Here’s Why Civilizations COLLAPSE
In Jared Diamond’s book Why Civilizations Collapse, he explains how climate change, population explosion, and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of a civilization.
Diamond’s position reminded me of a quote from Joel Barker who said, “Your past success guarantees nothing in your future.”
You see, the Rich Dad Company has been around since 1997 and we’ve had amazing successes and have changed millions of lives. We have focused on our mission—to elevate the financial well being of humanity—and done so through every vehicle possible. We offered books to read, board games to play, seminars to attend, and even coaches to guide you through the process.
And while the world-wide success was great, we realized that the world was changing.
We could no longer rely on our past successes.
To serve more people we needed to put Bucky’s Generalized Principles into action: ephemeralization.
Ephemeralization is doing more with less. How could we get the Rich Dad messages to more people? How could we do it better—and do it for less? If we could figure a way to do it for less, then we knew we would be able to reach more people.
For us, evolving technology and the explosion of mobile apps is an opportunity and a way to revitalize and re-energize our ability to engage a new, younger and more tech-savvy audience, while making sure we continue to serve our loyal, existing community.
If we had not evolved I believe that The Rich Dad Company would have collapsed just like the civilizations written about in Jared Diamond’s book.
I fear that the U.S. is headed towards a total collapse if we don’t change the way we are currently doing things.
What Made the U.S. Successful Can Make it Unsuccessful
After 1971 and the death of the U.S. dollar, money became debt. For the economy to expand, you and I had to get into debt. That is why credit cards came in the mail and home equity loans were available to people who had less than stellar credit.
That same year, while I was fighting in the Vietnam War, my rich dad warned me that the rules of money had changed. He said, “The dollar is now officially Monopoly® money, and the rules of Monopoly are now the world’s new rules of money.”
At the time, I had no idea what he meant. A few days after I received his letter, I found a well-worn game of Monopoly in the officers’ lounge. Because I had played the game many times, I never really bothered to look at the rules. But with rich dad’s words about the rules of Monopoly being the new rules of money echoing in my head, I started to thumb through the rulebook and read, “The Bank never ‘goes broke.’ If the Bank runs out of money, it may issue as much more as may be needed by merely writing on any ordinary piece of paper.”
The reason the current financial crisis is so severe is that the banker’s rules of Monopoly money allowed our biggest banks and Wall Street to package debt and sell it to the world as assets.
No Gold, No Stability
Since 1971, with the U.S. dollar no longer married to gold, massive sums of money and credit began to destabilize the world economy—and continue to do so today.
In October 1973, two years after Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard, the Arab oil embargo set off the world’s first oil shock. After trading between $2.82 and $3.56 per barrel for over 20 years, oil rose to $10.10 per barrel in 1974. If the dollar had still been attached to gold, such a rise in price couldn’t have been sustained. That many dollars flowing to the Arab oil suppliers would’ve bankrupted America. We would’ve stopped importing oil, and eventually, oil prices would have come down. That is the stabilizing effect gold had on world trade. But since the dollar was no longer pegged to gold, the U.S. simply printed more and more dollars to import the oil. The more dollars we printed, the higher the price of oil went.
This flow of “petrodollars” into the Arab world had to go somewhere. The economies of the Arab world were too small to handle all the money. So, these “petrodollars” flowed back to U.S. banks, primarily their London offices, and became known as “Eurodollars.” Eurodollars aren’t the same as today’s European currency, the Euro. Eurodollars are U.S. dollars, kept offshore, out of the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. In other words, Eurodollars don’t have to obey U.S. laws.
All those Eurodollars were now a major liability to the bank. The Arabs wanted to be paid interest on them so the bankers needed to find borrowers for massive sums. The solution was to lend Eurodollars to oil-importing nations who were desperate to borrow money. The first target was the nations of Latin America. The capital inflows set off an economic boom. In 1980, the Mexican and Brazilian economies each expanded by 9 percent. When the borrowers, the nations of Latin America, could not repay the debt, the boom busted. By 1984, every country in Latin America, save Columbia and Paraguay, asked to have their debt rescheduled.
To protect the banks that had loaned these nations money, the IMF and other banks bailed out the U.S. banks, leaving the countries and their people deeply in debt. In other words, the IMF and other big banks rushed in to save the big banks just as the Fed rushed in to save the big banks in America, leaving America and its people weakened and deeply in debt.
This excess credit didn’t stop in Latin America. The crisis rolled on to Mexico, Asia, Russia, Brazil, and now the United States. The crime, or moral hazard as it’s often referred to, is that the IMF bails out the banks who recklessly lend money to subprime nations just as the big American banks loaned money to subprime homebuyers in America and our Fed bails them out.
Every time this hot money, or credit, flows into an economy, the money causes a short-term economic boom. When the economy cannot repay the debt, the money leaves the country, leaving the economy bloated with debt, new factories empty, crashing asset prices, and ruined banks.
Is the Party Over?
Historically, every time governments have printed their own money—fiat money—that money eventually reverted to its true value: zero. That’s because paper money is a zero-sum game.
Will the same happen to the U.S. dollar, the yen, the peso, the pound, and the euro? Will history repeat itself?
Now, I can hear many proud, red-blooded Americans saying, “This will not happen in America. Our money will never go to zero.” Unfortunately, it already has—many times. During the Revolutionary War, the American government printed currency known as the “continental.” After the government printed too many continentals, our money became a joke, giving birth to the phrase, “not worth a continental.” The same thing happened to the Confederate dollar.
What if the party’s over? Will bailouts save us? Ironically, every time there is a bailout our national debt grows bigger, we pay more in taxes, the rich get richer, and our money’s value edges closer to zero. Every time our governments print more and more money, our money becomes less valuable. We work harder for less and less, and our savings are worth less and less.
I’m not saying today’s Monopoly money will go to zero. I’m not saying it won’t, either. Yet, if history does repeat itself, and the U.S. dollar goes to zero, the worldwide chaos will be cataclysmic. It will be the biggest wealth transfer in U.S. history. The rich will get richer. And the poor will most definitely get poorer. The middle class will be wiped out.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily