Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 22 2012: The End is the Beginning is the End


Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums Just watch me June 9 1902
Fron album of prisoners brought before the North Shields Police Court in England between 1902 and 1916.




Time has stopped before us
The sky cannot ignore us
No one can separate us
For we are all that is left
The echo bounces off me
The shadow lost beside me
There's no more need to pretend
Cause now I can begin again."
Smashing Pumpkins, The Beginning is the End is the Beginning








Ashvin Pandurangi: The latest revolution of the Euro Crisis Cycle has brought us back to talks of restructuring Greek sovereign debt through "Private Sector Involvement" (PSI), which are somehow taking place in a Universe where debt restructuring is not allowed to be confused with "debt default" or "bankruptcy". On Friday January 20, the IIF (representing some of Greece’s creditors) and the Greek government announced that they had finally reached an "agreement" on the basic structure of the restructuring (or the basic restructuring of the structure?). 

Here’s the live blog update from The Guardian on Friday, which really stood out to me:

A framework of the deal -- the basic structure of the bond swap that the Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos wants to present at Monday's eurogroup meeting -- has been accepted by both sides, "put in place" and I understand committed to paper.

But it would also seem that other aspects of the agreement - be them legal, technical or matters of substance -- remain unresolved and will be discussed at negotiations that resume at 7:30pm local time [6.30 GMT] and look set to continue over the weekend
.

If Greece's massive €360 bn debt load is to be made manageable much will depend "on the inter-related role of all the interests at stake" insiders say. Even if a decisive agreement is reached, the proposal will have to be put to technocrats -- given the complexity of the deal -- and they could very likely change it again.

"The outline won't be the end of the beginning but the beginning of the end," said another source again requesting blanket anonymity because of the delicacy of the talks.


That’s how these anonymous blankets, with their linear mindsets and scripts, really think about the process and justify the charade to everyone else who looks on in anticipation. We have not reached the end of the beginning, but the beginning of the end! Or is it really the beginning of the end of the beginning? Let’s just go ahead and say that the end is the beginning, which is also the end. It’s a circle, a cycle, a never-ending series of revolving points; an optical and psychological illusion of mass proportions.



M.E. Escher - Up and Down



Of course, not more than two hours after the live update from above, I stumbled across another live update from The Guardian that, in combination with all the reports over the course of just one week, was starting to make the Escher Stairs look like a straight, non-stop, round trip flight from Athens to Brussels and then back to Athens… and then back to Brussels.

"At the risk of just adding to the confusion over what is or is not happening with the discussions between Greece and the private bondholders, CNBC is reporting no deal has been reached on the terms of a debt swap. Nor is there apparently a press conference planned for tonight.

However that does not rule out the idea that a framework has been agreed, and further details will be hammered out over the weekend, as we reported earlier."


So now we should just be glad that we can’t "rule out" the possibility that a framework has been established to "hammer out" further details in upcoming days. What all of this really means is that there are way too many vested interests fighting over the pieces of the same wealth pie which is continuously dwindling in size, and it will take way too long for them to actually sign their names to an agreement that is suitable to all interested parties, as opposed to continuously cycling rumors of "progress" being made.

But, alas, even the framework of a deal didn’t last past Saturday, as the parties involved kept making right turns until they came full circle to the point of "stalled talks". Here’s a report from Dow Jones on Saturday January 21, via ZeroHedge:


Talks between Greece and its private sector creditors over a debt writedown plan appeared to stall Saturday as the banks' top negotiator left Athens amid signs of fresh disagreements over how much Greece would pay its bondholders in the future.

Officials close to the talks said they may not conclude before a meeting Monday of euro-zone finance ministers where a second bailout which will keep Greece from defaulting is supposed to be discussed. Without a deal on the write-down of the debt held in private hands, the loan can't be released.

Institute of International Finance chief Charles Dallara, who has been negotiating with Greek officials on the bond swap plan for the last two days, left Athens Saturday as hurdles remained over the interest rate the new bonds would pay private sector creditors.

"Right now there are no talks. There will be consultations with the EU and the IMF to determine where we stand and then we'll see. It (negotiations) has again become complicated with the new demands over the coupon," said a person with direct knowledge of the talks.


And here’s Paul Anastasi and Farry White from The Telegraph with a similar report, except with a slightly more optimistic spin, courtesy of official "spokespersons" from the IIF and Greek government.


Charles Dallara, managing director of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), a lobby group representing private creditors who have lent €47bn (£39bn) to the Greek government, has so-far failed to reach agreement on the key interest rate of the new bonds Greece will issue.

Athens was anxious to strike a deal ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Monday, which could have set in motion the paperwork and approvals necessary to give Greece its next tranche of aid, worth about €130bn.

This will prevent a disorderly debt default when €14.5bn of Greek bonds mature in March. However, Greek government officials said on Saturday that the crisis talks had now been postponed for a few days.

A spokesman for the IIF said that Mr Dallara had travelled to Paris for a long-standing social arrangement and his departure was "in no way a reflection on the talks". The talks have made "substantial" progress, the spokesman said, noting that Mr Dallara was in phone contact with the Greek prime minister and could return to Athens at any point.

International private creditors have already accepted a 50pc "haircut" or loss of their investments in Greek bonds, a move that would cut €100bn from Greece's €360bn debt pile. However, the sticking points appear to be the term to maturity of the new replacement bonds and the rate of interest, or coupon, that they will pay.

"We are now expecting a solution in a few days," the Greek government official said. "Nobody expects a failure, as that could raise the spectre of a default. But it would have been convenient to have wrapped things up this weekend, because of the simultaneous presence in Athens of the Troika.


Not much commentary necessary, right? "Back to the drawing board" would imply that they had actually managed to upgrade from the drawing board to some more concrete stages of action, so that doesn’t work. The talks allegedly continue, but the questions of about what, between whom and to what end are all blowing in the wind. These PSI talks, and the Eurozone in general, are still stuck in the depths of an Escher diagram, where every ounce of "progress" is simply a function of some Eurocrat and mainstream media outlet declaring it to exist.

No one wants to accept the fact that, until the entire system is fundamentally transformed (through disorderly collapse or otherwise), this vicious crisis cycle will never end. The Greek PSI negotiations are a perfect example of the hamster wheel that is Europe. In theory, it is both necessary and just for private creditors (mainly banks) to take large haircuts on the net present value of their Greek bond holdings. But as long as the "restructuring" is treated as a means to avoid outright default/bankruptcy, stabilize the structurally imbalanced Eurozone and continue business as usual in the future, it will fail to produce any meaningful results.

You simply can’t satisfy all of the vested parties in a fundamentally broken and collapsing system. After a prolonged period of running around in circles, someone is bound to crash into someone else. The revolutions of the Euro Crisis Wheel are bound to spark an actual revolution that forces the system to do that which is unspeakable - change. It is now starting to look like the disorderly Greek default in March (there is no "orderly" version), which was always inevitable but never until now capable of being marked on a calendar, will be the event that sets that particular ball rolling.

Let’s face it – even after a credit market "rally", the Greek government is paying close to 400% for a year’s worth of money. The hold outs in the PSI right now are the hedge funds who have loaded up on Greek bonds and CDS insurance, as they figure it is better for them to try and get paid out in full on one or the other than agree to "voluntarily" participate in the swap deal and relinquish their rights as bondholders. Indeed, this literal leverage has given them a degree of negotiating leverage that was certainly under-estimated by the mainstream until now.

If they do not take place in the debt swaps, then they can avoid taking a haircut on their bonds, and if they are "coerced" into a restructuring by retro-actively inserted "collective action clauses" (allows a majority of creditors to override the minority), then the CDS most likely get triggered. On top of that, ZeroHedge just produced a lengthy and complex report that describes, among many other things, the various other implications of a retro-active change of local law.

Before we, like Reuters and like JP Morgan, accept that even the local-law debt can be crammed down, we point readers to a seminal paper by none other than Lee Buchheit, the same one who is currently advising Greece on its bankruptcy negotiations (to call a spade a spade), called How To Restructure Greek Debt from May 2010, in which he says the following:

[Buchheit] 'No country in Greece’s position would lightly consider a change of local law as an easy method of dealing with a sovereign debt crisis. The following factors, among others, counsel extreme caution before embarking on such a remedy.

• If done once, future investors will fear that it could be done again. The debtor country may therefore be compelled in future borrowings (in which international investor participation is sought) to specify a foreign law as the governing law of its debt instruments.

• A dramatic change in local law by one country might allow a worm of doubt to slip into the heads of capital market investors in other similarly-situated countries, driving up borrowing costs around the board.

• The official sector supporters of the debtor country will presumably balk at any action of this kind that could unleash the forces of contagion and instability upon other countries whose debt stocks also contain predominantly local law-governed instruments.

• The more dramatic or confiscatory the effect of the change of law, the higher the likelihood that it would be subject to a successful legal challenge
.


The report also describes how a stripping of the creditor protections offered by Greek bonds issued under U.K. law, which contain CACs and have been accumulated by these holdout hedge funds, will probably have even more severe implications for sovereign bond markets around the world. We should also remember that no one really knows what the knock-on effects of CDS triggers would be throughout the global financial system, since it is entirely unclear how many billions worth of derivatives have been written on Greek debt.

It’s really the space between a huge, jagged rock and a very hard place for just about everyone involved, as it has always been. Besides the two direct parties involved (Greece and its creditors), we also have the European Commission, ECB and IMF, who obviously don't want the Greek government to compromise to the point where no meaningful debt reduction is made and they are simply writing checks (endorsed by Western taxpayers) to both the Greek government and its bondholders for nothing in return. English language Katimerini reports a bit on this angle:

Talks between Athens and the steering committee of private creditors concerning the Private Sector Involvement plan (PSI+) will resume by telephone on Sunday as the committee’s head, Charles Dallara, left Greece unexpectedly on Saturday.

According to reports on Skai radio the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank are not happy with the provisional agreement between the Greek government and its private creditors, as they believe it does not secure the sustainability of the Greek debt.

As a result Dallara, who is also the head of the Institute of International Finance flew to Paris on Saturday to discuss developments with lenders and funds which hold the bulk of the privately-held Greek bonds worth 206 billion euros.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters on Saturday that negotiations would continue on Sunday by phone.

Both the IIF and the government have leaked that there is progress in the talks but any agreement would require the approval of Brussels, Berlin and the IMF.

Sources suggest that the Greek side proposed to private creditors a 3.5 percent interest rate for bonds maturing by 2014, 3.9 percent for those maturing by 2020 and 4.6 percent for those expiring after 2021. There will be a 10-year grace period and the new bonds will be under British law.

Reuters cited an unnamed source saying that "things are complicated, we are getting closer on the numbers but there is still quite some work ahead. An agreement is unlikely before next week, if there is an agreement at all.


