Friday, October 16, 2009

Tom Greco - Money US decline

Thomas Greco.s The End of Money and the Future of Civilization

by Richard C. Cook / October 13th, 2009

It.s too late for anyone to pretend that the U.S. government, whether under President Barack Obama or anyone else, can divert our nation from long-term economic decline. The U.S. is increasingly in a state of political, economic, and moral paralysis, caught as it were between the .rock. of protracted recession and the .hard place. of terminal government debt.

Even if the stock market can be shored up by more government borrowing for .stimulus. spending, it.s a temporary reprieve, because nothing can bring back the consumer purchasing power that was lost when the banks stopped pumping money into the economy through out-of-control mortgage lending. We simply no longer have the job base for people to earn the income they need to live.

The underlying cause of the crisis is in fact the debt-based monetary system, whereby the U.S. ruling class long ago sold out our nation and its people to the international banking cartel of which the Rockefeller and Morgan interests have been the chief representatives for over a century. It was lending on a previously unheard of scale for overpriced assets to people and businesses unable to repay that created the bubbles that burst in 2008, not only in the housing market but also in such areas as commercial real estate, equities, commodities, and derivatives. It was an explosion that reverberated throughout the world.

The Obama administration.s response to the crisis has been to print Treasury bonds both for the financial system bailouts and the sputtering Keynesian stimulus that so far has gone substantially into military infrastructure. This bond bubble is what I have referred to as .Obama.s Last Picture Show..

Government debt is fundamentally inflationary. For a generation, the U.S. dollar has been inflating at an increasing rate, with the economy being kept in a growth posture by selling our debt instruments abroad or allowing foreigners holding dollars to purchase property and other assets on our own soil. The website EconomyinCrisis.org reports that in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available, .foreign entities spent $267.8 billion to acquire or establish U.S. businesses..

Foreigners are spending their dollars as fast as possible, because they are now plummeting in value. It.s increasingly clear that sooner rather than later, the dollar will be dumped by foreign purchasers of bonds, particularly China, and possibly even the oil-producing nations.

These nations know full well that bonds denominated in dollars can never be completely repaid, even if the bonds can be rolled over into fresh debt. It.s this dynamic that is dragging the U.S. economy to the cliff, because real economic growth stopped long ago when our manufacturing jobs were exported. This is because most of the growth since Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 has been only on paper through financial bubbles. This included the dot.com bubble of the Clinton years that blew up in 2000-2001.

Now, after the Treasury bond bubble of 2009, there is nothing left in America to inflate. With so many jobs gone, the American family home was the last thing of value we owned.

So the air is going out of the tires. Americans who are struggling to work for a living are passive spectators as their jobs, savings, health insurance, pensions, and homes continue to erode in value or even disappear. Last Sunday the Washington Post reported a massive crisis in state and local government pensions. Reporter David Cho wrote, .The financial crisis has blown a hole in the rosy forecasts of pension funds that cover teachers, police officers and other government employees, casting into doubt as never before whether these public systems will be able to keep their promises to future generations of retirees..

So what, if anything, can be done about it?

end of moneyWell, the first thing an intelligent physician does is diagnose the disease. Thomas Greco, in his new book The End of Money and the Future of Civilization (Chelsea Green: 2009) , outlines the increasingly familiar story of how things got so bad, and he tells it as well as anyone has ever done. His style is precise and sometimes academic. Behind it, though, is a passion for truth and the type of rock-solid integrity that refuses to sugar-coat a very bitter pill.

More than that, Greco writes about how to change what has gone wrong. His credentials as an engineer, college professor, author, and consultant are impeccable. His book is among the most important written in this decade. It is truly a book that can alter the world and, if taken seriously, give large numbers of people a practical way to survive the gathering catastrophe.

But unlike most commentators, what Greco offers is not another phony prescription for what the financiers and government should do for us, whether through .restarting. lending or another round of stimulus spending. Rather it.s what we should do for ourselves, and could do much better, if we understood what to do and if big banking and big government just got out of the way.

As I said, at the root is the monetary system, whose failure cannot be understood without a history lesson. So Greco writes about the struggle between banking and democracy that took place in the 1790s when the ink on our new national constitution was barely dry.

