Why we're losing - and how to start winning
The View from Green Island
GI Central - my 'net home' for the last few years, and the foreseeable future, this seems where it's going to be - lots of venting, lots of good writing, lots of 'out-of-the-box' ideas you aren't EVER going to hear on the CBC
The Democratic Revolution Handbook - Home
And a book for younger readers too, Dave's an eclectic sort of person - Aquila
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From Hastings to Green Island
- the (very) short form story of Dave's own journey..
Knowledge is like a candle. When you light your candle from mine, my light is not diminished. It is enhanced and a larger room is enlightened as a consequence. - Thomas Jefferson
...banks are more dangerous to the safety of a nation than a standing army - Thomas Jefferson
Part 1 Chapter 3a
Pseudo-Debt - Real Chains, Real Misery
- this is really key to everything - everyone in our modern society realises the importance of money, and that having a lot of it is much better than having little, and having a lot can give you privilege and even power - but very, very few people seem to realise that money is not something that falls from the sky like rain, or some lucky people find in the ground like gold, or 'just is'. Money is actually just a kind of credit, points awarded for doing something others find useful like points awarded in a sports game, and these 'points' or 'credit' are recorded and managed in our modern world through a great accounting system, created and recorded pretty much exactly like points in a baseball game. Our problem is - the people who control that system, and the creation and movement of 'credit' within the great accounting system, are **not** 'our democratic government' managing the system wisely and fairly in the best interests of all of us equally, but a private business cartel, which uses that 'create and control' power very much for *their* own purposes and power, and very much against the best interests of the rest of us - and this is perhaps the one central reason we are losing our struggle to create a better world ... and will continue losing until we take control of this great system democratically.
(1) What is 'money' in the modern world?
And that's it, really, at its most basic level - we just earn 'credits', referred to based on historical practices and what we have been trained to think of all our lives as 'money' and expressed in whatever units we have in our country such as dollars and cents in Canada or yen in Japan or baht in Thailand or francs or lira or drachma or rubles or whatever, for work we do in our community that others will pay for by transferring some of their credits to us, which we can then exchange for goods or services we want to trade our work for in our community or country, and it is all managed through the accounts we all have in this great modern accounting system we generally think of as doing things with or for 'money'. It's just a great market like we see pictures of in medieval picture books, but instead of bartering our labour, or the small things we create as artisans, or some commonly accepted commodity-based bartering substitute such as gold, we have developed this common bartering credit tool we call 'money' exchanged through a great accounting system which makes everything simpler today, and even possible, as there is no way we could manage the great modern economy, with its thousands and thousands of types of work and tens of thousands of goods and services, without such a common bartering tool and system to manage it.
The basic simple system most of us use each day gets more complicated in practice of course, as first we have some hundreds of years of history to deal with, the history before this system became widespread, and during the time it was being developed and put into place, with great fortunes from pre-modern times becoming absorbed into the system, with fortunes accumulating and falling and transferring across generations, or debts across centuries of changing governments, and etc; and then, historically and now, we have big players and small players, hundreds and hundreds of millions of them over the decades and centuries, doing their small and great things in the great national and world markets every day, some of whom have almost no money and some apparently no end of money; and then there are loans, again big and small, long term and short term; and, although I won't get into it much here, different 'moneys' around the world with different relative values and of course a lot of international trade and travel where these different currencies must be exchanged in a way acceptable to all and, of course, the 'big problem' of this being a very, very powerful tool, and thus some very bad people fighting for control of this power, to use it for their own ends. Many, many things built on the basic 'credit-money' idea - but really, at its most basic level, it really is as simple as described above for most of us for most of our lives - our modern economy is just a huge credit-accounting system devised to overcome the various limitations of direct bartering or the limitations of using some valuable commodity like gold as a 'commonly accepted bartering tool', or 'money'. Now, with modern computers and communications networks, and national governments with the power to ensure a relatively honest and stable credit-accounting system so direct commodity-based bartering is no longer necessary, a very efficient system that allows a society with hundreds of thousands of goods and services and types of work available and tens of millions of people working and businesses and governments doing business and probably hundreds of millions of transactions involving these variables every day in Canada alone, to function very efficiently and reliably, as people use their particular skills to do what they do to give them barter-exchange power through a commonly-accepted barter-replacement tool ('money') in the huge modern market in our vast modern society, to conveniently exchange their 'labour value' for whatever of those myriad goods and services they need, want, or can afford. That simple, really - just think about it - that is all it is, basically, for the great majority of we 'average' people and (average small) business owners. A system that allows us to do our work or run our business on the basis of a credit system we all trust, without the bother of using gold or some other widely accepted 'common bartering tool' or otherwise bartering our labour or goods or services in the huge modern market of modern society.
