In the first part of this series, I took a Big Picture view of how money comes to be created from the resource base of a society, in the beginning Food. In the Age of Oil, the money serves as a more direct Proxy for Energy in the form of Fossil Fuels. This because food production is subsidiary to energy production, since with copious avaialble energy copious food can be produced through the Industrialized food apparatus. In this part, we will look at the relationship as it evolved through to today between the Money and Energy, along with its Military component.
The conversion of money into a proxy for the energy markets came about through the mid-19th century with the monopolization of the Oil Industry by Standard Oil. With the vast amount of Oil under its control, in order to then be able to sell that Oil there needed to be a vast expansion of Credit issued to the population to buy this Oil. This is why the Oil Biz and the Banking Biz are so closely intertwined. Essentially, John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil began increasing Dollar Credit available so that then people would have Money available to buy his Oil. The Oil at this time is priced very cheap relative to the credit price of the money, and the expansion of the Ponzi begins.
In the beginnning this was very chaotic, because it was happenning during the “Free Banking” era between the collapse of the 2nd Bank of the FSofA and the institution of Da Federal Reserve. During this period, Gold was also functioning as a resource based money, a holdover from the Ag Era when Gold in limited quantity could be used to represent total food available to a population. Many smaller banks popped up issuing credit on a fractional reserve basis of their Gold holdings, but inside a manipulated energy market, their bets often went bad causing repeated Bank Runs and periods of Depression, with little circulating money available to the population.
Da Federal Reserve was created as a means to more directly control the total outward flow of Credit in conjunction with the increasing supply of Oil coming online in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century FSofA. The most powerful Banks of the Era chartered Da Fed as a Central Bank which could control the creation of credit, which they could then use as a cheap source of funds to loan out at a higher rate of interest. This removed some of the chaos from the system, putting just a few very well positioned Pigmen in control of money creation and money flow. These folks are also the same ones in control of the Oil biz itself.
Besides the production of Cheap Food, the greatest usefulness of Oil and the Energy contained therein lays in the Mechanized War Machine. Once built, large Warships and Tanks can pretty much roll over any backwater civilization out there and then expand into their locations for the purpose of further resource extraction. Prime target for this right from the get-go were vast Oil Fields being discovered in MENA. A Rapid grab for Oil amongst Industrialized Nations of Europe began, basically with the Krauts and the Brits seeking to gain hegemony over the Oil fields of MENA, since unlike the FSofA they had little to none of it on their own land. This prior to discovery of North Sea Oil of course.
So, skirmishes down in MENA between the Brits and Krauts over who “owns” what territories down there eventually leads us to WWI, which the Krauts lose mainly because the Brits have the FSofA taking their back here. Many mistakes are made in the Treaty of Versailles, their is a brief period of Mania with the Roaring 20s back in the FSofA following this war, but it never really ends. Back in Krautland, they experience the Roaring 20s as basically a time of Roaring Hyperinflation. Even in the FSofA, while F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Great Gatsby are doing well cateloguing the lifestyle of the Rich & Famous in the Hamptons, back in the Heartland of the FSofA Farmland is rapidly losing its value as industrialized apparatus makes it possible to create copious amounts of food from much less land and labor. They have plenty of food to ship over to starving Krauts, but the Krauts have no working money to buy it with. WWII comences shortly thereafter, with the FSofA entering the fray when over on the Pacific side of this now Global battle over industrialization and Oil the Nips with their backs to the wall go Kamikaze on Pearl Harbor.
Both Wars are GREAT for the FSofA, in the sense they give plenty of Employment for J6P in the trenches and also further ramp up the power and influence of the Military. By the time WWII ends, the FSofA has an ENORMOUS industrial base it used to make things like Tanks and Planes and Bombs, but now in order for this stuff not to be complete malinvestment, the owners of said factories turn them to “peacetime” usage. The Tank factories start producing Carz, the Bomber Factories start producing 707 passenger Jets, and the Bomb Factories start producing Ag Fertilizer.
MASSIVE LSPW (Large Scale Public Works) Projects are undertaken both in Europe in the form of the Marshall Plan and the FSoA in the form of the Interstate Highway System as a means to build out the Ponzi, employ vast numbers of workers in construction, which then becomes the basis for a subsidiary parasite economy of Small Bizness to develop as the Credit Money flows out copiously, along with the then copiously flowing Oil, not just from FSofA Oil fields, but also the newly aquired Saudi Fields and Iranian fields.
Along the way, from the 1950s into the early 1970s it begins to become obvious to folks like M. King Hubbert that real Oil Production rates and discoveries are falling and as a result energy prices go on a steady upward climb. The tie to the old Gold standard Ag economy is broken in 1971 when Tricky Dick closes the Gold Window and the economy goes All Fiat from that point.
This takes us into the Modern Era of many low level “mini-Wars” which continue to provide a rationale and purpose for a large Military, as well as the Bubble Creation period in consumer goods and services and Financial speculation which keeps Credit flowing Outward, Profits flowing Inward but in reality Zero to Negative real growth in the system. It becomes ever more Bloated in Global Population of Useless Eaters, and supplies of new Oil become ever harder to find and ever more expensive to develop.
The Crisis Point for the Fianancialism came first in the 1990s with the collapse of the Dot Com Bubble, but was given an Adrenaline Injection through the Sub-Prime RE Market, Credit Card Loans and Guaranteed Student Loans for Kollege. Outward flowing credit through these Markets kept the patient alive and kicking until 2008, when the Chickens came home to Roost on Lehman Brothers.
To salvage THIS problem, the Last Bubble began in earnest, the Sovereign Debt Bubble. In this iteration, all the non-performing assets are heaped onto the Tax base of Sovereign states, with the “expectation” that the populations of these countries will work as Debt Slaves into the generations of their Great Grandchildren in order to pay off ALL the malinvestment that began way back there in 1800s, with the building of the Railroads, a necessary infrastructure for extraction of Coal and Oil.
Issue is of course, in reality all that malinvestment can never be paid off, because the factories producing the Carz can’t sell them to impoverished people and the McMansions that require the people who live in them to HAVE a car in the Garage to drive to a Job that is no longer there also are Uninhabitable Malinvestement. What is left here to blow any Bubbles up on? Only War of course. In a massive debt default, War is the only way to declare Bankruptcy, and only the Winner actually can do that. The LOSER still has to pay off his debts. The Krauts got a bye on this one after WWII and as a result of the Marshall Plan used their Industrial Plant and Financialism to grow their way back to prosperity, of course all on the backs of the folks in MENA and their European brethren to the South, to whom them loaned copious amounts of money to buy their Mercedes and build Tourist Resorts on the Costa del Sur for German Pigmen to frolick on over the Summer.
I wrote the following in the first part of this series:
“As long as linearity can be maintained between the energy markets and the money supply, the system can continue to function, albeit in ever smaller “boutique” economies all the time. The linearity gets disrupted either by a local implison of a given credit market or by a local disruption of Oil supply of a threshold level magnitude. Uncelar how large that disruption has to be on an absolute value level to reach the threshold, but one suspects that either a Blockade of the Straights of Hormuz on the Energy Level or the credit collapse of a country the size of say Italy would be sufficient here to disturb the equilibrium too much and send the relative economics into a tailspin.”
With the Sovereign Debt Bubble in Europe now on its last legs, there just isn’t any bigger Debtor left upon which to shift the burden of debt accumulated since Industrialism began, mainly in the aftermath of the Civil War here in the FSofA. Though it began with the Steam Engine in the 1750s, the Agrarian Model was not completely supplanted by Industrialization until after the Civil War. So we are talking a good 150 years of debt overburden accumulated here. To wipe out this debt takes a World War that makes WWII look like a small skirmish in your backyard between your kids and their cousins. What the FORM of this war will take though remains to be seen.
What you see occuring here between Iran and the FSoA in the Blustering is mainly an attempt to keep the price of Oil propped up a while longer. Real demand for Oil is Cratering as the Konsumers run out of available credit to buy it with. Military posturing both increases Demand for Oil (how much Oil do you think both the Iranians and the FSofA consume in a Day of Wargames?), and it instills FEAR into the Market Place that what is left of the supply is soon to be CUT OFF.
Thing is here, blustering isn’t going to increase real demand for Oil from the Konsumer level, no matter how bellicose either side gets here, J6P STILL does not have money to buy this stuff at high prices. In fact at ANY price soon enough, but if they let it drop down to $2/gal for gas again you would get another Dead Cat Bounce in the economy.
At this price though, the Oil Companies/MIC cannot make a profit, nor can the Mullahs pay their bills. It is in the interest of neither side to see the price of Oil drop here. By seriously cutting production the Saudis could SLIGHTLY raise the price of Oil, but that would be made up for by Ruskies exporting more. The Saudis though need every Dollar they can get, so they are not going to lower production and sales. Sell less at a higher price maybe keeps you even, but only if somebody else doesn’t capture your market share. With declining real demand, only if ALL producers cut their production could you stay even.
So, blustering about War is the best means available to prop up the price in the Speculator market, but at the end of the line if the price is too high, it won’t move out of the storage facilities fast enough. At this point, blustering is not enough, you need a REAL War to suck up that excess Oil and to keep the FEAR level at a Fever Pitch.
It remains to be seen which side Flinches First, but once Fear Mongering stops working to keep the price up, REAL War becomes necessary. The Price cannot stay up indefinitely at high levels if the end Konsumer does not have money to pay for it. Either you go to War to REALLY restrict the supply, or you let the Price Collapse some. It could go either way here.
Certainly,a Price Collapse would be better for FSofA Konsumers and Industry. it would not be better for TBTF Banks and Oil Companies though. It would be horrific for Oil Producing countries dependent on the revenue from Oil to support their economies. Already weakened Regimes in Saudi Arabia and Iran would undoubtably collapse if Oil drops into the $60 or below range again. The Iranians being the most pressured here with Sanctions are the most likely to strike out if there is a collapse in Oil prices.
The scenario as a result that seems most likely is for the Posturing to continue for so long as it keeps the prices up, but when the Storage Facilities are full to the Brim and Overflowing, then the Price will collapse and the Iranians will strike out first.
The ensuing Melee is simply too complex to figure out. Reduced real Oil supplies will take many peripheral areas with current Credit issues off the map as far as any Oil delivery whatsoever is concerned. Greeks for instance won’t be able to buy even a DROP of Oil with the New Drachma. The FSofA likely would institute a Rationing system of some sort. Normal commerce would slow to a snail’s crawl. Unemployment would skyrocket.
At this point, the War in Iran is likely Small Potatoes, since you’ll get internal Civil Wars and rebellions occuring. This is a Jenga Puzzle Moment. Currently, the Oil Supply is diminishing SLOWER than the Demand is. A full on War with Iran would flip that equation, rapidly diminshing supply and redirecting what is available to the War Effort. The “Oil Shock” to the Industrialized societies here and in Europe would be beyond belief, a very rapid change you cannot massage with monetary policy. There is simply no predicting how it goes after that.
Money and Fossil Fuel Energy became Synonymous as the Industrial Revolution took hold. The same people who took control of the Oil supply also took control of the money supply, and matched them up in a time of great Surplus of this resource. With no apparent rescue of any other form of energy sufficient to take its place, either Renewable or Nuke based, the Value of Money remains dependent on the availability of fossil fuels and their distribution and utility in the society. The distribution will shrink, and the utility will shrink as less is available to waste. The money supply of any money that actually works to buy stuff will shrink with this. In theory, this could take a long time, but is unlikely to do so because of the Jenga Paradox. At the moment, Iran appears to be the Jenga Piece of the Puzzle, that when it gets pulled will collapse the Tower of Babel. Ironic of course, since Babylon was situated in present day Iraq, just a few miles from the site of Baghdad. What Goes Around, comes Around.
As a proponent of legitimate free markets, I am always up for a little creative entrepreneurship. However, there is a considerable difference between building productive markets, and engaging in monopolistic piracy. Global conglomerates and the elites that operate them have long been familiar with the pirate’s life, and not the fun filled adventure-time rope swinging swashbuckling brand. In fact, it was elitists like Sir Francis Drake, commissioned by the English monarchy, who embodied this disturbing covert bedlam. We’re talking murder, mayhem, and blood-money, folks! So, it should be of no surprise to anyone that the thieving mercantile swine of our era are returning to the high seas to plunder once again, only in a much more subversive and devious manner.
