Capitalism: A Ghost Story

Posted 22nd March 2012

This article appeared on Information Clearing House on 21st March 2012 – it is posted here in full just in case it gets removed which would be a tragedy.  Arundhati Roy writes incisively and in beautiful prose.  It is long but it is well worth persevering to the end:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30877.htm

Rockefeller to Mandela, Vedanta to Anna Hazare…. How long can the cardinals of corporate gospel buy up our protests?

By Arundhati Roy

March 21, 2012 “Outlook India” – – Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I had read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27-storey-high wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t worked.

But Gush-Up certainly has. That’s why in a nation of 1.2 billion, India’s 100 richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of the GDP.

The word on the street (and in the New York Times) is, or at least was, that after all that effort and gardening, the Ambanis don’t live in Antilla. No one knows for sure. People still whisper about ghosts and bad luck, Vaastu and Feng Shui. Maybe it’s all Karl Marx’s fault. (All that cussing.) Capitalism, he said, “has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells”.

In India, the 300 million of us who belong to the new, post-IMF “reforms” middle class—the market—live side by side with spirits of the nether world, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains and denuded forests; the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survive on less than twenty rupees a day.

Mukesh Ambani is personally worth $20 billion. He holds a majority controlling share in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), a company with a market capitalisation of $47 billion and global business interests that include petrochemicals, oil, natural gas, polyester fibre, Special Economic Zones, fresh food retail, high schools, life sciences research and stem cell storage services. RIL recently bought 95 per cent shares in Infotel, a TV consortium that controls 27 TV news and entertainment channels, including CNN-IBN, IBN Live, CNBC, IBN Lokmat, and ETV in almost every regional language. Infotel owns the only nationwide licence for 4G Broadband, a high-speed “information pipeline” which, if the technology works, could be the future of information exchange. Mr Ambani also owns a cricket team.

Read moreCapitalism: A Ghost Story

Revolution or Evolution?

Posted 19th November 2011

We stand at an inflection point in history and western civilisation faces a critical choice: Revolution or Evolution.

Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” analyses factors which caused civilisations to collapse in the past.  The factors are relatively few (environmental challenges, external threats or loss of a supporting neighbour, internal disintegration etc.) but what distinguished civilisations which collapsed from those which survived, was the reaction to these threats.  Universally, those that collapsed were led by an elite which became increasingly remote from the majority and instituted selfish, short term policies to protect themselves from the perceived threats.  Meanwhile the populace suffered hardship, famine, and increased suppression.  Sound familiar? Recent, less acute examples, are the French, Russian Revolutions and the rise of China’s communist party (Stalin’s headcount of victims was some 30 million and Mao Tse Tung’s 35 million).

This is what we’re heading for and whether or not you are a short term beneficiary of the current economic system, it would be wise to understand the fundamental root cause of economic turmoil and other global problems.

Read moreRevolution or Evolution?

Interest and Inflation Free Money – extracts

Posted 29th October 2011
Margrit Kennedy: Interest and Inflation Free Money (Published by Seva International; ISBN 0-9643025-0-0; Copyright 1995 by Margrit Kennedy)
http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~roehrigw/kennedy/english/

The following extracts are useful in providing quantitative context for why a new interest free money system is needed and the existing monetary paradigm is unsustainable.  The full paper proposes an alternative interest free monetary system.  It describes what a new money system could look like and the benefits.

The numbers relate to Germany prior to 1995 when the paper was written. The inequality of wealth distribution and the interest burden/benefit is even greater today and particularly acute in the privatised Anglo Saxon economies.

First Misconception :

THERE IS ONLY ONE TYPE OF GROWTH

fig1
Curve A represents an idealized form of the normal physical growth pattern in nature which our bodies follow, as well as those of plants and animals
fig2
Even at 1% compound interest, we have an exponential growth curve, with a doubling time of 72 years.

Figure 2 shows the time periods needed for our money to double at compound interest rates:

at 3%, 24 years;

at 6%, 12 years;

at 12%, 6 years.