For argument’s sake, though, let’s say the Troika, the Greek government and the holdout creditors manage to come back full circle (via telephone conference) to "progress" being made and a deal "nearly within reach" in the next night or two, and then put an actual deal to paper. What will that mean for the Euro Crisis Cycle? Simple – it will continue rolling on in a broader and more devastating fashion. First of all, Greek debt will still not be sustainable in any meaningful sense of that word, as this comprehensive report from Barclays makes clear (via ZeroHedge).

6) Does the PSI in its current form make the Greek debt sustainable?

The October Troika debt sustainability report highlights that the current PSI with nearly universal participation gets debt/GDP close to 120% by 2020.

First, this number is still on the high side to conclude that Greek debt is sustainable. Second, the underlying macroeconomic assumptions by the October Troika report in terms of GDP growth and primary balance post-2015 are still optimistic (c.3.8% average nominal growth and average 4% primary balance).

If these macroeconomic assumptions are reduced to a more realistic 2.5-3%, then the debt sustainability picture would look much worse. As seen in Figure 1, a 50% national haircut with 50% participation does not get Greece close to 120% debt/GDP by 2020, as envisaged even with the relatively optimistic macro economic assumptions of the Troika.

Only if 100% participation is achieved would close to a 120% debt/GDP target be reached. For this reason, the Troika does not want to sacrifice universal participation and is determined to do whatever is necessary to maintain it. When worse macroeconomic assumptions are used, the notional haircut needed for a reasonably sustainable debt path is about 80%.

Therefore, if Greece and the Troika go ahead with October summit broad parameters for the PSI, even with 100% participation Greek debt is not likely to be sustainable in the absence of substantial fiscal and structural adjustment by Greece in the years ahead.







That's right - even if 100% of private creditors participated in the proposed debt swap arrangement for a 80% haircut to notional value (not going to happen!), Greece's debt would still remain at entirely unsustainable levels for many years to come (and that's assuming a 100-120% debt/GDP ratio is the threshold for sustainability). Secondly, the Greek situation is obviously only one piece of a much larger puzzle in Europe. Peter Tchir remarks on those other debt-swamped Eurozone countries who sure would love to have some "voluntary debt swaps" of their own.

"So it looks like we should get an announcement sometime today about the proposed Greek PSI deal.  Yes, proposed, not finalized.  Asides from the obvious fact that there will be limited or no documentation for the deal, we still have no clue who has agreed to what.

As far as I can tell, no one has given the IIF negotiators any binding power.  Obviously some of the institutions that the IIF negotiators are associated would have trouble not approving the "deal", but how many bonds do they really represent?

I think this will be a relatively small portion of bondholders and then the real game begins.  The carrot and stick that the EU and ECB can use with other holders and the desire to maximize profits (or minimize losses) on the other side.  So far, this news seems to be acting inversely to the "downgrades" price action, as early front-running is meeting sell the news.

If the terms of the deal being leaked are true, it will be extremely interesting to see what other countries do.  Not only will Greece receive a 50% notional reduction (except from the ECB and other "public" holders), but they will get very long dated money at very low rates.  Who wouldn't want that? 

Why should Spain be going through semi-legitimate auctions when Greece can get longer dated money at lower rates?  Why should Portugal or Hungary bother with painful steps to reduce debt when the alternative is spend more, reduce debt via restructuring, and get lower rates on that reduced debt?"


There is absolutely no way that European private banks can afford to take another 50-100% haircut on the bonds of Portugal or Ireland on top of Greece, let alone Spain or Italy. Any attempts towards such an outcome would be even less "voluntary" than the Greek swaps, and that’s really saying something.  And who would even want to buy the bonds of these countries after the most coercive restructuring in history just took place? This time it was a few hedge funds that have brought us to the brink of potentially catastrophic debt deflation, next time (if there is one) it will be a much broader force of resistance.






The economic, financial and political divides within Europe will simply deepen to the point where the internal hemorrhaging overwhelms any and all top-down "solutions". So IF this Greek PSI deal is finalized soon, the IMF bailout money is disbursed and Greece gets through the next few months, the focus will simply shift back to those equally troubled and much bigger debt issuers across Europe (and perhaps the world). We’ll be right back at the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end, depending on which way the crisis propaganda decides to spin on any given day.






180 comments:

Hombre said...

"If there is no agreement, there will most likely be default. This could put Greece's membership of the euro zone at risk," he said, adding that this could also affect the euro and undermine confidence in other sovereign papers in Europe."

http://tinyurl.com/greekdebtnews

Could be an interesting week in Athens! Do you Euro experts think this event, if a default occurs, will cause some panic reactions throughout Europe?

Alexander Ac said...

See a new document:

Dismantling Detroit

Alex

Ash said...

Hombre,

Obviously, a Greek default is going to occur. The only question is whether it will result from the inability of negotiating parties to reach a deal on various terms of the debt swap, and therefore no release of IMF money to meet debt repayments in March. Or instead they will reach a deal and get the IMF money, but will only achieve an adequate participation rate by retroactively inserting CACs into Greek law, which make the restructuring coercive, an act of default and would trigger CDS on those Greek bonds.

The first default scenario would be much more damaging and unpredictable than the second, most likely leading to a [not so] EZ exit for Greece, but the second could also lead to some very significant instability in Euro credit markets and perhaps even the US banking system due to its CDS exposure. So the upcoming weeks will certainly be a time of rampant uncertainty about how "badly" Greece will default, but then again, when isn't??

jal said...

There is nothing complicated in the Greek negotiations.

Its no different than the employees of your local vulture loan shark collecting agency try to get blood out of stone.

The fun will start when the "boss" turns on his employees for not being able to "collect".

The "boss" has made "promises" to his "investors" that he has to keep or else he will be the one getting in hot water.

jal

Josh said...

@ Alexander AC

Dismantling Detroit is beautiful. It's The Road made real.
We wear the chain we forged in life. we make it link by link and yard by yard. Do you know the weight and length of the strong coil you bear?

Greenwood said...

@ Ash

this part:

"...the various other implications of a retro-active change of local law."

I posted on the last thread about the telco incident of retroactive law making being a Pandora's Box of unintended consequences.

Could you expand on the whole legal notion of 'fixing' the past with retroactive laws posing as 'solutions' from the present.

A dangerous slippery slope?

~

Ash said...

Greenwood,

It's probably good to differentiate between unconstitutional ex post facto laws (at least in the US), which are laws that retroactively attaches civil or criminal liability to conduct after it has occurred, rather than modifications of existing law that makes otherwise illegal or unauthorized conduct technically legitimate. The former is unconstitutional because the alleged offender has no prior notice that his/her acts are deemed punishable by the state at the time of commission.

I imagine there is technically nothing unconstitutional about what Greece will most likely end up doing, which is changing existing financial contracts (outstanding Greek bonds) to include collective action clauses, which allow a majority of creditors to "cram down" a restructuring plan on the rest of them. The problem for Greece and the Eurozone is the amount of uncertainty they will introduce into markets and confidence they will destroy by making these retroactive modifications.

How can any investors feel safe buying Portuguese, Irish, Spanish or Italian medium or long-term debt knowing that they could be forced into accepting massive losses on those bonds as a part of some future restructuring plan? Or even more to the point, how can investors continue to lend to Greece after the restructuring knowing that they may go through that whole process again? These are just some of the obvious "unintended consequences" of forcing participating in the current restructuring deal.

There are quite a few others that that can be found at the ZH and Barclay's reports that were linked in the article. One of the big (but not at all unexpected) risks to markets that has been referenced on TAE many times is the triggering of CDS contracts that is sure to occur in any restructuring deal that seeks a large % of participation by bondholders. Some say the net amount of CDS on Greece is not a very big deal, but that's assuming the officially reported numbers from the banks themselves are accurate.

More likely, the big US banks have been issuing CDS on Euro governments and banks like they're going out of style, and a Greece default trigger could cause some real problems for them. We will just have to wait and see on that one. Basically, you are very correct that all of these top-down legal/political "solutions" seeking to preserve the status quo are now at the point that they can accomplish little else than opening up a veritable sh*tstorm of "unintended" consequences and market uncertainty/instability.

Skip Breakfast said...

Interesting post. The Greek "deal" sounds an awful lot like "an agreement to agree," which I learned early in law school amounts to no binding agreement at all.

John Day said...

The Republicans really need to get Newt or Mitt on the way to a clear majority before TSHTF, so that Ron PAul can be decisively excluded from the process. Mitt, Newt or Barak will all play by the same rules.
(As for me, I've moved from looking at precious metals, into keeping my kids out of higher-ed debt, solar cells and nickel-iron batteries. I hope to go to a place where I can throw my lot in with some organic farmers, and the weather is mostly good.)

SteveB said...

Ash,

I finally got around to watching the Bookchin interview series of videos. Very worthwhile! Thanks again for the referral. Here's my take on it relative to my earlier comments:

Bookchin apparently presupposed the use of money even though he acknowledged its arbitrary and unnecessary nature. It's hard to say for sure since his comments on it are more philosophical than system oriented.

He noted that centralization of large corporations like GM occurred because of a desire to grow and increase profits, yet he didn't see that the revolution he hoped for faced the barrier of that very motivation. Grassroots or participatory democracy, which includes "the people", is handicapped by the fact that "the people" all use money, and enough of them are biased by that toward wealth-accumulating (or poverty-averting) behaviors. He didn't quite get there, I think, due to linking growth to capitalism rather than the more general use of money.

Like so many other analysts, he clearly saw the need for a transformation of society and had a vision of how society could function AFTER such a transition, but didn't see the barrier between today's reality and that possibility, which is the deep and broad impacts of the use of money interpreted as such.

In Part 4 he addressed "naive" questions like, "Who will take out the trash?" quite well. He also made interesting comments about religious beliefs as a search for power—presumably to counter concentrated economic power—which might point to a lower religious influence on society (government, for example) if we were to end the use of money.

In Part 5 he commented on the need to "look for the causes that impel individuals to act in the criminal fashion". If the root of the causes isn't our use of money, I'm very interested to know what is. In Part 7 he addressed the supposed uniquely motivating nature of competition quite well.

Lo and behold, in Parts 7-8 he was asked about a moneyless society—"Is it possible to organize larger societies without using money?" His response: "Sure. Absolutely." He went on to give an excellent, brief critique of money.

However, it's interesting that given his understanding of its nature he didn't quite see its use as the root of the problems of modern society. In fact, later in Part 8, he went through his stepwise approach to a new society, which includes the eventual confrontation with the state (after "hopefully" getting through several preliminary steps), without any mention of any change relative to our use of money. Like for the rest of us, it seems to have been a blind spot for him in the big picture. Nevertheless, many of his observations fall in line with what I've suggested is possible by ending the use of money.

Mark K said...

"Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Francois Hollande, the Socialist Party frontrunner and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s main opponent in France’s presidential election, promised to combat the financial sector and restore equality if voted into office May.

“Let me tell you who my rival is. It does not bear a name or have a face, it’s the finance industry,” Hollande told a crowd of more than 10,000 supporters during his first campaign rally yesterday. “In the past 20 years, the financial industry has taken control of our societies, of our lives and threatens our states,” he said in the northern suburbs of Paris.

Exactly 90 days before the first round of voting, 57-year- old Hollande presented for the first time proposals including a tax on financial transactions and splitting retail and investment banks. The lawmaker and former Socialist Party chief said new rules to control the financial sector would be implemented in the first weeks of his administration.

“His stance against the financial sector is intense, but realistic because he’s adopted measures that already have been proposed or existed, like the U.S. Glass-Steagall Act,” said Nicolas Tenzer, the director of CERAP, a political think-tank in Paris. “This was a nod toward the left-wing of his party and also an electorate that doesn’t want to bow to the financial elite.”

An opinion poll released Jan. 21 showed Hollande with a 14- point a lead over Sarkozy. The president, who hasn’t declared his intention to run yet, would lose by 57 percent to 43 percent against the Socialist challenger if the two faced-off in the second round of the elections on May 6, according to the BVA poll. The poll of 974 people was carried out from Jan. 18 to 19 and didn’t provide a margin of error."

French Presidency Frontrunner Hollande Pledges to Fight Finance

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-23/french-presidency-frontrunner-hollande-pledges-to-fight-finance.html

Ash said...

Telegraph live blog

12.43 The Greek government sees no risk of the debt deal collapsing.

Talks stalled over the weekend on the rate of interest of new long-term bonds that will be issued.

...

12.55 Greek debt deal talks going well? Here's the spanner in the works.

Cyprus' Minister of Finance Kikis Kazamias has said that he is not sure the restructuring talks will be concluded this week.

And ratcheting up the pressure even more, the chief economic adviser to the Greek PM reportedly says the eurozone will break up unless a solution is found.

So will those involved reach a deal today? Depends who you believe.

Ash said...

SteveB,

I'm glad you got a chance to watch the interview. Frankly, I view the "root cause" of almost all of our predicaments as a combination of systemic complexity and large-scale capitalism, which have become quite inseparable. I hesitate to use only the term "money", because it carries so many different connotations and meanings. Once you establish the concept of private property and ownership, and naturally the concept of "property crimes", I'd say it's impossible to ignore the concept of money.

As for the issue of transitioning from "here" to "there", I believe you are under-estimating the potential of bottom-up, grassroots movements in periods of systemic collapse, where organizational vacuums are necessarily formed. At the very least, I believe the chances of such movements succeeding greatly outweigh the chances of a global top-down "restructuring", so to speak, succeeding.

scandia said...

Is it not paradoxical that in the trend towards globalization/
universality the first crack appears in law, in the legal system. Pick and chose, mix or match legal systems looks like a sniper weapon to me.My sense of it is a ploy to reduce accountability.
Buyer beware.
So many questions to tick off the due diligence list these days.
A friend and I were drawing up a list of questions to ask before booking a cruise after the Concordia's grounding caused by a captain's vanity.
One question is in what country is the vessel registered, what country's courts will decide a suit? Another was to read the Captain's employment file and the latest maintenance report. Does that travel insurance you bought on your CC pay out in all legal jurisdictions?
If there are any travel agents out there I see a " product ". Do the due diligence for your clients ( at an additional fee of course).
And then if the agency gets it wrong one needs to know in which jurisdiction the agency is registered...LOL...bizzaro world.

SteveB said...

Ash,

I don't think I underestimate that potential, I'm just not assuming a systemic collapse in my thinking. IF the system does collapse, obviously something else will replace it, and I think what you suggest is appealing, feasible, and maybe even likely. In fact, I believe that even in a world without money, that would be the likely trend and a positive one.

On the other hand, if the system doesn't quite collapse, but rather is maintained in structure if not functionality through the machinations (e.g., fear mongering, police actions) of those in power, conditions might not be so favorable for grassroots efforts to get very far without getting quashed. I'm thinking of Stoneleigh's wildebeest/crocodile analogy. If there's not a mass movement, individual communities could get "picked off", e.g., have their local currency attacked through government and/or corporate means.

In any case, I don't see it as an either/or choice. We can choose to decentralize (and are doing so) and still decide to end the use of money. Keep in mind that we can't protect ourselves from the environmental impacts of those (corporations) who operate outside our local communities. It's in our interest to act globally for that reason. This might not come down to choices about what's appealing but what's necessary for planetary survival. I'm not deterred by the odds against such a change being made. Are you? If so, why?

Stoneleigh said...

Where are are now in the markets is interesting. Essentially IMO (on the balance of probabilities as always) we're in a position similar to just before the recovery high in early May, but at a lower degree of trend. The May high was the end of the long rally from March 2009. That rally had been correcting the entire decline from October 2007. As it topped out, we saw huge optimism. Bears had been capitulating to the uptrend one by one as the upward move progressed. The uptrend had become unnaturally smooth as fear eased, because volatility is associated with fear, and fear had largely dissipated.

Psychologically, counter-trend second waves in a larger downtrend reflect a resurgence of the optimism of the previous high at the corresponding degree of trend. We saw a lot of the optimism of late 2007, despite far worse fundamentals.

We are now at or near the top of a smaller rally, correcting the decline from May 2nd to October 4th 2011. We are seeing a reflection of the optimism of that recovery high after a mere 3-4 months of rally. Things always seem relatively rosy at the top of a rally. Some bears are once again capitulating. This is a contrarian indicator. Don't take it at face value.

We can expect another, stronger, leg down as this rally rolls over. I am fully expecting this next downward move to be the most powerful so far since the all time high. Third waves always are, and we are in the early stages of a third wave at a very large degree of trend.

As the markets roll over to the downside, we can expect substantial credit contraction and falling prices. For many, purchasing power will be falling faster than price, so affordability will be getting worse. More people are falling off the back of the bus all the time.

Greenpa said...

Ash; "Obviously, a Greek default is going to occur."

I would have to contend that by any objective standards, a Greek default has ALREADY occurred. Greece has not paid its debts; it has borrowed more money to pay them. There's an element of fantasy there that any "good businessman" should see through instantly.

But- here we are, pretending. Going to HUGE lengths to maintain the public illusion. The International Will To Believe is still functioning pretty well. The real question is; how long can the pretense be functionally maintained?

Greece has defaulted. We're just all sticking our fingers in our hears, and humming loudly.

Greenpa said...

Scandia: ".LOL...bizzaro world."

oh, yeah. :-) Comprehension is easy, though; Doug Adams nailed it:

http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Total_Perspective_Vortex

Greenpa said...

or, for the tiny minds:

http://tinyurl.com/7ujvdfy

:-)

Greenpa said...

Stoneleigh; another very powerful contrarian indicator; Krugman is getting optimistic:

"But there are reasons to think that we’re finally on the (slow) road to better times. "

http://tinyurl.com/86gmv4t

There should be an aphorism somewhere about "The clues of the clueless are priceless."

Mike said...

good one from CHS today..

http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjan12/wrong-about-everything01-12.html

thanks for all you do I&S.. these strange days require no nonsense analysis...

scandia said...

@Greenpa, I want one of those Total Perspective Vortex devices! Luckily we have TAE Big Picture Perspective Vortex:)
Psst, keep it to yourself but I could swear I saw Fairy Cake on a shelf at Tesco...

Ash said...

SteveB

"On the other hand, if the system doesn't quite collapse, but rather is maintained in structure if not functionality through the machinations (e.g., fear mongering, police actions) of those in power, conditions might not be so favorable for grassroots efforts to get very far without getting quashed."

If global economic structures are maintained by brute force, then I think it's safe to say that your scenario of a worldwide transition to an equitable "no money" system is out of the question, anyway. The only possibility then will be pockets of local resistance, however unlikely they are to succeed in creating anything sustainable.

"In any case, I don't see it as an either/or choice. We can choose to decentralize (and are doing so) and still decide to end the use of money."

Yes, we can, but decentralization by definition will involve transitions at less than a global scale, and most likely less than a regional/national scale as well (at least for the largest economies). That's the point - decentralization does not consciously occur from the top down.

"Keep in mind that we can't protect ourselves from the environmental impacts of those (corporations) who operate outside our local communities. It's in our interest to act globally for that reason."

Like you said, it's not about what's appealing to "our interest", but what's possible.

Stoneleigh said...

Greenpa,

'The clues of the clueless' indeed. Those who don't understand herding behaviour demonstrate it all the time. Watching Krugman signal a top at hand is entertaining.

Greenpa said...

scandia - cool! I have to assume that's also Eddie Izzard's Church of England Philosophical Options cake...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNjcuZ-LiSY

Mike said...

another TAE shout out from kunstler today:

http://kunstler.com/blog/2012/01/murmuration.html

Ash said...

Greenpa,

"I would have to contend that by any objective standards, a Greek default has ALREADY occurred. Greece has not paid its debts; it has borrowed more money to pay them."

True, but, then again, so has every other debtor country! In the legal sense, Greece will default as soon as it fails to perform on the original terms of its loan agreements, which will be very soon (no matter how the "negotiations" go). Actually, it could be argued that it legally defaults when they announce their intentions not to perform on the original terms, which was last year.

I agree with you, though, that it's all one major worldwide ponzi scheme, regardless of the legal considerations.

Stoneleigh said...

Many thanks to Jim K. Murmuration is an excellent metaphor. You can watch huge flocks of starlings turn instantly, with no apparent communication between them. Videos of this behaviour are amazing to watch. People do this too, as do other mammals. Shifts can be very rapid, sending societies off in radically different directions.

Greenpa said...

"People do this too, as do other mammals."

100% yes; as a trained ethologist. Something I've actually studied, precisely this kind of flock behavior in birds; even did a little original work.

One thing to know; there's nothing magic about it. When you play videos of starlings or schools of menhaden in slow motion, it becomes apparent that the "no apparent communication" is only a matter of our inadequate human sensory capability; its going on faster and broader than we can easily see, that's all. Yes, bird #459 turned because it saw bird #458 turn.

Which does not deprecate the over-all phenomenon; it's still astonishing and important; and yessir, humans do it.

SteveB said...

Ash,

Are you assuming that the ending of money would be a top-down action? I see it as only possible from the bottom up. Governments couldn't do it because they don't have the authority to act on the global scale. Only people could make the choice, and governments and corporations couldn't stop them (though they could certainly try to make it more difficult.)

Compared to organizing and implementing decentralization efforts at the community level, the ending of money is far simpler (as distinct from easier) in that it's almost entirely a matter of thinking, with little in the way of organization required for the movement. As I've noted before, it's a tipping point matter (and decentralization isn't.) A single web site could facilitate and coordinate it (assuming that it weren't shut down, of course.)

