Are We Fighting World War III With Currency?

Financial expert Chris Martenson with PeakProsperity.com joined The Glenn Beck Program on Monday to discuss what Glenn calls the largest currency war in the history of mankind.

"I believe we are in a global currency war, the Third World War of currency. First World War, currency war, was World War I then World War II, and this has been going back and forth with Jina since Ronald Reagan. But now Donald Trump is talking about trade barriers and specifically taking on China as the biggest manipulator of currency, which historically, they have been," Glenn said.

Instead of dealing with reality, we've decided to play the money game. What will it look like when the chickens come home to roost?

Read below or watch the clip for answers to these questions:

• Who is the biggest manipulator of currency?

• What's the impact of regulations and workplace safety laws in the US?

• What's the one thing credit bubbles can't stand?

• Did Italy do a Brexit this weekend?

• What's the real game being played right now?

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: Hello, America. And welcome to the program. We are in, what I believe is the largest currency war in the history of mankind. And it's the most wonderful time of the year. So this is all good stuff.

Chris Martenson, our currency guru is joining us to talk about what this means for your finance. Put things that you're hearing in the news like tweets about Jina, what does that actually mean to you? We begin there, right now.

(music)

GLENN: Beginning of next year, and throughout the year, I want to give you a handle on what I believe is coming, just as a student of history.

History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. And I believe we are in a global currency war, the third world war of currency. First world war, currency war, was World War I. Then World War II. And this has been going back and forth with Jina since Ronald Reagan. But now Donald Trump is talking about trade barriers and specifically taking on China as the biggest manipulator of currency, which historically, they have been.

But we have decided to play the game all of these years for a reason.

You may want to stop playing the game. But I want you to understand what that means so you don't go in and then when the whole world falls apart, you go, "Well, why the hell didn't someone tell me this?" We have Chris Martenson on with us. Our guru from peakprosperity.com. Welcome, Chris. How are you?

CHRIS: Oh, I'm doing very well today. Thanks, Glenn.

GLENN: Can you put into perspective the -- the Taiwan and China talk about being the manipulator of -- the largest manipulator of currency?

First of all, is it true, or are we the biggest manipulator of currency?

(chuckling)

CHRIS: I think the answer is yes. Everybody is manipulating their currencies at all times. And there's a good reason for it, if you can keep your currency weak or low, relative to your trading partners, it makes your goods more attractive. So if somebody has a widget to sell and you can keep your currency nice and low, well, you can sell more of them. China has been on an absolute industrial tear. They've been exporting like mad. So the thinking would be, in a normal world, their currency should rise in value, relative to other currencies, and that hasn't been happening. And so the charge is leveled that China is manipulating its currency to keep it low, to give it an unfair advantage, to give its manufacturers an unfair advantage. That's what Trump is talking about.

GLENN: So, I mean, really, we have to cut ourselves a break. The reason why America doesn't make the world's goods anymore is partly because our currency was always so strong that the rest of the world couldn't afford to buy our stuff. And we bought everybody else's stuff because it was good or good enough. And it was really cheap. We couldn't compete because of the value of their currency.

CHRIS: Well, indeed. That's part of the story, and the other part is that we give ourselves lots and lots of tasty regulations and workplace safety laws.

GLENN: Yes. Correct.

CHRIS: And all sorts of things like that.

GLENN: Correct.

CHRIS: And China doesn't burden itself in quite the same way. So they can compete.

GLENN: Correct.

CHRIS: So, yes, they have cheaper labor. But that's just part of the story. The rest of the story is, yes, they are keeping their currency nice and low. And so this has worked out really well for the United States. Sometimes people say, "Chris, the United States doesn't really export anymore." And it's not true.

We export a lot of dollars. We run a trade deficit, that if it was its own economy, would be around the eighth or the ninth largest in the world. It's an astonishing number that the United States imports more than we export. When we do that, it means basically we're exporting those dollars, and we're counting on places like China to hold on to those dollars and not send them back home.

GLENN: Why is that important?

