Category: Business & Industry
Black March 2012 is a campaign to avoid purchasing movies, music, books and video games during March 2012. It’s in responsive to continual attempts by malicious individuals to control the dissemination of information under the guise of anti-piracy measures (SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.) or child protection (PCIPA). Spread the word. And don’t defeat the measure by buying excessively in February to carry yourself through March. Seek alternatives to occupy your time with: a new exercise program, more outdoor time with your children, browsing the internet, learning a musical instrument, learning a new language, etc.
Arthur Kitson published a book, A scientific Solution of the Money Question, in 1895. It’s accessible for free. This is a very interesting book because he’s a strong proponent of the free market, even using the analogy of natural selection in arriving at the form money should take to maximize the welfare of as many people as possible, and comes down hard on any sort of monopoly regarding the creation of money, arguing against both banker and government control of money. With this kind of attitude, the capitalists, or socialists, or free market proponents can’t dismiss his arguments right off the bat.
He has a very nuanced discussion on wealth, value, standard of value, price, purchasing power, the wisdom of keeping money scarce, etc. This book needs to be summarized, but for now, the most interesting parts will do.
The price of something for sale is dependent on supply and demand for this thing. It’s also dependent on the supply and demand for money. So there’s plenty of room for bankers to make a profit. Now let’s add a third variable, which is to base money on a commodity. Now, the commodity on which money is based can be hoarded, exported, imported, cornered or thrown upon the market, and thus the purchasing power of money affected. Now you know why some people insist that money should be based on a commodity. The third variable plays into the hands of the bankers. Obviously, the bankers have no interest in proposing a commodity to base money on that’s plentiful. They propose a commodity that’s scarce, such as gold, because a scarce commodity is easier to manipulate.
Kitson cites numerous examples of a gold standard being forced upon people, and shows that a free market would never accept money based on gold. Kitson’s thesis is a devastating critique of basing money on a commodity. Kitson followed with an addendum or reply to critics in 1917, titled A fraudulent standard : an exposure of the fraudulent character of our monetary standard, with suggestions for the establishment of an invariable unit of value.
So money established by law, a concept going back as far as Aristotle, is sound as fiat money, i.e., money not backed by a commodity. But who should issue it? Kitson comes down hard on bankers issuing money, as well as a government monopoly on the issuance of money, citing instances of government corruption. Keep in mind that the book was published in 1895. From 1866 to 1886, the volume of money in America had been reduced by almost 80%, causing a depression. Superficially, the government did it by removing greenbacks (debt-free government-issued money) and silver from circulation. Silver was also removed from circulation in many European countries around this time. The actual reason was the bankers had used their control over the governments to bring this about because they wanted to force a gold standard. The American dollar went on a gold standard in 1900.
So who should issue money? According to Kitson, money should be issued by the people! He proposes a mutual banking system. Mutual banks are owned by communities. They create money for loans, out of thin air, against any commodity or IOU (someone promising to pay back the loan). There’s a service fee but no interest. At any given time therefore, the amount needed for repayment of loans doesn’t exceed the amount created as loans, and no one’s forced to default. Money created in this manner goes through an accounting cycle, the same as under commercial banking today: it’s created when a loan is made and destroyed when the loan is paid. The money for the service fee is created out of thin air when a loan is made and used by the mutual bank for its operations.
There are four important differences between Kitson’s proposal and how commercial banks currently operate:
Under Kitson’s proposal, there’s no shortage of money and no inflation. Abuse is prevented via internal policing, rotation of mutual bank employees, non-hereditary appointment of mutual bank employees, and random external audits by a central authority that can only intervene in the case of fraud.
How will a government obtain the money for its needs? Taxes.
Whereas the government can create its own money, if the government is dependent on the people to pay for its expenses and the people control the money supply, the people decide the nature of the government.
In the special case of advanced technology replacing a lot of human labor with machines, which creates a scenario where specialized factories can produce goods at great initial cost but the displaced don’t have the income to buy these goods, whereas the government may create money out of thin air to extend as social credit to the displaced, since it’s desirable that the government obtain money from the people, the central government should be taking money from mutual banks to extend to people as social credit, in which case the mutual banks make an exception by creating the money out of thin air but not as a loan.
The mutual banking system proposed by Arthur Kitson is clearly superior to the solution that I’ve been promoting for a couple of months, which is that money should be created in a debt-free manner and issued by a government, in which case money that’s created truly circulates as opposed to going through an accounting cycle whereby it’s created and destroyed. The accounting cycle under the charge of mutual banks is easily able to achieve a level of fine tuning to needs that circulating debt-free money created by a government can’t. Technically, mutual banks could be extensions of the central government’s Treasury, in which case the government will be the sole authority creating money, and this wouldn’t require a Constitutional Amendment in nations such as the U.S., where the Constitution only grants Congress the power to create money, but the argument that placing control of money in the hands of a society that uses it is better than a few hands controlling money holds, even if the few hands compirse of an elected and accountable government, and therefore mutual banks had better be community owned.
