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Bitcoin? You Have Got To Be Joking! My Report From The World Economic Forum

Stock-Markets / Financial Markets 2014 Feb 12, 2014 - 10:49 AM GMT

By: David_Hague

Stock-Markets

Dear Reader, I must apologize for my tardiness in filing my report on last month's World Economic Forum [WEF] in Davos. This annual gathering of the world's best and brightest, society's rich and famous, the powerful and the political, the lobbyists as well as many economists, groupies, and assorted riff raff [Yours truly would fall into the last category.] is, perhaps, the most important harbinger of the prospects for the global economy in 2014. My reasons for being so late in filing my report will soon become apparent. I arrived in Davos, more excited than I had ever been in my career. A coterie of powerful bankers had retained me to make a keynote speech at the conference on the topic of Derivatives. They had agreed to cover my expenses and pay me handsomely for the opportunity to hear my thoughts on the subject.


Bitcoin: Friend or Foe?

However, when I arrived at the front desk of the opulent Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère I was summarily informed that my reservation had been cancelled. I was given a letter signed by a senior banker, whose name I will not mention, that indicated, that my presentation had been eliminated and replaced by a lecture entitled 'Bitcoins: Friend of Foe?'

Oh my! No central authority or middlemen

It was not surprising that topic had made its way onto the agenda. Bitcoin could prove to be Main Street's defense against doltish monetary interventions by Central Banks in the market. According to the ECB's own research entitled Virtual Currency Schemes , October 2012. "The theoretical roots of Bitcoin can be found in the Austrian school of economics and its criticism of the current fiat money system and interventions undertaken by governments and other agencies, which, in their view, result in exacerbated business cycles and massive inflation." Bitcoin according to its website is "a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen." If John Lennon were with us today one wonders if he might not add another verse to his timeless song 'Imagine' . Imagine there are no central bankers. You can see why the bankers, politicians and Wall Street would be terrified. Bitcoin is viewed as anarchistic heresy by Wall Street, politicians and bankers alike. It would put hundreds of thousands of bankers, regulators and politicians out of work. Bitcoin is thought to be more dangerous than the insurgents in Europe and America who hundreds of years ago had the temerity to suggest that democracy was a better form of government than a monarchy, dictatorship or oligarchy. Bitcoin would put control of the money back in the hands of Main Street. It would reacquaint the world with the meaning of the words 'moral hazard and 'caveat emptor'.

Those Rat Bastard bankers had hung me out to dry

Dear Reader I digress, back to my predicament. In addition to cancelling my presentation the letter indicated that my security pass for the entire conference had been revoked. I would not receive any reimbursement for my expenses. It suggested that I should leave Davos immediately to avoid being escorted out of town by the security guard who had magically appeared beside me at the desk. Dear Reader, you can't imagine my vexation. Those Rat Bastard bankers had hung me out to dry.

I could not even afford the price of a Fasnachtsküchlein,

The money spent on my New York to Davos airfare would never find its way back into my pocket. [Well to be honest, it probably would find its way home as the check used to pay for the flight was now going to bounce higher than the CN Tower .] I had no money and was about to find myself wandering down Davos's main street, the Promenade, on a freezing cold winter night on my way to financial ruin. I was destitute. I could not even afford the price of a Fasnachtsküchlein, those delicious cookies served most frequently during Switzerland's annual winter carnival. I certainly could not afford my airfare home. I had been counting on the huge payday that had been promised to me by the bankers to reinvigorate my finances as well as my journalistic career when I spent my last dime.

In fact it was Switzerland's equivalent of Nevada's famous Mustang Ranch

Dear Reader, I was down and almost out. I wandered through the bitter cold on a lonely road on the outskirts of Davos when I saw a wonderful sight. A brightly lit building, with a tacky neon sign indicating that it was the Auberge du 'Plaisir', a Gentleman's Club. In fact it was Switzerland's equivalent of Nevada's famous Mustang Ranch , the world's most famous brothel. I realized that with the World Economic Forum taking place down the road they might be hiring. After a brief conversation with the Manager, a wise woman who recognized that my skills in high finance, banking, management and journalism were quite useless in the real world hired me to run the coat check room for next three weeks [room and board provided]. I got to work immediately.

The Auberge got very busy around 1 p.m. each day

Dear Reader, at this point you are probably thinking that while my story thus far has been intriguing, it has not provided you with any insights from the WEF that you can translate into profitable trading activity. Well, prepare to be dazzled. The Auberge got very busy around 1 p.m. each day. The attendees at the WEF would finish their sumptuous lunch and declare 'victory' on the day's work. They would all pile in a cab and head down the road to the Auberge. Spotting an opportunity, when they checked their briefcases and coats with me, I surreptitiously picked the locks on their briefcases and read all the confidential documents contained within. Dear Reader you will not believe what I learned.