This past week, World Bank President Robert Zoellick made his organization’s intentions for oceanic regimentation known, at least in a candy coated way, at the Economist World Oceans Summit in Singapore.
Over the last several years, World Bank has seen fit to insinuate itself into the environmental movement as a “bastion” of green ideology. In reality, World Bank has long used the threats of environmental destabilization (some of them real, some of them fake) as tools for the centralization of resources into the hands of mega-corporations. In fact, if one was to attempt to sum up exactly what it is that World Bank actually does in a single phrase, it would probably be “resource domination”. This domination is achieved through the strict lending guidelines that sovereign countries have to commit to in order to attain financing from the supranational entity.
Like a greasy loan shark working for a hardboiled mob cartel, World Bank’s M.O. is to lend large capital packages (made with money or credit created out of thin air) which the target country and its government obviously cannot afford to pay back. These loans often stipulate that the country relinquish control of its natural resources, the true wealth of the nation, over to international corporate bodies for “management”. Through this process, World Bank removes competition from a market and hands designated companies (globalist front-companies) the keys to the kingdom.
Environmental manipulation has been used in the past by World Bank as a cover for resource piracy. Global corporations including Enron, Bechtel, GM, and Monsanto from the late 90’s onward have been handed coveted water rights to entire communities and nations under the guise of managing “water scarcity”. This control of the water supply has extended even to rainwater collection. World Bank’s argument in the case of water privatization was that monetizing the resource would create “incentives” for populations to conserve water. That is to say, the higher they could increase the cost of water, the more coveted it would become, and the more careful people would be when using it. This feudalistic idea was expressed clearly in a World Water Council (founded with the help of the Vice President of World Bank) document entitled “The Long Term Vision For Water, Life, And Environment”:
In 1998 the World Water Forum expounded a need for control and regulation over the planet’s water supply. This meeting was packed with top multinational corporations and commissioned by a viper’s nest of global elites, including:
-Dr Ismali Serageldin (Commission Chair), Vice President, World Bank, and Chair of Global Water Partnership
-Margaret Catley-Carlson, President, Population Council
-Gordon Conway, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
-Mohamed T. El-Ashry, Chair and CEO of the Global Environment Facility
-Howard Hjort, former Deputy Director, FAO
-Enriquo Iglesias, President, Inter-American Development Bank
-Yolanda Kababadse, President, World Conservation Union
-Jessica Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, USA
-Robert S. McNamara, Co-Chair, Global Coalition for Africa
-Maurice Strong, Chair, Earth Council, member of Commission on Global Governance, and a chief adviser in charge of the UN reform process
-Wilfred Thalwitz, former Senior VP, World Bank
-Jerome Mondo, Chair of the Supervisory Board, Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux
In March of 2000, the forum made the following statement:
“Water is an economic good and its economic value should be recognized in the allocation of scarce water resources to competing uses. While this should not prevent people from meeting their basic needs for water services at affordable prices, the price for water must be set at a level that encourages conservation and wise use…”
This methodology of artificially raising prices through the issuance of securities to enforce a particular environmentalist ideal, in the end, has NOTHING to do with protecting the environment. Essentially, it creates the derivitization of natural resources that is the calling card of globalized tyranny. Cap and Trade programs were designed to monetize air usage. Energy derivatives were used by Enron to allow easier manipulation of electric and oil prices. Water privatization was designed to corporatize a free flowing resource and create artificial scarcity. And now, World Bank wants to apply the same con game to one of the last economic commons; the ocean. The only beneficiaries in these schemes have always been large conglomerates, along with a smattering of stock investors who revel in the idea of erecting entire markets out of absolutely imaginary products with no real inherent value.
As with water privatization, the flood of massive bureaucracy in the guise of corporate management over oceanic usage will only create a mind boggling maze of red tape that will thwart all business interests except the largest. This is entirely deliberate.
Not only does it cause prices to rise to levels beyond what the impoverished (a global majority) can pay for a commodity, but it also squeezes out small business owners whose only advantage was the level playing field of an open resource. On the oceans of World Bank, a small fishing outfit will have no chance to make a living, because the permit process, new taxes, and new legal requirements, will empty their bank accounts before they ever get started, leaving only the big boys to ravage the seas at will, and legally, because they will have paid the exorbitant fees for the right to do so.
There is also a very good reason why Zoellick at the World Oceans Summit mentioned fishery issues so often, and why he is so keen on the idea of international regulations on their operations.
On dry land, companies like Monsanto are the slavemasters of food supply. The centralization of national farming infrastructures has given these companies unrivaled power over how we eat, and thus, how most of the populace survives. However, the ocean, an unparalleled food source, is still a decentralized region of production. Anyone can fish it, almost anywhere, without having to ask permission from the government, or a private company. This obviously does not sit well with World Bank, not because they fear overfishing, but because it provides a sovereign means of survival, allowing people to remain independent from the globalist system.
By utterly corporatizing resources that have through all of time been freely accessible to every human being, World Bank and the elitists they serve hope to build a framework for total centralization of all means of production and sustenance on Earth. Does this sound like mad scientist stuff? Absolutely. Does that make it any less factual or terrifying? Not a chance.
The real cleverness in using the environmental aspect of ocean management lay in the reality that there is, indeed, severe damage being done to many parts of the ocean’s ecosystems. Cap and trade is based on the lie of anthropomorphic global warming and highly misrepresented data on the effects of CO2 (just ask any global warming enthusiast why NASA and the CRU have never released the source data for their experiments to prove that their claims are true). The monetization of the air we breathe can be defeated in the minds of the general public for this reason. But with the oceans, legitimate pollution is occurring. This gives World Bank a much more tangible argument for supranational regulation in the name of environmentalism. What people must realize, though, is that this regulation will have no effect on the deterioration of the seas. In fact, it will likely hasten their destruction.
The international nature of how the oceans are utilized also opens the globalization door to World Bank. When a supranational entity is given de facto governance over a region that is used by all sovereign countries, it gives that entity the ability to interfere in the decision making processes of those nations without any input or respect to the people who live within them. For Americans, this means being susceptible to laws created by men far outside our borders who we cannot vote in, vote out, or chase down with our pitchforks when the voting is rigged. This has always been the goal of globalists; to create the most dominant and unaccountable ruling body in history, while at the same time convincing the masses that we cannot live without it.
At bottom, centralization is the foundation for the collectivist fallacy; that there is a “greater good” that must be maintained by the establishment. This process makes the establishment indispensable in the minds of the public. The elites in power today have chosen environmental dogma as their version of the “greater good”, because the “end of the world as we know” can be used to rationalize almost any brand of despotic behavior, from food and water rationing as a method for social conditioning, to population control or even depletion in the name of “saving the planet”. Always beware the true motivations of any governing institution that seeks to assert itself as the purveyor of all that is “best” for the people. Such groups are rarely if ever what they seem…
You can contact Brandon Smith at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trying to figure out exactly how any Money achieves and holds its value is very difficult. In all but the most simple systems which are little more than Barter, you quickly develop a level of complexity that is confounding, mainly because it is always so self-referential. In this exercise, I’m going to try to elucidate the process used over the centuries to not just Create Money, which is primary, but also to Control Money once created. I have some basic ideas here, but I have no idea how this post will come out in the end. It’s a very difficult problem.
Starting Point: You can’t have Money without Surplus in Basic Needs, but neither is Surplus by itself sufficient. You also have to have control over at least One basic conduit of Wealth, which is in the Begining Food. Why is this so?
First look at a pre-Agricultural Hunter-Gatherer Society. Said society can be in Surplus, but they don’t need or use money, because each member of the society can take from the surplus as much as he or she needs. You may Barter things, but you do not need an intermediary of money to do that. Its a very simple system, but allows for virtually no Savings, and none are necessary as long as you always have and expect surplus. A small group of H-Gs in a large territory not competing with others are always in surplus. So no Money develops in such a society.
The Ag society though as soon as it develops REQUIRES money. First thing is, the Ag Society develops a Surplus even beyond that of the H-G society, so much so that the population begins to expand rapidly. The Ag system also works on a seasonal level where large amounts of Grain are collected up at harvest time and must be stored in Warehouses. Such intitial efforts are Communal, with a Tribe all working together on a Patch of land to farm it. To do so though, they must Claim Ownership over that land. This requires then the next level, a Military to protect and defend that land.
Its at this point you have the 3 most necessary elements involved for the beginning of a Monetary system. One is Ownership of the Land, at first Communal by the Tribe as a whole. Second is Storage of large quantities of Food in a Warehouse. 3rd is developing a Military group responsible for protecting both your land you grow on and the goods stored in the warehouse.
The Military component quckly becomes the most Dominant one, in the early stages led by the most powerful Warrior who all in the tribe respect and fear. This person become “King”. Call him Nimrod. The King then becomes the Symbol of the State, and all it “owns” and “produces” (really “controls” and “extracts”) belongs to him. The monetary system develops as a means for the King to distribute out surplus to his Loyal Subjects.
The money develops when the Counting begins in the Warehouse of Grain. Whatever is in there is represented in the Count by Credits, which can then be symbolized in a token. Only as many Tokens are produced as there is grain to cover them in redemption. Precious metal coinage works well for this in the beginning. All the precious metals the King has acquired by whatever means care coined up, and appropriately valued so that there are not more coins than Grian that can be redeemed. This is Hard Money in extremis. It has an absolute value measured in the Food it represents.
The King can now hand out the Tokens to his Military protectors and also pay the oversears of slaves or serfs who work the land and grow the food. These folks are not paid in coinage, they merely get a small portion of the food they produce for subsistence living.
Problems arise as the society grows. In the beginning, the surplus of food being produced exceeds the amount of precious metals available for coinage, so the food drops in price. A few things can happen here, one is that the King can stop paying out so much coinage to his Military and Overseer classes, raising the price of the food up again, allowing the King to keep more Precious metal in the treasury and more food in the warehouse. Everybody is still beign fed here, King has more in the Treasury, and besides that surplus in the grain warehouse grows. It keeps a pretty long while, but eventually will rot or simply become ridiculous to save any more of. Like putting up more than a few years of Preps, it gets ridiculous.
So you start to Trade the surplus with others who don’t produce so much food and expansion begins of the system. Peripheral areas pay in more Gold and Silver and also begin to produce other things besides food which the Money becomes useful for paying for.
At this point the system has become vastly more complex. The Tokens no longer represent an absolute amount of Grain in a warehouse, but rather the value of all Goods and Services being produced in this ever growing system. Bourses or Trading Markets develop which set relative values for everything being done in the society, which as it increases in size and velocity needs a rapidly increasing Money supply to handle. The Precious metal coinage does not increase at the same rate in most circumstances, so in order to have more “money” available, base metals are used to produce some coins, which pretty much can be produced at will. Money is getting softer during this period, but so long as Da Goobermint doesn’t go wild coining up the base metals, it doesn’t devalue while the system is expanding.
The trading system begins to undergo many stressors at this point. Regardless of whether there is some whether or plague related Famine or not, at times some folks in control of large swaths of land simply take them out of production, locally raising the cost of grain. This allows them to extract out more precious metals from the buyers, and this money goes into their Basement Safes. I’m sure you can see the analogue here with how Oil prices get manipulated by creating periodic “shortages”, even if there is plenty of Oil in the ground.
The “successful’ society utilizing Money has now reached the point where there is just a ton of Surplus in the society, so much so that there isn’t a whole lot of need for Workers or paying people much coinage and most of the PMs are sequestered away inthe Basement Safes of a few Pigmen. At this point though, some folks cannot even get hold of the few base metal coins to buy any food, though there is plenty in the warehouse. The society needs no more Serfs, nor does it even need more Artisans and Toolmakers. Only a few of the most successful of these are necessary for the King and his Oligarchy, so these New Professions start to see Unemployment also, along with Serfs. The economy slows to a crawl, basically because it produced too much surplus too quickly, and then developed an overburden of a population with no remunerative work available.
