Leaders of 20 nations meet next week in Washington to discuss the global financial crisis. If they're serious about reform, they'll discuss ways to replace the debt-based monetary system in use worldwide. More of us need to be educated about the anti-democratic and wealth-destroying aspects of this flawed system so we can hold politicians to account if they try to avoid needed change.
These leaders had better be up to facing the grim reality of our financial predicament. The dollars, euros, pounds, yen, pesos, rubles, rupees, and francs of the world are the paperwork of a rigged accounting system that favors the wealthy elite and cunning speculators.
In the United States, our dollars are loaned into existence. They have purchasing power and can certainly buy things of real wealth. However, a dollar bill in itself is just a measure of national debt. How many Americans understand that if the last dollar were to pay off the last debt in the economy, the money supply would disappear? Zilch, kaput!! Not a blank token left! What kind of wealth is that!
A dollar bill has hypnotic powers. It has been printed as green currency on nice paper, dressed up with patriotic symbolism, blessed by the Secretary of the Treasury, sanctified In God We Trust, endowed with the power to reproduce itself ad infinitum, and issued and controlled as a private monopoly by the Brotherhood of Bankers.
Our monetary system enables this extrajudicial brotherhood to "serve" the nation as a quasi-Fourth Estate of government-and even to ride roughshod over the First Estate. Didn't Democrats and Republicans in Washington just capitulate to the bankers' demands for hundreds of billions of our dollars? Isn't outright surrender like this un-American? It's like seeing a cowboy roped and trussed up by a herd of haggling nerds.
Why is the term "legal tender" printed on every dollar bill? Because the dollar undermines the social fabric to such an extent that it has to be legalized, in the sense of legalized gambling or prostitution.
In the meantime, we're being "debted" to death to support this monetary system that can only survive by turning us all into debtors of an increasingly desperate variety. With more debt comes more default of it and more emotional anguish for our citizens.
Consequently, those of us left playing this rigged game are paying alarmingly high interest to the banks, especially on our (force-fed) credit cards. This says nothing of our billion-dollar payouts in corporate welfare-and now trillion-dollar payouts to fend off corporate bankruptcies and preserve the status quo-that feels like a privatized form of double taxation.
Meanwhile, we're also on the hook to keep the system and ourselves afloat through our continuing debt-based consumerism as well through our tax obligations. In addition, we pay billions in interest on the national debt and, indirectly, billions more on corporate debt through the higher prices businesses and corporations feel required to charge us.
Thank you, Federal Reserve and Mr. Bernanke, for your loving support of the American people and your sympathy for our dreams and aspirations. Apparently, our leaders are feeling a little ashamed of themselves, and are planning to toss us a few nickels and dimes from another stimulus package.
Meanwhile, every time a dollar circulates, the financial system skims off our hard-earned money in the form of interest, fees, penalties, and taxes. Through generations of exposure to this undemocratic system, we breathe it in without discrimination, like a poor kid surviving the dirty air of East Los Angeles. To keep our eyes off the ball, the system is trumpeted as "the American way."
Our generation can't hope to pay back all this mounting national debt. So the debt is passed along to those currently unregistered voters known as unborn Americans as a reverse inheritance to teach them tough love.
We're presuming our children and grandchildren will be ancestor-worshippers eager to cover these debts on top of their own rising cost of living. Let's hope they have the gumption and good sense to bury these debts-these legal claims on their labor-at our grave sites and put up a parking lot.
We're already leaving to our descendants an environmentally degraded world. What kind of creeps are we if we also leave to them a world depleted of real wealth through warfare, unproductive borrowing, consumptive debt, and a flawed monetary policy?
Our monetary system rested on an international gold standard in the 1960s. France and other European countries, worried about the inflationary effects on the dollar of the Vietnam War, began to redeem their U.S. dollars for gold. The substantial outward flood of gold from the United States ceased in 1971 when Richard Nixon closed "the gold window," effectively ending the international gold standard. (The domestic gold standard ended in 1933.)
According to InflationData.com, the total inflation between 1971 and August, 2008 was 450.57 percent. The inflation rate on a pure gold standard between 1665 and 1776 was zero. In subsequent years, inflation kicked in mainly due to the consequences of warfare--the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the First and Second World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War.