the state, all the time.)
  • Roads, bridges and public transportation.
  • public and national parks

There’s just no money! The wealthiest nation in the world with the largest economy is broke. Don’t you get it?

Now I just have to say, I, for one find that implausible. It boggles the imagination. If this nation is broke, then something is terribly wrong with management here (in my humble opinion.)

But for now, let’s take those that cry “no money” at their word. Doesn’t that beg the question: where has all the money gone?

It is in the nature of money to circulate. When one earns money, one spends money and the taxman taketh at both ends. Indeed, in a healthy, circulating economy, the same dollar may be taxed many times over as it changes hands. In this way, the various levels of government receive the funding to run those communal services we all rely upon: public education, roads and other infrastructure, police and fire-fighting services, waste disposal, emergency services, security… all the stuff that makes our modern lives possible.

When the flow of money in circulation dries up, slows to a trickle, our economy stagnates and begins to die off – from the bottom up (something worth thinking about.) Less and less of it changes hands and our various levels of government, from municipal, to state, to federal, find little opportunity to take their cut and begin to wither from malnutrition. A good thing say some, but to those who cry “starve the beast until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub,” it behooves us to remind them it is public funding that drives the infrastructure of our society – certainly not private. (Quite frankly, if it is the wealthy who are the job creators, it’s time to examine the idea they truly suck at their job.)

To say the money is gone because the government spent it is even more simplistic than this elementary study of the nature of money.

If the government spent it, that same money should still be circulating – shouldn’t it? What possible spending could mean no money at all? If it is goods, then the manufacturer of those goods should be paying workers (who will in turn spend,) buying raw materials from suppliers (who will in turn spend,) using energy from producers (who will in turn spend,) and paying dividends to stockholders (who will in turn spend.) And all of it taxable. Same with services.

Even in this slippery global world where money may be earned in one society and spent in another that money should still be passing from hand to hand, with a portion of each transaction going into the public coffers, somewhere. But it isn’t.

To say the money is gone because it has moved into foreign economies through outsourcing is equally naïve, as it assumes we have nothing anyone wants and the money will never return (unlikely) and would equally assume that the circulation of money in those foreign places has increased relative to the decrease here.

It doesn’t take much of a study to find this is not happening, not for the average-man-on-the-street.

For those inclined to point to the giants of Asian success in disagreement, they’d better take a look at the lives of those populations as a whole. What we see is not a major increase in general standards of living, but a major increase in flight of capital. (China leads the world not only in poor working conditions and low wages, but also in money “leaking” out of their economy. FYI – Russia is second.)

To where? Yes, that’s the question: where has the money gone?

To say the world’s money is gone because we’ve squandered it on welfare, unaffordable, unnecessary, nanny-state social programs is perhaps the biggest lie of all. One thing is true: give a poor man a bit of money and you can rest assured it will immediately go back into circulation. (Indeed, instead of throwing money at those that created the problem but left the tab for the whole venture on the shoulders of the tax-payer -- in what had to be the greatest redistribution of wealth in history -- if bail-outs had gone to those hardest hit in our latest crisis instead of the banks, who kept it and did not loan it out as intended, we’d have a whole lot more if it in circulation and a healthier economy. Just sayin’.)

The whole world seems to be out of money, as witnessed by near global “austerity programs” and the increasing poverty of the world’s populations as a whole. There is no global economic growth. Indeed, the only thing growing is our population.

So far, the only solution to our lack of circulating money dreamed up by our intrepid leaders is to print more of the stuff. We can call this a poor solution if we are inclined to be polite in our language. We can call it the bumbling efforts of those with little understanding of the task they are charged to perform, myopic in vision, self-serving and blatantly stupid, if we want to be a little more articulate. Not only does each new dollar bring with it its weight in debt, not only does each new dollar devalue those that came before but these new dollars seem to disappear as quickly as the presses can print them. Once again, those who can’t see beyond the next election year come up with their next idea: print yet more.

Hey gang, when something isn’t working, more of the same will not help.