Social Discontent rises here amongst the Poor, at which point it becomes necessary to “Give Away” the surplus to these folks or face a Revolution. Except soon as you do start “giving it away”, the Money loses further meaning. Why work as a Soldier and put your life onthe line for a few coins when Bread and Circuses are beign provided to the masses to keep them quiet and entertained? The Roman period of Bread & Circuses has the direct analogue of the Great Society program through to just recently.
Eventually, regardless of actual production or extraction ability of food outta da ground or Oil under da ground, production of both begins to fall because there is no money flowing around the market which will buy it. Now you really DO get your Revolts, which really do require you to start increasing the size of the Army and handing out money from the Treasury, until the Treasury is bankrupt of PMs. Now, there are Gold coins inthe hands of the Soldiers, but there is little being produced to buy with those Gold coins. At this point, you reach the end of the line for this iteration of a cycle, and not until the Wars and internal conflicts get resolved can you begin a rebuilding process to do the same thing over again.
The whole process here has occurred countless number of times since Nimrod, and for so long as there always was a real Surplus in the environment, the only thing that caused the famine and scarcity problem was the collapse of the monetary system.
This iteration is different than those were. The repeated expansions and collapses culminated with the discovery and exploitation of fossil fuel resource, which put the entire globe into such great Surplus that it rapidly expanded in population numbers consuming this last great resource base. Upon its collapse, what is left out there isn’t enough to expand on again after just the typical wars knocking down Biblical numbers of around 25% of the population.
The monetary system doesn’t really collapse from Scarcity normally, it collapses from too much Surplus and hoarding of currency. Periodically though due to overextension and resource depletion in specific locations along with the vicissitudes of Nature, real scarcity does rear its head, which causes a collapse from the opposite direction. In this case, money may be circulating in the economic system, but it is a shortage of goods rather than a shortage of money which produces the disruption. The end result isn’t much different since you still end up with a situation where extant money won’t buy goods, but the causative factors are different.
The Period we are working into now is a synergy of both problems, on the Global Scale. On the one hand, there is a consolidation of Money going on removing much of it from real circulation through the Banking System; while at the SAME time resources are depleting on a global level. As long as these two parameters move in tandem, you get a shrinkage, but not a collapse. You only get a collapse when on the gross level BOTH fail, and that has yet to occur. When it does occur though, its a lot worse than one or the other of the other types of collapse.
In this last iteration of the cycle, rather than Food in Warehouses serving as the underlying basis of Money, the Thermodynamic Energy of Fossil Fuels underpinned the money. This by extension through the Industrial Food Apparatus includes Food, but food is only part of the total production of the society. Over time, food becomes arbitraged out of value, since all it does is support “Useless Eaters”. Rather than produce more food, the monetary system serves to encourage the production of more Fuel, to perpetuate itself. Thus you get your Ethanol production for Carz reather than Corn for Peoples.
This is a Dynamic Shrinkage Model, basically serving to reduce population while at the same time conserving resource, which very well might be a planned methodology and could work assuming the circulating money and available energy resource decline in near parallel terms. The problem it suffers is one of instability all along the way. Because the monetary system serves as a proxy for value for many OTHER things besides just fossil fuel energy, malinvestment through the system can collapse the monetary system too fast to maintain a stable equilibrium with the collapsing energy supplies. Obvious example for this problem is the collapsing McMansion Market, but it extends into Carz, Factories and many other “Assets”. Unless those assets can be halted from complete collapse in value, the money supply can’t be shrunk at the steady rate necessary to pace out to energy supply shrinkage. You then run into the old problem of plenty of resource available relative to the population, but insufficeint working money to distribute said resource.
This of course is why we see the process occuring of the CBs pushing out Credit to keep the energy market from locking up completely. They are just trying to keep pace with the real shrinkage, but not issue so much credit as to render the currencies dependent on the credit markets to completely lose value either. Its a system under great stress here on a daily basis.
As long as linearity can be maintained between the energy markets and the money supply, the system can continue to function, albeit in ever smaller “boutique” economies all the time. The linearity gets disrupted either by a local implison of a given credit market or by a local disruption of Oil supply of a threshold level magnitude. Uncelar how large that disruption has to be on an absolute value level to reach the threshold, but one suspects that either a Blockade of the Straights of Hormuz on the Energy Level or the credit collapse of a country the size of say Italy would be sufficient here to disturb the equilibrium too much and send the relative economics into a tailspin.
Money and Oil are EQUIVALENTS in the current society, mainly as defined by the Dollar as the most popularly accepted Proxy for Oil. To keep the overall system running at any level, even a small Boutique level, a parity must be maintained between the currency and the available energy. To do that, a vast portion of the population has to be cut off from Credit to buy the Oil, but not so fast that the money loses its value or so fast as the Oil depletes in its availabilty at reasonable EROEI. its a Tightrope that has to be walked very carefully.
So far, our Illuminati Masters have walked the Wire very well. I do not discount the possibility they can walk the wire to the Other Side and maintain the equilibrium all the way through the spin down. This is POSSIBLE. IMHO though, it is Unlikely. Much like catching a Raindrop on a Knife Edge and controlling how the water splits up, the level of instability here is simply too great. One side or the other of the Energy-Money Equation will exceed controllable parameters, and then you get a Cascade Failure. Whe that occurs, all Bets are OFF. There is no maintaining a Core in such a situation, there IS no “core”.
I cannot say this one is “Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You.” I can only say to you IMHO that it IS Coming and will come inevitably, just as even the biggest Mountains inexorably are washed into the Sea. You must not despair here and think all is lost, with the outcomes Inevitable and Written in Stone. They are not. You just have to be patient and WAIT for the Failure of the Conduits, for when they do fail in earnest, it will be a different ballgame altogether. Fail they will. I GUARANTEE it.
Although Hydroponics has already been adopted in growing food crops in a massive way it is still under the radar in the public consciousness because of the main ‘Con’ associated with it. The potential of hydroponics presents a massive threat to the ‘status quo’ in today’s world. Our leaders who have created this status quo, and who benefit disproportionately from it, have used their control of the mass media to keep this method of food production hidden in the shadows.
A book by Lappe & Collins called, "Food First – Beyond the myth of scarcity." Amazon Link gives an excellent overview of what has been done and continues to be done today.
There are seven billion people on earth now. I originally thought that the primary reason for the recent human population explosion was that fossil fuels enabled a larger food supply and better medicine, and thus a higher population.
While the addition of fossil fuels is part of the story, after reading Craig Dilworth’s Too Smart for Our Own Good: The Ecological Predicament of Mankind, I realized that there might be another contributing factor. Animals of all types (presumably including humans) have instincts and learned behaviors that prevent population from rising without limit.
Dilworth talks about an experiment in which a few Norway rats were put into a cage of 1,000 square meters and provided plenty of food and water for 28 months. If they had produced as many offspring as theoretically possible, there would have been 50,000 of them at the end of experiment. If they had maxed out at the 0.2 m2 allowed for caged rates in laboratories, there would have been 5,000 of them. What actually happened is that the population stabilized at less than 200.
As I read about the mechanisms for keeping the population of most animals down, it struck me that there seem to be parallels in humans. Dilworth talks about many species being “territorial,” and how aggression among groups is one of the first approaches to keeping population down. When that fails (as with humans’ globalization), social power structures and hierarchies become more important. This seems to happen with humans also:
Paul Buchheit, from DePaul University, revealed, “From 1980 to 2006 the richest 1% of America tripled their after-tax percentage of our nation’s total income, while the bottom 90% have seen their share drop over 20%.” Robert Freeman added, “Between 2002 and 2006, it was even worse: an astounding three-quarters of all the economy’s growth was captured by the top 1%.”
This sounds exactly like the kind of hierarchical behavior observed in the animal kingdom when social species get stressed. If there is not enough to go around, resources that are available are concentrated in the hands of those at the top of the pyramid, marginalizing those at the bottom of the pyramid. If total resources are inadequate, population at the bottom of the pyramid is reduced, leaving those at the top untouched.
In this post, I discuss some of the issues raised by Dilworth and the parallels I see with humans. I also add a perspective of hope.
Craig Dilworth’s Theory: Too Smart for our Own Good
I won’t be able to do justice to all of the ideas in this fairly academic 500 page book, but let me try to explain some of Dilworth’s ideas.
Types of Species
Dilworth distinguishes between two types of species:
K-selected species: Species selected for Krowding tolerance. Their members are characterized by large size, slow growth and reproduction, few offspring with low mortality, parental care, relatively constant population size, and existence which is easily jeopardized by a new predation threat. Most mammals are K-selected, as are trees.
r-selected species: Characterized by small size, rapid growth and reproduction, short lives (less than 1 year), numerous offspring with high mortality, little or no parental care, and lack of territoriality, and populations characterized by exponential growth followed by crashes. Insects and annual plants are typical r-selected species.
With these definitions, humans are K-selected. Because humans are K-selected, they theoretically should have a stable population size.
Territoriality and other Mechanisms for Holding Population Down
In K-selected species, territoriality tends to hold down population size by restraining the number of breeding pairs. The territories chosen by instinct are large enough to ensure that populations do not grow to such a size that they undermine their own resource base. Thus, if territoriality is working properly, there is no problem with tragedy of the commons (excessive use of shared resources), because the territory selected by the male for his family group is large enough to feed the family, with much available food left over.
There are really two mechanisms at work in K-selected species: food availability and adequate territory. It really is Liebig’s Law of the Minimum that leads to adequate territory usually being the limiting factor for K-selected species. Liebig observed that if a crop needs several types of inputs (such as nitrogen fertilizer, phosphorus fertilizer, and potassium fertilizer), the crop yield would be determined by the scarcest resource, not by the total amount of resources. Thus, additional nitrogen fertilizer cannot substitute for some other type of fertilizer. In the case of K-selected species, such as primates, there are both food and territory requirements, but the limit on territory is usually reached first.
There are a number of mechanisms for keeping K-selected populations in balance with the rest of the ecological system. For example,
- Too high population tends to cause stress and leads to violence against neighboring groups. The winner gets more territory; the losers typically are killed.
- Infants may be killed, to keep the population in line with resources.
- Learned behaviors or instincts may limit when mating takes place.
- High population will tend to attract predators (germs, in the case of humans)
- If population is too high, hierarchical behavior may appear or increase. Because individuals who do not need resources get a disproportionate share of the total, there is less for those at the bottom of the hierarchy, helping to reduce population size more quickly than if resources are shared equally. Those at the top are spared.
With social animals, altruism becomes important, because the instinctual drives that keep the population in check must not be allowed to operate at too high a level within the family group. Therefore, within the home territory, social instincts tend to over-ride more basic sexual or survival instincts. Groups of the same species often share resources, look after young, and protect injured individuals.
In most instances, populations with these (and other) checks and balances will tend to remain in “dynamic equilibrium” with the rest of the ecosystem. One exception to this rule is in “pioneering” situations, when both food and territory increase, or when predators are removed. Human’s use of stored energy (both wood and fossil fuels) is in a way a type of pioneering behavior, because it allowed us to expand our food supply and eliminate predators.
Humans are also different from other species in that our intelligence has allowed us to substitute learning for at least part of instinctual behavior. This substitution of learning for instinct, together with the use of external energy, seems to have led to over-population.
There are currently 7 billion humans on earth; Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones in Atlas of World Population History estimate that human population would be expected to be in the 70,000 – 1,000,000 range, based on a comparison with gorilla and chimpanzee populations. Clearly human population now far exceeds its expected share of the ecological system, as one among many animal species.
My interpretation of Dilworth’s theory applied to humans
Primitive Societies. Dilworth indicates that internal population checks (including abortion, infanticide, and prolonged abstention from intercourse) were almost universal in primitive societies. If twins were born, often one was put to death. If a second child was born before a mother was able to take care of it, it would be put to death. These population checks were helpful, but did not keep the population level. At least part of the problem was that new territory and food sources kept being added, because of humans’ inventiveness. Humans began using fire about 125,000 years ago, and emigrated out of Africa and settled new lands about 90,000 years ago.
