Watching the storm-driven money affairs of the world in recent years, the specter is becoming ever more similar to the action of locust swarms. These clouds of insects are intent upon devouring fodder…frenetically focused on the accumulation of gain and wealth.
These days, there is just so much financial capital in the world that is managed by portfolio managers or corporate executives—in other words, money and capital that is centrally commandeered by an ever smaller cadre of elites—that a value-free, locust-like rapaciousness has become ever more pronounced. Past conventions and precedents are ignored as the primary emphasis is financial survival and the big pay-off.
However, today, financial survival is not only defined quantitatively but also in relative terms. Post-modernism is everywhere, not just affecting religions and social mores. If serving God has become a definitional morass with ever-moving boundary stones and doctrine, you can be sure that serving Mammon is equally so. In the name of gain, the enterprising experts in greed (2 Peter 2:14) will have the upper hand.
Lately, the locusts have been pouncing upon new prospects of gain now that previous sources have been denuded. Energy and agricultural commodities have been soaring. It is a sign of the times in at least two senses. Firstly, commodities are usually the last game in any speculative investment cycle. They are usually part of the inflationary, over-heating phase. However, that is not to say that there are not special reasons behind recently soaring oil and food stuff prices.
The second significance of this recent rush into commodities is the growing “locust” factor affecting world markets. Investment capital is so aggressive and driven by the quest for gains, that virtually anything goes. Portfolio managers and corporate executives are so incented by big pay-offs for success—tens of millions in bonuses … even billions in gains—that such type of behavior is richly rewarded.
For example, recently, we have seen consumable food items such as corn and rice hoarded in the hope of making gains. New types of investment vehicles which seek to profit from commodity price gains have been formed. Large institutional investors such as pension funds and private investors alike have been piling in. Some argue that these new types of investments funds can add to the upward pressure on various commodity prices. It does seem rather remarkable that perishable items such as food (unlike, for example, a metal such as gold or silver) should be a storehouse of wealth.
Elsewhere, there are reports of oil tankers being hired to store crude oil, thus keeping it from market in the expectation of higher prices. Whatever the means of these and other strategies, the point is that enormous amounts of capital are sloshing around the world today that are quick to settle upon the latest money-making opportunity in swarm-like fashion. This contributes to an environment of careening prices and serial financial bubbles.
Watching the ferocity of these money flows, it can be seen that the world’s poor are being disadvantaged. For example, those with the lowest living standards—the ones that are already on the bottom of the rung—are facing the greatest hardships as food and energy prices soar. Hedge fund investors and commodity speculators may be exulting; the poor are crying out. This can be seen to line up with the picture of the last days prophesied by James: “The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty” (James 5:4).
While that specific time is not here yet, we can today certainly discern these insidious and blaring impulses at work. While part of the world grows ever richer—stockpiling riches and “hoarding up wealth in the last days” (James 5:3)—the workers of the field are increasingly disenfranchised. There is no telling how far such conditions could yet worsen. If the recent devastation in the world’s financial system ends up leading to a period of wild and massive monetary malfeasance (a not unlikely development), the world could plausibly succumb to a frightening “crack up” boom. That would be a period where a world of relativistic human beings (with no reference or hope of eternity) runs after anything that can soar in price, in a panicked effort to preserve wealth.
What about the financial troubles of the world’s banking and financial systems? Before we venture an answer, it is worth stopping to ask: Just who is the boss of the rampaging locusts? To answer, we must first affirm the reference point of the Judeo-Christian perspective of good and evil; the rebellion of Satan; and the cosmology of the things of both the beginning and the end.
There are only two masters, namely God and Mammon. Mammon, in a sense, represents the spiritual entity that seeks to organize the temporal and fleshly lusts of the world away from the glory of God. It is materialistic toxology versus doxology. Therefore, if God disciplines those that He loves (Hebrews 12:8-10), we can also surmise that the spirit behind Mammon disciplines those that do not conform with its plan.
If Satan, the “prince of this world,” (John 12:31) has the power to reward his servants with “authority and splendor” (Luke 4:5) we can know that he surely orchestrates the last-day Mammonism enveloping the world. Of course, to do so, he must also chasten his servants from time to time, lest they get too greedy and undermine the goals of a carefully planned last-day trap for the world. (Luke 21:34)
The writer of Proverbs was correct when he observed that “locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks” (Proverbs 20:27). Rather, they are led by the Prince who controls his ranks of servants through the soft reins of temptation and idol affections.
That leads us back to the current state of affairs. Indeed, the world’s financial system will entirely collapse one day. However, that event cannot take place until sometime in the Tribulation period. Until that time, a financial system is required to control the world; to assist in creating the stresses of the cares of this world (Luke 8:14); and to create the conditions where the faith of many grows cold (Matthew 24:12). That process is well underway, but not quite finished.
No doubt, there will continue to occur both localized and increasingly global financial busts, but of a lesser type. Yet, these must be significant enough to periodically induce new fear so as to foment the conditions and permissiveness that will further drive humanity into the arms of globalism. That process is also rapidly underway. Consider that the most recent financial tremors this past year led to the most globally co-ordinated financial rescue efforts yet. Before this financial shaking of the world’s financial system is over, you can be sure that globalism and centralized monetarism will have hopped forward by leaps and bounds. So, even while a large part of the Western financial system appeared to be in a death spiral (and given that the Tribulation period obviously has not yet started) the world’s financial system will yet continue to become more controlling and powerful.
But that is not to say that the current bout of financial troubles is over and certainly not for Americaand other parts of the Western world. And, though financial conditions again appear to have improved since mid-March of this year—that being the time point that the US Federal Reserve broke precedent and prevented the collapse of Bear Stearns from melting down the broader financial system—more difficulties lie ahead that need solutions and a patch over.
To date, the hottest fires have rampaged inside the house of finance. Steep financial crashes have taken place inside of this world, many of these tremors not necessarily translating into severe crunches for individual households (assuming that they have avoided real estate troubles). Of course, private investors also suffered collateral damage to the extent that they had investments in financial stocks, or mortgage funds or perhaps highly-leveraged holdings. However, in recent years, the financial world has indeed operated as if separate from the real world.
In reality, of course, the real economic and its financial systems are connected through the linkages of interest payments and income as well as the impact of financial wealth transfer into consumption and income. Only recently are these factors starting to deeply cut into economic growth. As such, economic conditions are likely to get worse and probably for much longer than most forecasters are willing to imagine. Be that as it may, we are best to remember that financial markets are run by locusts. As such, we should be on guard to expect deception and the unexpected.
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About the Author: Wilfred J. Hahn is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst and chairman of the country’s largest global investment operation his writings focus on the endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. His most recent book is The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free.