Summary: The reason for the failure of the American economy and the inability of the government to address it is because of the corruption and distortions inherent in a system where campaign contributions control the politicians and the policy, and less than one percent of the people control the vast majority of those campaign contributions and therefore the distribution of power.
Lawrence Lessig: Republic, Lost
"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
This is the critical issue that will be addressed, one way or the other, across the developed world. The timing is difficult to judge because of the many exogenous factors. It could come quickly, or be over a longer period of time of many years. But in any case the result will be a mixed revival of democracy and the rapidly increasing repression of totalitarianism, in various countries at various times, similar to what the world had seen in the 1930's.
"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”The roles that the various countries and their alliances will play are not yet clear. But what seems likely is that the next great leader or antichrist will once again appear draped in a flag, but this time will be wearing business attire instead of jackboots....
Referring to Financial Times editor Gillian Tett's December 22 column, "Ties Between Sovereigns and Banks Set to Deepen," to which the GATA Dispatch called your attention the other night with the headline "Citing 'Financial Repression,' FT's Gillian Tett Sounds Like Jim Rickards and Rob Kirby" http://www.gata.org/node/10828, a friend asks:
"Is the message here that governments have determined that the only way to stay in power is:
"To fund their excess through the banking system, at the expense of the private sector;Your secretary/treasurer replied: "Yes, that's how I construe the comments about 'financial repression' made by Rickards, Kirby, Tett, and others. It's a matter of government's making it impossible for investors to make money except in undertakings specifically approved and designed by the government itself, undertakings that get narrower and narrower as government intervention in markets grows more pervasive.
"And to go along with the gold price suppression scheme so that the only alternative to that system is not attractive either?
"If the Chinese, Indians, Japanese, and others buy into this power-preservation scheme, then it appears -- as you have long said -- there really is no true market left, and we're all screwed, no? This is not particularly what I want to believe, but if that's where we are, then I guess I need to deal with it."
"Economic circumstances and markets will keep trying to find ways to assert themselves, and the different interests of some countries may cause them to act against the 'financial repression' other countries try to impose, what Rickards describes in his new book, Currency Wars so there's no assurance about how things will end up, just assurance of less democracy and more totalitarianism. That's what GATA has been fighting all along."
"Financial repression" was perhaps first foreseen by the British economist Peter Warburton in his 2001 essay "The Debasement of World Currency: It Is Inflation, But Not as We Know It" http://www.gata.org/node/8303.
Warburton wrote: "What we see at present is a battle between the central banks and the collapse of the financial system fought on two fronts. On one front, the central banks preside over the creation of additional liquidity for the financial system in order to hold back the tide of debt defaults that would otherwise occur. On the other, they incite investment banks and other willing parties to bet against a rise in the prices of gold, oil, base metals, soft commodities, or anything else that might be deemed an indicator of inherent value.
Their objective is to deprive the independent observer of any reliable benchmark against which to measure the eroding value, not only of the US dollar, but of all fiat currencies. Equally, they seek to deny the investor the opportunity to hedge against the fragility of the financial system by switching into a freely traded market for non-financial assets." [Emphasis added.]
That is, "financial repression."
As the idea reached her this month, Tett wrote incisively: "To understand this, it is worth taking a look at a fascinating recent working paper by Carmen Reinhart and M. Belen Sbrancia, published by the Bank for International Settlements but drawing on earlier work for the International Monetary Fund. ...
"... What Reinhart and Sbrancia argue is that if you want to understand how the West cut its debts during the last great bout of deleveraging -- namely, after the Second World War -- then do not just focus on austerity or growth. Instead, the crucial issue is that during that period, the state engineered a situation where the yields on government bonds were kept slightly below the prevailing rate of inflation for many years. This gap was not vast. But since asset managers and banks continued to buy those bonds at unfavorable prices, this implicit, subtle subsidy from investors helped the government to cut its debt pile over several years. Indeed, Reinhart and Sbrancia calculate that such 'repression' accounted for half of the post-Second World War fiscal adjustment in the U.S. and U.K., due to the magic of compounding.
"Now these days it is hard to imagine any Western government overtly calling for a second wave of such 'repression.' After all, as Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor, recently pointed out, the drawback of financial repression is that it curbs private-sector investment and credit growth. And in any case it is a moot point whether such repression could even be implemented today, given the globalized nature of markets.