(But wait now - isn't all our paper money redeemable for real gold???? No, in a word, it isn't. You can buy some gold in various ways, as a commodity, or investment if you want to think of it that way, but the numbers in your bank account are only that, numbers, which you can send to other accounts, or exchange for paper money, but gold is not any 'official' part of the credit-accounting system, which is based, really, entirely on nothing more than trust that it is stable and will be managed honestly - I don't think anyone ever articulates this out loud (it could lead to some difficult questions, as we'll look at in the next chapter), but that is what is happening, very clearly, if you do articulate it. (You may know of people demanding a return to a 'gold standard' as the solution to our current problems, but that is not really a useful idea. I'll talk more about 'gold' and how it actually does relate to our system, and why a 'gold standard' would not solve anything, more again in the next chapter))
((BUTbut2 - well, ok, if you say so - but the 'bills' we use, and to some extent the coins - *they* are the 'real money' then, aren't they? Again, no they aren't. The bills (and coins to a much lesser extent) are just tokens of the credit system. There's various ways of calculating the 'money supply', but just at the most basic level, there is about $800 billion of 'credit' in various bank accounts (business, personal) that is theoretically immediately withdrawable for 'cash' money - your 'bills' - and the 'M2 money supply' is somewhere in the area of $1.5 trillion, but there is only about $80 billion dollars worth of actual notes issued by the Bank of Canada. The 'credit' is the 'real' 'money supply', and the bills are only a small portion thereof, a kind of token you can use to transfer money (buy things) in places you don't want to do some sort of electronic transfer. Not a problem in any way, assuming otherwise things are ok. Again, things are not ok at the moment, but not because of this. (And yes, the banking system has 'crashed' in the past because banks did not have enough bills to supply the panicking customers - think about this as you learn more about the system, and at some point you will understand this was just part of the entire massive fraud that underlies the entire thing, as it is managed now...))
So then with that clarification of how simple our economy, our 'money', really is at the most fundamental level for all of we normal people, just a great accounting system keeping an honest record of the work we do as citizens in our community and country that others will pay for, to get credit to buy things we want and need in the great modern market and keep all of these transactions between millions of people and businesses every day accurately recorded as credits shift around from one account to another, without going through the many serious restrictions involved with direct 'bartering', or depending on a 'common barter exchange commodity' such as gold, and of course having some ability to provide loans for certain things - some questions naturally follow, beginning with most notably and importantly -
(2) How do we get from that basically simple and efficient accounting system, which calm. rational, civilized thoughtful people would agree to be a very fair and democratic tool to allow the efficient operating of a very large and complex modern market society with a myriad of goods and services and types of work to be negotiated between, to the huge economic and financial problems and surrealistic 100-trillion-500-trillion-dollar wonderlandian 'debt' levels we hear talked about everywhere today, from higher-than-ever personal debts to government debts to worldwide economic crises recurring regularly to the threatened collapse of the entire world financial system? Wha's happenin there mon??
The answer to What is going on in the crazy worldwide financial system? is as simple as the system itself, as simple as the answer to the problems with 'our' democracy - we have such great problems in our country and world today because this great invention of an efficient money-credit system in a modern society is *not* controlled democratically by an engaged, informed citizenry, with the objective of ensuring a fair and stable and trustworthy credit-exchange system for all of us, but it is controlled by a small private cartel whose objective is manipulating the system for their own wealth and power. For a fairly accurate comparison, think of the cells in a human body - wonderful efficient machines normally, but when taken over by a cancer, they become deadly, with their supportive primary objective of serving the human body and its human master surreptitiously replaced by the cancer, turning the great machine of the cell to evil use (at least in terms of the human host - no doubt the cancer-master would see this as a good thing...).
