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The Eleventh Round: The Roots of Consumerism

Posted on March 13, 2006
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From the diverse discussion on last week’s open thread, one consensus that emerged was the harmful effects of consumerism for the economy, the environment, and on our values. But what are the roots of consumerism? Is it simply that people like to buy cheap stuff from big box retailers, and so that is what the big box retailers provide?

The following story illustrates one of the deeper causes of the endless quest for growth that underpins our modern consumer society. The story and adapted comments are from the book The Future of Money (pp. 50 – 53) by Bernard Lietar. Your thoughts, comments and discussion are welcomed and appreciated.

***

The Eleventh Round

Once upon a time, in a small village in the Outback, people used to barter for all their transactions. On every market day, people walked around with chickens, eggs, hams and breads, and engaged in prolonged negotiations among themselves to exchange what they needed. At key periods of the year, like harvests or whenever someone’s barn needed repairs after a big storm, people recalled the tradition of helping each other out that they had brought from the old country. They knew that if they had a problem some day, others would aid them in return.

One market day, a stranger with shiny black shoes and an elegant white hat came by and observed the whole process with a sardonic smile. When he saw one farmer running around to corral the six chickens he wanted to exchange for a big ham, he could not refrain from laughing. “Poor people” he said. “So primitive.” The farmer’s wife overhead him and challenged the stranger, “Do you think you can do a better job handling chickens?” “Chickens, no,” responded the stranger. “But there is a much better way to eliminate all that hassle.” “Oh yes, how so?” asked the woman. “See that tree there?” the stranger replied. “Well, I will go wait there for one of you to bring me one large cowhide. Then have every family come visit me. I’ll explain the better way.”

And so it happened. He took the cowhide, and cut perfect leather rounds in it, and put an elaborate and graceful little stamp on each round. Then he gave to each family ten rounds, and explained that each represented the value of one chicken. “Now you can trade and bargain with the rounds instead of the unwieldy chickens,” he explained.

It made sense. Everyone was impressed with the man with the shiny shoes and inspiring hat.

“Oh, by the way,” he added after every family had received their ten rounds, “in a year’s time, I will come back and sit under the same tree. I want you each to bring me back 11 rounds. That 11th round is a token of appreciation for the technological improvement I just made possible in your lives.” “But where will the 11th round come from?” asked the farmer with the six chickens. “You’ll see,” said the man with a reassuring smile.

Analysis

Assuming that the population and its annual production remain exactly the same during the next year, what do you think had to happen? Remember that the 11th round was never created. Therefore, bottom line, one of each 11 families will have to lose all its rounds, even if everyone managed his affairs well, in order to provide the 11th round to ten others.

So when a storm threatened the crop of one of the families, people became less generous with their time to help bring it in before disaster struck. While it was much more convenient to exchange the rounds instead of the chickens on market days, the new game also had the unintended side effect of actively discouraging the spontaneous cooperation that was traditional in the village. Instead, the new money game was generating a systemic undertow of competition among all the participants.

Commentary

This is how today’s money system pits participants in the economy against each other. The story isolates the role of interest – the eleventh round – as part of the money creation process, and its impact on the participants. When the bank creates money by providing you with your $100,000 mortgage, it creates only the principal. However, it expects you to bring back $200,000 over the next twenty years or so. If you don’t, you’ll lose your house. Your bank does not create the interest; it sends you out into the world to battle against everyone else to bring back the second $100,000. Since all the other banks do exactly the same thing, the system requires that some participants go bankrupt in order to provide you with this additional $100,000. To put it simply, when you pay back interest on your loan, you are using someone else’s principal.

In other words, the device used to create the scarcity indispensable for a bank-debt system to function involves having people compete for money that has not been created, and penalizes them with bankruptcy whenever they do not succeed. . . No wonder ‘it is a tough world out there.’

In reality, we do not live in a world of zero growth population, output or money supply (as in the story). In the real world, there is typically some growth over time in all these variables…This dynamic makes it much harder than in the Eleventh Round story to notice what is actually going on. With this dynamic view, the money system is like a treadmill that requires continuous economic growth, even if the real standard of living remains stagnant. . . . This need for perpetual growth is another fact of life that we tend to take for granted in modern societies, and one that we usually do not associate with either interest or our money system.

Adapted from pp.50 – 54 of The Future of Money, © Bernard Lietar,

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Comments

68 Comments so far
  1. Marc Authier March 13, 2006 7:00 pm

    What is true for an individual is also true for nations. Credit creates in sum nothing. It is just a mecanism of transfer from debtor to creditor. The USA has always won at the game. Since the US dollar is the currency reserve of the world for the moment, it allows Americans, American Corporations, American Government to have the infinite privelege of never paying its debts except with other debts. Luckily you have discovered first Japan and now China as new client for this scheme. For the moment the thing is working beautifully. But there is a limit to this infinite credit expansion. It is not without cost for the borrower. The borrower continues spending and spending, but produces less and less of everything. This goes on untill the day, he has nothing to pay with because he produces nothing. We are getting close to this breaking point.

  2. Ron March 13, 2006 7:08 pm

    The important point to this story is easy to miss - “the bank CREATED this money. It did not take money from it’s vault to lend, it used the signature of the borrower to create money that did not exist before. In reality, they are receiving interest (as well as the return of money they did not have to begin with) on money they created out of thin air.

    When you deposit $1,000 into your bank account, the bank can now legally lend $9,000 with your $1,000 in reserve. Where does the $9,000 come from? Not their vaults, that’s for sure. They would not let money sit there earning nothing while they paid (a scant amount) interest to the depositer.

    The money comes from the Federal Reserve who is free to print as much money as they need when such need arises.

    Ah, I’ve had too much wine tonight, but maybe what I have just said will light a candle of curiousity in some.

  3. Marc Authier March 13, 2006 7:14 pm

    Yes, said another way, it’s counterfeiting.

  4. diana Moeliker March 13, 2006 7:42 pm

    We know we are being conned, what can we do about it? We the people have the power - surely someone can come up with something constructive.

  5. John Lindsay March 13, 2006 8:05 pm

    The story in the article is a gold based story with money inflated only above the base supply.
    Our current fed created debt (from thin air money) is amplified a second time by the banks ability to lend several times over their capital.
    As has been said many times it isn’t money it is an IOU. The conman trick is sustained when people measure their self worth in the increasing nunmerical number of inflated IOUs they own. Depreciating currency inflates hard assets.
    Unlike the article our current gains don’t come from someones bankruptcy; they come from currency depreciation from over supply: first from the feds and last from the banks..

  6. Joseph E Fasciani March 13, 2006 9:24 pm

    Congratulations on making a [purposively] complicated deception clear to all who visit your site! If you do not object, I’d like to post this at rense.com, where it will be read by at least seven million ppeople. Jeff Rense is a long-time opponent of fiat money creation by banks, and will be a great supporter. Finally, for the complete truth on money and positive alternatives to its present negativity, go to http://www.monetary.org/, the home of The American Monetary Institute, and read all about it from the brilliant Stephen Zarlenga.

  7. John Edwards March 13, 2006 10:28 pm

    A farmer is happy to spend the day helping to raise his neighbour’s barn because he knows he will get help when he needs a barn raised. Of course if his neighbour turns up drunk to the reciprocal barn raising at eleven in the morning and is paralytic by lunchtime he will not get helped again. Paralytic drunks can’t return favours.

    A dollar bill in its most fundamental form is just an IOU from the America people, an undertaking that they will supply a good or service worth one dollar at the demand of the holder.

    The Americans with their well merited past reputation for vigour have had no trouble in asking the world for favours and getting them. The ability of America to repay all the outstanding favours is looking more and more doubtful. The drunk is approaching the paralytic stage. Recently both the Chinese and the Arabs have tried to cash some of their dollars, think oil company and ports, and have been rebuffed. They must be asking themselves what these dollars are actually worth if they can’t spend them. I’ll wager that they are also asking themselves how to trade their dollars on at the current price without causing a panic and reducing their value to the realistic level of not much.

    The slogan “you sweat, we think, (or drink) carries no conviction when the output of America’s educational system is examined. The Chinese universities are said to be producing 250,000 engineers a year That’s more engineers tha the USA graduates in gender outreach studies. And the Chinese standard is a lot higher.

    I am the remaining Brit who realises the enormous moral debt that Europe and Britain in particular owes to the USA.
    Yes, they’re over paid, and over sexed, but thank the Lord, they’re also over here.

    So come on Yanks kick out the deadheads in Washington and get a grip. It’s not too late, but it soon will be.

    JKE

  8. dan lobel March 14, 2006 5:27 am

    while i do agree that there are (probably fatal) problems w/ our monetary system, i dont blame the system- i believe its the best one there ever was in history- its the abuse of that system by my greedy, selfish, spoiled, ” i deserve to live like a king even though im useless, ignorant,and nonproductive” fellow americans that have created the problems.also, that bankruptcy thing doesnt hold water- all money isnt just created- some already exists. if the bankruptcy thing was valid it would be zero sum- half the people would have to go bankrupt to have the other half succeed- and the defaults are only a few points, not half.once again, thats because although we have created way too much money, we do deserve some money creation, and every success doesnt mean someone else has to fail- just the most inefficient.

  9. Robert March 14, 2006 6:17 am

    If you truly wish to understand money and what it is (and has been) doing to the world, especially the USA, read
    “The Creature from Jekyll Island”. It will open your eyes
    beyond belief and will indicate the direction in which
    the entire fiat system of the world is headed.

  10. John McBride March 14, 2006 9:00 am

    There is nothing wrong with a fiat system in principle, the dollar’s level should be adjusted by the global currency market. The problem is that Americans are crooks and thugs and the market is manipulated. Saudia Arabia for example has a deal to spend their revenue in the USA, China depends on American investment and is lending the USA money to fund its own development with US consumer spending on its goods.

    The reserve currency situation is a bit of a scam of course, it is interest free debt but that isn’t the main problem.

  11. Murf March 14, 2006 9:50 am

    I do take issue with a previous poster saying there is nothing wrong with a fiat currency in principle.

    There absolutely is. It presupposes one segment of the population, a politically favored and connected section at that, has the right to create the medium of exchange out of nothing, and exchange said creation for real items of value.

    Anyone else doing this gets imprisoned for counterfeiting.

