by Tarik in the Vinyard for the Saker blog
It’s like spending your nights at the casino and wondering why you’re always mostly broke. It must be the dealer, the deck of cards, the table, the slot machine, that black widow in red lingering in the corner, or the moonlight and stars, but never your own greed and hedonistic thrill in a game that is mathematically staked against you.
I once read, long time ago, a book called “Les Anatomies Fantastiques” by Gerome Paul. The fellow was writing about how individuals behave (act, think and feel) according to a built up mental psycho-emotive and moral representation of the world (a mix of cultural, educational, personal character and historic factors, etc…) that strives to be in harmony with their subjective experience of reality; and how groups, people, nations, and in our globalized environment, entire regions and possibly the world itself, also in turn develop such structures that will mutually affect each level of consciousness in a complex knot of feedback loops. Under normal circumstances, in reasonably “healthy” individuals and societies, these “anatomies” are fairly moral and rational reflections of the surrounding world and can adapt with minimal disturbances to gradual changes in the environment. But when the switch is more brutal or the lenses are too distorting (unhealthy individuals and societies), so is the discrepancy between behavior and reality. Anyways, I thought it made a very interesting read, and helped me connect many important dots in my own fantasmagorical construct of the world. And what a world that is! And yes, it is a hint to understanding what comes next.
And so it is that, to most, it must alternately be the Americans, the West or Anglo-Zionists, or else the bankers, speculators, the capitalists and Onepercenters, and if not, then surely the Socialists, the Neoliberals, the Dems, the Reps, the WEF and Davos oracles, even China and Russia if you went through truly extensive neural dry cleaning, or that all time favorite… the Jews of course. And no doubt, some of these formations, as much as they do exist outside our minds, have displayed much evil behavior and were certainly instrumental vectors to the present status quo. But it is also my contention that, as much as they do exist outside our minds, they’re granted way more credit and power than they actually deserve. Particularly, somehow, for some reason, I always found unsettling, like a lame excuse, the notion that one percent can impose its will over the remaining ninety nine. There must be fowl play, some prestidigitation trick of sort. I tried once imposing my evil will over my little brother; I cannot imagine attempting to do so on 99 little brothers. Even blackmail could only get me so far; for consistent results, I could only “charm” him.
Thus, I come to suspect an awful lot of us “Ninetininers” have let ourselves seduced by something(s); for otherwise how could possibly the “Few” indulge in so much excess and abuse for so long, with what must only be described as the sometimes tacit and implicit, and at other times the roaring and explicit approval of the “Many”?
2011, while France is leveling out Libya and orchestrating a bloody coup in Ivory-Coast, its good people are conducting massive demonstrations in the streets against a 1 year postponement of retirement age (bare in mind they already had the earliest retirement age on the planet), and in favor of Gay marriage. All four initiatives were successful. Gaddafi was properly done with, Gbagbo was ousted, retirement age was left unchanged, and homosexuals could happily marry. It all happened simultaneously. Now don’t get me wrong, I also have a lazy streak, and would frown at the news of an extra mandatory year of work before I get that lousy retirement check that once upon a long loooonnnng time looked quite appetizing, and I don’t give a loot about what gays do with their lives as long as they don’t mingle tongs under my nose (and I’m very inclusive in this regard, it bothers me as much with heteros). Neither am I singling out France, I’m sure I could find similar examples with virtually any other country; it’s just that this particular one is so juicy, in that it vividly illustrates what I consider our most socially disruptive idiosyncratic dichotomy.
Justice versus Equality… no, on closer inspection: Justice versus Greed is more truthful a description. But because 99% aspire to the 1%, greed can easily hide under the more respectable mantle of equality. Justice however is harder to fool with. After all, under its purview you get strictly what you deserve, no more, no less, irrespective of where you now stand on the socioeconomic ladder. Since an awful lot of us 99ners are lurking with big wide open round eyes at a chance to pounce a step or two closer to the “numero unos”, and since 100% of us all have no idea what we justly deserve (alright, some of us know all too well); it appears we have all somehow agreed to play it safe, and do with Justice what we did with Gaddafi: throw it overboard while looking the other way. Hence we turned our social contract into an unending and intractable negotiation on the “terms of Equality” in substitute to those of Justice, taking great care to never notice it is a physical and logical impossible proposition. And you don’t have to take my word for it; just spend a moment to ponder the issue rather than parrot an opinion, I’m sure it’ll quickly be apparent, axiomatic really. The only place where Equality makes sense is in the realm of Justice, but as said, that dude was long lost to the high seas.
