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Destruction of money made easy - the Target-2 system

Target means objective, as translated as an English word into German; in the world of numbers, Target stands for: Trans-European Automated Real-Time Gross Settlement Express Transfer System. It takes a little time to digest this monstrosity and to understand the concept, which says that here is something, without anyone actually being able to recognise what it means; the objective of this monstrosity is therefore to create confusion from the very outset. And so that nobody should realise that the money (which we mistakenly believe is still worth something) is to be taken out of the pockets of we Europeans.

We have accustomed ourselves to the fact that since the introduction of the Euro, some failure emerges daily from the banking palaces to speak to us normal people, who have to support the Euro and act as the substitute payees. The Target settlement transfer system has been bubbling away quietly since 2007, and has accordingly long since managed to spare the leaders of high finance, politics and press the need for explanations and not unduly tax people’s nerves. It is therefore almost a shame that the monster has now been let out of the bag, causing mainly reading and comprehension difficulties amongst the population. The Alliance for Democracy can help at this point.

Let is first focus on the terms, so we know what we are being affected by: The Target system comes from the language of the bankers. It is a transfer system, a so-called Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and it states that domestic and foreign payments are settled in great style, at least in billions, such as countries mutually pass on or around to each other. This all takes place in real time, so that one computer books in, one computer books out (settlement is prepared and clearing has taken place) – and the money is sent hundreds of kilometres away in milliseconds.

The really frightening thing about this is that it is irrelevant with these transfers whether there is any actual money behind the figures inside the computer, or in securities, counterclaims that could be reconciled.

It is not surprising that banks trade in money, because it is so nice to play with, to speculate with, and to sell without worrying about the equivalent value; a grocer (for example) could not afford to conduct such business, because at some point he would have to deliver the quantity of apples or pears ordered, and could not simply point to numbers on a screen.

This is however only the first problem of this system. The next, perhaps much greater problem, is that the fibre-optic cable based system, via which trillions are transported, was introduced in order to connect the European Central Bank with the other national central banks in the Euro zone, and to facilitate money market trading in the Euro zone. On the introduction of the Target system however (1999), it became a question of providing or reducing liquidity. It was therefore basically a necessary system for moving money quickly and easily within the area of the single currency; the catch of the matter, however, is that with increasing devaluation and increasing national debt of all the countries of the Euro, there is hardly any money left to be transferred, but only numbers on a screen ,or perhaps waste, because that will be the only thing which the individual Euro countries can still ship – and they all have plenty of that.
Let us look at this more closely and practically: A businessman with a company somewhere in the Euro zone, say a German manufacturer of toothbrushes, sells to 30 customers in Euroland, such as Greece, Spain and Italy. This trade has been going on for 20 years. For ten years the customers paid for each delivery on time and without problems, but suddenly nearly half of the customers, say 12, suddenly have problems in settling their invoices, and the remaining customers also start to default in the coming time.

At first, banks take over the claims and accept non-monetary collateral from the companies in difficulties, such as equipment, buildings and plant (for example). The German company continues to make deliveries, because the bank settles the claims and no businessman wants to lose customers or sales. The years slip by. The collateral now represents only notional values, the equipment is probably still worth the most, the first repairs are due to the buildings, the technology is outdated and worth little more than the precious metals behind the displays. This does not bother the German businessman – his business is running. The bank however has enormous problems, it is sitting on assets of doubtful value, buildings in need of repair and technology scrap. It only has limited capital of its own however, and now faces higher claims, against which it can offset only scrap. In addition the customers are probably not only hoarding scrap at this bank, but have also done so at other banks.

Despite the fact that no one has any more money, business continues as before. So that companies and businesses, who at least provide jobs, can continue to offer employment, the community, city or region offers to stand surety for the scrap, i.e. to pay for the scrap in the event that anyone in the chain of bankrupts suddenly defaults on payments. Sums are set for this purpose, which do not really meet the needs, but at least reassure creditors.