Government force and corporate shenanigans can't prevent thinking. So I don't think it's out of the question unless global communications are prevented, which couldn't be maintained indefinitely short of a really apocalyptic collapse, but that's not the scenario we're considering.

Greenpa said...

A super-excellent video compilation of flock behavior in African River Martins; illustrating both the cohesive aspects and the chaotic interactions from flock components. I think there are genuine insights here for those striving to comprehend human behaviors.

http://tinyurl.com/7y4n728

"ok, see, there's the IMF, going off in that direction, and here's Greece, going that way...." :-)

Ash said...

Greenpa,

My understanding was that the rapid flock transformations go beyond just hard-wired spatial/positioning rules in each individual member, and that there was an additional aspect of critical phase transition that occurs simultaneously in the flock. Basically, a "network effect" of complex, dynamic systems that goes well beyond individual biology. Is this correct?

Greenpa said...

Ash- You're well informed (no surprise.) :-)

I think you're into the area of personal opinion there, and I'll tell you my own bias; simple is often the answer.

There are a class of scientists who quickly go to "beyond known principles" explanations, by preference. It makes more noise when you write the paper, and it's just more fun than saying, "Actually, it's just that each bird is paying attention, and they have special "follow the flock" circuitry with extremely short response times- probably enforced evolutionarily by the fact that any bird unable to stay in the flock is instant lunch for the hawks."

"Since I don't understand it, it must be magic." is not my favorite pathway. I prefer, "Since I don't understand it, I'm probably missing something."

Magic gets lots of grant money, though. And it's fairly easy to get extremely rapid individual responses, which result in flock behavior; to track almost identically with "it's the flock driving the birds" models.

I'm not opposed to the flock driver possibilities; I'm a true believer in super-organisms. But- I'm personally not convinced by their data yet.

Glennda said...

My understanding of money is that it is essential for paying taxes - property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes. Then our fed government uses the income tax for a standing army, on going wars for resources and hiring more private mercenaries. State property and sales taxes are used for infrastructure like roads and also for local and state police, oh and for prisons.

With friends and neighbors that you know you can use co-operation and obligation (ie running up a tab to be paid in produce or service.)

We can use less money locally, but our feudal lords will want their cut. Hence money for the county, state and fed.

Ash said...

SteveB

"Are you assuming that the ending of money would be a top-down action? I see it as only possible from the bottom up."

No, I thought that was what you were assuming! We may be talking about similar transitions, then, because I too see it as a bottom up process. But I don't get how you can say ending the use of money is simply a matter of changing the way we think. Sure, that's a part of it (and far from a simple thing to do), but we also have to establish some forms of socioeconomic and political structures that facilitate production, exchange, decision-making, civil liberty, etc. What I'm saying is these revolutionary arrangements are much more likely to be accomplished from the bottom-up at relatively small scales, rather than coordinated action throughout the entire world.

SteveB said...

Glennda,

"My understanding of money is that it is essential for paying taxes - property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes."

Yes, that's true, but only because we use money. In a world that didn't use money, taxes wouldn't exist. (Pause to let that sink in. (-: )

The military (to the extent that it continued to exist), roads, etc. would not be funded but rather still constructed, maintained, etc. as they are now. Can you picture it? Soldiers would be soldiers because they chose to be. Likewise road builders.

If your imagination supplies you the thought that everyone would stop doing what they currently do, question whether that's true. Everyone? Certainly some people would say, "Take this job and …". But we're a world society of 7 billion people, many with specialized skills, all with unique abilities and interests. While there may not be a full replacement of workers who leave their current positions, some spots would be refilled by others like the out-of-paradigm former bank employees or former retirees who'd like to work with others again. Also ask yourself if a net loss in a particular industry, profession, etc. would be a problem in a world without money.

As I've been telling Ash, the choice is simple. At the same time, thinking simplistically about the implications of that choice is easy, but not helpful in making it come to pass.

SteveB said...

Ash,

(I tried to submit this before my response to Glennda.)

"Sure, that's a part of it (and far from a simple thing to do),"

It is simple, it's not easy. It's as simple as "I choose" (times 1 billion+.)

"but we also have to establish some forms of socioeconomic and political structures that facilitate production, exchange, decision-making, civil liberty, etc."

We already have them! No need to reinvent the wheel just because Goodyear won't be advertising tires anymore.

Actually, socioeconomic structures would become irrelevant. We don't need an economy, just production and subsequent transfer of goods and provision of services, as we do now. (If you want to call that an economy, I won't press the point further.) The infrastructure (e.g., supply lines) is in place. The main change would involve figuring out, on an individual level, but cooperatively, what you or I might do if our current job (e.g., financial adviser, bank teller, accountant) is rendered obsolete. From there it would primarily be a continued process of adaptation. The key is the thinking—the understanding that we can continue to largely live the way we do because we've proven it's possible. For it to be possible without the use of money is simply (there it is again) a question of thinking.

SteveB said...

Ash,

You wrote: What I'm saying is these revolutionary arrangements are much more likely to be accomplished from the bottom-up at relatively small scales, rather than coordinated action throughout the entire world.

Coordinated doesn't necessarily imply top down or centralized. The decision to end the use of money would need to be coordinated (I don't imagine it happening more 'organically' than that.) Internet coordination would facilitate education, discussion, and preparation as well as initiation (it would be more of a turning on/off than an implementation process once it gets to that point.)

At the same time, all of that would be decentralized in the sense that people from all over could participate and would be the decision-makers. It would be different (more dispersed and individuated) than the sort of community-based decentralization process that you've been referencing. The only centralization would perhaps be a web site. That and the one person who eventually says, "Looks like enough people are on board. Let's do it on July 1."

xraymike79 said...

A short film I made to illustrate the state of the world:
Graffiti Philosophy

SteveB said...

Stoneleigh,

You wrote: People do this too, as do other mammals. Shifts can be very rapid, sending societies off in radically different directions.

There's a distinction to be made between this relative to physical movements of groups as opposed to changes in thinking (for humans only, I suppose.) I'm just not sure if it's a useful distinction.

Gravity said...

The Critique of Practical Treason;
-Levying War against them.

Article III Section 3.
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

-Levying War against the United States, or adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort, shall consist only in Treason.

-Only Treason shall consist in Levying War against the United States, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

----

-Treason shall consist only in
"Engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, any conflict subject to the laws of war, against the United States".

-"Engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, any conflict subject to the laws of war, against the United States"
shall consist only in Treason.

----

This description of a new offense to enable forced expatriation, proposed in HR 3166 and s1698 Extralegal [Enemy] Expatriation Act, cannot conform to a legal definition of terrorism or a terrorist act, since it precisely conforms to the legal definition of treason applicable to citizens in wartime.

The crime described, as a novel expatriatory act to be inserted, is contextually equivalent to the criminal act of treason currently listed as expatriatory offense [in Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481), paragraph 7], but now to be inserted there without the requirement of conviction [or [criminal evidence pertaining to] legal process].
This description cannot be listed or legally construed as a separate and distinct expatriatory/criminal offense from treason when only the burden of proof is dissimilar.

[Whereas only the burden of proof is dissimilar,] Article III Section 3 does not allow a contextually equivalent description [serving as criminal evidence] of the crime of Treason to be construed as [a legal definition of] any crime
[or punishable offense] other than Treason.

Article III Section 3 forbids a contextually equivalent description of the crime of Treason to be construed as a legal definition of any crime
other than Treason.

"No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

"No Person shall be convicted of the same overt Act, unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to Treason, or on Confession in open Court."

ben said...

wonderful stuff, greenpa. what's more it gave me deja vu. it was probably just triggered by one of the other times you trumped science with wisdom.

cycling pelotons came to mind even though their beauty is only skin-deep.

i like it a lot this video of a cyclist incorporating some late luck with his skill to get through the Bottleneck.

the Flecha Path

of course, unless you're positioned like Dr. Tom, the bottleneck will be more like trying to shoot the gap while making sure mom doesn't slide off the saddle and your best friend off the handlebars. i'm reminded of that video'd wildebeest from stoneleigh's essay that stopped to mourn its partner's having been snatched only to get snatched itself.

what would a cruise ship captain do?

ben said...

awesome vid xraymike!

Nassim said...

Soldiers would be soldiers because they chose to be. Likewise road builders.

Soldiers either get paid or they just help themselves. As for people building roads because they are "road builders", I would like to point out that one of the gains that the peasants of France made out of the revolution was that they no longer had to spend a number of days each year building and repairing local roads.

Sorry, I had to interrupt there. This whole "world without money" theme was getting a little difficult for me to continue gobbling up. :)

Ash said...

SteveB,

A major theme here is that human beings cannot simply flip a switch and grant themselves a new, sustainable civilization. We are limited by the laws of physics and thermodynamics just like everything else in nature, as well as our own collective tendencies. To do what you propose at a global scale would take more than just the Internet and people deciding to stop using money on a certain date. It would require public and private institutions across the world to change the existing rules and completely revamp their modes of operation. That requires a lot of time. coordination and effort. And in the era of peak oil, we would also have to revamp A LOT of physical infrastructure as well that is adapted to the use fossil fuels. Those are simply cold, hard realities that we must accept. Don't get me wrong, I believe that humans are capable of establishing relatively complex societies founded on compassion, cooperation, sharing, etc., it's just not nearly as simple a process as you describe.

SecularAnimist said...

A major theme here is that human beings cannot simply flip a switch and grant themselves a new, sustainable civilization.

No, but a massive systemic failure that happens in a historical blink(10-20 years) can be good motivation to turn things around. Kind of like a near death experience can be known to radically change an individuals thinking and ways - I assume that it can have a similar effect on the collective.

We are limited by the laws of physics and thermodynamics just like everything else in nature, as well as our own collective tendencies.

And that, Ash, is the beauty of going to a moneyless society because the train of thought and underlying logic is to get in line with natural law which capital does not acknowledge due to it's growth necessitation. Hubberts said something along the lines of the rules of money are in direct opposition to the rules of energy/matter.

It would require public and private institutions across the world to change the existing rules and completely revamp their modes of operation.

So? - logistically/technically it is not a problem except in the context of cooperation. Existing institution's are irrelevant and need to be dismantled anyway.


And in the era of peak oil, we would also have to revamp A LOT of physical infrastructure as well that is adapted to the use fossil fuels.

Peak oil is only a problem with trying to continue industrial capitalism. The amount of unnecessary waste in the system is astronomical. But, yeah, energy/food infrastructure would be first on the agenda for a redesign(the invisible hand is not cutting it). We need to preserve our fossil fuels for transitioning to a new energy infrastructure.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that humans are capable of establishing relatively complex societies founded on compassion, cooperation, sharing, etc.,

Well, that is the first BIG step.

Ash said...