Of course I’m not talking of the masses that live in a state of constant economic urgency and dine on Maggi soup on a lucky day. I’m describing the no less consequential middle class, those that can actually save a bank note or two, afford a mortgage, holidays in the tropics, have the time and means to learn and think instead of “socialitizing”. I’m looking at the activist, the do-gooder, the politician, intellectual and the legions of subsidized enablers and false prophets promoting always costly solutions to self made problems, or worse: problems they never bothered to understand, but instead blindly follow pamphlet instructions to bankrupt us all into saving the world or their own solvency. And the business owner whose sole concern is the extra cent in his quarterly income statement; the genius “buy and hold” investor in a CB induced perpetual bull market, while never asking what those digits piling in their accounts actually are, and many, many more alike… Yes, you and me, blissful in our comfortable, lazy ignorance of the true nature of that which we pursue.
I say “lazy” because lets face it, we all know if only intuitively, that money is at the center of it all. And yet, how much time have we ever devoted to understanding it, instead of acquiring, manipulating and controlling it, each according to his own reach, purpose and vanity? Which is a pity, because it’s really no rocket science (I can assure you right here and now, if you can successfully and profitably run a lemonade stand, then you have the necessary functional two neurons to understand all things money and the economy) and because the knowledge of which, other than spiritual enlightenment (and maybe a gun, depending on what neighbors share your space) is the master key to our individual and national sovereignty, prosperity; and incidentally, to our most pressing global issues. Well… pity it is, if we have any such concerns.
Indeed, few subjects are more poorly understood, disformed and tortured, other than God, and maybe the variance of genders, to fit our increasingly dysfunctional (and increasingly fanatical) fantastical mental anatomies. A dysfunction, might one add, in direct relation to the exponential growth in currency floods. The more we issue, the more the world and its understanding turn lalala. And no, this is not a coincidence.
I can now sense the confused uneasiness, the mental restlessness, the silent question mark. What has “understanding money” to do with Justice and an upside down world?
As with all stories we must start at the beginning. And at the beginning stands Barter.
There is this common deceitful misconception in the modern mind, that views money as a technological advancement akin to the mastery of fire, the wheel or the printing press (wink,wink); therefore subject to control and perpetual improvement; and thus best left to the specialists. Not so. The first use of money was more like a behavioral adjustment, a change in common habit. Presumably, a bit like switching from a “butsniff” greeting, to a handshake as we started covering our parts. It had simply become more convenient. One wouldn’t think of classifying the “handshake” as a technological achievement. Neither should money.
As it stands, money, the real thing (gold, silver and copper) was nothing more than bartering finding its common denominators in an increasingly complex environment. But it still remained fundamentally barter. One physical product in exchange for an equivalent good or service in terms of work cost (Energy X Time). An objectively and measurably “just” trade in its principle. Supply and demand may fluctuate the exchange rates, but over time they cancel out, and act as incentives to produce or not; thus regulating economic activity, induce price stability within a narrow band, and spread wide goods and money. Note that money production hence, is intimately linked to general economic activity and obeys strictly the law of supply and demand, as any other product would. In a moral world, under a just rule of law, that is exactly how things would go, with only the occasional natural catastrophe to disturb an otherwise idyllic measured economic progression.
But we live on a planet of apes, and when us primates interact, we quite naturally indulge in all sorts and manners of monkey business. Which is to say, in sapiens speak: we steal, lie, deceive, trick, blackmail, threat, and coerce, or any hereto combination; but above all we are a highly cronyistic, opportunistic, gluttonous creature that can hardly meet a shortcut we wouldn’t flirt with.
« …they say, “Trade is no different than interest.” But Allah has permitted trading and forbidden interest… »
“O my people! Give full measure and weigh with justice. Do not defraud people of their wealth, nor go about spreading corruption in the land.”
