What Next, and where we have been…
I received a link to this website yesterday, in the midst of writing an article on the current financial crisis and 9/11. Since 1993 I have been working on educating people about global economics, the monetary system in particular, and supporting the idea and creation of local currencies. I have organized conferences on "Strategies to transform the global economy" with a focus on money and co-sponsored conferences on decentralization and local currencies.
In 2001, in the wake of 9/11, I organized the first march demanding an investigation of 9/11, the San Francisco International Inquiry into 9/11, and the publication and distribution of over 7,000,000 Deception Dollars- which are larger than actual bills, but have key websites challenging the official story of 9/11. I coined the phrase 9/11 Truth movement, which has grown into a larger Truth Movement.
I actually ran for Congress in 2006 on an Impeachment platform and am running again on a 9/11 Truth, Impeachment, Peace platform.
I think your presentation is very good, and am disappointed that I don’t know precisely where you are going with this. I appreciate your sense of humor and that you cannot include "everything" in your presentation and have left out "bits and pieces" which I feel are very important.
Where I am in deepest agreement with you is that we need to understand where we are to make rational, wise decisions, individually and collectively and that we are not being served by the politicians nor the press at this point in time.
So here is an excerpt from the paper I am working on which also addresses where we need to go and I think it might be helpful-
Throughout modern history there has been a struggle between the powerful elite who generally exert great influence over a large number of people for their personal benefit and at the expense of the majority. Toynbee noted that the world struggle is between the few vested interests and social justice.
There has always been a struggle between tyrants and people; the people have made some gains, and have had setbacks. Social movements are born out of the realization that powerholders are doing the opposite of the publicly acclaimed myths and societal secrets are revealed. In the current era, the internet has allowed for the rapid transmission of information challenging powerholders, institutions, and deeply held cultural myths.
Social movements are collective actions which alert, educate, mobilize the public, sometimes over years and decades, to challenge power-holders and the whole society to redress social problems or grievances, to align with deeply held social values. With all of the problems facing humanity on multiple fronts there are innumerable social movements taking up a wide spectrum of issues. They learn from one another and at times come together in increasingly powerful coalitions. Professor and author, Anthony Hall has called them “The Fourth World,” others the anti-corporate globalization movement or the “Global Justice Movement.”
In January, 2001 while the World Economic Forum was meeting in Switzerland, thousands of people from hundreds of countries met at the World Social Forum in Porto Allegre, Brazil, in a convergence of social movements. Their basic points of agreement were opposition to the policies of the IMF, World Bank, WTO, militarism, corporate globalization, environmental destruction and support of public participation in the decision making processes in all aspects of public life, the recognition and respect for people and life rather than profits.
Social movements raise issues and put them on the political agenda. They provide a role for everyone to participate, and engage in the process of solving a problem. They are at the center of society; they need to gain the support of the majority of the public, and advance society along the path of human development, moving towards justice, democracy, human rights, security, and freedom. They need to be totally nonviolent. They are an evolutionary force which pushes people to live up to their ideals and values. They enable people to exercise their collective power.
When people believe that power flows downward from those at the top of institutions towards the helpless, people at the bottom of the pyramid, tyranny rules. Most people believe in this model. Under this model, change can be achieved only by appealing to the elites, using persuasion.
However, when people believe in genuine democracy, that government should be “of, by and for the people ideal” and that power flows from them through institutions, to powerholders, public servants, at the bottom, social progress is made, policies are changed to meet social demands.
The Powerholder Strategy isn’t to broadcast to the public the truth about their beliefs, actions, policies, and programs. They recognize that conditions are generally ripe for social change. They know very well who benefits from the unfair distribution of benefits and costs within the existing system. They consciously must keep their actual policies hidden from the public, because they fear a majority would rebel, if they knew the truth. Powerholders use myths, slogans, and rhetoric to sell their policies and programs to the public.
One of the great American myths is the idea that we have a watchdog press. Over three thousand people attended the last National Conference on Media Reform, primarily because of their deep concerns on the failure of the traditional media. William Randolph Hearst said, “Real news is something that someone wants suppressed, all the rest is advertising.”