    Fiat currencies always allow governments to spend and inflate beyond their means, creating a stealth tax and robbing the nation of its savings. This has profound social and economic impacts. It debases more than the currency. It debases the work ethic, the thrift, and the morality of the population. It has been written that the ruinous inflation Weimar Germany suffered did more to destroy public morality and the social fabric than the horrible ruin of WW1.

    I can think of no example in which any government has not used fiat money to expand itself, and in the end, I can think of no fiat based currency in the history of the world that has maintained its value for even two generations. The US dollar has fallen to less than 50% of its original value in the tenure of Greenspan alone, with only the official (cooked, understated) government inflation figures.

    Real money (and in the USA, Constitutional money) is backed by bullion. Bullion provides a check on the inflating power of government. Bullion backed currency has the advantages of a financial instrument as a medium of exchange (easier than using chickens), yet maintains the honesty of barter. You exchange an item or voucher of real value for an item or service of real value.

    I don’t own any stock in this company, but I am starting to use them based on the recommendation of one of my favorite columnists (Gary North). Go to http://www.goldmoney.com to see what a real, private, money supply can look like, and how you can still participate in the digital economy while not being at the mercy of central bank and central government inflators.

  12. Dismal Scientist March 14, 2006 9:57 am

    There are some fatal flaws with this all this.

    The BIG FATAL flaw: It assumes a fixed amount of production and that people enter into a contract for repayment of something the could never produce. The 11th coin is supposed to represent interest that each family must pay, which is above and beyond what they already are producing. Each family already is producing the equivalent of 10 coins. Holding production constant, there is no way they could produce an 11th coin, ever. It has nothing to do with money at all. The families supposedly entered into a contract to produce more than the could (at least those are the assumptions that the story states). Turn it around and just say that every family owes the man a chicken, or rawhide or whatever. If they don’t produce more, they can’t pay it.

    BIG FLAW #2: The story ignores the benefits from trade regarding specialization. Why are the families bartering at all? Why would someone trade eggs for ham or bread? It is only because they would determine themselves to be better off if they do the trade. Using leather coins only facilitates what they were doing before. The slick man had no effect on this.

    BIG FLAW #3: The comparison of the story to banking is flawed. If someone is willing to lend money to a person, it is because the lender has a surplus, that is the lender produces more than he\she consumes. The reason that a borrower would borrow when he\she is already producing as much as he\she consumes, is because either 1) the borrower believes that the borrowed money will enable him\her to produce even more, or 2) he is willing to pay more for the good now rather than pay regular price later. So if the borrower want to build a new chicken coop that would yeild him more chickens, he can’t devote any resources to building it if he is already consuming everything he produces. But it he could borrow funds, make his coop, and produce more eggs which he can then exchange for money to pay the loan back and still have funds left over, then he will borrow the funds.

    Or, the borrower may want to enjoy some good now rather than later and would be willing to pay more for it now rather than later. So the borrow may be willing to borrow funds to pay for a new house even though it will cost him more in the long run, he will get to enjoy it for a longer period of time. This assumes that he is not consuming as much as he is producing so that he can take some of his surplus and use it to pay for the loan on the new house. By taking a loan, he in effect borrowing against his future earnings. But he hasn’t taken any principal, other than what someone has voluntary loaned him.

    This story assumes 1) people comsume everything they produce, 2) that they do not produce more ever, and 3) that they would willing enter a contract to pay more than what they could produce.

    We could all save for 20 years to buy a house, or we can borrow someone’s surplus and pay more for the same house now, and enjoy it over the 20 years. After the home is all paid for, you would then have a surplus that you could lend to someone else so they could buy a house now.

  13. The Shetar March 14, 2006 11:41 am

    We have been lied to all our lives, by people we have trusted. Now the game is over with this mort-gage con. Your signature creates the FRN’s on the promissory note. The bank does not sign the note only you promise to pay. The bank is not risking anything, but you are. No valueable consideration. Banks are not allowed to loan out there assets. Plus they can sell the promissory note to the next bank. So you were not giving full disclosure on the contract. Where is your profit from the sale. Did the bank fill a 1099 for there gain.

  14. Deacon Elurby March 14, 2006 12:18 pm

    Got gold and silver?

  15. John McBride March 14, 2006 12:28 pm

    Murf

    Again, you are talking about America which has always been run by blatant crooks

    Insider Trading is the American Way: The Founding Scam

    http://www.counterpunch.org/scaramella03302004.html

    In a proper democracy with a non criminal currency market, the people’s representatives would put a stop to either inflation or currency devaluation (also leading to inflation) as a result of printing too much money. The USA currently has 8 trillion dollars in debt.

    There is no major inflation because the Chinese currency is peggd to the dollar and the Chinese keep lending the USA money when it’s clear there is no chance of it ever being paid back. In my view, war with China is inevitable (regime change is a stated aim of the PNAC).

  16. E. C. Ebert Jr. March 14, 2006 12:35 pm

    I find it quite interesting, and more than a little illustrative of the lack of logical systems analysis predominately demonstrated heretofore in the responses to the original post. All of the pro’s and con’s are ABSOLUTELY meaningless UNLESS anyone can show evidence of AMY fiat money system EVER surviving over time. I know of NONE.

    In the case of the U.S FRN’s and their “utility” as reserve currency the “game” is to sucker every other country using them to finance U.S. deficits in order for the U.S to establish political-fiscal-scientific-military hegemony. The present fiat FRN is an interim, temporary, process.

    Once hegemony is sufficiently established, LIFE, not the exchange-of-goods currency, will be THE fiat process. Think Orwell 1984, then look right before your own eyes and you will understand NWO … and, you are guaranteed that you as a reader of this screed WILL NOT be one of those running the “new order” show, where money is necessarily meaningless. Sound like freedom and justice for all? I thought not!

  17. S C Sockwell March 14, 2006 1:46 pm

    There is only one way to reconcile with the stranger. That is to give the stranger a chicken instead of the eleventh round. Eventually the stranger would end up with all of the chickens. Kind of like how the World Bank loans money to third world countries.

  18. John McBride March 14, 2006 1:47 pm

    “The present fiat FRN is an interim, temporary, process”

    Of course, its collapses will be met with loud demands for the necessity for a global currency. The upcoming war will lead to demands for a world government.

    Welcome to the NWO.

  19. Gary Gray, Esq. March 14, 2006 4:10 pm

    Consumerism’s caused SIMPLY by the weak minded seeking wasteful New Things instead of enjoying what they have, what exists, or modest real improvement.

  20. Breck Breckenridge March 14, 2006 4:49 pm

    Dear E.C., I think you must have seen the film “From Freedom to Fascism”, or else are aware of the work of the fellow who wrote ‘Creature from Jekyl Island’, he was in the film along with a generous helping of George Orwell!

    That’s the film that I hope will get thru to the people who still don’t understand what is going on. The fellow who was there last night (here in Spokane) was none other than The Schulz himself! Wow! His “We the People Foundation” rented the movie house ($850 for the night) and invited all of us to see the film for free.

    The main targets of the film (by Aaron Russo) were (A) the IRS and the 16th Amendment, and (B) the Federal Reserve. They figure they can “take out” the System via those two institutions. Maybe. Afterall if you deny the System money you control it, just like they have been controling us. In any event, when it comes to your town SEE IT! It is depressing and scary, but everyone needs to wake up before it is too late.

    Breck

  21. Robert March 14, 2006 5:38 pm

    This past summer a roach got into my kitchen. I saw it and stomped on it. The roach might have thought it was only making its living. But it was eating what rightfully belonged to me. Therefore it was a thief. You can’t talk to a roach, but I guarantee that if you talked to a banker, the banker would say, “I’m just making my living.” And the banker would use all kinds of swervy words that sound good, but which, in reality, just mean that he thinks it alright to steal. And I am sure you wouldn’t be able to get him to change his opinion. Therefore, I would stomp on him. That’s the solution that I recommend.

  22. DAWK March 14, 2006 5:56 pm

    CONFUSING TO SOME,LIKE ME,BUT I AM A LIFE-LONG ‘GOLDSMITH’ AND USING REAL GOLD FOR MANY YEARS,IT APPEARS-WISE… TO ‘DEAL’ IN GOLD IF YOU WANT TO KEEP UP WITH INFLATION.ASIDE,PRECIOUS GEMS ARE ALSO A METHOD OF PRESERVING YOUR OWN FORM OF CURRENCY THAT ‘TRADES’ QUITE WELL-AROUND THE WORLD! I SUGGEST ONE GO INTO COINS OF GOLD-PLATINUM-SILVER IF YOU GET THIS GREAT ‘LESSON’ AND AVOIDE GETTING ‘SCREWED’ WHEN THE DOLLAR GOES TO-HELL.
    THERE IS ONE IDEA THAT NEEDS TO BE WRITTEN-ABOUT IN A BEST SELLER: I’M NO AUTHOR,BUT AMERICA HAS TONS OF CHEAP LAND OUT WEST,THAT COULD BE ‘GIVEN’ TO INDIVIDUALS,LIKE THE ‘OKLAHOMA LAND RUSH’ . THIS GETS ‘HOMESTEADERS’ INTO FREE LAND ,WHICH COULD BE USED TO FORM A COMPETITIVE WORKING ADVANTAGE; SINCE MOST THIRD WORLD ‘LABOR’ ESSENTIALY FIND PLACES TO ‘SQUAT’ IN CARDBOARD SHACKS,FOR FREE,AND THIS-SOMEWHAT ALLOWS THEM TO SURVIVE(BUT ENVIRONMENTLY UNFRIENDLY)ON A COUPLE DOLARS A DAY.
    THE IDEA-HERE ,IS TO REMOVE HOMELESSNESS,AND INSPIRE PO-FOLKS IN THE USA TO BUILD THEIR OWN CHEAP HOMES,ASSISTED BY GOVT. WHICH WOULD ALLOW-IN SPECIAL PERMITS OF HOMES,SUCH AS; STRAW BALE-POLE HOMES-RAMED EARTH-ADOBE FROM BRICK AND STRAW-ETC.i KNOW THIS,SINCE I-MYSELF BUILT A POLE HOUSE WITH RECYCLED MATERIALS FOR TEN CENTS ON THE DOLLAR. SO IF THE DOLLAR IS FALLING,MY HOME IS STILL KEEPING IT’S VALUE AND IS GOOD SHELTER.A POLE HOUSE NEEDS NO EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE,NO FLOOD INSURANCE ETC. AND IF IT IS BUILT WITH PASSIVE SOLAR,IT IS GETTING (FREE)HEAT-COOLING FROM THE PLANET-NOT GOUGING UTILITIES!
    IN SONORA MEXICO,NEAR KINO BAY,THIS IS ACTUALLY ‘HAPPINING’ TO THE POOREST MOST DOWNCAST TRIBE OF INDIANS,THAT MIGRATED FROM SOUTHERN MEXICO DIRE POVERTY,WHO ARE ABLE TO WORK MORE CHEAPLY THAN FELLOW MEXICANS,AND THEY ARE HAPPILY MAKING THEIR OWN SHELTERS,USING THE ADOBE+STRAW SOIL AROUND THEM,SO THEY CAN COMPETIVITLY-WORK-SURVIVE IN THE AG. FARMS NEARBY.THEY DON’T NEED TO SWIM THE RIO GRAND,AS WETBACKS, THEY ARE CONTENT RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE ‘HOMESTEADING’.YES,IT IS STILL POOR FOLKS,BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS; THEY ARE NOW MOTIVATED TO IMPROVE THEIR OWN DWELLING+LAND THEY NOW OWN FOR PEANUTS!THIS ALLOWS FOR PLACES LIKE BUILDING SUPPLIERS TO SELL MORE WINDOWS AND ACCSEORIES FOR THESE NEW- CHEAP HOMES.ESSENTIALY, IT BRINGS-DOWN INFLATION,UNLESS GOVT. DECIDES TO TAX THEM TO DEATH,SO THE CYCLE CAN START ALL OVER AGAIN,IF VOTERS DON’T KEEP CROOKS IN POLITICS OUT OF OFFICE.

