Sputnik: Mr Orlov, today we want to discuss your newest book, “Shrinking the Technosphere” (the German version), but before we start this I would like to deepen one of your answers in our first Sputnik Germany interview.
You said that the US central bank (the Federal Reserve) created new collateral in the banking ‘repo’ crisis of 2019. I would add two more questions: How would you define ‘collateral’? And you said that the US dollar would lose massive value in the next few months; what makes you so sure of it?
A: Well, to answer the first question, perhaps I misspoke in the first interview. The Fed did not so much create collateral as redeem US Treasuries and other debt instruments as collateral because banks stopped being so willing to honor them as collateral for overnight loans between banks, and so the Fed had to step in and provide these loans, provide the liquidity for these loans to the order of hundreds of billions of dollars of new money that was put into circulation—between banks, not into the broader economy.
So what that shows is that faith in US debt (and the US dollar consists of US debt at this point), that that faith was not as rock solid as some people would like to believe.
Now as far as the second question, why the dollar is likely to lose value: if you look at the value of a currency, you have to stack it up against productive capacity that underlies it. Money is a way of paying for goods and services. There has been a drastic increase in the supply of money. Right now the US government is on track to finance half of its budget using new debt—that is, basically the budget deficit is 50 percent of the federal budget, it’s on track to be that. But we don’t see any increase in the productive capacity of the United States to go with this vast increase in the money supply. In fact, the US economy has shrunk by a large amount, and it’s absolutely uncertain whether it will recover any time soon.
So basically we have more money, we have less stuff to buy with this money, and the result of that is that the money is going to be worth less. The logic of that is extremely simple.
Q: OK. Thank you very much. Now Mr. Orlov, your newest book is entitled “Shrinking the Technosphere.” So my questions: what is the technosphere, and why should it or will it shrink? What is your approach in this? And for our audience, you yourself can be seen as a technologist, as a computer scientist. What is your take on this whole topic?