Sunday, May 30, 2010

One World Currency

I have been revisiting the theory of "one world currency". As we watched Iceland and their banking/currency system completely melt down last year, and now watch Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy governmental debt completely drag the Euro down almost 20% against the has to consider the fundamentals that are causing these significant gyrations.

There is considerable chatter that the Euro's ills will soon spread to the dollar. This to me represents serious economic vulnerability of the west against the east since the stronger economies/currencies (debt-wise) of Asia, India and even "Middle East" factions are increasingly in a position to attack the economies of heavily indebted nations like the USA and many of the European Union. Future wars will be fought more with "cyber terrorism" and quiet economic attacks than bombs and missiles. I find myself agreeing with those that say the damage done to the USA on 9/11 by Bin Laden and company was more about undermining the USA economy than taking physical American lives...and it would seem they succeeded tremendously on that front when you look at the last decade of economic results in America and Western civilization.

As a market oriented person, it has always been apparent to me that nations who trade together don't go to war against each other. Economic and money ties are at the core of our global society. Many families worldwide marry into other families based more on economic parity and power than for "love". As globalization spreads in its irreversible dynamics, global corporations and their financial powers control more of the political and social agendas of the world.

In the midst of this significant reality of globalization, you have "States" continuing their striving to maintain the values of their individual currencies and "Central Banks" primarily chartered to preserve value and integrity of their various paper currencies. When currencies were first issued in the world they were based on solid reserves of commodities...basically gold. Hence, only a little more than 130 years ago there was a "gold rush" in America since at that time everyone was aware that Gold was worth much more than worthless paper. The underpinning reasons for the "Conquistador" era in Latin America was the thirst of Spain, England and other then empires for the gold that still proliferates in regions of Colombia, Panama and other Central/South American regions.

As I now observe many shrewd financial people in my circles investing and profiting with gold the past number of seems quite evident that change is coming. The global economy can no longer sustain the gyrations and false valuations of sovereign currencies which are constantly waylaid by their government's continued spending and printing of more and more worthless currency to match their consumerist palate. Governments as large as the USA are fighting a winless battle as its Federal Reserve continues manipulating the numbers and interest rates in order to control that which is uncontrollable. There will come a day when all this manipulation will force everything to a head where international powers and money will require a day of accounting. At that time of accounting, I believe you will see everyone starting to fall under a one world currency and adjustment of valuations in all currencies. This is the only way at some point global trade will be able to maintain itself. Eventually you have to take the currency/money power out of the hands of short term, short sighted politicians who produce nothing and spend everything...and hand those reins over to a global system of valuation for exchange. Just think of the wealth that can be saved just by getting rid of all these false systems/currencies...and various mintings of worthless currencies that consume billions each year that would better go towards paying of national debts or feeding the hungry. Better yet, get rid of all these various banking bureaucrats who continue to play games and manipulate currencies falsely...protecting their banking "buddies".

Now, I know these ideas bring great fear and anxiety to those with apocalyptic belief systems. Many Christians believe that Biblical prophesy predicts that just before the end of the world as we know it, there will be one world leader who will forge a one world currency and cause everyone in the world to have a "mark" to identify them. It is assumed that those who "accept" the mark will be unbelievers and miss out on the new world to come. Many religious sects have formed around these mysterious Biblical prophesies and I'm sure "one world currency" will be rejected by millions purely on this religious belief. Yet, I would point out that the current economic system is very contrary to original Judeo Christian ethics when it comes to debt and uses of "mammon" (money). How can a one world currency based on globally agreed upon valuation of representative currency be more "evil" than the systems and use of money we currently have?

Much of the Bible is based on Mosaic law about economics and use of money. It is actually one of the most prolific subjects in the Bible after "love". The Talmud is full of detailed instruction on money, debt, etc.. People are often critical of Jews and their historical proclivity towards accumulation of wealth even as a small minority race/nation. Yet, one can't argue with results...and I think much of their economic success over the millenniums have been about their base of fundamental economic principles that the rest of the world could use more of.