  23. Mike B. March 14, 2006 6:09 pm

    In spite of all of the powerfull enemys that
    John F. Kennedy had,(Castro, organized labor, the Mafia, the CIA etc) none was more powerfull than the Federal Reserve.
    It must be remembered that JFK was not assassinated until he tried to put an end to the Federal Reserve scheme of printing worthless, fiat Federal Reserve notes. ( A debt we owe to the Federal Reserve)
    He replaced them with United States notes. ( A debt to ourselves that is payable to ourselves by controlling the M1.)

  24. Juan Zapatista March 14, 2006 6:11 pm

    When the Revolucion comes, the blood of the opressors will flow on the fine marble floors of their banks.

  25. Murf March 14, 2006 7:04 pm

    Mr. McBride:

    There is inflation. There has not been major consumer price inflation for most imported goods in part due to the dollar peg, but there are other reasons.

    Inflation has been present in fixed asset bubbles and in stock price bubbles. When you look at the prices of real properties, and also when you look at the prices of goods and services that do not readily scale production and benefit from increased technology/productivity gains, you see serious inflation.

    Most notably among these are educational, insurance, and medical costs, which have regularly far outstripped the official rate of inflation. We are also seeing this in energy costs as well. The real hit of inflation has been masked by deflationary pressures due to the benefits of international free trade (and their lower production costs in places like China, etc.), as well as the decreasing costs of production and inventory carrying costs thanks to automation and IT networks. I don’t want to open a can of worms and start my dissertation here. Suffice it to say that real prices would have dropped even more than they have for many goods and services, had the value of money not been decreasing. The Fed pursues a policy of “price stability” which means they inflate when prices can and should be dropping due to productivity gains. Steady, minor deflation in lockstep and reflecting productivity gains would be a tremendous boon for the economy and create serious incentives to save wealth rather than engaging in continuous consumption. It is also impossible with the fiscal policies the US government has pursued at least since 1914.

    Additionally, the real value of inflation is seriously understated by statistical tricks like the “hedonist index” and by substituting preferences. Again, without getting deep into detail, suffice it to say that it makes inflation look far lower than it is. The hard reality is we are living with about 8% inflation annually, and unemployment, real unemployment, is at least double to triple what is generally reported.

    We were not founded to be a democracy. Our Founders knew the lessons of history well. All democracies waste and exhaust themselves when the majority figures out it can vote itself a living at the expense of the minority. As Mencken (I believe) once stated, elections become the advance auctions of stolen goods.

    Was there corruption in our early government (and since)? Absolutely, of course. The issue is whether inflationary theft could and would be institutionalized. If we followed the Constitution, and only used gold and silver money, and had no central bank, it would be almost impossible to have and fund a huge government. The less power and wealth concentrated in government, the less opportunity for corruption, and the lower the relative rewards. Simple economic theory posits that this would attract less crooks, and decrease both our relative, and absolute levels of corruption and manipulations.

    A huge debt and inflation allow unconstrained government growth. It all becomes a vicious circle, I might add. Jefferson felt that no debt should last more than 20 years, and it should never be rolled over. The notion was that one generation could not use the public treasury to indebt the next. All debts incurred by a generation would have to be settled by same. What a different nation we’d live in if that remained the case.

    You can’t trust a government, “democracy” or not, to follow prudent fiscal policy without a limiting factor. In the same vein, I keep guns in my house. NOT because I WANT to use them, but because they are a last resort check against a thief and intruder. Bullion based currency automatically limits the ability of the government to inflate away the savings of the populace. It has to face the political and perhaps armed resistance of the populace when it directly tries to tax them. People rarely notice relatively low level inflation, but they do notice tax collectors and outright confiscations.

    Additionally, gold and silver, whether in coin, or through modern digital systems like egold or goldmoney.com, etc. have another valuable use. As the government inflates the heck out of its currency, it provides the common person a way to repudiate the FRN and engage in relatively private, consensual financial/barter transactions with all of the advantages of money. Of course, the government does not like this, because if it really catches on, and people repudiate the government’s currency, what leverage does it have?

    Will its police and military continue to serve (and enforce its edicts) if they are paid in worthless script that no one will accept? Will foreign governments continue to extend credit? Will foreign factories continue to ship goods to the USA in exchange for dollar notes or digital account transactions?

    In the long run, the dollar will return to its instrinsic value, which at best will be toilet paper. I don’t want to lay bets on how long it will take. It might be three years, it might be 30. Personally, I don’t think it will survive the waves of retiring boomers. My guess is that by 2015 the dollar is in the toilet, and America is in flames to some extent because of it. I hope it does not happen sooner. I am not counting on being able to flee the country with significent assets before 2010. I am going to be doing so, however.

    That said, the paper currency we have accepted in lieu of honest money has done an awful lot of damage all around, and will continue to do so.

    For those who talk about the economy not being zero sum, etc., they are right, but there are things to consider when debunking the model/example given in the story above. If the issuer of the currency demands payment in that like currency, and the amount of that currency is fixed, and there is a monopoly as to who can issue that currency, the scenario of bankruptcy and ruin holds. That 11th token has to come from somewhere. Had the token been mined and coined gold, and the issuer taken items in value for issuing more gold, it becomes (as money originally did) another good and service produced in an increasingly specialized economy. People perhaps part with more goods than they would in barter to the man who offers the coins, but in the end, the ability to focus on producing their chickens, ham, etc. more than allows productivity to increase. The amount of circulating currency determines its relative value in the economy.

    Surely, however, you can see the difficulty if the original issuer demands 11 tokens back when he only produced 10. If he accepts 10 tokens and one chicken, all is well. The increased production and specialization means everyone wins, even if some more than others. The problem is, what happens to the good producer if (and when) he has dramatically increased his wealth in chickens, more than any 10 original tokens that he was issued, but he has a dearth of tokens for repayment and the original issuer will only take the tokens?

    The fiat currency we have, especially with the FRN, is all debt based. The only way to increase circulation of said notes is to increase debt, not necessarily productive capacity or wealth. This makes it closer to the story example than people like to admit. The difference is that the real token issuers in this case continue to roll the debt over, increasing it and taking possession of more and more real assets in legal title. This has the effect of giving them possession of real productive assets in exchange for their invented script. It is fundamentally dishonest, and amounts to legal theft. The counterfeit example still holds. The highest concentration of wealth in said society is put in the hands of the non producer. The only reason they get away with this is because our government has extended to them a monopoly right and enforces it with legal tender laws. As long as the debt is continually rolled over, people don’t tend to notice the scam. If all of the loans were called in instead of rolled over, you’d have crisis and mayhem. We all keep treading water.

    This is very dangerous when you consider we have switched to a consumption oriented society. The real way to pay off debt is to increase productive capacity, not consumption. At present, we only keep the charade going by individually, corporately, and governmentally going further into debt. Debt can be a tool, but it is far more often a mechanism of slavery for an otherwise free man.

    Also, our debt, and the debt that is represented by the FRN
    is entirely guaranteed by the ability and willingness of the government to tax the productive endeavors of its citizens. Debt has, in more ways than rhetorically, been a mechanism of reinstituting slavery in the USA. OK, it is not private, chattel based slavery. Now the slaveholder is the government, and the slaves are everyone.

    Without rehashing things I wrote in other correspondence in too much detail, let me summarize.

    1. Income taxation is something done to slaves, not freemen. This is a historical fact. Not all slaves picked cotton and lived in barracks. Many worked in towns and were skilled. If you own yourself, you own the fruits of your labors. If someone else owns you, they have a claim on the fruits of your labors (income). This was the origin in the Constitution on the prohibition of direct taxation. Historically, a slave was taxed at about 50% of income, and a serf at 25%. Look at your effective aggregate tax burden and figure which one you are. Don’t forget the regressive FICA tax, which is a non deductible income tax. It rates about 13.5% of your gross, right off the bat. Also, just so you know who really is the master, note that your paycheck gets looted and passed on to the government BEFORE you get it. They get “their” cut of your labor before you do. What does that say?

    2. Slaves are branded and or numbered. Note that not only must you have a social security number to work, it is often automatically done at birth now. It is becoming impossible to live in the system, travel, have credit, own anything, rent, drive, etc. without the government putting its numerical stamp proving it owns you. Try it sometime. Like a slave, your baby gets registered and tracked by its new owner, the US Federal government. Free people are not numbered and tracked. Free people don’t have to have social security numbers and carry government issued ID to travel on a plane, or get a job, etc. We do.