Colossal crimes have been committed and masked by the media for centuries, but the larger pattern, names, dates, evidence, documentation, in the era of information, is coming to light, at a staggering rate, beyond the capacity of one individual to begin to absorb, read, process, disseminate all the details. In turn the information is gradually reaching the most heavily propagandized target audience- the American public who are increasingly losing faith in their government, the war, the Congress, the financial system.
Aung Sung Suu Kyi wrote: "It is not power that corrupts, but fear — fear of losing power and fear of the scourge of those who wield it."
Fear, war, terror are used to shut down rational thinking processes. Naomi Klein outlines that process very well in her book The Shock Doctrine- The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (and the video). The shortcoming of her work, in my point of view, is her failure to recognize that 9/11 was designed to terrorize Americans and the world into going along with the bogus “War on Terrorism,” forget about the missing 2.3 trillion dollars on the Department of Defenses books, the stolen election, the evidence destroyed in the SEC’s offices in WTC7, not even notice the massive insider trading, and permit a giant escalation in the military budget, and the construction of a surveillance industry.
The best historical parallel to 9/11 would be the Riechstag Fire which Hitler used to vilify and target “communists,” pass the Enabling Act (similar to the PATRIOT Act), before launching wars of aggression.
With the bust of the dot com bubble, speculative money went into real estate, housing, and derivatives. To lure people into borrowing money, purchasing homes, investing their savings into the 21st century Ponzi schemes. Elliot Spitzer was vilified by the press the day before he wrote an article naming Bush as the "Predator Lenders’ Partner in Crime." saying-
“In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act pre-empting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks." …
"Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye."
Close scrutiny of Powerholders, running the government, institutions, corporations reveal conflicting loyalties and economic interests to who do not represent the millionaires and billionaires who continually rewrite the rules and have decided that the Constitution is obsolete.
What was hopeful were the few voices in Congress that dared to challenge the current bailout of the speculators so intimately involved in created the current financial crisis. Ohio Representatives Marcy Kaptor spoke out bravely against the bill, laying out precisely how it was being rushed through Congress and Dennis Kucinich condemned it. However their token resistance was swept aside, Representative Brad Sherman spoke about the fear mongering and panic pressure placed on Congress to push it through. The fear and some token pork, helped get it passed on Friday, October 3, 2008. Both Democrats and Republicans were behind the bailout.
Amongst Obama’s advisers are Franklin Raines who was a Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Fannie Mae and Tim Howard who was the Chief Financial Officer of Fannie Mae and Jim Johnson who was an executive at Lehman Brothers and later forced from his position as Fannie Mae CEO. Howard was forced to retire when auditing discovered severe irregulaties in Fannie Mae’s accounting activities. The books ran afoul of generally accepted accounting principles for four years and Fannie Mae had to reduce its surplus by $9 billion.. The Government filed suit against Raines and Howard when the scandal became clear. The Court ordered Raines to return $50 Million Dollars he received in bonuses based on the miss-stated Fannie Mae profits. The Government Investigation determined that, "Chief Financial Officer, Tim Howard, failed to provide adequate oversight to key control and reporting functions within Fannie Mae," Raines and Howard resigned under pressure in late 2004. Howard’s Golden Parachute was estimated at $20 Million. Raines left with a "golden parachute valued at $240 Million in benefits A look at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s May 2006 report on mismanagement and corruption inside Fannie Mae, reveals that Fannie Mae had hidden a substantial amount of Johnson’s 1998 compensation from the public, reporting that it was between $6 million and $7 million when it fact it was $21 million." Johnson is currently under investigation for taking illegal loans from Countrywide while serving as CEO of Fannie Mae. Johnson’s Golden Parachute was estimated at $28 Million.…
This is part of my rough draft, and at this point I actually started and watched your entire presentation, and now I need to get back to my article writing.