Forgive my simple-minded meditations on money. However, the lack of sophistication does not negate the validity of the question.

Apparently, I’m not the only one pondering the conundrum.

I strongly urge the reading of this report for anyone at all interested in this question -- which should be all of us (unless you're one of those with untold millions stashed away "off shore." At which point you're probably thinking "oh, shit.... The plebs are on to us.")

So has Mr. James Henry the former chief economist at the consulting firm, McKinsey and an expert on tax havens. He has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, “The Price of Offshore Revisited.”

The most mind-shattering of his revelations is this:

A minimum of $21 trillion to a possible $32 trillion -- [an amount equal to the GDP of the United States, Japan and the entire third world combined] -- is sitting in offshore “tax-haven” accounts, beyond the reach of any taxman of any nationality. [And if this isn’t enough to bring on a sense of vertigo, the authors go on to state: ]“We consider these numbers to be conservative”

Holy misers, Batman. I think we’ve found the missing money!

Or, as the authors describe it: the world’s economies are leaking wealth into a veritable black hole, one that until now, has resisted all attempts to adequately measure its dimensions.

Why, everybody must be opening offshore accounts and socking away whatever they can scrape up to amass such an unimaginable pile of cash! You’d think -- but in another shocking revelation the report delivers the following tidbit:

It turns out that this distribution is incredibly concentrated. By the authors’ estimates:

" least a third of all private financial wealth, and nearly half of all offshore wealth, is now owned by the world’s richest 91,000 people – just 0.001% of earth’s population. The next 51 percent of all wealth is owned by the next 8.4 million, another trivial 0.14% of the world’s population."

Leapin’ lizards, Daddy Warbucks, this means that the real one percent isn’t even 1%!

So, who are this 0.141% of the world’s people, these trans-national private elite? Of course, we don’t know; the pirate bankers’ code of “omerta” being even more sacrosanct than that of any strain of the Cosa Nostra. Even such a financial wizard as Mr. Henry, the main author of this report, found the dictum of ‘follow the money’ next to impossible, though he has come up with certain ‘tells’ that red-flag where and when money disappears.

We may be looking at military dictators of third world banana republics, officers of multi-national corporations, drug lords, industrialists making fortunes out of low-paid-next-to-slave-labor in Asian hell-holes, old-family money, stolen assets of Holocaust victims, organized crime, wheelers and dealers of all stripes, oil sheiks and oil barons, Russian gangsters, pirates, even certain American politicians and likely, just garden-variety wealthy people who don’t want to pay taxes.

One thing is certain; they have more in common with each other than they do with the rest of us. They share common needs relating to financial secrecy, discreet banking services, tax laws and regulation. Says the author:

“Increasingly, indeed, the individual members of this private elite may be assuming many of the same attributes as multinational companies, even as MNCs have been becoming more like private individuals, so far as political rights are concerned. This means that super-rich individuals are increasingly acting as citizens of multiple jurisdictions at once, even though they may be resident of “nowhere” for tax purposes; that they are able to relocate quickly across borders; and that they are able to acquire “representation without taxation,” the ability to exert local political influence in multiple jurisdictions, independent of whatever taxes they pay in any particular jurisdiction.

It also means that as a group this transnational elite has, in principle, a strong vested nterest in pushing for weaker income and wealth taxation, weaker government regulation, more “open” markets, and weaker restrictions on political influence and campaign spending across borders – with a huge “transnational haven army” of pirate bankers, law firms, accounting firms, lobbyists, and PR firms ready to do their bidding.”

Hmm. Sound at all familiar?

The effect of this “capital flight” on the developing nations:

"The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world....

The problem is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments.

The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor.

Assuming [this] mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper [$187 billion in tax revenue] every year."

Where is off-shore, anyway? Doesn’t this phrase conjure up images of balmy tropical islands and secretive banks hiding behind nondescript doors?

Guess again. Off-shore, for the purpose of tax evasion simply means outside the boundaries of any jurisdiction that might have the right to tax your wealth, not just the usual-rounded-up-suspects like the Cayman Islands or Switzerland.