    3. You need permission to leave the country. You have to show a passport in most instances to leave the USA through official channels. This is regardless of whether or not your destination country wants to see a passport upon entry. If the government decides you are a “deadbeat dad” or some other non PC class of miscreant, it can and WILL revoke your passport. This makes it impossible for you to leave, which a free man has a right to. Bear in mind, the government also often wrongly makes a default assignment of fatherhood based on specious claims or phone book searches.

    Sometimes men don’t know this until they get pulled over, find out their drivers license is revoked, their professional license is revoked, and when they try to escape this injustice, they are forbidden to leave the country. In essence, the government has made them prisoners and restricted their travel, ability to travel, and ability to earn a living, often without even a hint of due process.

    Again, this is not done with free men. Free men, in the extreme, unless wanted on a specific crime, have the right to travel at will, and leave the country they find intolerable. Not so in the USA. With our government computer networks, we have a selective electronic Berlin Wall, keeping assets, money, and people inside.

    4. The USA joins only two other countries (N. Korea and Libya) in forcing its citizens to declare and pay income taxes on foreign earned income. It does not matter if you emmigrate and move abroad intending never to return to the USA. You better declare every dime you make, give the US government your exact whereabouts, an pay tribute as they demand in their tax codes no matter what. Master might have let you leave the country, but you still owe him and you better pay that tribute.

    5. When you die, the government swoops in and takes your wealth, in whatever percentages it determines it wants. As a slave, you are really only borrowing that property, and the government comes to take its cut when you pass on.

    6. You don’t own real property anymore. You may pay for it. You might be liable for it, but you get popped for ursurious taxes yearly for property taxes. Don’t pay them, and you lose it all, even if you have paid off the bank. That’s not ownership, that’s rent. By way of example, an average nice suburban home I had in TX cost me 500/month in taxes alone, whether or not I was resident. This guarantees the slaves stay on the hustle and productive and income producing even in retirement. There is no such thing as keeping the cost of living and being truly “rent free” in a society with property taxes. When you have to pay taxes just to keep your property, it’s not yours. The real landlord is the one you are paying that rent to.

    7. You don’t actually own your money anymore either. As a slave, you don’t actually have a right to have and use money. You have a master’s issued privilege. This is born out by the fact that your bank accounts, cash transactions, etc. are all monitered in minute detail. Suspicious Activity Reports are not just something done with huge cash transactions ostensibly to catch drug dealers. If you operate a legitimate cash business (restaurant, doctor office and deposit the co payments, etc.) and make regular cash deposits of ANY size, each one will generate one of those SARs. Every single deposit and withdrawal and transfer of cash will be reported and logged in minute detail. This is not conspiracy stuff. This is happening. I have heard that the latest bills issued now have RFID so you can be scanned for as you go through airport security and such as to how much cash you are carrying. I have no idea if that is true or not. It is a fact that your actual banking, ATM, etc. uses are almost all reported to the government, indexed, cross referenced, etc. In any case, bear this in mind. It all makes sense if you consider that our fiat currency is not real wealth owned and freely disposed of by free men. It is monopoly money that keeps the system lubricated and the serfs/slaves on the hamster wheel generating the material wealth the government needs to support its activities. It makes sense that the government will then retain the ability to sieze, control, issue, and recall its money as a leverage of control over its serfs. For the tip of the iceberg as to how this works,
    go here: (note that the mere act of conducting your business in a way that may or may not intentionally be construed as an attempt to maintain financial privacy leads you to automatically be considered guilty of the financial crime of structuring, even if accused of no specific wrongdoing. This, of course, can lead to imprisonment and complete asset forfeiture)

    http://www.visualanalytics.com/Products/VLinkChart/volume3/issue12/VLNews.cfm

    Now, I can go on and on. Examples abound. Not least is that the slaves don’t own their own bodies, because the government tells you what chemicals you can and can’t put in them, and what medical treatments you can accept, and so on. They key to remember is that the majority of said usurpations have occured since the Federal Reserve was created. This allows through increased government borrowing, inflation, etc. an unrivaled growth in government spending and a centralization of power. Debt financing and inflation did more to enable massive large scale, long term warfare than any time in history. It has allowed the growth of massive bureaucracies and standing police armies like we’ve never had.

    Bear in mind, absent some hard physical check, some absolute limit and honest money, the politicians always will succumb to the temptation to print money for ther favorite program or cause. In the end, absent “honest money” there is no real check on the growth of government, until its size strangles the society upon which it feeds. This happened with Rome, and it is happening with us (and the UK, and so on).

  26. Rogintc March 14, 2006 8:25 pm

    Well isn’t this a cheery topic? I’m throughly depressed; but at least I’ve been throughly educated (again!) on what a dope and pawn I’ve always been, & will always be; just going about my day-to-day existance, trying to eke out my paltry little living & in some fashion support my miserable, hedonistic, consumerism driven lifestyle! Blah Blah Blah.
    Good Lord, how I wish someone would actually post something here that might actually be useful & helpful to us miserable little miscreants who are just out here struggling to make ends meet & enjoy some semblance of the Great American Dream! I do note, of course, all the apparently disillusioned, disenfranchised, and otherwise disenchanted contributors to this discussion evidently have at their disposal access to internet - based computers; costing, I’d imagine, 100’s of dollars, at a minimum. Nearly 100% of which, I imagine, are produced by Chinese people making a fraction of the income the vast majority of people reading this right now make.
    Ahhh, the irony of it all.

  27. Patrick March 14, 2006 8:33 pm

    In the above example, please consider these possibilities:

    The usage of an abstract form of transfer has eased the payment and clearance of the transaction, hence a value in time is created, allowing the individual more time to create more wealth, hence at the payback time, excess was created by the loaning of money for interest. The actual creation was due to the reduction of cost that came about from the loaning of money.

    In the instance of a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve, though it is a private corporation, the actual value of the bank is in the transfer of values. These pieces of paper that we call money are actually, “Abstract receipts of labor.”

    The support for the values that the bank exchanges comes from the continuous creation of wealth by the application of labor. The aim is to create amounts of values in excess of the amount of interest to be paid back on the money borrowed.

    These days many checks that are written no longer go through the Federal Reserve clearing, rather they go electronically directly to the bank that is the payor. In such an instance, the cost to clear a check decreases. By cost reduction a new value is created, which can then provide capitol to loan. Capitol in this sense could be considered an abstract product of thought. The application of thinking of an innovative way to do something, allowed a new value to be created that could then be used to loan more money so to engage more labor to create more wealth.

    The total value of labor and capitol is at its highest when the greatest amount of active and useful thinking is employed.

  28. American Pothead Banker March 14, 2006 8:38 pm

    Always remember that who receives the money first after it is intially pulled out of a central banker’s butt - has the most spending power. The dollar chase proceeds from this first butt pull.

  29. Herbert Hoffman March 14, 2006 8:58 pm

    No Worries mate, when paper money crashes those who know how to survive will. The rest won’t, simple as that. Ask yourself if you lost all your money and possesions tomorrow, would you know how to survive?

    American money makes terrible toilet paper, I know I’ve tried they print too much for it to get soft enough. The well worn mexican peso paper is somewhat better than leaves….

  30. seth r. d. March 14, 2006 9:04 pm

    excellent conversation, #18 has it!, #21 = funny…

    the inevitable collapse is built into the system, they will create chaos and distractions if opposition gets too strong, and use fear and force to coerce into this new order, as control of our resources increases. best hope is for strong local currencies and networks of interdependencies

    “Paper money eventually returns to its. intrinsic value — zero.” Voltaire

  31. Dan March 14, 2006 10:49 pm

    Rogintc

    In #26, you stated that your were looking for something that would be useful and helpful with regards to this issue.

    If you or others are serious about finding something that might be useful and helpful, check out afr.com. Nelson Hultberg seems to have both a vision and strategy for dealing with the faulty fiat money system, and out of control growth of the federal government.

    It continues to look like our last, best hope. If we fail to achieve it, at least we go down fighting for the vision that reflects what our Founders espoused…a limited Constitutional Republic!!

    Best…Dan

  32. m_astera March 14, 2006 11:11 pm

    What a great discussion. Hats off to all of you, but most especially murf. Clear thinking like that is the gold standard of discourse.

    And speaking of gold, the monex ticker tells me this evening that gold is still holding steady in the $550 range and that silver is insisting that it will stay above $10, no matter how hard they try to bring it down. Historically, silver:gold has been anywhere from 10:1 to 20:1. Never until the end of US silver coinage in 1964 did it go above 35:1. Right now it’s at 55:1. Does anyoone else see a bargain? Silver is an in-demand industrial metal and right now you can buy it for essentially the cost of production. It is not going back down, folks.

    My coin dealer was telling me that he’s sitting on 5,000 ounces of silver that he bought a few years back for less than $3 an ounce, he says $2.50. Can anyone point to another portable hard asset that has appreciated 400% in the last few years?

    In 1860, a silver dollar, approximately an ounce, was a day’s wages for a skilled workman. Today that skilled workman’s wages are $200 to $300 in FRNs. A smart skilled workman of today might want to take a day’s wages and buy 20 or 30 ounces of silver. Even a minimum wage worker could buy 4 or 5 ounces with a day’s take home pay.

    Keep in mind that there are a lot more people in the world today than there were in 1860, but not a lot more silver or gold.

    Silver will still be an incredible bargain at $20 an ounce, and hey, it’s pretty too. That fancy silver ring that the jewelry store is selling for $40 has $1 or $2 worth of silver in it at today’s silver prices.

  33. Murf March 15, 2006 6:11 am

    In regards to Patrick in commentary #27, I have no issue with his general description as to what the utility of a bank is. Abstract values, etc. can all serve a purpose.

    This is the problem: there is no need for a bank to exchange abstract values when it can instead exchange abstract representations of real values. The abuse in the system comes from the ability to use legal tender laws to compel the payment and production of real goods in exchange for abstract promises. There is a real limit in the ability to produce real goods and services. We are no longer even limited to the maximum capacity of printing presses when it comes to creating abstract currencies.

