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2014, then hell?

by on January 3, 2014

“The table’s tilted, folks, the game is rigged,” chimes the immortal George Carlin in his powerful requiem for the American dream.

The world didn’t end on Dec 21, 2012.
Euro-insider Juncker’s 1913-2013 comparison was hardly noticed.
The markets are at an all-time-high …so why be a spoilsport?

Someone by the name of Blair…(no, not that pathetic lapdog to a scary-pathetic George W.)…Eric Blair, that was George Orwell’s real name…wrote about a concept called doublethink in 1984. In the book 1984, over half a century ago.
Doublethink is when you can say one thing, but mean something else entirely.
Don’t say “warlord” or “ministry of war”,
but “Minster of Defense”.
Try to avoid saying “money creation”,
say: “credit”,
use technical terms: “extending a loan”.
Anything but the kind of language those would understand who are too often duped into signing the dotted line!
(I recently learned: Banks need Boundaries! – in addition to what’s mentioned in our petition – is also involved in Kreditopferhilfe, which could be translated as “support for victims of easy credit”, or “support for victims of ‘missselling’ in credit allotment.”)
(And in case you didn’t already know: Organisations like Banks need Boundaries!, Positive Money, and others in the International Movement for Monetary Reform (immr) work primarily to fix money creation.)
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Question: What does the business establishment have in store for people who demand answers?

Noam Chomsky in 2009 at the Commonwealth Club of California

[Asked about ‘Peasants with pitchforks’]
<I think the implications are dangerous. It’s easy to ridicule them: “Look at the crazy things they say: ‘You wanna kill my grandmother’ ” and so on. And there is a lot of nonsense, that’s true. But what we really ought to be asking ourselves is “Why aren’t the peace movements, the left, and the activists organising these people?”
A lot of what they’re protesting is pretty sensible. A lot of the protests, for example, are against the bailout, the massive bailout. They feel they were betrayed. They pressured, and worked very hard to prevent it, and two Minutes later they got it. “Why should the bankers come out of the recession more powerful than they were before?” That’s what’s happening, you can read it in the business press – they’re exalting about it:
“They’re more powerful than they were before.”
“The big banks are even bigger than they were.”
The government insurance policy, the too-big-to-fail insurance policy, is guaranteeing them that they can continue doing exactly what they were doing, which is tank the economy. They can make risky loans and investments. Since it’s risky, they’ll make a lot of profit, they’ll have money coming out of their ears. If it collapses, the taxpayer will come in and bail them out, because they are too big to fail. Bonuses and profits are going through the roof, and meanwhile people are suffering!
Well, they have a reason to protest that. And the tragedy is (among many other things) that the protests are being organised by pretty much the same sectors that are creating the crisis. The corporate money that’s behind them is from the ones who are very happy that it’s coming out like this.
And it’s a real failure of the activist movements: the left, the peace movement, and so on. We‘re not organising. I think that’s the question we oughta ask.
And there are other things…
There are historical memories that are awakened. I don’t want to draw analogies too closely, but there’s some similarities which are not encouraging …certainly for someone my age [~80, i.e. saw the rise of Hitler]:
These people have real grievances. I have not seen a demographic analysis of those who call in on talk shows, but I listen to them a lot, and they’re interesting. If you sort of suspend disbelief, and you forget about reality of the world, and just listen, it’s not a joke. If you listen, the message that comes across has an internal logic to it: It’s coherent, it gives answers to people who want answers and need them and deserve them. They’re crazy answers. But they’re not hearing any others! These are people who’ve worked hard, they’ve done everything right. They’re Christian, God-fearing, and take care of their families, and for 30 years they’ve been shafted! Someone’s got to give them an answer “Why”.
(…)
The people who for the last 30 years have seen their wages and incomes stagnate or decline, benefits decline, services decline, nothing for the children, you know …the world’s out of control. These are the people who on the polls, maybe 80% of them say “the [USA] is going in the wrong direction, the government’s run by the few and special interests, not the people” and so on. They’re not wrong! This is all happening to them. And answers that they’re getting, say from Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, the rest of them, are: “We have an answer: The rich liberals own everything, they own the corporations, they run the government, they run the media, and they don’t care about people like you. They don’t care about the ‘flyover people’ between the east coast and the west coast. They only care about giving everything you work for away (…)”
[Here, Chomsky uses hyperbole to indicate how crazy things get, e.g. healthcare means they want to kill your granny.]
The memory that comes to my mind (again: I won’t press the analogy too hard, but I think it’s worth thinking about). Is late Weimar Germany. They were people with real grievances, the nazis gave them an answer: “It’s the fault of the jews, and the Bolsheviks. We’ve got to protect ourselves from them, and that will take care of your grievances.” We know what happened. Germany in the 1920s was the peak of Western civilisation, in the arts, in the sciences, highly functioning democratic institutions. A decade later it was the pits of human history.
Again: the analogy is not close, but it’s frightening. And unless an answer can be given to these people, unless they can be led to understand what’s really happening to them, we could be in for trouble.
Since WWII, there has been a massive propaganda campaign, a huge propaganda campaign by the business world, to try to make people hate government. It’s ambivalent, because at the same time those same sectors want a strong government, a powerful state: one that works for them. When they’re trying to get people to hate government, they want them to hate things like services that the government provides for the population.>
[Goes on to refute the lie that Reagan was a free-market fanatic, and explains how the internet, and many other cornerstones of modern trade were developed by the military with public subdidies, and then handed over to private property for profit.]
– Noam Chomsky in 2009
Transscriber’s note:
The main Swiss TV news programme Tagesschau recently confirmed in its 5-year-crisis-retrospective “too big to fail” is still alive and well.

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A propos activists being self-critical: Three points from me.

1.) I’m not entirely sure what to think about Positive Money’s push for Sovereign Money. I should say first of all that I’m a total layman and loudmouth (in another life, I’m Limbaugh!) …but I do understand Sovereign Money, and that it’s a kind of compromise a la “We won’t fix money creation – just create some money to get the economy going.” Please don’t hate me, and maybe I should read the P.M. book before asking it, but who has time, so anyway…here’s a stupid question:
===> How different is that really from the bailout?
(Apart from the bit I get that it would go to different people, e.g. Citizen’s Dividend, which I’m all for, by the way!)

2.) I see texts all the time that start with information on the percentage of electronic money. Some people might come away from that thinking “well, then cash is ok”. I prefer How banks (don’t) work.

3.) Separating commercial banks from investment banks could also turn out to be a red herring. For a start: it doesn’t fix money creation, does it?
I prefer “separate money from investments”. You either have money (electronic or cash), or you spend that money to purchase an investment. As the markets were intended to work and should work!
That’s probably why I always preferred Plain Money to the term Sovereign Money, although we’ve now started to say they mean the same thing.

Do they? Please correct me if I’m wrong!

In the spirit of the quotes above, and with all due respect, and again the proviso that I’m no expert…it should be clear that pre-digesting information for our audience, and compromising between information and (mis-)direction puts us in very bad company, and could confirm that famous bonmot about a road paved with good intentions.

Thanks.

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