And so it also came quite naturally that some of us started charging interest, taking undue advantage of one another setbacks or difficulties; and in turn, or simultaneously, cheating with scales and content, which both became a source of conflicts and wars even before we adopted money. But at this early stage of our economic evolution, disputes were largely confined to the parties directly involved. Then, as precious metals asserted themselves, we saw the appearance of mints to solve the standard weight and metallic content abuses through the creation of stamped coins. Obviously those coins became in great demand. As all the gold destined to monetary use now went through them, they accumulated huge reserves that gave them huge financial power. Still naturally they started lending these funds (directly or indirectly) at interest to accumulate even huger reserves for even huger financial power, hahahaha….
My apologies for the outburst.
The thing with interest rates is that, in the aggregate, it creates additional demand for money over and above existing supplies in circulation already tagged to current overall trades and investments. The only way for the economy at large to pay for this additional charge (interest) is either for someone else to lose revenue, or savers to willfully cover the expense (but then why would they charge Interests in the first place?), or else the amount must be defrauded or coerced from someone, somewhere, somehow. There’s really no other ways around it. Needless to say, the preferred resolution, by far is fraud in its infinite variety of forms, that target all: consumers, legitimate producers and, ironically, savers (loan originators) themselves, as we shall soon find out.
So the more interest bearing debt, the more fraud and disruptions in the economy. No matter what interest rates: 1%, 10%, 20%… the higher the starting rate, the quicker and more abrupt the disruption; the lower the starting rate, the more pervasive and long lasting. And no matter what the debt is used for; private, commercial, government, industrial, wars, you name it, the economic end game is immutable: widespread bankruptcies and loan defaults. But before we get there, the mint (no matter whether privately held, or the property of temples or the state) will have invariably postponed or covered the growing losses by gradually altering, you guessed it, the contents of its coins. The ultimate fraud.
Thus, we’re right back at pitiful cheats on weight and content. Except that now, instead of only the perpetrator and its victim being affected, the entire economy gets swindled. For sure Interest is not a requirement for currency debasement; for that you only need simian hubris and greed. But it certainly guaranties its outcome, and most often leads the way. Besides, even when debasement is first carried in an Interest free jurisdiction, as in historic Islamic societies, it always paves the way for opportunistic predatory interest bearing loans from outside actors, that now prolong and aggravate the economic disruption. The two, debasement and Interest, are intimately linked, in the manner of “egg and hen”. The one clucks (loudly) for the other.
This, I would refer to as the systemic or structural cause of severe economic disruptions and corruption in the social moral fabric. However this structural relationship is further reinforced by a more subtle and insidious psychological influence implied with interest rates.
Imagine an Interest free world. In that environment loans are only made to family and friends, for a common interest in helping or protecting an individual or entity, to increase one’s credit with Allah or pay out karma, or even out of pure compassion (yes, the rich can also be compassionate). Even if there is an element of predation when collateral is involved, the net result on the general economy in case of non payment is that of any regular trade, and the loss’ responsibility lies squarely with the debtors poor calculations and decision to contract a loan instead of outright selling the collateral. Because yes dear, sometimes life deals us an awful hand or we make regrettable choices, sometimes businesses go south or become unviable, sometimes assets must be sold and down scaling is the order of the day, with no fault to anyone. Still, overall an interest free economy encourages, strengthens and protects (or at the very least does not impede); good relations within the family and with friends, solidarity and trust among the various economic players, piousness and the general elevation of the human soul, as the early years of Islam have well illustrated. No, it would still not be a perfect world, but definitely a much kinder one. Now even if disagreeing with the latter assessment, an undeniable fact remains: loans would be a far less efficient direct predatory source of profit.
By introducing interest rates, the motivation to lend is dramatically altered from mainly an act of solidarity and common interest, to a pursuit of seemingly “guaranteed” profits if done “right”. It also mathematically reduces the probability of repayment in direct proportion to the interest rate. A disastrous combination.
From the lender’s perspective, the increased risk must be compensated with better collateral. This is achieved by valuing the latter at its absolute lowest range if not at an outright steal. In any case the discount on the collateral’s valuation will always be superior than the interest amount. So we witness the emergence of a structural conflict of interests between creditors and debtors, where it is now often in the former’s best interest to see the loan go sour and cash the higher profit on the collateral’s sales. But even when there’s no ill intent in granting the loan, it allows lenders a virtually risk free (therefore irresistible, therefore conductive to malinvesment) return at the expense of debtors, as long as the economy is functioning and not overwhelmed by the cumulative effect of frauds and malinvestments this lopsided incentive creates.
