Imagine that this is a snapshot of your personal finances. The red line is your income and the blue line is your debt. In 1953 your debt was marginal, in 1975, your debt began growing faster than your income, in 1984 your debt eclipsed your income and as of the end of 2014 your debt is almost 3.6 times as much as your annual income. If your debt continues growing by this rate, by early 2025 your total debt will be $90,000 while your annual income will be around $20,000. What do you think is the future awaiting you? What are your options to combat this future?
In reality, this is not your personal situation, but these numbers are very real. This is a snapshot of the US economy and the numbers above come from the Federal Reserve Economic Research (FRED).
A few very interesting questions come to mind:
How come? How did America, a creditor nation just 70 years ago, become the biggest debtor in the world? Who is this money owed to, and from where did it come? And how is this debt balloon is going to continue?
More overwhelming, how come that even with this debt the US economy is doing much worse than it did in the 1950s , 1960s and even prior to WW1, before taking on this debt? And why is it that even with this huge debt, more than half of Americans’ income didn’t even catch up with the increase in cost of living?
These questions are not only related to the past, but they are very much critical for your future, your investments, your social security check and your children. You cannot answer these questions and truly understand the world we live in without understanding the historic connotation, i.e. how we got here.
We live in a world of short news cycles and we tend to think and react like “day-traders.” Historical events, however, work on a very different timeframe. Without a holistic and integrated perspective of the path leading to our current situation, you can never truly understand where we are today and where we are headed.
Explore the entire story like never before from the invention of money in Mesopotamia 6,500 years ago, all the way to the invention of QE in Washington DC in 2009, in this new book: “A Brief History of Money: How We Got Here and What’s Next.”
In its first 150 years of existence the US economy grew (GDP per capita) six fold, with practically no debt. And just seventy years ago the United States produced more goods than Western Europe and China combined.
Today this sounds more like a fantasy. The US government is forced to borrow more than its total income from taxes each year, and the GDP is growing at a rate that is a little over a third of the growth of the economy’s debt. How did things take such a sharp turn so quickly? What will come next for the world’s greatest economy? You cannot really answer these questions and truly understand the world we live in without understanding the history of money, an amazing tool invented some 6,500 years ago. This fascinating story is not written for economists. It is not about the bits and pieces of economic theory. It is an overview, designed to give an idea of how we got to this point, step by step, and what we should expect from the years ahead. Walking through milestones in the history of money and understanding things like: Why was money invented in the first place? What is debt and where does the money for debt come from? Why are booms and busts such an integral part of our economy? This book will give you the answers to these questions and will help you understand why the world’s financial system, in the coming decade or two, will undergo a seismic change which will dwarf the 1929 crisis And, most importantly, you will find out if you can do something to prepare for such a dynamic event.
The writer is the author of the book “A Brief History of Money- How We Got Here and What’s Next” available also in eBook at Apple-iBook and Amazon-Kindle