SA,

To be frank, what you and SteveB are telling us is not much different from people telling us that the Mayan Calendar heralds 2012 as the year of a "global awakening", in which the consciousness of the masses synchronizes and ushers in an entirely new, harmonious way of thinking and organizing. Maybe it's a nice fairy tale to tell the kids before bedtime, but that's just not how it works. In fact, it's a very thin line away from the politicians and pundits telling us the current system is fine and we are heading back to BAU. There's little chance of us willing our way to any of those outcomes.

But, we are all simply going to have to agree to disagree on this point. You guys view it as an unnecessary "fatalism", and most here view it as a necessary perspective of reality. To be clear, though, the disagreement is over scales. A moneyless society (and many other forms of society, for that matter) is very possible, but nothing says that our society has to be global and unified under a common system.

SteveB said...

Ash,

Getting tired of this subject? The quality of your comments seems to have dropped off.

A major theme here is that human beings cannot simply flip a switch and grant themselves a new, sustainable civilization.

I've not claimed that the outcome would be a sustainable civilization. You seem to have some assumption(s) about this that didn't come from me.

but nothing says that our society has to be global and unified under a common system.

For example, you seem to be stuck on it being a system. It's not about a particular system, but about operational principles. An array of diverse systems could develop around the world after the end of money use.

That requires a lot of time. coordination and effort.

More assumption? All the coordination is already in place and would only have to be adjusted. The complex web of relations, flows, communications, etc. exist. Preparation would be desirable prior to the changeover. I'll leave it to you to actually think through an example if you like to get a sense of how long such preparation might actually take. The rest would be (and could only be) handled after the changeover since we can't know the future.

And in the era of peak oil, we would also have to revamp A LOT of physical infrastructure as well that is adapted to the use fossil fuels

True regardless of what happens with money, therefore irrelevant to the question at hand (because your assumption about this being a proposal for a sustainable civilization is mistaken.)

I don't think it's a matter of disagreement. I think you haven't fully grasped my presentation (such as it is, piecemeal and in no particular order.). You haven't offered a logical case for why it's not possible, just beliefs as to why it's not likely (never my case), now resorting to equating it with fairy tales. Weak, baseless dismissal with a straw man or two thrown in. That can happen when clarification is secondary to making a point.

In fact, it's a very thin line away from the politicians and pundits telling us the current system is fine and we are heading back to BAU.

No predictions here, just a choice regarding a possible future.

There's little chance of us willing our way to any of those outcomes.

I speak of thinking and discussing and you translate that into willing. Take a break.

Ruben said...

@Greenpa,

I thought I had asked you about flocking behaviour, but I guess that was another thing, since it was new tome that you had done some original work.

I am incorporating flocking into an essay series on behaviour change I am writing. I do believe it is descriptive of how humans make many decisions.

I don't know if he references flocking, but I do know that Sandy Pentland at MIT believes 90% of our decisions are based on cues from our surroundings--like which way the bird is headed.

There is also a marketing book called Herd which incorporates the idea of human flocking.

I know that humans have certain reflexes that bypass the brain or take a fast road through the brain, like putting your hand on a hot stove. (any info you have on reflexes that do not go through the brain would be great) so it wouldn't surprise me at all if birds are capable of very fast reactions to certain stimuli on well-wired pathways.

Could you recommend a reading or two from both sides of the flocking research fence? The fast-reflex and the flock magic sides?

Thank you,

Ruben.

SteveB said...

and most here view it as a necessary perspective of reality.

Yes, that's a common perspective for many older, white, North American men interested in money (a reasonable generalization, I think, for this site.) The readership here isn't really the target audience for this idea, just a possibly open-minded group who might be curious enough to engage in discussion or (even better, actually) ask questions. Dr. Tom was great in that regard.

By the way, women (who make up a majority of the population) generally love this idea. Any of you guys in an actual relationship where you could ask your partner what they think?

davecydell said...

Yeah, Ilargi, but you know I am right on.

Ash said...

SteveB

I can tell that, for some reason, you have become personally offended by my disagreement with you. Why, I'm not sure, but I apologize if you mistakenly took my responses as being hostile in some way. My last comment, as I stated at the outset, was my frank opinion of your and SA's argument with regards to this specific issue.

But perhaps you're right... and I haven't fully grasped your "presentation". All I know is that you repeatedly state that we need to "get rid of money" in response to everything posted here and on facebook. You also took issue with Bookchin's emphasis on grassroots movements in the interview, so I responded to that and told you my opinion that you were under-estimating their potential.

Please, feel free to tell us how exactly you envision the global transition to a money-free society taking place. But I hope you will not feel offended and you will not be disrespectful if others criticize your idea, because we're not here to simply confirm your views.

Greenwood said...

A cool video showing an unexpected murmuration by two young women canoeing on the River Shannon

Ya never know what you'll see out boating!

~

NZSanctuary said...

Ash said...
My understanding was that the rapid flock transformations go beyond just hard-wired spatial/positioning rules in each individual member, and that there was an additional aspect of critical phase transition that occurs simultaneously in the flock. Basically, a "network effect" of complex, dynamic systems . . .

Greenpa said...
I think you're into the area of personal opinion there, and I'll tell you my own bias; simple is often the answer. "Since I don't understand it, it must be magic." is not my favorite pathway.

Excuse the butt-in on this thread.

I presume you have seen human crowd movement sped up on film (there are several good clips in the film Baraka, for example)? You can clearly see a kind of fluid dynamic at work in a crowd when watching it sped up. Although it looks almost like a co-ordinated fluid motion, we know from our own experience it is just a bunch of individuals reading the crowd as best they can and moving in a way they see as most efficient.

It is not an area of expertise for me, but I have always tended towards Greenpa's view on this – when you combine a bunch of simple reactions, you sometimes get very complex ones. Complexity theory states that the resultant interactions of many simple components are not predictable from the known behaviour of the individual components (or even a few of them together). You get what appears to be emergent behaviour/intelligence - like the fluid motion of a flock in flight. Or consciousness in a bunch of neurons.

Hence the old saying: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We tend not to perceive the world in this way, because of the roots of much of our scientific and philosophical thought, which looks at the world as discreet separate units. "Eastern" thought tends to approach the world from the opposite direction. The patterns and complex behaviours of things are more important than individual, discreet behaviours. That's why, for example, Western and Eastern medicine do not usually connect well.

SteveB said...

Ash,

No offense taken. I'm just surprised at your misinterpretation and misrepresentations. In response to your latest comment, I'm tempted to simply say, "So?" You're ignoring (apparently) my specific responses to your specific wording, instead following up with undirected observations. Again, "So what?"

I can see now that you're bringing into consideration comments I've made on Facebook. Good to know. I'm sometimes more provocative in my wording in those brief items.

Please, feel free to tell us how exactly you envision the global transition to a money-free society taking place.

Already did. Felt free to and went ahead and did it. (-: See comment on Jan. 11 in response to Nassim, in part:

This raises the question of how the end of money would be enacted. I'll outline one possible scenario.

Obviously, such a change couldn't happen overnight. We're taking the first step--and, granted, perhaps the only step that's ever taken--here, which is to begin to consider it. This is the requisite thought experiment that would need to precede broader discussions and considerations of the choice. In a less connected world, those discussions and considerations would be more challenging, but we have the internet to assist us in carrying them out.

Eventually, a proposal could be put forth. (12/12/12, 12:12:12 has a certain appeal as a kickoff point.) For example, someone could propose that a year from the date of the proposal the question would be posed: are we ready and willing to end the use of money as of a designated date, say a year later. Such an approach would give both a period of time for consideration and one for preparation.

If the answer was clearly, "No", the question could be reposed to be addressed the following year. This is assuming that people wanted more time to consider it before committing. If essentially the whole world had heard and considered the idea but clearly didn't favor it, that would likely be the end of it.


I could go on to spell out that there would be conferences on the subject, etc., but you all are bright people. If you're interested in the idea, you'll get to that yourself. If not, you won't, even with my spelling it out. You've demonstrated that to a certain extent (even accounting for the possibility that you haven't read everything I've written on this over the past couple weeks.)

Greenwood said...

"But- here we are, pretending. Going to HUGE lengths to maintain the public illusion. The International Will To Believe is still functioning pretty well. The real question is; how long can the pretense be functionally maintained?"

@ Ash

Thanks for the expansion on 'retro-activity'

I think when two parties decide to 'retroactively' change the terms of an agreement it should be considered a 'renegotiation'.

And if a condition of the original agreement included the ability of one or either party to unilaterally execute a 'retroactive'change, hey, they were both consenting adults as the saying goes. No problem.

I'm focusing on the pure evil retro-activity of the US telco wiretap precedent as it seems to being groomed for action in financial spheres.

To me, Retroactivity, in that light, undermines the whole concept of Law itself.

I'm no legal scholar, but the effect of using this evil rewriting of the rules after the fact, retroactive laws, on the general broader deep confidence of a society is something so basic to the idea of fairness, even the dumbness of the dumb should get it.

What brings down the financial edifice will not be fact and figures and well reasoned augments. Trust and confidence will spearhead the collapse, as Stoneleigh has said for years.

The way derivative parties (banks) can step in front of clients in the MF Global bankrupty is really starting to rattle some cages, not of all the people on food stamps or the ones living pay check to pay check or a large slice of the formerly middle class, but the upper middle class and the next bracket up who really don't consider themselves to be fools and are thinking WTF, because it's just too blatant to rationalize this one away this time.

to be continued with a poetic touch...

~

Ash said...

NZSanctuary,

I used to think exactly the same thing Greenpa and you said, but then I remember reading somewhere that there was "more to it", but not sure where. I just did a quick Google search, and came up with this article on Wired, which says something similar to what I read before. It makes intuitive sense, and they're not claiming it's magic, but perhaps there just isn't enough convincing data to confirm it, like Greenpa said.

Amazing Starling Flocks Are Flying Avalanches

"To watch the uncanny synchronization of a starling flock in flight is to wonder if the birds aren’t actually a single entity, governed by something beyond the usual rules of biology. New research suggests that’s true.

Mathematical analysis of flock dynamics show how each starling’s movement is influenced by every other starling, and vice versa. It doesn’t matter how large a flock is, or if two birds are on opposite sides. It’s as if every individual is connected to the same network.

That phenomenon is known as scale-free correlation, and transcends biology. The closest fit to equations describing starling flock patterns come from the literature of “criticality,” of crystal formation and avalanches — systems poised on the brink, capable of near-instantaneous transformation."

Greenwood said...

A consolation prize to MF Global customers. So much for Trust.

oxoxoxo


The Draft Horse

With a lantern that wouldn’t burn
In too frail a buggy we drove
Behind too heavy a horse
Through a pitch-dark limitless grove.

And a man came out of the trees
And took our horse by the head
And reaching back to his ribs
Deliberately stabbed him dead.

