So I’ve been doing some preliminary research to reduce my ignorance about our country’s economics: how countries invest in each other, what types of such investments exist, who or what controls the interest rates of those investments, etc.  The following musings are based on an incomplete-but hopefully fundamentally sound-understanding of these mechanisms.

On a personal level, I’ve realized for quite some time how ethereal the concept of our money is. No longer tied to gold, the value of the dollar is contingent upon a myriad of factors including the decisions of a few powerful individuals (as well as fears of the nebulous “market,” which is made up of many individuals and corporate entities). I hardly use cold hard cash anymore-instead my money is transferred as a bunch of ones and zeros across electronic lines of communication, and I trust that it’ll all work out. But as long as everyone (Americans and others) decide to play along with our virtual money, all is well.

The virtual nature of currency also extends to the national and international level.  The world’s governments buy and sell securities (bonds and such) along similar lines, resulting in national debts or surpluses.  And yes, governments (i.e. states) can go bankrupt just like individuals (Iceland, Greece, etc.).  Similar to US companies that are “too big to fail,” some have applied the same logic to the potential collapse of certain countries (Spain, and to a lesser extent Greece) because of the reverberating effects such a collapse would have on the rest of the community (i.e. the European Union).  Heck, fears alone about Greece’s situation plunged the US stock market 900+ points in one day; that seems like an awfully unstable mechanism for peoples’ money to be based upon.

What got me started with the actual research were the news reports about the Greece bailout which included the phrase “private investors” and the accommodation of their concerns.  When private investors (whomever they might be) begin to have a say in the viability of a government, I think we need to reevaluate the situation.  This feels especially troubling when this revelation is coupled with the secret (i.e. closed to all press) meetings of powerful individuals at the Bilderberg Group and the Bohemian Grove meetings.  I’m not really a conspiracy theorist, but when the same and/or similar individuals (heads of state, financial/defense CEOs, etc.) get together at such meetings, in total secrecy, to discuss national and international policy, it does raise a red flag.

We seem to be on a global trend where corporations are becoming as powerful (if not more so) than sovereign states, and that’s a worrisome development.  I suppose the bottom line for me is more research into a topic that I otherwise would have liked to have given the benefit of the doubt to “higher ups” and continued my day-to-day in blissful ignorance.