But therein lies the rub: precisely as fraud and malinvestment spread, distress demand for loans multiply, insuring a growing supply of new debtors to milk in a vicious self reinforcing cycle. Then, a second parallel cycle develops, just as destructive. As debt permeates ever more the ever more dysfunctional economy, the ratio of insolvency mounts till a breaking point. Mass bankruptcy abruptly deflates asset prices (collateral), which suddenly reminds the creditors there is never such things as risk free returns. But before we get there, the mint (no matter whether privately held, or the property of temples or the state) will have invariably postponed or covered the growing losses by gradually altering the contents of its coins. The ultimate fraud.
The point being: Interest rates transform loans from an instrument for social cohesion and economic resiliency, to that of social division, and economic mayhem.
Finally, what us laymen need to be made aware of, are the wealth distribution, government policies and geopolitical ramification that interest rates impose, and more specifically the link with the debasement of the currency.
Not all creditors are created equal. A few are more conservative, prudent, and understand the long game. Most are more or less reckless, opportunistic, impatient. As the debt crisis inevitably unfolds, aggressive lending institutions (what ever shape they may have taken through space and time) will be first to fall as their assets (loan books) and value of collateral gets decimated. The prudent lenders would have scaled down its exposure as the crisis approached and can now redeploy its capital to scoop anything of value for pennies. As those credit cycles repeat, wealth gets concentrated in the hands of a few wise monkeys, thereby creating a quasi financial monopoly. And we cannot really blame them orangutans for playing it right. The fault lies with the greedy, predatory behavior of their chimpanzee colleagues, a legislation that does not condemn the practice of interest charges and the irredeemable foolishness of the general public. Without all three ingredients in the soup, they could never have ended in a controlling position. Actually I’d go so far to say: in such a pot, by only virtue of their prudent behavior, as a group (orangutans), they are guaranteed the outcome whether they seek it or not. Us baboons and macaques may not have much sway over the actions of orangutans and chimpanzees, but we most definitely could stop acting like buffoons. Or is it really genetic?
Government – King Lewis – the Gorilla in the room – is, presumably, a natural monopoly. There’s a simple equation that governs its relationship to its macaques and baboons constituency. Widespread wealth in the population, equals disciplined programs, equitable legislation and careful policies. Concentrated wealth, equals sloppy programs, partisan legislation and reckless policies. To which one may add a few variables, here and there, to mitigate or delay the results, but that’s the basic logical frame. That is so because the state’s base income is its tax receipts. When wealth is widely distributed ( an unmistakable sign of a healthy economy), the base of the State’s income source is wide and at its highest output, and liability/loyalty to the majority is strong. After the deleterious effects that interest rates cause on the economy, government income craters. As tax rate increases make only matters worse and it is absolutely out of question that the state should shrink at a time when law and order is most needed, eventually bonds must be issued to cover the budget, which effectively hands over the state to the big lenders, the same way a poor peasant is brought to debt indenture by a bad crop; while the financially weakened crowd clamors for help, and crime, misery and depravity blossom.
There’s no way government debt can be serviced honorably under such circumstances. Which leaves only dubious means. Juvenile states would be tempted to outright renege on the debt or even start confiscating assets. But this is shortsighted. Money would then simply migrate to more welcoming shores or vanish underground, leaving the economy in even worse shape, leading to the collapse of the ruling regime.
More sophisticated ones would first surreptitiously alter the metal content of coins since they usually control the mint. Then as the lenders and economy catch up to the trick, increase interest rates and prices in reaction, still further aggravating the whole situation, our gorilla will attempt to lurk outside his jurisdiction. Instead of just repressing the desperate population, he would lump the deplorables into cheap makeshift armies do be sent on suicidal holly crusades, or spread the words of god to the uncivilized (or whatever convenient tale to the time and place) with free rein on looting in compensation. As these get decimated on their morbid way to some promised land, they never the less sow chaos and economic disruption in their wake, which weakens the regions they traverse. By then a debt financed elite army for conquest is raised to collect the loot and repay the loan with interest and then some. The feeling is exhilarating. Some have said it’s better than sex. So…do you see?