When I was young, I read in impacting book called "Productive Christians in the Age of Guilt Manipulators" by David Chilton which was basically a theological response to Christian "socialist" thinking of the 1960s-70s...the practice of "economic equality". I currently have this book in downloaded, digital form if any of you might be interested in it.

Some amazingly poignant quotes on money systems are as follows (remember, this was copyrighted 30 years go...)

(Pg 41-42 digital, 34-35 print version)
Historically and biblically, gold and silver in particular have served as money. The important thing to remember is that money is a commodity in itself. Gold and silver emerged as media of exchange precisely because they have always been the most marketable goods– in other words, they can easily be exchanged, again and again, for other commodities. Money is not a measurement of value (there can be no measure of value) or of wealth. Money does not “represent” wealth. Money is a commodity, a good, a form of wealth.

Dishonest governments have always hated this fact, because it prevents them from controlling money and society. “Hard money” is a strict limitation on a government’s ability to grow beyond biblical (moral) boundaries. For this reason, governments have sought to have a monopoly as the sole suppliers and regulators of currency. This enables government to go into the counterfeiting business, whereby it can debase the currency (by mixing the honest gold or silver weight with dross) and create as much “money” as it needs. This has happened again and again in history. It is forbidden by the law (as in the passage cited above; see also Proverbs 11: 1; 20:10, 23) and the prophets (Isaiah 1:22; Amos 8:5-6; Micah 6:10-12). This is an absolute biblical prohibition against inflation, which is a dishonest increase in the supply of money. Counterfeiting is condemned by Scripture, no matter whether it is done by individuals or governments. Inflating the currency is theft, for it reduces the wealth of everyone who does not have access to the “new money.” Prices rise in response to the addition of new currency, and those who are last in getting the newly-created money inevitably lose.

(Pg 162...print version, 198 digital)
"The factional reserve banking system can work against any group, depending on which group succeeds in gaining access to the newly created money first. For example, if the Federal government runs, a massive deficit — if! ! ! (a little humor)- and the Federal Reserve Board steps in and buys a portion of the government’s bonds by creating fiat money, the government will spend the newly created money in subsidizing its patrons. If this should be welfare recipients or Social Security pensioners, then these groups can benefit temporarily (at least until inflation destroys the value of the currency, not to mention the social order). Those
hard-pressed middle-class people who are on tight budgets may not choose (or be able) to indebt themselves. Thus, they see their savings go down the inflationary drain, while the poor, who have no savings, maintain their living standards by means of their ready access to “indexed” welfare payments. They get the fiat money first, spend it before it depreciates, and leave the middle class businessmen and families holding the bag-the “bag” being a savings account, or pension program, or annuity, or cash-value life insurance savings full of worthless paper money.

Under fractional reserve banking, which is universal today, it pays to be the favored group which gets access to the fiat money first, before its purchasing power deteriorates. We can expect class war eventually, such as Germany experienced in the years of mass inflation, 1921-23. Everyone wants to be the favored person in the race against price inflation, which is in turn caused by monetary inflation. Thus, by looking at the short run, and voting for a debt-based monetary system, today’s middle-class voter is sealing the doom of the social order which has permitted the economic benefits to flow to the middle class — a social order based on voluntary exchange, contract, social peace, and honest money. Ignorance of economics, when coupled with envy, and motivated by a false sense of guilt, can produce a devastating social crisis."

Now, while I hold many of my money and political views on reasons other than religious helped me immensely 30 years ago when I read this book to form some of my foundational philosophies on money and political systems from a morality position.

Finally, I point you to this recent article by Jim Sinclair, a precious metals and commodities specialist who predicts a world currency sometime this next decade. The results according to Mr Sinclair will be:

1. Gold will progressively lock price-wise in the inverse to the SDR or similar item.

2. An exchange will soon begin to trade a virtual SDR or similar item just as they trade a virtual dollar as the USDX or virtual gold as a paper gold.