Nope, here are the names of the top banks managing international (read offshore/untaxed) accounts:

  • UBS -- with an estimated $1,790 billion in “tax haven accounts” in 2010
  • Credit Suisse – with $933 billion as of 2010 (Hey! Wait a minute, didn’t the Fed, under the TARP and TALF programs float them a giant low-interest/no-interest loan, one the American taxpayers guaranteed?)
  • Goldman Sachs – with $840 billion in “international assets under management” in 2010 (Not YOU again!)
  • Bank of America -- $644 billion (It figures.)

Well, here, see for yourself: (look at the photo neatly borrowed from this report and replicated below for you perusal. Hope you have a magnifying glass -- but such difficulty in reading does seem apropos to the murky subject matter.) I'll try and add enough photos so you can bring this one up to screen size.

"Intermediary" and "destination banks" -- from off-shore to your shore, an excerpt from the report by Mr. James Henry (which could be called, "Pray, tell me, my dear, who is it that does such a good job of laundering your money? -- so squeaky clean!")

“It is important to distinguish between the “intermediary havens” which act as conduits for wealth and “destination havens” where private wealth ultimately ends up.

We typically associate offshore legal entities like shell companies, asset protection trusts, captive insurance companies, and haven banks with the conventional list of “offshore havens” (or “Treasure Islands”) …sultry, dodgy tropical islands like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Nauru, St. Kitts, Antigua, and Tortola; or the European bolt holes such as Switzerland, the Channel Islands,Monaco, Cyprus, Gibraltar, and Liechtenstein.

These 80-odd front-line havens, most of which are “offshore” by anyone’s definition, collectively provide a home to over 60 million people, and over 3.5 million paper companies, thousands of shell banks and insurance companies, more than half of the world’s registered commercial ships above 100 tons, and tens of thousands of shell subsidiaries for the world’s largest banks, accounting firms, and energy, software, drug, and defense companies.

For while there are millions of companies and thousands of thinly capitalized banks in these fiscal paradises, few wealthy people want to depend on them to manage and secure their wealth. These stealthy investors ultimately need access to all the primary benefits of “high-cost” First World capital markets -- relatively efficient, regulated securities markets, banks backstopped by large populations of taxpayers, and insurance companies; well-developed legal codes, competent attorneys, independent judiciaries, and the rule of law. Generally, these can only be found in a handful of so-called First World countries like the US, the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium/Luxembourg, and Germany. So we have to look to these “destination havens” in order to get a handle on the size and growth of unrecorded cross-border private wealth.”

Such revelations bring many questions to mind, but author James Henry does a much better job of raising them than I would. Here’s another quote from his report:

“…. the top ten banks grew even faster than the industry as a whole, an AAGR of over 20 percent per year during this period, sharply increasing their share of the group’s assets under management from 42 percent in 2005 to more than 51 percent in 2010.

The irony here is that every one of these leading global banks, except Pictet, were deemed “too big to fail” by their governments in 2008-2010, and collectively received hundreds of billions in taxpayer-financed capital injections, standby credits, loan guarantees, toxic asset guarantees, low-cost loans, and the US Treasury’s February 2009 swap deal with Switzerland.49 They benefitted greatly from the $80 billion AIG bailout and the virtually-zero real interest rate environment established by the world’s central banks. Without these “too big to fail” government subsidies, several would have disappeared.

Did the Treasury Departments around the world not understand that these very same banks are leading the world in enabling tax dodging – indeed, to some extent, precisely because offshore investors know that they have been under-written by their Treasury Departments?”

Good point, Mr. Henry. Why were the taxpayers of the world made responsible for gigantic sums of money given to those who enable the world’s wealthy to evade taxation? (A great scam which many call the "the greatest redistribution of wealth in history," though for some, the idea that redistribution of wealth actually works from the bottom up is so alien, so radical they may choose not to believe it.

After all, this same study finds that this money is not in circulation, not put out to work, but parked in relatively low-interest bearing accounts, tucked away out of sight, out of mind, out of use.