It was Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury, who compromised the new nation, through what he admitted was .corruption,. by giving the wealthy speculators in Revolutionary War bonds the benefit of federally-sponsored redemption and then by establishing the First Bank of the United States. This early drift toward elitist rule was opposed by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and others who figured in the creation of what later became the Democratic Party.

Greco writes: .While Jefferson favored a stronger union than that which emerged under the Articles of Confederation, he was vehemently opposed to the reconstruction of monarchic government on the American continent.. Hamilton had said frankly that the British monarchy was the best system of government known to man. Part of the monarchic system was the Bank of England, which Hamilton copied when setting up the First Bank.

But Jefferson, who repudiated Hamilton.s elitist platform, was elected president in what was then called .The Revolution of 1800.. Congress refused to renew the Bank.s charter by a single vote when it was up for renewal in 1811.

But the Second Bank of the United States was chartered in 1816 due to the government debt left behind from the War of 1812 against Great Britain. Thus was set up what became known as the .Bank War..

It was President Andrew Jackson who dethroned the bankers from power by pulling government funds out of the Second Bank in 1833. Greco writes that in Jackson.s view: .The .Bank War. was a contest for rulership.would the United States be governed by the people through their elected president and representatives, or by an unelected financial elite through their central bank instrument?.

The modern takeover began in earnest during the Civil War when Congress passed the National Banking Acts in 1863-64 which mandated use of government bonds as bank lending reserves, thereby creating a direct linkage between bank profits and the debt the government was starting to load on the shoulders of taxpayers.

The nation.s fate was sealed with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. The deal was that the bankers would control the currency, and thereby the nation.s economy, while the government would be provided with an unlimited amount of inflated dollars to fight its wars.

The bookkeeper.s trick of creating money out of thin air, charging interest for its use, then forcing it down the throats of weaker nations by threat of violence, is what has allowed the Anglo-American empire, since the founding of the Bank of England in 1696, gradually to conquer the world. Though President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law, he saw what that action meant. Greco cites Wilson as writing: .There has come about an extraordinary and very sinister concentration in the control of business in the country.. The great monopoly in this country is the monopoly of big credits..

Among other ill effects, the system has ruined the value of the currency. The inflation caused by large issues of bank-created loans is seized upon by the government which goes along because inflation reduces the cost of its deficits. Investors buy Treasury bonds denominated in Federal Reserve Notes then watch their value evaporate over time. In fact Federal Reserve Notes have lost over 95 percent of their value since they were first introduced.

Moreover, it.s additional inflation caused by bank-generated interest that drives up the costs of goods and services, forcing everyone in the economy to try to defend themselves by raising their prices to the max. Greco spells this out too, which almost every economist in the world, with the exception perhaps of Australia.s James Cumes, overlooks.

Bank interest has other tragic effects. It was high interest rates, for instance, that destroyed the Idaho potato industry. A farmer from that region told me at a conference a few years ago that when interest rates skyrocketed in the early 1980s, he asked the president of one of the Federal Reserve Banks why they did it. The answer was they were .ordered. to raise interest rates by the international banking system.

Make no mistake, it.s the banking system, facilitated by the Fed, not unwary borrowers, who brought on the collapse of 2008.

Now, in 2009, the bankers, mainly those in the U.S., have so shattered the world economy by debt mounted on debt that there may be no reprieve except the creation of a slave society based on rule by the rich over the masses of whatever peons should happen to survive the downturn and its tragic effects on employment, health, the food and water supply, and even our ability to cope with climate change.

The political establishment, expressing itself in pronouncements by organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, see a future, not of economic democracy or increased financial pluralism, but consolidation of world currencies into a small number overseen at the top by the world.s financial oligarchy. Citing the writings of Benn Steil, the CFR.s Director of International Economics, Greco writes: .The ostensible plan is to reduce global exchange media to three.one each for Europe, the Americas, and Asia. One might reasonably suppose that at a later stage, those three would be combined into one currency also under the control of the global banking elite..

Greco concludes: .The New World Order is upon us..

