Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, people talked about it possibly marking the biblical end times. Get ready, because if that's true, then more hardship would lie ahead.
The COVID-19 crisis is regarded as a black swan, a once-in-a-century event affecting the entire world.
So, what might be next? A Christian financial expert says get ready for something known as gray swan events – trends we are already experiencing and they're likely to transcend the pandemic.
"A gray swan is an event that is obvious, it's out in the open, people see it, they know that it is there, they know it is a significant threat, but they tend to ignore it and do nothing about it," Crown Financial CEO and radio host Chuck Bentley insisted.
Bentley explains this further in his new book, Seven Gray Swans: Trends That Threaten Our Financial Future.
Digital Currency and a Cashless Society
Among the seven: The global move toward digital currency and a cashless society. Bentley said the transition actually began years ago and has proceeded rapidly since COVID-19 hit.
"Especially with the threat of our actual physical currency may be tainted with the virus. And over time, the Bible warns that ultimately the anti-Christ will control the world through the economy and so, I think we need to be aware that it is moving in that direction rapidly and to do our part to be prepared for that."
Stimulus Payments and Universal Basic Income
Also, when the US Congress considered another multi-billion dollar stimulus package, most Americans wanted to know how much to expect in their bank accounts or mailboxes. Bentley warns temporary relief payments could easily turn into a permanent, universal basic income program.
"Those types of programs are very hard to stop. But my hope is that we will not endorse this policy, to see that continue because ultimately we cannot afford it. It would be like eating sugar for your diet. It feels good for a little while, but it doesn't do good in the long term."
Skyrocketing Debt Crisis
Bentley believes this is a result of the U.S. embracing modern monetary theory, that debt doesn't matter so, the Fed goes on printing dollars indefinitely.
A similar trend in Venezuela led to hyperinflation with an overall five-year rate that rose a whopping 53-million percent.
America's stunning $28 trillion national debt now exceeds the size of the entire U.S. economy and is expected to total 102% of the US gross domestic product by the end of this fiscal year. Bentley doubts the debt will ever be repaid and that would lead America's creditors to inflict some painful options on the public.
"Some sort of austerity program, some sort of massive tax increase, a hyperinflation that would make it easier for the government to repay their debt," he explained.
Biometrics and Social Scoring
The use of biometrics and social scoring also make up these gray swan trends. Airlines are pushing for COVID-19 contact tracing and the use of smartphone apps to prove travelers have been vaccinated for the virus. And Bentley said a number of companies are already using social scoring.
"Right now if I take an Uber, not only l do I evaluate the driver, but the driver evaluates me and a private company could vote me out of their system. We're seeing that in social media right now."
We see some of this ranging from Twitter blue checks to Facebook likes and others.
In China, the Communist Party uses social scoring to rate its citizens' obedience to government authority and loyalty to communist ideology. Positive scores garner favor while those with low scores are denied jobs, travel benefits, and education.
Speech Police and Cancel Culture
Eventually, such a system could prove dangerous for Americans unwilling to comply with acceptable speech and cancel-culture norms.
"Even getting things like a tax refund, being able to travel, being able to have access to certain properties – buildings or museums. I think it's coming, " Bentley insisted. "I think it's one we all need to have a heightened awareness of and to be very careful about supporting the things that allow ultimate control over our free speech."
So, if the birth pangs of the seven gray swan events are already upon us, how can we prepare and protect our families and investments? Bentley said we must prudently chart a wise path without becoming paralyzed, or reacting emotionally.
"We obviously need to diversify our investments, we need to get out of debt, we need to increase our savings, we need to increase our ability to persevere through what I think are going to be turbulent times."
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