And here we must draw a line under the accounts: None of those involved still have any money, it is almost like betting on an imaginary amount, but at least the businessman is left with his products (which he could sell to other trading partners, if such could be found) – at least as long as no one in the chain becomes insolvent, our businessman does not need to look for new customers, which would endanger the whole structure by actual payments; the businessman could immediately find a new bankrupt, which would not be difficult, in order to preserve the structure. The question must be asked as to whether there are still companies who deal with money at all. And this is the danger with this situation: If nobody has any money any more, in order to finance the bank, then bankruptcy for all those involved in this chain is simply a matter of time. Countless jobs will then be at stake, as well as the reputation of the businessman, the suppliers and trading partners, the guarantors. Such a bankruptcy is painful and embarrassing for all, so that they will all join together in an attempt to circumvent such bankruptcy. This gives rise to the following: In the same measure in which the distress increases, the resources to prevent its detection will also increase. This could be for example the influencing of an investigative journalist (threat to the livelihood, attacks on health, to death threats and strange accidents resulting in death), this could also be the influencing of a member of parliament or a judge, who has to wangle legal conditions or negotiation points accordingly (with similar consequences as for the journalist) or a trading partner, who wants to leave this chain, because his nerves are not up to such machinations. So anyone who knocks over the last domino will never be allowed near them again.

What reads like an exciting piece of fiction is unfortunately the real business world. The worst thing is that all Euro countries have managed in this way for years, and can now do nothing else other than to play along, even if it means that they are hung by the same petard. Nevertheless the assets of their citizens remain to them as security, the house of Alfred and the pension of Paula and the education insurance of Julia – and those at the head of the state will continue to buy at “Bankrotthausen” until the equivalents of these values of its citizens have faded into nothing. There are no words to describe what might be wished on these so-called regents for this unbelievable deception.

The nation is therefore bankrupt, we say, all Euro countries are bankrupt; now, the economy will be interesting. Whoever produces a great deal, while still in the throes of bankruptcy, will still fare better, just like the Germans; but whoever has nothing more to sell than a breathtaking view over a dreamlike bay, and sunshine, such as Greece, will not fare well at all. In this way, the last ounce of value will be squeezed out of the industrial economy, which is still limping along in a state of bankruptcy – national leaders are quite happy with this situation, because in this way it will never be discovered how much scrap has accumulated in the ECB and the national central banks. For Germany, this all means as much as 2.5x the national budget.

We repeat: We Germans are sitting on a pile of waste, which our national leadership has accepted instead of real values, simply in order to remain in the chain, and this waste is accumulating further due to rescue packages (EFSF, and above all the permanent ESM) and the Target system. Ten new wings would have to be built onto the ECB in order to store all the waste there. And German companies continue to supply their products, for which they will receive only rubbish in return, and we Germans imagine that things are going well for our economy. The nation is bankrupt, and it will not be long before the economy follows suit. It must do – it can do nothing else. And politics still demands its sacrifices: The press is muzzled by its leadership; the law is subordinated to politics (the Federal Constitutional Court passes the ESM “on the nod” and rebels are persecuted (Federal President Wulff was hounded out). The Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung reports on this point (25.10.12, p. 23), “The German economy sent out a clear message on Wednesday: The position of companies has deteriorated, the prospects are bleak, the next six months will be a lean period.” The ifo business index as a reliable measure of the German economy has fallen for the sixth time in succession. The RNZ report continues: “The Euro zone is mired in recession, the Chinese economy is growing weaker, the US economy is not yet getting back into its stride.” All this does not yet mean the total collapse, because the stalling measures of the government and the ECB mean a further delaying of the crisis, but the time-bomb is ticking.

The whole miserable situation could have been prevented if the German state (and all the other Euro countries) had not managed things in the same way as our toothbrush manufacturer, and had not taken comfortable refuge in bankruptcy by means of party programmes, election promises and the confidence of the electorate, and above all if the Euro failures had at least had the backbone not to circumvent and bypass the limits laid down by the Euro community, such as in the treaties of Maastricht and Lisbon. The Euro has failed because of greed and stupidity, and all bankruptcy administrators involved are responsible for the fact that all European Euro citizens will have to pay for this failure. And it will then not matter whether people are too desperate to agree to a pan-European State, in order to protect the monthly income of the Eurocrats and absolutist rulers and to put a good face on the evil behind it. Let us carry the Euro to its grave, for it has died from the desire of politicians, big business and bankers to accept bankruptcy.

And if you now feel depressed and angry: take advantage of every opportunity to protest against this policy!
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