Karma Banque (KbQ) is at the center of a new activist movement which combines the civil disobedience of Gandhi with the financial savvy of George Soros to help change the economic and political landscape of the world!
Isn’t this a great idea?
What I don’t get is that all that is not a new discovery. Why it took so long for countries to react to?
Max Keiser: “Economic advisors are getting together as you know and the Indian prime minister has said that “The major part of Indian reserves are in dollars — that is something that’s a problem for us”. As a former economic advisor to governments and presidential candidates yourself, what are your thoughts on the statement coming out of India, the dollar is after all one of this magical money machines.”
Michael Hudson (author, president of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends): “Well India said that as just a week or two ago it met with China and Brazil and Russia in Yekaterinburg to decide “Let’s draw a line and not have any more dollars” so this follows the […] meeting in Yekaterinburg and the decision to say “Wait a minute we are all financing the US treasury and the US treasury is turning that money over to the Pentagon to build military bases around us so if we don’t accept more dollars they are going to attack us We are not going to finance the military surrounding us to force us to accept yet more dollars. We are going to stop the process right now”, and they are stopping the process and they say no more and they realize that the American military machine and the whole empire is based on the ability to produce pure paper and get real resources and to run a huge deficit, largely military since the Korean wars of over fifty years ago and it’s a free lunch and what they are saying is that the free lunch is over.”
Source, third video, minute 5.40
Dr. Paul Graig Roberts: “[…] Countries like China, Japan and OPEC – the oil producing countries – are financing the American wars in the Middle East and the American efforts to destabilize other countries. I am absolutely convinced the Americans will attempt to destabilize China, they’ll try to destabilize Russia, they are destabilizing former constituent parts of the old Soviet Union […] with military bases and the rest of the world is financing that.
So what you say is true, at some point people have to wonder why we are we giving up real goods and services so Americans could conduct wars? […]”
Source, minute 4.40
The New Face of Class War: “Free trade” and “globalization” are the guises behind which class war is being conducted against the middle class by both political parties.
British Airways has asked 40,000 employees to work for free for the month of July
Google is now asking illustrators to work for free
“In economics the whole idea that the free market is an efficient system is coming under serious attack. Over the past five years many of the Nobel prices for economics have been awarded for research that shows that markets do not create stability or order. What Adam Smith called the invisible hand, is invisible, because it isn’t actually there, and politicians do have a powerful role to play in controlling the markets.
And a new discipline called behavioral economics is being studying whether people really do behave as the simplified model says they do.
Their studies showed that only two groups in society actually behaved in a rational self-interested way in all experimental situations:
One is the economists themselves, the other is psychopaths.”
Curtis blogs here.
I had bookmarked this 2002 BBC documentary long time ago, then forgot all about it.
After a discussion on democracy which occurred after an earlier post, I was listening to a podcast where this movie was mentioned again. Finally I watched an hour of The Century of The Self and I am heading to see the rest of it. It is so thought provoking that I had to share and recommend it right away. Here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and part 4. You can read about all episodes through links on this BBC page.
Bernays was the first person to take Freud‘s ideas to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires. He was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticising the motorcar.
A few excerpts from Part 1:
“Following that (Roosevelt‘s) election, business people start to get together and start to carry on discussions, primarily in private, and they start to talk to each other about the need to sort of carry on ideological warfare against the New Deal, and to reassert the connectedness between the idea of democracy on the one hand and privately owned business on the other. And so under the umbrella of an organization which still exists, which is called “National Association of Manufacturers” and whose membership include all of the major corporations of the United-States, a campaign is launched explicitly designed to create emotional attachments between the public and big business. It’s Bernays’ techniques used in a grand scale, I mean totally.[…]
The campaign set up to show dramatically that it was business, not politicians who had created modern America.”
“He (Bernays) was about to help create a vision of the utopia that free market capitalism would build America if it was unleashed. In 1939 New York hosted the World’s Fair. Edward Bernays was a central adviser, he insisted that the theme be the link between democracy and American business. […]
The World’s Fair was an extraordinary success and captured America’s imagination. The vision it portrayed was of a new form of democracy in which business responded to people’s innermost desires in a way politicians could never do. But it was not a form of democracy that depended on treating people as active citizens as Roosevelt did, but as passive consumers because this, Bernays believed, is the key to control in a mass democracy. […]
But this struggle between the two views of human being as if there were rational or irrational was about to be dramatically affected by events in Europe. […]”
Adam Curtis blogs here.
I enjoy reading C. K. Liu‘s articles, although I don’t understand half of his financial jargon. What eases my way through his lengthy specialized writings is that the social, cultural, historical, even artistic and philosophical aspects are always included. That’s where I got some idea about the history of central banking, the Bretton Woods regime and its collapse in 1971, the fiat currency, the dollar hegemony, etc.
