Derivatives: The Quadrillion Dollar Financial Casino:Completely Dominated By The Big International Banks

Monday, December 13, 2010
By Paul Martin

TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

If you took an opinion poll and asked Americans what they considered the biggest threat to the world economy to be, how many of them do you think would give “derivatives” as an answer? But the truth is that derivatives were at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, and whenever the next financial crisis happens derivatives will undoubtedly play a huge role once again. So exactly what are “derivatives”? Well, derivatives are basically financial instruments whose value depends upon or is derived from the price of something else. A derivative has no underlying value of its own. It is essentially a side bet. Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from it. The system is largely unregulated (the new “Wall Street reform” law will only change this slightly) and it is totally dominated by the big international banks.

Nobody knows for certain how large the worldwide derivatives market is, but most estimates usually put the notional value of the worldwide derivatives market somewhere over a quadrillion dollars. If that is accurate, that means that the worldwide derivatives market is 20 times larger than the GDP of the entire world. It is hard to even conceive of 1,000,000,000,000,000 dollars.

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