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October 13, 2008

Capitalism Condemned in Scriptures; Let's Dump It

By Jay Janson

"The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The most astounding sleight of hand ever invented. If you want to be slaves of bankers, and pay the costs of your own slavery, let the banks create money." Lord Josiah Stamp, Director of The Bank of England. The Bible encourages loans to help the poor, but forbids charging interest. "Those who persist in usury, incur Hell, wherein they abide forever" Qur'an 2:275


Capitalism, Initially Condemned in Scriptures As Immoral, Proves Itself So. Let's Dump It!

Our present scare of suffering from a bankrupt fraudulent banking system run by amoral capitalists in cahoots with their corrupted and complicit cronies in government points to a climate of immorality, arrogance and mindless uncontrolled violence within our accepted modes of predatory capitalist society: a society guilty of crimes against humanity, hypocritically claimed as victories over evil and backwardness in the Third World.

Overwhelmingly responsible for the basic dishonesty of the American led globalization race to commoditize the natural resources of the entire world for private profit is the public's omniscient teacher, conglomerate owned and cartelized entertainment/news media - a corporate interest serving industry that reaches down into elementary schools and molds the disinformation from which sermons are given from pulpits all over the nation.

Though we all still have that kernel of truth dormant inside us, ostensibly taught us by all our religions, namely, that usury is sinful to the highest degree, Big Brother commercial media has long glossed over and buried this moral teaching in a pile of kitsch and desperate pleasure seeking selfishness promotion.

But even this atheist can recall the many injunctions and exhortations for sane behavior found in religious scripture regarding injurious practices of capital accumulation, e.g.

In Hebrew belief:

"The Torah and Talmud encourage the granting of loans, but only if it doesn't involve interest, with certain exceptions. Charging interest is classed in the Book of Ezekiel as being among the worst sins, and is forbidden according to Jewish law. The Talmud dwells particularly on Ezekiel's condemnation of interest, where Ezekiel denounces it as an abomination, and metaphorically portrays usurers as people who have shed blood.

In The Bible,

The Torah expresses regulations against the charging of interest in the Exodus 22:25-27, Leviticus 25:36-37 and Deuteronomy 23:20-21. In Leviticus loans themselves are encouraged, whether of money or food, emphasizing that they enable the poor to regain their independence, but, like the other two places in the Bible, forbids the charging of interest on the loan. All three places state that the charging of interest is exploitative. In Exodus and Deuteronomy it is clear that it would be acceptable to charge interest on any loan to a non-Israelite. [from Wikipedia article on usury]"
And from The Qur'an,

"Those who charge usury are in the same position as those controlled by the devil's influence. This is because they claim that usury is the same as commerce. However, GOD permits commerce, and prohibits usury. ... As for those who persist in usury, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever" [2:275]

Consider what misanthropic unfairness the world puts up in the name of 'practical economics':

Firstly, private finance capitalists are forced by competition to base almost every and all endeavor for wealth accumulation on usury at the highest rate socially bearable while secondly, seeking to artificially arrange situations wherein from a pool of the landless, captive citizens are forced to into acceptance of the duress of forced labor at the mercy of usurers, who, with the cooperation of government, manage to compound usury further by lending and purchasing with money they do not actually posses; money that does not exist except  fictitiously; money created through the issuance of certificates backed by only by a fraction of the trading value of such certificates but deviously and deceptively recognized as legal tender by governments whose officials are cronies of capitalists and complicit participants in their unjust and kleptomaniac system of the financial domination of all Mankind within their reach.

Thomas Jefferson warned America in the 1809 Debate Over The Re-charter Of The Bank Bill,

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . . If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] . . . will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered . . . The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."
And an elucidating in depth 1937 warning from Lord Josiah Stamp, after serving many years as Director of The Bank of England,

"The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The most astounding piece of sleight of hand ever invented. If you want to be slaves of bankers, and pay the costs of your own slavery, let the banks create money. Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money."
With the near monopoly on dissemination of news and information exercised by conglomerate owned media, it is logical and intentional that ninety-nine percent of the citizenry believe that the Federal Reserve is a real government institution.  The word 'Federal' was purposely and misleadingly placed in its title. What kind of Reserve?  A government  reserve and lender of last resort? No! Federal Reserve Banks are privately owned.

"The Federal Reserve System virtually controls the nation's monetary system, yet it is accountable to no one. It has no budget; it is subject to no audit; and no Congressional Committee knows of, or can truly supervise, its operations." [Murray N. Rothbard, economist and academic advisor of the Ludwig von Mises Institute]

The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, appointed by the President of the United States, is the link that wields together private capital and government.

