...we have a direct role to play in choosing whether we want to remove the banksters' gun from the economy's head or whether we want to load the chamber and cock the hammer.
Last week we talked about how the bankers have a gun to our head. Whether it's the bank panics of centuries past or the banking collapses of our current era, the banksters' favorite ploy is to say that if governments and politicians don't do exactly what they say that they'll crash the economy.
It worked for Morgan and friends when the Panic of 1907 paved the way for The Federal Reserve.
It worked for Government Sachs and their NY Fed cronies when they threatened martial law on the street if Congress didn't pass the 2008 bailout.
It's working as we speak as European bankers continue to threaten a European banking crash if Hungary (or other countries) press ahead with penalties and paybacks for loan gouging. (The latest news is that questions about Portuguese Banco Espírito Santo's health is causing a sell-off and panic in American markets.)
All of this seems like an intractable problem. After all, the bankers do have a stranglehold over our economy. They can directly and indirectly choose whether to open the credit floodgates or tighten the spigot. They can decide whether to direct loans to this sector of the economy or that sector. They can even detonate the quadrillion dollar derivative black hole that they've been building up for decades now, a banking nuclear option that really could wipe out the world economy as we know it overnight.
But here's the real secret: this problem isn't intractable. And here's the most important part of the secret: we have a direct role to play in choosing whether we want to remove the banksters' gun from the economy's head or whether we want to load the chamber and cock the hammer.
This was the essential point I was alluding to in the third part of my new feature-length documentary, “Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reserve.” That section of the film, entitled “End The Fed,” sought to make the point that the ultimate aim of the banking oligarchy is not merely to “make money” (literally or figuratively), but to consolidate power and control. The ultimate aim of this group—operating through organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations (founding president: JP Morgan's personal lawyer)—is to steer us toward a global government undergirded by a global financial control grid. In order to achieve this, they plan on continuing to use the political leverage created by financial panics (real or manufactured) just as they did in 2008 (and 1907 and 1837 and 1812 and 1781...). In order to stop this, we have to begin exploring alternative paradigms, monetary systems that have nothing to do with the bankers' debt-based Federal Reserve Note funny money.
The first idea explored in the documentary is public banking. This is the idea that the credit that greases the skids of our economy need not be created by private banks for the interest of private bankers, but can be used as a public utility to spur the growth of the real productive economy. In other words, money as a spur for Main Street, not Wall Street. The idea is neither new nor controversial. In fact, versions of public banking have been around for centuries, and indeed the current public banking movement (perhaps most closely associated with the Public Banking Institute) explicitly traces the idea back to the colonial scrip systems of the original American colonies.
There are many ways to run a public banking system, but the core idea is that government funds are used to create the capital reserves of a bank whose mandate is to create the credit to finance local business directly. Interest on the loans can be used as a curb on the inflationary effect of creating the money in the first place, as well as to pay for government services and finance new loans.
This system is not without its problems, of course. As the PBI notes, a well-run public bank is capable of solving a lot of the problems facing our society at the moment, but the devil is in the details. It's not impossible for a “well-run” bank to exist, but it is rare and even those with the best of intentions have problems doing it. It also relies on the notion that the very government entities that we know are so thoroughly compromised in our era would be capable of running a system by and for the people (mitigated, perhaps, by the fact that a public bank could be quite local, from a state bank to a country bank right down to a municipal bank).
Is it a one-size-fits-all foolproof solution to political and financial corruption? Of course not. Is it better than the current system of banker-controlled debt slavery? Of course it is.
The second solution considered in the documentary is the idea of mutual credit, specifically in this case a local currency based in Ithaca, New York. Ithaca Hours were started in 1991 by Paul Glover, a community development advocate who saw the utility of having a currency that was not generated by banks but by people. In the Ithaca Hours case, people can charge for their work directly in hours, which are created as loans or grants to local businesses and community organizations.
Glover's evangelizing for the currency over the course of the proceeding decades helped it to make important inroads in the local economy. Accepted by local movie theaters, restaurants, tradesmen, farmers, and even the local medical center and credit union, it is estimated that several million dollars worth of Hours have circulated through the economy since its inception. Its success has led to similar currency systems being set up in other cities across America, from Madison, Wisconsin to Summit County, Colorado.
Of course, Hours have their drawbacks. They are only accepted in the local community, meaning they are useless once reaching the city or county limits. They are not accepted by every business, and certainly not by the major national chains and big box stores. And their relative scarcity means it would be impossible to live your life solely on Hours.
Is it a one-size-fits-all foolproof solution to the creation of a new, non-debt based international currency? Of course not. Is it better than only using bankster-created Federal Reserve Notes for every transaction you make? Of course it is.