Now, there’s no way to go from the present system—where commercial banks create nearly all money as debt and people are indebeted to private bankers to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars—to a mutual banking system. This reminds one of the 25-point program of the NSDAP. At the outset, they emphasized the necessity for a strong central government to undo the damage caused by the bankers, noting that the 25 points of the program were temporary. At present there’s a need for a central government to take full charge of the creation and issuance of money, creating debt-free money to retire the national debt and prohibiting private banks from creating money in any way. After a few years, one could transition to mutual banking for the masses and the government only creating money for its own needs. This can transition to a government solely relying on taxes for its expenses and obtaining money from mutual banks for social credit money. But activists don’t have to wait for government control of money before attempting to implement mutual banks. The problem needs to be attacked from many fronts, and one can work on mutual banks right now [to be discussed].
So I need to overhaul the money FAQ and note that the solution offered there as of the date of this posting should be regarded as an intermediate solution, not the final solution.
Kitson wasn’t the first to propose mutual banks. Others have proposed a similar system. The Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) works on a similar principle. John Turmel has shown the mathematical soundness of LETS or Kitson’s proposal. I believe the same idea is described in Paul Grignon’s Money as Debt volume 3 video. Islamic banking—not to be confused with banks operating under the auspices of international bankers in the typical Middle Eastern or predominantly Muslim nation—incorporates one of the proposed principles, too, such as not charging interest.
Tens of thousands of people in Poland have been taking to the streets, in freezing weather, to protest the government being open to the enforcement of ACTA (ACTA = Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), which is administered by an international body outside local jurisdiction. It has been noted that the real reason for ACTA (also the Trans-Pacific Partnership; SOPA and PIPA) is an attempt to control the dissemination of information, not the superficial issue of violation of copyright.
It was recently noted that Europeans will be increasingly experiencing what the Third World has to experience when bankers start enforcing austerity measures because Europeans governments borrow money from bankers, at interest, money that the bankers create out of thin air. Here are recent mass protests against austerity measures (more taxes, less benefits, increase in retirement age, etc.) in Belgium that shut down large parts of her.
A recent discussion of problems with Apple using humans as machines to build iPhones, iPods and iPads prompted two arguments. One concerning mounting a challenge to globalization has been partially discussed. This post addresses the other issue, of 3D printing solving the problem of exploiting humans in this case by replacing human labor .
3D printing is still expensive for the masses (a few thousand dollars for a unit; example: the Fab-at-home projects), and whereas these can take care of building enclosures for smart phones or hand-held computers, make cables and even print basic circuits, it’s a totally different ball game to make microcontrollers, NAND memory chips, microprocessors, or VLSI units in general (VLSI = Very-large-scale integration [of transistors, which are electronic switches]). Bankers will prefer to establish fabrication units for VLSI products where labor costs are minimal and the government has been bribed or corrupted.
Apple can easily automate robots to make iPhones, iPads and iPods, but has decided to use humans as machines for reasons already discussed. This can be considered in a more general context.
With advances in machinery and automation, human workers are easily replaced with much more efficient worker units. The problem with computerized machines or robots replacing humans is that the initial cost of manufacturing increases sharply and it must be recouped in the prices of the manufactured products, but the increasing amount of people losing their jobs to machines also have less disposable income to buy these products. At some point, even cheaper-than-present 3D printers will be too expensive for people increasingly displaced by machines. How does one address this problem?
Clifford Hugh Douglas and other proponents had an elegant solution: social credit. It was never implemented because it requires debt-free creation of money by a government. The proposal is that if people through no fault of their own (e.g., not lazy or unwilling to work) are only able to pay, say, 25% of the cost of a product because they’ve been replaced by machines, the government should provide the remainder to them so that they can obtain the product.
The first objection was that this would cause inflation, whereas the social credit proponents showed that this is a bogus objection because demand and supply are being matched by money that simply needs to be created out of thin air by the government [prohibit private bankers from creating money and there wouldn’t be inflation].
A second objection would be abuse. How does one take care of the lazy? It’s a simple matter, easily done by computers nowadays, to take into account job availability, work history, prior income, disability status, etc., and determine if an applicant deserves social credit.