    Additionally, we’ll never know the true value (or disservice) of the Federal Reserve. It has no fair market value, despite being a private corporation. It is a legal monopoly, a government chartered corporation that simply happens to have private stockholders. Our government ignores its own founding legal document and repudiates gold and silver as the only legal currency, and has unconstitutionally transfered the money issuing authority to a well connected private banking consortium.

    I won’t get into the relative merits of the conspiracy arguments (many of which seem to have a very high level of validity). What is indisputable is that the government prevents the market from rendering its judgement on whether or not the Federal Reserve produces real value because it prohibited private ownership and use of gold for over 40 years (effectively forcibly demonetizing gold for two generations made people forget that there is an alternative to fiat currency). Additionally, the armed force of government (all laws are ultimately backed by the threat or use of force) prevents anyone from doing what the Federal Reserve does, and legal tender laws mandate that you must accept its script in exchange for goods, services, and debt payments.

    A private, non central banking system, with banks (and large corporations like GE Capital, etc.) issuing their own script in exchange for real assets or stock price would be an alternative arrangement. Services like Egold, goldmoney, and digigold, etc. are also excellent alternatives. Only in the face of free and open competition, rather than legal monopoly and compulsory acceptance, do we see if the Federal Reserve notes have actual value.

    You assume it has value, because that’s all we have had to judge by. It is an imperfect social and economic arrangement forcibly maintained, and we will only be able to judge its merit when we are allowed to use other arrangements and its monopoly is revoked.

    You know, and I know, that people will then, given a choice, choose asset backed currencies rather than abstracts….every day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

    Sadly, until it falls apart, all of the entrenched interests will refuse to allow change. Government does not want asset backed currencies. It gets first crack at what was referenced in comment 28 above. It is the first to spend that newly created money before it loses its value, and as such, it also participates in teh nothing for something exchange. These huge banking interests and government both work together for mutual maximum benefit, and fleece the productive segments of society. Hard currency would be a serious check on it.

    Ultimately, I think hard currency will make a comeback only because people will refuse to let themselves be entrapped into working for mickey mouse money that buys less and less. It’s just a matter of hitting the tipping point. As always, the most market savvy and resource rich amongst us will try to be the early adopters rather than getting caught in the crash.

    ALso, bear in mind the government has extended its monitering of all financial transactions (including coin dealers, etc.) first in the name of fighting the evil drug lords, and now to fight terrorists. In reality, it just means they now can identify, tax, and confiscate truly marketable financial assets and accounts easier than ever before, and may well try to do so. If the whole system comes down and almost everyone is trapped, people might resign themselves to suffering. If the system comes down and many people see that many others (who had no faith in the system) preserved their wealth and status, it would likely cause a serious crisis in any and all faith in government.

    That’s my speculation. I don’t have a firm “I know what is going to happen.” notion. I just look at the signs….massive increase in police forces, militarization of police forces, increased wiretapping, financial monitering, reporting, more allowances for instant no due process asset siezure and bank account freezing, and I say:

    “They aren’t doing all of this for nothing.” It might not be a master conspiracy plan by the government to cause a breakdown anymore than Noah’s building of the Ark caused the Flood. Merely by the government apparently preparing for something that may happen (and necessitate the ability to ID and confiscate or control wealth, and attendent civil unrest) might be a sign to the rest of us that we probably should too.

  34. Murf March 15, 2006 6:42 am

    Dear Rogintc, in your #26 commentary you make several comments that I think need addressing, just on principle.

    1. OK, you are a pawn. Resent it, wake up. By and large, so are we. Buy an excellent book, “The Sovereign Individual” and see what you can do to make yourself one rather than (and forgive me if I am wrong) apparently resenting someone pointing out the problem with our conditions and the system at large. I am sorry not all subjects are cheery. I find cheer in realizing how I can live life more fully by escaping the artificial constructs and limits the systems and conventions I took for granted my whole life because that’s what I was raised into. Sometimes its a painful process, and it shatters illusions, and dearly held misconceptions. Birth is painful, so is life, so the birth of a new idea into your head is often going to cause pain before the joy of its growing can occur. It’s all worth it.

    2. Plenty of people have pointed out things that can actually help you. Number one is learning to recognize the mess we are in, and reality versus the constructions we think are reality. I know this analogy has been beat to death (especially by the conspiracy crowds), but it is a lot like waking up and recognizing the Matrix. Even if you are stuck living in it, knowing the reality is the key to having some control over it, and perhaps, somehow, escaping it and its control. There is satisfaction in knowing what is, versus what we have been convinced is. It reminds me of an old quote about none being so enslaved as those who think they are free (and boy, does this apply to Americans!).

    3. Plenty of people, myself included have also included links to websites, articles, book and movie suggestions, etc. No one is going to send you a big bag of gold, but the info sources you have been offered are great starting points to a world of knowledge out there. None of this is taught in any school (and no wonders as to why), and darned few people who have the intellectual stones to understand this (less and less every day, thanks to the public schools), and less the patience and motivation to learn. I only wish I had someone to mentor and suggest even the tiniest fractions of the info I have spent the last 7 years uncovering, just for perspective and someone to point me in the right direction. It might have saved me years of toil and intellectual dead ends. The web and world are full of perspective blowing information if only we can get out of our current perspectives enough to look for them. Having someone else point out a great article, and it providing that mentality changing beachhead and intellectual direction, is more valuable than you seem to realize. It is a great service, and it’s not just griping.

    4. Yes, it is with a sense of irony that we complain when we are so prosperous, but it is all relative. Germans in 1939 were much better off than people in Zimbabwe are today, but they had a right to complain and expect better out of their leaders and institutions. They had a right in 1933 not to have to deal with hyper inflation and economic ruin, even though economic ruin in Weimar Germany was greater prosperity than much of Africa today. Americans have had stagnant real wages since 1973. They’ve had a devaluation of their potential growth with the growth of government. There is all kinds of analysis on this.

    You would not accept your IRA manager saying “well, you have earned 2% interest over the last 40 years, and it would have been 8% had we not embezzled it. BE glad though, because in some funds there are negative returns.” You expect more out of America because given the (previous) history of political and economic liberty, sound money, and existing stocks of wealth, capital, and opportunity, our returns should be much higher.

    As a nation, we are increasingly dumbed down, indebted, and our incomes eaten by inflationary policy. Our children are indebted to get second rate college schooling (and that’s most of it), and our productive capacity is being shipped abroad, with the wealth generating opportunities and jobs. For those of us with children, we see a restricting of opportunities, and getting less for more from all of our institutions, be it our post offices, schools, insurance plans, local governments, and medical plans, at higher prices. We get less vacation, pay higher aggregate taxes, etc. Yes, there have been gains, but given the fact that in living memory we went from horse and plow to the moon (and that was two generations ago) it is not untoward to expect a continuation and expansion of progress and opportunity.

    It is also right to condemn the evils we do see, and fiat currency is one of them. Because of it, we also get a huge government, and that is the mother of all social evils, and the root of many of our social problems as well (all long topics). In short (ironic that I of all people use such a phrase!) we do complain because while we are prospering, we are still being robbed, and no one sane appreciates being robbed of opportunity, wealth, or freedom, even when they are prosperous already. The Federal Reserve in partnership with our Federal Government enables all to happen, and this is diminishing us as a people and a nation.

    Individually, and even as a group we might not be able to stop it (personally I have lost faith in the electoral process and the willingness of the masses to reclaim their liberty), but we can certainly adapt and try to work around it any way we can. That requires recognizing the terrain upon which we are deployed.

  35. Murf March 15, 2006 6:47 am

    Astera, in comment #32, thank you very much for the compliment. Here is an article link on gold versus silver as a good investment and store of value. I don’t have personal experience or conviction in this matter, but found the article a heck of an illumination. I don’t see anything wrong with throwing a lot of money into silver. Its relative abundance compared to gold will make it easier to remonetize for average day to day transactions and small exchanges. It is darn hard to give change from gold in smaller denominations of gold.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north436.html

    Feel free to illuminate me with your opinions on gold versus silver, in competition or as a complementary holding. I am still trying to gather my facts before making any firm decisions.

    For the rest of you, http://www.lewrockwell.com is a great liberty oriented site, and has amazing author archives. Gary North often (but not always) writes about financial matters, so does Bill Bonner. I’ve learned so much from reading it daily for years, and also from following many of the source links and references buried in the Op Ed and articles.

  36. Murf March 15, 2006 7:13 am

    In the spirit of helping out, and giving useful information, this again (sorry for seeming like a single source pony, I am not) is an excellent cautionary tale from Gary North. It illustrates many things. He gives links to places to get a digital gold account offshore, and a reason why. It is firm, practical, easily followed advice. I am doing it myself. It is a great way to get one’s feet wet and practice using gold and avoiding keeping all of one’s money in the USA, while still keeping it accessible.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north430.html

  37. Dan March 15, 2006 8:08 am

    Murf,

    Insightful, clear thinking and well spoken. You are rapidly becoming a voice to listen to!! Keep it up.

    Best…Dan

  38. Shauna March 15, 2006 8:14 am

    I have been reading the comments and I cannot believe that there are still people that cannot see what a fraud our current monetary system is. Do you think they will get it when they are sitting on the curb, flat broke? Which by the way is not far off at the rate our current administration is blowing money.

    If you are interested in an entirely new concept for a monetary system that will work with perfection and be stable as long as mankind exists, check out my website. http://www.theperfectsystem.net You can also read some basic ideas on what changes should be made in our system of government to work with this new system. These ideas are not written in stone and can be improved, but the monetary system is worth checking out.

  39. Rod March 15, 2006 8:40 am

    Here is the easy way to understand this. Suppose you have a quarter and you want to borrow a dollar from the bank. So after getting your “LOAN” you now have a $1.25.
    But the problem is the interest that you have to pay back.The bank wants $1.25 payback for the dollar it just loaned you so after paying the bank what do you have.? Remember at the start you had a quarter. What do you have now? NOTHING! Because you paid the bank back the dollar you borrowed plus the only money you had, the quarter which leaves you with nil.This is how the bank steals your money. Its not rocket science. Funny how our law states that “ONLY CONGRESS HAS THE ABILITY TO COIN AND PRINT MONEY”. Yet in 1913 the federal reserve was created to print and coin our money. A direct violation of our constitution!!! The federal reserve in not even part of the federal government! Its the world bank! The term “FEDERAL RESERVE” is used to bertay you into thinking that this country is still in control of its own money! What a joke. America was sold out a long time ago. Too bad you are just waking up to the facts….a day late and a DOLLAR short.

