LET IT DIE: Rushkoff on the economy

wallstreaper

“Final Bell” by Arik Roper

(UPDATE: “Hack Money, Hack Banking” by Douglas Rushkoff, the March 20 follow-up to “Let It Die,” is available here.)

LET IT DIE
by Douglas Rushkoff

March 15, 2009

With any luck, the economy will never recover.

In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. Yes, unemployment would rise as hundreds of thousands of formerly well-paid brokers and bankers lost their jobs; but at least they would no longer be extracting wealth at our expense. They would need to be fed, but that would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in the luxurious conditions they’re enjoying now. Even Bernie Madoff costs us less in jail than he does on Park Avenue.

Alas, I’m not being sarcastic. If you had spent the last decade, as I have, reviewing the way a centralized economic plan ravaged the real world over the past 500 years, you would appreciate the current financial meltdown for what it is: a comeuppance. This is the sound of the other shoe dropping; it’s what happens when the chickens come home to roost; it’s justice, equilibrium reasserting itself, and ultimately a good thing.

I started writing a book three years ago through which I hoped to help people see the artificial and ultimately dehumanizing landscape of corporatism on which we conduct so much of our lives. It’s not just that I saw the downturn coming—it’s that I feared it wouldn’t come quickly or clearly enough to help us wake up from the self-destructive fantasy of an eternally expanding economic frontier. The planet, and its people, were being taxed beyond their capacity to produce. Try arguing that to a banker whose livelihood is based on perpetuating that illusion, or to people whose retirement incomes depend on just one more generation falling for the scam. It’s like arguing to Brooklyn’s latest crop of brownstone buyers that they’ve invested in real estate at the very moment the whole market is about to tank. (I did; it wasn’t pretty.)

Now that the scheme we have mistaken for the real economy is collapsing under its own weight, however, it’s a whole lot easier to make these arguments. And, if anything, it’s even more important for us to come to grips with the fact that the system in peril is not a natural one, or even one that we should be attempting to revive and restore. The thing that is dying—the corporatized model of commerce—has not, nor has it ever been, supportive of the real economy. It wasn’t meant to be. And before we start lamenting its demise or, worse, spending good money after bad to resuscitate it, we had better understand what it was for, how it nearly sucked us all dry, and why we should put it out of our misery.

Chartered Corporations

Back in the good ol’ days—I mean as far back as the late middle ages—people just did business with each other. As traveling got easier and people got access to new resources and markets, a middle class of merchants and small businesspeople started to get wealthy. So wealthy that they threatened the power of the aristocracy. Monarchs needed to come up with a way to stabilize their own wealth before the free market unseated them.

They invented the corporate charter. By granting an exclusive charter, a king could give one of his friends in the merchant class monopoly control over a region or sector. In exchange, he’d get shares in the company. So the businessperson no longer had to worry about competition—his position at the top of the business hierarchy was locked in place, by law. And the monarch never had to worry about losing his authority; businesses with crown-guaranteed charters tend to support the crown.

But this changed the shape of business fundamentally. Instead of thriving on innovation and progress, corporate monopolies simply sought to extract wealth from the regions they controlled. They didn’t need to compete, anymore, so they just sucked resources from places and people. Meanwhile, people living and working in the real world lost the ability to generate value by or for themselves.

For example: In the 1700s, American colonists were allowed to grow corn but they weren’t allowed to do anything with it–except sell it at fixed prices to the British East India Trading Company, the corporation sanctioned by England to do business in the colonies. Colonists weren’t allowed to sell their cotton to each other or, worse, make clothes out of it. They were mandated, by law, to ship it back to England where clothes were fabricated by another chartered monopoly, then shipped back to America where they could be purchased. The American war for independence was less a revolt against England than a revolt against her chartered corporations.

The other big innovation of the early corporate era was monopoly currency. There used to be lots of different kinds of money. Local currencies, which helped regions reinvest in their own activities, and centralized currencies, for long distance transactions. Local currencies were earned into existence. A farmer would grow a bunch of grain, bring it to the grain store, and get receipts for how much grain he had deposited. The receipts could be used as money—even by people who didn’t need grain at that particular moment. Everyone knew what it was worth.

