Behind the veil of mainstream-media anonymity and the numbing distractions of whitewashed advertising culture, the Federal Reserve is guiding our nation to a condition of terminal debt. The United States was once the world’s wealthiest and most productive state. Now, the U.S. is reduced to holding, strangely, only the title of “wealthiest.“ How is this possible?
First, economics. The U.S. has been in a trade deficit since 1971, when imported goods overtook exports for the first and final time. This is also the year when the U.S. jumped from the gold standard into economic limbo. Furthermore, the Californian funkmasters of “War“ disbanded. A tragic, tragic year.
The escalation of credit became the lifeblood of economic growth. Without credit, we wouldn’t expand as quickly. Once we were able to spend before we earn, growth became absolutely dependent on the acceleration of anticipated earnings. Truth got expensive so the lie got bigger. See also: Enron.
Now, interest payments threaten to swallow us whole as we’ve come into the withdrawal phase of credit abuse. As warned Jefferson, “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” Woe unto us, who have yearly swindled our futurity.
Second, culture. We have become divorced from real value and spend time instead chasing nondurable products, poorly-built cars and money-trap homes. We clamor for financial shortcuts to make our lives superficially resemble the perversely revered icons of opulent luxury.
We create value from nothingness and become constricted by the web of falsity our money creates. We manage, process, sell and resell, we loan, speculate and invest – we do not produce. We are consumers. We are the by-products of a lifestyle obsession.
Don’t sink into a depressive funk after finishing that thought. I know it’s hard not to. But as with the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program, the first step is admitting we have a problem. You’re making good progress and we all support you.
The next step is realizing a greater power that can restore us to sanity. Spiritual awareness is that power. Take a moment to realistically consider humanity’s role in the cosmos. Is it money? Read some metaphysics, burn some incense, watch Planet Earth. Fly to Maui, live in a European commune, join an Amazonian tribe. Life matters; money is fake. We live to mutually enhance our time spent in this phase of existence. The meaning of life, taken generally: be nice. But don’t take my word for it. Go live it and see.
Now, with a sponsor, we need to examine past errors with the new light that spiritualism provides.
The biggest domestic error was the formation of the Fed in 1913. Bad move. Just ask Wilson: “I have unwittingly ruined my country.” The Founding Fathers would judge the Fed just as harshly.
Past the Fed, we have to admit that our choices hurt others too. At the height of the United States‘ global power in 1944, FDR essentially decreed that the world should be rebuilt in the image of the dollar. Out popped the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, two lending agencies designed purportedly to aid the development of nascent and war-torn nations.
Most of you can already accept the notion of the World Bank and IMF having the ulterior motive of bribing countries away from Communism. Now that the Iron Curtain has been scrapped, sent to China and hidden in toxic amounts in children’s toys, the two organizations now serve another purpose: opening up developing nations to industrial exploitation.
According to Larry Stiglitz, the World Bank’s Chief economist until 1999, the Bretton-Woods organizations have “condemned people to death.” For every poor nation in need, the IMF and World Bank drafted a “Country Assistance Strategy“ after an extensive tour of the nation’s five star hotels. Every CAS consisted of a one-size-fits-all four-step plan.
Step one: privatization of every national utility. Stiglitz called this “briberization,” as jacked-up profits were split between WB financiers and local politicians at the expense of the people.
Step two: Markets are “liberalized,” which is Newspeak for “completely and utterly deregulated.“ This effectively destabilizes a country’s economic base and allows for intermittent cycles of brief foreign investment and financial rape.
Step three: market-based pricing. This means the sudden increase in price of basic necessities – food, water heating – and usually results in mass riots. This was plied throughout Latin America and Southeast Asia to the same result. More than half of the country slips below the poverty line and banks fail, requiring bailout moneys.
Step four: poverty reduction, as in free trade. This is the same “opening“ of a nation that China experienced with the Opium War: a forced elimination of all protective tariffs, while Western nations keep their trade barriers proudly.
And all this just for a loan they have to pay back.
As you can tell, the same financial system of errors we experience here we extended around the globe. The World Bank and IMF have been orchestrating miniature versions of the current U.S. economic crisis to the profit of Western banking interests. Is it ever too late to say “sorry“?
Now that we can see the global scale of debt culture, we must accept that solutions shall be equally global. Individual efforts can liberate an individual or a community from the insidious cycle of debt, as I will outline and celebrate next week. However, in the classic logic of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, “When one man is enslaved, all are not free.” So ask, as he commanded, what you can do for your country. Because it’s all we can do.
CHEYA CARY would like to say, in a total break in tone from this column, have a fantabulous Whole Earth Festival! Call him a buzzkill at firstname.lastname@example.org.