What this truly boils down to is this:

The elite, who control the assets of the world have taken an inconceivable portion of the world’s wealth and removed it from the economy, while leaving the taxpayers to shoulder the resulting debts.

So, at least now we have a good idea where all the money went, if not much else.

New words to an old folk song

Where has all the money gone,

Long time passing?

Where has all the money gone,

Long time ago?

Where has all the money gone?

To offshore banks, ne’er to return.

Oh, when will we ever learn?

Oh, when will we ever learn?

With apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary.

Lynda M Martin, August 14, 2012

If I were a rich man (and had an offshore acount) di-de-de-di-di-di


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    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      To Valjean: Thanks for the invite. To Sanctuary: No need to write the twelve pages. Many of us understand fiat currency and the house of cards upon which it is based. You are both very correct, however this article was never intended to be an in depth analysis of the economy but rather a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at one aspect of our problems, that of wealth hoarding. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    • profile image

      Sanctuary 4 years ago

      Creating money out of nothing and even making loans on debts is why we are where we are. The system is in the black and has no real value. I would have to write twelve pages just to explain this Ponzi scheme. In the end true money was made and went to the wealthy and faceless enterprises and middle men took the hit and the debt is now on us the tax payers. Those responsible have never paid taxes and now are working on the next 20 to 40 year cycle of currency manipulation. Like listening to your grand parents describe the great hypocrisy of life your children will be doing the same in their old age. In reality most of us are trapped in economic servitude of a false financial system that will never better your lives.

    • profile image

      VforValjean 5 years ago

      "You're making a very large mistake in your analysis. You're following the flow of money, which is important in some circumstances. But money isn't what really makes an economy. What really matters is the production of goods & services. You're suggesting that taking a taxpayer dollar and using it to pay a government employee or the homeless grows the economy because it forces for-profit enterprise to do something creative in order to earn that dollar back. That's just not correct."

      The above quote is from Milton Friedman who won the Nobel Prize in Economics Lynda. Now I'll apply it to your specific application of the question he was asked 20 years ago in that response (and I can give you the link to that exact answer on youtube if you'd like). In the US we presently have an ever increasing percentage of the population employed by the government, therefore providing no good or service to the economy. Additionally, you assume the government is efficient in its use of tax revenue, which it is not. For every $2 the government collects it wastes $1. That is actually where your missing money is going. Beyond that though if you have 15% of the economy working for the government then it is being supported by 85% of the economy. If that 85% is being taxed at an average 20% rate with 10% of that tax revenue wasted by the government then you really have 76% of the economy producing the goods & services that support 100% of the economy. That's where your problem in jobs comes from, thats where your "missing money" comes from.

      Feel free to join me on for all manners of stimulating discussions like this ;)

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hey, Redpill. I understand, but prefer my info to be straight up and clear, not in some metaphor.

      Hi again, John from Cleveland. T-bills, by their very nature, can not be secretive. They are registered you know.

    • JohnfrmCleveland profile image

      John 5 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Another good article, lmmartin!

      I believe you will find the lost money (the U.S. dollars, anyway) in t-bills. Any word on how many t-bills are held by these offshore banks?


    • tHErEDpILL profile image

      Alem Belton 5 years ago from New York

      The Matrix is just a term for "a sleeping mind". It is not literal. I also believe in critical thinking, as well as facts, history, and logical analysis of their affect on our present. Nice to meet you as well and I will be checking out yours.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Perhaps you may want to read some of my other hubs on these issues -- and I don't believe in magic rabbit holes, nor "The Matrix." I believe in common sense and critical thinking (wrote a hub on that too.) Nice to meet you and I'll check out some of your hubs. Lynda

    • tHErEDpILL profile image

      Alem Belton 5 years ago from New York

      Refreshing to see these kinds of hubs and minds like yours. Continue to make your way out of The Matrix and take as many people as you can with you on the way:)

    • tHErEDpILL profile image

      Alem Belton 5 years ago from New York

      I have to finish reading this and come back to the comment box, but so far I see where you are going and believe it or not a reset is coming. The U.S. dollar is right now at this moment literally worth less than the paper and cotton it is made of. The Federal Reserve prints money out of thin air that is backed by nothing. In the beginning "money" was actually a receipt that was used to show people how much silver or gold you had. It was never meant to be used as an option to settle a debt by itself. That is until the bankers took over. I recommend a book titled "The Creature From Jekyll Island" by by G. Edward Griffin. And or c heck out my hub "Show Me The Money". You are on the right track to question what you are questioning Immartin, but the rabbit hole goes deeper. Possibly deeper than you want to know.

