The Mark of the Beast?
There were many questions to a recent interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwwcNSR6nQE. I did last Friday (released Sunday) asking about what a “cashless” society would mean so I’ve decided to expand on it. As it turns out, the timing was very good (by mistake) because over the weekend Europe announced plans to discontinue the 500 euro notehttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/16/business/international/european-central-bank-weighs-eliminating-500-euro-bill.html?_r=0. This was immediately followed on Monday with a trial balloon by Larry Summers https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/16/its-time-to-kill-the-100-bill/ calling for the end to the $100 bill. You can certainly see where they are headed!
First, let’s look at why they want to do this and then move on to what exactly it will mean to you and me. If we take Larry Summers at his word (something I hesitate to do!), discontinuing the $100 bill will hamper corruption and terrorism. He also talks about the use of cash for tax evasion purposes. It is said drug dealers would be put out of business if cash were banned. Maybe so but then you must ask yourself “who” is at the heart of supply and generates “dark” cash flow for funding? Wouldn’t this be like shooting yourself in the foot?
As for terrorism, I agree there are some crazies out there who want to do some very radical things. However, I would ask you the following questions. How many “terror attacks” have actually been false flags? And who actually funds some of these terror organizations? Have you ever “followed the money” to see who actually funds ISIS or even formed Al Qaeda years ago? Enough said I think.
Now let’s get to the REAL reasons to ban currency. First and foremost, those in power understand the viability to the current system is now very limited. In other words, they know the system is going to come down. On one hand the West has already passed legislation for “bail ins”. On the other hand, how best would it be best to corral capital into these banks they know will be bailed in? Now your putting the dots together!
This all assumes a couple of things. First, is there even enough time left before the system goes upside down to corral cash back into the banks? Then, will the population accept it willingly or will they revolt? The answer to the first question I believe is “no”. The system is so unstable (the East knows this), we can wake up any morning (probably a Monday) and find the markets cannot be opened.
The next question is whether the population will accept it? If markets have already seized up, I think the answer is a resounding no. Who, no matter how oblivious they are would give up their cash if they’ve already seen the banks bail in their balances? The problem of course is whether or not the currency even retains any value in the event of a collapse (no)? If the ban on cash were to come quickly and before collapse, I believe the American public would be split. Many, (me included) would not go for it, others would go along with it just as Bostonians allowed the police into their homes with no resistance. On this point, I am not sure what the reaction would be if the current chewing gum cobbling the markets together does hold. After the collapse it will be a moot point as the “acceptance” of paper dollars may only last two weeks to a month. For this reason, I do not believe we will go cashless until AFTER a collapse as we will “need” a new currency (digital or not). However, any new currency will necessarily be backed by something (gold?) to create confidence.
When you break this down, the real reason for a cashless society is “control”. What would people do if interest rates went negative? This is a very good question because it is the only policy option left for central banks. There would be a run on the banks and people would simply withdraw their cash. This would mean people moving out of the system instead of staying in the ringed fence area. A run on physical cash poses big problems for our planners, and “why” they will try to do away with it.
Without “cash”, the public will be at the mercy of those pushing and pulling the levers. Your account could be frozen for any reason. Your account could be stolen for any reason. In other words, by banning cash they are throwing away “the key” to your exit door and control of the masses becomes simple. I use the word “simple” because without “money” you cannot purchase food. Here in the U.S., we are no longer farmers. Instead we just go to the grocery market and get what we need or want. If someone had “control” over the availability to your money, they have control over your food …and ultimately YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!
We did receive some questions like “what good will gold and silver do if there is no cash to trade for?”. I would first say, any time something is banned or outlawed, the value always goes higher in the black markets. This is what spawned the bootlegging and moonshine industries. Just ask NASCAR and the Kennedys! More importantly, gold and silver will still be valued and coveted in the East, if you have some metal outside of borders prior to capital controls you will be able to take advantage of this. Further, a cashless society being created to hide collapse will NOT prevent the collapse, ie. the tree still fell in the woods even though no one heard it. Some sort of financial system will necessarily rise like a Phoenix from the current one, gold and silver will have value and will finance the re start. Unless 5,000 years of history is turned upside down, you can bank on this.
As for the title “The Mark of the Beast”, I referred to this in my last interview. This situation of not being able to conduct commerce without the “mark” was briefly written about in the Bible. It was described in Revelations. Is this description not one of a “cashless society”? How will one do business if they have no “card” (mark) or in today’s world maybe even an implanted RFID chip? I find it incredible that writings from a time even before the printing press was invented, anyone could opine or even speak of a cashless society. From a human standpoint, a cashless society could only have been dreamed about over the last 30-40 years or so as the technology did not exist prior. I am not sure about you but even as a child in the 60′s, if someone told me I could “put money in the bank” but someone (other than my Dad) could control how much or whether I could take it out, spend it or use it …my bank account would never have been opened in the first place!