The ponderous beast went down
With a crack of a broken shaft.
And the night drew through the trees
In one long invidious draft.

The most unquestioning pair
That ever accepted fate
And the least disposed to ascribe
Any more than we had to to hate,

We assumed that the man himself
Or someone he had to obey
Wanted us to get down
And walk the rest of the way.

~Robert Frost~


~

Ash said...

SteveB,

Alright, fair enough. I remember reading that post from you. I'm gonna go ahead and admit myself into the camp of people "not at all interested" in exploring the idea any further. Perhaps others will continue exploring with you, perhaps not. Thanks for all your thoughts in this discussion, though, and for listening to the Bookchin interview.

Ash said...

Greenwood,

The US legal system is a cruel joke, for sure, and most glaringly at the federal level. The laws are either selectively applied, erroneously interpreted, retroactively modified or ignored altogether. As many recent executive actions and court decisions have made clear, the Bill of Rights isn't even worth the ink it was written with.

--- said...

"Soldiers would be soldiers because they chose to be. Likewise road builders."

I find something very curious in this exchange about a future without infrastructure.

It seems people from the top-of-the-food-chain nations have a certain curious concept about war, which is this: it always happens in someone else's country.

In the event of a great apocalypse, however people might define that to themselves, at least initially it is likely to bring out violence and panic rather than altruism.

Comments tend towards an illusion that the world is just brimming over with nascent solidarity everywhere.

The idea of solidarity among the soldier class is perhaps the most risible of all.

--- said...

Or can anyone imagine this outfit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAKK1e82EN0&feature=related

facing off with this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnZBgiZ3d8s

??????

SecularAnimist said...

To be frank, what you and SteveB are telling us is not much different from people telling us that the Mayan Calendar heralds 2012 as the year of a "global awakening", in which the consciousness of the masses synchronizes and ushers in an entirely new, harmonious way of thinking and organizing.

huh? Are you serious? The idea is really not that radical. Yes, the cultural implications are huge. I think that an infinite growth, all-encompassing competitive market system governing all worldly affairs for a sustained period of time is a little more far-fetched and utopian, IMO


but nothing says that our society has to be global and unified under a common system.

It is now and it will be when we manage resources in a new way - which is about 100% certainty that it will happen baring extinction from stupidity. But capitalism will fail and money will transform(no, not gold standard) or disappear all together.

SecularAnimist said...

Yes, that's a common perspective for many older, white, North American men interested in money (a reasonable generalization, I think, for this site.)


yeah the doomstead crowd thinks it is a terrible idea. Interestingly, it's not their doomstead that protects them but their money.

The doomstead paradox is that if you have the money to put together a nice site - you don't need it.

Farms/doomsteads/growing food is only a survival strategy as far as it is integrated with your monetary needs in a money system - which is what the world is, an all-encompassing money/property exchange system - a single unified system.

SecularAnimist said...

By the way, women (who make up a majority of the population) generally love this idea.

There is quite a bit of interest in the occupy crowd as well.

If we get the TAE deflationary crash fast enough - we just may be forced into doing things without money. Reality will demand it.

Ash said...

SA,

"huh? Are you serious? The idea is really not that radical."

It's not a radical idea, but an unrealistic one. It was unrealistic when Marx/Engels advocated it in the 19th century and when some European countries briefly tried it, it was unrealistic when the Soviet Union tried to implement it in the 20th century and it is even more unrealistic now than it was back then, since we are well past the fruit-bearing stage of industrialism. There is absolutely no precedent for it or reason to think it has a more than trivial chance of occurring now. I believe the traditional notions of global socialism/communism have been analytically marginalized by many modern, left-wing revolutionary thinkers for good reason.

"It is now and it will be when we manage resources in a new way - which is about 100% certainty that it will happen baring extinction from stupidity."

Of course we will manage resources in a new way, i.e. more localized ways. It's really time for people to stop thinking the global technocratic society can never die, and there is no option for humanity other than the level of centralization and inter-dependency we have become accustomed to.

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This comment has been removed by the author.
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Speaking of murmuration, what does anyone suppose motivates the ROKs to march like that?

There is a hubris in supposing that all these banking/military/pharmaceutical/gmo crimes are not fulling most of the armies on earth with a longing for revenge. Or will never be avenged by other powers that be.

SecularAnimist said...

It's not a radical idea, but an unrealistic one.

Unrealistic is our current global "economic" model. Things that are impossible are unrealistic.

it was unrealistic when the Soviet Union tried to implement it in the 20th century and it is even more unrealistic now than it was back then,

it's much more realistic now.

-The soviet union was a feudal system with a completely uneducated population that had a life expectancy of like 35 in the late 1800s.

-It was surrounded by countries that wanted it to fail

-They had no computer technology for resource management.



"I believe the traditional notions of global socialism/communism have been analytically marginalized by many modern, left-wing revolutionary thinkers for good reason."

Yes and no. You mean the ones that had brief communist affiliations in their youth and were horrified at what the soviet union became.

A mathematician who failed to solve a problem in his early 20s would not use that as evidence that the problem no longer exists.

"the principles of the commune are indestructible and eternal and will present themselves again and again until the working class is liberated"

-Marx

It's the sentiment that should not be marginalized.

Of course we will manage resources in a new way, i.e. more localized ways. It's really time for people to stop thinking the global technocratic society can never die, and there is no option for humanity other than the level of centralization and inter-dependency we have become accustomed to.

Sure all living sub-systems should be materially localized for obvious efficiency reasons. universal rules is not the same as totalitarian centralization - unless you consider nature to be totalitarian.

Candace said...

OK, I'm completely baffled by this money discussion. People just need to change the way they think about it? "They" don't think about it at all. For most people the world is the way it is, because that's the way the world is. Getting ahead of change and changing willingly? OWS is a self selecting clique. When I see my neighbors and strangers giving up potato chips, soda and cigarettes and actually knowing who any of the political candidates are or knowing anything, literally anything, about Fukushima or Haiti, then I'll believe that people would be willing to have a grass-roots change in our economic system. You guys live in a bubble.

Candace

TAE Summary said...

* Interesting times in Athens; Will they get IMF money or not? How long can the pretense continue? It's a dog agrees to agree to eat dog world

* Ex post facto laws are unconstitutional ; Slippery slopes are dangerous; Dismantling Detroit is beautiful; We wear the chain we forged in life; What's in your wallet?

* Systemic complexity and large scale capitalism are the root of our predicaments; Newt Complexity or Mitt Capitalism needs to emerge soon as The Candidate to silence Ron Paul; Mitt, Newt and Barack are three rings in the same circus

* Complexity arises from a multitude of simplicities; The whole is greater than the sum of its parts; Corporations and revolutions must grow or die

* The US legal system is a cruel joke; They don't call it a punch line for nothin'

* Things are rosy at the top; Third waves are powerful; Stay away from the back of the bus; The clues of the clueless are priceless; The herd never understands itself; Societal shifts can be instantaneous; Modern man is half guinea pig, half lemming and half starling; If only we could identify bird #1

* The End of Money
- Large societies can easily live without it
- Without money little would change
- The end of money could be coordinated via the internet
- It is akin to global awakening
- Reality may demand it
- To end money, think differently
- You can run up a tab locally but not with the Pentagon
- It's not about the system, it's about operational change
- It could be instantaneous; Person #459 might stop using money because person #458 did
- Most women love the idea except for my wife and few of her friends
- Without money people would just choose to be soldiers, build roads and clean toilets because they enjoy that shit
- Doomsteaders love money
- The concept is not meant for TAE readers
- Discussions of the concept offends some
- Others are not at all interested in the concept

Ash said...

"Yes and no. You mean the ones that had brief communist affiliations in their youth and were horrified at what the soviet union became."

That was a part of it, but these people were also deep philosophical thinkers, and the failures of Soviet Union simply reinforced their underlying perspective. They were a) opposed to the determinism in Marx's theory of historical materialism and b) very skeptical of the notion that the working class could be "liberated" in their local spheres by politicians/bureaucrats and industrial elites making decisions out of centralized institutions hundreds or thousands of miles away (should sound familiar).

The SU didn't collapse until 1989, and during its lifespan it committed many similar atrocities to those committed by the Western capitalist powers, and developed many of the same unsustainable and corrupted economic, political and imperial trends. It's not like they weren't the second largest economy in the world for almost 50 years.

It's the sentiment that should not be marginalized.

Yes, the sentiment of communal living - cooperative, coequal organizations. I agree, it should not be marginalized. It should be applied to the best of our abilities in these times of rapid systemic deterioration.

"Sure all living sub-systems should be materially localized for obvious efficiency reasons. universal rules is not the same as totalitarian centralization"

The "universal rules" of nature should not be confused with universal decrees by man-made governments. The latter are not required and, indeed, are not very conducive to establishing localized sub-systems. The latter must ultimately retain a large degree of sovereignty to carry out a meaningful existence.

SteveB said...

Candace,

"They" haven't thought about it because it never occurred to them to do so. I'm inviting them—and you—to do so. That's how it just might happen. Never mind them, will you think about it? Can you? I only speak for myself. It's just opinion, just thought.

SteveB said...

Interesting. I just noticed that TAE Summary is a propagandist.

SecularAnimist said...

Everything that has EVER been done has started with could.

bosuncookie said...

Regarding "root causes"...

The causes and conditions that give rise to any phenomenon are wide and deep. Our assignment of "root cause" is just our way of abstracting something (ie: some thing) from the panoply in an attempt to make some sort of sense. It takes a certain amount of hubris to list anything as root cause. (Perhaps this is why, Ash, you wrote it surrounded by quotation marks?)

That "sense" that we make up, however, is often likely to arise out of our own biases and prejudices rather than from a thorough understanding of the possibilities. In fact, how could our understanding be thorough?

Bullturnedbear said...

What happened to this blog? I loved all the articles that used to be posted every couple of days. Why have they stopped?

Nassim said...

Watching Lynne being led away to prison reminded me of the naturalisation oath I had made in the same room, two years previously, to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

The laws I had just seen perverted, like the torture, civil rights abuses and xenophobia I had discovered over my 10 years living in America, did not belong to the nation I had once imagined I was joining. I loved much about this country, especially its fascinating and welcoming peoples, but I fantasised of doing exactly what the authorities most feared from its new immigrants: overthrowing the US government.

Now, as I look at the blue passport that I spent eight years and $10,000 winning, I see only a booklet of tragic fraud. And I wonder: was it all worth it?


Is America shutting the door on expats?

A series of revelatory stories about what the USA has become. What has happened to that place which I used to love visiting?

snuffy said...

Hard reading this pm.There are nights when all the concepts that are discussed instantly click with "comprehension" button...

And then nights where I see some greater truths edged around...hinted at..and really good questions linger like the aftertaste of good food.