With ample justification, he even goes apocalyptic, citing The Book of Revelation in demonstrating the import on a spiritual plane of the elitist takeover: .And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.. (Revelation 13: 16-17)

But is it really the end, or is there a new world waiting to be born? Greco thinks so. He speaks of the end of an era when unlimited economic growth fed by massive influxes of debt-based money is no longer sustainable. He writes: .That our global civilization cannot continue on its current path seems evident..But I think our collective consciousness is beginning to change. We are becoming aware of limits and are reaching that part of our evolutionary program that says, .Stop!..

Part of the awareness of how to stop must focus on the institutions responsible for the crisis. Greco praises Ron Paul for calling out the Federal Reserve in the 2008 presidential campaign. He cites a statement Paul made to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in a 2004 hearing where Paul told Greenspan that the power of the Fed .challenges the whole concept of freedom and liberty and sound money.. Thus Paul and other monetary reformers, though largely ignored by the mainstream media and political establishment, have made it clear that change must start with what really lies at the bottom of elite control: how money is made and who makes it.

Unfortunately, few progressive economists, including Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Robert Reich comprehend the monetary causes of today.s disasters. Instead of demanding reforms that would make money the proper servant of a sustainable economy, most call for more stimulus spending; i.e., more government debt, along with .reform. of a financial system that is corrupt down to its very DNA.

So do we really need the bankers. fake currency, today backed by nothing but a federal deficit of $12 trillion and growing by the day?

Greco says we don.t, and this is what his book about. But it.s not about doing without the necessities of life, or heading for the hills with a gun and backpack. Nor is it about important efforts at macro-level monetary reform like those of the American Monetary Institute, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, or advocates for a basic income guarantee. Rather it.s about individuals, groups, and communities taking control of the monetary system at the grassroots level and creating an entirely new basis for trade than bank-owed debt.

Greco writes about .a new paradigm approach to the exchange function.. The solution, he says, .is to provide interest-free credit to producers within the process of mutual credit clearing. That is the process of offsetting purchases against sales within an association of merchants, manufacturers, and workers. It will eventually include everyone who buys and sells, or makes and receives disbursements of any kind..

Greco is one of the world.s leading experts in describing alternative or complementary currencies. These are self-regulating systems that facilitate .reciprocal exchange,. not using government legal tender but which are still allowed under the currency laws so long as taxes are not evaded.

Greco discusses the large and growing worldwide .LETS. movement.Local Exchange Trading Systems, like the Ithaca HOURS system in Ithaca, New York. He describes the Swiss WIR Bank, the longest-running credit clearing system in the world, with over 70,000 members. He writes about the national and international barter exchanges that involve over 400,000 businesses trading at an annual level of $10 billion.

Greco also describes the world-famous Mondragon Cooperatives from the Basque region of Northern Spain. Started by a Roman Catholic priest in 1941, the Mondragon system, he says, is .the hub of what is probably the most successful and progressive social cooperative economy in modern history..

He also tells the inspiring story of the Argentine trading clubs.the trueques.which, when used with .provincial bonds. issued by regional governments, rescued that country during the 2001 economic collapse brought on by the collusion between the Argentine government and the International Monetary Fund.

Credit clearing is not new. Greco traces it to the medieval European fairs. These exchanges are like banking clearing houses. The world.s largest is the automated clearing house.ACH.operated by the Federal Reserve.

But as Greco points out: .The clearing process need not be restricted to banks; it can be applied directly to transactions between buyers and sellers of goods and services. The LETS systems that have proliferated in communities around the world use the credit clearing process, as do commercial trade exchanges. Credit clearing systems are, in essence, clearing houses.but their members are businesses and individuals instead of banks..

Alternative currency and trading systems, says Greco, are the wave of the future. Even though most only mount up to partial local successes, they show what can be done. Greco likens these efforts to the Wright Brothers. first flight that covered 120 feet. They show, he says, that the potential exists for local, regional, then national and international money-free exchanges that eventually could be joined by a single web-based trading platform. This could eventually get rid of the corruption of debt-money altogether.

Chapter 16 of the book is about .A Regional Economic Development Plan Based on Credit Clearing. that shows the potential. Greco writes, .The credit clearing exchange is the key element that enables a community to develop a sustainable economy under local control and to maintain a high standard of living and quality of life..