I do believe that our best hope is raising consciousness, as soon as possible, and that we have a window of opportunity to do so. I don’t know what your personal situation is, but I have three sons, ages 20, 18 and 15. I live in the heart of Silicon Valley, the belly-button of the beast. I try to balance my life by being a mom, and being an activist- organizing rallies, marches, events, conferences, making films, writing articles, developing whatever tools to communicate critical information to inform and empower people to participate in the changes that are taking place, hopefully the turning from empire towards community, from growing bigger to maturing into a wiser species that can live in community with the rest of life, and redirect our precious time/energy/resources away from "killing and controlling’devouring/growing" towards healing… I have a weekly radio show called Questioning War- Organizing Resistance and my next guest, Mike Nickerson, wrote Money, Life and Illusion- Living on Earth as if we want to stay, so we will be discussing the problems and as Mike put it:
One can only speculate productively for a while, but we need vision of a destination if we are to have hope of getting there.
Below is an article I recently wrote on the issue.
A Silver Lining to the Economic Downturn
by Mike Nickerson
An alternative to panicking when GDP stops growing is to view it as a sign of maturity.
Human activity cannot expand forever on our finite planet. An economy growing at 3% a year doubles its size every 24 years. Centuries of such growth have brought us to a mature size. As with individual maturity, there comes a time for societies to stop growing and to take responsibly for their strength and impacts on others.
As a mature species, we have two responsibilities to Earth and ultimately, to ourselves. The first is to live within the availability of natural resources. Global production of oil has stalled for three years at about 85 million barrels a day, yet demand continues to increase. This results in rising prices. The increased cost is reminding us all about how dependent we are on this particular resource.
While fossil fuels are a well-known resource issue, there is also cause for concern with fresh water, forests, fish, soil fertility and other resources.
Our second responsibility is to keep our waste within tolerable bounds. Climate change is a direct result of human activity having grown to where our C02 emissions are overwhelming the ability of oceans and forests to absorb it, leaving it to accumulate in the atmosphere. What is the logic of policies aimed at doubling our size, when current activities, at the present population level, have already brought us to the edge of climate chaos?
Climate change is not the only issue related to tolerance. Respiratory problems, many cancers and other illnesses, which result from the accumulation of manufactured toxins, are also wake up calls.
The sub-prime mortgage crisis rivals the price of fuel and climate change in terms of public concern. It too can be linked to confrontation with planetary limits.
Over the centuries, the expansion of our growth-dependent type of monetary system has inflated it to gargantuan proportions. In North America, to accomplish 3% growth, over four hundred billion dollars in new business has to take place in the present year. This is over and above the fifteen trillion dollars worth of transactions already taking place. Large amounts of new money has to be loaned into existence to accommodate this expansion.
Before humans filled the Earth, there were areas of untapped natural resources, from which we could produce things of tangible value that people were willing and able to pay for – businesses, houses, tools, food and the like – to back up an exponentially expanding money supply. By the 1980s, it was becoming increasingly difficult to produce enough real wealth to do the job. Following "junk bonds," and the DotCom bubble, bidding up real estate became a primary means for expanding the money supply. When that bubble threatened to burst after 9/11, interest rates were dropped to almost nothing and mortgages were offered to people with no down payments and little credit worthiness. At hundreds of thousands of dollars each, great quantities of money were loaned into circulation. It appeared to work, until energy driven inflation prompted interest rate increases that many sub-prime mortgage holders were unable to pay.
These problems indicate that the time has come for a fundamental change. Fuel prices, climate change and the sub-prime mortgage crisis are all symptoms of one cause. They will not effectively be resolved until the fact that human activity has grown to stretch planetary limits is addressed. We cannot grow out of problems that result from our size.
When we stopped growing as individuals, it was not the end of the world. Indeed, for most of us, life had scarcely begun before physical maturity. Even as physical growth ended, we became better informed, more comfortable in ourselves and we developed the skills and relationships that define our lives. The same can be true for civilization.
Among the first things societies can do, as we acknowledge our maturity, is to shift investment into education and health care. Unlike cars and expanding highway networks, which are resource and waste intensive, education and health care (particularly care at the preventative level) consist almost entirely of knowledge and good will.
Another step will be to revive local, small-scale agriculture. Food produced in this way requires less fuel and other natural resources and has been shown to produce more food per acre, of a higher nutritional quality, than industrial scale farming.
Investing in education, health care and local food security makes sense, if what we want is a healthy, well fed, educated population. With the present commitment to make money grow, however, such goals appear self-serving. Our advanced size requires that all our efforts be focused on monetary expansion.