Story: Persian emperor who was so enchanted with a new chess game that he wanted to fulfill any wish the inventor of the game had. This clever mathematician decided to ask for one seed of grain on the first square of the chess board doubling the amounts on each of the following squares. The emperor, at first happy about such modesty, was soon to discover that the total yield of his entire empire would not be sufficient to fulfill the “modest” wish. The amount needed on the 64th square of the chess board equals 440 times the yield of grain of the entire planet.

That is exponential growth!

The solution to the problems caused by present exponential growth is to create a money system which follows the natural growth curve. That requires the replacement of interest by another mechanism to keep money in circulation.

Read moreInterest and Inflation Free Money – extracts

Who owns the Federal Reserve Banks?

Posted 29th October 2011

The Federal Reserve Banks (which make up the Federal Reserve Board) are privately owned but the Federal Reserve Board website gives the misleading impression that it is owned and controlled by the US government.

Ownership is stipulated in the Federal Reserve Act and the capital of the Federal Reserve Banks is subscribed by member banks. The member banks receive a 6% dividend annually. The Act also provides for money to be paid over to the government but this in no way means that the Federal Reserve isn’t under the bank member/owners’ control.

Read moreWho owns the Federal Reserve Banks?

A New World Beckons

Posted 23rd October 2011

Fractional reserve banking is legalised fraud. The issuing of money, by central banks, is theft from the 99%, aided and abetted by leveraged bank lending.

Money as Debt, a 45 minute video, is an introduction to banking from its origins and describes the process by which the 99% are enslaved in debt and the 1% end up with all the power and wealth.

Circulate it to everyone you know. When the 99% understand how they are being robbed, the pressure for change will be irresistible.

Our debt based money system:

finances the military industry complex which depends on perpetual war for its development;

corrupts politics, media and our public institutions, leading the 99% into slavery with their lies;

underpins an economic system which is raping the planet of its resources at an exponential rate and relies on us consuming stuff we don’t need.

Read moreA New World Beckons

To build a better future

Posted 18th October 2011

The challenge for the various Occupy movements is how to create a coherent message.  Clearly the movement is born out of frustration and anger but different people have different priorities.  In addition, the media and others want to know the purpose of the occupations and their objectives.

If one accepts the root cause of the ills in the world today is the monetary system which enslaves the 99% in debt while banks continue to accrue yet more wealth and power, an alternative system needs to be developed.  Fractional reserve banking has evolved over centuries and the financial system has become infinitely more complex over the last thirty years.  Coming up with a new system is not going to happen overnight; it will take time and much discussion across a broad range of people with different interests.   And so we need a process or framework to ensure the movement doesn’t become distracted or diverted into subsidiary issues which would weaken it.

Read moreTo build a better future

Occupy Wall Street movement goes global

Posted 16th October 2011

The mainstream media is beginning to wake up to the global, grass roots uprising coalescing around the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS).  Inspired by the youth demonstrations which began in Spain in May this year and the various uprisings (Egypt, Tunisia, Greece etc.), disparate groups came together on Wall Street on 17th September 2011 to protest against the financial system which no longer works for 99% of the people.  In spite of being ignored, dismissed or ridiculed by the mainstream media the occupation of the renamed Liberty Square in New York persisted.  Repressive police tactics against the peaceful protesters only swelled their numbers and four weeks later the movement has spread across the globe with over 1000 demonstrations taking place on 15th October.

In London yesterday, the occupation of St Paul’s Churchyard, next to Paternoster Square began, coinciding with the global demonstrations.  The initial objective was to occupy Paternoster Square itself but heavily manned police barricades denied the protesters access.  At midnight on the first day of the occupation there remained between 300-500 protesters and a heavy police presence (circa 600 officers).  During the day the police attempted to kettle and intimidate the protesters using riot gear clad officers and police dogs.  A line of some 40 officers with riot gear to hand were posted along the top of the steps to St Paul’s, where they remained throughout the night.  The following day, Reverend Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s, said he was happy for people to “exercise their right to protest peacefully” outside the cathedral and asked the officers “guarding” the entrance to the Cathedral to go as he felt the Cathedral was not under any threat. The first victory is won.

Read moreOccupy Wall Street movement goes global

Bank of England’s £75bn Quantitative Easing program is doomed

Posted 6th October 2011

The rationale for this second round of quantitative is similar to the justification for the first round undertaken in 2009.  According to the Bank’s leaflet, Quantitative Easing Explained, by buying government and corporate debt (currently held by banks) it will inject £75bn into the financial (banking) system which will foster economic activity.