"Nevertheless, the political incentives to flirt with this concept are clear. After all, the beauty of a stealth subsidy is precisely that: It is too subtle for most voters to understand. It is also arguably a more equitable form of burden sharing, and thus less politically divisive, than, say, state spending cuts.
"Moreover, governments do not necessarily need to be 'repressive' to achieve the 'repression' trick. As the economist Alan Taylor observes, if investors are so terrified that they cannot see alternative investment choices, they may end up buying government bonds by default -- even at unattractive prices. [Emphasis added.]
Indeed, that is arguably what is already occurring today in the Treasuries market or the world of Japanese government bonds. And, perhaps, in the eurozone too. After all, when eurozone banks were given E442 billion of European Central Bank money two years ago, they used half of this to buy government bonds -- without compulsion at all.
"Whatever you want to call it, then, the state and private-sector finance are becoming more entwined by the day. It is a profound irony of 21st-century 'market' capitalism. And in 2012 it will only deepen."
Thus Tett, like Warburton long before her, expressed perfectly the rationale for the gold price suppression scheme even as she explained why there would be little point in questioning central bankers about their implementation of "public" policy. ("Now these days it is hard to imagine any Western government overtly calling for a second wave of such 'repression.'") In mainstream financial journalism it is simply taken for granted that the purposes and objectives of central banking are not to be learned from central banks themselves but rather from academics, market analysts, soothsayers, or whoever else might answer the telephone when a central banker won't.
As a practical matter, this assumption of mainstream financial journalism is probably correct. But the world might begin to change, however slowly, if journalists tried putting the questions to central bankers in public settings anyway and reported their evasions or refusals to answer. Eventually investors and even the public might come to understand that great power, the power to control the prices of all capital, labor, goods, and services in the world -- that is, the power to control the price of everything, absolute power -- was being exercised in secret so that the world more easily might be expropriated, that democracy had been crushed, and that, as a mere high school graduate remarked a few years ago, "There are no markets anymore, only interventions." http://www.gata.org/node/6242.
Secretary/Treasurer, GATAI always considered his 'Austrian' and 'Laisser Faire' economics as utter nonsense at best, or absolute lunacy at worst. But now they are gaining more and more traction with the US public and I think that it is therefore time to honestly discuss these ideas here.As a theory, 'Austrian' economics are fantastic. But so are Marxism and Anarchism. These theories all suffer from the same problem: highly loaded assumptions. In the case of 'Austrian economics', the flaw is basic, but huge: the concept of a free market. The fact is, of course, that there never was such a thing and that it will never exist. Markets are always, by definition, regulated by somebody. In the words of the brilliant economist Michael Hudson:Every economy is planned. This traditionally has been the function of government. Relinquishing this role under the slogan of “free markets” leaves it in the hands of banks.One might wonder why a political and economic theory based on a so self-evidently flawed idea has so many followers. The fact is, of course, that this theory has followers in significant numbers only in the USA. Why? Because of three uniquely American circumstances:The evil nature of the state in US history:
It is a fact that throughout the history of the USA the state as always been on the side of the rich and powerful and not of the masses. Not only that, but the US state has spent trillions of dollars in waste, mismanagement and fraud. So it is no wonder that most Americans instinctively dislike a state which has almost never done anything useful for them. Why would Americans care for a state when they never lived in a society in which the state did care for the common folks? From its very inception the US state was both multi-genocidal (extermination of numerous Indian nations), slave-owning (Black slavery), plutocratic (Robber Barons) and oligarchic (Masonic). There is a good case to be made that the US state has been one of the worst ones in mankind's history, so its no wonder that it is also distrusted and hated by so many Americans.The insular nature of the US society:The vast majority Americans are hopelessly insular. Not to offend anybody here, but this is an undeniable fact. Not all Americans, of course, but the vast majority. The know only one language, they have rarely, if ever, been abroad. When they are abroad they don't really interact with the locals and, last but not least, they are largely ignorant of world history. I have yet to meet a US libertarian who could even pronounce "laisser faire" correctly, nevermind understand why this idea has been universally rejected by the rest of mankind. This is why Americans have these bizarre views about Obama being a 'socialist' or why they don't realize that civilized mankind has, for example, rejected the death penalty and adopted universal health care as a right for all. No, Americans will still passionately argue about issues which have already been settled pretty much everywhere else on this planet.
