On February 10, the ancient Chinese Lunar calendar, based on a 12-year cycle of different animal years, exited the Year of the Dragon and entered the new Year of the Snake.
Snake years have been unlucky for humankind, and Chinese astrologers warn that 2013 could be a year of disasters.
We may not believe in Chinese astrology, but more than billion people in Asia are influenced by it. Their fear could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The collapse of confidence and resulting 1929 stock market crash, plunging the world into the Great Depression, happened in a Snake year.
The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 happened during a Snake year.
So did the devastating terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center and its terrorist murder of about 3,000 Americans on 9-11-2001.
The 1917 Communist Russian Revolution and more than half-century of problems caused by the Soviet Union began in a Snake year.
So did the 1989 Chinese Communist slaughter of pro-democracy protestors who raised their own Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square.
During 2012, China's birthrate rose by around 5 percent as women tried to give birth during the good luck Year of the Dragon, but births will fall this year because a child born in a Year of the Snake is believed to carry bad fortune.
The new Communist leader who took power in China in 2012, Xi Jinping, was born in 1953 — not only a Snake year, but also, like 2013, what Chinese astrologers call a Year of the Black Water Snake.
In this ancient tradition, Snake children like Xi are believed to be skilled, bright and motivated leaders, yet also to be proud, materialistic, vain, vicious, venomous, scheming and cunning. Like snakes, they can speak with a "forked tongue."
After the traditional gift-giving of this 15-day Spring Festival, China's biggest holiday, ends. Do not be surprised if Asia's economy slithers downward for much of the rest of this year and drags the United States and Eurozone down with it.
Of all 12 animal years in the Chinese calendar, Snake years have brought the worst economic growth — and are one of only two kinds of animal years that on average bring negative growth, recessionary economies.
Economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that prosperity depends on what he called 'Animal Spirits' of optimism and confidence. Bad luck Snake years symbolize the opposite of what Keynes meant by positive animal spirits.
China has been hedging its bets by nearly doubling its already-rapid rate of gold purchases via Hong Kong. We're already in global currency wars, trying to win a "race to debase" the dollar to make our exports cheaper and more competitive in foreign markets.
The U.S. has been trying to undercut the Euro and Japanese Yen, but now it appears that China is quietly entering these currency wars, which could end by crashing the world's economy in a blaze of dollar-destroying inflation.
The Chinese, who invented both paper and paper money, understand this. They are an ancient culture. They see us debasing the U.S. Dollar into "ghost money." They recently nearly doubled their imports of gold via Hong Kong.
The lunar Year of the Snake will continue until January 30, 2014.
Lowell Ponte is co-author, with Craig R. Smith, of "Crashing the Dollar: How to Survive a Global Currency Collapse"; "The Inflation Deception: Six Ways Government Tricks Us . . . And Seven Ways to Stop It"; and "Re-Making Money: Ways to Restore America's Optimistic Golden Age." For a limited time, you can get a free postpaid copy of his new book "The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America's Money Back" by calling 800-630-1494. Read more reports from Lowell Ponte — Click Here Now.
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