    Rod

  40. SusanSF March 15, 2006 10:43 am

    I have spent the last half hour reading this and thank you murk and all for taking the time to educate the rest of us, I have always felt like a slave to our governemnt, my paycheck gets smaller and everything goes up in cost.
    I calculated my check once and figured IRS, SOCIAL SECURITY and MEDICAID gets about 35% of my earnings.
    and that is not including medical insurance.

    I am passing this article to everyone I know, again THANK YOU

  41. David Roblee March 15, 2006 10:48 am

    Given that the love of money is the root for all evil, is the love of money as an economic engine of growth a good thing or a bad thing?

    Given that debt limits growth, is a debt based economic system a good thing or a bad thing?

    Given that money is printed out of thin air by central banks in order to control growth, does this not indicate that we are slaves to those that print money out of thin air?

    Would it not behoove all of us to reform the global economic system into a kinder gentler beast in a way that will ensure our freedom?

    Here is a viable option for consideration:

    YOUtopia

    MISSION of YOUtopia: To forward and support in-common yearnings for peace, freedom, love, justice, understanding, prosperity, health, opportunity, and growth for the good of all our relations through the discussion and dissemination of simple, viable, peaceful, common-sensical economic reform designed to benefit everybody worldwide no matter their beliefs or belief system.

    DESCRIPTION of YOUtopia: YOUtopia in practical terms is, in essence, an economic system designed to empower the active manifestation of dreams built on individual and collective philosophies and beliefs. The inhabitants of YOUtopia, are YOU, ME, US and THEM. In other words, WE EACH define YOUtopia according to OUR terms, dreams, needs, wants, and desires BOTH individually AND collectively as co-inhabitants of YOUtopia. YOUtopia is grounded in the human condition and is designed to improve the human condition for all peoples worldwide through sound, viable, peaceful economic reform that is designed to improve living conditions for all life forms. YOUtopia is a TRUE global economic system that is designed to fill need, want, and desire at a highly reduced cost for the good of all our relations.

    VIRTUES of YOUtopia: YOUtopia is anti-war, anti-poverty, anti-crime, anti-disease, and anti-usury. YOUtopia is pro-freedom, pro-peace, pro-growth, and pro-prosperity. YOUtopia is not a religion, a political movement or a cult. YOUtopia embraces self-expression, diversity and freedom for all. YOUtopia is also designed to empower growth for all, all at a lesser cost for all.

    PHILOSOPHY of YOUtopia: In a phrase, freedom from monetary limitations imposed on peoples worldwide through centralized world banking cartels imposing monied policies, rules, laws, and practices implemented and institutionalized at the expense of others. The philosophy of YOUtopia simply put is to work together for the good of the all instead of the few through basic economic reform.

    ECONOMIC SYSTEM of YOUtopia: YOUtopia is structured around simple concepts and ideas aimed to enable and empower all belief systems eqally and equitably for the good of all. The way to accomplish this seemingly daunting task is to seperate and expand the current global monied economic models into a simple yet effective two-tiered system based on the non-application of usury for all in-common and all un-common goods and services. In other words, all IN-COMMON goods and services would be usury-free and All UN-COMMON goods and services would not be usury-free. In simpler terms, money would remain for both tiers, usury would not.

    BENEFITS of YOUtopia: The benefits of such a simplfied usury-reformation economic system are profound. Less monied war, poverty, crime, disease coupled with more freedom, opportunity, prosperity, growth for the good of all worldwide.

    Ask: Do you want more stuff for you and yours? Do you want a bigger better house? Do you want a bigger better car/truck? Do you want more cash in your pocket? Do you want more free time to enjoy more stuff? Do you want more prosperity? Do you want more opportunity? Do you want more efficiency? Do you want less disease, less war, less poverty, less suffering, and less confusion? Do you want future generations to grow up with unlimited potential? Do you want everyone to enjoy more freedom, peace, love, understanding, respect, prosperity, and growth for the good of all our relations or do you only want a select few to enjoy these benefits at your expense? If you want more good things, choose usury reformation and the above mentioned benefits will become manifest.

    In closing for now, each of us have a choice to make. Freedom FROM monied evil or slavery TO monied evil. I choose Freedom. How about you?

  42. carl joudrie March 15, 2006 11:05 am

    Hello, I wonder if anyone would be willing to explore some ideas of how to manage a no or negative growth scenario for the world, based on the political ideas at my web site.

    Thank you, Carl
    http://www.foundationcanada.ca/

  43. Scott March 15, 2006 11:06 am

    Michael,
    Your new blog here intertwines capitalism with the discussion of consumerism, two distinctive processes that are not mutually exclusive.

    Consumerism is not simply purchasing cheap stuff from big box retailers any more than it is a celebrity building a 12,000 square foot home. Each individual instance is simply symptomatic of the bigger problem. That is the overuse, waste, and abuse of our resources. Or trash on the side of the road. Or not taking care of one’s possessions. Or purchasing a new wardrobe each spring. Do we fix the dishwasher, or do we throw it away and buy a new one? What happens to that dishwasher? Is it recycled or do we care? Do we take care of our bodies or do we require precious resources to treat a totally preventable disease?

    Consumerism is the conglomeration of actions that disregards conservation. It has nothing to do with a competitive marketplace.

  44. ron March 15, 2006 11:06 am

    Contraction of market economies is usually quite painful. Grow or perish is requisite but not beneficial.Deflation during cyclical depressions is an example of a negative result of market economics.

    To shift to a sustainable economy, elements of competition need to be restricted.The monetary system is also problematic.

  45. Doug March 15, 2006 11:07 am

    Of course, the fly in the ointment is the usury. Does money really deserve to be rewarded the same as labor? If money is a store of labor in abstract form, then yes it does.If it is only imaginary money, created by the abstraction of banking, maybe not. Looks like gold would work better.

  46. Thos Rogers March 15, 2006 11:07 am

    Yes, the Eleventh Round is a wonderfully insightful comment on the roots of consumerism in our world society. It is so good to see the underlying truth of modern commerce so plainly revealed and then followed by numerous responses from intelligent people.

    One point I would like to make is regarding the part where the stranger with the shiny black shoes and an elegant white hat cannot refrain from laughing at the “Poor people” who are “So primitive” It is clear to me, that the stranger is apparently more intelligent than the simple honest hard working people. Yet the practical manifestation of the stranger’s ideas eventually results in the moral decline of a decent society. People are forced to turn to the creation of suffering and denigration in their neighbours lives inorder to avoid becoming financial losers belonging to a lower social class. Once they have accomplished this, then they are strongly motivated to maintain and increase this manifestation of hardship in others, in order to maintain and increase their own apparent superiority.

    The whole society eventually becomes totally crime-ridden, spiritless and infested with sexual denigration. This sounds like where we are now. So the stranger with shiny black shoes is really the one who is a “Poor person” who is “So primitive” in a moral sense. The fact that the stranger is more intelligent than the simple decent folk, makes them look up to him, and blinds them to the fact that he is far below them morally. So they follow his lead. Our society glorifies rationality and totally ignores any lack of emotional decency. Who is leading us simple folk down the path to hell on earth?

    Ans: The first step in solving a crime, is to find out who benefits. Time is running out for the lives of millions of decent people.

  47. Tom March 15, 2006 11:42 am

    Wow! At some time before the inevitable crash happens, there will have to be some form of action taken or we will all sit in the sinking ship complaining to ourselves about how wet we are getting. It is far better to pull maintenance on the current ship or to change which ship we sail on, than to worry about drowning and shark attacks.

    Divide and conquer, that’s why we don’t know our neighbors and most have few real friends.

  48. Deacon Elurby March 15, 2006 12:36 pm

    My “Open Letter to Free-Traders” gets to the crux of the matter of WHO, HOW and WHY America is being dismantled:

    http://openlettertowalterwilliams.blogspot.com/

  49. SusanSF March 15, 2006 12:48 pm

    When the 60 million guest worker program kicks in
    and starts draining our resources and uncle sam wants
    50% of my paycheck, and my medical insurance starts
    costing another 25% because companys don’t want to pay
    benefits anymore, is there a revolt I can join and support.?

  50. rolf rogde March 15, 2006 1:10 pm

    why are we in this mess? is it because the masses are asses???

  51. Barter-This March 15, 2006 2:00 pm

    Three out of Four people I know doesn’t even think or worry about things outside their little lives.
    It is so infeurating to me to think that most of our society are so busy keeping this little train running that they can’t see the end of the line for all the smoke that is blown into their faces from the conducter of said little train.
    People need to start standing up and get off at the next stop, before this train derail, completely.

    To get THEM where it hurts is in their pocket-book.

    Either borrow more money than THEY have or borrow no money at all.
    Buy store products and not brand name, at mom and paps stores and not at the big box stores, eat at local restraunts not the over priced over stuffed chain food restraunts, etc…
    Self-suffecientcy as a country is a thing of the past.

    Start living within ours means again.
    I am a firm believer in, ‘If You can’t pay for it with cash, then you don’t need it.’
    I would lots rather pay by bartering but the majority of Americans think you are trying to get something over on them if you want to pay with a chicken instead of greenbacks,LOL…
    I believe if we ALL did something small and insinificant in the eyes of the masses, it would hurt them hard with out causing mass hysteria.

    It is time to sit on the front seat of the bus, PEOPLE…
    Stand Up…
    As an artist I barter as often as I can.

  52. Joe March 15, 2006 3:08 pm

    The original article and resultant feedback are great. But it seems the symtoms are discussed more than the cause. I can hate and dispise anyone who takes unjust advantange of people for all the typical reasons (greed,lust,ego, you name it), be it the the one worlders, illuminati, various governments and mafias (aren’t they the same?) or the devil, however the blame can be laid at the feet of all us. If there is no prey, then there are no predators, no victims, no victomizer, no unwashed-ignorant-gullable-plain stupid-easily lead sheeple……no dictators, corrupt governments, bad bankers, politicians, lawyers or whom ever you wish to blame. When enough people finally get it…..when enough critcal mass of truth has been received, then maybe, things would begin to turn around. But don’t your breath. The patient, America, is terminal. It has gone down this bad road for so long it will probalbly not be saved in its present form, and perhaps, should not be. Live and let die. There are enough in the minoriy who are willing to look into the abyss of the sum total of our fears and see a way clear to overcome by courage, faith, and a determination to survive. During the Revolutionary War only 20 to 30 percent or the available fighting men fought against the British. Maybe thats the critcal mass…..apparently, we have yet to achive that. In the mean time, stay informed, share the information, and take the steps necessary for survival as recomended by many in this discussion here. I plan to…..and remember….and remember……something that isn’t talked about much…..the most important something…..there is another Player…..and He is not about to let the bad guys win in the end. However we must do our part. Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer, you guns even closer, but above all, keep the faith.