The interesting thing about local, grain-based currencies was that they lost value over time. The people at the grain store had to be paid, and a certain amount of grain was lost to rain or rodents. So every year, the money would be worth less. This encouraged people to spend it rather than save it. And they did. Late Middle Ages workers were paid more for less work time than at any point in history. Women were taller in England in that era than they are today—an indication of their relative health. People did preventative maintenance on their equipment, and invested in innovation. There was so much extra money looking for productive investment, that people built cathedrals. The great cathedrals of Europe were not paid for with money from the Vatican; they were local investments, made by small towns looking for ways to share their prosperity with future generations by creating tourist attractions.

Local currencies favored local transactions, and worked against the interests of large corporations working from far away. In order to secure their own position as well as that of their chartered monopolies, monarchs began to make local currencies illegal, and force locals to instead use “coin of the realm.” These centralized currencies worked the opposite way. They were not earned into existence, they were lent into existence by a central bank. This meant any money issued to a person or business had to be paid back to the central bank, with interest.

What does that do to an economy? It bankrupts it. Think of it this way: A business borrows 1000 dollars from the bank to get started. In ten years, say, it is supposed to pay back 2000 to the bank. Where does the other 1000 come from? Some other business that has borrowed 1000 from the bank. For one business to pay back what it owes, another must go bankrupt. That, or borrow yet another 1000, and so on.

An economy based on an interest-bearing centralized currency must grow to survive, and this means extracting more, producing more and consuming more. Interest-bearing currency favors the redistribution of wealth from the periphery (the people) to the center (the corporations and their owners). Just sitting on money—capital—is the most assured way of increasing wealth. By the very mechanics of the system, the rich get richer on an absolute and relative basis.

The biggest wealth generator of all was banking itself. By lending money at interest to people and businesses who had no other way to conduct transactions or make investments, banks put themselves at the center of the extraction equation. The longer the economy survived, the more money would have to be borrowed, and the more interest earned by the bank.

Financial Meltdown

Which is pretty much how things have worked over the past 500 years to today. So what went wrong? Nothing. The system worked exactly as it was supposed to. The problem was that after America’s post WWII expansion, there was really no longer any real growth area in the economy from which to extract wealth. We were producing and consuming about as much as we could. Almost no commercial activity was occurring outside the corporate system. There was no room left to grow. Sure, outsourcing, lay-offs, and technology created some efficiencies, but wars, rising costs of health care, and exchange rates essentially offset any gains.

Making matters worse, all that capital that the wealthy had accumulated needed markets—even fake markets—in which to be invested. There was a ton of money out there—just nowhere to put it. Nothing on which to speculate.

The dot.com boom seemed to offer the promise of a new market, but it fizzled almost as quickly as it rose. So speculators turned instead to real assets, like corn, oil, even real estate. They started investing speculatively on the things that real people need to stay alive. What real people didn’t understand was that there is no way to compete against speculators. Speculators aren’t buying homes in which to live—they are buying houses to flip. Speculators aren’t buying corn to eat or oil to burn, but bushels to hoard and tankers to park off shore until prices rise. The fact that the speculative economy for cash and commodities accounts for over 95% of economic transactions, while people actually using money and consuming commodities constitute less than 5% tells us something important. Real supply and demand have almost nothing to do with prices. We do not live in an economy, we live in a Ponzi scheme.

Luckily for us, the banks, and the speculators depending on them, made a bad wager: they bet on our continuing capacity to provide a reality on which to base their highly leveraged schemes. We just couldn’t do it. They put us between a rock and a hard place. With George W’s help, they sold us on the notion of home ownership as a prerequisite to the American dream. And they created a number of loan products which made it look as if we could actually afford over-priced homes. The banking industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying for laws making bankruptcy difficult or impossible for average people to accomplish—while simultaneously selling average people loans that they would never be able to pay back.

The banks didn’t really care, anyway, since they never meant to keep these loans. They simply provided the cash to mortgage companies, who then packaged the loans. In return for putting up the original cash, the banks also won the right to underwrite the sale of those mortgage packages to investors—investors like pension funds, retirement funds, or you and me. Get it? The banks get all the interest, but we put up all the money. Our retirement accounts and pension funds invest in the very mortgages that we can’t pay back. The bank collects any interest, playing both sides of the equation but responsible for neither.

And when the whole scheme begins to break down, what do we do? We try to bail out the very banks that created the mess, under the premise that we need these banks in order for business to come back, since only banks can lend the capital required for businesses to flourish.

Yes, It is Wrong

President Obama may be smarter than most of us, but he’s still attempting to rescue the very institutions that robbed us in the first place. He’s not a socialist, as conservatives may be arguing, but he is a corporatist. Using future tax dollars to fund government job programs is one thing. Using future tax dollars to give banks more money to lend out at interest is robbing from the poor to pay the rich to rob from the poor.