Do we want to grow money or food? As long as our goal is defined as making the GDP grow, efficiency will be measured entirely in terms of what makes the most money. Even though industrial agriculture produces less food per acre, than small-scale local framing, it does produce a greater crop of investment capital. Money borrowed for heavy equipment, fuel, pesticides and fertilizer earns interest and, driven by payment schedules, stimulates efforts to maximize financial return. Local farming, on the other hand, contributes relatively little to the immediate need of expanding capital. It tends to put money into the pockets of farmers who, rather than investing it, are more likely to buy food, shelter and education for their children.
When industrialization began, it was recognized that mechanized, mass production could provide products at a fraction of the cost of hand-made goods. The main obstacle to applying the industrial process to all manner of goods was a shortage of capital. Because it costs a lot of up-front money to build an industry, our system of mutual provision (the economy) was designed to encourage the expansion of capital. However, now that the world is awash in so much capital that, a continuous stream of speculative bubbles is necessary to give it places to invest, it is time for another goal.
As we mature as a society, the things that indicate well-being change. Measuring how much a baby grows is a good measure of its health; it is not an effective way to measure the well-being of an adult. If we want to resolve today’s multiple crises, we need more detailed information.
At present, if there is a natural disaster, toxic spill or a health epidemic, the costs of dealing with the problems are added to the GDP, giving the false impression that we are better off. While more money might be flowing, life is degraded by such things. If we were to measure social and environmental factors of well-being with the same authority and enthusiasm with which we measure GDP, much of the confusion would be avoided. A Genuine Progress Index (GPI) would provide a broader spectrum of information, enabling the costs and benefits of different activities to be assessed with greater accuracy. Along with the traditional economic indicators, accounts about air quality and health issues, for example, would reveal that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on medicine to relieve respiratory suffering is more a sign of distress than of economic progress.
A legitimized indicator that shows whether social and environmental factors are improving or deteriorating would create the awareness needed to stimulate serious actions toward solving the problems.
By identifying resource draw-down, pollution, and disruptions to communities, with a GPI, external factors would enter the picture. Presently externalized costs are not included in the price of goods. When such costs are added to production costs, those goods that are socially and environmentally friendly would be less expensive and those that cause problems would cost more. Both consumers and producers would then be inclined toward responsible products.
Taking the additional step of shifting the skill, ingenuity and persuasive effort that is presently applied toward engineering obsolescence, and, instead, using it to design durable, easily repaired goods, and to reclaim pride in objects that have long served us, could cut up to 50% off of our material and energy consumption and consequent impacts.
One final shift – from looking for fulfillment in material goods, to seeking it in friendships, knowledge, appreciation, service, music, art, sport and adventure – would complete the transformation. Coupled with environmentally responsible agriculture, such a change could reduce our impacts to practically nothing. That is, the real costs of maintaining well-being for humans, in terms of the ability of Earth to sustain life over time, would be negligible.
By finding satisfaction in the richness of being human, we could change the image of our species from that of a potentially terminal blight on the Earth, to something much more suiting to our position amidst the life of this planet. As a mature species, we could reward three billion years of evolution by adding laughter, love, awe and wonder to a deep appreciation for the incredible accomplishments by which life has brought us to this point.
While arguments persist about oil supplies, climate change and the possibility of perpetual economic expansion, we are well advised to acknowledge the ultimate finiteness of Earth and accept responsibility. Policies intent on expanding until the last possible moment will almost certainly be followed by disaster.
Human ingenuity is more than sufficient to provide food, shelter and other necessities without having to double the total of all our activities every 24 years. It is a Question of Direction. We need to choose between the goal of perpetual growth and that of long-term well-being.
We celebrate when our children grow. If an adult continues to grow like a child, however, it is cause for serious concern. Developing a healthy steady-state economy is no more frightening than the prospect of becoming adult is for a teenager. The silver lining to this economic downturn is the opportunity it offers to grow up and take responsibility for our impacts. It can be done.
Let me know when you finish chapter 20, I will add a link to your website!