This would be a real revolution. What can governments do to help? Perhaps only by removing, as Greco recommends, the privileged position of bank debt-money as legal tender. Instead, let bank money compete with market-based alternative currencies and credit exchanges, if it can.

Greco.s book is a how-to-do-it manual that updates and expands on his previous books, Money and Debt: A Solution to the Global Crisis, New Money for Healthy Communities, and Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender. Greco also operates a website that offers advice and support to worthwhile community initiatives.

My own view is that no one should wait to see who takes the lead in creating the monetary and credit-clearing systems of the future. The time is now. There is no more reason to delay. If the people of the world do not join together in this kind of action, they can likely kiss their economic future and perhaps their livelihoods good-bye. The controllers of the world, those with the big money, the ones who run the banking systems, who own the global corporations, and who finance politicians like Obama, the Bushes, and the Clintons, are now poised in their blindness to extinguish the light of democracy on the planet for good.

Greco is implying that the power of the elite is not only dated but illusory. Thus the way to proceed is not just to oppose them. If they are opposed, they.ll do what they always do, which is to roll out the SWAT teams, the military in the streets, the tear gas, the sound cannon, the concentration camps, the Patriot Acts, the torture chambers, because that is all they know, and it.s what they do best.

The money monopoly translates into a monopoly on violence on an ascending scale. We know that the U.S. sells more weapons abroad than any other nation, and we know that it is war above all that makes the bankers rich.

So let them have their weapons and wars. With all due respect to those brave enough to protest, it.s time for people simply to walk away and set up their own economic and monetary systems as a prelude to a rebirth of humanity as ethical beings in sustainable communities of choice.

The keys, says Greco, are simple: .Promote the establishment of private complementary exchange systems.and use them. Buy from your friends and neighbors wherever possible. Contribute your time, energy, and money to whatever moves things in the right direction..

Greco also recommends that the unit of exchange for alternative currencies be based on the value of commodities.not necessarily gold or silver, which bankers and governments manipulate, but those commodities readily available within a trading system. State and local governments should do everything possible to protect, encourage, nourish, and participate in these systems.

The irony is that what may appear on the surface to be technical changes in how the exchange of goods and services takes place can have such profound effects. The answer is that systems of exchange reflect entirely different perceptions of the world. Bank-money exchange reflects and creates a system of elite control and human slavery. Reciprocal credit exchange reflects and creates a democratic system on a level monetary playing field.

The difference points to the fact that such reform is, above all, a spiritual endeavor. Thomas Greco has devoted decades to this quest and is one of its foremost visionaries. In an Epilogue he writes: .We will either learn to put aside sectarian differences, to recognize all life as one life, to cooperate in sharing earth.s bounty, and yield control to a higher power.or we will find ourselves embroiled in ever-more destructive conflicts that will leave the planet in ruins and avail only the meanest form of existence for the few, if any, who survive..

It.s a vision we can all strive to embrace.

Richard C. Cook is the author of We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform, scheduled to appear by September 2007. A retired federal analyst, his career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. He is also author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider.s Account of How the Reagan AdministrationCaused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age.

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Michael Dawson said on October 13th, 2009 at 10:02am #

Poppycock, based on poppycock history.

Andrew Jackson was an insane racist megalomaniac who attacked the idea of economic planning in favor of graft, slavery, and laissez-faire drift. The Second Bank was replaced by a pack of .pet banks. who were far worse than any central bank ever was.

Our problem is capitalism, not money.
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Michael Kenny said on October 13th, 2009 at 10:56am #

It.s not clear how much is Mr Greco (age 73) and how much is Mr Cook.s commentary but the whole article is a defence of classic neo-liberal monetarism, with its horror of inflation and debt. This is the very ideology which has been .tinaed. to us for the last thirty years as the unalterable holy writ of economics and which led to the present crisis! Mr Greco doesn.t see anything wrong with neo-liberalism, he simply think it has been .perverted. by those nasty bankers and if only the world would .go back. to a sort of .age of innocence., when neo-liberalism was somehow .pure., all would be well. That is exactly the same mistake as the Soviet elite made 20 years ago: instead of reforming the system, they propped it up and trying to block any real reform. The only dispute between Mr Greco, Mr Cook, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, Michael Hudson, Obama, the Clintons, Kucinich etc. and the bankers they criticise is how best to go about that. The consequence will probably be the same as in the Soviet Union, which is, of course, not necessarily a bad thing for the .little guy..
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Richard C. Cook said on October 13th, 2009 at 11:06am #