One of the questions on the edge that has me thinking is the melding of what is seen and described as behavior of the flock...and what stoneleigh describes as human"herding behavior.What seems as chaotic activity that ,when examined exhibits strange,ordered complexities ...uniform behaviors of individual members of a group,acting as if they were part of a network. I think of the old psych master Freud,discussing the human unconscious mind,and Jungs archetype.Could the behaviors we are thinking of be this sort of a unconscious part of how we human critters are hardwired /to act as a collective/when unconsciously we have decided its "time to change". Is it a Straussian,4th turn,or population pressure trigger,or maybe the collective "thing" that is humankind trying to figure out a way past the coming bottleneck our population is going to face...with out the very high probability of a human "extinction event"..[to clear the way for whatever life replaces us.]If we don't turn the earth to a sterile,glassy,radioactive ball

We have become way too good at killing each other,and not so good at dividing the ever shrinking resource pie.That usually ends up starting mankinds favorite pastime war.

I don't know.We have watched,in fairly recent history, genocidal behavior in large groups...almost like a "societal death-wish",that later is explained away by propaganda,or evil men in power,ect,but never that the collective unconscious of the group became ,essentially insane.
I honestly wonder sometimes if George Carlin's..."Owners" have decided to cut the population down to a manageable size,say,a few years of "Mad Max"to thin the herd...with a new feudalism that will be Orwells "Boot on the face of humanity forever"lookalike.

To many "hard vibes" coming out of society now.

Bee good,or
Bee careful


snuffy

el gallinazo said...

SteveB said...
Interesting. I just noticed that TAE Summary is a propagandist.
________________________

He's worse than a propagandist - he's an infidel (at least when he mocks **my** comments).

Bosuncookie - Perhaps we might consider the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago as a root cause. Anything more recent is problematic. (I originally spelled your handle Bosoncookie which might have a very different meaning, perhaps related to nano urinals constructed from Bucky Balls :-)

Snuffy

"I honestly wonder sometimes if George Carlin's..."Owners" have decided to cut the population down to a manageable size,say,a few years of "Mad Max"to thin the herd...with a new feudalism that will be Orwells "Boot on the face of humanity forever"lookalike. "

The Rockefeller Brothers of whom only David remains, have been studying and trying to institute population control and reversal, particularly of the "lower" races, from the early 20th century. (Laurence bought up most of the Caribbean island where I have, for the moment planted my butt, and when he couldn't get the schwatzas deported to Puerto Rico, transformed it into a national park for a huge tax break.) The Eugenics Movement, which changed its name after Hitler gave it some bad press, was an integral part of this. Henry Kissinger, who would have remained a back bench Harvard professor if he hadn't placed his nose firmly up the Rockefellers' collective asses, issued a formal government paper while holding a government position on the subject, though I am too lazy to link it. William Engdahl in "The Seeds of Destruction" deals with this history in nauseating detail, for those who have the stomach :-( IMO, the core and clandestine purpose behind food plant genetic engineering is not only the control of the food supply, but population control through systems a bit more subtle than outright starvation. The research leading to sterile crops, an integral "economic" part of GMO crops, now appears to be so basic to life, that it also can apply to mammals. Also, there are indications that vaccines are acting as conveyers of substances with purposes beyond fighting pathogenic viruses, though I must admit that I have not really researched that area.

el gallinazo said...

I also recommend last Friday's Capital Account when Lauren Lyster interviews Mike Maloney ( 28 m). Maloney's basic ideas regarding money and credit are quite similar to I&S and he explains it well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s4BvsRL42c&feature=g-all-u&context=G2f1210aFAAAAAAAABAA

Since CC is a Russia Today program, I cannot help but notice how things have reversed, where Russia is now broadcasting Video Free America to the enslaved and propagandized population of debt serfs. It must be driving the Owners batshit. This is not meant to imply that Putin's Russia is now the "shining city on the hill," anymore than America was in 1955.

Ash said...

EU to Have No Deadline for End of Greek Talks

"The European Union has no deadline for concluding negotiations with Greece and private bondholders on details of a debt swap that was broadly agreed to in October, according to two euro-region officials.

There is also no talk that the official sector might add more public money to the deal, which aims to slice 100 billion euros ($130 billion) from the 205 billion euros of privately owned Greek debt, said the officials, who declined to be identified because the discussions are private.

The failure to wrap up the debt-reduction accord over the weekend helped drive Greek two-year yields to a record high of 206 percent earlier today. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the talks can be completed “soon enough” and French Finance Minister Francois Baroin noted “tangible progress,” neither of them specified a timetable.


...

Tyler Durden's picture
Portugal Reenters Bailout Radar As Traders Realize Greek "Rescue" Model Is Not Feasible Here


"And here is the paradox: if Greece succeeds in persuading the ad hoc creditors to accept a 3.5% coupon, which it won't absent cramdown and CDS trigger, Portugal will immediately if not sooner proceed with the same steps. There is however, a problem. Unlike Greece, where the bulk, or over 90%, of the bonds are under Local Law, and thus have no bondholder protections (a fact about to be used by Greece to test the legal skills of asset managers who can retain the smartest lawyers in the world and generate par recoveries on their bonds in due course), in a generic Portuguese Euro Medium Term note Programme prospectus we find the following:

Oops: negative pledge (a simple one at that, not that garbled monstrosity of verbiage that some Greek bonds have) and UK-law. Looks like the Greek Modus Operandi of dealing with its uber-leverage problems will be quite hindered (read impossible) when its comes to Portugal, where a substantial portion of its sovereign debt actually does have significant creditor protections.

It also means good luck not only trying to enforce a coercive cram down, but also attempting to layer on a primed piece of debt with liens on top of the EMTNs (i.e. IMF bailout capital), without every asset manager in possession of these bonds suing the country into oblivion at a London court of law."

Hombre said...

El G - I have been looking around for that "shining city on a hill" but alas, with no luck as yet. Perhaps Cahokia circa the year 1100. Some say they bartered mostly, that is they got along without money (re: Ash/SteveB) but then there were no hot showers so it must have been less than ideal.
The little town I live near don't sparkle much but some sparks did fly the other night when a barroom brawl led to 3 homes being shot up with both scattergun pelllets and centerfire lead! I think it had very little to do with the current bad economy and more to do with too much Jack Daniels.
Me, I'd rather play my 6 string, but I do have a Henry propped up in the corner... just in case. I'm not as prepared as Snuffy, but then I'm old and likely to miss the BIG EVENT on the horizon.

http://tinyurl.com/homeshooting

bosuncookie said...

El G,

Touché! Of sorts. I suppose all I really meant to say was that we have to be really careful about ascribing root causes because our knowledge of all that impinges upon a situation is so limited.

It is an easy step from "view(ing)the 'root cause' of almost all of our predicaments as a combination of systemic complexity and large-scale capitalism" to the hardening of that view into knowing. Once it becomes known, that is where trouble sets in.

As for BOSONcookie, your comment suggests that you may actually be one of the few people who actually know what a BOSUNcookie is!

el gallinazo said...

Hombre

Jeez - a Henry. "To the amazed muzzleloader-armed Confederates who had to face this deadly "sixteen shooter", it was "that damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!"

Also, just goes to show you how you can't trust anything that the screenwriters put into their movies. In Silverado, on many levels one of the best Hollywood westerns, the freed black character had a Henry rifle which they made to appear to have the ballistics profile of a 0.50 caliber machine gun cartridge, while in truth they were loaded with 0.44 pistol cartridges good for very short range.

What cartridge is yours chambered for? Assume it is a more recent product of resurrected Henry Repeating Arms of Bayonne NJ. Hope they evacuate the air pollution before shipping ( a NJ joke).

Ash said...

bosuncookie,

It's like saying the "root cause" of someone's death is malnutrition or disease. I might not know exactly the various ways in which either of those things affected the body's physical systems, but I can be confident that it was a fundamental factor contributing to the death. I think what you're referring to is more of a failure in our language to convey complex concepts, i.e. the phrase "root cause".

bluebird said...

Candace and SteveB - Yes I have talked about things going on to family and neighbors, but they are not interested. Things have not impacted them directly, so there is nothing to worry about, and tell me they can't do anything about it anyway. They are the ones living in a bubble.

Urban Roman said...

It's peak oil! It's financial collapse!

It's two crises in one event!
PetroPlus, Largest European Refiner By Capacity, Files Bankruptcy

XYZ said...

Hello,

I have spent the last several weeks carefully reading the discussion on not using money (there is a certain appeal) and come to the conclusion that it is one of the most tedious and unrealistic ever to have hit TAE comments.

Even worse than the nutrition debates of a few years ago, because with nutrition, there was at least some hope of learning something.

The proponents of a moneyless society have not put forward a single shred of information on how the system could actually WORK on any scale beyond a three-house hamlet. The information above (23 Jan. at 21.30) hardly qualifies as an explanation, it simply proposes as a "scenario" that people "consider" it prior to "discussions".

And yes, I did ask my wife what she thinks of the idea. She remained polite…

May I suggest that this over-cooked topic be taken elsewhere, someplace it might be appreciated?

Ciao,
XYZ

Ash said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/debt-crisis-live/9034436/Debt-crisis-live.html

"The IMF has cut world growth outlook to 3.3pc in 2012 from a September forecast of 4pc. Sees 3.9pc growth in 2013.

The fund added that it expects a European recession, the debt problems to hit US banks, and that the current bailout fund can't contain the crisis. It adds that urgent action is needed to prevent "highly destabilising outcomes". World is "deeply in the danger zone."

Candace said...

@ Bluebird - True enough. We all live in bubbles and tend to think that if only everyone else would conform to our bubble we would solve most if not all of our problems.

@ SteveB - I'll consider your ideas when you have actually implemented them some where and written a blog about it. Until then, what you propose it just a puff of smoke.

Candace

jwhands4u said...

I wanted to share a couple of things about murmuring of birds and herd/social movement/behavior. I'm not an economics person per say (I'm a social science/psychology person) but I truly enjoy reading the discussions and responses to current economic changes on TAE.
Murmuring reminds me of how schools of fish move in an effort to feed the group, avoid the dangers of larger hungry predators. (the wildebeast/crocodile analogy) I agree, we do this in our economic and other social "markets" as well.
As far as going to a "money-less" society this could be quite a challenge since what one person values is not always what another values. Money/cash/currency is a social tool that is an expression of choice ie: I prefer this loaf of bread to that loaf because...; I am doing "this" so I can get "that"... Also, our current "social tool", "expression of choice",( if we have more than "enough") also allows us a "freedom of choice/expression". These are some of the "gifts"(rewards) of our culture. These are the "gifts" that motivate us to "produce", to work on building and maintaining roads, to work in hazardous and harsh environments not a "Wimpy" economy of- "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for..."
We need to realize as a society that gifts (rewards) also bring responsibility, cooperation and conflict; Conflict brings the opportunity of communication, and community. Again the murmuring, the participation, rewards and responsibility of being in relationship with something that creates connection(s). I know, I blather... but if I can create hope, and community(and myself) through the use of seashells, rocks beads (money); maybe its not such a bad thing.