      P.S. We might soon see a day when food and the barter system are the sole means of our economy once again. History moves in cycles and it repeats itself. Our nation is due for a reality check from history very soon, and with the global elites working non-stop to expedite the process we need all the preparation we can get. Our National Debt is waaaaaaaay beyond repair. It's like Norm's bar tab from "Cheers". We will never make enough to pay it off. The only way to fix it will be to start over.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you, Jon.

    • profile image

      jon 5 years ago

      Excellently written.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Yes, Delores, you're right. We are the real job creators. No one ever got wealth all by themselves -- on this one note, Obama is right.

      Most of us are in the same position as you, living hand to mouth and doing the best we can. I read that between 2008 to now, between 64million to 100million Americans lost their net worth. Apparently, we're in good company. Thanks for commenting.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      A great read, voted up and tweeted. I am tired of the people who disappear the money calling themselves the job creators. I am a job creator - when I hire a roofer, when I buy a new car or appliance, when I spend money, I create jobs. If I can't afford to fix my roof, or purchase anything beyond the cheapest food and used clothing I am not helping the economy (except my local car repair guy because my car is ancient, haha)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Lynda... what more can be said than Amen... much the same happening here in Canada. A good example is pensions for our members of Parliament here. They slip a dollar in the pot and we slip in another twenty five. It is what they call matching the investment they make. One recently retired after serving four years and picks up a cool 88 K per year and has just been appointed to the Canadian Wheat Board at a nice round number of a 1000 dollars per day when he sits. I might add all expenses paid. Get booted out after an election and they get a big fat severance package. Get booted or resign from your job and see what you get.

      When I think of the people like my grandparents who came and broke the land by hand and developed many regions they were given very little in comparison. Is it any wonder the line up at the public feeding trough is getting longer.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hello again Mrs. Lynda,

      it is indeed difficult to leave my bias behind, especially my political bias. Indeed there are more "insidious villains" than the banksters - people such as Tony Blair for example, top villains actually. Haha!!

      Yet, I have a serious problem with the way banks do business. They enslave people through debt and so ... I guess I look at all the poverty around, I look at the predatory lending, lending for profit (which I have written about in a couple of articles lately) and I wonder how things could be if there was a milligram of decency and morality within the banking industry. If there was, I am inclined to think that off-shore accounts would not exist because when we cheat others, we really are cheating ourselves - we're all in the same boat and these donkeyish bankers and politicians do not seem to get that.

      Regarding unfairness and the wealth gap, I have been promoting a documentary I found on Youtube (about an hour long), titled the One Percent. It was done by the heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune. I found it rather interesting, at least to see how far ignorance can stretch in some human minds (

      Well, thank You for the conversation. There is obviously much I still don't know but more and more information has been coming out lately and the water is starting to clear-out. Articles such as this one certainly helps too!

      All the best!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I understand you read this through the eyes of your own political leanings, but the banks are basically only the enablers here. This huge chunk of wealth stolen from our economies may have been hidden by the banks, but did not originate there. There are far more insidious villains in this twisted drama than the banks. (Okay so maybe some bankers are super-wealthy and therefor part of it.) By and large, the bankers are merely the loyal servants of the real crooks. I get the feeling that you missed the main point here.

      Anyway, so nice to see you again. It's been a while. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Lynda

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "print yet more" - Yes, this is certainly what is happening in my opinion and we can see that inflation is on the rise. I was not alive right after WWII but my grandmother told me that at that time, she sent a student home (she was a teacher) to buy two eggs from his mother to bring to her. She told me that she gave the kid three million lei (the Romanian Currency). I wonder if I am going to have to experience paying three million dollars for two eggs in the future ...?