There was nothing to discuss

Surprisingly they all had a copy of the 'Conclusions and Recommendations' from the 2014 WEF. This document had been printed a month before the conference had even started. No wonder their work day finished at noon. There was nothing to discuss. The WEF was merely a façade for the world's Central Bankers and the 1% to impose their vision of the economic future on Main Streets from Buenos Aires to Bombay and everywhere in between. Most importantly it was an opportunity to calm the masses that our leaders have everything under control. The notional 'conclusions' of the 2014 WEF are as follows: {from the World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting 2014, Executive Summary, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland 22-25 January }

I suggest you drink several espressos to help keep you awake

An excerpt from the summary reads: [A word of caution Dear Reader before your read this profound and brilliant summary of the thoughts of the world's greatest minds I suggest you drink several espressos to help keep you awake as you read. Furthermore you probably should have some of your favorite remedy for an upset stomach to calm your queasy innards after you finish reading the excerpt. The realization that the world's leaders in fact have not a clue as to how to guide us through the morass that is the global economy will leave you quite dizzy. Here is the excerpt:

Like you I had no clue what heterarchies means

"Profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological forces are transforming our lives, communities and institutions. Rapidly crossing geographic, gender and generational boundaries, they are shifting power from traditional hierarchies to networked heterarchies. [Dear reader let me save you the trouble of reaching for your dictionary. Like you and my 'spellcheck' I had no clue what heterarchies means, follow the link provided and prepare to be further confused] yet the international community remains crisis-driven instead of strategic in the face of the trends, drivers and opportunities pushing global, regional and industry transformation.

The conclusion is that the world needs to pause and consider the following:

  • At an individual level, technological revolutions are changing the context for decision-making and disrupting our conventional learning processes.

  • At an institutional level, a hyper-connected world requires systemic, integrated issue mapping to create coherence and overcome compartmentalized thinking.

  • At an international level, the formal architecture for global governance was not designed for the interdisciplinary challenges and collective action problems of today. As a result, international cooperation has yet to fully enter the information age and capture its associated productivity gains."

You have now joined a very exclusive club

Dear Reader you have now joined a very exclusive club. The club's members are those individuals who actually read the Executive Summary from the WEF. It now includes you, me and the person who typed the summary. If I may take the liberty of providing you a précis of the aforementioned excerpt, in simple terms the most brilliant minds in the universe have concluded that the world is complicated. One can deduce from this excerpt that in the face of such complexity that the explication our leaders will offer will be that continued debt accumulation and money printing are the appropriate course of action. I guess to bankers all problems look the same. One must remember though, that, if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail!

Agfok: A Gift For Our Kids

Dear reader now I will share a most shocking revelation. In one briefcase I found a 'Top Secret' directive indicating that the bankers and governments intended to add a new word to the English language. This addition was motivated by a recognition that the word 'debt ' as defined by Merriam Webster implies something that is owed and will be paid back. This definition is becoming a very Inconvenient Truth for the world's bankers and politicians. It has been proposed that the word debt be replaced with the word Agfok, [an acronym for A Gift For Our Kids] This would be a recognition of the 'facts on the ground' that the 52 trillion dollars of global government debt will never be repaid. It will simply be a giant millstone we will tie around our children's neck as we baby boomers depart this earth.

Convert the payroll of the world's central banks from fiat currency to Bitcoin

The next briefcase contained a copy of an email that had been sent to the Human Resources department of all the world's central banks. The email was an explanation of the process required to convert the payroll of the world's central banks from fiat currency to Bitcoin . It appears that the central banker's public protestations of confidence in the worlds monetary system based on Fiat Currency does not extend to our central bankers desire to keep their own personal finances in order.

Their desire was for relaxation and a happy ending to their day.

Dear Reader you are probably wondering why the guests at the Auberge were not complaining that the briefcases they left under my care were being mangled, bashed and broken into while under my protection. Fortunately they were all seasoned air travelers and were quite accustomed to any checked baggage being treated in this fashion. Furthermore the guests at the Auberge were all very relaxed after a hard mornings work. They did not want any stress or confrontation. Their desire was for relaxation and a happy ending to their day.

My spandex days were long behind me,

I looked up from my research and was startled to see a familiar face smiling at me as he asked me to take his coat and briefcase. [Honestly he was not smiling he was doubled over in laughter]. Apparently the sight of me dressed in the uniform provided to me by the Auberge amused him. [My employer required that I wear only black spandex pants, shirt cuffs and a bow tie, a look made famous by the Chippendale Dancers ]. I will admit that my spandex days were long behind me, but a job is a job.

A wild, reckless, huge and ultimately ruinous and incorrect wager

The familiar face was none other than my old friend, Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre, the Director of Statistical Creation at the European Central Bank [ECB]. My relationship with Gustavo traced its inception back to my days on Wall Street when I specialized in packaging worthless securities into triple-A rated investment grade pools of money to be sold to anyone with a pulse. Sadly I spent the large sums of money I earned for providing this public service on myriad types of gambling including significant wagers with my favorite bookie who was none other than the man standing in front of me, Gustavo Laframboise-Pierre. His life began its rapid ascension to its current lofty position when a senior member of the ECB, while visiting New York, in a crack and alcohol induced stupor placed with Gustavo, a wild, reckless, huge and ultimately ruinous and incorrect wager on the outcome of the 2010 World Cup. The only way the debt could be settled was for the senior member of the ECB to offer Gustavo a highly paid sinecure at the ECB. Gustavo became the ECB's Global Director of Statistical Creation. His job was to fabricate statistics on a global basis that would support whatever "strategy du jour" the world's bankers and economists were proposing on any given day.