As painful as it might be to watch, and as irritating as it might be to those with shrinking retirement savings, the collapse of the centralized corporate economy is ultimately a good thing. It makes room for a real economy to rise up in its place. And while it may be temporarily uncomfortable for the rich, and even temporarily devastating for the poor, it may be the fastest and least violent way to dismantle a system set in place for the benefit of 14th Century monarchs who have long since left this earth.

If the corporate supermarket chain’s debt structure renders it incapable of stocking its shelves this spring, this may be the wake-up call that consumers need to finally subscribe to a Community Supported Agriculture farmer. If the former associate fund analyst at Lehman realizes that he is unable to get a job not just because his industry is contracting but because his work day creates no real value for anyone at all, he will be forced to learn how to do something that does. If an urban elite parent realizes he can no longer pay private school tuition for his kids, maybe he’ll consider donating to public school the time he would have spent earning that tuition.

In short, the less we are able to depend on business-as-usual to provide for our basic needs, the more we will be forced to provide them for ourselves and one another. Sometimes we’ll do this for free, because we like each other, or live in the same community. Sometimes we’ll exchange services or favors. Sometimes we’ll use one of the alternative, local currencies coming into use across the country as Central bank-issued currencies become too hard to get without a corporate job.

Deprived of centralized banks and corporations, we’ll be forced to do things again. And in the process, we’ll find out that these institutions were not our benefactors at all. They were never meant to be. They were invented to mediate transactions between people, and extract the value that would have passed between us. Far from making commerce or industry more efficient, they served to turn the real world into a set of speculative assets, and real people into debtors.

The current financial crisis is the best opportunity we have had in a very long time for a bloodless revolution against the faceless fascism under which we have been living, unaware, for much too long. Let us seize the day.

(UPDATE: “Hack Money, Hack Banking” by Douglas Rushkoff, the March 20 follow-up to “Let It Die,” is available here.)

Longtime Arthur columnist Douglas Rushkoff has just finished his life’s work, “Life Inc: How the world became a corporation and how to take it back,” to be published June 2, 2009 by Random House. (Pre-order info: Amazon). His live talk radio show, Media Squat Radio, airs Mondays 7-8pm EDT on WFMU. Streams at www.wfmu.org and iTunes.

Previous Rushkoff columns on the economy:
“No Money Down” (Arthur No. 31/Oct 2008)
“Riding Out the Credit Crisis” (Arthur No. 29/May 2008)

104 thoughts on “LET IT DIE: Rushkoff on the economy

  1. Your description of banks collecting the interest on mortgage loans that are sold is simply incorrect. When the loans are sold, the interest payments do not go to the bank. The interest payments go to the investors that buy the bonds backed by the loans.

  2. All true. But before we bag corporations altogether, they made the computer Mr. R and I use, extract and deliver the natural gas that heats my house, probably got ahold of the wood for the house, got my running shoes designed, made, shipped and sold, and came out with that antibiotic the doc prescribed and the anti psychotic that keeps my brother out of jail or an institution … you get the idea. Hey, my neighbors are all great folks, but can he do all that? I’d love to sign up, again, with a local CSA, but here in upstate New York I’d be a little tired of stored turnips by this time of year. And I like turnips. So before we go and flush away the present economic system, how’s about we get a real replacement that works first? Or prepare to go back to the late Middle Ages, if that’s what we want. I’m on the fence.

  3. Clinton’s policy? Do you mean the Community Reinvestment Act?

    Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2008:

    “Federal Reserve governor Randall Kroszner, a conservative economist on leave from a teaching post at the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business, says the Community Reinvestment Act isn’t to blame for the subprime mess, despite some accusations to the contrary.

    “First, only a small portion of subprime mortgage originations are related to the CRA. Second, CRA-related loans appear to perform comparably to other types of subprime loans. Taken together… we believe that the available evidence runs counter to the contention that the CRA contributed in any substantive way to the current mortgage crisis,” he said in a speech today in Washington.”

    Read the whole thing here: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2008/12/03/feds-kroszner-defends-community-reinvestment-act/

    US News, December 17, 2008:

    “Along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Community Reinvestment Act has been fingered by a number of critics–mainly from the right–as a key cause of the financial crisis. But in a speech Wednesday, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair–a Republican–called such logic a “myth.”

    From Bair’s prepared remarks:

    “You’ve heard the line of attack: The government told banks they had to make loans to people who were bad credit risks, and who could not afford to repay, just to prove that they were making loans to low- and moderate-income people.