I have taken some heat recently and been accused of trying to turn my blog into “the God channel”. Mentioning “the mark of the beast” will probably bring further such comments. I write what I write out of logic as that is the way my mind works. If my logic in financial affairs or economics is wrong, please tell me how or where you believe it is faulty. Please don’t tell me I am an idiot because I am a Christian and some “big eye in the sky cannot exist”. This country was originally formed because of religious and economic persecutions. If you disagree with my faith, either ignore it or please allow my logic to stand on its own and attack that, not the messenger.
The fact is, “good and evil” do exist and we are now facing evil factions trying to control us by controlling our access to savings from our past labors and investment. Please understand, this is not only about control but also about “cloaking” what they are doing. Money supply and indebtedness can then be hidden, altered, changed or whatever they choose from behind the scenes. Doing away with cash has nothing to do with “convenience” for you or “protecting you” from terrorists, it has everything to do with snapping a leash to your life’s collar!
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It ought to be a foregone conclusion that Mr. Obama’s replacement starting January 20, 2017 will preside over conditions of disorder in everyday life and economy never seen before. For the supposedly thinking class in America, the end of reality-optional politics will come as the surprise of their lives.
Where has that hypothetical thinking class been, by the way, the past eight years? Don’t look for it in what used to be called “the newspapers.” The New York Times has become so reality-averse that the editors traded in their blue pencils for Federal Reserve cheerleader pompoms after the Lehman incident of 2008. Every information-dispensing organ has followed their lede: The Recovery Continues! It’s a sturdy plank for promoting the impaired asset known as Hillary.
Don’t look for the thinking class in the universities. They’ve surrendered their traditional duties to a new hybrid persecution campaign that is equal parts Mao Zedong, the Witches of Loudon, and the Asylum at Charenton. For instance the President of Princeton, Mr. Eisgruber, was confronted with a list of demands that included 1) erasure of arch-segregationist Woodrow Wilson’s name from everything on campus, and 2) creation of a new all-black (i.e. segregated) student center. He didn’t blink. Note: nobody in the media asked him about this apparent contradiction. That’s how we roll these days.
Don’t look for the thinking class in business. The C-suites are jammed with people still busy buying back stock in their own companies at outlandish prices with borrowed money. Why? To artificially boost share price and thus their salaries and bonuses. Does it do anything for the fitness of enterprise? No, in fact it makes future failure more likely. Why is their no governance of their insane behavior? Because they’ve also bought and paid for boards of directors composed of a rotating cast of praetorian shills, with fresh recruits entering the scene weekly through the fabled “revolving door” between business and government regulators.
Oh, and then there’s government. Anyone viewing the boasting-and-defamation contests that the cable TV networks call “debates” knows that these spectacles are based on the opposite of thinking. They are not only reality-optional, they’re thought-optional. Hence, it appears for now that America is fixing to elect either a primal screamer or a road-tested grifter to preside over the epochal collapse of our hobbled, exhausted, way of life.
The recent carnage in the stock markets will probably see a retracement after the President’s Day hiatus. They’re bouncing up in other parts of the world today, the triumph of hope over all the available evidence that something fatal has happened out there in Tom Friedman’s supposedly permanent global economy. Some observers suspect that it has something to do with the price of oil, because the oil futures market and the stock indexes seem to go up and down in tandem. But they don’t really get it.
How hard is it to understand that A) that something adverse happens to oil companies when it costs them $70-a-barrel to hoist the product out of the ground and then sell it for $30-a-barrel? And B) that all of the infrastructure of techno-industrial civilization was designed to run on oil under $30-a-barrel and founders when the price goes higher? That’s how it is. That’s your basic reality.
We’ve been trying to work around this vexing problem — the non-linear manifestation of the supposedly bygone predicament called “peak oil” — since the early part of this century. Mainly, we worked around it by borrowing money that wasn’t there. Having created this matrix of borrowed money, we’ve also created an expectation in market obligations that it must be paid back. In fact, the process of paying back money owed is the only thing that supports confidence in a system based on that essential trust — even if that expectation was unreal to begin with. When it is violated, terrible things happen in markets and economies.
Those terrible things are underway. We’re going to be a much-distressed and poorer so-called republic when this year is done with us. The markets will crack and the trade relations that comprise globalism will fall apart as nations and regions of nations struggle to survive. We’ll move inexorably to a very possibly disastrous election. We’ll face the basic choices, as distressed societies always do, of freaking-and-acting-out (usually in the form of war), or opting for a reunion with reality and its mandates. So far, it’s not looking good for the better option.
If you are a thinking person, the months ahead might be your last chance to protect whatever wealth you have and to move to some part of the country where, at least, you can grow some of your own food and become a useful part of a social and economic network that might be called a community.