What if a company decided to establish a factory to produce smart phones with a hexa-core ARM processor having six times the cache, gold plating and diamonds? Should a government take it upon itself to provide its citizens with such a smart phone? No, the task of the government is to assist with maintaining a minimum acceptable quality of life for the citizens. A single-core ARM processor with a sixth of the cache of the hypothetical unit and no gold or diamonds does a fine job at computing and communications at present, and suffices for government assistance.
What if manufacturing can potentially ramp up production to satisfy just about as much demand as can arise, but the products are negative for the environment beyond a certain volume? In this case, the government can limit social credit to a certain number of individuals. If 3 million qualify and only a million should be supported, the million are chosen from the qualified applicants at random.
This can be extrapolated to population size. Maintaining a higher quality of life for a larger population depletes a lot of natural resources. The government can hence tie social credit to not exceeding a maximum family size:
Do you have at least two biological children and desire social credit? Well, you meet other requirements, but need to subject yourself to vasectomy or tubal ligation or else you’re not getting any social credit for big items.
Do you have one or no children and desire social credit? Apparently, based on your records, you qualify for social credit but we’ll just help you with rent and won’t put in the remainder to buy you a house unless you’re so old that it’s unlikely that you’ll be having [more] children or have had yourself vasectomized or your tubes ligated.
I think the reader should get the idea.
A recent discussion of problems with Apple using humans as machines to build iPhones, iPods and iPads prompted the argument that “A major problem in mounting a challenge to globalization is that it delivers the goods” and that it’s unlikely that people will give up their iPhones. The situation isn’t bleak. People can adopt a few strategies, as individuals, to lessen the problem.
The first is to buy smart phones, music players and hand-held computers from smaller manufacturers. Let’s say there are 10 companies, all using Chinese human labor to make such products. How does it benefit one to go with a smaller manufacturer?
This is how. Bankers love large companies making a lot of profit as advertising can make their products highly desirable, and the profits entice investors to buy the large company’s shares. Then it’s a matter of bringing down the company and raking in the loot... naive investors lose, bankers win. Now, if the consumer were to prevent any company from getting large by buying products from smaller manufacturers, bankers have less to gain by bringing down a small company here and there, and can only benefit by bringing down an entire industry or the stock market in general, which they can’t do very frequently or else investors will lose confidence in the stock market.
Notice that buying from smaller manufacturers may also cost less as there’s no premium paid for a top-notch brand name. Also note that the extras that come with some top-notch products aren’t worth the price. Would you rather pay a $200 premium for a smart phone with 1080p video playback capability when the screen size makes this functionality useless and the functionality is useful only if you connect it to a 1920 X 1080 monitor, in which case you might as well use any computer built in recent years to send 1080p video to the monitor, or upgrade the graphics card of an older computer for a lot less, or buy, for less, a blu-ray player capable of playing mkv, mov, divx, mp4 and other formats from a plugged-in USB drive?
The second strategy is do-it-yourself projects. The ARM-based computer board at the hear of smart phones and hand-held computers can be purchased separately. The open-hardware beagleboard and beaglebone, for instance, sell for $150 and $89, respectively, and offer 720p video playback and muscle for ordinary computing tasks equivalent to the first generation of iPad. Other alternatives, some even cheaper, comprise of the leopardboard, craneboard, pandora, etc.
Now, it may be a hassle for some to separately buy a capacitive touch screen, cables, etc., and find a suitable enclosure for the computer board, but there are some people who’ve already done the job, like the Grégoire Gentil group at always innovating, who offer a ready-made smart book based on open-hardware, and they even offer, for free, a multi-boot system allowing one to switch between four open-source operating systems, depending on whether one wishes to use the unit as a smart phone or as a general purpose computer.
To use the unit as a phone, you can use voice-over-IP (VOIP) technologies such as skype (avoid google talk). To get cell phone functionality, you’re better off obtaining a barebones cellphone, which service providers will usually throw-in for free, using things along the lines of Grégoire Gentil’s products for your other smart phone and hand-held computer needs. Or maybe solutions comprising of a dongle that will let you use your unit with cell phone networks already exist.
Aside from these individual steps, there’s always organizing in specific ways to target the bankers.
The sweatshops Apple runs in China have recently come up in the news. Instead of using machines to assemble iPhones, iPods and iPads, Apple is using humans as machines. A factory in Shenzhen employs 430,000 people who work in halls with up to 20,000 to 30,000 people each. Workers aren’t allowed to talk to each other, there are no recreational breaks and people work under video surveillance. Some of the workers are children in their early teens, who are kept away from sight when inspectors arrive. Whereas the official work day is 8 hours, the standard shift is 12 hours, which commonly extends to 14-16 hours, at 70 cents per hour.
People asking for overtime are shrugged off and blacklisted; if they resign in protest, they’d have a difficult time seeking another job. Seeking to unionize is an imprisonable offense.