      "Hey gang, when something isn’t working, more of the same will not help." - I actually said this to someone in an email not long ago: "We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result." Have we lost all logic and common sense?

      So, all of us in the Occupy Movement got it all wrong with our "We are the 99%" signs - it's even worse ...

      I like Mr. Old Poolman's comment: "It would be very interesting if everyone who had money or investments with any of our own banks involved with this just closed their accounts and moved their investments to another financial institution." - We at the Occupy Movement tried to promote this last year. We had some who did close their bank accounts:

      And some people got arrested for trying to close their accounts:

      I no longer use any of the major banks either. I use a credit union now. In good time, the banksters are going to fry anyway.

      This is a great article Mrs. Lynda! I will certainly share this.

      More and more people are realizing that they have been robbed by banksters so, I am optimistic. I see Light at the end of the tunnel.

      Thank You for putting this piece of writing together.

      Cheers! : )

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you, toknowinfo. But I am a very small, insignificant speck in the world -- the real compliment goes to Mr. James and his group who spent years gathering this information and present it in such a way that anyone will understand. Provided they read it, that is. All I've done is offered a small sampling of his work to help spread the word. By all means, read the original report!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 5 years ago

      Very well done hub. You put a lot of work into compiling this info and it gives a lot of food for thought. We are powerless pawns in the game of big business and corporate greed. The powers that be control more than we would all like to admit and really know. But knowledge is power, and hopefully, you will raise awareness, so perhaps we gain gain a bit more power back to the people. Nicely done.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you, BobbiRant. Unhappily, there are those living under "rocks," and we meet them everyday. They don't think for themselves, offer little to debate other than regurgitation of the latest bumper sticker, and always know they are right -- even when they know nothing. We all need to "get"it, before it finishes the job of getting us. Nice to hear from you.

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

      I adore this hub. Indeed, where has the money gone? When those stupid 'job creators' don't generate anyone to buy their goods, well, I hope their gold tastes good with salt and pepper. Let Them eat cake then! Great hub, says a lot. If no one gets it from this one, well they must be living under a rock.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Nan, Thanks for taking the time to comment, though I must admit I am little confused. I would think that everyone, whether liberal, progressive or conservative would want to know about this issue. I also suspect that those who are evading taxes and amassing wealth of this magnitude could be from all beliefs and ideologies. I don't think avarice and greed are confined to one or another party, but are basic human failings. Indeed, I also believe that people from both right and left of the spectrum can be easily manipulated, duped if you will. I certainly didn't have conservatives in mind when I wrote this.

      I believe we all have a duty to participate and contribute to our society, as well as to humankind. Throughout human history, there have been those of wealth who do not respect those without it, perhaps see them as a lower life form, and act without regard for the damage they do. Those dedicated to amassing great wealth without due homage to the society from which they draw their success are indeed, as you say, full of greed but not necessarily conservative. Oh, how I wish we could out-grow this need to divide everything along these lines. It has become so tedious! Thank you again for your comment.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 5 years ago

      Nan - This is not my hub but I have to ask. Are you saying that only Conservatives can be guilty of greed and not really caring about their fellow man? I would have to believe there are many like this on both sides of the fence.

    • profile image

      Nan Mynatt 5 years ago

      You are right of course. This article will not make you popular with the conservatives. They don't want the poor to have anything. I talked to a soldier from the recent wars, he said that the soldiers have everything that they need? They are not going to end the wars, there would no jobs for the soldiers, to come home to.

      The game is for the rich to forget about the lower income Americans and see what they can do for themselves. Corporate Greed has reached its highest level, and they don't care if you die from lack of food and medical care. I marked you up.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I also meant what I said about you writing one based on "what if." Clearly, you've given the matter a lot of thought. What would happen if say, a solar storm wiped out all electronics and we got a reset? I'm a good editor if you need a hand...

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 5 years ago from Northern Germany

      With "novel" you refer to the little thought experiment in my first comment?