Carol Brouillet, my main website is http://www.communitycurrency.org which looks at the difference between Money and Real Wealth…
you go girl you are breath of fresh air. i will go to your site and would like to speak with you.
i have been trying to educate folks to what is going on for quite awhile but i am in arkansas th ebuckle of the bible belt so it has been a tough row to hoe. but i firmly believe we need to keep going. i have a daughter i am very concerned for. so my interest is not so much for me but for who comes after us, which has been left out of the discussion until now.
i have been telling people about this site for quite awhile as well as educating about the federal reserve. we are at a critical time and for the first time in my life i believee there is a window ope. i think the american people are readyfor real change
not obama change
I do hope cbrouillet will correct me if I misintrepret her. The paragraph below gets to the heart of her ideals.
Social movements raise issues and put them on the political agenda. They provide a role for everyone to participate, and engage in the process of solving a problem. They
are at the center of society; they need to gain the support of the
majority of the public, and advance society along the path of human
development, moving towards justice, democracy, human rights, security,
and freedom. They need to be totally nonviolent. They are
an evolutionary force which pushes people to live up to their ideals
and values. They enable people to exercise their collective power.
It seems to me she is calling for a non-violent Proletariat Revolution. Where have I seen that before? Oh yes. It was Lenin.
When will people learn? All political collectives by their very nature have a command-and-control heirarchy; they are coercive. The masses will remain in chains for as long as they allow themselves to become dependent on the collective. Even America started out with those ideals, and look where we are now over two hundred laters later.
Throughout the world, people fear laissez faire capitalism as much as devout Christians fear the devil. And yet society has produced more wealth through capital markets in the past three hundred years than the prior three thousand years before there were capital markets. History has proved that there is no better system for allocating scarce resources than the market pricing system.The economic problems we face today are the direct result of government interference in the capital markets.
The nation-state is a dinosaur. It has a tiny head, a massive body and excretes enormous amounts of waste. The extinction of the nation-state and the rise of laissez faire capitalism won’t come about by any ideal. It will come about out of the practical necessity for survival. Otherwise man will not survive.
You say: "The masses will remain in chains for a long as they allow themselves to be dependent on the ‘collective.’"
Oh, is it better, then, to be be under the control of oppressive totalitarian regimes, such as we have now and are moving toward at break-neck speed?
You say: "The economic problems we face today are the direct result of government interference in capital markets."
Excuse me, but the economic problems we have today are the direct result of NO regulation of capital markets, which has allowed the greedy and unscrupulous to run ponzi schemes to move wealth from the working class to the corporate elite.
Oh yes, the nation-state "excretes enormous amounts of waste." Like big corporations don’t, as they manipulate and use up natural resources and leave things in a big mess, that working class taxpayers have to then pay to clean up?
I suggest you broaden your reading. There are enormous issues in our world today besides just what you call the creation of wealth – which really just means the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, while millions upon millions of others suffer from the result of your kind not having any interest in the "collective" good of all people, everywhere.
Can your extreme really be the best way for humanity to survive, and be good stewards of our Earth home?
You are confused, dbajba. Friedman was a strong supporter of the Federal Reserve. Look at Marx’s Commuinist Manifest. Control of money is one of his ten points.See my post https://www.peakprosperity.com/comment/1515#comment-1515
Oh, is it better, then, to be be under the control of oppressive
totalitarian regimes, such as we have now and are moving toward at
Huh? That’s the collective I’m arguing against.
Excuse me, but the economic problems we have today are the direct
result of NO regulation of capital markets, which has allowed the
greedy and unscrupulous to run ponzi schemes to move wealth from the
working class to the corporate elite.
Wrong again. The capital markets are highly regulated. It is the regulations that are criminal.
Oh yes, the nation-state "excretes enormous amounts of waste." Like
big corporations don’t, as they manipulate and use up natural resources
and leave things in a big mess, that working class taxpayers have to
then pay to clean up?
The American political economy is fascist in nature where the big corporations and government work together in a symbiotic relationship against the masses. One has the money; the other has the guns. Those wasted and polluted resources are provided free, courtesy of their government benefactors. The worst polluter and waster of resoures – no contest – is the US military.
I suggest you broaden your reading.