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The System Has Failed
No wonder we’re devolving into a society of a few privileged haves and a vast populace of marginalized have-nots.
American culture contextualizes failure in individualistic terms: the system didn’t fail–you failed. Never mind the system is set up to fail many (if not most) participants: the cultural narrative is that failure to succeed, failure to get ahead, and failure to fit in all boils down to personal failure: failure to follow the rules, work harder, please your boss, transition to a new career, extricate yourself from dysfunctional situations, and so on.
This narrative of individual failure and redemption is the foundation of thousands of self-help books, seminars, motivational speeches and the ever-present gung-ho rah-rah: you can beat any odds if you work hard enough, get out there and meet the right people, sell yourself, etc. etc.
Pop culture is a schizoid mix of this “dress/socialize/study for success” celebration of individual initiative and an equally zealous embrace of victimhood and self-pity: I made all these ridiculously poor choices because my family was dysfunctional or I was led astray.
No wonder our culture is psychotic. The way to get sympathy (and rationalize poor choices) is to make yourself out as even more of a victim than the rest of the self-justifying crowd.
But the ideal turn-around to self-pity and victimhood is the personal redemption via hard work, discipline, better choices, going back to school, etc.
These inspirational narratives at the heart of American culture serve a useful purpose, but they ignore the other half of the story: our institutions have failed us: they have failed not just the failures but the successful as well. They have failed the nation and every one of its citizens, but this systemic failure is verboten: speaking of systemic failure invites ridicule as a loser who blames the system instead of themselves.
Memo to the motivation-solves-everything crowd: Self-help books and rah-rah speeches won’t change failed systems.
What can we say about a system that has hired tens of thousands of college administrators (under-assistant associate deans of student affairs et al.) at $200,000 each for doing nothing remotely productive in terms of educating students for the real world, while the system cheers impoverished students to take on $100,000 in student debt for increasingly worthless college diplomas?
How can anyone claim a system that glorifies the construction of $100 million student union complexes while loading over a trillion dollars of debt on students is not part of the success-failure equation?
Instead of shrugging off the systemic failure and pushing every student to borrow even more and “go back to school” as the “solution” to marginalization, how about turning our energies on tearing down a failed system and creating a system of higher education that is 90% cheaper and 90% more effective?
If you think this is “impossible,” please read my book The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy. It’s not only possible, it’s necessary.
How can anyone claim a system that charges $22,000 for an emergency room visit for acute pain in the right side of the abdomen, and misdiagnoses what turns out to be appendicitis (and charges another $22,000 for the second visit a few hours later, and $40,000+ for the operation) is not part of the success-failure equation? (True story.)
As I have noted here before, the system only generates jobs for those whose labor is profitable. Unprofitable work is paid by the government, and that’s how we end up with $500 Pentagon hammers, $800 cotton balls and $100,000 for worthless college degrees.
The system itself is broken, from the incestuous corruption of Washington D.C. to every institution that feeds at the federal/state trough. But it’s not just the central state that’s broken–the private sector is broken, too, because profitable work is increasingly scarce.
Though the culture insists everyone is equal not just in civil rights but in potential to go out and be a sports hero, Steve Jobs clone, etc., the reality is many of us will never manage to shoehorn ourselves into these rah-rah success boxes. It’s not that we’re not willing to work hard, or give it our best shot–we just don’t have the capacity to do the stuff that’s profitable in this economy.
Everyone that doesn’t have what it takes to be brilliant, flexible, sociable to a fault, etc., is marginalized: their role in the system is to fill a dead-end job, enlist in the army of Precariats scratching out an insecure free-lance living, or sink into some variety of state dependence: “crazy money,” disability, early retirement, etc.
I am all for carving out an individual definition and measure of success. That’s the reason I wroteGet a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy and listed the eight essential skills everyone should develop if they want to navigate an increasingly challenging economy.
But individual initiative and developing new skills and capital isn’t going to fix failed systems.That requires admitting the over-arching systems and institutions of the nation have failed and need to be completely re-worked from the ground up.
This isn’t a job for a centralized state, for the simple reason the source of the failure is centralization itself, as centralization concentrates wealth that then corrupts concentrated power which then destroys democracy.
The need for a new decentralized, more humane and truly democratic system is why I wrote A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All: The Future Belongs to Work That Is Meaningful.
We can’t magically make all of us equal in ability, bandwidth, or sociability, and embracing the illusion that this is possible is a core reason why our culture is toxic and our economy is stagnant. We need a system that has productive social roles and meaningful work for everyone, not just the well-connected, the brilliant and the highly flexible multi-tasker.
No wonder we’re devolving into a society of a few privileged haves and a vast populace of marginalized have-nots: the system has failed, but we can’t even talk about it.