Occupational hazards include exposure to neurotoxic agents used to polish glass, such as hexane, whereas safer cleansers aren’t used because they take longer to evaporate. Monotonous, repetitive work leads to carpal tunnel syndrome and other disabilities. Those with disabling injuries are out of luck.
Many of these human-bots haven’t even seen in person, let alone held, a complete, functional iPad or another Apple product in their hand to evaluate what it is that they’re building. And when they sleep, they do so in cubicles packed with bunk beds, like prisoners in a crowded facility.
And to think that some people would describe this despicable situation as a wealth transfer from the the West to the East in terms of manufacturing and other jobs sent abroad! Superficially, the earnings of these workers have easily quadrupled compared to their working in rice farms earlier, but look at their living conditions, and watch as the purchasing power of money keeps going down because the government borrows from bankers, at interest, money the bankers create out of thin air.
If the Chinese masses work in farms, produce enough food for themselves, produce surplus food to barter against petroleum, medicine, etc., and the government creates it own money without debt, the Chinese can live independently and can sustain themselves, whereas now their economy’s in the hands of the international bankers while many of their people work like machines, sustaining mechanical injuries and damage from exposure to toxic chemicals.
The West doesn’t benefit either. Many Western consumers are precluded from buying bling bling such as iPads because of a lack of disposable income, and a good proportion of those who buy such bling bling do so by borrowing money, for which they’ll pay dearly in terms of interest.
Apple could technically improve worker conditions by cutting its profit margins, but is unable to do so because it’s a publicly traded corporation, and financial corporations have enough of a stake in it to dictate policies, the bottom line being increasing profit to attract investors. When the time’s ripe, these financial corporations will bring down the stock market, thus effecting a wealth transfer from the masses of naive investors to the bankers behind the financial corporations.
Many of the financial corporations having a stake in major non-financial corporations in major economies such as America’s are located offshore as well as many of the bankers. This diminishes the odds of a successful political revolt against the bankers. And we can see that the outsourcing of manufacturing and numerous other jobs from the major Western economies is further insurance against the same as weakened Western masses are less capable of revolt.
I got a kick out of this one:
Countries rated as good places to do business are good generally: “Doing Business in 2006 was published today (midnight GMT), tracking the state of red tape across the world… There are many wise things to be said about this data, and I’ll try to say them over the next few days. But since this is a blog let me go for the cheapest headline. The top ten business environments in the world, as measured by the ‘Ease of Doing Business index’: 1. New Zealand; 2. Singapore; 3. United States; 4. Canada; 5. Norway; 6. Australia; 7. Hong Kong; 8. Denmark; 9. United Kingdom; 10. Japan
[Note that fully half of them are English-speaking and two out of the three Asian ones have had strong English influence]
I gather that the housing boom is still ongoing in the USA. All such booms come to an end, of course. Australia’s recent boom started earlier but has now well and truly finished. I thought it might be easier to show how these things work by looking back on an earlier boom in Australia:
One thing that seems very hard for most people to assimilate is that the economy goes through cycles of booms and busts. The reason why it is hard to assimilate is presumably that the booms and busts concerned can last quite a few years and their beginnings or endings can never really be predicted. So in a boom, most business people act as if the boom will go on forever. The price for so acting, however, is almost always eventual bankruptcy. The mid to late 80s in Australia were a classic example of this. Both Real-Estate and share values seemed to be constantly rising and fortunes seemed to be there ready for the making in return for only a little risk-taking. So people bought all sorts of property with borrowed funds in the expectation of being able to resell the properties concerned at a very large profit after only a very short time. And many people did just that. They DID make large profits. So then they went out and tried to repeat the trick, didn’t they? Like the gambler who has a big win, they never knew when to quit. And note that even the real smarties came unstuck at that game. Almost ALL the high fliers of the ‘80s lost the lot. Some even ended up in jail over their activities (e.g. George Herscu and Alan Bond). And the not-so-smart went broke at a great rate too. An amazing number of hitherto successful Australian businesses—household names even—went to the wall at the end of the 80s and into the 90s.
In ancient Chinese mythology, dragons live in the center of the earth, and when they awaken and shake their tails, earthquakes result. The Chinese economic dragon has very clearly awakened; dealing with the lashings of its tail will be no mean feat.
For those with little interest in cars, this is the post to skip completely.
I have however been fascinated by cars since I was a child. Nothing, for me, could beat the thrill of driving an automobile for the first time in my life. This country has now declared war on the car owner with obnoxious taxes and all manner of hidden charges (and to top it all those skyrocketing oil prices) with the result that the Car seems to be headed for oblivion.
White Genocide Project
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