CHRIS: Well, so what they have to do, if they're holding the dollars, what do they do with them?

The central bank starts to accumulate them in China. And so they can't just hold on to dollars. So they hold on to treasuries instead. And because they're buying our treasuries in the United States, what happens next is that keeps our interest rates low.

So if China suddenly decided to reverse this policy -- let's say Trump comes out and labels them a currency manipulator, goes after them hard, China could just turn around and decide to start selling all of those treasuries. And if they do that, our interest rates will rise.

Well, you want to talk about World War I, World War II, where are we in this story? We're in the middle of the largest credit bubble in all of human history. One thing credit bubbles really can't stand is rising rates of interest. That's what would result if China started selling its treasuries.

GLENN: Chris, over the next few weeks -- and I would like to bring you in so we could spend a day before we talk about this on the air. But I am more and more convinced that -- first of all, do you believe we're in a World War III scenario of just a currency war?

CHRIS: Well, we are -- everybody -- all the central banks are doing everything they can to try and keep this whole thing stitched together. And as they do that, Glenn. They're creating larger and larger imbalances. The imbalances in Europe are large enough to tear it apart. They're very afraid of the rise of populism over there. They've seen this story before.

The difference between what is happening with the Chinese, the Japanese, the United States central banks, all these enormous imbalances are building up. And nobody has a plan for how to resolve them. If we don't, there's a good chance they resolve chaotically, which is just a fancy way of saying, "Stuff just breaks down, and then we see what happens."

GLENN: Yeah. What does it mean for Italy this weekend? Italy had the opportunity to solve things, if you will, or at least still keep playing the game. They kind of did a Trump or a Brexit this weekend and said, "No," to the plan of their Prime Minister over there. So now he is stepping down. And it looks like it's, again, another Brexit.

What does this mean?

CHRIS: This -- you know, a lot of people -- I've seen a lot of ink written already that says, "Well, this is just people not understanding the bigger issues. And maybe they're a little bit racist or more like Trump or something or something."

But the truth is, Glenn, that the people of Italy have been suffering for a long time. The average people have been suffering for a long time. I think it's been since 1998 since their economy has been growing. And the people of Italy have had to endure with less and less and less. And they've just been getting squeezed. So I view this again -- they call it pop, like I say, this or that. Really, it's just economics. When people find their daily lives getting harder and harder, it creates social tension.

This was another opportunity for the elites this time in Italy, to figure out how they're going to start listening to their people.

Renzi was deciding not to do that. And the people of Italy, very convincingly -- nearly 60 percent, I think, is the last number I saw, said, "No, it's time for us to be part of this story as well." That's really what's going on here. And the bigger picture, the thing we can talk about over the coming weeks is, the only question that has to be answered at this stage of the credit bubble is: Who is going to eat the losses?

GLENN: Explain that.

CHRIS: Well, when something can't be paid back, it won't be. And so the banks are always trying to figure out how they don't get to eat the losses. They're always looking for a bailout in some form, or in this case in Europe, now bail-ins. But somebody's going to have to take the losses.

So in the case of Italy, their banks have 360 billion euros of non-performing loans. Those are loans that aren't being paid. That's 20 percent of Italian GDP. There's no possible way that they can cover that.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

CHRIS: So the question now is: Who is going to eat the losses? And the politicians would love that to be the taxpayers. They create inflation, which is a stealth way of stealing that from all the people. Sometimes they just do the bailout and make the taxpayers pay directly. But the people are starting to say, "No. This is unfair. We don't like this. And the losses should actually belong to the people who made the bad decisions. Maybe that's the banks. Maybe that's the politicians." So this is the real game that's being played right now.

GLENN: But how do they pay for it? How do the banks and the politicians pay for that? They can't. How are you going to give that to the politicians?

CHRIS: Well, they're going to have to suffer with austerity so that the government is going to have to say, "Look, we can't just dip into the coffers for this. We're going to have to tighten our belts." Guess what, every one of the politicians who was involved in that gets swept out of office. It's a real career killer when you have to tell people, "It's time to pay for all of the bad decisions."