The third solution considered in the documentary is crypto-currency, specifically bitcoin. Bitcoins are electronically-generated tokens that can be traded online. These trades are recorded in a public ledger through a decentralized peer-to-peer network running on an open source protocol that completely removes the need for a central processing authority or controlling organization. As a result, no bank, government, organization or individual owns or controls the bitcoin network. It allows for virtually instantaneous worldwide payments with no (or very small) processing fees, payments that (with the proper precautions) can be made more or less anonymously.
Bitcoins are generated as a 'reward' for the computer-intensive work of processing payments on the network itself, and are created according to a pre-set schedule that will see a total of 21 million bitcoins in existence by 2140. Since the supply of the currency is fixed and its demand continues to rise, it is a deflationary currency, the complete opposite of the Federal Reserve's funny money which has lost over 97% of its value since its creation 100 years ago. Bitcoins are worth tens of thousands of times more now than they were just a few years ago.
There are drawbacks to bitcoin (and other crypto-currencies), of course. Governments around the world continue to threaten increasingly strict regulatory regimes to remove some of the currency's most important features (or make users criminals for circumventing those regulations). There are technical issues that bring with it the possibility that the network can be compromised (as was demonstrated by the recent hubbub over GHash.IO's “51% attack” capability). And the entire idea itself rests on the premise that the internet as we know it will continue to exist in more or less the form that it does today far enough into the future to make the currency a long-term investment, a premise that is not at all certain.
Are cryptocurrencies a one-size-fits-all foolproof solution to the problem of how to facilitate every one of our numerous daily transactions? Of course not. Is it better than shrugging our shoulders and resigning ourselves to using credit cards or PayPal or similarly compromised systems for international and online transactions? Of course it is.
There are other ideas, of course, and I mention some of them, too, in the documentary. “Sound money” backed by hard assets like silver and gold, or more complex but fascinating systems like self-issued credit (whereby we cut out the bankers altogether as the middlemen in the money creation process).
Naturally, although the documentary has been extremely well-received, much of the criticism of it is directed toward this “solutions” section. Why didn't I talk about Mosler and Modern Monetary Theory? Why didn't I explore the Mathematically Perfected Economy? Why didn't I mention Positive Money or Community Exchange Systems or Radical Giving or resource based economies? Why did I include x, y, or z, when those ideas are clearly destined to fail by their very nature?
I understand the nature of these criticisms and the impetus behind them. However, I think they ultimately miss the point. My point was not to present a totalizing list of the only available options, the ones that we must ultimately choose between and finish the conversation about money once and for all. My point was to open the door to the conversation about money that needs to be an ongoing, essential part of any productive society.
In the final equation, most people are still in the mindset that we must find the One True System, the utopian idea that will put all of the pieces into place in a way that is timeless, unalterable, and incorruptible. An idea so perfect that it will alone be the savior of the global economy and even humanity itself. As you might imagine, I find the urge to put all of our eggs in one basket understandable, but misguided. The bankers have tried to teach us that we need One System to rule us all, one form of currency that must be universally accepted under penalty of law. This is precisely why “legal tender” laws mandating the acceptance of the bankers' funny money exist throughout the world, of course. After all, the economy can only possibly run if there is one idea, one system, one currency behind it. Right?
This is hogwash. We need to snap out of the conditioning that leads us to believe this. Why on earth should a transaction that I conduct with a local farmer at the local farmer's market be conducted in the same currency as I use to trade with someone online halfway around the world? Why on earth should the form of money in which I earn my wealth be the same as the form in which I store its value? Why should an economy require that the unit of account, the unit of exchange and the store of wealth be one and the same?
When we start to see that the economy need not rely on one type of currency alone, we can see the solution coming into view in all of its multifaceted glory. It is not one idea, organized around one concept, promoted by one group of individuals. It is many ideas, operating simultaneously, competing at times and cooperating at others, overlapping and distinct. What we need is not another single, unitary, monolithic overarching Idea to replace the current single, unitary, monolithic, overarching Idea. What we need is a free market of ideas, with currencies arising, developing, competing and ebbing as we the people dictate. This is the way we unlock the true potential of humanity; not by chaining us to one particular system, but by allowing systems to co-exist and compete for attention.
With this in perspective, the answer to the problem of the bankers' stranglehold over the economy becomes much easier. We do not have to commit ourselves completely, fully, without reservation to the One True Perfect Idea®. We merely have to start—in increments and baby steps as need be—experimenting with some of the options that already exist for alternative and complementary currencies and creating the ones that don't.
Each time we become locked into the promotion of a single idea and start fighting more furiously with proponents of other alternative currencies than we do with the current system itself, the bankers' position is strengthened and the gun is held as tightly to our head as ever. Each time we take steps toward changing our habits and facilitating transactions in non-bankster controlled currencies—whatever form they may take—we move the gun away, however minutely.
The choice is ours. The only question is whether we will make the right one.