    “Let me ask you: where in the CRA does it say: make loans to people who can’t afford to repay? No-where! And the fact is, the lending practices that are causing problems today were driven by a desire for market share and revenue growth … pure and simple.”

    http://www.usnews.com/blogs/the-home-front/2008/12/17/sheila-bair-stop-blaming-the-community-reinvestment-act.html

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  7. First of all, great article.

    Second, spot on reply, John Coulthart. El Bergoober might feel like visiting “failed” Europe before he comments upon it. You will miss ignoring the people sleeping in the street that you step over to get wherever you’re going, the almost nonexistent (by American standards) of violent crime and the lack of state intrusion on personal morality — as I did when I first moved here — but humans are infinitely adaptable, aren’t they?

    Oh, and maybe the reason the workers enjoy more benefits here is because they don’t expect the system to just hand it to them, but they actually proactively agitate for them (yes, that means going on strike sometimes).

    Oh, and another thing you’re notice. We have immigrants wanting to come here, too. Many of them from the U.S.

  8. Well written piece, rang a lot of bells. We couldn’t go on as we were with fatcats leeching from the workers the way they were, but I don’t know what the answer is. Perhaps google does. The people need to take control and everyone show sense, work hard, and get ourselves out of this mess. Power to the people.

  9. We are in the same place as we were in the Panic of 1907, PreWW1, Russian Revolution.
    We are in the same place we were during the Wall
    St 1929, early 30’s depression, Post WW1 Reparations by Germany for WW1 and emergence of Naziism and Communism.

    In other words we are in pre WW3 mode. The world is a tinderbox.

    I can’t believe giving a few loans to black people and some trailer park white trash to buy Paper Mache stick built houses in the carbon copy burbs caused the world to collapse.

    The real reason is the people who figured out how to package, sell , shift paper, IOUs and use it as currency created a house of cards over our heads about to come down.

    None of them ever drove a nail, grew a carrot, raised a pig, milked a cow, sewed a stitch, fixed a tractor or unplugged a toilet or swept a floor.
    All they do is skim the cream from the people who can do these things.

    The only solution is WW3. “Nothing cleanses quite like Fire” Then we can rebuild from scratch.

    The spark will happen in the Mid East and then will bring in China and Russia VS the West.

    Invest in Guns, Ammo, Velveeta, Beans and Whiskey.

  10. Why don’t we at least nationalize the Federal Reserve, which is about as federal as Federal Express. They create our money and charge us interest on what they have created out of thin air. The U.S. can’t afford this outrageous and crazy expense anymore, that goes directly into the hands of the private bankers that own the Federal Reserve Bank. This was the first REALLY BIG victim of the “PRIVATIZATION” of our government and certainly the most costly. So basically we have the Zombie Banks bailing themselves out with THIER Federal Reserve Bank using OUR money (or more correctly our further debt to them).

  11. Your thought about letting the economy fail is pretty sound, considering. However, as the last foot drops, it has the weight of 500 years of debt and mismanagement, misappropriation, outright grand larceny of every imaginable asset, traded, bartered, sold to the highest bidder, not to mention that all this to foriegners without the least vested interest in the PEOPLE of the United States.
    It would indeed be a good thing if we were to have the leverage (forced though it may be) to begin with newness, to forge with truth and innovation and hard work a new means to live…honest and forthright.
    IF THIS WERE ALLOWABLE, I would applaud your article…but as the chips fall it is becoming clear, we may neither grow our own gardens, patent our own free electricity, we will not even have free use of our water on what we call our own parcel of land. Our industry is gone……….our population will nearly double from imigration by 2050.
    Aren’t you hoping for the freedom to build a UTOPIA that government and military will no longer put up with. Oh yes, and then there is the green thing, and our poisonous carbon imprint requiring a ‘soilent green’ society…………………….or something like that.
    I have absolutely no faith in man. And I know how this one ends.
    Probably doesn’t burst your bubble at all, the handwriting is on the wall though. You might read it for yourself. WWIII doesn’t sound like much fun. These arent the good ole days. There won’t be much to recover, death and destruction do not make a world better.