When successful (nothing is ever certain in this world), we may very well witness the birth pangs of a gestating empire. In which case the following template comes into play (if I dare quote myself):
“As an empire expands, the required military growth is self funded by the spoils. But all expansionary dynamics are subject to the law of diminishing return. With each new territory, a growing portion of the armed forces gets tagged to maintain “peace”, and less is available for conquest, while spoils get relatively smaller and increasingly inadequate. Once the expansion reaches its limits, the burden of military cost falls squarely on the economy through higher taxes. With tax induced economic strains, dissent and disorder spreads resulting in still higher expenses (military and otherwise), that then must be met through monetization, which begets inflation, which begets dissent and disorder; and the vicious circle is now locked.”
Lets dig deeper. To the Lenders, every war induced economic crisis, which ever party wins, is a golden opportunity to further their financial tentacles on the general economy through interest baring loans. The only difference is that they fatten much faster and greatly increase their geographic reach riding the back of a rising empire. Economically it appears as a jolly boom in production and trade around the center; and rape, pillaging, maiming, murdering, slavery towards the outer rim, with no end in sight as long as the empire expands. As Great Generals bring light and civilization to the barbarians, Exceptional Statesmen preside over exceptional economies through their exceptional policies. Fat children giggle in the courtyards, mothers are plump, fathers stand erect proudly wearing their protruding bellies, life is beautiful, almost heavenly if only we mustn’t die. Then, spoiled little brats grow into entitled psychopaths of gargantuan appetite just as the empire reaches its limits. Yes dear reader, that is most of you and me. Ok, maybe not you, but definitely the other guy sitting beside you.
On the way up, government debt is made whole by the spoils of war, which provides the lenders with fresh ammunition to financially grab the riches of the newly conquered and ravaged territories. Effectively these spoils carry the same function as debasement of the currency in the economy. Importantly, crucially, I cannot stress it enough, it does not correspond to a natural supply and demand driven increase in money supply, and thus will display the same characteristics as any fraudulent forced fed currency injection, which is devaluation of the latter and contagious malinvestments. Meanwhile, the severe pent up demand triggers a broad economic boom which brings out money, that previously went hiding during the invasion phase and from the four corners of the realm and beyond, further exacerbating the good times. The state’s coffers are now flush with exploding tax receipts. Bigger and better equipped armies are raised, palaces, pyramids, colosseums and pantheons are erected, while roads and ports spread across the lands to funnel resources and gold towards the center. While History will attribute these golden ages to the prowess of some Great Leader, Great scholar, Great technology, Great ideology or whatever other coincidental greatness in store, the more humbling truth is that it is fueled by a constant stream of freshly stolen wealth to pay for the ever expanding interest load on the economy. Now what do you think must happen when there’s nothing left to loot?
Yes, the usual: loans default, bankruptcies rise, fiscal deficit craters, debasement (inflation/hyperinflation) returns with a vengeance, repression, crime, misery, depravity. The blame game intensifies; it’s “anyone’s” or “no one’s” fault, but never is it “everyone’s”. And then, eventually, general rebellion; and in the total chaos, somewhere in a dim lit corner of the scenery, like the manager of some macabre casino, an orangutan watches in glee at the utter stupidity, richer and more powerful than ever, ready to scoop for pennies, not businesses, but entire industries and nations. A few more of these empire cycles and pretty soon he’s sitting on top of the world.
And how could you blame that otherwise harmless, placid, flaccid creature nested in the upper shades of the canopy? It never put a gun to your head; that’s gorilla and baboon behavior. Slip under its skin for a moment: you got this load of money in your right pockets. Then, on the one side there’s this endless procession of avid, solicitors, day in, day out, ready to pawn their mothers and kids, offering the moon plus interests because they’re so bright and it’s such a sure thing and they’re so deserving, and they crave so much to shine if only once. They will even assure you of the precise day and time they will repay you, yet wouldn’t know if they’ll still breath by next sunrise. On the other side, an equally endless and avid procession eagerly willing to fill your left pocket with their savings, responsibilities and guilt for the promise of an easy, risk free extra penny tomorrow. With such display of venal and cowardly covetousness, how can our otherwise harmless placid flaccid orangutan not grow increasingly cynic and, I guess, a bit nauseated. Now filled with contempt and disgust, how could he not be tempted by the devil’s offer? And as his clout grows and grows and grows, turn a little nuts himself? Pity the rich indeed, for you know not how lucky with your petty struggles. More than most any of us, he is relentlessly confronted with the basest and worst in human instincts, up to and including among his own, his family and closest friends, with no respite. Maybe now we can better appreciate the parable of the camel and needle. In the Quran man does not get rich because of his actions and skills, nor because he deserves it, but because God has decided. The battle is ours, but victory is His. There is no other reason. It is among the hardest tests He may bestow upon man. But few would know, since few were chosen. And interest rates makes it all the harder to pass the exam. Indeed it is the devil’s most enticing offer. It speaks to both deferred and immediate greed, dependent on which side of the deal; and virtually every monkey of every specie will fall for it willingly given the right circumstances. And there’s a right circumstance at every corner to satisfy all tastes and moods. Once widespread, it always leads to a paroxysm of social and political abominations and economic cataclysm.
