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Is Our Economy Being Artificially Maintained and Propped Up? If So, How and Why?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Richard Clark     Permalink
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5.  We can't stop spying on Americans because this endeavor now employs millions of people.   (The Department of Homeland Security alone now employs, directly or indirectly, nearly a million people.   Plus there are now something like 15 different intelligence agencies.)  

6.  We can't restrict the Wall Street casino, or limit its size and scope, or the number of people employed on Wall Street would be greatly reduced.  

7.  What about all the superfluous production and consumption?   If we ever stopped spending $100 billion a year marketing all that stuff, and workers had the option of working ten hours less a week (without losing their health care or their chance for promotion), half of that stuff would never be sold.   Why not, exactly?   Because most workers would prefer extra leisure time instead of the extra stuff.   But if half of it were never sold, inventories would pile up, and the next thing you know, millions of unnecessary workers would have to be laid off. 

8.  Finally, what will happen to university jobs when growing numbers of young people finally realize that, given the ever-growing indebtedness that a conventionally-acquired college degree requires, a traditional formal education is, for growing numbers of them, simply not going to be worth the cost -- as they increasingly discover that they can get essentially the same education online, at a much lower price?   (Yes, this presumes that online education, with occasional face-to-face seminars and meetings, will become ever more effective and successful.) 

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In other words, our artificially-maintained "economy' needs these manufactured problems and inefficiencies, in order to create and maintain enough employment to keep sufficient numbers of us busy 40-50 hours a week, 11+ months of the year.   But please understand that most of this employment is today a kind of artificially-created and artificially-based employment.   It arises from the various absurdities referred to in the eight points just listed.  

C.   Money Has No Stable or Inherent Value:     Our money is loaned into existence with arbitrary interest rates set by a private monopoly (the "Federal" Reserve Bank).   Its value fluctuates based on the supply of that money that's put into the economy -- which, again, is controlled by a for-profit monopoly.   (The only things with inherent value to humans are skills (labor), tools and materials, food and water, and energy.)  

D.   The Fed Now Buys 90% of This Nation's Treasury Bonds:   By buying its treasury bonds, the Federal Reserve loans money to the US government (its Treasury Department), which issues its bonds to cover the nation's spending.   Historically, most of those bonds have been sold on the open market, at auctions, to investors worldwide, who believe in the ability of the United States to make good on redeeming those bonds, with the interest promised.   Apparently, however, the US is facing a shortage of potential investors because the Fed must now buy 90% of new Treasury bonds.   This phenomenon is called "monetizing the debt," or, in simple English, creating ever more money out of thin air.   (When the Fed buys a treasury bond, thus loaning the US government money, a Fed employee simply types up the cost of the bond on the Fed's computer system and electronically transfers that newly created "money' to the US Treasury Department.)   This legerdemain acts to keep interest rates artificially low, because without someone purchasing these bonds at the current rate of interest that the bonds currently pay, the Treasury Department would have to raise interest rates significantly in order to attract outside "investors."   And rising interest rates would guarantee a renewed recession and downward economic spiral.   In a nutshell, our monetary system is a paper tiger as well as a house of cards.  

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E.   What is the Value of Anything?   The price-discovery mechanism, or the process of determining the value of an asset in the marketplace, has become so convoluted that determining the genuine   or inherent value of anything has become nearly impossible.   For example, why does an ounce of marijuana (a weed that can grow anywhere) cost up to $500?   Is that the real value, based on labor and materials, and supply and demand?   Of course not.   Its value is inflated hugely by way of prohibitive laws and regulations.   Hence marijuana has become one of the biggest cash crops in the USA, employing tens of thousands of people -- all because of the laws against its sale and distribution.   Without those laws, tens of thousands of additional Americans would be thrown out of work.  

F.   Failure is Rewarded:   You know we must live in an artificially-maintained and propped - up economy when failure is rewarded and success is penalized.   Citizens everywhere are being told they need to tighten their belts, and work harder so that we can bail out our failed government, banks, insurance companies and even car companies.   And when we work harder and achieve some success, they tax that success heavily so as to indefinitely pay for these large, too-big-to-fail, fraudulence-based institutions.   Yet this enormous  amount   of money creation and taxation, necessary for the bailouts, is light years from solving the root cause of the problem.   The reality is that the bankster-centric solutions are the problem!   Why?   Because they enrich the investor class at the expense of the middle class.   Global bankers are gambling (mostly successfully, so far, since being bailed out) with taxpayer money, and the money of many future generations, in a global casino royale, which growing numbers of financial analysts say is destined to eventually fail.   And they are stealing us blind in the process.   

G.   Corporate entities have the same rights as humans, but not the same risks of punishment:  

When the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the free-speech rights of people, it was one of the final nails in the coffin of this republic:   Monied interests can now openly finance "our" elections and buy the legislation they need in order to operate with impunity.   Corporations may be comprised of humans, but they are not subjected to the same standards of humanity.   It was profoundly argued in the article, "What If BP Were a Human Being?"   that, judged by common standards of morality, decency, and previously agreed-upon definitions of criminality, BP would be judged both a psychopathic killer . . and immortal.   Ditto for the rest of those leading the predatory corporate rat pack, the most obvious being defense contractors.     And since these corporations are now joined at the hip with government itself, what does that make our government?     

H.   People buy things they don't need, with money they don't have:   In a type of trickle-down debt whirlpool, our government's rampant spending, without sufficient assets to back it up, is mirrored in the behavior of the American consumer.   Despite inflation, rising unemployment , and a continued collapse in real estate, American consumers haven't stopped their rampant credit-based spending.   In fact, the Associated Press just reported that Americans swiped their credit cards much more often this last October than they did in the previous month, and borrowed similarly more to attend school and buy cars.   As the Federal Reserve reported consumers increased their borrowing by $14.2 billion in October over and above what they borrowed in the previous month.   Total borrowing rose to an all-time high of $2.75 trillion.   Borrowing in the category that covers autos and student loans increased by $10.8 billion.   Borrowing on credit cards rose by $3.4 billion.   Most troubling is the type of borrowing that was most prevalent:   negative-return investments such as student loans, credit cards, and cars.   All this reflects a kind of magical thinking that renders people completely blind as to where all this is headed.   

I.   Engineered Slavery:   Do you think slavery died in the 1800s?   Think again.   Economic hit-men (lenders, essentially) have successfully enslaved-by-debt practically everything and everyone on the planet:     entire industries, entire nations, state and local governments, and individuals.   And they bought your servitude with money they simply created out of thin air!    So, even if an individual doesn't have any bank financing or credit cards, they must still make payments to the privately owned Federal Reserve, . . through Fed-induced inflation and excessive income taxes.   As author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins, would say:   The time has come for the banks to collect their "pound of flesh" from average citizens -- by way of higher taxes, fewer social services, and the confiscation of your pensions -- i.e. "austerity."   For an enlightening explanation of how economic hit-men work their dark magic please watch this video.  

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Another, more obvious, form of engineered slavery is prison labor.   Laws and regulations are specifically created to add to the prison population, which, when maximized, enriches the corporations that own them, while local communities actually become poorer and more dangerous (source). 


Until we are committed to doing something about the nine points above (A through I), we will remain in the grip of a kind of collective hallucination, caught in a downward socioeconomic spiral.   

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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