These comments are utter nonsense. Greco and I both reject neoliberal monetarism.
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Michael Dawson said on October 13th, 2009 at 3:16pm #

You might not directly embrace neoliberalism, but you certainly make excuses for capitalism.

Government debt, meanwhile, doesn.t come from money or even the Rockefellers. It comes from the capitalist class, which opposes both progressive taxation and full, publicly-guided employment.

The struggle is to make this whole planet an intentional community, not to drop out and pretend that banana money wouldn.t eventually lead to exactly the same outcome as fiat currency, given enough time.

Business owners are in it to get rich and powerful. Look around.
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Late Revolution said on October 13th, 2009 at 9:40pm #

A slave society ruled by the rich? Let me tell you: If you.re a member of the working class, you are all too aware that we have just that already, and have for a long time. It isn.t something that.s on its way. As far as walking away from the system and planting a vegetable garden.Well, that.s not going to work. You can.t ignore the person who is whipping you. Sooner or later you.re going to need something that only they have. The only answer to the problems in this country.all the problems in this country.is mass revolution. We need the sixties times ten. We need to overthrow these monsters who are destroying the very value of life for the rest of us. Think about it. How much are you able to actually enjoy your brief time on this planet as a living being, as opposed to the ruling class.people who don.t have to so much as plunge their own commode when it backs up; people who never have to deal with the stress and worry of daily living? Enough is enough. Time to take life back. That is the only answer for us. It.s not about .the country. anymore. It.s about predator and pray. We won.t survive if we don.t act soon.
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Annie Ladysmith said on October 13th, 2009 at 10:54pm #

Comrade .LATE., you are right! We have done this thing in Russia already and now WE ARE THE RICH!! Ha-Ha, we have our country dasha.s and we have much vodka, and sex slaves, and it is a very great thing. All the, how you say, party-poopers had to go, and did we ever find places for them to go, SIBERIA, we write tourist reports about this place and we send them all there, it is a very good thing. Come to Moscow we will give you vodka and even, how you say, smack, we have plenty that too. Bye-bye.
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Max Shields said on October 14th, 2009 at 5:45am #

First, alternative monetary systems . LETS, Timebanking, local currencies are more than worthy considerations when discussing the bankrupt economics of corporate debt based capitalism.

The notion of workers. cooperatives also merits work arrangement consideration that mitigates class and embraces a democratically run work place.

But underlying this is the PROBLEM. The problem should not be isolated to our little back and forth about class, and neoliberalism and the such. This, with all due respect, is small talk, and small thinking.

The PROBLEM is not corrected by any of these considerations, though they are apart of the potential solution. The foremost PROBLEM is consumption, and more specifically the efficiency of consumption. As long as production, and its efficiency is the basis of any economics the PROBLEM is exaserbated. Understanding this through a process of systems thinking makes apparent the ways in which we talk around the PROBLEM. The fundamentals of what.s called the .modern age., it.s ever increasing use of non-renewable energy resources, and it.s efficiencies brought about through ever increasing consumption that undermines any efficiencies in production such that more and more of less and less of what we need to exist on the planet is available.

This is the big fat elephant in the room. It is regularly ignored because the conversation is always framed within ideological terms that bounce around the PROBLEM.

As simple, why do we have economies? question would be a good starting place.
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Richard C. Cook said on October 14th, 2009 at 6:22am #

Excellent comments from Max Shields. Thanks.
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Shabnam said on October 14th, 2009 at 7:43am #

The whole world is under direction of CAPITALISM, but majority of these countries are NOT CONSUMING, they are starved to death. People are so arrogant that hold the United States as the center of the world and try to analysis the problem of American society as the solution for neoliberalism. The problem of capitalism is .accumulation of capital. where can be achieved only by PROFITS. This PROFIT can be gained through various means including WARS to expand share of market to bring more profits. Therefore, these capitalist countries with WMD with/without support of their population can wage war and commit war crimes against humanity to guarantee the expansion of the system to bring more PROFITS to protect the survival of the system.
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David said on October 14th, 2009 at 8:02am #

Ho-Hum. Another book review.