You can’t touch my knowledge on this subject. You will not be free until you weed out the statist propaganda that’s been fed to you all your life. You might start with the Mystery of Banking. It’s free.
which really just means the concentration of wealth in the hands of a
few, while millions upon millions of others suffer from the result of
your kind not having any interest in the "collective" good of all
Wealth (and power) is concentrated in Washington, or haven’t you noticed? Government doesn’t produce anything. Rather it feeds off producers like a parasite off its host. The term "collective good" is undefinable. Washington is sponsoring two
wars in the ME on the grounds it is for the collective good. The $700
billion banker bailout was done for the the collective good. Government is your enemy. Until you learn that, you’ll continue to be one of its victims.
i am on the board of directors of a non profit which has programs in india , ghana , argentina and dom rep.
much of the world is so far below the poverty line it makes drawing a line absurd. yes great wealth has been created and it seems to have landed in the hands of about 10% of the population of the earth. the nation state ceased to exist a long time ago. for example the nation state called usa ceased in 1913 and became a department of rothschild inc. my experience in trying to raise money to educate and feed starving children leads me to believe that as long as we have a system like laissez fair? capitalism running the show the poor will always be with us. yes you can point to bill gates and warren buffet and try to say that this system works but in reality the odds are better for a kid from bed stuy to become an astronaut.
markets dont fix things people like c brouillet do .
you are welcome to take a trip with me to the deccan in india and see how the other half lives . we can look for scarce resources together….. and bring your heart
"Through Divine love the new humanity will learn the art of co-operative and harmonious life; it will free itself from the tyranny of dead forms and release the creative life of spiritual wisdom; it will shed all illusions and get established in the Truth; it will enjoy peace and abiding happiness; it will be initiated in the life of eternity"
The New Humanity
But they are not.
All this idealism plays into the hands of the predators in high government places. There is no laissez faire capitalism practiced anywhere in this world body of nations. I rarely find anyone who even knows what laissez faire capitalism is beyond it being convenient label as a scapegoat for government corruption and incompetance. As a case in point, the ills of India can be laid directly at the feet at the government bureaucracies that control economic activity to impractical extremes. In a world of angels, government protects person, property and liberty. In the real world, government is the principle destroyer of person, property and liberty. It’s a gang of thieves and by extension the progenitor of poverty.
As I read through your explanations, I think we must surely be on the same side. Friedman’s economics, which were tried (forced) on several other nations (S.America) produced some horrible results, and it is obvious that we’re fast headed in the same direction. Otherwise, I can’t fault anything you say, except maybe that the focus of wealth being focused in D.C. is actually a government/corporate wealth, supported by military….and probably ultimately controlled by the Money Masters who also control the Fed Res, huh? I obviously read something into your first post that you had not intended. Sorry if I misunderstood. I have no use big gov’t, nor anything else "big" that uses its bigness to oppress others. Truthfully, there should be enough to go around, without enormous wealth being concentrated in the hands of any group that has no feelings for their fellow humans.
Oh, I forgot to say that, unlike Friedman, I strongly oppose the Federal Reserve. I think we should have our own monetary system.
i suggest you go to india where there is minimal involvement in all the the things laissez faire capitalsm is concerned about.
markets care about one thing profit. who cares about the commmon? merkets certainly dont , capitalists dont , libertarians dont. but since you have many of the answers you can probably answer this one " is it rape first then pillage or is it pillage first then rape"?
I share with you a hope for a better world where human suffering is minimized as much as practically possible.
There is an inverse distinction between government and private businesses.
Yes it is true businesses are profit seeking. They have to because they could not survive on losses. But businesses in a laissez faire market need to attract workers and customers by voluntary means. They need to supply themselves with goods for production by voluntary means.This assumes that we have a system of effective laws in place that protect person, property and liberty. This assumes that the masses limit government authority to the very basic essentials.
Governments, gangs, criminals and warlords operate on the same immoral principles of fraud, corruption and violence. They take what they want, who the want, for whatever reason they want. Unfortunately, the masses and big businesses share a common belief that it is easier to live off of others through the force of government.
In these two scenarios, it should be pretty obvious who is doing the raping and pillaging.