Tag Archive: money

Sep 21 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: An Alternative Economic System. Part One by Diomedes77

Think outside the box. Way outside it. That’s the key when it comes to the “vision” thing. Most attempts at vision handcuff themselves to the strange idea that everything must work within the frame of the already done, the conventional, the status quo. Which is strange, given that the desire for change must assume that the status quo isn’t working. That being the case, why would we chain ourselves to it and its (arbitrary) rules?

Okay. So the vision thing in this case is primarily about the way we do business, the tools we use and who benefits. At present, we know that business is set up and structured to rain down benefits on a select few at the very top. Any system that creates the kind of inequality we’ve had since its inception isn’t working, and every single aspect of its structure and reason to be should at least be questioned. At least. Offering an alternative vision is common sense, given the horribly unequal results of the capitalist system, and instead of mocking or dismissing those attempts, it’s long past the time when we should be actively seeking those alternatives.

Money. Money is a strange concept, if you think about it. In the capitalist system, it is a store of value, a form of accounting and a means of exchange. But it is also a fiction. It has no inherent value, at least outside societal and international agreements. The key variable is those agreements, which means, logically, that other agreements could be made instead (there have been so many other kinds of agreements in the past). Again, money is a fiction in the capitalist system. It is printed by central banks all over the world, and virtually all of that is done behind closed doors, without any transparency, and without much rhyme or reason. Our Fed, for instance, a few years ago, printed some 16 trillion dollars and handed it out to banks and billionaires all across the globe. They did this in hopes of avoiding yet another world-wide depression, but still clung to the old ways in that the money went to the richest and most powerful, instead of the people who really needed it.

Money is fiction that works especially well in the real lives of the rich. Right now, roughly $1000 trillion in derivatives trading is being conducted worldwide, with a fraction of a fraction in concrete assets backing this. Even after the crash of 2008/2009, when we should have learned that billions in assets backing trillions in trade is never a good idea, things have actually gotten worse along those lines. And why? Because the fiction of money works so well in reality for the financial elite. They make billions on the fiction, while inequality gets more and more severe.

So, what if we made the fiction work for 100% of the people, instead of 1%? What if we agreed to use common sense when it came to funding what we needed, the ownership of that funding and its distribution? What if we made the fictional world fully accessible to everyone, thus making it, finally, a reality?  

Jul 21 2014

Freedom, Money & Control

Money is violence

Our system of money visits violence on people.

Economic sanctions are an obvious example:

In case you’re not video enabled, here’s a transcript of a portion of the conversation between 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl and Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright on May 12, 1996:

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

What Stahl and the ghastly gasbag Albright are discussing are the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq allegedly in order to compel Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait and pay reparations, but more likely the unstated plan was to induce the people of Iraq to rise up and overthrow Saddam.

Economic sanctions are the weaponization of money. Government talking heads call this “soft power,” because apparently arranging for the slow, wasting death by starvation and disease of hundreds of thousands of children is a lot nicer than bombing them or sending soldiers to terrify and shoot them.

Richard Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz had a particular gift for expressing the barely repressed beliefs of the most reprehensible people in the country.  According to Wikiquote, Butz said two memorable things while Secretary, one was the tasteless, racist joke that got him fired, the other was the following:

Food is a tool. It is a weapon in the U.S. negotiating kit.”

In one of the most brutal examples of the use of this technique, the Israeli government, with the complicity of the US government have for years kept the Palestinians’ economy in Gaza “on the brink of collapse.” As the Israelis kept the economy from performing, they made a “calorie count” to “put Gaza on a diet.” Israel’s sanctions and periodic bombings of Gaza have largely destroyed Gaza’s water infrastructure and “hundreds of thousands of people are now without water.”

The people of Gaza were guilty of “voting while Muslim,” and had chosen the wrong party (Hamas) at the polls. Hence the starvation diet and economic warfare:

There can be no doubt that the diet devised for Gaza – much like Israel’s blockade in general – was intended as a form of collective punishment, one directed at every man, woman and child. The goal, according to the Israeli defense ministry, was to wage “economic warfare” that would generate a political crisis, leading to a popular uprising against Hamas.

While these are shocking, overt uses of the power of economic systems, there are more subtle and refined means of using economic power to coerce and subjugate peoples that are often brought to bear. Economic sanctions, by depriving people of their means of survival through the manipulation of money and goods is a means of an elite asserting control over a population. While these techniques are used as a tool of foreign policy or in tandem with wartime goals, this is far from the only situation under which these techniques are used by elites.

Oct 27 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Giant Circles Of Stone by EK Hornbeck

I’ll start with my usual non-disclosal- Not only am I not an economist, I have no professional accomplishments I care to share.

Other than I can write and have a certification in adult education, how grown up are you?

Because today we’re going to talk about money and that tends to bring out the worst features of people.