So Greco presents us with a history lesson and speculation on its results and then drifts off to La-La Land via the Book of Revelations, throws in some nonsense about our collective consciousness and, just for good measure, offers up some crap about our evolutionary program telling us to stop. (Is this guy channeling Nancy Reagan with her Just Say No program?)

Here.s a little ditty for Mr. Greco to ponder:

..the whole drama of history is enacted in a frame of meaning too large for human comprehension or management..
Reinhold Niebuhr, Irony of American History, p.88
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Max Shields said on October 14th, 2009 at 10:29am #

Shabnam

War was not created by Capitalism.

If you look at the numbers, the USA is the center of the consuming world, collectively and per capita. That is an irrefuteable fact.

Acknowledging this is not arrogant, to the contrary. It could even be considered arrogant to deny it, as many in the US do in various ways.

Policy, power, and the institutionalization of our PROBLEM is our greatest enemy, if by enemy we mean the greatest danger to all humans regardless of where they live, worship or not, languages they speak, etc.

This is larger than all tsnamis combined. It is clearly a PROBLEM which exceeds individual solutions (plant a tree, visit a park, recycle, etc.). The PROBLEM is so massive that one can honestly contemplate that is just too late to solve this, and THIS is the ability to continue life on the planet as we.ve come to know it.

We piss and kill, and destroy as if WE are the reason for this planet.s existence. The planet feeds us and allows us to exist, but if and when we make the fundamental changes to both ends of consumptions . extraction of inputs from the earth, and a consumer based economy that knows only endless unforgiving consumption.WE ARE DOOMED WITHOUT EXCEPTION!!

We can label this Capitalism, but flayling at Capitalism does not provide answers. A socialism based on Production is just as toxic as Capitalism. We need to have an economy of relationships, and reduction of energy intensive needs satifaction. Don.t do that and again DOOM, and you can call it SocialCapitalism for all I care.
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Deadbeat said on October 14th, 2009 at 12:16pm #

Shabnam writes .
The whole world is under direction of CAPITALISM, but majority of these countries are NOT CONSUMING, they are starved to death. People are so arrogant that hold the United States as the center of the world and try to analysis the problem of American society as the solution for neoliberalism. The problem of capitalism is .accumulation of capital. where can be achieved only by PROFITS. This PROFIT can be gained through various means including WARS to expand share of market to bring more profits. Therefore, these capitalist countries with WMD with/without support of their population can wage war and commit war crimes against humanity to guarantee the expansion of the system to bring more PROFITS to protect the survival of the system.

I totally agree. The profit motive has exacerbates war and Capitalism creates tremendous INEQUALITY. Inequality needs racism and other tactics in order to maintain the exploitation of people and the planet.

There has been a tendency on the so-called Left to drive a wedge between Marxism and to diminished Socialism as a democratic system. In a democratic system people can decide how they want to arrange production. Socialism is not based on .industrialization. as some on the Left especially Chomskyites would have people believe. Socialism is based on meeting the needs of people and on DEMOCRACY.

Also I agree, the tendency on the Left is to view issues from the perspective of the United States. Half of the world.s population lives on less than a US dollar per day therefore the problem is UNDER-consumption and CAPITALIST production. Therefore much of the worlds resources . PEOPLE . are being wasted and severely EXPLOITED. The world resources will never be in balanced until the EXPLOITATION of PEOPLE ceases.

There is a tendency by so-called .environmentalist. and especially neo-Malthusian to preserve Capitalism by blaming the victims . people or solely display their concern for natural resources while ignoring or disminishing Capitalist exploitation upon people.