Religions. Religions have played a major role in encouraging altruism within their own groups, with teachings such as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Religions are also are a way of passing on traditions and building connectedness among members.
Modern religions have not done as well with population control, however. The command, “Be fruitful and multiply” is at counter-purposes with population control. When missionaries are sent to primitive groups who still practice infanticide, this has the effect of raising population. The practice of improving health care without providing free contraceptives and teaching about birth control also tends to raise population.
The “instinct” to fight those of other religions is helpful from a population control point of view, but most readers of this article wouldn’t find it an acceptable way to solve population problems. Unfortunately, if we were to try to parallel population control methods of animal species, death through wars with neighboring countries would need to become acceptable.
Hierarchical behavior. I mentioned that if population control doesn’t come by other means, hierarchical behavior may take over, to solve the problem. Hierarchical behavior was not known among hunter-gatherers, but once humans settled down and started accumulating property for agriculture, hierarchical behavior became more the norm.
Hierarchical behavior has increased recently. Immediate causes of the shift would include such causes as:
- Greater specialization as processes become more complex. Jobs that are at the top of the hierarchy pay very well.
- Globalization. Jobs at the bottom of the hierarchy may compete with foreign labor or workers in countries where wages are low.
- More debt. Debt tends to transfer interest-related payments from those at the bottom of the hierarchy to individuals at the top of the hierarchy.
- Tax schemes. Modern schemes favor the wealthy and corporations.
Charles Murray recently wrote the book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. Murray explores the formation of classes that are different from those American has known in the past. The lower classes are losing many of the stabilizing influences they have had in the past–marriage; opportunity to attend schools with people of all classes; joining religious groups.
I might also note that economics, and the belief in economic growth as a savior for all, has become almost a new religion. If this “religion” is followed, there is little need for other belief systems. Economic influences are not new, however. Trade was started very early, even before the days of Abraham and Isaac in the Old Testament. This tended to break down barriers among groups, reducing the effect of territoriality.
Another source of belief systems is television shows. These seem to portray how family life operates and explain what is truly important (more stuff!).
All of these new influences conflict with our instinctual behaviors to stay with our family groups, and not live lives that deviate too far from what we have known in the past.
Hope for the Future
Dilworth doesn’t see much hope for getting out of our of current predicament well. He talks about the vicious circle principle. A particular lifestyle at some point ceases to provide enough food for a growing population, so we develop a new approach that is not really better–for example, farming instead of hunter-gathering, or applying chemicals for fertilizer instead of waiting for natural cycles to take their course. We end up with more people, but those people are not really better off, and we find ourselves further into overshoot.
I can think of a couple of possible mitigations for our apparently bleak future, or at least our response to it.
1. Higher Power Intervention.
If a person looks at how ecological systems work together, one cannot help but be impressed by how the whole system (except possibly for humans, which are out of synch) works together. Perhaps there is a Higher Power behind all of the religions of the world, who has devised the plan as a whole, and who has a continuing plan for humans. We cannot know this with certainty, but the hope can be helpful for some individuals.
2. Greater Flexibility and Focus on the Present.
I think of a letter I received from “Derek” who has spent considerable time in Kenya. I put up a letter from him on The Oil Drum in April 2009. He talks about a very different life there.
What I experience there [in Kenya] is a society that does pretty well with VERY little energy, all things considering. This wouldn’t be ‘pretty well’ by any standard of the Western world, though. But survival – and happiness! – are pretty much possible. Oddly, a first-time visitor would think the Masai live quite horribly, but they are very happy people and wouldn’t want to change a thing.
It’s the mindset that makes most Kenyans experience a happiness most Westerners would not consider possible given the realities, as they see and experience them.
In Kenya, we do use electricity (hydro / diesel), if we can. We have constant power cuts. But that’s not the only limit. In fact, the vast majority of us, even the so-called middle-class, build our lives around limits. Limits are the basis for every decision we make, business or otherwise. It is, you could say, a way of life that is happy when it is not done in, and not unhappy if things go wrong.
People there – including myself – would celebrate every day that was a good day. And a good day is one where we got by. I would say, for 95% of Kenyans, life there is very much focused on the hour, and hardly ever on the future.
One secret Derek points out is how this works out, when there is a great mishap, like a child dying.
. . . I have also been witness to a great many situations where people lost their children, cried for a week, and moved on, had new babies, weren’t depressed – nor impressed. This is strange to me too, but that is the way it is. People in Kenya have a different view of things.
We have been led to believe that we can control our futures by going to the “right” colleges and getting the “right” degrees and investing in the “right” investments. It looks like these approaches are not going to work any more. Perhaps we need to have the flexibility to try new (to us) more traditional approaches. Along with this, we need the ability to move on, when things aren’t working. If a child or spouse dies, we will somehow need to move on quickly.
Another piece of what needs to happen is that we need to find a way to get more connectedness and altruism back into society. This is part of what makes life in Kenya as positive an experience as Derek reports that it is. Religion has played a role in this in the past. It seems to be especially the marginalized groups of society that are losing this connectedness.
My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues – oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. The financial system is also likely to be affected.
Taking another Page from FDRs Playbook, Obama-sama is now promoting hiring Unemployed Vets to rebuild trails, roads and levees on Public land, a sort of Civilian Conservation Corps redux. He proposes Printing $1B to hire 20,000 of the estimated 160,000 Active duty and 95,000 in this Worthy pursuit.
This gets the Headline and lead paragraphs in the attached story, but the real MEAT here is not in the “CCC”, but in the “COPS” program. He wants $4B for the “Community Oriented Policing Services” program. If he gets his Wish and if you assume quardruple the numbers here, this would hire 80,000 more COPS Nationally in the first year. I feel SAFER already, don’t you?
Yes, what we really need are 80,000 COPS recently discharged from the Killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan dressed in full Riot Gear keeping the peace at the National Political Conventions next year. Municipalities are Fresh Out of Scratch to hire more Cops, so the Feds will GIVE them the money, and who wants to bet me on which cities will get the first grants here? The ones holding the Conventions, that’s who. LOL.
Let’s do a little Math here though. If you sprinkle $4B at 80K COPS, that would be $50K per COP, but actually quite a bit less due to the Admin costs of the program. You know, all the Fed Goobermint Apparatchiks necessary to administer the program. Minimum, this takes 20% off the top here from the get go. So maybe you can pay the new COPS an average starting salary around $40K. However, to keep them on the Payroll next year, you gotta allocate the same amount of money. If you want to hire next year’s crew of Retiring International Killers, you’ll now need to double next year’s allocation to $8B. The most this gets you is a one year pop depressing the UE number of returning Vets, coincidentally in an Election year.
You can of course see how the Police State is being Evolved Up here. You don’t have to take Active Soldiers and put them on the streets, you take the EX-Soldiers currently UE and give them jobs as COPS! 80,000 New ones is a nice Expansion of the Gestapo, especially if you Deploy them in the particular Big Shities you are expecting Trouble Coming.
With the regular multi-Billion expenditures on everything else here, $4B for new COPS next year is a Drop in the Bucket of course. This money would also actually recirculate some in the economy, as said COPS would be off UE and able to pay Rent/Mortgage etc. Inthe grand scheme of things though, 80K COPS distributed out nationwide is a Drop in the Bucket, since local Police forces are laying off more than that number each year already. All it does is keep these police forces at somewhat Steady State for a short while. Eventually, as the Municipalities start filing for Bankruptcy, Da Federal Goobermint in order just to MAINTAIN the current level of Police “Protection” will have to pick up the WHOLE TAB, which of course is far more than $4B.
Running a Police State is a VERY expensive Bizness, as the Soviets found out. For Da Feds to just maintain current levels of COPS nationally in the Big Shities is probably at least a $100B/yr commitment to start, and will grow substantially as there is more Civil Unrest. helicopter Ben of course can Print at Will to fund this, but it’s sure not going to help the Deficit any. LOL.
I do expect that this little Intitiative will get passed by CONgress, since the Pols of course want to feel Safe eating their canapes at the Parties following the Convention activities of the day. The Police Presence at these Conventions is going to be absolutely OVERWHELMING. Every Park is going to have 1000 COPS assigned to it even BEFORE any OWSers show up. Wherever they do Congregate, the COPS will then redloy and SWARM around them. Every minor violation from Vagrancy to Littering will be STRICTLY enforced, Protesters will be Kettled and then shipped by Bus FAR out of town to Holding Pens to await Arraignment for a week or so due to “backlog” until the Pols are safely out of town.
Obviously, the only way this can be counteracted against would be through an equally overwhelming turnout of OWSers, in the Millions. It remains unclear as to whether OWS will be able to muster up such Numbers by then. I would guess it is probably unlikely though at this point, since not enough people are truly Starving yet as they are in places like Greece.
An alternative Plan which would require many fewer OWSers would be to use Vehicles, drive them into the towns and then clog up the whole roadway system. Buy $500 clunkers you can Abandon as necessary. However, Roadblocks may be established to keep this from occurring if TPTB get wind of such a Plan, which they certainly would since it would have to be organized up through the Social Networks.
Tactically speaking, as soon as you lose your Freedom of Assembly rights either explicitly or defacto, it becomes very difficult to engage in any kind of Mass Actions, even Non-Violent ones. This is going to be the major problem OWS will face in trying to get anything going at the Conventions.
—— Obama proposal for jobless vets includes effort resembling 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, February 2, 9:09 PM WASHINGTON — In an effort to cut the unemployment rate among veterans, the Obama administration is calling for a new conservation program that would put veterans to work rebuilding trails, roads and levees on public lands.
The administration also will seek more grant money for programs that allow local communities to hire more police officers and firefighters.
.The efforts are particularly geared to those veterans who served after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a group experiencing an unemployment rate of 13.1 percent versus 8.1 percent for non-veterans.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Civilian Conservation Corps that operated during the 1930s could be viewed as a model for what the administration will try to accomplish through its “Veterans Jobs Corps.” He said that the administration will propose spending $1 billion that would be used to put an estimated 20,000 veterans to work restoring habitat and eradicating invasive species, among other activities.
“When one looks back at the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, we take great comfort that those who take on these kinds of activities will leave a lasting legacy for the United States,” Salazar said.
The backdrop of presidential politics is also playing a role in the Obama administration’s new efforts. Several states that will be heavily contested in November have a significant military presence. Veterans will be evaluating specific ways the next White House administration intends to help them.
Administration officials said the initiatives are focused on helping veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Communities that hire veterans to work as police and firefighters will be given preference in the grants competition. Obama will also seek to increase spending for the grants programs. He will propose an additional $4 billion for the Community Oriented Policing Services program, or COPS. He will propose an additional $1 billion for the firefighter grants.
The administration will also propose a training program designed to help veterans wanting to start their own small businesses.
With GOP lawmakers stressing the need to cut government spending, it remains to be seen how far the proposals will make it in a deeply divided Congress. Many conservatives have in the past voted to cut spending for the COPS program, while Obama is calling for a major expansion. Obama is expected to unveil his proposals Friday at an Arlington, Va., fire station that was one of the first to respond to the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Administration officials outlined the proposals in advance of his speech.
Congress also has been focusing on the problem of unemployment among veterans. A House subcommittee on Thursday examined the unemployment rate for those who serve in the National Guard or Reserves. Witnesses estimated that about 1 out of every 5 returning guardsmen is unemployed.
Theodore Daywalt, CEO and president of a jobs board called VetJobs, told lawmakers that veterans who totally separate from the military are for the most part finding work, even in today’s economic environment.
“But if a veteran remains active in the National Guard, they are having a difficult time finding meaningful employment due to the constant call-ups and deployment schedules,” Daywalt said in his written testimony.
Daywalt said some employers have become wary of hiring someone who is called up for as many as 24 months at a time. And the difficulty in finding work has led some guardsmen to volunteer for second or third deployments. He also predicted that the unemployment problem for guardsmen and reservists could get worse as the military downsizes because it will result in more competition when openings do occur.