GLENN: You know, I've been reading a lot about the -- the gold standard and -- and how we kind of got off it. And it's really much more complex. And the trade balance is so complex, and yet elegant in the way it kept everything balanced. But we don't do that anymore.

When the Weimar Republic had hyperinflation and they inflated their way out of things, first of all, they didn't inflate their way out of the reparations that they were supposed to. A lot of people think, I believe, that, oh, we're just -- the world is going to forgive America of this big debt. I don't think so.

Chris Martenson, do you believe they will?

CHRIS: No. How could they?

GLENN: Yeah.

CHRIS: The world isn't an entity. When we say, you know, there's $7 trillion of US money out overseas, it's not just in a spot in some central bank where they can flick a pen. It's sitting in a French pension. It's sitting in the endowment for a small school. It's in people's 401(k)s and retirement accounts. It's parked all over the place.

So either everybody has to agree to forgive that, or we get back to the prime question, which is: Who eats the losses in this story? And the governments always want to try and inflate it away. That seems the simplest. It spreads the pain over a great many people.

But what your listeners need to know is that this is a game. This is a game that's been played for a very long time. And it's basically heads we win, tails you lose. And that's what's creating the populist backlash. People are starting to figure it out. We have information now that we can access and go, "Oh, is that the game." Right?

It's not like it was in the '50s, when you only had one newspaper. Now, we can go to other sources of information and say, "Oh, I see what they're doing here. This really isn't fair." And so that's what we're getting down to is that when people experience deep unfairness in their lives, they don't like it. And that's really, I think, a better explanation of what's happening than, you know, simple ignorance or something like that.

GLENN: Okay. So, Chris, when you -- we'll have you back. And I want to talk to you about the way the Weimar Republic stabilized their economy after hyperinflation. They attached it to land.

Can you tell me at all, when you come back, about what a scenario like that would mean. Does that mean the government takes the land? Do they do that with just the public land that they hold? Would they take our mortgages? How does that work? How did it work before? Because I'm more and more convinced -- and I'd love to hear your opinion on this now, that the central banks and the central planners actually thought the lessons from World War I, the Weimar Republic, and World War II, they think those actually worked. Didn't they?

CHRIS: Well, they kind of did. And this is a really important topic. It will take a little while to explain. But it's summarized like this: If you read all the accounts of what happened in the Weimar Republic, all the popular books and all the stuff in the library says, "Wow, there was a lot of wealth destruction. Look at all these middle class, upper middle class people. They lost everything."

When you really look at what happened though, no wealth was actually destroyed. Because real wealth are the factories, the farms, the streets, the cars -- it's the real productive wealth of the nation. That didn't go away. What happened? It got transferred.

GLENN: Yes.

CHRIS: And this happened in the 1920s and '30s in the United States as well. All these people owned farms. They went bust because the mortgages all went bust on them.

And when the dust settled, if you watched carefully, who owned the farms changed hands. So that's what I'm trying to alert people to, that this idea of what we're facing is not so much of a wealth destruction. It's a wealth transfer. But first, you got to understand what the real wealth is. And it's not the paper.

GLENN: Okay.

Let's start there next time you're on. Chris Martenson from Peak Prosperity. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, sir.

CHRIS: You're welcome. My pleasure.

GLENN: You bet.

Featured Image: Fake US Dollar and Turkish Lira currency often used as a novelty gift is seen for sale at a tobacco shop in a market on December 5, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. As the Turkish Lira plunged to record lows in past weeks, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech Saturday said his political enemies were trying to sabotage the economy and urged citizens to convert their foreign currency savings into lira or gold. Borsa Istanbul, Turkey's main stock exchange, became the first institution to act on the presidents call, converting all it's cash assets to liras. Some local businesses in a show of support began offering incentives to customers who had proof of changing foreign currency to lira, with rewards such as free restaurant meals, free gifts and discounts on purchases and one funeral owner in the province of Bursa promised to give free tombstones to people who had protected their lira. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.