"… in any given year, maybe one per cent of the financial economy has anything to do with the production of real, nonfinancial goods and services.

The rest? It consists of ways to make money from money. That seems innocuous enough, until you remember what money actually is. Money is not wealth; it’s a system of abstract, culturally contrived tokens that we use to manage the distribution of real goods and services. A money system can simplify the process of putting energy, raw materials, labor, and other goods and services to work in productive ways; that’s the reason we have money, or rather the reason most of us are prepared to discuss in public. That’s not what the other 99% of the world’s financial assets are doing, though. They are there to ensure that the people who own them have disproportionate, unearned access to real, nonfinancial goods and services." (Source: Energy Bulletin)

John Michael Greer’s brilliant and must-read analysis of the current financial crisis with some very valid lessons and predictions for the Eurozone. Here are a few more interesting extracts from this fascinating article:

Since the crisis dawned in 2008, EU policy has demanded that every other sector of the economy be thrown under the bus in order to prop up the tottering mass of unpayable debt that Europe’s financial economy has become. As banks fail, governments have been strongarmed into guaranteeing the value of the banks’ worthless financial paper; as governments fail in their turn, other governments that are still solvent are being pressured to fill the gap with bailouts that, again, amount to little more than a guarantee that even the most harebrained investment will not be allowed to lose money. “

the financial industry has done a superb job of convincing people that what they do is important to the rest of us. It’s true, to be sure, that having currency in circulation makes economic exchanges easier, and the kind of banking services that people and ordinary businesses use are also very helpful, but governments used to produce and circulate currency without benefit of banks until fairly recently, and banking services of the kind I’ve just mentioned can be provided quickly and easily by a government that means business…”

So the downside of any financial crisis, however grandiose, can be stopped promptly by proven methods. Then there’s the upside. Yes, there’s an upside. That’s the ultimate secret of the financial crisis, the thing that nobody anywhere wants to talk about: if a country gets into a credit crisis, defaulting on its debts is the one option that consistently leads to recovery. “ (see Argentina and Iceland).