  12. Great article. So many people see the company store type thing already, in that even farmers are locked onto a tredmill of sorts. The rise in unemployment will first bankrupt the states, I presume. Then it seems to me that the cities will get a little edgy. Families will hopefully get it together and make due wherever they are. My fear is that we will all be fed GMO food. Horrors! And if some crazies in control decide that there are too many people we could indeed have some sad times. We need to really get real here. Please don’t assume that there will never be such things as mandatory vaccinations or pandemics, with or without massive loss of life hitting the elderly most severely. I pray that we get a grip and keep sharing our talents and knowledge. Thanks.

  13. This article is nonsense.

    One of the best articles that explains the economic crisis in essential terms is: “The Crisis in 10 Points” by Robert Stewart.

    The economic bust was primarily caused by the Fed — they forced interest rates below the natural rate of interest, fueling an unsustainable credit expansion boom that resulted in tremendous malinvestment and overconsumption.

    Roger W. Garrison explains how the Fed lost its way in this paper: “Interest-Rate Targeting During the Great Moderation: A Reappraisal”.

  14. “So before we go and flush away the present economic system, how’s about we get a real replacement that works first”?

    Hi Dave, you can take a look here, Crom Time Bank:
    http://cromland.cromalternativemoney.org

    Hi Douglas, thanks for the great article.
    I think this will be very interesting to you:
    To Interpol: Criminal Complaint Against Global Elite For Crimes Against Humanity.
    http://forum.cromalternativemoney.org/viewtopic.php?t=393

    Regards.

  15. American Freedom Note Amendment

    The fractional-reserve banking system, established by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to oversee a debt-based currency, is obsolete and detrimental to the needs of the American people in the 21st Century. The very act of creating money by debt-assumption on the part of the citizenry gives unwarranted power to a financial elite and erodes the very foundations of the American Republic. The constantly increasing debt with its associated interest acts as a millstone around the neck of industry and stifles economic creativity, while rewarding the well-connected elite generously.

    Therefore—-by amendment to the US Constitution, establish a new currency, the American Freedom Note.

    All debt instruments (loan contracts, bonds, govt debt, etc.) originating in Federal Reserve banks, all existing Federal Reserve Notes and checking account balances, are exchanged for American Freedom Notes. Creditors forgo liens and are cashed out 100%. Debt is exonerated, and debtors assume 100% ownership of any encumbered assets, including—and most importantly—the productive assets of the country (factories, farms, productive enterprises in general).

    A fixed quantity of AFNs results from this system-wide exchange and these fresh accounts can be loaned at interest rates determined freely in the marketplace, with the strict proviso that no fractional-reserve lending is allowed from that point forward.

    Over time a natural deflation occurs and the American Freedom Notes, fixed in quantity by this Amendment, acquire increasing purchasing power.

    Debt forgiveness, greed forgiveness. The financial elite are bought out, the rest of us indentured servants are freed, and most importantly, no blood in the streets and the American experiment in liberty, with its enshrinement of the rights of the individual, continues with renewed character!

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  19. I think Mr Rushkoff meant to say , the bank collects commissions/profits when selling the repackaged loans. the investors actually collect the interest. But here the banks make the money upfront and the investors take the risk

  20. Good thoughts but there’s too many fat, lazy, greedy old men and women who’ll gladly fork over their cash to Wall Street with the hopes of a retired life full of golf and margaritas.

    They’ll keep floating this pig.

  21. Yea well mortgage analyst who do you think most of those other investors are CEOs of other larger banks or high stock holders in the Federal Reserve so it goes back to the banks one way or another

  22. Well written, and a clearly thought out position. It may be unpleasant for some to see the truth so baldly stated, but particularly uncomfortable for the Lawyers, Politicians, and Bankers, I would think…

    I know this will be an uncomfortable thought for many, but these times have been predicted with amazing accuracy in the last 20 to 30 years by authors Dannion Brinkley (Saved by the Light), Chet Snow (Mass dreams of the Future), and others. Its going to get more interesting before things get sorted out. I don’t mean to freak anyone out, but the “medicine” will “go down a little easier” if you get right with your God (however you know him)…

  23. Re the banks not getting the interest vs the bondholders.
    Each party along the way,gets a little piece of the presumed and potential interest as part of their selling price.

    This is a lovely article; it’s hard for us to get our mind around the big (centuries of historical economic paradigms
    embedded in every aspect of our culture) pix. I always felt I’d live to see a great crank of the wheel of history. Here it is.