About 160,000 soldiers leave active duty annually, and some 95,000 members of the National Guard and Reserves join them. The Labor Department already operates some jobs programs to help soldiers with the transition to civilian life. For example, there are employee workshops that help vets with advice on job searches and labor market conditions. The department also provides grants to states that in turn hire workers to conduct job training workshops and reach out to employers on behalf of vets.
Originally Published in the Reverse Engineering Group on January 25, 2012
With Da Fed being the most popular Punching Bag these days for all our monetary problems, its often postulated that if we simply eliminate it, all these problems would be eliminated. Nothing could be further from the truth of course. Under most scenarios you can think of, things will get quite a bit worse. Of course, they are going to get worse anyhow and Da Fed is an instrument of great Evil, so it must be done away with, but people do need to realize this won’t reap much in the way of short term benefits.
What Da Fed does, and in fact all CBs do is provide coordination and Central Planning in a large economic system utilizing Money. Any Bank can go ahead and print Bank Notes and get a money based economy going anywhere based on the Assets that bank holds in its “Reserve”. Those assets could be anything from Gold to Land to Manufacturing Plants to Oil, doesn’t matter what as long as those assets hold some perceived value in the economy. There must of course be a SURPLUS in the econmy of the most basic goods first though, because in the absence of such a surplus nothing else holds any value. IOW, once Food is in short supply, all the Gold in your basement safe won’t buy it.
In many prior posts I have gone over the principles of how money itself evolves, so its a good time here to look a bit further into how Central Banking evolved, and why it became particularly powerful in the Industrial Era.
Everyplace in everytime hasn’t always had a whole bunch of Precious Metals around to Coin Up and use for Money. The spot might have been plentiful in many other resources, well into Surplus of the basics, but little in the way of PMs around. You could take Africa as an example where Cowrie Shells were used for Money for quite some time, but a better example for our puposes is North America in the early days of Colonization.
England, France, Portugal and Spain themselves never seemed to have enough Gold around in those years, since they were always busy with wars against each other going back to the collapse of the Roman Empire. The coinage they did have was always necessary to pay soldiers, who generally would take no other form of Money since it didn’t generally hold value too well in a Wartime scenario. Besides the soldiers, there was the necessity of purchasing all the Consumables of a War, Guns, Ammo, Horses, Food for the Soldiers etc. Again, during a time of War, the folks in control of these resources would only part with them for payment in specie, not Sovereign Promises which would go bad if the side you provided the stuff to lost the war. Of course, “Democracy” eventually changed this dynamic some, which I will explain as we go along here.
So anyhow, the Colonial powers tended to hoard any PMs they got hold of, and rather than pay for raw materials in specie to their dependent colonies, they basically just got Credits on the Balance Sheet of the East India Company. e.g., if you delivered a certain amount of Lumber for instance to the docks, you had Credit with which to buy more Crosscut Saws and so forth coming back the other way, thus expanding your Lumber Bizness. However, no Gold is showing up in your economy this way to use to pay the Lumberjacks, so what do you do here? Answer, the Lumber Company starts printing its own notes, which you then can use to buy your own Crosscut Saw in the Company Store, along with other nicely produced Goods from Europe also, like Cloth produced on Industrial Looms.
In fact any Gold or Silver that does turn up circulating in the economy gets sucked OUT of the economy because the King over In Europe will only accept as Tax Payment what you manage to squeeze out here from immigrants who arrived with a few Pieces of Eight or Louis D’Ors in their pockets.
Recent immigrants to the FSofA not being quite the money DOPES people are today realized they could set up their own Banking houses and systems, get some internal trade going and pretty much avoid Taxation by the King on this. So laws are passed as to what is allowed to be used as Legal Tender which makes local trade even more difficult, and Colonists and Pigmen alike are very unhappy with the situation. Eventually they Revolt and start up a New Country, mainly so they can control their own commerce, not get taxed to beat the band and yes, create their own Money also.
The Founding Fathers, the Aristocracy of the New country are well aware of Monetary issues, so they make some laws on Coinage rules and invest in CONgress the power to coin money, but this doesn’t stope Banksters from creating Notes and there still is a remarkable dearth of available PMs to coin up here during this period In fact I am pretty sure at the end of the Revolutionary War the new Nation started out in debt to the French and probably Kraut banksters as well.
So now in the early days of the FSofA you have a very chaotic system of different Banksters creating Notes for local commerce, a few PMs floating around, and very POWERFUL Banking interests from the Old Country who want to gain hegemony over the system. They eventually get Alexander Hamilton to set up the First Bank of the US, which in due course Fails of course screwing numerous people. More chaos ensues. Then the Second Bank of the FSofA gets chartered and things go OK until the late 1840s or so, when there are yet more Banking problems going on over in Europe. Andy Jackson “kills” the 2nd Bank of the FSofA, and now we move into the “Free Banking” period which lasts all the way up until Da Fed is chartered in 1913.
Now, while Pollyanna Free Market Economic History buffs look at this period as one of great Growth and Freedom, what it really allowed for was a massive grab of resources by the most powerful Banking Houses over in Europe, and besides that was a fundamental cause of the Civil War. During the period, the big FSofA Banking interests consolidated under the Robber Barons, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan and Mellon. These folks got mega-rich on the backs of Chinese and Irish they imported over here to build the Railroads, who while they were better off than they were in their home countries in those years were certainly not living high on the hog here.
The period also is one in which Crime flourished throughout the land, it was the heyday of the Gunslingers of the Old West of course. These folks though were petty thieves compared to the thievery the US Calvary was engaged in as it cleared the land of Natives and Colonists alike to get rights of way for the Railroads and gain the Mineral Rights for Oil and Coal containing land.
For J6P of those years, if he was fortunate out living in a Little House on the Prairie and not in the direct path of the Railroad or sitting on top of an Oil field, he probably did OK most of the time without much money living close to a subsitence lifestyle. The various Financial Panics through the years probably didn’t affect him all that much, although there were certainly “Hard Times”, where more than the average number of boys left the Farm and took up Gunslinging and Bank Robbery as a means of making a living. Jed Clampett not withstanding, anytime some Rube did happen to be living on top of an Oil Field, he was quickly snookered out of it and if he didn’t sell out his mineral rights to Standard Oil he bought instead a Ticket to the Great Beyond.
So now you have this Great Nation of the FSofA in the post Civil War years, the Railroads expanding their tentacles across the once pristine landscape and Factory towns popping up like Buboes across the Northeast and around the Great Lakes. Is there any “National Money” really floating around here though? Not really, the Railroads are all paying the Chinese and Irish in their own Scrip and so are all the Factory Towns. Lincoln did issue “Greenbacks” and there are “Dollars” floating around in the larger economies, but even besides the systemic financial Panics of the period you get many individual bank and company failures along the way also. The number of times J6P working in some Factory town got hosed when the Factory closed up and he was left holding a bunch of worthless Company Scrip to buy goods at the now Outta Biz commpany store is incalculable.
So in this New World where J6P is dependent on Jobs in Industry, he WANTS a Single Currency good anywhere in the Nation which he can Save if he is a penurious and industrious sort of fellow, which when his Job in the Company Store goes south he can still use to buy stuff at some other store in some other town, where hopefully he can find a new job also paying this Dependable Currency of the Dollar.
Into this vaccuum in 1913 step our friends the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Morgans and Mellons to establish Da Fed after secret meetings on Jekyll Island. The agreement amongst them is to Charter a new Central Bank which will issue the Currency they ALL will use in their Company Stores, and which Da Goobermint will have to Borrow from THEM if it wants to buy anything. Since they now Own most of what is worth owning by this time and all other New Biznesses are much smaller than they are, these new biznesses ALSO must use this money rather than issuing their own Company Scrip. So, even if not directly Owned by JP Morgan, Mom & Pop Biz is indirectly owned by him because in order to use this Money, they are paying a 3% Tax on it all the time. This is done on an aggregate level to keep the system rolling and is partially recycled back into Da Goobermint, but even just 1% of the entire Production of the country is constantly being fed into the hands of the few people who hold the stock and control over Da Federal Reserve, the Central Bank in control of the creation of Currency. How much they will create at any given time and how it gets lent out all passes through the Primary Dealers, who then determine how much will be Invested into various types of Stocks and Bonds being issued out. So the economy is essentially Centrally Planned by the owners of these Banks and Corporations, and they build out the economy for their own greatest benefit. Tha greatest benefit comes in the Monopolization of core Industries producing, well, EVERYTHING. Food production especially becomes consolidated to the point where it almost becomes impossible to grow your own food these days.
Now, why, oh why did CONgress and Treasury not simply continue the printing of Greenbacks and keep Money Production “In House” as the province of the Public, as opposed to a few powerful Banking Houses? There are numerous reasons for this, though the biggest one is simply general Ignorance of how money works by people who are Elected out of the general population, and the ones who are not Ignorant are already Corrupt and easily bought by Monied interests.
The composition of the House and Senate in 1913 was little different than it is today, you have some Populist types elected from the Hoi Polloi who are usually Rubes, and then some (and more all the time of course) Rich folks who buy their way into office. You know, Michale Bloomberg, Mitt Romney et al. The Rubes are replaceable Idiots, and they gotta raise money to get reelected and not get Assassinated on the pages of the Corporate Owned Newspaper, and the Monied interests are interested in making sure they stay RICH. So in 1913, when the crew from Jekyll Island presents this “Federal Reserve” Plan, its pretty easy to get all the Votes necessary in CONgress to approve it, and POOF, here in the FSofA Central Banking is BORN AGAIN, with yes of course the very same folks running this system as were running it over in Europe going back to time immemorial here. Postulate among more than a few people here being that those folks are actually the Elders of Zion, running the whole system since it began even predating the Roman Empire and predating Babylon also. In the broadest sense this just about has to be true, what isn’t real clear is how well particular family lines held up through so many millenia, but the overall banking system can be connected up quite well going back through the Medici and the Catholic Church, then predating that through Roman Banking connections to Egypt and then from there predating in Egypts Banking connecitons to Persia and the Mesopotamian Empire.
The insufficient supply of PMs I mentioned early on here was resolved through the combination of the Bond Market and Parliamentary “Democracy”. While in the Early days Merchants would only take from a King his Gold in payment for the various goods and services he needed to Make War, the invention of a Democracy made Debts which a Nation State took on to make War last indefinitely long. If a King took on a debt, when the King dies, the debt dies with him. When a Nation through its “Representative Goobermint” takes on a Debt, it lasts essentially forever, unless and until the entire Goobermint comes crashing down in a Revolution, and even then once a New Goobermint is established, in order to get back into the Good Graces of the Money Lenders, in the Name of the People the New Goobermint has to accept at least part of the responsibility to pay back old debts incurred by the last Goobermint. With the establishment of such “Popular Goobermints”, Bonds became BETTER than Gold, and so in the years since the Bond Market of Sovereign Debt has been the big driver for Money Creation. If Sovereigns created Debt FREE money and directly issued Currency, there would BE no Bond Market, and no way for private Merchants to sieve money from the population. So it never evolved that way, anytime it started it got squashed out by those running an already functioning monetary system.
This leads us finally to today, where after lo all these many years the Chickens come Home to Roost, and the Sovereign Bond Market is in catastrophic failure mode. Debt has been heaped on Debt, Pyramided and Rehypothecated up many times over here. “Good as Gold” (better actually) Sovereign Debt is used as Collateral to borrow against not once, but many times over on the asumption of course all the bad bets won’t go bad at the same time, forcing Margin Calls from all corners. Soon as any one of these goes bad though, all the people owning rehypothecated debt get nervous and call in their loans. So, if you used Greek Sovereign “good as gold” Bonds upon which to borrow money several times over to buy a variety of other assets, soon as the Greek Bonds go bad, every Lender who loaned you some money based on those Greek Bonds sends in the Repo Man.
It would be bad enough if it was JUST the Greek Sovereign Bonds here, but the fact is of course it is ALL of them. Pretty much every Sovereign State on earth INCLUDING the Chinese and Germans has borrowed against the future, based on the idea of Perpetual Growth of their economies, which as we know cannot possibly happen in a world of finite resources. Besides that, all the Debt even if not denominated in the Dominant Fiat denomination of Dollars is integrally connected through the Bond Market, so when that collapses all the Fiat does also of whatever denomination no matter who is printing it.
