Thursday, October 24, 2013

If you've never've never lived

This video is a great reminder that we should not measure ourselves or our aspirations by the limitations of others around us. The greatest challenge in life is to discover WHO you are, WHAT you want to do, and know WHY you are doing it. If we go through life accepting the limitations that our friends, families and institutions place on us... we will just continue living lives of "quiet desperation".

The greatest barrier to our personal success and happiness is the fear of failure. Our society does not treat "failures" very kindly, and everyone knows there is always someone better than us at just about anything we can think of doing. Its not about being BETTER than others. It is about being the best WE can be. That is all life demands of us...and life has a way of rewarding us for doing this.

In my mind, all the violence, addictions, senseless killings and general apathy of the human race can be traced to the inability or lack of support for pursuing our dreams. Many people never even get to the dream stage...let alone fulfilling them. They are too busy just up to the expectations of others or putting food in their mouths and roofs over their heads.

So far, I have been a lucky man...but have failed many times. What's your excuse?

Thursday, October 3, 2013


In the last couple decades, we have often heard on USA media the term "neoliberal" or "neoliberalism" used to describe certain politicians or policies being promoted in our government. I'm not convinced too many people really understand the meaning of the term...but I do think the reality of the concept affects our lives to the extent that a few paragraphs of commentary seem justified.

I think Wikipedia does a good job on explaining the origins and concept of the I won't repeat all that here. What I will summarize for you if you don't want to take the time for cross reference is the following:

  • "To be "neoliberal" means that a modern economic policy with State intervention is required"
  • "Neoliberalism ... isn't always ideologically neoliberal"
  • Economic neoliberalism is the most common form of neoliberalism, and is what is usually meant when a system is described as neoliberal. The best known proponent of economic neoliberalism is Milton Friedman.
  • Friedman was a "monetarist"...believing that an economy was best "controlled" through money SUPPLY. While initially opposed to the formation of the Federal Reserve, he eventually supported its use to prove some of his theories.

My focus for this topic are the real effects this approach to economics has caused in not only my country, but the world at large. I truly believe that the underlying causality of our global conflicts right now are based on conflicts caused by these economic policies and theories. Many of you will also be surprised when you hear my answer/opinion as to what changes should be made in reaction to the cause and effect of "neoliberalism".

The USA government is basically "bankrupt" and on a controlled "shut down" for lack of budget and funding this week. While this is serious and affects millions of lives in the USA and beyond, it should come as no surprise that this could happen. For me it is a direct "cause and effect" of neoliberal idealism that somehow a government or state cannot run out of money or be totally bankrupt.  Yet, this year we are seeing countries like Greece and Cyprus go upside down and their banking systems closed for long periods of time.  We see USA cities like Detroit and soon to be many others whose consumption has totally overwhelmed their resources.  The main problem is their voodoo economics and liberal theories on money supply are catching up to them.  There really is no such thing as "too big to fail" anymore.

The fundamental flaw of neo-liberalism for me is the idea that the role of government or "state" should be controlling economies and money supplies. It is a much purer concept to let individual people decide what forms of currency or exchange they prefer for services or goods...a "market" model if you will. During these days of irreversible "globalization", the state model of controlling or dictating currency and economic valuations is totally unrealistic. The USA is getting away with it FOR THE MOMENT because our currency is still accepted as the "de facto" currency of exchange in the world. Yet, I would argue those days are numbered based on our national debt and who holds the notes against our debt. When the day of a global or replacement currency will see the USA dollar fall significantly against many other currencies in the world. This will cause a major market restart and adjustments of global proportions...and yes, it will be the ruin of many programs and businesses built on the huge bubble of financial debt and corruption. I believe this day is coming in my lifetime or the next 15-20 years. The sooner it comes, the less devastation and time period required for rebuilding on a more solid economic foundation.

In this day of popular uprisings from the "Arab spring" to Brazil and other emerging market countries whose populations are up in arms...we are starting to see the FORCED adjustment of many states to respond to the demands of the masses. Neoliberal policies have for too long allowed governments to manipulate and milk their economies and money supplies to falsely hold up their fractured models of financial management to the demands of society. It has become quite apparent that these failed global leaders of state have no better clue than the pure markets themselves on how to regulate or manage their economies. Instead of sound policies and real world accounting...most government institutions have resorted to manipulation and legislation to control that which they cannot control...that being "supply and demand" that has historically controlled real world economics. Instead of a model of competition in the world where you have "winners and losers", these governments purport a model where if you just let them control all the money and economics...they will somehow guarantee that EVERYONE comes out a winner! Of course, we have seen the fallacy and results of these dangerous promises throughout history. Yet, voters world-wide have put their economic futures in the hands of rich politicos, lawyers and judges...most of whom have never produced anything financial in their lives outside of hourly billing fees. They have no ideas about building business; engineering, marketing, sales or true accounting. They only know how to tax and spend...for THEIR control primarily. This has to end if we want to stave off the global economic devastation that is coming as a result of these actions.

Many pundits from the conservative or Republican side in the USA are calling for a return to Reagan era economic policies...yet few realize this was a continuation of the landslide towards government controlled money supply and markets. That era was built on cronyism and the combined "corporate elite"/government partnerships that turned into voodoo economics. Sure, the markets went up wildly for a while...but there was nothing pure or "capitalist" about those economic times. Since then, when you add George H and George W Bush's handling of economics and national debt ratios...there can be no Republican bragging about balanced budgets or market driven economies. Democratic President Bill Clinton may well have been the only President since Eisenhower to balance a budget in office. And these are the types of people you want to put your financial future in the hands of?