      That is not entirely fiction. In 1948 something very similar happened in West Germany. All monetary assets had been worthless anyhow (black market) and the DM was introduced. The "big bang" instant made all people moreless equal: Everyone received an onhand cash payment of 40 DM (close to nil).

      Of course, applying this on our entire planet will remain fiction, although the thought holds some beauty.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Here's the problem, Chris. You're right; we should be more concerned about the crumbling assets around us, but we need public money to take on the issue of maintenance. If the money in circulation is inadequate to providing our governmental agencies with the funding to do, partially because an amount greater than our GDP has been removed from the equation, then it does become a very serious matter indeed.

      Again, you miss another very important point. I tried to point out to you this money is not in the Caribbean, but sitting in our major banks -- hidden, untaxed and secret -- run by the same people screaming "Save us!" and loading us down with debt and destroying our net worth. Does it mean nothing to you that in the years from 2008 to present, some 64 million to 100 million Americans lost their net worth and became newly impoverished? This is far more than a little money gambling, and far more nefarious than a rainy-day fund under the mattress. Thank you for your comment.

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      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Mighty Mom,

      Never be too quick to dismiss a conspiracy theory, and remember the young often have clearer vision, not having been worn down by decades of acceptance. There are darker forces at work in our world than we care to know... Nya-ha-ha!

      Any so-called issue can be broken down into base components, and those are always simple. In fact, if someone is writing on these matters in such a way everyone finds difficult to understand, then that writer is massaging his own ego. It is simple. Dreadfully simple. So simple, we are tempted to dismiss it as impossible. (Such issues are always very complicated, right?) Wrong. They are as they appear to be.

      No you can't take it with you, but you can sock it away in an untaxed off-shore trust so that your descendents can enjoy the same entitled lofty level in society as you have done, (free and gratis of income taxes, capital gains taxes, death and inheritance taxes) thereby ensuring the privilege continues along with your DNA. So is born aristocracy, the very thing this country tried to avoid. Apparently it is unavoidable.

      As to your novel, now that WOULD be fiction, wouldn't it! Thanks for dropping by.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 5 years ago from Northern Germany

      lmmartin - may i object, it is not about the world, it is only about some money gambling. Please follow this little piece of math:

      World GDP is some 75 to 80 Trillion USD (at least in that range). Now i make a conservative estimate and judge the world assets to be around 4 to 8 times the value of the GDP. Let me stick to multiplier 6 and that gives us 300 Trillion in asset values, that is houses, offices, production machines, combines, excavators, roads, habours, airports, ships, airplains, cars, your lawn mower and your coffee machine. Now the 20 Trillion in the Carribean is how much - 6%?

      I am not worried about the 6%, i am worried about the 100% in assets, that a deteriorating if not maintained, replaced, renewed, optimized... The state of an economy must be measured how the maintenance job is done, not how good the economy is in hunting down the 6% missing capital.

      Actually the world behaves much like you and me. If you are middle class somewhere in a developed economy on this planet, you may have a house, one or more cars, some grown man/woman play toys and a lawn mower. That may be worth 300.000 bucks. Not all of that may be payed off, so you sit on some debt, same as economies all over this planet do. And you may have some cash hidden in the bedroom under your matress or in an old mug like your grandmother taught you to overcome bad times.

      Does the world behave much different? I think not. There are no conspiracy activities behind. There is no money asset accumulation of worrysome dimension.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      And here I've been pooh-poohing my son's conspiracy theories of a New World Order.

      I admire your ability to bring this concept down to a level where even I can (more or less) understand it. Always love your subtled humor, too, L.

      The only positive that comes to mind at this point is, "You can't take it with you." Little consolation. But ultimately true.

      Speaking of futuristic, what-if novels, how about one on what positive changes that money could make if applied to (for example) world hunger, disease eradication, climate control, or even a few jobs here and there...?