Then there are those Americans who are aware of the bigger planet out there, but still fall back on some form or another of 'American exceptionalism" (let them Euroliberals have their health care, this is not the American way!). The fact that what US libertarians call "statism" has been accepted and adopted by the rest of mankind therefore has no influence inside the USA at all. As the lyrics of a song which was popular in the late eighties say: "if it's good enough for Texas it's good enough for me"...The unbridled power of US corporation:It is well established that the "Tea Party" has been largely financed by the Koch brothers. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The roots of this corporate libertarianism go back much further, to Ronald Reagan and his famous words in his first inaugural address:Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problemThat statement was the slogan under which US corporations marched into a real crusade against any form of control over them. We all know what happened after that: massive deregulations crippled entire sectors of the economy and nation, worker's rights collapsed, social safeguards were wiped-off, unions all but died, and every bit of the power vacuum left by a retreating state was immediately filled by US corporations. The difference being that while the US people had at least a modicum of control over their government, they had none over the corporations. Corporate America recognized that, and ever since it has backed anything on the spectrum going from Reaganomics to Austrian libertarian theories.Compare these factors with the situation in Europe where most Europeans did, at one time or another of their lives, get real, valuable services from their government, where corporations are carefully controlled and regulated and the consumer thereby protected, where civil and worker's rights are considered "social achievements" (acquis sociaux in French) never to be rescinded (although under US pressure politicians like Merkel, Papandreou/CIA, Sarkozy/MOSSAD, Blair/CIA and Co. are now trying hard to dismantle them). Sure, there were plenty of incompetent, corrupt and outright evil governments in Europe, but there were always enough counter-examples sufficiently nearby (geographically or historically) to always remind Europeans that the solution to bad government is good government, not no government.So we are really dealing with a misnomer here. Austrian Laisser Faire economics should really be called "US Turbocapitalsm" (term concocted by Ed Luttwak), or "US hypercapitalism" or even simply plutocracy.Coming back to Ron Paul, I invite you all to listen to the interview of Webster Tarpley recorded by Bonnie Faulkner for her show Guns and Butter. Tarpley and Faulkner take a close look at Ron Paul's economic program and what it would mean if implemented.For the direct link to the audio click here.For the web page with the interview, click here.The real danger:Having said all these highly critical things about Ron Paul and his delusional and outright dangerous economic views, let me say that I understand that it is a fact that a US President has far more influence on foreign policy than in internal politics where he must contend with a Congress which can block the implementation of his economic policies and a Federal Reserve which will fight with everything it has to prevent Ron Paul from abolishing it (let me add here that this idea, to abolish the Fed, is an excellent and fundamentally sound economic idea of Ron Paul!). Finally, there is no doubt in my mind that if Ron Paul was elected President we would be simply murdered by the US "deep state".
So my concern is not that Ron Paul would instantly create millions of starving Americans by giving them a maximum of 15 dollars per week in food stamps or that he would wreck WIC, but that his ideology can be used by Corporate America to further weaken the state and strengthening the power of Wall Street. All this libertarian nonsense really serves only one practical purpose: to turn citizens of a state into corporate subjects/slaves.Michael Hudson is quite correct. What we are witnessing in the USA (and, to a lesser degree, in Europe) is a return to feudalism, where the 99% serve the 1%, a society in which the people become simply a means of production for their corporate overlords. Laisser Faire indeed...So ask yourself this question: do Ron Paul's economic ideas strengthen or weaken the power of Corporate America over the US people?The answer is, I think, sadly obvious.....
The following “artistic liberty” is from Patrick Henry’s 1775 speech after ten years of his government’s violations of constitutional rights. The speech followed the first government attempts to use a standing army to disarm Americans. A standing army was in explicit violation of the English Bill of Rights.
NDAA 2012 (National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012) explicitly states dictatorial authority of the US executive branch to order US military to seize any person, including US citizens, for unlimited detention and without rights. This repeats explicit language in the 2006 Military Commissions Act. The previous two links document the specific and explicit Constitutional violations.