There is sufficient separation here between economies that Euros, Yen, Dollars, Francs etc can all be printed at various different rates which produces varying rates of inflation and deflation in these economies, but its really impossible for anyone of them to truly “Monetize the Debt”. The Debt is actually many times the amount of currency in existence resultant from fractional banking and rehypothecation. Helicopter Ben can print a $1T or two a year maybe, but actual dollar Denominated Debt floating around out there is in the $100s of Ts and maybe Quadrillions. Try to make good on that through monetization, the world is swimming in Dollar Bills a mile thick covering the entire globe right up to Alaska. OK, I’m guessing here, but its a lot of paper anyhow.LOL. So, we come right back around to the reality that most of this debt is irredeemable and simply will be flushed down the toilet, but that debt represents MOST of the Wealth of the top .01% of the World. Allow the Greeks to declare BK and wash their debt, the Irish will want that too. So will the Italians. So the Bond Holders don’t want to wash ANYBODY’s debt out here. They will have to of course, because that which cannot be paid will not be, but they keep stringing it out here pressing austerity down and squeezing out every last drop possible, and the populations mostly accept it because economic Collapse and total failure of the monetary system is WORSE than austerity. At least until the austerity is SOOO tight you just can’t live anymore anyhow and and its worse than Death to keep trying to live under it. When more than a certain percentage of the population reaches that point, then you get your Revolutions. I’ll ballpark that at around 25%, but that is not a 25% figure of Unemployment. Its a 25% figure of people with ZERO resources who can’t even get Bennies like transfer payments and SNAP Cards. We are still well under that here in the FSofA of course.
Nevertheless, as the Cascade proceeds along here, as first the Greeks go Down and then the Italians, the collapsing debt will reverberate through the Banking system, eventually collapsing all the Fiat, as the Bond Market becomes irretrievably broken. At this point, Money on the International level ceases to function. this wil be very disruptive obviously to political stability everywhere, and substituting Gold just won’t work well or for too long even if tried. As I see it, the only thing which might briefly work in stages is doing some Credit Money creation a la Ellen Brown, but this only possibly works to salvage some commerce for a while locally if people still accept this money. In order to meet the needs of so many people, Da Goobermint would have the tendency to issue far too much of it and it would hyperinflate. It also would have only one real source of distribution, that would be from Da Goobermint. So all Jobs would be Goobermint Jobs. Essentially, its the Soviet Model and it just has tons of problems associated with it, the most apparent of which is a high level of corruption. Let’s face it, if you turned CONgress into the Politburo and gave them the monopoly over issuing money and dishing it out, they would just be the same type of Power Brokers that the TBTF Banks are now. However, as was the case with the Soviets, it could stave off a total Mad Max outcome for a while if undertaken with some degree of success, and would seem to be a likely outcome in the near term.
The greater problem than Goobermint stepping in here to retake Money Creation from the hands of the Illuminati is that the collapse will make apparent the real lack of resources necessary to support 7B people on the planet. Not that such resources don’t currently exist in aggregate, they still do. Problem is the new money created won’t function Cross Border in international trade. Disparate Credit Money issued by varying goobermints is like Scrip issued by different Companies, it doesn’t buy anything at another company store unless there is agreed on valuations for the notes. When the Dollar collapses, all these agreed on valuations go out the window here, and it would be very chaotic, to say the least.
Still, it holds the system together a while longer if it gets implemented successfully in some locales by some Goobermints. The issue here is though that the international trade in Oil and food would be so disrupted by this that many areas that are not self sufficient would suffer extreme deprivation, aka a good portion of the population would Starve to Death. This has blowback in terms of conflict at the borders of all these places, as people on one side of a border currently starving attempt to get to the other side where people are not doing too great, but not yet starving. So you get lots of local cross border wars, along with internal Mad Max issues.
So, as you can see here, bad as the Central Banking paradigm is, once it collapses you get many more and worse problems which people seek to avoid here. Can’t be avoided forever, but nobody wants it to be TODAY, in My Little Town. The fact it will inevitably end up with so many people off the cliff and such a major population reduction makes it impossible to say what will come after this in the end. It could be enslavement of the remaining population by a few; it could be a balkanization with many smaller self sustaining populations on an Ag level, it could be a vast reduction to Primitivism in the Hunter-Gatherer paradigm, or it could be an Extinction Level Event. We won’t know the answer to this in our lifetimes, though we may see the beginnings of it to have a better idea of which way it will go here. What is definitely true though is that when the Central bank model fails and the Dollar goes the way of the Dinosaur, the changes will begin in earnest. Root for the End of Da Fed if you wish to, I certainly do. Realize however that the end of Da Fed is no solution to our problems, but rather will only bring to the surface many deeper ones embedded in the monetary sytem.
The End of Da Fed is not the End of our problems. It is not even the Beginning of the End. It is just the End of the Beginning.
Published in the Reverse Engineering Yahoo Group on February 19, 2012
One of the most important aspects of the current Economic Spin Down only recently getting that much attention is the crashing Demand for Gas, accelerating quickly in Eurotrashland but also evident here in the FSofA. This is the result of a Feedback Loop between contracting energy supplies and contracting credit.
What most people, and in fact even most Ph.D. Economistas fail to grasp here is that since the Age of Oil began in the Standard Oil years with John D. Rockefeller, all Credit Issuance has been used primarily to Buy Oil. Credit expanded as the Oil Resource base expanded in its availability; as long as more Oil was always coming online you could always keep expanding the Credit with which to buy it. It is no coinkidink of course that the same folks involved in Monopolizing Oil resource are also the ones who Monopolize Credit creation. Money is just a Proxy for Oil, and to have any value whatsoever in the Industrial Society, Money must BUY Oil.
It becomes more apparent by the day that the Greeks are going to be cut off from Credit and left to Twist in the Wind. They can create a new Drachma and start issuing their own credit, but until it gets valued in some way against the Dollar, it can’t buy any Oil at all. Greek isn’t self sufficient in anything, certainly not Oil, but not even in Food.
The huge FEAR amongst the Hyperinflationistas like Speedy Gonzalo and John Williams of Shadow Stats is Dollars will be created AND distributed out at such levels that the price of Oil and everything else will EXPLODE. What they do not seem to NOTICE here is the fact that DESPITE the appearance that Helicopter Ben and Super Mario Dragon over at the ECB are willy nilly increasing Credit availability to their member Banks, the chain pretty much stops there. Said Banks aren’t issuing out more credit for Biznesses to start employing people or J6P to buy Carz, McMansions and GAS. The $Trillions being issued here currently buy Banksters at the top plenty of Coke and $5000/night Hookers, but besides that Boutique Economy they aren’t Trickling Down like Piss to J6P to buy Gas.
The fact an entire NATION like Greece is about to be cut off from Credit should give you a CLUE here about how this scenario is playing out. The Banksters who run the monetary system AND who “own” the Oil are cutting off credit availability to buy said Oil. That isn’t Hyperinflationary, it is Hyper-DEFLATIONARY. However, by cutting off vast swaths of humanity from access to Credit and thus access to Oil, smaller Boutique Economies can continue to exist here, for a while.
When (not if) the Greeks issue their new Drachmas, they may be “competitively devalued” to 50% of the current buying power of the Euro of Dollar, but of course that can’t last long and Drachmas will Hyperinflate. To buy Oil with the Drachma at 50% of Dollar valuation, the Greeks will issue twice as many Drachmas, after which the Drachma gets devalued by 50% again, until it takes truckloads of Drachmas to buy any Oil.
So the question remains regarding the Dollar ITSELF, when will that start to Hyperinflate? Only when the Dollar ceases to Buy Oil, just like Drachmas. As long as the Banksters keep withdrawing Credit availibility in Dollars to end Konsumers of Oil though, you cannot really get a hyperinflation of the Dollar. You just get a squeezing where more and more people do not have access to Dollars, and so the market shrinks.
If the overall access to Dollars as Proxy for Oil falls fast enough at the Konsumption end, then what remains of the Cheap Oil can be made to last a long time of course. The problem here is that decreasing access to Credit to buy Oil in Dollar denominated debt means more and more people fall off the Cliff, and more entire NATIONS like Greece get left to twist in the wind with no access to Oil. This means of course increasing Violence and Terrorism as each Nation cut off produces more people with Nothing Left to Lose here.
Inside the FSofA, the Big Ass Military will STEAL Oil to keep the system running if Oil Producing Nations won’t sell it for Dollars, and they all know that. Since nobody wants to invite in the Death from Above if they don’t HAVE to, they’ll continue to fork over the Oil for Dollars, which unlike their own Home Grown Credit Currency will still actually BUY something. Problem for them being that they have gradually decreasing surplus of Oil to sell into a gradually shrinking market for such Oil, so they will suffer the problem that their Oil revenues decrease in dollar terms. This already has occurred, which is why you got the Arab Spring of course. Like Greece, the Arabs who sit on top of the Oil are also at the Mercy of those issuing the credit to buy the Oil, because if they do not issue out enough of it for people to Konsume the Oil, they cannot sell enough of it at a high enough price to support their own populations!
Overall, this represents a Triage situation where more and more Konsumers of Oil are cut off from Oil Konsumption. In some places of the World like Greece where they are being rapidly cut off from credit and are in no way self-sufficient without it, they will be hurting here very hard and very fast. Fast Crash for the Greeks here.
In other places like the FSofA and Germany, the crash is slower. Slowed mainly by the fact that other Konsumers of Oil are being forced off the Credit bandwagon FIRST here. However, the decreasing amount of trade and decreasing number of available Jobs that will pay any Dollars or Euros or D-Marks means that internally even each of these center countries will suffer from increasing political discontent. They too will in due time have the same problems with internal violence that currently is being experienced by the Fast Crash countries.
The fact the Crash is going Slower here, and in Germany, Canada, Australia and a few other nations considered better “Credit Risks” by the Banksters does give the Doomer here more TIME than the Greeks have to readjust and get off the Dollar economy and the Jones for Oil, but not all that much more time. It is also quite unclear how ANY of these societies in aggregate can get off the Oil Jones fast enough that they can avoid the Mad Max scenarios concommitant with energy deprivation, particularly in the Big Shities. Also obvious is that the Political Leadership does not even want to recognize this problem, because as Upton Sinclair wrote “”It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
On the Individual Level here however, you can be greatful first for the fact if you live inside one of the currently “ringfenced” economies that the Crash is going slower and you have a bit more time to adjust than the Greeks do. You can also be Greatful for the fact that inside places like Canada, Australia, and even the FSofA there are still some places to run to with lower populations that at least have the possibility for self-sufficiency in the absence of Oil or the Credit necessary to buy it. In the long term, you MUST get to such a neighborhood before TSHTF completely. There is no way whatsoever the Big Shities will be anything more than massive Concentration Camps once TSHTF. If you cannot get out NOW, have your Bugout Machine and your Bugout Plans READY, and have the routes to your destination Bugout Location well planned for roadblocks and other impediments to making the Final Bugout. Try not to wait too long and wait until the very last minute. When the Window shuts, it will shut FOREVER on you. I do know however that many of you cannot GTFO of Dodge right now, for many reasons. All of you can make a Plan for the Bugout though, even if that just means a Backpack with some trail food and a few tools to make a go of it out in the Wilderness. You’ll probably die there, but at least you will die FREE. Do NOT stay inside the Big Shities. Do NOT take that offer from Da Goobermint of a Job building Windmills in Utah and the Amtrak Train Tickets they will hand you and your children to get there for free. The Destination of that train will not be Utah. It will be the Human Waste Reprocessing Facility in San Antonio.