As this crisis continue you will see commentary that is designed to confused people about Capitalism and like the Left misdirection about confronting Zionism you will see the same tactic regarding Capitalism in order to weaken and to diffuse solidarity and mobilization towards a movement to end this awful system.
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Randy Wilson said on October 14th, 2009 at 12:29pm #

The Earth is a lifeboat. When one person in the lifeboat eats all the goodies and shits on everyone else, wouldn.t you take that person and throw his stinking ass overboard? That is what needs to be done. You drown those SOBs.
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Shabnam said on October 14th, 2009 at 2:05pm #

It is not necessary to look at the numbers to see that USA is the center of the CONSUMING world. The reason is that the capitalists provided easy credits and a need to promote consumption to bring more profits for themselves while they rob others. The other capitalist nations where have enriched themselves through colonialism are consuming at a higher rate compare to Asians and Africans. The reason American consume more because they have this perception that they can AFFORT it, created by credit cards and the media . capitalist tool of propaganda . but the NUMBERS show that actually they are POORER than what they think. They can be engaged in this kind of behavior because $$$ is the world currency maintained with the cooperation of other countries like Japan, China and the Arab oil producing countries who buy your bonds and real estate and bring their ASSETS to this country. You have this illusion that capitalism is FINE but consumption is the problem. If you don.t consume, why they should bring their money here? You don.t know what is going to happen to you when skilled workers stop to come here and then you have to SPEND TRILLIONS OF DOLLAR TO EDUCATE YOUR LABOR FORCE. You don.t know what is going to happen to you when $$$ go down the tube, this is in the process. How many of your officials have announced on TV that people should consume LESS? NO ONE, They know how CAPITALISM WORKS. They know that consumption is the blood line of capitalism of the late stage, because consumption brings more profits. The more you consume, the more you help the CAPITAL to be accumulated in the hand of 1 percent of the population. If capitalism was based on production to satisfy the basic needs and sensible technology to solve people.s problem in terms of access to health care, education and jobs, then we would not be against capitalism. However, the system is based on PORFITS, not to solve people.s needs and facilitate access to goods necessary for survival, but CREATES PROBLEMS IN ORDER TO INCREASE THE RATE OF PROFIT to bring more resources of the planet under control of small portion of world population. Therefore, Capitalism construct NEEDS to increase the rate of consumption. People cannot fight back all the time not to consume since capitalism not only creates needs but also division and desperation. The bankers from the beginning knew that people cannot pay their mortgages back, therefore, using this INFORMATION, they targeted certain portion of the population to promote sells of houses by providing them with easy credits to promote sales of these houses at the higher price because all these capitalists knew they are going to increase rate of profit on people.s EXPENSE. Please don.t tell me that these bankers are greedy and have no MORALITY. Capitalism is based on profits and do not recognize morality. We are not living in the pre-capitalism era. We have passed that time, at least, 500 years ago. Capitalism like Zionism has to expand to survive and cannot be contained within the borders.
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Max Shields said on October 14th, 2009 at 2:17pm #

I am under no illusion that capitalism is fine. The problem though is the irrationality of production at all costs. As long as we (no matter what the ism is) thinks that production of goods and good and more goods is even better, than we have a problem.

The notion of a steady-state economy that finds we can reduce needs such as family as 2 to 4 cars, is what.s called for. Anything other than that is uneconomical. Power and policy is certainly at the center of sustaining the unsustainable, but the choices among far too many is to put the whole issue on the individual (which is insane given the gavity of the PROBLEM) or modeling US consumption behaviors as a model of prosperity. That is the dominant economic paradigm at work in the world at large.

Poor nations trying to be .rich. because they feel that the US has taken more than its fair share (while the latter is definitely true) does not solve the PROBLEM. As a species we have tended to overuse resources by creating needless stuff in quantities that require more.

Absolutely the system is built to produce more, to consume more and mostly of stuff that is non-reusable or even recycleable. Is there profit in this? Yes as long as your profit system is limited to what we.ve got and what far too many others in the world look to mimic.
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dan e said on October 14th, 2009 at 4:24pm #

good comment, Max.

It IS important to distinguish between Money Capital and real Capital, which is the power to command the labor of others, whether to extract/harvest primary resources or to convert resources into saleable commodities.