My good friend and former bookie was now a formidable force in the global banking industry.

It was Gustavo who had proposed inventing the word Agfok to replace the word debt. Gustavo's high tolerance for alcohol, his connections to a constant supply of cocaine, his complete lack of ethics, his unlimited expense account, his skill with numbers and his love of La Dolce Vita made him an invaluable addition to the world's central banking team.

You treacherous contract-cancelling cretin

As he regained his composure Gustavo looked as though he was going to make a snide remark about my new station in life. I spoke sharply, "Before you say one word you treacherous contract- cancelling cretin I would remind you that no individual earning their living working a coat check room ever caused a global financial meltdown, ruined people's lives, depleted their savings, and debased the world's currencies. It is honest work". Gustavo smirked, "It was not my fault your contract was cancelled. You were not replaced with a Bitcoin presentation. Truthfully, the time you were allocated conflicted with the time the lobbyists at the conference were going to be giving out their swag and bling to curry favor with the attendees.

Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon

No one would miss a chance to load up on trips, watches, jewelry and other assorted luxury items to hear you speak. He removed one of the three Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon watches he was wearing. Clearly he done a 'victory lap' at Swag and Bling party hosted by the world's foremost lobbying firms. He handed it to me and said, "Here David take this as a token of my sincere regret at any inconvenience you may have suffered by the cancellation of your contract." I took his coat and briefcase with one hand and googled Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon on my Smartphone with my other hand. This trivial piece of bling was worth over a million dollars and Gustavo had three of them, [well two now]. His was so inebriated he surely did not know what he was doing. I however was quite sober, and knew exactly what I was doing as I put the watch on my ankle. [Dear Reader, are you crazy? Do you think I am going to walk around with a million dollar watch on my wrist for all to see? I might just as well put a sign on my head and say 'Rob me'. It would be safe on my ankle until such time as I could sell it.] "All right Gustavo", I said begrudgingly yet with a smile, "I accept your apology". While I tried to appear outwardly to Gustavo that my forgiveness was reluctant, it was hard to accomplish as my mind was doing the 'dance of great joy' at the financial salvation now adorning my ankle.

My ankles were now bedecked with matching watches

"So David, have you found anything interesting in those briefcases?" Gustavo asked. I found his assumption that I was plundering the briefcases both offensive and reassuring. Clearly he was still an ally. "David", he continued, "If you discover any information that could help me compromise my enemies or frankly, provide the opportunity for some profitable blackmailing I will pay you handsomely for your discovery. I handed him a dozen smart phones that I had purloined over the last few days. "What do I want with a bunch of lousy cell phones David", he growled. "Gustavo, Check it out", I grinned as I took one of the phones and showed him how to review the stored photographs. His eyes lit up when he saw the 'Selfies ' the hapless owner of the phone had taken of himself and his escort at the Auberge. All the phones have similar compromising images of their respective owners. He took off another Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon, handed it to me and thanked me profusely. My ankles were now bedecked with matching watches. I was beginning to feel like a man again.

Your stupidity is only exceeded by your naiveté

"David, I would love to chat with you but I have an appointment upstairs, put the cell phones in my briefcase. I will collect my belongings in an hour." "Before you go Gustavo, can you save me some time? Can you just tell me if this year's WEF has anything interesting to say to the world?" "David" he lectured, "as usual your stupidity is only exceeded by your naiveté. The main purpose of the WEF is to gather the world's most influential people together so that the world's most powerful lobbyists can explain to them the political and economic agenda for the upcoming year. The second purpose of the WEF is to reassure Main Street that the world's leaders have 'got their backs' and are working to ensure their continued prosperity. This will placate and anesthetize the masses into a state of inertia whilst the world's elite prepare for the financial cataclysm their leadership has made inevitable. The final purpose of this year's conference was to put an end to all this talk of digital currencies." He staggered up the stairs to his meeting.

I ended my brief career in the Swiss hotel industry

Dear reader I was still bristling with indignation at being called stupid and naïve. I was somewhat mollified by the fact that I wearing 2 million dollars' worth of watches on my ankles. I handed my bow tie into the Manager of the Auberge and ended my brief career in the Swiss hotel industry. I filed my report on the World Economic Forum and then headed off to Geneva to sell the watches. I was quite prepared to accept Bitcoin as payment for my extraordinary timepieces.

David Hague
Funny Business

David can be reached at davidhague@rogers.com

David has divided his time unequally for the last 30 years between the financial services, education, writing and comedy. He has spent time in financial services as an investment adviser, financial planner, sales trainer, corporate entertainer, and as a teacher of investment courses. He has also taught numerous financial courses. His work in comedy includes numerous corporate events and performances at comedy clubs. His background allows him to seamlessly move between the business world, higher education and the world of comedy and sometimes, to bring the two worlds together.

© 2014 Copyright David Hague - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


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