3. The USDX will become redundant.

4. The ability to pay off the debt of previous reserve currencies with market de-valued paper is facilitated.

5. Currencies as a whole will decline.

6. That decline will be the SDR versus the gold price.

7. The method of attacking a currency is inherent in attacking its debt.

The answer is simple even though the problem is complex.

Reduce all your currency positions into strength. Buy gold in all its forms other than US or Euro based in weakness.

Gold will trade at $1650 and above. The US dollar continues its march in phases towards worth-less and worthlessness.

Based on these seems to me we could do far worse than to establish a new world currency system that take individual governments and politicians out of the system of economic controls. In my opinion, this will help us stabilize our world economically and totally end around the aspect of economic "wars" and false manipulations of currencies to support disastrous money policies by little people in high places.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My new voting criteria...

I have decided that YouTube and other online video services will now be my source of preference to preview and decide who I am voting for. The problem MAY BE finding anyone honest and intelligent enough to vote for. Still, I think one basic test that is fastest and most informative will be to listen to various actual comments these politicians make...and then vote or not based on their veracity and intellect.

Here are just a FEW examples that I have chosen to highlight in making my point. I have attempted to show balance in my selection...revealing that many politicians from any of the parties are suspect in their intellect and honesty.

Nancy Pelosi's "greatest hits"...

Sarah Palin's "greatest hits"...

Hypocrisy Watch: Eric Cantor

Covering up the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Scam

Hypocrisy of gay Congressmen...

And finally...Bill Maher, with his acerbic wit, takes on "Tea Baggers" and some of the general irrationality of many independent politicians regarding their solutions that don't add up...

Now...I just can't wait to see all the videos from politicians and big oil tycoons on the many coverups of the latest/greatest disaster of the Gulf Oil rig...

Who needs the network news when you have YouTube, MySpace et al...?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tale of Two Shipwrecks

I received an interesting email this morning comparing the two most famous shipwrecks of the past century to our current economic demise in the USA. The Titanic took 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink while the Lusitania sank in 18 minutes. In the case of the Titanic, passengers remained calm until it was too late. With the Lusitania, it was blind panic and quickly jumping ship.

As I did a quick wikipedia review of these disasters on the Lusitania and the Titanic, I was struck by how many allegories can be made between these disasters and the current economic crisis we face in America and elsewhere. Here are some of the connections I made...

The Titanic went down due to its own navigation error when it struck an iceberg. The Lusitania disaster was due to an attack by the German enemy. I see the US economic ship sinking for both reasons. We have struck the iceberg of our national and personal debt which was already sinking us...and on top of that our wars since 9/11 when our country was attacked by an almost invisible enemy is doing the rest of the job on killing our national economy.

Most Americans I talk to think that America is too big to "go down"...and "if we go down the rest of the world goes down with it". To me this mirrors the false confidence the Titanic passengers had in their ships modern structure and status. History also shows that the Titanic was replaced over time with many larger ships that carry MORE passengers. Lets face it, NO country or person is "irreplaceable" in light of historical facts.

In the case of the Lusitania, the passengers were warned before their last fateful crossing of the dangers of being the GERMAN embassy. They published this warning right next to the national ads advertising the return voyage of the ship back to England. Apparently no one believed that the "enemy" of this British ship could succeed in destroying it. Disregarding these strong warnings caused most of them to lose their lives on the subsequent voyage. In my opinion, Americans who are ignoring the many warnings and alarming statistics regarding the American currency, economy and debt load have a strong chance of experiencing the same fate...economically if not also physically through terrorist attacks and lack of controls on the enemies "within" our borders. I count as enemies not only Islamic Jihads, but also those in our government who would tear down our constitution and the rights associated in order to form THEIR version of socialism or worse that has never worked in the history of mankind. The warnings have been out for a long time now but very few are doing anything about it. A majority are just "going along for the ride".