Marx understood this, but alas it seems most .Marxists. do not, having become entranced by discussions of .economic. phenomena.

Most of the time in a society based on the Capitalist Mode of Production, possession of Money automatically equals possession of Power. But there is a point at which this runs into its limit. Especially if your Money is denominated as US dollars and people expect the value, that is the Power, of US dollars to decline significantly in the near future.
BTW, residents of the EU countries enjoy a higher standard of consumption than residents of the USA at present. .Americans. are constantly told that theirs is .the richest country in the world. but such has not been the case for at least a couple of decades.
US consumption has been maintained by increasing easy access to credit, but that mechanism has run up against its limit.
You have to view Capitalism globally, as a Totality. The place and role of the USA within the Totality has been different at different times and stages. It is now becoming much less important as a site of surplus extraction/profit realization, if you are careful not to equate Money Capital with Real Capital. The USA is even becoming less important as a base for the global capitalist State, as the US DOD runs up against the limits of the willingness of lowerclass US residents to offer themselves as cannonfodder.
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Deadbeat said on October 14th, 2009 at 6:57pm #

Max writes.
I am under no illusion that capitalism is fine. The problem though is the irrationality of production at all costs. As long as we (no matter what the ism is) thinks that production of goods and good and more goods is even better, than we have a problem.

On the other hand Max you.ve argued against the redistribution of wealth which is going to be needed in order to transform Capitalist production and to put into balance resource allocation which is current production system puts out of balance.

I think you also confuse the word .production.. As long as there are human being there is going to be production the questions are what are of the kinds of production needed in order to maintain a balanced economy, society, and environment. You have a tendency to frame production as solely the current form of wasteful Capitalist production and make your arguments against Socialism from that frame.

For example increasing the number of nurses, teachers, artists, homemakers, caregivers, etc will increase production yet at the same time be less damaging to than the current capitalist mode of production which requires comsumerism as Shabnam described.

Yes as long as your profit system is limited to what we.ve got and what far too many others in the world look to mimic.

The question to ask is not whether poor nations look to mimic the rich ones but that the rich ones FORCES and LEAVES no other options to poorer nation lest they run the risk of .regime change.. In other words the U.S. and the West uses their .wealth. and military to force Capitalism down the throats of the poor. Your tendency is to frame the issue AS IF the world has democratically chosen Capitalism. Your framing is why you tend to neglect DEMOCRACY as a cornerstone of Socialism.

dan e writes .

It is now becoming much less important as a site of surplus extraction/profit realization, if you are careful not to equate Money Capital with Real Capital. The USA is even becoming less important as a base for the global capitalist State, as the US DOD runs up against the limits of the willingness of lowerclass US residents to offer themselves as cannonfodder.

What is .Real Capital.? The U.S. has a lot of real capital with a working population of over 200 million people. The U.S. elites has chosen to exploit that real capital (PEOPLE) into the form of money and monopoly Capitalism. An economy of 300 million people means that you have that much interaction among people a vast pool of productive potential.

The possession of Money equates power due to Capitalism.s laws and enforcement of those laws. In other words the Capitalist states still function to serve the needs of Capitalism. This is why the bankers were bailed out by the states and the workers are left to suffer.

What I think the tendency is is to omit from the discussion the power of the Capitalist state and its coersive role. Most of the discussion of ecomomic theory assumes all actors are free of the coersion of the state.
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Justin said on October 14th, 2009 at 8:59pm #

Mr. Cook, sometimes i think this websites got quite a bit of attention from some intelligence agencies.
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Max Shields said on October 15th, 2009 at 3:42am #

I.ve never argued against the redistribution of wealth, to the complete and utter contrary.

I.ve argued over and over, whether you agree with the approach or not, that redistribution comes from reclaiming the commons either through trusts or rent on land. It would have the effect of a complete redistribution by limiting the privitization of nature.
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Max Shields said on October 15th, 2009 at 4:20am #

Such a reclamation is what Sun Yat-sen called socializing the land.
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Richard C. Cook said on October 15th, 2009 at 6:27am #

Here is a good article someone told me about on the subject of reclaiming the commons

StumbleUpon PLEASE give it a thumbs up Stumble It!

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