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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/26/08


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"The problems we face today cannot be solved by the minds that created them" - Albert Einstein, who also said that the greatest power in the universe was compound interest.

"Exponential economic growth required by the mathematics of compound interest on a money supply based on money as debt must always run up eventually against the finite nature of Earth's resources
."  -  British financial analyst Chris Cook.

Today we are in the long-foreseen transition period between a "debt-based economy" and hopefully a "resource-based"economy--and it's going to be difficult.

About ten to fifteen years ago, stories began emerging about certain activities involving the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and US Treasury intervention in Third World countries.

These institutions, it seems, had begun a lending practice, which entailed offering Third World countries cheap, low-interest money that they knew would not and could not be paid back - a practice that produced an Automatic Default Debt (ADD).

When those economically defenseless countries defaulted on IMF and World Bank loans (all in dollars), the banks in essence took over the economies of those countries, took over in debt repayments the bulk of those countries' wealth by simply collecting the interest on the original loans, incidentally equivalent to most of those nations' GDP.

If loan capital is never reduced, the interest on it is indefinite and, if compounded, is infinite.

Bells in the First World began ringing several years ago when a financial practice called "predatory lending," particularly in the United States sub prime mortgage market, began to appear in the media.


These mortgage debts were "suddenly" defaulting and appearing as embarrassments on the red side of large First World lending institutions' balance sheets--institutions which have since been accused of manipulating the banking system in order to bottom feed on the economically defenseless: People who did not have jobs, credit histories or money.

It now appears that these institutions loaned money to these people if they were just breathing and could hold a pen.

And when these  "Automatic Default Debts" (ADDs) came due, as they had to, they were also not honored, not paid.   As these banks knew when they sold them to Third World countries and defenseless American citizens.

But before the ADDs were due they were disguised ("securitized"--really meaning laundered through intricate insurance swaps) as gambling counters and bought, sold, repackaged, securitized again and resold under fancy names like "highly leveraged optimal return" financial instruments and other lies to gullible investors around the world.

(No wonder European banks are "furious" with Wall Street!)

But why lend money when you know it won't come back?  Because you know it will. Through Interest--or you take over the security for the loan.

Interest on debt is certainly income and income is money so therefore debt is money.

And it's a permanent income that over the years will far exceed the original loan --a permanent money supply for an original, one-time investment!

Debt-based economy--What a way to get (less) food onto the table!

Capitalism is falling apart not only through greed, but also because of its habit of unregulated gambling with other people's money, gambling freely with "Augmented, Capitalized, Highly-Leveraged financial instruments" that were always totally worthless except as counters in a game in which everyone at the top was a winner--for a while.

Until the pyramid got as big as it could and all the new players ended up with, "Too Little, Too Late," and, "Last In, First Out" down there in Foreclosure Alley.

(See  YouTube - The Homeless Families Of Florida 2008, YouTube - Foreclosure Alley - P1)

And that got us into several future generations of debt while the gambling went on, too.


Well, my real point is that all of the above should make a resource-based economy begin to look fairly attractive.

Some people say that's like socialism or some other non-democratic, non-capitalistic, non-"us" system of commerce.

But it's not.

It's the maturity that accepts Barak Obama's injunction to "spread the wealth." It's the determination to help find out how to do that. And it's the humility to accept the fact that we're all on this planet together and finally (like right now), have to share its resources to survive.

So if we agree that the first consideration of any economy is the sharing of its resources, food and the other basics, then a resource-based economic system (as opposed to the debt-based pyramid system now collapsing) could be part of the new start if we just open our eyes!

Naturally, there will have to be new fiscal disciplines but far, far divorced from the ones we are hopefully just leaving behind, disciplines based on the distribution of the planet's wealth in which we all share a heritage claim, being a natural part of the planet's organic infrastructure ourselves - our other organic heritage having been cannon fodder; we may have some choices here, now.

That inheritance obviously has to be used and properly maintained if we are to be worthy of it, like any inheritance. Not through work forced on us to repay the hoarding mechanisms of debt-based economies that we now understand are fundamentally instruments of indenture or financial slavery owned by a very few, but work shared in the structures and methods of resource gathering and distribution for all, starting with food and "ending" or evolving, with the amazing technologies emerging all around us.

The technologies to create and sustain a 'utopian' existence on this planet are more than just possible, they are here. We are living in one of the greatest moments in history--the possible end of capitalist debt-based (and primitive) military expansion and hopefully the beginning of a resource-based global expansion of our humanity.

There are enough replenishable resources to feed us all quite well, thank you--if we just look closely around us  and do something about it.


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Tom is a contributor to public debate on issues affecting our survival; works with a London and a South African think tank, is a working journalist and author.
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