Is this some sort of apology or eulogy to the rich and powerful? Certainly not. It is only to point out they are the faithful reflection of our collective unspeakable aspirations. Specifically, the size of their wealth and power is in direct proportion to our lust for… well, about most any and everything. They are a testament to the filth in our souls, they are the stench that reminds us we’re long past due some serious cleansing. A Hindu Yogi/Sage/Philosopher once wrote something to the effect of: “human monsters such as Hitler and others, were souls that self-sacrificed so the Divine may implement its plan”. Yeah, I also found the statement a bit fishy at first. I’m not sure what he really meant, but then again, in some counter intuitive way, he might have been onto something. Could it be that the rich and powerful are the in fine recipients, the alchemical precipitation of the spiritual miasma we exude. Then maybe we should thank them for absolving us from what would otherwise have been our own guilt, had God granted us our wishes. Could their depravity be, them succumbing to our unrelenting shameless supplicant assaults? Then maybe we should, after all, apologize for making it so much harder for them to stand upright to the Lord. It does take two to tango, you know?
Perhaps now we may better grasp the driving force behind the past two, three thousand years of human history, that locks us in a perpetual repetition of identical patterns and a persistent trend in wealth concentration. It is not that we are incapable of learning; it is just our collective incapacity to resist our inner compulsions. It is basic human psychology display in an interest rate environment, whose size is a pervasive expression of our frustrated insatiable appetite, that then leads to desperate real needs. It’s not some mysterious phenomenon that plagues humanity and only a PHD in economics can explain, nor some inherent inadequacy of gold money that can only be resolved through fiat currencies; which are the ultimate act of delusional rebellion against the natural limits that gold imposes on our unhinged desires.
And it is certainly not the result of some dark cabal conspiring for world dominion since the dawn of time. These are merely the usual scoundrels and parasites scattered along history, that thrive on the general interest rate status quo; meaningless and with no real power except the money we diligently deposit in our savings accounts, pension funds, social security and health insurance programs that feed the beast. Their latest version’s avowed goal, other than world domination, is population reduction and control, Yet even at the height of their power, with atomic bombs and COVID viruses, contraception, junk food and Coca Cola, and the entire pharmaceutical industry in their hands, the world still grew from 2-3 billion lucky souls to 8 billion sorry ones. It is as farcical as the wars on drugs, poverty, terror, climate change and viruses combined. And these are Titans we fear, demi gods that hold our destinies? Seriously?
This current breed will vanish with the currencies that brought them.
In truth our power is immense. We are the ones holding their faith in our hands at every moment, or rather in our senseless bank, brokerage, insurance accounts. The only useful account is a current account to get rid of those currencies as fast as they come. We don’t, because we want in on the Ponzi game. We made that choice the day we agreed to their pension and insurance schemes. And we perpetuate that choice every time we add to our saving accounts. Guaranteed income, zero responsibilities, how to resist?
As usual, there’s so much more to say and I may be totally wrong. Unfortunately the Saker is shutting down the site and I’m running out of time. Please read all that I’ve wrote as the excited exclamations of a child discovering in aw and fondly sharing his findings in the surrounding world. So in parting I’d like to leave you with one last tale:
One day, a long time now, God brought up the issue with the Hebrews, and told them to renounce interest rates. Because He whispered only to their ears and they were the Chosen Ones, they naturally assumed it only concerned their own dealings, but, they thought, there could be no harm in perpetuating the practice with the goyim, since surely God wanted them rich and to inherit the earth… or something like that.