  53. vae victis March 15, 2006 4:29 pm

    so yea ….young , energetic, restless, concerned ….have lifted the veils of our society, what now…..

  54. Demondrega March 15, 2006 5:18 pm

    Murc explained well exactly like it is. The most amazing thing is that NOBODY is complaining that the ‘fed’ is a private company. As relating to gold and silver, you can bet they will try to confiscate the true ‘value’ assets as soon as this economy crashes. Now here’s what I see happening. (Yes the 9/11 tragedy was created by the US government, with an Israeli demolition squad; which was caught at ground zero, but then released, even though the van had traces of high explosives) So then, we are spending incredible amounts of monopoly money, so lets see how this might work out; The Euro is not pegged to the dollar, the yen isn’t, but the yuan IS. One day (not far from now) the dollar crashes, with it the central world banks will dump insane amounts of dollars on the exchange market. In an instant the euro will skyrocket vs the dollar (which is good…right?). But now all these things that Europe imports are more expensive to export. Exports die out and all of a sudden the European machine dies (The latest ZEW survey that came out this week actually stated that the German economy is vulnerable to export income). So now, the dollar is crashed, the euro is OVERVALUED (even though most economists think the euro is not overvalued at the current range of 1.18/1.22). Now what effect will this have? Well the yuan is still pegged, so since the dollar crashed, chinese goods will be even cheaper. I’m not sure what would happen to Japan, but they are an export based economy… Needless to say, from this perspective, it seems like europe is going to take the HUGE brunt of it; don’t forget as it is now, the Italians are trying to revoke usage of the Euro in Italy. They blame the Euro on the entire Italian financial failure of a system. Now imagine an overvalued Euro. Then there’s the Iran oil bourse, but that only helps to crush the US dollar, I’ll think about it later on how it ‘might’ further affect the euro, but besides supporting it like the petro dollar, I can’t think of something off the top of my head.

    Later.

  55. M. Emily Cragg March 15, 2006 6:48 pm

    With your permission, I’d like to read this article tonight on Evening Muse, crusaderadio.com at 9pm.

    If I don’t hear from you, I’ll presume you don’t mind, because it seems to me you would want this information disseminated.

    Thanks. (If I’m wrong, let me know and I’ll never do it again.)

    Emily Cragg

  56. m_astera March 16, 2006 1:27 am

    More on silver: Is silver a better long term investment than gold? How should I know? :)

    Here are some rough figures on silver and gold production from mining, the year 2004:

    silver 634 million ounces
    gold 79 million ounces

    That gives us an 8:1 ratio of silver:gold coming out of the mines, even tighter than historic ratios of 10 or 15 to 1.

    However, of that 634 million ounces of silver that was mined in 2004, 548 million ounces were used in industrial and photographic applications and are essentially gone, as very little of it ever gets recycled. So if we subtract what was used up from what was mined, we get:

    634 - 548= 86 million ounces of silver were left to increase world supply in the form of coins, jewelry, silverware etc.

    The gold pretty much stays around, the silver gets used up. Net gain in 2004:

    79 million ounces of gold
    86 million ounces of silver

    So why is gold selling for 55 times as much as silver? I believe it’s mostly because the silver market is being very tightly controlled by the industrial users. They do not want this essential metal to rise to a point where they cannot afford to buy or use it.

    Of course the gold market is manipulated too, but I think that’s mostly because the bankers don’t want us commoners to even think about questioning fiat money and owning hard assets.

    So, here’s my prediction: Gold will continue to stall at around $550 while silver heats up. I think the bankers attempting to control gold have more clout than the industrial users of silver do. Since I posted yesterday silver has risen to $10.26; I believe this is the highest it has been in the last 25 years. There is absolutely no mention of this in the major financial papers. That’s a clue for you all.

    I’m not holding a whole lot of silver or gold, I’m just a working stiff, but I have bought over a hundred ounces of silver. When the silver:gold ratio hits 20:1, like say $35 silver and $700 gold, I’ll think about cashing in the silver and buying gold. If it hits 10:1 I’ll do it for sure, at least a good part of it.

    Murf’s point about silver being easier to spend is well made. If we end up again where an ounce of silver is a good days wages a silver dime will again buy a loaf of bread, and trying to spend an ounce of gold will be harder than trying to break a $100 bill used to be.

    Another consideration is government confiscation of hard assets. They did it in 1933 with gold and they could try to do it again. They didn’t confiscate silver then, although I think China did at some point in the 20th century. Regardless, even today it’s a lot easier to get someone to trade for a $10 ounce of silver than a $550 ounce of gold.

    A final note to anyone who’s still reading: have you ever bought an ounce of silver and held it in your hand? If not, allow me to recommend that you look up “coin dealers” in the yellow pages and then go to one and spend $11 or $12 on a silver round or a US silver eagle. Real money has a feel that paper FRNs will never have. And whatever you do, don’t keep the real stuff in a bank safe deposit box. In a crunch, there will be a federal marshal there with you in the vault, and he will give you a paper receipt when he takes your real money away.

  57. m_astera March 16, 2006 2:13 am

    The figures for silver production and usage that I gave above are quite conservative, coming from official-type organizations like the Silver Institute. Any number of other writers, though, claim that there is actually considerably less silver above ground in the world than there is gold, and less every year.

  58. Murf March 16, 2006 3:22 am

    Well, here is another installment.

    I will be putting this book on my “wish list.” It is recommended by the Ludwig von Mises institute, which the home of the Austrian School of economics. For those of you not familiar, one of the tenets of this is sound money. Another is free trade, and definitely not least is limited government.

    It is important to know that free trade generally works, and well. A tenet of free trade, real free trade, is sound money. Large trade imbalances become self correcting if more money can’t just be printed. As it stands, we print more money, while exporting our productive capacity because there is no real redress in balance of payments, perhaps except when/if it all comes crashing down.

    Anyway, follow this link, read the summary review and chapter list of the book. That alone will no doubt prove instructive. I’ll probably pick this up myself when I am less involved in some of the engineering studies and projects I am working on.

    http://www.mises.org/store/Money-Bank-Credit-and-Economic-Cycles-P290C0.aspx?AFID=1

  59. Christopher Day March 16, 2006 6:51 am

    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    © 1994 - 2006 Christopher D. Day

    Rap Verse 1 Intro

    Congratulations! Look what you’ve done,
    We live your corruption, are ya havin’’ fun?
    Your puppets deceive on the flickering screens,
    We could not resist the “Master of Dreams.”

    Chorus 1

    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    Keep ‘em entertained, and keep ‘em poor—said,
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    How do you plead? It’s been decreed!
    Justice? Hah! We call it the “Rule of Law.”
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    “In God’s Name” we proclaim,
    When we ring the bell, you better sell—said,
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    Created by the SUPER rich to keep us poor.

    Rap Verse 2

    Well it’s plain to me, where there’s more than three,
    We talkin’ about a conspiracy.
    The boys up top have got it down,
    Their funny-money makes the world go round,
    Create the credit, get em’ hooked,
    Gangster banksters, corporate crooks.
    Redraw the globe with digital borders,
    Serfs unite ’cause it’s a New World Order!

    Chorus 2

    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    Keep ‘em entertained, keep ‘em poor—said,
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    You’re a number, not a name,
    In Big Brother’s terror game—said,
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    Barcode the kids, put an eye in the sky,
    We’ve got your digits so don’t even try—said,
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    Created by the SUPER rich to keep us poor.

    Rap Verse 3

    Interest and inflation, the two sides of the one,
    Give us all your money and you might end up with some.
    They say it all began when interest was demanded,
    When banks create more money, very few can understand it.
    Seeds become more flowers, beasts create more beasts,
    Money grows on TV screens, miracles never cease—hallelujah!

    Chorus 3.

    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    Keep ‘em entertained, and keep ‘em poor—said,
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    How do you plead? It’s been decreed!
    (off-mic voice) Justice? Hah! We call it the “Rule of Law.”
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    “In God’s Name” we proclaim,
    When we ring the bell, you better sell—said,
    BOOM, BUST, WAR!
    Created by the SUPER rich to keep us poor.

    Rap Verse 4 Finale

    United in global division, the Dark Force appears supreme,
    The ‘living’ dead celebrate its power, until soul wakes from the dream.

    (ends)

  60. Roy March 16, 2006 10:14 am

    There is a lot of good stuff presented here.

    However, as I was reading through the posts, it seemed to me that the bulk of the discussion didn’t address the topic. As one poster put it, we are addressing the symptoms rather the cause (or root).

    Much of the information presented describes things, events, and institutions that created the environment in which we now operate. But at the risk of waxing philosophical, what motivated these things, events, and institutions? Isn’t the answer quite simply, greed? If we assume that the Gold Standard is a better system than the fiat money system, wouldn’t the man in the shiny black shoes still come calling? Wouldn’t the desire for more gold, or more whatever still be there? It seems to me that one system affords a greater opportunity to turn “desire” in to action. But greed is silent and insidious.

    So as we set about detemining how best to operate in the environment in which we find ourselves, and as we look to the past to build a better future, it makes sense to keep an eye on the root cause. It is possible to take this root cause analysis one step further and try to determine where the Desire for more originates, but that is best left to another web-site I imagine…

    -Roy

  61. Christopher Day March 16, 2006 5:43 pm

    Roy posted: “Much of the information presented describes things, events, and institutions that created the environment in which we now operate. But at the risk of waxing philosophical, what motivated these things, events, and institutions? Isn’t the answer quite simply, greed?”

    Yes, yes, YES!