So...what other choices do we have? What makes better sense? We definitely need to make some major changes and step back from the abyss of economic devastation our current leaders have us facing. For me it surprisingly comes back to some fundamental principles I learned in my "religious" upbringing. While I don't much believe in mysticism of the gods anymore...I do think there is significant value in core Judeo-Christian ethics when it comes to guiding human reasoning on money and business. There are reasons that Jews and other fundamentalists of Biblical persuasion have often been successful in building and sustaining least until it is "plundered" by enemies of such sound ethical management. 

Here are a few Biblical principles that I believe the world should return to in order to establish sound fiscal policies and a rebuilding of global wealth and well-being:

  • Maintain individual sovereignty over property and private domain:  Governmental rights to tax private property or to exercise "eminent domain" is a claim to deity over the people. (1 Samuel 8:10-18, 1 Kings 21, Ezekiel 46:18)
  • The Biblical method of attaining dominion in this world is through diligent LABOR. Power flows to those who WORK and SERVE, not those who steal and thrive. (Proverbs 10:2-4, 12:1.24, and 13:4,11)
  • The law of EXCHANGE is lies or deceit regarding your product or service. The golden rule of "do unto others as you would have them do to you" dictates fair trade and honest valuation of exchanges...whether that be in goods or in currencies. No "winners" and "losers". No coercion. Just fair play. (Leviticus 19:35-37)
  • a commodity and is supposed to represent HARD ASSET values.  Otherwise, it is meaningless in the long run as a measurement of wealth. When governments are the sole suppliers and regulators of currencies, they act as counterfeiters of the money system. Inflation is against Biblical principles. Inflating currency is theft. (Proverbs 11:1,  Micah 6:10-12, Amos 8:4-6)
  • Biblical charity never subsidizes irresponsibility. We are to take care of the truly needy in our societies...but we are not required to reward slothfulness. Even recipients of charity must perform some work or charity of their own. (1 Timothy 5:10, II Thessalonians 3:10)
  • Charity is to be administered locally and personally...not through third party "brokers" or governmental agencies. This is another form of "corruption" where governments control the poor (and their votes) through distribution of handouts.  A major ethical flaw in governing. (The bulk of Old Testament tithing was administered by the giver...not a church or government "fund". Numbers 18:24-28, Deuteronomy 12:10-13)
  • Debt and lending was never for more than a seven year period. Collateral of some kind was usually expected. Loans were never given to people who already had their own resources. After the loan expired, all debt was forgiven...but probably no new loans were forthcoming. We need to as much as possible eliminate debt in the system. (Deuteronomy 15, Exodus 22:26-27)
Slavery has always been part of religious systems, usually based on traditions and lineages of wealth or poverty. It was more of an economic based slavery than on race or skin color. Biblical laws provided motivation and ways in which poor slaves could drive themselves OUT of slavery. Unfortunately, one could argue that most of today's global population is now living under "slavery" to their nation/states and are paying the price for their "relative security" away from "risky" free market enterprise.

Absolute economic controls are an impossibility without totalitarianism. You cannot have constant wages, prices and employment without some form of totalitarian government in place. We are now seeing this neoliberal assault through our governments in an attempt to legislate morality and redistribution of wealth. The last government to come close to truly executing stable prices, wages and employment was...Hitler's rule over Germany. "You are trying to control people's wages and prices - peoples work. If you do that you must control people's lives. And no country can do that part way"...Herman Goering, Hitler's economic planner.

Unfortunately, only 70 years since that last great war over totalitarianism...the masses of today's world have forgotten the price and the pain of living free. The powers that be have successfully scared us into compliance of their legislated moralities and justification for their power. This last restart of statist power brokering began at the "Potsdam Conference" of the superpowers at the end of World War 2. Since then, most of us now live in "police states" where our every move and financial transaction can be monitored. measured and taxed. Most Western governments have talked us into income taxes and property taxes where our combined tax rates are anywhere from 50%-90% of our productive incomes. We are deemed to be "good citizens" if we comply and go along with this tyrannous practice of redistribution and paying our government leaders to "protect us".

Of course, these taxes are not enough to support the "demand" or "need" in addition our governments are printing inflated currency like there is no tomorrow to stave off the true accounting and avoid the "cause and effect" of these neoliberal policies on money and economics. They are also constantly propagating wars so as to justify their huge expenditures from the public "dole" on armaments and prisons. The "drug" wars we have often written about are a perfect way for governments to grab illicit gains from users and "drug runners" alike. Billions of dollars in cash, homes, cars and other goods are absconded each year worldwide based on these nefarious morality laws...while they continue to back the pharmaceutical production of "legal" barbiturates and narcotics that kill or attract more addicts year after year. All of this with the allure of providing a safety net for the common man to live peacefully and "freely".

It is going to be a very painful, long process to get back to traditional, ethical, realistic living. I do think in time technology will provide many answers to these issues. distribute TRUE information and reason to the masses outside of the statist media controls on information all governments try to administer. From there I am betting technology will lead the way for revolutionizing our monetary systems. We HAVE to get these governments and "Federal Reserves" out of the business of money supplying and manipulation of economies. We must give sound business and accounting principles a chance to revive. We must return to small business, free enterprise and locally organized ways to help the truly needy. We must educate the masses that there is no true freedom without economic freedom. To enslave us all with income or property taxes of over half our lifetime production is insane and irrational. To tax or take away our estates from being passed on to our children and our children's children...just because you cannot balance a simple government budget and must insist on deficit not constitutional in the USA nor justifiable anywhere.

I don't think we need "God" to solve these problems...but I do think some traditional "godly" ethics are urgently required. Obviously "neoliberalism" in government is not providing a sustainable answer.