Finally, I would have to point out that the list of those who perished was no respecter of status or wealth. As you read the list of famous people lost especially on the Lusitania, you realize that disasters like this take down everyone from the rich passengers to the crews who steered them into harms way. Everyone pays a price for having false preconceptions that they are safe and secure. When the panic begins, it will be every man for themselves.

For me the main lesson to be drawn here is that to avoid disaster, we had better heed the warnings we have been given and plan accordingly. It is not too late to "turn our ship around". Unfortunately it usually takes the permission of the "Captain" of the ship and his staff to do so. While mutiny and revolt are serious steps and perceived "illegal"...our country's history has proven that at times these actions are justified if it will "save lives" and/or preserve freedom. We still have time in American to PEACEFULLY turn the ship around...but if it comes to panic time, I fear we will see chaos and violence in our streets to the level where Greece' current level of violence related to economic disaster is but a small candle compared to a forest fire.

You have been warned...and not just by me!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Gulf Oil Disaster

This most recent oil disaster off the USA's gulf coast underscores a number of environmental and political realities we all face...with global implications. Lets look briefly at the cause and effect of this situation without examining the hows and the whys this happened or who is to blame. Lets just look at the "macros"...

Interesting that this USA offshore drilling operation is owned/operated by BP...NOT a USA oil company. Do they care as much or have as much liability as a USA company would in this situation? I admit, I have not studied or been following this CLOSELY, but I did catch news interviews with the CEO of BP and a few other interviews from industry "experts". Major "passing the buck" and cross finger pointing from all sides. Can anyone just step up and admit we ------ up and we'll get it fixed?

And of course, we know who will pay the price for repairing the damage. You think BP or governmental agencies will pay the bill? HA! It will come out of the consumers pockets WORLD WIDE even though the USA will bear the brunt of the environmental fallout of this huge oil-spill. Gas has already gone up 20 cents a gallon here in Panama since this disaster. See any linkage?

OH...and hope you don't eat or buy a lot of seafood. This area has 20% of the USA's supply of fresh seafood...and there is NO fishing going on right now. Any guesses on the prices for shrimp, lobster, etc in the USA in a couple of months? I think its back to "Big Macs" for a lot of Americans with skimpy budgets and big appetites.

And the biggest macro of long will the USA continue to consume so many fossil fuels compared to adopting greener, cleaner and more economical in the long run technologies and energy sources? Just watch the money flow from the world oil providers to the banks to the governments...and you will understand why the world is still so dependent on fossil fuels.

In case you need reminding...fossil fuels are non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form, and reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being formed. And they account for over 86% of our energy sources in the world. The day of reckoning is coming sooner than we know it...and in this relatively small way it is already here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

They Were Here First

I have always had a certain amount of conscience and sentimentality for indigenous Indians...from North American to Latin America to the many other global regions they have been largely deposed from. While North America's 200+ year history of growth and modernization as well as history's largest experiment with democracy is an amazing did not happen without the immoral and savage trampling over the "original" Americans. As I studied the REAL history of my nation's founding, I find it hard to be 100% proud of how things came to be and in essence our "white man's" total disregard and disrespect for so many Indian cultures throughout the Americas.

Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday because I believe it is founded on some of the most subtle atrocities the Pilgrims and other European pioneers elicited on their original hosts. We wiped out their culture and killed hundreds of thousands in a few short decades with not only guns, but diseases and alcohol that were so foreign to their culture and race. We then relegated their remaining dwindling numbers to reservations usually located in the worst areas and deserts and other remote areas not good for anything as far as the white man was concerned. I now have seen it first hand many times over from visiting American Indian reservations to Mexico's Aztec and Mayan "ruins" to now living 90 minutes from the Embera and Kuna Indian populations that somehow still survive, if only marginally, in Panama.