Was Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan for years shaping the present melt down as a dedicated follower of Ayn Rand, whose amoral philosophy of 'enlightened selfishness' is said to have appealed to Greenspan more than the free-market skepticism of John Maynard Keynes[*]?

Today's captive TV, radio, newspaper, magazine and tabloid audiences have been sold the same bill of goods over and over again; that capitalism is the bringer of the amenities and material benefits presently enjoyed by the top quarter of the world's population and a promise of eventual trickle-down future prosperity for the exploited three fourths of Mankind. The cruel and harsh policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are explained away and justified as a temporary and necessary suffering on the way to panacea and utopia by capitalism's darling double-talking denier of the U.S. history of high protective tariffs, Milton Friedman.

Commercial media, serving the interests of their wealthy owners, blocks from public attention the writings of our greatest scholars, who have explained that technology brought forth by human imagination and applied by human cooperation is what has built up great material progress and not personal greed and the selfish profit motive.

Indeed it is precisely for the rapid pace of scientific discovery and its unavoidably quick implementation in new technology that makes private capitalist profit and the drive for ownership power and control ever more difficult within an old-fashioned, reactionary and retrogressive system of continued accumulation of capital per se.

In lieu of honest economics journalism in media today, we can learn from American's most famous economist, Thorstein Veblen, who wrote a century ago.

Veblen assumed depression to  be the normal condition in a business-enterprise economy, to be relieved in periods of excitation caused by stimuli not intrinsic to the system (e.g., war, expansion abroad, etc.)

"For Thorstein Veblen, John Maynard Keynes[*] and Karl Marx, profits showed a tendency toward zero in the long run as the supply of capital, i.e., of productive capacity, increased. This would be true were it not for destructive compensating factors making for contrived or natural scarcities of goods - e.g., wars, geographic expansion, monopolistic restriction of production." [Thorstein Veblen, by Douglas Dowd]

We are presently witnessing technological advances arriving at mind-blowing speed, too many of which, rather than improving the lives of majority mankind, are being misused by the aberrant, ignorant and fearful minds of the capitalist masters of our fraudulent economy and ever more hyped and cheapened consumer culture. Apparently, these 2008 clever tricks of the holders and disposers of the common wealth co-opted into private hands that package and re-market debt as if it were real capital, are nothing new,

For way back In 1894, one could read,

"Fictitious values (credit moneys) are thrown into circulation as capital and converted into fictitious forms of capital. As a result, 'the greater portion of banker's capital is purely fictitious and consists of claims (bills of exchange), government securities (which represent spent capital) and stocks (drafts on future revenue)' [Das Capital, vol. 3, p. 469)  Friedrich Engels from notes left by Karl Marx]

Obviously, the severity of the capitalism's amoral threat to the quality of money as a means of exchange was obvious to economists one hundred and fifty years ago.

In the chapter The Myths and Realities of the Free Market, in Against the Conventional Wisdom - a Primer for Current Economic Controversies and Proposals, published in 1997, economic historian Douglas Dowd points out that

"It should be acknowledged that the financial sector is dominant not in the servicing of productive investment that has provided its reputability, but now dominates speculation in securities and in the foreign exchange market (the latter exceeding $2.6 trillion per day) It is estimated that more than $40 trillion are involved in derivatives games.
... the role of investment and trade in the daily Foreign Exchange Market fell from the 1986 figure of around  10 to perhaps 1 percent in 1997, leaving the remaining 99 percent for speculation in one ore another of its many forms. Decisions are made by gamblers more than by, in the approved sense of the term, "enterprisers."  

But already in 1922, Veblen had admonished that,

"The current situation in America [1922] is by way of being something of a psychiatrical clinic...Perhaps the commonest and plainest evidence of ... unbalanced mentality is to be seen in a certain fearsome and feverish credulity with which a large proportion of Americans are affected.... There is a visible lack of composure and logical coherence, both in what they will believe and in what they are ready to do about it."

Thorstein's observations were made during a period when big business first grew to giant size; when financial manipulation and frantic speculation-perhaps the epitome of "getting something for nothing" -had already become an integral and even admirable activity for a large number of Americans."

Our Noam Chomsky writing in the Irish Times, republished by Common Dreams, Oct. 10, '08, explains how we arrived at this month's debacle in Anti-Democratic Nature of US Capitalism is Being Exposed

"... predictably, the narrow sectors that reaped enormous profits from [during a few decades of] liberalization are calling for massive state intervention to rescue collapsing financial institutions.