“[…] The hollowing out of America’s manufacturing and digital sectors becomes a compelling rationale for US control of the world to protect its offshore sourcing. After all, wars have been fought to protect the supply of oil in places where nature has placed it; why should the United States not fight to protect where the “free” market puts its manufacturing and data processing? In this strategy, the US needs only two things: a powerful military with instant power-projection capability everywhere around the globe, and dollar hegemony to create dollars that can buy all the things that the world makes for export to the US. The British Empire was rationalized by the need of Britain to import food as domestic agriculture became crowded out by industry. Similarly, the US Empire will be rationalized by the need of the United States to import manufactured goods as domestic production is crowded out by financial services.
There are only two difficulties with this grand strategy: 1) to build the ideal empire, US workers will have to be retrained for the service sector and large numbers of both blue- and white-collar workers will fall through the cracks – and that creates problems in a democracy; and 2) the rest of the world is not stupid and may not take it lying down. So freedom and democracy at home will have to be modified in the name of homeland security and foreign resistance will have to be crushed in the name of freedom and democracy. The “war on terrorism” is tailor-made for this grand strategy.”
The Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality developed by the Italian statistician Corrado Gini, is a measure of income inequality ranging between 0 and 1, where 0 corresponds to a society where everyone has exactly the same income, and 1 corresponds to a society where one person has all the income and everyone else has none.
The World Bank claims to be the world’s preeminent anti-poverty institution.
But according to Robert Wiessman: “The developing countries that have most closely hued to policies imposed by the World Bank (and its sister institution, the IMF) have found themselves much poorer, less healthy and less educated than countries that have resisted Bank recommendations.”
Weissman, co-director of Essential Action, explains: “The World Bank’s great failings over the last decades are rooted in its commitment to the market fundamentalism known as “the Washington consensus.” This is a set of maniacal market-oriented policies including: deregulation of the economy, […] removing all trade barriers and orienting economies to support exports, massive privatization […], eliminating subsidies for basic necessities, rolling back legally guaranteed labor rights, cutting back on government services and restricting government spending. The Bank has also maintained a penchant for environmentally and socially destructive mega-development projects. […] The result has been a literal human disaster.”
In September 2007 The Independent People’s Tribunal on the World Bank held at Jawharlal Nehru University, India, publicly audited programmes introduced by the bank in India for developmental activities. After listening to 60 depositions made by activists, economists, lawyers and researchers, the jury in its preliminary findings, charged the bank with serious violations of democracy and human rights and indicted it for meddling in India sovereignty.
Althought the World Bank had initially stated that it welcomes opportunities for dialogue, it pulled out of the tribunal in the last minute and none of its representative participated, as it didn’t accept to make itself accountable to the Tribunal judgment process.
Excerpts from the Jury findings:
“[…] the evidence and depositions we have witnessed presents a disturbing and shocking picture of increased and needless human suffering since 1991 among hundreds of millions of India’s poorest and most disadvantaged in rural areas and in the cities. […] a significant number of Indian government policies and projects financed and influenced by the World Bank have contributed directly and/or indirectly to this increased impoverishment and suffering. […]
The most disturbing leading indicator for this suffering is the alarming increase in farmer suicides since the 1990s. From 2001 to 2007 alone, […] 137,000 poor farmers have killed themselves. […] as a result of some or all of the following policies, such as: reduced subsidies […], higher prices for irrigation water, electric power, and seeds; […] reduced access to low interest loans for the poor, and opening up of the Indian economy to an uneven playing field in international trade in agricultural commodities. India’s farmers must now compete with imports from the heavily subsidized farms of the European Union and North America, at the same time when even the most meager state assistance for the poorest farmers is reduced. India was once self-sufficient in food production; its food security is now dependent on imports. […]
Other World Bank loans have promoted the institution of user fees in the health and education sectors, as well as partial privatization in these sectors. […] they have further disadvantaged the poor. […] The net effect of many Bank prescribed policy “reforms” appears to be the reorientation of the Indian State priorities from striving to secure a safety net for the poor and vulnerable to providing a safety net for large domestic and international corporations and investors.
We heard witnesses […] describe the deterioration for their communities from poverty to destitution because of forced displacement caused by World Bank financed projects. […] Although the Bank’s own Independent Inspection Panel found in 2002 that Bank management violated its own environmental and resettlement policies on 37 counts, Bank management has taken no effective measures to ameliorate the condition of these families. […]
[…] The Indian Government, of course, shares at the very least equal responsibility for all of the abuses we have witnessed, indeed a significant number of officials in key ministries such as finance and planning have either worked at the Bank or IMF, or share their assumptions and biases. Together all bear considerable responsibility for wide reaching policies and specific investments which in the name of growth and development have had the cruelest impact on the most vulnerable groups in our society.