Because US government’s 1% “leadership” has tortured, refused to stop or prosecute torture under “new” “leadership” of Obama, now assassinates American citizens upon the dictation of the president, and now legislatives in NDAA 2012 to “disappear” Americans, our choice in 2012 seems clear: either arrest the criminal 1% “leadership” for obvious crimes, or suffer the seizure, disappearance, and torture of your neighbors, friends, family, and yourself in 2012.
The 30-second video shows what NDAA 2012 authorizes. You all learned in high school history that educated Germans allowed the same fascist devolution of their government.
Open proposal for US Revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic economics is my strongest work to explain and document the 1%’s CRIMES centering in war and money.
Occupy This: US History exposes the 1%’s crimes then and now is my strongest work to explain and document that criminal Wars of Aggression and looting have been central in US policies for over 150 years.
History’s purpose is to recognize and act upon patterns of behavior in the present. Patrick Henry strongly agrees:
This is no time for ceremony.
The question before Americans is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly presidents and would-be kings.
It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope.
We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren while it transforms us into animals. Is this the part of wise men and women, engaged in a struggle for liberty? Are we to be of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not? For my part, whatever it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of Presidents and Congress for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which Americans have been pleased to solace themselves.
Is it that insidious smile with which Obama states “reservations” while signing NDAA into law? Trust it not; it will prove a snare to your feet! Do be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how a signing statement compares with those warlike preparations that darken our land.
Are armies necessary to a work of love?
Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled with our own Constitution that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves! These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which a tyrants resort!
And what have we to oppose them? Shall we try argument? We have been trying that for the last ten years!
Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing! We have held the subject up in every possible light; but it has been all in vain.
What arguments shall we find which have not been already exhausted when we “hoped” for “change”?
Let us not, I beseech you, deceive ourselves. We have done everything that could be done! We have petitioned; we have begged; we have prostrated ourselves before President Obama and Congress to arrest the tyrannical hands of President Bush, his War Criminals, and his Wall Street looting “1%.”
Our petitions to uphold the rule of law have been rejected while the petitioners have been arrested.
Our requests for justice have only produced additional violence and insult with expanded wars, more lies for war on Iran, torture, and continued bankster looting. We have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the 1%!
In vain we indulged the hope of peace and reconciliation with the 1% to uphold justice and our own Constitution. There is no longer any room for hope! If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve our Constitutional rights for which we have been so long contending –we must Occupy!
I repeat it: we must Occupy!
Civil resistance, appeal to law enforcement to arrest the criminal 1% and not those who protest against the crimes, and appeal to the God of 100% is all that is left us!
They tell us that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when our military shall be stationed in every house? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until the criminal 1% have bound us hand and foot and placed us in FEMA camps?
We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature has placed in our power!
The hundreds of millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which the 1% can send against us.
Besides, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight with us. The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
Besides, Americans, we have no election with corporate media propaganda and unaccountable electronic voting machines. Even if we were weak enough to desire it, it is now too late to quit from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard at Occupy camps across the country!
Occupy is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it: let Occupy come!
It is impossible to overstate the matter.
Americans may cry, “Hope, Change,” but there is no peace from unlawful wars! There is no Constitutional law! The next act of tyranny that sweeps from the 1% with NDAA will bring the clash of resounding arms! Occupy brethren and sisters are already in the fields and parks!
Why stand we here idle? What is it that Americans wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Perhaps more accurately: either We the People demand and defend our liberty, or NDAA will give us death. That is, if US military chooses to reject the Constitution, love, and justice to disappear Americans rather than arrest obvious War Criminals and looters of trillions of Americans’ dollars every year.
Btw: my personal observation and recommendation for Occupy groups is to develop strategies that avoid arrests. Gandhi and Dr. King strategically targeted specific laws to break that made visible their government’s hypocrisy. When creative and lawful means of 1st Amendment rights are available, perhaps creative thinking can create expressions within the law that are more effective public communications than having to confront legal arguments regarding “Time, Place, and Manner.” If there are unconstitutional/unlawful violations by the 1% that Occupy groups choose to make visible and challenge, then polarizing that specific violation by refusing unjust laws might be effective.
With strategy, we can place the 1% on our own horns of a dilemma whereby their crimes are more effectively exposed to the 99%....