Of course it was silly, God didn’t whisper and He meant it for all loans. Otherwise He’d have added: “but it’s okay to screw the rest of the planet”. But he didn’t.
Still, the net result, intended or not, was that they could rip all the benefits (interest income) with none of the cons (bankruptcies) because their businesses were spared the extra financing cost, which granted greater resiliency and much competitive advantage, especially in trade financing. Thus, as a group, by virtue of the reduced cost of business and the interest rate’s wealth concentrating function in the economy, they siphoned immense wealth from their foreign business relationship. It all proceeded sort of mathematically from a choice that did not necessarily require elaborate conspiracies for world dominion, but only the all to common, human greed, moral hypocrisy and tribal instinct.
As their trade financing activities required them to open offices in all corners of every empire to facilitate settlements between buyers and sellers of different regions, they acquired a unique bird’s eye view which they quickly learned to put to profit. Their coreligionists followed suit, taking advantage of the available preferential loans to open shop in faraway lands, lower margins, and gain market share. Soon the competition must lower quality to make up for the reduced margins and lose more market, then close shop, or take on debt at interest and then close shop. Then as the economic distress induced debt cycle falls flat on its face, people cannot help but notice that some have been spared more than others. They can smell something fishy has been going on, but couldn’t quite put their finger on it. Still they want to rip flesh.
Anyways, little wonder some of them are now among the top orangutans in the world and turned a little paranoiac and crazed. So stop whining. We’d have done the exact same, had we been the chosen ones to first receive God’s tip. Besides all we needed do, was take the queue and denounce, ourselves, those filthy interest rates to instantly restore the balance. The good news: it’s not that they’re so incredibly bright and wicked, nope, their intelligence and malice are perfectly average, it’s just that we’re so hopelessly stupid. I mean… 3000 years that game has been going on, for God’s sake!
“but never your own greed and hedonistic thrill in a game that is mathematically staked against you”
It’s mostly also something else – the belief that you can get something for nothing. That you can walk away with a fortune without paying a penny in your own money, time, mental and emotional effort.
And that belief, I have to say, is rooted at the base of the entire Western Culture- it’s why it’s “lottos”, etc are so popular. And why so many who win millions end up broke saying “it wrecked my life”. They dont understand or remotely realise, you cant have something for nothing, you cant have anything for nothing, and every single action has an equal and opposite reaction because all interactions are a two way street. If you want to write that a -> b,, you have to realise that also and at the same time, to varying degrees, always
b -> a.
for anyone wanting a sitrep thats new and adds to those we all know already. simplicicus76 hasa bitchute channel now does his own blog .
Tarik’s analysis of ‘Interest’ is spot on and an interest-free world is surely worth striving for.
However, his story of money needs some work. According to economist Michael Hudson and anthropologist David Graeber, money did not originate with barter. That was Adam Smith’s idea, formulated with no evidence as there is no sign of anyone behaving this way outside of imagination. Marx adopted Smith’s theory of money, probably because it was the dominant theory hanging around.
Graeber documents how primitive societies were credit-based. People kept accounts of transactions essentially with tally sticks. Barter only happened on the margins where one tribe interacted with another for trade.
Hudson shows how money originated in the ancient temples, first as a method of paying soldiers who could not be tied down to a tally stick credit account. Cash money became the unit of government spending followed by taxation (to get the gold back). Only the excess that was not taxed back was free for public economic use.
The importance of this account is that money is a function of government and only government used for spending to provision itself. Banks that are licensed by the government also create money for credit purposes (and to earn interest).
There is nothing in this account that requires interest for an economy to function.
No, but if the interest on money exceeds a certain long held tradition, for a long enough period of time, an economy burns out and crashes.
Thank you, I appreciate your point, and I admit having over simplified things just to get to my core subject.
To address your point, I’d like to say I never implied that loans didn’t exist prior to money, quite the contrary:
“…some of us started charging interest, taking undue advantage of one another setbacks or difficulties; and in turn, or simultaneously, cheating with scales and content, which both became a source of conflicts and wars even before we adopted money.”
Which is what those tally sticks are: records of debts.