Such interventionism is a regular feature of state capitalism, though the scale today is unusual. A study by international economists Winfried Ruigrok and Rob van Tulder 15 years ago found that at least 20 companies in the Fortune 100 would not have survived if they had not been saved by their respective governments, and that many of the rest gained substantially by demanding that governments "socialize their losses," as in today's taxpayer-financed bailout. Such government intervention "has been the rule rather than the exception over the past two centuries", they conclude.
... after the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system in the 1970s, the US treasury now regards free capital mobility as a "fundamental right", unlike such alleged "rights" as those guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: health, education, decent employment, security and other rights that the Reagan and Bush administrations have dismissed as "letters to Santa Claus", "preposterous", mere "myths".
"Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business," concluded America's leading 20th century social philosopher John Dewey, and will remain so as long as power resides in "business for private profit through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by command of the press, press agents and other means of publicity and propaganda".

We close by restating our theme: the absence of ethics and morality in the capitalist system, a system of thievery, with a tellingly severe footnote on the shameful present, which is firmly positive about Man's eventual return to upright, honorable and moral standards.

[*] John Maynard Keynes describing our coming era in "The Economic Possibilities of Our Grandchildren":

"In this millennium, wealth will no longer be of social import, morals will change, and we shall be able to rid ourselves of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We will be able to dare to assess the money motive at its true value.
The love of money as a possession - as distinguished from love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life - will be recognized for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities, which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in MENTAL DISEASE."]

Perhaps posterity will derive a decisive advantage if honest folks today learn from a helpless U.S., a United States causing a world financial disaster while still forcing through feckless bailouts for already well-off capitalists who provoked the melt-down, and come to realize their misplaced faith in the tyrannical and homicidal leadership of the wealthy and powerful few over planet Earth and its billions in number human population.

Maybe this month's $700,000,000 tax-payer's rescue of Wall Street tycoons and similar moves around the capitalist governed  world economy will rev-up motor's of indignation and awaken many millions to the amoral nature and immoral consequences of a now defunct overly sly system of capitalism, so out of place in the space age and age of instant communication.

As a kid, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, yours truly learned from overhearing comments and expletives in the street, in stores and even on the radio that a 'capitalist' was a dangerous, despicable, dishonorable, greedy out of control individual bent on deceptively tricking innocent people out of their money, possessions, homes and the fruit of their own labor.

In my high-school history books, the word capitalist never appeared to describe the fabulously wealthy and powerful 'captains of American industry', though the question, "Were they robber barons?" was put forward in college texts for discussion.

It was only when this kid became middle aged, that the term 'capitalism' began to be gingerly referred to by TV commentators and op-ed writers, sanitized, its murderous anti-union history forgiven in obvious propaganda that presumptuously credited most of modern human achievement and progress to 'the capitalism system'.

The wheel has come full circle. Capitalism recently beatified, today, by its own undoing stands before us defrocked, exposed and naked in shame and embarrassing confusion.

Capitalism, by definition marginalizing ethics and social well-being, presents itself as unreformable.

When asked, 'well, what could we replace capitalism with?' Answer, replace it with economics of fairness, honesty, ethical behavior and caring humanism!

Submitters Website: http://prosecuteuscrimesagainsthumanitynow.blogspot.com

Submitters Bio:

Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong's Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents, Kerala, India; Minority Perspective, UK; Dissident Voice, Uruknet; Voice of Detroit; Ethiopian Review; Palestine Chronicle; India Times; Mathaba; Ta Kung Bao; China Daily; South China Morning Post; Come Home America; OpEdNews; HistoryNews Network; Vermont Citizen News have published his articles; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign: (King Condemned US Wars) and website historian of Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign. featuring a country by country history of US crimes and laws pertaining. Studied history at CCNY, Columbia U., U. Puerto Rico, Dolmetscher Institut Munchen, Germany. Musician grassroots activist dedicated firstly to ending colonial power "genocide in maintenance of unjust predatory investments," by Majority Mankind prosecution of Colonial Powers Crimes Against Humanity and Peace and mega immense compensation for wrongful death, maiming and destruction and magna theft of natural resources and forced labor and enslavement. Will be made possible when Martin Luther King Jr. demand that America, Americans, he included himself, [not government which he dismissed a greatest purveyor of violence in the world, not cause] because of being capable making atrocity wars and covert genocide unacceptable and inoperable through non-participation, non-support, not-acquiescence and conscientious objection, and that Americans would suffer at home as a result of killing the poor in countries already violated by colonial occupation. Dissident Voice supports the call to Prosecute US Crimes against Humanity Now Campaign with link bottom of each issue of its newsletter.