The £200bn of quantitative easing in 2009 had little effect on the real economy but was certainly beneficial for banks, helping to repair their balance sheets and make profits.  It created an illusion of recovery as stock markets steamed away driven by the liquidity provided by the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve Board.  But in the real economy people continued to suffer falling living standards and bleaker employment prospects.  The leaflet explains that banks will use this capital injection to increase lending to businesses but, since 2009, the banks have fallen woefully short of expectations in this regard.  Why should QE2 be any different? Meanwhile the debt/leverage bubble continues to grow and this £75billion merely adds fuel to it.

Read moreBank of England’s £75bn Quantitative Easing program is doomed

Destined to fail – the world’s financial system

Posted 4th October 2011

Examine the growth of debt and leverage in the global economy and it is difficult to conclude that the route to salvation is additional stimulus from governments, taking on yet more debt to accelerate growth. Public sector deficits and consumer indebtedness weigh heavily upon economic activity and more debt will add fuel to a potential meltdown. But how did the world arrive at this parlous state? The responsibility rests not with individuals, politicians or otherwise. It is the result of a system with skewed incentives exemplified by the banks’ profiting from ever expanding debt. Banks wield such power that governments’ policies inevitably pander to their interests. If one doubts this statement, one only needs to look at the sub-prime mortgage crisis which was created by perverse structural incentives to obscure the truth. The major culprits were the banks which issued and traded mortgage backed securities and derivatives. But others were by no means blameless.

Read moreDestined to fail – the world’s financial system

Does Al Gore do Science and Reason?

Posted 4th October 2011

In the run up to Al Gore’s televised 24 hour climate alarmism extravaganza, he penned an article for Rolling Stone in which he sought to discredit those scientists who dissent from the claimed “consensus” on climate change.  This is a rebuttal of those claims which Rolling Stone will not publish:

Al Gore sounds desperate (Climate of Denial – Rolling Stone June 22, 2011).  According to NASA’s satellite data, sea levels show a 6mm decline in 2010 and AMSR-E Global Sea Surface Temperature Variations indicate that oceans are cooling.   Studies, by three separate teams from the National Solar Observatory and the Air Force Research Laboratory, are suggesting the next solar cycle (25) will be similar to the Dalton or Maunder Minima. These minima occurred during the Little Ice Age which saw temperatures plunge after the relatively high temperatures of the Medieval Warm Period.  Scientists studying oceans demonstrate that the recent warming, to the end of the last century, is part of the natural cycle of oceanic oscillations and predict a thirty year cooling phase.   The CLOUD experiment at CERN suggests that all the warming of the late twentieth century could be accounted for by a small percentage reduction of reflective cloud cover (albedo) – more of the sun’s rays reached the earth, warming the planet.  Indications are that albedo is growing once more.  Clearly,  the computer climate models on which climate alarmism is based are flawed because they fail to model these natural processes correctly.

What’s a Nobel Prize winner, trying to save the world, to do?

Read moreDoes Al Gore do Science and Reason?

Weasel words and the missing hotspot

Posted 19th November 2010

The fundamental flaw in the anthropogenic global warming theory is the missing hotspot in the troposphere over the tropics, see David Evans’: http://sciencespeak.com/MissingSignature.pdf

As Albert Einstein said: “No amount of experimentation can prove me right, one experiment can prove me wrong.”

The IPCC has never claimed to have found the hotspot but characterised contradictory satellite and radiosonde (weather balloon) data as “unreliable”.  They’d rather we believe the climate models which predict a hotspot over the equator than the real life data which show it doesn’t exist.  Yet another attempt to gloss over this fundamental weakness in the man-made global warming theory is made in a recent paper by Peter W. Thorne, John R. Lanzante, Thomas C. Peterson, Dian J. Seidel and Keith P. Shine: Tropospheric temperature trends: history of an ongoing controversy.  In the Abstract it concluded that there is no reasonable evidence of a fundamental disagreement between tropospheric temperature trends from models and observations when uncertainties in both are treated comprehensively.

Read moreWeasel words and the missing hotspot