Monday, February 16, 2009

ECOnomy: The Stuff of Business, The Bounty of Other Exchange

Business has enveloped all aspects of culture. Not for a moment are we able to escape from a sea of messages with two common denominators: stimulate a spiritual sort of consumption and misinform the public. Whether it is in the kitchen with the tube on in the background or at a urinal on a Friday night at the bar, we are implored to hand over our hard-earned cash—or, more dangerously, our credit cards—creating demand and debt, in a vicious feedback loop that, through inherent processes such as interest and inflation, sets its own illusory stage higher; Proverb: the higher you climb, the further you fall. The monetary system at present, as the vehicle of business, is, for a multitude of reasons, insufficient for a modern thinking society. It cannot support itself, for it depends on chance asset bubbles—such as the .com boom or oil, just as the gold standard relied on chance gold discoveries such as the Gold Rush in California—and growth for the benefit of the top sectors at the expense of the lower echelons of society. Poverty is a must, for the entire system depends on our inability to pay back our debts. Just imagine if we all paid back our debts. There’d be no money in circulation. Private Banks such as the Fed (why the fuck is it called the Fed?) or the Bank of England, etc. would have all money.

Wages are falling due to soaring food and energy prices, while consumer debt and housing foreclosures are at historic highs. 600,000 American jobs are currently being lost a month, while 10,000 homes are being foreclosed. The criminal increase in the gap between rich and poor is conducive to social collapse by way of crime and genocide (genocide, by the way, is official Washington Policy). The threat of social turmoil further undermines our system of governance, while, meanwhile, England has already implemented the meat of a Police State. The United States military is already prepared to deal with social unrest, and, when we look to history for answers, we understand State violence against American citizens is the status quo. Oh, how the world begins to resemble feudal Europe! Excessive consumption—encouraged by cartels that set the agenda for a consumer society—is to blame for the collapse of ecosystems. All the while government responses have been enacted at the behest of multinationals, resulting in a considerable devaluing of the dollar: Almost ten trillion dollars—that is, simply speaking, upwards of 90 trillion, due to current reserve policies—has been spent by the US government alone to repair the economy. Foretelling of further systemic failures in our societal superstructure is congresses current irrelevance in face of empire sized corporations. Not to mention that, in today's America, the congress is routinely threatened with martial law, should it not pass Executive decrees. And you really think your congressman understands the ways in which our economy has been hijacked? Ha! Unless he/she is in cahoots with Bilderberg or a free-thinker like Ron Paul, fat chance! Culture gasps for air but comes up short. We are business, business is us.

It’s time for a new way of exchanging goods and services by evaluating economic performance against such indicators as healthy children, families, communities, relationships and natural systems.

Wall Street has historically claimed their trading activities create wealth for all, provide the funds that keep the business functioning, increases the velocity of exchange and stabilizes markets. The financial meltdown, however, has given us all a crash course in finance: a world of corruption based on speculation, the stripping of corporate assets, predatory lending, and asset bubbles is revealed. The 50 highest-paid private investment fund managers in 2007 averaged $588 million in compensation-19,000 time’s as much as average worker pay. One of the main purposes of the FED, as they will tell you, is to maintain stability within the economy, however, it has functioned just as a private corporation does, working only towards increasing profits.

The losses of the masses must be recovered. The Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington D.C. think tank, outlined in “A Sensible Plan for Recovery” some measures that ought to be heeded. In suggesting that Congress make Wall Street pay for both the bailout and a true economic stimulus package, the IPS recommended a securities transactions tax, a minimum corporate income tax, recovery of bonuses paid to Wall Street CEOs responsible for the crisis, an end to corporate tax havens, and an end to tax loopholes for CEO pay: Fair regulation of financial markets. Further measures will be needed to break up concentrations of corporate power. As David Corten suggested, market prices must internalize full social and environmental costs, trades between nations must be in balance, investment must be local, no player can be big enough to directly influence market price, power must be equitably distributed, the market must depend on the free flow of information (no intellectual property rights). For instance, conglomerations dishing out millions on greenwashing campaigns rarely implement the green protocols they champion. Such practices must stop immediately, and actual immediate change must begin to fuel a new economy based on resources and creative endeavors, with full transformation coming about slowly. (an economy changed hastily will end up authoritarian, with power accumulating among the most politically and economically powerful lenders.

Senator Bernie Sanders observed, “If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.” Institutions must be vulnerable to challenge by uninstitutionalized groups of individuals forming specifically for the task of disputing illegitimate power. The work of these theoretical individuals would most likely be to disperse power among a greater number of people. Let’s work from the assumption that power corrupts, our founding fathers believed this to be so. So, all power is illegitimate, except for that of the parent protecting a child. Of course dominion will exist, though in a severely debased and checked form.

The current economic system posits consumers as slaves to be herded by their colonial master. We just happen to be awfully free these days. The Federal Reserve and Wall Street’s biggest players have control over the money supply, over predatory lending practices (Proverb: The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave.), and over lobbying and campaign contributions used to suppress wages, dismantle social safety nets, and capture the value of productivity gains for themselves. The top 1 percent of the U.S. income earners increased their share of national cash income from 9 percent to 19 percent between 1980 and 2005, according to Charles R. Morris. Income for 90 percent of households fell relative to inflation, household savings rates dropped to less than one percent, and household debt soared as Main Street workers struggled to hold their lives together. It hasn’t worked. The base economic structure, the family, has failed in modern US society: fifty percent end in divorce and fifty percent of spouses find themselves in the sack with someone other than their partner. No wonder why we kids are so fucking mental! Drink, Drank, Punk! (Or you’re half-baked).