Originally Posted on TBP by Reverse Engineer on Jan 6th, 2011
JimQ and I have been having a wee bit of a dispute regarding just how much Real Estate values are going to fall as we progress forward with the economic collapse. Like many Optimistic Pundits here on the net, he holds the belief that if Goobermint support was removed from the RE market and real Price Discovery was allowed, the market would experience perhaps another 20% drop before stabilizing, at which point prudent local savers and international investors would jump back in and buy up the properties in foreclosure. In Counterpoint to this view, along with a few other Collapse observers like Nicole Foss and Charles Hugh Smith, I consider a much larger drop to be likely, on the order of 80% down from the Peak Mania period prior to the initial 2008 crash. The reason for this is the parallel we are following with the timeline of the Great Depression, beginning actually prior to that with the Mania period of the 1920s. In this article, I will highlight some of the similarities and differences between your Grandfather’s Depression and this one, and why for the most part I expect it will be an order of magnitude worse in this go round, including the massive collapse of Real Estate values on the order of –80% or more.
Following at the end of this post is a Timeline of significant events and milestones from the period beginning in 1920 through to the 1940s. I will in the course of this article highlight a few of those numbers and events for comparative purposes and show why they are likely to be even worse this time around. Those numbers and events are presented here in [Brackets and Bolded.] For those of you unfamiliar with this Timeline, reviewing it prior to reading this post could be worthwhile.
Let’s begin with Real Estate prices which are the driving force in a deflationary depression, and provided the grist for the mill beginning this Point-Counterpoint Debate. The reason for this is that whether the economy is agrarian based or industrial based, during the mania period RE asset prices get inflated by the expanding credit based money in the economy. In the mostly agrarian economy prior to the 1920s, farmland rose in speculative value as the FSofA provided food for Europe recovering from WWI. However, with Europe mostly recovered by the mid 1920s, the amount of export food dropped and increasing productivity due to mechanization meant less ag land was necessary for food production. As the 1920s progressed, Ag Land lost 30%-40% of its value.
[* The value of farmland falls 30 to 40 percent between 1920 and 1929.]
Areas of our country which expanded rapidly with the McMansion Bubble here have experienced a similar decline already, in places like Las Vegas and Florida and California. Nationally, the average decline is less but a massive inventory of homes are held in shadow inventory which will further depress the market as it becomes necessary to liquidate this inventory.
As the Great Depression progressed onward, the early collapse in RE prices made many Banks insolvent, which then precipitated the Stock Market Crash of 1929. This is an analogue of the sub-prime collapse precipitating the October 2008 collapse of the current market. This creates another feedback loop with RE and commodity prices, and so in Granddad’s Depression by 1932 Farm Prices take a further nosedive losing another 53% in value.
[* Farm prices have fallen 53 percent since 1929.]
This reflects the period of the “Grapes of Wrath”, when for all intents and purposes, farmland was basically worthless and many J6P Family farmers lost their farms just for the Taxes owed on them.
We are not at this period yet in Today’s Depression. We are right now rhyming with around 1930, when Da Fed was artificially depressing interest rates and providing liquidity to the market.
[* By February, the Federal Reserve has cut the prime interest rate from 6 to 4 percent. Expands the money supply with a major purchase of U.S. securities.]
In the period directly following this (hasn’t happenned yet, but likely will for numerous reasons foreign and domestic), Da Fed finally does pull the liquidity from the market, as then Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon advocates for Debt Liquidation.
[*Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon announces that the Fed will stand by as the market works itself out: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate real estate… values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wreck from less-competent people.]
As we know now, letting the system fail and liquidating all the malinvestment of that era did not usher in a new era of Prosperity, in fact things got a whole lot worse after that, and remained so up until massive amounts of new Debt was issued leading into WWII.
We still haven’t even approached the real Crisis Year of 1933 when FDR started making some Socialist Reforms, and the Illuminati of the time attempted to stop the Wealth redistribution with a Military Coup d’Etat
[* Alarmed by Roosevelt’s plan to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, a group of millionaire businessmen, led by the Du Pont and J.P. Morgan empires, plans to overthrow Roosevelt with a military coup and install a fascist government. The businessmen try to recruit General Smedley Butler, promising him an army of 500,000, unlimited financial backing and generous media spin control. The plot is foiled when Butler reports it to Congress.]
A good question for Today’s Depression is whether 2-3 years from now, if an attempt like FDRs is made to do a Socialist Wealth redistribution, whether today’s Illuminati will fail in the effort as DuPont and Morgan did, and whether there is somebody with the kind of Integrity General Smedley Butler had to report it, and whether the CONgress Critters would stop such a Coup d’Etat or passively go along with it. If they don’t, our Timeline will diverge at this point and we will pursue a further deepening Fascist paradigm.
Despite the fact we have what already amounts to Depressionary numbers when you look at statistics like the U-6 UE, the increasing number of people on Food Stamps and the massive number of Foreclosures, for the most part unless you are currently living the nightmare, today’s Depression just doesn’t seem quite as bad as Granddad’s Depression, at least not from how you remember it from the Newsreels and Photos of the era.
Even on the international level, the rioting in Greece and the Strikes in France don’t seem to live up to the expectation you have when you look at those old newreels of 1930s era Nazi Rallies. We don’t have the Japanese invading China, we don’t have huge Hoovervilles on the Potomac like the Bonus Army with Vietnam Vets demanding their Bennies.
So how come? Is this Depression just not as bad as the last one? Have we figured out the secret for keeping everything looking good on the surface level while the monetary system disintegrates? Or are we just experiencing the Calm Before the Storm? The answer is both.
First, the worst pictures in your mind of Granddad’s Depression are of gaunt Hobos with the “Brother,Can you Spare a Dime” look on their faces. There are quite a few Bums out there in the Big Shitties these days of course, but at least for the moment the Bum shelter system has been keeping up with the problem. They get swept off the streets on those really cold nights, and though the shelter may be out of beds, they get a place on the floor. During Granddad’s Depression, such a shelter system for those who were on Skid Row wasn’t nearly as developed as it is today.
Even more important is the Hunger problem. In your Granddad’s Depression, the distribution of food to the starving came through Soup Kitchens, so you have the Photos of the lines outside the Kitchen and the sad faces of families sitting around a cafeteria style table eating whatever it was they got served up. Today, we issue SNAP cards which function just like your ATM Card at the checkout, and with the money Da Goobermint drops on the card each month, you can pretty much buy whatever you would like in the grocery store. Exception being anything from the Hot Food counter. I only know this because recently in the checkout line a SNAP card user directly in front of me did not know this, and couldn’t buy the Chinese Buffet special of the day he had scooped up.
In your Granddad’s Depression, you have pictures of the Dustbowl in your head, and the Joad family heading for CA in their rusty old Jalopy on Route 66. Today’s almost nobody lives on Farms on a statistical basis anymore, and if they do they aren’t heading for California. The Jalopies they own are still pretty nice looking cars they bought on Credit, which the Bank isn’t bothering to Repo because then they would have to admit the GMAC Auto Loan had gone south.
Similarly, instead of foreclosing on everybody and pushing them all into Hoovervilles, the McMansions themselves are turning into Hoovervilles. Foreclosures are indefinitely delayed, the residents stop paying the mortgage and squat on the housing until the power and water get turned off, and sometimes even after that. About the only thing that will drive them out now is when they finally run out of money to buy Gas, and become unable to drive to the Walmart 10 miles down the road to buy food with the SNAP card.
That hasn’t happened yet for the most part because in Today’s Depression, UE Bennies have been extended for 2 years. So really at the moment only the very first folks to start taking the hit in 2008 are completely out of Bennies, which will make it interesting to see how it progresses from here with these people. In Europe though, you pretty much can never fall off the UE Dole, there are no expiration dates on the Dole there. In your Granddad’s Depression, though there was some Goobermint Dole, it was very limited.
The existence of most of the social safety nets that have evolved since your Granddad’s depression are the primary reason that so far this one doesn’t LOOK as bad as the old one did in the pictures and the newsreels. Over in Europe, though the population is mighty unhappy over the Austerity measures and gradual evisceration of their Pension system, current pensioners are still getting their checks, and like here, across the Pond as of yet very few people are actually STARVING. That condition is reserved for the truly poor of the world who don’t live in ANY of these countries anymore. In the real 3rd World countries though as the price of a cup of rice or bag of flour goes up here, where there are no SNAP cards, these folks are on the verge of starvation level conditions, if they are not already there.
In your Granddad’s Depression, as the Jobs disappeared, so also disappeared the Food off the shelves. Farmers couldn’t make a profit on their food as the ability of the people to buy it disappeared. In today’s depression, food keeps moving off the shelves via the SNAP cards, and most Food Production comes not from Family Farms, but from Agribiz, who if they are losing money due to Margin Compression as their Input Prices go up have access to the ZIRP money Helicopter Ben issues out to all TBTF companies. While wholesale prices on the COMEX have recently EXPLODED in upward Volatility, at least my Grocery bill hasn’t changed much. Canned Napa Chili con Carne is still 99 cents a can, even a Ribeye Steak is still coming in at around $7 a pound. That IS around 18% up from as cheap as I could buy it before COMEX prices went up so fast in this cycle, but since food for me only represents about at most 20% of my budget, an increase like this doesn’t affect me much. It can affect very poor people much more of course, but then only if they buy Rib Eye steaks. They can of course substitute cheaper cuts of meat for quite some time, and then start eating Chicken.
Here finally is why at least to date in most of the 1st World countries, Today’s Depression hasn’t yet seen the kind of social dislocation of your Granddad’s Depression. By this stage of the game in the 1930s, Da Fed had quit on the idea of perpetually pushing new money into the system and Liquidation was Andrew Mellon’s Game. They couldn’t physically even GET money out to all the Failing Banks fast enough in those days to cover the Bank Runs. Today, to keep enough money in your local Branch Office of your Bank, all Helicopter Ben has to do is click the Free Money function button on his Laptop and direct enough to your bank so when you slide your ATM card through the checkout register and type in your PIN, the Digimoney still appears to be there. A bunch of Regulators may show up on the weekend to “close” your Bank, but by Monday morning its “owned” by a bigger bank in the neighborhood, and Da Goobermint is backstopping all the bad assets on their books. Its still BAU on Monday morning, although a few Branch offices might have closed and a few Tellers are now on the UE line.
As much as you might know that the perpetual money printing game cannot continue in perpetuity, for the time being the additional grease being pushed through the engine has kept the wheels of commerce moving for the last couple of years. Without this Funny Money, Da Goobermint wouldn’t be able to keep the UE Bennies flowing, they wouldn’t be able to keep the money flowing to the Military paying all those soldiers, and keeping people employed in the biznesses that supply the military with all the stuff they need to run a good War. Without the Funny Money, the Social Security checks would stop or at least be seriously cut in size. Worst of all, without the Funny Money, the Bankster Pigmen would not be taking home those Big Bonuses and the parties in the Hamptons would come to a grinding halt.
For anyone who has at least a passing knowledge of history and basic math is concerned watching all this, you know in your Gut that it cannot last in perpetuity. You can’t make Something from Nothing, so you wait for some portion of this vast machine to seize up, and for the ever greater quantities of debt money being issued to simply stop working. For most of us observing this, it already has gone on far longer than I think anyone thought possible. How much longer CAN it go on? Will Jacking Up the Deficit Ceiling by another $2T in March allow the game to be continued onward for another full year? My guess right now is that Yes it Can. Of course, given my track record on short term predictions, this probably means the Sky Will Fall this year. If RE predicts the Sky Will NOT Fall this year, we could be in big trouble. LOL.
In any event, whatever the cause will be of this perpetual motion machine seizing up is, right now it doesn’t look like it will happen first here on these shores. There are many indicators now that the Chinese economy is moving toward a Hyperinflationary endgame, resulting from years of exporting Deflation to the First World countries in the form of depressed labor costs. The systemic problems of the structure of the Euro distributed among states with vastly different economies and political structures are making the instabilities there far greater than they are here, where for the most part our Political system is owned lock stock and barrel by the TBTF Banks. So the Big Black Swan, when it does inevitably come in for a landing looks more likely to touch down first in China or Euroland than it does in the FSofA. Not that we will be far behind of course, because then the cascade failure of the Shadow Banking system will begin in earnest.
When it finally does occur of course, then Today’s Depression will make your Granddad’s Depression look like a Sunday Picnic. The various systems developed to maintain order and continuity in the First World countries will seize up. Social Security, SNAP Cards and funding the vast Military will become impossible. Trade will come to a grinding halt, and the lifeblood of our industrial civilization will be unavailable to buy at any price, in any currency including Gold.