[…] India and the international community must join to hold the World Bank accountable for policies and projects that in practice directly contradict its mandate of alleviating poverty for the poorest.”
Oxfam: World Bank ignores recommendations to help the poor, 2004
Oxfam: Six point plan for the president of the World Bank, 2007
Bank Information Center: World Bank governance challenges: what must be done, 2007
The Guardian: Charities want UK to withhold World Bank cash over loans to poor, Nov. 2007
Henry CK Liu has published a very interesting series of article in the Asia Times online: Money Power and Modern Art. A Harvard graduated architect and urban designer, Liu developed and interest in economics and international relations. He is an independent commentator on culture, economics and politics. He is currently chairman of the New York-based Liu Investment Group and a contributor to Asia Times. His homepage contains articles mainly on monetary and economic issues.
Money Power and Modern Art focuses on the creation of the Museum of the Modern Art in New York and the legacy of a few protagonists, mainly Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, the wife of John D Rockefeller Jr, son of the founder of the Standard Oil.
The first two articles describe the historic and economic background: the rise of Rockefeller, the monetary controversy in the late 19 and early 20th century, the private control of currency, and the creation and implementation of institutions and acts which made the wealth accumulation structurally systemic.
A third article The Year of Contradictions is about 1913. A year marked by the Armory Show in New York, with the purpose of introducing the work of antiacademic artists from both sides of the Atlantic usually neglected by current shows. 1913 was also the year of the creation of the Federal Reserve System and the textile workers strikes. Left-wing intellectuals such as John Reed were debating about social responsibility and the cultural cause, while a rightist radicalism was taking form through what Liu calls a monetary coup d’état.
Pivotal figures of the creation of the MoMA in 1929 are also introduced in this article.
View across garden, in new MoMA building by Yoshio Taniguchi
In Modern art and socialism Liu describes Abby Aldrich Rockefeller‘s commitment to modernity as well as the innovative approach of Alfred Barr the founding director of the MoMA. This article includes an interesting reflection on the conceptual problem facing a museum of modern art and the contradiction between the museum as a depository of things of the past, a legitimizing academy and modernity.
Regarding the dominant socialist content of art and culture of this era, Liu writes: “In many ways, what saved the Modern Movement in the US, more than the sanitizing of its socialist content, was its rejection by the Soviets, a fundamental error in a series of fundamental errors traceable to a garrison-state mentality, killing the revolution to protect the revolution. Stalin, who saw the state as the sole agent of revolution rejected non-objective art…”
Other interesting chapters are the beginnings of the Modern Art Movement, the architecture of the MoMA at the beginning and the latest addition, architectural considerations in a museum design, as well as the business aspects of a museum.
The last article: Modern Art and freedom of expression
In the early 30’s, the Junior Advisory Committee of the MoMa criticized the museum’s trustees of the Modern’s near-exclusive focus on European artists and for neglecting the works of American artists. The trustees authorized the committee to organize a show, “Murals by Painters and Photographers”, of works of American muralists. This exhibition included controversial artworks, such as Us Fellas Gotta Stick Together – Al Capone by Hugo Gellert, depicting among others Henry Ford, president Hoover and Rockefeller Sr sitting with Al Capone. The controversy of this artwork was a prelude to a later famous scandal: Diego Rivera‘s mural including a portrait of Lenin in the Rockefeller Center, an episode which is widely reported including Rivera’s own narration. Through these episodes Liu writes about the contradiction of ideals of liberal capitalism and freedom of expression through art. Is it legitimate to “sanitize the unwanted social-political content of art“?
We read about more recent controversies, such as mayor Giuliani’s outrage over an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 99, lawsuits against some government funded exhibitions – censorship based on the taxpayer’s money rationale, and the private money versus public funding of art events and their respective prerogative in censorship.
I tried to present some of the headlines of these articles. Liu draws some very interesting parallels between this era and the present times, such as common aspects with Stalinism, early Protestantism in part 3, or the (lack of) historic basis of protection of intellectual property rights and the Microsoft case – part 2: A monetary coup d’état.
If this field interests you, I highly recommend the original text.
Control energy and you control the nations. Kissinger
What is most important to the history of the world? The Talliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold-war? – 1998 Brzezenski
Frederick William Engdahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s.
After a degree in politics from Princeton and graduate study in comparative economics at the University of Stockholm, he worked as an economist and free-lance journalist. He currently lives in Germany and in addition to writing regularly on issues of economics, energy and international affairs, is active as a consulting geopolitical risk economist.
Engdahl is the author of the best-selling book on oil and geopolitics: A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order.
The University of Michigan Press: This book is a gripping account of the murky world of the international oil industry and its role in world politics.