The Death of Money by James Rickards (book review)

If there is one book that you could read to understand where we are going in our money crisis it would be this one. A former advisor to the CIA and other financial groups Rickards developed a way to track stock trades to predict a terrorist attack and helped with war games involving financial tactics of destruction. If there was one guy I would trust to predict where we are heading on this financial roller coaster Rickards would be one of them.

Granted, some of the projects he worked on were failures only to be proven true later. Massive amounts of data collection can tell you too much while also telling you everything at the same time. While working on predicting terrorist attacks after 9-11 a crew looked at trades and tried to find sudden short buys on stocks that didn’t make sense, otherwise known as bad bets. If you had inside information on a terrorist attack and wanted to make money at the same time you would short a stock for an airline and them collect your money afterwards. The hard part is knowing how the attack will take place if you receive the signal. The program was shut down when they could not figure out how to read the information but in hind sight the program worked. A terrorist plot was foiled in London when a group tried to take over planes for a second run at the United States. After the arrest the information was looked over and sure enough there was a trade on that airline a few days before that didn’t make any sense unless you knew an attack was going to take place. However, the program was still cancelled.

So where do we go from here? At the time of this book the Chinese owned 3 trillion dollars of US debt and held the US economy by the balls. In 2014, we had just come out of the 2008 financial shit show and were looking at what could have been a brighter future, but Rickards knew better. The federal reserve was still buying bad stocks under the GE program, the federal government was printing money like crazy with no plan to ever deal with the debt, and Donald Trump wasn’t even president yet. The unrestricted creation of money, going off the gold standard, and increased debt would be the combination that would eventually do us in. Add in a little financial war from China and Russia and you have the death of the US dollar along with the Euro. Rickards points out the obvious, Russia and China buying insane amounts of gold for the possibility of creating a gold backed digital currency to replace the dollar. I have kept track of this over the years and knew exactly what he was talking about. He also states the fact that most media and politicians don’t want to admit, at any time the CCP (Chinese communist party) could sell all their bonds and tank the dollar along with trillions of dollars in the stock market in a very short period of time. The politicians think it will never happen because that would mean that the Chinese would lose money as well but they don’t consider that profit is not the motive.

Eight years later this book is a prophecy coming true. Like any timeline things are not evolving like they are predicted but it is close. Printing money is out of control, in the last two weeks Biden spent 1 trillion dollars on the Inflation Reduction act, which spent more money to increase inflation, and on the Green Energy expansion bill. Combine these two bills together and you get the Build back better plan that Biden originally wanted for the price of 1 trillion dollars. Then came the forgiveness of student loan debt and that racked up another 980 billion dollars to the national debt in a desperate move to buy votes for the midterm elections. Afterall the death of any democracy is a politician realizing they can use the money they steal from voters to buy votes later. The national debt is 10 trillion higher than it was in 2014 and it doesn’t appear to be paid down any time soon. The pandemic and the amount of printing involved in sending checks to citizens, plus the money spent on Vaccines and compensation for sick time to corporations made the money printer go burrrrrrrr.

Rickards makes some valid points about our current economic system. Gold is still money, it has always been money and will remain a form of money. Fiat currency has a short life span and since the end of the Bretton Woods agreement with Nixon the dollar has been on a crash course to kill the economic world system that we have known for too long. Even with the creation of a digital currency that could be regulated easier than “printed” money if it isn’t back by something of tangible value it will quickly follow the same course as the petrol dollar. The tale is the same for most economic advisors who are worth their weight in gold, the question is; how do you prepare for the death of the dollar and possibly the entire economic system around the world?

For those who have a portfolio there are different allocations you will want to make in diversifying your investments. According to Rickards you will want to take your current diversified assets and divide them into the following: 30% land, 30% previous metals, 30% fine art, and 10% cash. This is with the understanding that these assets will keep their value into the new currency that will emerge later and keep your wealth in tact during the transition.

I bought this book at a local goodwill for $4 and have to say it wasn’t a bad find. The information clarified some things I already knew and educated me on some things it didn’t know much about. It is strange to see many of the things Rickards warns about coming true in real time but he wasn’t the first to sound this alarm bell. It will be added to the library in its place with other financial books that will be a reminder to future generations to heed the warnings of those more experienced than you. If you are interested in reading the death of money, copies are available at the usual online places and I found audiobook format on my library’s Hoopla account.