The differences that exist now between your Granddad’s Depression and Today’s Depression are not that great really, and if you go down the list point by point some of the similarities are positively frightening of course. The most important thing to realize here is that in the current timeline, we are only at the very beginning stages, and as Debt Liquidation finally takes hold, all asset classes from Stocks, to Bonds to Real Estate are all destined for massive losses, likely exceeding the 80% loss in the value of Industrial Stocks by 1932.
[* Industrial stocks have lost 80 percent of their value since 1930.]
Let me leave you with this final thought. In your Grandfather’s Depression, both Farmland and Industrial Stocks took a MASSIVE hit in asset value. However, in both those cases, they still held SOME intrinsic value. Industry was in its infancy really, and in the 1930s there was plenty of easily accessible Oil right here in the FSofA to grow industry with, once of course more debt was issued to fight WWII. As far as Farmland goes, it always has SOME intrinsic value, even just for Subsistence Farming purposes. What Intrinsic Value do McMansions have?
They are totally dependent on the presence of cheap Oil to run, and themselves are not productive as Farmland. They depend on the ability of the Owner to go out and make a living in some other facet of the economy, and to use his SUV to get there. As the Jobs disappear and the Oil to run the Cars becomes more scarce and expensive, these White Elephants lose ALL the value they once held. Even if the price on one of them dropped down to 10% of its value, I would not buy one. The model is not sustainable. Good Ag Land should hold some value here, but even there you have to weigh the Tax Liabilities you will incur with Ownership against what you might be able to sell produce for to an increasingly impoverished general population. The collapse of Credit in a deflationary depression renders the monetary value of all assets questionable, and just Printing Money does not resolve that problem. It just drives a hyperinflationary spiral for a while before it collapses, but it collapses either way. The underlying problem here is a collapse of Asset Value that depends on the availability of Cheap Oil. As that disappears, all those assets are rendered WORTHLESS. Not even 20 cents on the Dollar really, that is just an intermediary level here. The model no longer works, because Peak Oil is REAL, and its effects are beginning here. Just BEGINNING friends, by no means are we yet into the real consequences. We will begin to see them though as the Real Estate market collapses entirely.
TIMELINE OF GENERAL EVENTS OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION
* During World War I, federal spending grows three times larger than tax collections. When the government cuts back spending to balance the budget in 1920, a severe recession results. However, the war economy invested heavily in the manufacturing sector, and the next decade will see an explosion of productivity… although only for certain sectors of the economy.
* An average of 600 banks fail each year.
* Agricultural, energy and coal mining sectors are continually depressed. Textiles, shoes, shipbuilding and railroads continually decline.
* The value of farmland falls 30 to 40 percent between 1920 and 1929.
* Organized labor declines throughout the decade. The United Mine Workers Union will see its membership fall from 500,000 in 1920 to 75,000 in 1928. The American Federation of Labor would fall from 5.1 million in 1920 to 3.4 million in 1929.
* “Technological unemployment” enters the nation’s vocabulary; as many as 200,000 workers a year are replaced by automatic or semi-automatic machinery.
* Over the decade, about 1,200 mergers will swallow up more than 6,000 previously independent companies; by 1929, only 200 corporations will control over half of all American industry.
* By the end of the decade, the bottom 80 percent of all income-earners will be removed from the tax rolls completely. Taxes on the rich will fall throughout the decade.
* By 1929, the richest 1 percent will own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 93 percent will have experienced a 4 percent drop in real disposable per-capita income between 1923 and 1929.
* The middle class comprises only 15 to 20 percent of all Americans.
* Individual worker productivity rises an astonishing 43 percent from 1919 to 1929. But the rewards are being funneled to the top: the number of people reporting half-million dollar incomes grows from 156 to 1,489 between 1920 and 1929, a phenomenal rise compared to other decades. But that is still less than 1 percent of all income-earners.
* The conservative Supreme Court strikes down federal child labor legislation.
* President Warren Harding dies in office; his administration was easily one of the most corrupt in American history. Calvin Coolidge, who is squeaky clean by comparison, becomes president. Coolidge is no less committed to laissez-faire and a non-interventionist government. He announces to the American people: “The business of America is business.”
* Supreme Court nullifies minimum wage for women in District of Columbia.
* The Ku Klux Klan reaches the height of its influence in America: by the end of the year it will claim 9 million members. It will decline drastically in 1925, however, after financial and moral scandals rock its leadership.
* The stock market begins its spectacular rise. Bears little relation to the rest of the economy.
* The top tax rate is lowered to 25 percent – the lowest top rate in the eight decades since World War I.
* Supreme Court rules that trade organizations do not violate anti-trust laws as long as some competition survives.
* The construction boom is over.
* Farmers’ share of the national income has dropped from 15 to 9 percent since 1920.
* Between May 1928 and September 1929, the average prices of stocks will rise 40 percent. Trading will mushroom from 2-3 million shares per day to over 5 million. The boom is largely artificial.
* Herbert Hoover becomes President. Hoover is a staunch individualist but not as committed to laissez-faire ideology as Coolidge.
* More than half of all Americans are living below a minimum subsistence level.
* Annual per-capita income is $750; for farm people, it is only $273.
* Backlog of business inventories grows three times larger than the year before. Public consumption markedly down.
* Freight carloads and manufacturing fall.
* Automobile sales decline by a third in the nine months before the crash.
* Construction down $2 billion since 1926.
* Recession begins in August, two months before the stock market crash. During this two month period, production will decline at an annual rate of 20 percent, wholesale prices at 7.5 percent, and personal income at 5 percent.
* Stock market crash begins October 24. Investors call October 29 “Black Tuesday.” Losses for the month will total $16 billion, an astronomical sum in those days.
* Congress passes Agricultural Marketing Act to support farmers until they can get back on their feet.
* By February, the Federal Reserve has cut the prime interest rate from 6 to 4 percent. Expands the money supply with a major purchase of U.S. securities. However, for the next year and a half, the Fed will add very little money to the shrinking economy. (At no time will it actually pull money out of the system.) Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon announces that the Fed will stand by as the market works itself out: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate real estate… values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wreck from less-competent people.” (More)
* The Smoot-Hawley Tariff passes on June 17. With imports forming only 6 percent of the GNP, the 40 percent tariffs work out to an effective tax of only 2.4 percent per citizen. Even this is compensated for by the fact that American businesses are no longer investing in Europe, but keeping their money stateside. The consensus of modern economists is that the tariff made only a minor contribution to the Great Depression in the U.S., but a major one in Europe. (More)
* The first bank panic occurs later this year; a public run on banks results in a wave of bankruptcies. Bank failures and deposit losses are responsible for the contracting money supply.
* Supreme Court rules that the monopoly U.S. Steel does not violate anti-trust laws as long as competition exists, no matter how negligible.
* Democrats gain in Congressional elections, but still do not have a majority.
* The GNP falls 9.4 percent from the year before. The unemployment rate climbs from 3.2 to 8.7 percent.
* No major legislation is passed addressing the Depression.
* A second banking panic occurs in the spring.
* The GNP falls another 8.5 percent; unemployment rises to 15.9 percent.
* This and the next year are the worst years of the Great Depression. For 1932, GNP falls a record 13.4 percent; unemployment rises to 23.6 percent.
* Industrial stocks have lost 80 percent of their value since 1930.
* 10,000 banks have failed since 1929, or 40 percent of the 1929 total.
* About $2 billion in deposits have been lost since 1929.
* Money supply has contracted 31 percent since 1929.
* GNP has also fallen 31 percent since 1929.
* Over 13 million Americans have lost their jobs since 1929.
* Capital growth investments have dropped from $16.2 billion to 1/3 of one billion since 1929.
* Farm prices have fallen 53 percent since 1929.
* International trade has fallen by two-thirds since 1929.
* The Fed makes its first major expansion of the money supply since February 1930.
* Congress creates the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. (More)
* Congress passes the Federal Home Loan Bank Act and the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932. (More)
* Top tax rate is raised from 25 to 63 percent.
* Popular opinion considers Hoover’s measures too little too late. Franklin Roosevelt easily defeats Hoover in the fall election. Democrats win control of Congress.
* At his Democratic presidential nomination, Roosevelt says: “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.”
* Roosevelt inaugurated; begins “First 100 Days” of intensive legislative activity. (More)
* A third banking panic occurs in March. Roosevelt declares a Bank Holiday; closes financial institutions to stop a run on banks.
* Alarmed by Roosevelt’s plan to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, a group of millionaire businessmen, led by the Du Pont and J.P. Morgan empires, plans to overthrow Roosevelt with a military coup and install a fascist government. The businessmen try to recruit General Smedley Butler, promising him an army of 500,000, unlimited financial backing and generous media spin control. The plot is foiled when Butler reports it to Congress. (More)
* Congress authorizes creation of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Farm Credit Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the National Recovery Administration, the Public Works Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority. (More)
* Congress passes the Emergency Banking Bill, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, the Farm Credit Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Truth-in-Securities Act. (More)
* U.S. goes off the gold standard.
* Roosevelt does much to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, but is obsessed with a balanced budget. He later rejects Keynes’ advice to begin heavy deficit spending.
* The free fall of the GNP is significantly slowed; it dips only 2.1 percent this year. Unemployment rises slightly, to 24.9 percent.
* Congress authorizes creation of the Federal Communications Commission, the National Mediation Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission. (More)
* Congress passes the Securities and Exchange Act and the Trade Agreement Act. (More)
* The economy turns around: GNP rises 7.7 percent, and unemployment falls to 21.7 percent. A long road to recovery begins.
* Sweden becomes the first nation to recover fully from the Great Depression. It has followed a policy of Keynesian deficit spending. (More)
* The Supreme Court declares the National Recovery Administration to be unconstitutional.
* Congress authorizes creation of the Works Progress Administration, the National Labor Relations Board and the Rural Electrification Administration. (More)
* Congress passes the Banking Act of 1935, the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Social Security Act. (More)
* Economic recovery continues: the GNP grows another 8.1 percent, and unemployment falls to 20.1 percent.
* The Supreme Court declares part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act to be unconstitutional.
* In response, Congress passes the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act. (More)
* Top tax rate raised to 79 percent.
* Economic recovery continues: GNP grows a record 14.1 percent; unemployment falls to 16.9 percent.
* Germany becomes the second nation to recover fully from the Great Depression, through heavy deficit spending in preparation for war.
* The Supreme Court declares the National Labor Relations Board to be unconstitutional.
* Roosevelt seeks to enlarge and therefore liberalize the Supreme Court. This attempt not only fails, but outrages the public.
* Economists attribute economic growth so far to heavy government spending that is somewhat deficit. Roosevelt, however, fears an unbalanced budget and cuts spending for 1937. That summer, the nation plunges into another recession. Despite this, the yearly GNP rises 5.0 percent, and unemployment falls to 14.3 percent.
* Congress passes the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 and the Fair Labor Standards Act. (More)
* No major New Deal legislation is passed after this date, due to Roosevelt’s weakened political power.
* The year-long recession makes itself felt: the GNP falls 4.5 percent, and unemployment rises to 19.0 percent.
* Britain becomes the third nation to recover as it begins deficit spending in preparation for war.
* GNP rises 7.9 percent; unemployment falls to 17.2 percent.
* The United States will begin emerging from the Depression as it borrows and spends $1 billion to build its armed forces. From 1939 to 1941, when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, U.S. manufacturing will have shot up a phenomenal 50 percent!
* The Depression is ending worldwide as nations prepare for the coming hostilities.
* World War II starts with Hitler’s invasion of Poland.
* Although the war is the largest tragedy in human history, the United States emerges as the world’s only economic superpower. Deficit spending has resulted in a national debt 123 percent the size of the GDP. By contrast, in 1994, the $4.7 trillion national debt will be only 70 percent of the GDP!
* The top tax rate is 91 percent. It will stay at least 88 percent until 1963, when it is lowered to 70 percent. During this time, America will experience the greatest economic boom it has ever known.