    I’ve spent 20 years trying to understand the root-cause behind the collective consciousness that allows usury (the old Babylonian racket of borrow 10 payback 11) to be the primary (Western) economic instrument, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the GREED in our individual hearts has the potential to manipulate ANY system we collectively agree to institute.

    Perhaps the words attributed to the alleged Baal/Mithra/Yesod (”Jesus”) entity are TRUE: it’s not “money” that’s the problem, but the “LOVE” of it!

    Bottom line: Get the greed out of our OWN hearts before railing against the current perfidious racket. The answer is (and always was) TRUTH, LOVE and RESPECT.

    And that is a monumental tall order!

    In the meantime maybe we should revert back to the incorruptable use of the tangible “Tally Stick…” (chuckles)

  62. Robert March 16, 2006 11:52 pm

    Christopher is right: It is not money, it is the love of it. Unfortunately, the truth is that we all need to love money as there is no survival in the modern world without money. It used to be a long time ago that people could survive without any money. Today, if you live in a large city and need to visit a restroom, all too often you will encounter the sign “restrooms for (paying) customers only”.

    Greed is the expression of fear to lose in the competition among people for space and resources necessary for survival. The more fearful we are the more greedy we become for money. Love of money is therefore nothing else than fear of death.

    The larger the size of our populations, the more important money becomes. Therefore, in order to reduce the importance of money we need to stabilize (if not to reduce) the number of humans on this planet. Money is worth nothing if the world population is extremely small (say 10 people). Money becomens extremely important if world population approaches the limits of carrying capacity.

  63. m_astera March 17, 2006 1:48 am

    Robert and Christopher are both right about greed and money and the need for a change of consciousness. I don’t think that we need to worry about reducing the population, though. That will take care of itself; it already is. The birthrate is dropping worldwide, has been for quite a while. In my view, all those entities who wanted to be here for the big changes managed to get incarnated; there’s no waiting line anymore. And most of them will be waking up after this incarnation and saying “I did what?!? That’s not what I was going to do down there!”

    So let’s take a look at the greed thing. The title of this thread is “The Roots of Consumerism”.

    The basis of greed is a desire for control, AKA “power”. Greedy people are needy people, they are living in fear and they believe that they can achieve some sort of safety if they can somehow gain control over the people and events in their lives. Having lots of money is our present metaphor for having control over one’s life. How many people have you heard talking about what they would do if they won the lottery, what they would do if their ship came in and they were fabulously wealthy? Every single one I’ve heard would quit their job and just do what they want to do. (Not that they have much of a clue what that is, except spend lots of money and not have to listen to someone else tell them what to do.)

    What they are really wanting is freedom from fear, as Robert pointed out. And so we come to the curious situation in the world today, where the most fearful are the most greedy, and those who will do absolutely anything to assuage their fear are those who are running this joint. How else to explain “chickenhawks”, cowards, draft dodgers, thieves and liars running the world? They are all desperately afraid and will kill, cheat and lie because they know they are really powerless to affect their reality in any other way. They are not immortal beings, they are not immortal souls and spirits. They are merely their human bodies and chemical brains, and it is a fearful thing when that is all one is.

    Money is a wonderful thing. It is a great tool and facilitator when it is used as a marker and store of value. A prudent man stores a bit of money just as a squirrel stores nuts for the winter. What good would it do the squirrel to take all of the other squirrels’ nuts, to force all of the other squirrels to gather nuts for him, not caring if the other squirrels starved in the winter. Would not a squirrel who behaved like this be insane?

    Unfortunately, these “insane squirrels” are exactly who we now have running this world, and it looks to me like they’ve been running the world throughout recorded history.

    Most of us, I’ll say 90% of us, have what is called a conscience. We will not knowingly cause harm to another just to benefit ourself. If we do that, we feel wrong, bad. This is of course because we are animated by an immortal spirit that knows we are all one, one creation everlasting and ongoing. At the same time, we are in an animal body that experiences pain and hunger and raging hormones, and sometimes we can be quite overwhelmed by our animal nature. Over the course of human evolution, societies have codified certain rules of conduct that should take over when we might otherwise succumb to our animal fears and desires. Things like fair play and no cheating, stealing or lying. All societies have these rules, to be applied at least within one’s own community. We are all taught these things as we grow up, and most of us do our best to live by them.

    The problem we have, though, is with those who ignore these rules. Those who, for one reason or another, do not have a conscience. Our modern term for these people is psychopath or sociopath. Some of these people are very easy to spot, and our society locks them up or does something to prevent them from doing harm. Others are not so easy to spot. They pretend to live by the rules of fair play, often they set themslves up as paragons of virtue, but really they are cheating, stealing, and lying at every opportunity. If they are very clever and good at it, they accumulate wealth and rise to positions of power, where they are lauded as examples.

    I woould submit that very close to 100% of this planet’s “leaders”, be they spiritual leaders, governmental leaders, financial leaders, or leaders in professional fields like science, medicine, or academia, are just such: lying, cheating, stealing psychopaths without a functioning conscience. And these are the heroes we supply our children with.

    It is quite interesting, here at the end of the old paradigm and the birthing of the new, just how obvious the above is becoming. No sane and observant person could point to our leaders in any field and say they are a paragon of virtue. And the fields they supposedly lead in are being shown to be pretty lame too. Our religions are self destructing simply by being exposed for the frauds they are; same goes for science, medicine, government, business, sports, music, entertainment. All are being exposed as frauds and their respective leaders as frauds, liars, cheaters etc.

    This is good, though, don’t you think? All of these institutions have served a purpose in getting us to where we are now, and now we are being clearly shown just how shallow they are and why we don’t need them anymore, at least not in the way we have in the past. We also have the worst offenders, the scum of the scum, right on top and clearly exposed.

    So anyone who is paying attention can see this, and can say “Well, that isn’t working. What would work?” We can start putting together things that do work, and this is happening.

    One thing that I see as necessary in our coming world is that anyone who desires power or control over others must be immediately and forever denied any such thing. If you want to be a judge, or a lawyer, or a politician, or a cop, or a general, or the CEO of a major corporation, you are completely disqualified forever. This can be done without force or coercion simply through testing. The tools are there and getting better all the time. I’m not quite sure what to do for someone who wants to be a consumer.

    I know, I know, who is going to be in charge of the testing and how do we know they aren’t scumbags? Briefly, we are going to know some truths, and the truths will set us free. One of these truths is that humanity is one organism and a part of all of the other life on this beautiful world.
    It will all work out. God’s in heaven and all’s right with the world. Stick around, you’ll see.

  64. Demondrega March 17, 2006 12:34 pm

    So I sat and really thought about depression/inflation. It seems to be the biggest question around, “Are we going to have a deflation period? Are we going to have an inflation period?” Well I think we will have both. It’s obvious the US government no longer has gold, that is, it sold all of it already/’leased it’. We all know the dollar is worth 2cents (the cost to print ANY denomination of it). With that said, gold right now is lingering about the 530-570’s an ounce. Silver just broke the 20+ year high at 10 dollars an ounce. So call me crazy but it makes sense. Governments always try to destroy wealth. The problem now is that people acquired wealth through gold/silver bullion. People right now have trust in this ‘asset’ class. What I see happening is the government stealing all this from people, with people not even realizing its happening. The government CAN’T confiscate gold/silver eagles since 1985/6 by law are numismatics (and they won’t bother since it’s too much of a hassle). Be advised, back in Rosies time, numismatics were not ‘protected’ by law, so the argument is just speculative. However, add in the house bubble into the equation, rising interest rates, and the possible direction can be seen. So, the housing bubble bursts, and house prices drop, at this point we hit a recession state, however, since so many are too overleveraged, foreclosures will run amuck. At this point we hit depression status. The Fed will STOP printing money, and raise rates to keep foreign investments going. As usual commodity prices will drop as people start selling their gold and silver to ‘live’ or to get on the higher return from the government fiat. By raising interest rates, they further strip the wealth from the housing market. As more people loose everything, money will be ’scarce’ (except all those trillions floating overseas). More and more people will sell their commodities to make it through. At this point the government has destroyed the public trust in commodities as well as real estate. People are left at the mercy of the fiat (once again). To be the saviour, the government drops rates, and starts the money presses again. The damage is done though and the ‘lapse’ period in the rest of the world economy took its toll, even though demand goes up again here, China had to cut production, and are probably themselves hit with a depression. Thats when we hit the normal hyperinflation stage. Now the government stole everything from people (real estate, commodities, and any power left in the paper toilet fiat). At the end of the day, the government/rich have everything, including gold/silver/real estate, while the normal joe has nothing left. Call me crazy, but this is what I see happening. Governments always work to demolish their middle classes (since Bush took office the ‘official’ debt doubled, add in that the m1 shows a money increase of 120% just in 2001 after 9/11, and you see how devalued the dollar really is); the above scenario does everything perfectly (if I was at the fed I’d be laughing knowing what’s about to hit us). I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

    ~Demon

  65. Breck Breckenridge March 19, 2006 11:03 am

    “dan lobel Says:
    March 14th, 2006 at 5:27 am
    while i do agree that there are (probably fatal) problems w/ our monetary system, i dont blame the system- i believe its the best one there ever was in history- its the abuse of that system by my greedy, selfish, spoiled…”.
    HI Dan! You should blame the system. And the system isn’t called capitalism, it is called democracy. I tend to agree with Churchill who wrote that ‘democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others’. But I would also have you consider the prescience of Alexander Fraser Tytler, 18th century historian and jurist who wrote, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship”. Amazing words arent’ they?

  66. [...] This post is a follow-up to last week’s post and open thread, The Roots of Consumerism. This post offers alternative ideas to the current fiat money regime by examining effective, alternative money systems from the past, spawned by the worldwide Great Depression of the twentieth century. Your comments welcome below. [...]

  67. Administrator March 20, 2006 3:18 pm

    Dear Everyone,

    Thank you for participating in this excellent discussion. I’m closing the thread to keep the spammers away, but the discussion continues here:

    Alternatives to the Fiat Currency Regime
    http://www.bullnotbull.com/blog/?p=49

    Best regards,
    Michael

  68. [...] We have already seen how interest rates are deeply woven into the very process of creating money in our prevailing money system. Understanding the relationship between interest rates and time perception will be accomplished in the three following steps: [...]

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