In any nation with a central banking system (such as our Federal Reserve which is a privately held institution), money (currency) is by its very nature *debt*. The supply of currency is made out of a promise to repay a debt and, due to compound interest, there is always more money owed to the banking system than there is currency (whether actual or digital) to repay that debt. Thus, like a game of musical chairs, Financial inequality is built into the system and someone is *always* going to end up unable to repay their debt.
The Outstanding Public Debt as of 28 Nov 2013 at 05:56:53 PM GMT is: $17,224,112,805,037.54. The estimated population of the United States is 317,135,760 so each citizen's share of this debt is $54,311.48.
Of course what that doesn't tell us is what the financial assets and real wealth (that is, as theantijock points out, not only available currency but the *value* of goods and services) actually amounts to by comparison. And the question everyone should ask but seldom does is, given the national debt and the fact that the vast majority of US citizens could not repay their share of this debt even if they wanted to, *what* is keeping the US solvent within the global economy?
Of course the answer to that question is going to be complex because the wealth (money, goods and services) of a nation is always greater than its money supply. After all, a debt is acceptable IF one can show one has what it takes (whatever it may take) to repay that debt.
Of course there are all the "good things" we like to think about: Our natural resources, our ingenuity, our productivity and so on. But there are also things we don't like to think about. For example, the monolithic hegemony of the very wealthy and the institutions they've created and control (including the global banking system itself) that insure everyone of us who participates is 'locked in' to that system. Wage slaves. You want food, clothing and shelter? You'd better be able to pay for it. You want more than that? Ditto. (And there is a whole panoply of industries and social programming in place to guarantee we *will* want more than the basics.)
Finally there is our ability to wage war. What we call "National Security" and "Defense" (on all its aboveboard and clandestine levels) is our ability to not only protect but *extend* the monolithic hegemony of the elite (their banking systems and the international corporations they own and control). Look at the hydrocarbon (oil-energy) industry for example. I would think it would be obvious that the on-going wars in the Middle East *are* resource (most specifically hydrocarbon but also heroin trade) wars. The idea that this is a "war on terror" would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. That is just a cover story for the real intentions which are to safeguard hydrocarbon resources, insuring they will be within Western (as opposed to, say, easter-block Communist China's) control.
I want to dwell on this just a bit because it helps explain the situation we're currently in and what we may be facing in the future.
In the 1970s it was clear to many of us who paid attention to these things that it wasn't a good idea to build an advanced technological civilization based on non-renueable (hydrocarbon) resources. If one thinks about it from the point of view as energy = wealth and then you posit that 'energy' is ultimately limited (thus increasing in value to everyone as it becomes more scarce *and* demand increases) it all begins to make a lot of sense. We are where we are today because those with wealth and power made a decision to retain the monolithic energy pyramid. Who ever controls that resource, controls ever increasing wealth.
By contrast, think how different our world would be today IF we had begun building a renewable energy infrastructure 40 years ago. Imagine how things would be if the vast majority of our energy needs came from solar, wind, hydrothermal, wave power and so on. It isn't that the technology to do this doesn't exist, it does. But it is suppressed because renewable energy is inherently decentralizing
. What would happen to the power and wealth of the elite if they can not CONTROL the energy upon which civilization runs? Imagine if every household, school, hospital, corporation, or nation on earth, could generate enough clean energy to fuel its own needs? Yes, indeed, it would be a much better and *different* world than we have. But it is precisely the world we do *not* have and we do not have it precisely because those with wealth and power saw it as a threat to their own global economic hegemony.
Things are as they are. The demand for hydrocarbon energy is increasing while the global availability of that energy is decreasing, thus its economic value increases insuring an unstable geopolitical theatre. But for those invested in the military industrial complex, this is a PLUS. The environmental and social consequences be damned. They don't care how many people are killed in their resource wars, they don't care how much damage is done to the environment due to their greed. They will, and are, taking us to the brink of disaster. Then and only then, when they can figure out a way to centralize, essentially monopolize, renewable energy production, will they earnestly begin to make the decisions necessary to implement that infrastructure. And if in the course of events global war is necessary to eradicate much of the existing infrastructure, so be it. Another "plus" in their column as rebuilding an obliterated world can be very profitable *for them*.
This is the world according to MikeW offered to you on this day of Thanks Giving. tl;dr for most, I'm sure.
If I'm right the future will be more of the same only worse. In my view the only thing that can save us now is a total revolution and by that I mean a total rejection of the antiquated system of "government" that has evolved in the West out of monarchy and the international banking economy that controls it. Government=control of YOUR life. Yes, it "protects" you but *only* to the extent you are of value to the system as a good little consuming wage slave. Otherwise you're nothing but a useless eater.
I posted this video once before in another thread. I have no idea if anyone watched it. At 2hours in length is a commitment. But if you've read this and find any of it interesting, it may be worth a watch. I am not apart of the "Zeitgeist Movement" but it fairly well sums up the way I see the world and had already begun to see it long before this paltry "movement" began to get a bit of traction. I have many criticisms of it but, even so, it goes a long way to explaining our situation and the *kind* of out-of-the-box "revolution" I'm talking about. It specifically promotes a rejection of central debt economics in favor of what is called a "Resource Based Economy
" (RBE). Personally I'm not a "utopian" (and that RBE is 'utopian' is one of my primary criticisms) BUT what we do know is that a real revolution can NOT be more of the same; can NOT be centralized, monolithic control of wealth and resources by the sociopathic few over the 'unwashed' masses. At the very least we need to VISUALIZE a new world, a better world, a safer world, a cleaner world and then begin doing whatever we can to move in that direction. (Yes, we have solar panels on the house where I currently live.)
I seriously believe that unless global humanity begins to evolve socially and reclaim our potential as an intelligent, adaptive species, we *will* be our own destruction. We are asleep and it is damn time we began to wake up.