Popular consensus views — most certainly so when at extremes — are almost always wrong. This is not a reflection of mysterious forces, but mostly due to mathematical laws. When everyone is thinking the same thing, there is no one left to convert into a new buyer or seller. Therefore, some professional investors specifically seek to identify these points when opinions are at an extreme and then bet on the opposite outcome. Quite a few hedge fund managers have made multi-billions pursuing such a strategy.
Another more cynical view is that since financial markets are seemingly hard-wired to allow the least amount of people to profit, that one therefore should not be overly influenced by the headlines of the times. It is these obvious headlines that everyone reads and that most will swallow as fact and invest accordingly.
Based on the above principles, just what are the incorrect popular opinions that have been shaped and affected by headlines lately?
Well, it would have to do with all of the following: Greece, China and the notion that the American economy is strong and not subject to another downturn anytime soon. These three have driven extreme levels of fear, optimism and complacency in recent months.
China most certainly has many challenges at present (and faces a longer-term dilemma with an aging population); however, it should not be underestimated. China is determined to rejuvenate itself back to the glory days of two centuries ago.
As for the U.S. economic outlook, it remains uninspiring. Recent trends have been disappointing.
Most portentous have been the recent instabilities in Greece. Financial markets are again relieved that Greece will not default on its sovereign debts nor leave the Eurozone (comprised of 19 countries sharing the same currency, the euro). However, just as everyone was convinced only weeks ago that Greece would surely hit the wall, these recent more optimistic perspectives are also wrong.
Greece’s third financial bailout in five years will not have solved its underlying problems. (Did you know that Greece has officially defaulted on its sovereign debt at least five times since 1826?) The fact of the matter is that the imbalances that have built up within the European Union of 28 countries will continue to build. Among many issues, it is simply not possible that trade and productivity differences between its major members (Italy, Germany, and France) can continue forever.
Currency stresses and bailout flare-ups will continue. It appears inevitable that eventually Europe will reconfigure itself … perhaps into one or more groups of countries, some again entirely independent.
From this vantage point in history, however, we cannot know what will prove to be the specific catalyst for the dissolution or reconfiguration of the present-day European Union. Could it be another default by Greece, that of another country or perhaps a country exit from the EU that sets the dominoes falling? It is tempting to speculate.
After all, back in 1981, Greece was the 10th nation to have joined the EU (then called the European Common Market (ECM)). At the time, this advent drove Bible prophecy observers into a tizzy. Understandably, many were absolutely sure that a 10-nation ruling structure was coming about, as prophesied in the Bible. As it turned out, only five years later, both Portugal and Spain joined, pushing ECM membership to 12. Today, as mentioned, there are 28 nations in this Union. So much for the 10-nation coalition … as least for now.
Readers will be familiar with the “10 kings” (mentioned or pictured in at least 5 prophecies found in both the Old and New Testaments) that come together in the last days to form a world-ruling coalition. We have published numerous articles and studies on this topic in the past. The 10 kings are shown as 10 horns in Revelation 12, 13 and 17. “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom […]” (Revelation 17:12).
As such we can know that only 10 nations will make up the final Roman-based power coalition upon earth (pre-Tribulation period). Indeed, the world can be seen to be heading to this outcome quite quickly.
The question of just how such a condition would come about (as well as the identities of the 10 member nations) is therefore a ripe subject for speculation. We can think of scenarios that might be probable or possible; however, as said, these would be speculative. The bottom line is that the present 28-nation European Union cannot at the same time represent a coalition of 10 nations. Somehow, this number will be whittled down. And, in our view, it remains an open question as to whether all 10 nations will be European. Most definitely, all must be Roman offshoots, but not necessarily all from Europe.
It is very plausible that Europe could break apart into several sub-groups of countries. For example, one analyst suggests the possibility that a group of northern nations headed by Germany will split off. They would have their own currency (dubbed the “neuro”). Southern European nations will also form their own group (these generally being the countries with deficits), as they desperately will want their own currency that they can then devalue (this currency being dubbed the “sudo”). Other groups or individual countries could splinter off as well.
Out of these smaller groups, it is plausible that the prophesied grouping of 10 will emerge. However, as mentioned, it is not possible to predict the final future recombinations of European and Roman-offshoot country alliances. Nevertheless, what is clear to see from events involving Greece today is that great fissures and cracks are spreading across Europe. Significant dislocations still lie ahead. As such, any optimistic consensus about Europe’s future today will surely result in disappointment as history plays out.