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you for sharing your ideas, Chris. Unfortunately, fun as such thought experiments may be, we must live in the real world. And in the real world, such a reset is not going to happen. So yes -- it is really important that $22-32 trillion dollars sits, not in the Caribbean but in the secret accounts of the world's major banks. It is important, because it represents the concentration of the world's wealth in so few hands at the cost of our economies everywhere. And this isn't about the US, but the world. All of it. However, such an idea is good grist for a futuristic, what-if novel. Seeing as you clearly have given it a lot of thought, why don't you write it?

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 5 years ago from Northern Germany

      Please ask yourself this question: What would happen if the world made an overall reset? No more money on Kayman Islands, no more sovereign debt in the US, UK, Japan .. , no more pension funds, insurance bonds.

      All this from a single instant on, one microsecond, like big bang.

      All that would exist in this single instant would be assets, the house you live in, the infrastructure, production equipment, natural resources... and human resources. Just imagine what would happen in this world without any money related to the past.

      In this situation there will be 4 categories of countries, economies if you will:

      1. Economies with large assets, and large resources

      2. Economies with large assets, but little resources

      3. Economies with little assets, but large resources

      4. Economies with little assets and little resources.

      The difference between assets and resources is that assets is the past while resources allow for accumulation of future well being and wealth.

      If you break this down to individual countries, there is China and the BRIC economies in category 3. Most developed economies are in category 1. and 2., while so called 3rd world is in cat.4.

      What would you think will happen after reset? My suggestion is that those countries with large resources will benefit immediately. Of course the countries with large assets will not feel the pain immediately, people sit high and dry in the homes, but they would soon find out that without proper use of resources the house will deteriorate, not to mention that plywood doesn´t taste good for eating.

      With this little thought experiment in mind, is it really important if some 20 Trillion of money hide somewhere in the Carribean? Isn´t it more important to take care of improving resources? Isn´t it more important to make the US stay in category 1 and not drift to category 2?

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Amanda, What is their game plan? Control over it all, I suppose. And the money is not doing nothing, it is earning interest. From time to time, the money might be "loaned" to a government, somewhere -- new public debt for the taxpayer to shoulder. I don't think these people give a single thought to anyone's misery and suffering. History shows the elite never do. So yes, that's a naive statement, but I'd call it wishful-thinking. Thanks for commenting.

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      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Old Poolman, There are those who will not be content until they control everything -- and they seem to be getting pretty close to that goal. Maybe you're right; maybe we need to come up with a whole new currency and say: go ahead, you keep that; we're starting over. Nah -- they'd just force our leaders to make us all outlaws. Hey, did I say I had the answers? Thanks so much for the comment.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Tammy. Making money and spending money is what makes the world go-round. And the old maxim, you need money to make money becomes more true everyday.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hello Charles Darwin -- Chuck? -- Thanks for commenting. Do read the full report. Everyone should. Knowledge is power.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 5 years ago from UK

      This makes for sobering reading, Lynda. But what is the game plan behind all this? Surely it benefits no-one, not even the super-rich, to have money stashed away, doing nothing? A whopping great big bank balance might give you a warm glow temporarily, but surely knowing that your stash is in part responsible for the misery of others, must reduce that pleasure? Or am I just being naive?

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 5 years ago

      Wow Lynda, what an enlightening piece of writing this is. I had actually never thought about money being taken out of circulation as you described it in this hub. The list of banks who provide this hidy-hole from the tax man is amazing, and some of our very own are on the list. The really sad part is many of us are seeing our lifetime savings ending up in these accounts, but not being put there by us. It would be very interesting if everyone who had money or investments with any of our own banks involved with this just closed their accounts and moved their investments to another financial institution. Will we reach the day when the very last dollar finds its' way into one of these accounts? Heck, we might be better off if we go back to trading beads instead of paper money. At least the beads are worth something.

      This was a very well done piece.

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 5 years ago

      I guess you really do have to spend money to make money. Unless you are rich and have a fat offshore account.

    • profile image

      Charles Darwin 5 years ago

      Holy Writerscramp, Batwoman -- I mean, Lynda -- what a great job! You've taken a foggy issue and rendered it clear. For sure I will read the full report, and thank you. Chuck