A distribution of wealth through progressive tax rates, increasing the minimum wage, containing health care costs, and regulating mortgage and credit card interest rates is crucial to moving forward. Whether we stay the current course or not, American free market capitalism is dead, so stop groping. Combine this with a debt free money system—or one based on resources instead of moneydebt—and Main Streets dependence on Wall Street financing is eliminated. To finance Main Street economies a network of independent and locally owned community banks will serve fine. They, in turn, would fund a projected central bank, whose power comes from the network of local banks, among whom power is dispersed equally.

Foreign Policy Advisor, as well as Bilderberg group and trilateral commission member, Zbigniew Brzezinksi admits that we live in a more enlightened world than ever. In such a world the only function of a legitimate economic system is to serve life. Currently economic success is gauged solely against financial indicators such as gross domestic product and stock prices, with social and environmental consequences going nearly wholly neglected. In our current economy 51 of the top 100 economies are corporations, and, in some cases, individuals. The new political and economic structure of America is an outcome thereof. Simultaneously, as many researchers note, happiness, and traditional indicators of social and environmental health, have declined while GDP increases.

We must change the way we create money. Wall Street benefits hugely from our current practice of money creation, whereby private banks create money through bookkeeping entries each time they make a loan, a process which creates only the principal, and not interest, save for when the economy grows at quick enough a pace for loans to create the new money needed to pay of the interest payments on previous loans. It is interesting to note that only three percent of money in the economy exists in physical form, the rest is theoretical, digital in "trans-nature." Interest, then, motors the economy, fueling inflation, while being totally dependent on growing inequality as well as Gross Domestic Product. The basis of our current economy--that is, the things we produce to make up our GDP's--are obsolete. Instead of producing disposable consumer goods, we, again, need an economy based on resources and creative endeavors, with an open system of education based on social experience within a human-community. New early pedagogy practices emphasizing the potential of the individual as a player in a community are a good place to start.

The likes of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin advocated replacing the system of bank-created debt-money with an alternative system in which the government creates debt-free money by spending it into existence to fund public goods like infrastructure or education. The main change in such a system is that the entry is made by government for a public good rather than by a private bank for private profit. The colonies, in fact, had their own debt-free money in the form of Colonial Scrip. This was unacceptable to the Bank of England (private corporation), and pushed through Parliament acts which stripped the colonies of their right to issue their own currency, effectively placing them on a gold/silver coin system. Hence, the revolution; your history teacher served you a nice fat fib, probably non-cognizant of it, when they said the colonists revolted over a tea tax.

The current debt-money system adds to debt and taxes, while also bearing responsibility for environmental destruction, not solely because it is based on unending growth, but because within a consumer society WASTE and PROGRESS are dear concepts to businesses with limited capacity to adapt within their own product space. Product space refers to the options a company has available to itself within an economy through time. For example, though apple has come up with a myriad of cool gadgets, it still remains there is only a limited amount of new ideas and capacity for production of new technologies apple can embark upon. That the Apple customer should want to throw away last years ipod is crucial to the perpetuation of the product space apple inhabits. If, instead of stressing the hyperupgrade of disposable consumer goods, stressed the extraction, production or discovery of clean energies (albeit completely new energies, considering current options fall short of what's needed) and nutritious resources for food, an ever expanding economy could benefit man.

Inherent also to the money-deby system is extreme inequality, since it insures the upward flow of wealth from main street to wall street, as well as instability within the economic system owing to the issuing of loans that promote reckless speculation, and therefore short term profits for banks. Aside from the debt-free money, desired because it greatly reduces debt, taxes, and environmental harm, is more equitable and increases financial stability, is the aforementioned economy based on resources. Mind you, money has no inherent value except for the belief in it by people. For that reason, we can use a plethora of stuff as our means of exchanging goods and services.

A world economy based on resources involves a full-fledged mobilization towards the development of new, clean, and renewable sources of energy: geothermal; controlled fusion; solar; photovoltaic; wind, wave and tidal power; and even fuel from the oceans. We must reorganize our cities, modes of transportations and industry on the basis of serving people... This sound ridiculous Justin, you’re a woolgatherer. Yes, true, I know; however, many ecologists and anthropologists believe that much of the Amazon is a human artifact, so…

Hitler laughed at the US military before and at the onset of World War II. What amateurs we were! (Tell that to post-world war 2 inhabitants of the Southern Hemisphere, where we’ve murdered ten million in explicit depopulation programs.) At the beginning of the Second World War the US had a scant 600 first-class fighting aircraft. In a short span of time, however, we were turning out more than 90,000 planes a year! (Oh, how the bankers who made the loans to the military industrial complex on all sides profited!) Did we have enough funds to produce the required war materials? No, we did not. We had the resources, though. Such resources and man power, unfortunately, are put only into high tech technologies geared towards social control and war. We’re okay with that, cause’ Al Qaeda and the Taliban are out there lurking in the night! (read: bogey men) Baaah.

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