Obviously it is too late for true "reparations" in most of those historic regions since so much immigration and reconstitution of the global populations has forever taken over those lands and countries. There's not enough money (especially in these times) to ever begin repaying those populations. It is now the reality that everyone from the former black slaves to the American Indians must now rebuild modern versions of their culture and heritage within the framework of new, melting pot countries like the USA. Europe also is experiencing a huge reshuffling of political realities as immigration from the Indies to Arabia has totally turned those former white cultures into a new rainbow of political and global reality. "Globalization" is here to stay and I don't think anything accept perhaps a nuclear holocaust can change that dynamic.

The good news is that we still have time and ability to do the right thing when it comes to the dwindling populations and cultures of Indian heritage that still exist. I'm not calling for a religious or even political reform on this subject. It is more to me one of simple "human decency" worldwide.

I have made a number of trips the past 18 months or so to the Embera Drua village on the Chagres River in the Chagres National Park of Panama. Early on I was moved to help these wonderful people when I first went there, and I was honored to help them establish a computer "lab" in their village of thatched roofed, stilt as they have for the past 400-500 years. They have no electricity yet...but they do have solar panels that were donated by the German consulate years ago (who NEEDS electricity really?). In addition to their traditional living structures, Christian groups have built a church and a school building of more Panamanian tradition on that site...but their life is still lived in their own homes and in the open air of this tropical paradise. I've never seen any of them enter those more "modern" structures.

Panamanian census counts estimate that there may be around 22,000 Embera in Panama...indigenous groups who come from the Darien province of Panama and Northwestern Colombia. (You can get a pretty quick history on this culture from THIS LINK at Wikepedia). There are 5-7 different tribes/villages that have migrated north towards Panama City and civilization in order to increase trade and access to goods and services. The village I have spent time getting to know is Embera Drua. Each village is called "Embera _____ " to distinguish between the groups. The Drua is apparently the largest and furthest up the Chagres River with 20 families living there since the early 1970s. A couple large families migrated up from the Darien at that time and then little by little other families or "cousins" joined them.

I am actually now curious to travel down to the Darien to see how they live there. It is my understanding it is more backward, but still they are friendly people. The Darien is a large jungle region that borders Panama and Colombia. It is so thick and backward that there are no roads connecting the two countries yet. Only rivers and trails...which apparently are frequented by guerrilla groups on the Colombia side and narco traffickers. Makes sense when you think about it. The Indigenous people down there are not too happy at being in the crossfire of the narco guerrillas and armed forces of either Panama or Colombia. They just want to be left alone to hunt and gather and grow as they have for 1500 years or so down there. But the modern world's demands for drugs and armaments encroach upon these people even in such a remote area.

Back to my adopted tribe though. Last weekend I took a couple friends up the river for their first visit with the Drua. One friend from New York city was impacted I think by the experience with this compared to NYC, or Panama City only 90 minutes to 2 hrs away by combined boat and car. Its impressive how these villages can retain their culture and ways so close to the modernity of the city, Panama Canal and increased plane traffic flying overhead.

I had mixed feelings about the computer lab project. On one hand I was excited to see their excitement when I brought out the first laptop and brand new printer/copier. Most of them seemed afraid to touch it or play with it. It was quite a kick though to reveal how they could take a picture from my digital camera and within a couple minutes have it uploaded on the laptop and printed out on paper. Many of the older generation seemed to have never observed this before. Now, a few months later, Amy the peace corp worker living there with them told me they are doing all their accounting for the village on the system. We have since given them two more laptops and they have received some items from other donors as well. Last Sunday they were having their bi-weekly village business meeting while we were there. It was the first time observing that for me, and it could have been a "shareholders" meeting like any in the world...accept these people were all dressed in their native garb...which is very little.