  24. From reading most -if not all the post up to here it’s clear that we are pissed about the world situation and have a need to be heard pertaining to our perceptions… and with good cause. For the ‘system’ does not like independent thinking and has and will continue to try squash any successful speaking or acting out. Society is(and has been)in the process of coming off a 2000 year sugar high of high finance and the ‘profit at any expense model.’ So, while there are those that will continually speak in terms of getting more lipstick and a new dress for the pig- we all know otherwise- that it’s still a pig…. the denial and strategic manipulation continues unabated in almost all circles. I don’t need to go into specifics on the monetary system- banks don’t make loans(Fed pub.Modern money mechanics- Two faces of debt. And they are forbidden via Federal Reserve Charter to loan out depositors funds. The debtors instrument is converted(illegally) for it’s perceived commercial value by the bank into a draft check or book entry and called a ‘loan’. Ask the bank to prove the origination of the loan- proving the movement of cash(or ‘money’ or something of intrinsic value) from one account to another to fund this ‘loan’ that they are claiming there’re making…they can’t. It never happen. Try signing your loan documentation ‘all rights reserved’ and see if they will even talk to you. They won’t understand your questions- it will be like you are speaking a language from another planet.Could it be said that a honest and forthright attempt to live ones life with respect for all life is a sane precept and all others is insanity?(the captain is drunk and locked himself in the wheel house while he sails out into the storm instead of the safety of the harbor… right?) It confound the mind that even the most stupid human could have seen this present situation coming and that it would implode over a period of time.
    So, whats wealth? Is it only paper money or check book entries? Is it what governments say it is? Or is it people banding together in common interdependency that will bring a new level of sanity to our world? To further my point, before the WWII the US had a small number of planes to be use in the ‘war effort'(hard to write those words without causing a reaction in myself)- so what the government did was through the banking system they created the ‘money’ into the system to make more planes and war machine spring to life. My question is this….. did the raw materials exists prior to the making of the planes? Did we as a society have to have had ‘money’ to make things back then? Who owns the Earth? The one with the biggest guns? The most evil darkness??
    When we realized that out wealth, in all of it’s versions comes NOT from a private central bank,corporation or government but from resources from here on Earth, we will move closer towards a more free and sane planet. We don’t have a currency crises – we have a crisis of perception…The idea of money may be about to become extinct…..

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  29. “Local currencies, which helped regions reinvest in their own activities, and centralized currencies, for long distance transactions. Local currencies were earned into existence. A farmer would grow a bunch of grain, bring it to the grain store, and get receipts for how much grain he had deposited. The receipts could be used as money—even by people who didn’t need grain at that particular moment. Everyone knew what it was worth.”

    Jct: Local INTEREST-FREE community currencies worked well.
    Best of all, peg your local currency to the Time Standard of Money (how many dollars/hour child labor) and Hours earned locally can be intertraded with other timebanks globally!
    In 1999, I paid for 39/40 nights in Europe with an IOU for a night back in Canada worth 5 Hours.
    U.N. Millennium Declaration UNILETS Resolution C6 to governments is for a time-based currency to restructure the global financial architecture.
    See my banking systems engineering analysis at http://youtube.com/kingofthepaupers with an index of articles at http://johnturmel.com/kotp.htm

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  33. However, do we really want to go down the same road that led to two World Wars?

    Remember, we’re not living during the days of first two World Wars, where at least the USA was not seriously threatened with the type of destruction that ravaged many of the combatants. Today, a real World War could end up involving nuclear weapons placed on missiles that could hit targets 4,000 to 7,000 miles away–the combination of the Russians and Chinese have enough missiles aimed at the USA that they could literally wipe out the every major city and industrial site and still have enough to destroy most of our military bases. Humanity would be literally thrown back to not much better than the Stone Age, and the human population worldwide could drop to under 500 million as billions die from the effects of fallout radiation, “nuclear winter,” and the inability to grow food on a large scale. Do we really have to go down this apocalyptic route?

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  44. Wauw. Bingo!

    It’s consience and we can’t blame anybody but fixing what went wrong and forgive.

    Social currency is the solution.
    Consience!!!!, Trust, Reputation, Authentic connections,
    Value created through cooperation, life hacking, Entertainment and Creativity.

    Are you in?

  45. Pingback: >>Nostalgia For Infinity - These greedy fools

  46. Spot on… cut the middle man… this is the same dogmatic belief that we as a community can work together… we need a priest, government, and the banks… and the persons that asks where he/she is going to get designer shoes….really??? yo do know that shoes are not new right? they used to be handmade and durable so you didn’t have to worry for another pair in years… is this market that makes you believe that you NEED another pair or creates products that are going to break down in a year… design obsolescence and perceived obsolescence… check out the story of stuff…

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