One of the more astute writers on the money issue, E.C. Riegel writing in Private Enterprise Money in 1944 stated that, “without reservation I assert that the whole fate of society hinges upon the one question of whether it can at this critical juncture gain mastery through the mastery of money and thus coordinate purchasing power with producing power. The issue is—money or your life”.
Riegel didn’t mince any words here, but stated an inescapable truth about money and power that has become the overshadowing zeitgeist of our time. We are at a critical juncture, a phase shift into an unexplored paradigm where we are struggling to develop a new economic ethos that reflects a greater movement toward decentralization, self-reliance and co-governance.
In this twilight world of neo-liberal economics, ‘too big to jail’ banks, bankrupt state budgets and monetary meltdown, the symbol of the Bailout emerges as the defining cultural icon of centralized wealth and power run amok by globalization and greed in a nation that manufactures conformity and survives by denial.
The Bailout reflects the same kind of ‘hope’ that drove the Obama campaign, a kind of hope that has become deeply embedded in the shadow side of the American psyche. This is the shadow side of the psyche that now has developed a pathological addiction to hope. The problem here is that there is always a very thin line between hope and denial and that line is getting thinner every day.
Patrick Henry took aim at the perennial problem of hope in his famous Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech given in 1775 when he said, “it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts”.
As a cultural coping mechanism denial functions quite well, allowing us to disengage from the economic warfare that has now broken out in the Homeland. This is a kind of economic warfare that has previously been reserved to strip assets and enforce U.S. foreign policy in ‘problem countries’. But with 20 million Americans qualifying for unemployment benefits last year, and over 50 million citizens already living in poverty, what was once somebody else’s problem has now become our own.
Despite all the talk and media hype about recovery, ‘green shoots’ and ‘strong market indicators’, the economic war here is already over, the coup de’ etat complete and the U.S. government now merely another subsidiary of the global elite that have been given carte blanche to begin their programs of massive wealth redistribution and centralization. As Michael Lind commented in a article in June ’95 Harper’s magazine, “the American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.”
Predictably, the public reacts with surprise and dismay to the monetary meltdown, while our elected representatives act bewildered and confused, assuming all the while that we as dues paying members in good standing with the financial oligarchy would never become the victims of their latest conquest. But what goes around comes around, and we will all now be given a first hand experience of what life is really like as a conquered nation that has broken down into some kind of high tech panopticon still in the throes of denial about our loss of freedoms, our standing at law, and our highly dysfunctional money system. And as one of our earlier Presidents John Adams was to comment, “there are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword, the other is by debt.”
It was these same programs that have been foisted upon debtor nations through Structural Adjustment Programs of the IMF and World Bank by the same players are about to get played out here. The predatory Wall St. financial cartel move in, blow a lethal hole in the economy with derivative trading forcing a credit contraction on the smaller banks that were never a cause of the problem resulting in the usual neo-liberal austerity programs. Then they begin cutting all kinds of existing health, education and social programs as revenues fall due to unemployment and a shrinking tax base. The programs really shifts into high gear after having wrecked the economy of a given country, the vultures come in buy up the companies that they forced out of business for pennies on the dollar and put the people back to work for starvation wages.
You see the irony of it all is that we have been reduced to the same status; a mere debtor nation targeted by the same economic hit team with largely the same intended consequences. The only difference between us and so called developing nations is they figured out pretty quick that they were getting the shaft. We on the other hand, still believe that the money cartel is looking out for our best interests in the long run. So if we just ‘stay the course’ with adequate reforms, proper congressional oversight, some jail time for the worst offenders, and a little more trickle down for the rest of us, then we can patch up the gaping hole in the side of the Titanic and chart our course through the brave new world of neo-liberal economics.
The problems however, are deeply systemic and it isn’t about whether or not we can patch up the Titanic. The problem is how do we get off the Titanic. It is not just a question of reigning in the predatory practices of a global financial cartel that is bent on exploiting the remaining resource base of the planet, while maintaining the populations in a constant state of fear/stress reactions through shock doctrine tactics, and their endless wars. The problem with the Empire lies not just with what it does, in its ongoing flagrant violations of international law, its continued destruction of indigenous and traditional cultures, and its unconscionable destruction of bio-diversity through genetic manipulation and patenting of seeds. The problem lies also with what it is. It is in a word, Gargantuan.
Leopold Kohr author of The Breakdown of Nations commented once that, “when something is wrong….something is too big”. What we are confronted with is a fundamental problem of scale where its shear size requires that it adopt policies and practices that define everything within a context of a predator/prey relationship with a complete absence of anything that might resemble a value system based on cooperation and multilateralism.
Is it any wonder that practically everyone feels disenfranchised, disempowered, caught up as it were, in an endless feedback loop of hopeless/helpless in the face of such a behemoth system of laws, lies, corruption and lack of accountability? The real issue here is about downsizing, decentralizing, and the real problem is about creating economies of human scale where the power to issue money becomes democratized in the public domain rather than monopolized for private gain, because the capacity to wield power either justly, or unjustly in today’s world is all about Who controls the money supply.
An economy of human scale is not an economy that deals with dollar amounts that are denominated with 12 or more zeros. A trillion dollars is one billion dollars times a thousand, or 10 to the 12th power. The old saying, “a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon we are talking real money”, no longer applies. To put this into some perspective, if you were to take all of the revenue to be paid in from individual federal income taxes for the fiscal year 2010 which will amount to around $1.061 trillion, that amount of money collected from all the households across America will not even cover the bailout amount of $1.45 trillion to a handful of banks from the TARP program of $700 billion in 2009, and the additional $750 billion in 2010. This bailout amount of $1.45 trillion also represents almost one half of the total budget of $3.94 trillion for fiscal year 2010 proposed by President Obama.
The global economic system is not fractured because of some credit crisis blowing through the scattered ruins of an asset based economy. It is fractured because for too long it has been predicated upon a neoliberal model of wealth extraction fueled by an insatiable appetite for gloated returns on investment that sucked all the money out of the production/employment sector, out-sourced the jobs for cheap labor and then created a bonanza of fictional real estate wealth with mortgage derivatives that allowed the money cartel to privatize the profits and socialize the losses back to the tax payer.
With 20 million people due to be standing in the unemployment lines no amount of bailout funds is going to kick start the economy when most people are barely living from one paycheck to the next. The smiley face pasted onto the bailout package by the Fed gang is nothing but a cover for the leveraged buyout of America by a criminal syndicate that apparently operate under a Federal witness protection program because they happen to work for a Bank or have an office/edifice on Wall St.