Such is our money-credit system, a wonderful and efficient system devised and implemented by very clever humans, well deserving of an advanced democratic society, until taken over by a group of criminal power-seeking predators, a cancer wishing to claim this great power for its own personal advantage, and its powerful functions directed against us rather than working for us, which it has been (actually, more accurately, as I'll look at in the next chapter, this great accounting-credit system wasn't 'taken over' by these people, it was created by them, and they have controlled it since it first started being used - not unlike our 'democracies' have been controlled by the true rulers since the rebirth of this idea in England in the 12-13-1400s - and the two are very closely linked, as should become clear quite soon - great tools can be used for great good or great evil). Or to see it through another perspective - instead of being a great tool for modern commerce, it's just become a modern loan-sharking system run by gangs-in-suits for their own profit - and modern gangs, with university trained 'economists' and the best and most unethical corporate lawyers lacking in morals and working for them, and governments and media fully in their pockets, have quite a number of ways of manipulating the system, and 'we the people', to keep them wealthy and growing moreso, and we poorer and growing moreso every passing year.
It's that simple. Our country, our world, is in a financial mess because a few people control the very basis of our entire modern lives, the 'oil' upon which our entire great modern technologically advanced society functions, a small predator cartel, who would be called the mafia-like loan sharks and criminals they actually are if we had any honesty in our government and media, and as with everything predators do, they have turned this great invention, this great powerful tool, that could do so much good for all of us into a tool being used for their own purposes - purposes which are very much NOT 'democratic' in nature, and which are very much, again, NOT designed to provide a 'fair and trustworthy' system for we normal small folk to live our lives and work and do our small businesses in, but a system which is designed to keep average citizens in a state of constant need and insecurity, and transfer as much of the great wealth we produce together to the upper levels of our society making, again, those who control the system obscenely wealthy through appropriating the value of the work, the great wealth, created by all of the rest of us.
The big thing that so few people understand about our modern economic-credit-accounting system is that the 'money', which is actually just credit, is basically created out of thin air - the phrase gets tossed around a lot, but it's just true. In exactly the same way the scorekeeper at a hockey or football or any other sports games acquires points to put on the scoreboard to keep track of who has earned what, the banks create numbers they put in your bank account, when you or a business comes looking for a loan. They do *not* go looking in the vault to see if they have enough extra money to lend you some, and do so if they have a bit to spare, they just decide if you are apparently stable enough and have a good enough job to pay back the loan, and then they just, if you are agreeable to them, bang the numbers in the computer, and voila - you have a loan, and the 'money supply' in the country is that much greater. (I'm sure this is a bit shocking to most readers, but it's far beyond argument, just a fact - you can google around, or start some reading here How Banks Create Money ) (and the system does not depend on computers, it has been running more or less the same way for at least the last couple of hundred years - before computers, things were just done by hand, writing numbers in books. The computers just make everything easier, for both we normal people using the system, and those managing the system for their own benefit to 'game' in many ways; there's also vastly more scope for creative manipulation with computers than there was in earlier times when paper records of some kind had to be kept.)
And as a system, let me be clear, this is not inherently evil somehow, but actually a fine thing, a very powerful tool - we don't need a gold or any other commodity based system in a modern society, as such a system would be subject to any number of pitfalls (what if somebody steals the gold? Somebody meaning you ill destroys your stock? Some people start hoarding? You don't have enough to allow growth? - and etc - the problems that slowed down growth in earlier times, which we'll look at in a bit more detail in the next section. The 'fiat money' system, in other words the system we have now, where credit is added to the economy in the same way points are added to the ball game, is fine - as long as it is managed of, by and for 'we the people' - but we have never had a credit-system managed of, by and for 'we the people', it has always been controlled by a private business cartel, and that is why we have the economic chaos we have today - and why we have always had unstable economies - all the better to steal with.
And now I guess it is time to take another look into the past, to see how all of this got underway - more stuff of some importance if we are to understand why we are losing the fight today, as we have always been losing.
on to Pt 1:3b - The Alchemists' Stone - Endless Power!!
or back to Democratic Revolution Handbook - Home