You also have the local "Shaman" and the village "doctor"...two distinct roles in their society. Up a long path you can find their village "botanical garden" where all their organic and natural "medicines" are cultivated. They claim to have cured heart disease and cancer with many of their plants and the "doctor" told me he has a few European doctors who come and consult with him who have cured their patients back home. Last year on a visit I had some digestive system issues and asked his advice. He gave me some plants to make tea with and drink every day for 10 days. I have to say it seems to work quickly and noticeably. These people look very healthy and work hard...stay in shape. I think I would slim down very quickly living and eating with the Embera.

A number of observations have impacted me this past couple of years there:

The children are friendly, open and active. No obese children in this town.

Babies cry very little. I think they get more attention and feel more secure with the family structure and attention they get. The extended family all gets involved in watching and caring for the young...which is a huge missing link in families of the modern world.

The adults seem to be very proud on one hand, yet they work well together as a community. I have heard of squabbles between some of the families...but they are usually resolved quickly and by involvement of the whole village to broker peace.

It sounds like there have been more conflicts in recent years based on the Christian church that was established there...and also over the school. Before these two "institutions" arrived, I think there were much fewer conflicts. Apparently 30% of the village have some involvement with the Christian church there while the rest remain with their indigenous culture and belief system. There was obvious conflict over the church's desire to change how they dress...or not. I think it a mistake to try and force Victorian traditions and lifestyles on another culture. This mentality killed off the Hawaiian and other Polynesian cultures over the last 200 years as well. Sad.

Education IS changing things in their culture. Education is offered to the 6th grade in the village I believe. After that, their kids have to travel over 90 minutes once a week to get to the nearest school...and then just do homework in their village until the following week. One of the key uses of our computers seems to be the transfer of data from school to the village instead of lugging so many books. That makes sense and I am glad for that use. The current village President I believe went to college and has traveled in Europe and the USA. He speaks a bit of English and is trying to bring leadership to the village from his experiences. and money management is their new challenge compared to their centuries of barter and trade. As they try to develop a tourism industry for themselves, the costs of motors, gas, food and other business expenses climb higher and higher while currently tourism along with the global economy is on a downturn. Good thing they still know how to fish and hunt for food if this keeps going on.

The fears I have for these friends and other indigenous Indian populations that remain are:

Will they continue to be infiltrated by modernity until they no longer want to retain their distinctive race and culture?

Will they continue to be divided by new ideas about culture, religion and education? Will the educated ones look down on those less the rest of the world? Will various religious viewpoints be perpetrated on them until they are divided on God like the rest of the world?

Will technology (even the computers I contributed) cause them to lose their current core capabilities of carving, weaving, fishing, hunting and growing things? Will they be overtaken like so many of us with frivolous information and issues that they will lose the beauty of their simplicity and core values?

Will their lands and freedom to roam be continually taken from them? How long before they too, like their North American brothers, are slated to "reservations" of very limited scope and quality? How long before the issue of holding title to some piece of land they can count on is a reality?

How long before more of the youth get programmed by universities and life in the big city to where they have no interest or connection to their roots?

I'm sure there are no simple answers to some complicated questions, but at the rate our world is shrinking and changing with globalization and the information age...I can't see how these cultures can remain in existence, at least in their current form.

If there is one message about this I would like to "shout out" to the rest of the "first world" on would be "get to know these people, but don't try to change them". They have a life, talents, and values that the rest of the world could use more of. Knowing how to live without heavy government intrusion and expectations for living in a certain location is a dying art in this world. As poor as these people may be, they are much richer than many of the world's wealthiest in many ways. They have the option to live more freely and peacefully than most of us. If we force them to adopt our ways, I strongly believe you will very soon hear screaming babies, see chubby boys and girls playing computer games all day long...and the parents will be gone to work somewhere else in order to pay for their mortgaged lives. God forbid this ever happens...but I am not sure they are strong enough to not fall into the traps of modernity. This thought saddens me a lot.

Meanwhile, I will try to enjoy, share and learn from them as long as I can. They and others like them were here first...and we should respect that.