Now, it seems you (or is it Pr. Hudson and Graeber?) infer that the existence of forward transactions records excludes the existence of barter. But why would you need to record a barter transaction since it’s settled on the spot? And honestly I find it quite impossible that barter, which occurs spontaneously in every kinder garden, would appear after credit which requires much more elaborate thoughts.
Another misconception, at least in my book, is that their use as currency makes it money. It does not.
Each tally records a debt in species; be it number of cattle, weigh of grains or metals, etc… that is clearly meant to be settled. I know not of any tally that records its debt in another tally. For that we must wait for twentieth century fiat currencies. As the economy evolved, the tally recorded almost exclusively weights of precious metals, illustrating the latter’s widespread acceptance as money.
The difference between money and currencies that are not money, is that the settlement is final. It needs no further recording because no liability is carried forward. Socio economically and politically it makes all the difference.
So I must still stand by my view:
“As it stands, money, the real thing (gold, silver and copper) was nothing more than bartering finding its common denominators in an increasingly complex environment.”
A central tenet of the argument that “wealth should be more evenly distributed” is the (incorrect) assumption that the quantity of wealth is independent of its distribution.
Example: in the hands of a engineer, a book on Theoretical Nuclear Physics has the potential—and given human ingenuity, I daresay INEVITABILITY—to create trillions of the dollar in wealth as we develop new technologies, processes, software, hardware, microprocessors, whatever.
But please! redistribute that wealth….put the book in the hands of a longshoreman! He would use it as a paperweight, and thats if we are lucky. Kindling is a lot more likely. So the trillions that would/could be created are not created.
Nor would the wealth be as valuable if the technologies (et.al.) were simply placed in the hands of others. If they were SOLD to buyers who, recognizing their value and applying their talents, bought some of those new software and features, then their talents would turn all this wealth into MORE wealth, much as Intels and Apple chips create trillions.
Hand the wealth over on the basis of “fairness” or “need” would never accomplish those goals. A good example in the US right now is Tranportation secretary Bootyfudge. We ALL KNOW THE REASON he was chosen. We chuckled when we knew he had zero knowledge of transportation.
Now we stand agape as airliners collide on runways, trains derail and spew toxic materials, and human animals block freeways and airport lounges. That’s wealth distribution for ya!
The author has begun to question many common assumptions, and is onto discovering the fraudulent and treacherous world we live in, not only because of a few at a top, but almost by design. But he mentions God on multiple occasions, as if it were a reality, so he hasn’t gone far enough yet, but perhaps he will soon. No one knows why life on this planet is so f**ed up, but to posit a benevolent creatorw raizes many more questions than it answers, and leads to contradictions and inner conflict and cognitive dissonance. An indifferent, blind and nearly unconscious (or ignorant), or even malevolent God (as som e Christian Gnostics believe) resolves some of the contradictions, but still offers no hope or consolation. I hope all people believing in falsehoods and fairy tales, such as those spread by religions, will wake up from their dream. Why? At the very least, if human life on earth is irredeemable, then one can end this experiment simply by refusing to reproduce.
The existence of God raises no questions whatsoever of the sort that you’re imagining.
Just as a side comment before I get into my main argument, if you think that life on earth is f**ed up, perhaps you’re spending a little bit too much time looking in the mirror.
The usual “question” atheists have gnawing at their bowels about God, is they ask themselves “how can an all knowledgeable and all living God stand by and watch human beings exhibit such incredible cruelty?”
The answer is simple. Our cruelty shows just how much “the devil” or “human nature” has debased us. Like ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’ says about Armagedden, God will stand by on that day and let humans see with their own eyes just what and how original sin has depraved us. THAT’S Why He Gave Us Free Will. We can’t blame anyone else except ourselves.
Animal lifeforms in order to survive must kill and eat another lifeform. Plants, on the other hand, use inert matter (water, minerals) and energy (sunlight) to survive. Animals must kill and eat other lifeform, plants pr other animals. If killing life is evil, we are by design evil. We cannot survive without killing life. By design. Yor free will is of no use here. Except for plants, life on earth is predatory. Who is to blame? Us? Did we have a choice?
If God the creator is so benevolent to why did God not create lifeforms that do need to kill. And why did God need billions of years to evolve man from a single celled creature?
Thank you, Tarik, for a most beautiful essay.
I am once again reminded of the difference between money, currency, wealth, value, and tally sticks.
But most of all, how all things flow from God.