DrabMatter said...

I read that hunter/gatherer societies had no money and shared everything. Personal hoarding was not allowed. Neither was being a slacker, both possible in moneyed societies. What kept people in line was that everyone knew everyone and slackers/hoarders were subject to banishment which meant starvation and death. This works well in an autonomous small group but if the group gets large or is not autonomous it doesn't work so well.

Frank said...

>>The proponents of a moneyless society have not put forward a single shred of information on how the system could actually WORK on any scale beyond a three-house hamlet.

Thank you XYZ for saying what I've been thinking for the last several days.

Ash said...

Nicole's great interview on Progressive:

Interview

el gallinazo said...

XYZ

The moneyless society discussion will definitely not be on the final exam (or even a pop quizling). I read the first two comments about it and then decided that that was why God created scroll wheels on mice.

SteveB said...

XYZ wrote: The proponents of a moneyless society have not put forward a single shred of information on how the system could actually WORK on any scale beyond a three-house hamlet.

You (and Frank?) must have missed the several times I've stated that it would work the same way it does today, just without the money. To whatever extent you believe that it couldn't, you're making assumptions that could be examined. Likewise, I'm making assumptions that it's possible, and I've stated that they're a matter of thinking (as opposed to physical changes in the world.)

I can only guess, but here are some common assumptions that might apply to your thinking:

- People need the motivation of money in order to do their jobs.

- All transfers of goods and services must be done so in some form of monitored (accounted) exchange.

- All goods and services must be assigned a value.

- All exchanges must balance value.

All of these assumptions (and likely other related ones) are demonstrably untrue in that they don't apply in all situations, if any. The fact that we currently operate as though they do and must (like the law of gravity, for example), doesn't make them true or truer than they are.

So what we're left with is beliefs about the need for money and, simultaneously, actual transfers of goods and services happening constantly around the world. If you still believe that it couldn't actually WORK, then there are probably other assumptions in play.

I'd really like to make this easier for you and others to grasp, so I'm open to suggestions as to how to present it.

With regard to your suggestion, I have taken this discussion elsewhere. My guess is that the moderators will allow the discussion to continue as long as it is a discussion. It might be over now, but that's not for you or me to decide unilaterally. If it's overcooked, you needn't consume it. Others might see it as a stew that's getting better.

Greenwood said...

"EU to Have No Deadline for End of Greek Talks"

Endless Negotiations is the New Watchword in Euro finance.

"Yay, that's it, Endless Negotiations, that's the ticket."

New Speak Propaganda at it's most classic.

I wonder if the masses will ever catch up to New Speak even out of just a bored with current style perspective.

You know, like getting bored with a fashion trend before the Owners and their running media dog lackeys even have enough time to launch a 'new' replacement fashion statement-Bread&Circus distraction.

Peak Propaganda.

Like re-runs of re-runs of reruns, even the Zombie undead would crab at media retreads taken to the nth extreme of narcoleptic inducing Flash.

The Orwell's Two Minutes of Hate gets drawn out to Ten Minutes of Hate by Suits from the Hollywood Ministry of Truthiness, only to collapse as a viable propaganda technique on the ultimate limitation, the Average Attention Span of a debt serf, which at this point couldn't possibly be much more than two minutes.

What's the average snap time for a play from start to finish in 'Professional' footfall?

Fifteen seconds?

That the number the 1% are shooting for regarding what nowadays passes for 'learned discussion' among the 99%.

~

Greenwood said...

Starling 'murmurings' look like 'Strange Attractors' from Chaos Theory I've seen demonstrated on oscilloscopes.

~

Hombre said...

El G - It's a 44mag from the new outfit on the east coast. Those Yankees do make a good rifle! It will only gain in value, whereas the money that went for it was earning NOTHING sitting in my local credit union.

Board - Count me in as one not too taken with discussing obscure subjects which have little chance of fruition. I'd rather discuss the possible, such as how to raise chickens or make brandy.

Drabmatter - Yep, that's the beauty of localization and simplification... they go hand in hand. I won't raise potatoes and then pass them along to the neighbor sitting on his porch!

Ruben said...

@SteveB

I have no doubt humans could choose to transition to a world without money.

I also believe we could choose to transition to much lower energy consumption and renewable energy.

I believe we could live in a compassionate society of equals.

But none of these things is going to happen. I think the antipathy some posters are showing to your position is more based on the reality than the quality of the idea. Great ideas that will never come to pass can easily be seen as a sort of intellectual wankerism. Think of colonizing space, the Singularity, or the hydrogen highway.

The single best summation I have found of why these things will never come to pass is presented in David Rock's Your Brain at Work.

el gallinazo said...

Recent research on Latin American vampire bats

Blood has a very low level of carbohydrates. If vampire bats go more than three days without a blood meal they will die. If a bat come back without a score, a buddy who had a good night and often genetically unrelated, will cough up a little blood vomit and feed him. If the well fed bat refuses, if the starving bat survives, and the situation is reversed, this bat will never cough up up drop for Scrooge McBat. There is a lesson to be learned from vampires other than those located near Wall Street. Probably the most interesting thing about this new research is the depth of social interaction and individuation interactions among the bat colonies.

Hombre

Is the round the same as that used in a .44 magnum revolver?

Lynford1933 said...

OT: As this may not apply in other countries, states and with other personalities.

I have been using firearms for over 65 years. When in the service I was on the base pistol team and further took combat training, martial arts, pistol and rifle use. Except on alert and in combat, I never felt it necessary to carry a weapon or have a loaded weapon in the house.

Recently, I believe things are changing and not for the better. People are under a lot of stress and how that comes out, no one knows. South of here there was a crazy man who shot several people in an IHop restaurant and then killed himself. These people were simply victims. The shooting of congress woman Gifford and others in Tucson, they were victims. Shootings in the high schools and universities, they were victims. Can you imagine the terror of seeing a shooter killing others and aiming at you and not a damn thing you can do about it?

We decided a few months ago conditions were getting to the point that it was time to not be a victim no matter what it takes to get there. My wife and I started and finished the CCW school (concealed carry weapon permit) and though the firing range part was a joke (I could have put a “Lethal Weapon“ smiley face on the target at 21 feet with my target pistols) but we got our permits after extensive background investigations.

No matter what sort of handgun to carry, it is extremely important to be proficient in draw, aim and fire. It is difficult to find time and a place to practice but it must be done. There are many types of guns to consider from a pocket .380 to a 1911 model .45 to Dirty Harry’s .44 long barrel magnum. Many types of holsters (inside the waistband, shoulder holsters and outside quick draw etc.) Many types of gun sights to consider (open, laser, night sites, etc). All to aid in safely yet effectively carry and use (hopefully never) a concealed weapon. There are similar considerations for home defense weapons and use.

There is never a reason for personal injury in a property crime outside the home. Inside the home there is always probable justification for deadly force (Castle Doctrine) and that is the legal position here in Nevada. When defending yourself with deadly force outside the home you never know what the legal outcome would be so simply call 911 (emergency number here) for medical assistance and do not speak to anyone else without an attorney. If you shoot, you will be arrested. I have been carrying for about three months now and I don’t think even my close friends know that I am armed … I would like to keep it that way.

Paranoid? Possibly. This is just our new way of looking at the world and local situation and you may have completely different experiences from which to draw. I will not be a shooter’s victim.

Flame suit on ... fire away.

el gallinazo said...

Ruben

My thoughts exactly.

el gallinazo said...

Lynnford1933

I have no problem with your position on concealed carry, and would adopt it myself if I were living in the USA. In my youth I shot competition with rifles and was pretty good with a revolver. In earlier posts you drew criticism, not for your positions about your own life, but for disparaging others who held different opinions, had different skill sets, or pursued different objectives. Of course, I am not the most diplomatic guy going either.

TAE Summary said...

* More "End of Money" Propaganda
- The idea is for bubble dwellers
- The thought never occurred to most people
- People won't think about this until they give up potato chips and soda
- It is one of the most tedious and unrealistic discussion ever on TAE comments
- Not a single shred of information on how the system could work has been put forward
- Money can help one create community
- Moneylessness worked for hunter/gatherers but doesn't scale
- The concept of no money will not be on the final exam
- The concepts that tie us to money all have exceptions
- If the concept was made easier to grasp more would grasp it
- The discussion is overcooked and might be over now

* Soviet Union committed the same atrocities and made the same mistakes as the West; Russia is now broadcasting Video Free America; Workers Unite! Throw off the chains you have forged in life!

* The USA is not what it once was; The Owners want neo-feudalism in perpetuity; America is now the shining bubble on the hill; O brave new world that hath such creatures in it

* Rules of nature shouldn't be confused with the rules of man; Herding behavior is chaotic with ordered complexity; We are better at killing than distributing

* Root causes are like roots, wide and deep with a thousand thousand hairs; Humans are always seeking but never coming to the knowledge of the root cause

* Where have all the articles gone?

* In the beginning the Big Bang was root cause of the universe, and the universe was fractally and chaotic. And the chaos murmured, "Let there be strange attractors", and there were strange attractors.

Jeotsu said...

I find the moneyless world discussion an interesting thought experiment, but trying to claim it has any real-world application is inappropriate.

For such a system to work "all" you need is a large group of people who are honest, generous, hard-working, fair-minded, informed, rational, and sane. So, find me a world full of saints/bodhisattva's and we'll see if we can make this work.

This moneyless-model is the realm of speculative fiction, not preparation for the world to come in our life times. I like speculative fiction, but is not what I come to read at TAE.

I think the inherent flaws in the model is amde apparent by its own proponents in that the only mechanism for it to come about is, in eseence, "then a miracle occurs". It is widley acknowledged that the vast majority of people are not informed, nor do they want to be. Nor will they react well if you try to take away the moneyed world they have been indoctrinated into.

Perhaps their grandchildren, in half a century after sufficient trauma and hardship, would contemplate such a change. But again finding a sufficient founding population of saints/bodhisattva's will be the critical limiting factor.

bluebird said...

It is a good day for there are 2 postings by TAE Summary, Thanks!

Hombre said...

El G - It's the same round, but better ballistics occur for 2 reasons...
1 - The longer barrel adds to the velocity/power
2 - Leverevolution ammo perfected by Hornady

http://tinyurl.com/leverev

Ash said...

The European Crisis Deepens

"Successive plans to restore confidence [Ash: move forward by running around in circles] in the euro area have failed. Proposals currently on the table also seem likely to fail. The market cost of borrowing is at unsustainable levels for many banks and a significant number of governments that share the euro.

Two major problems loom over the euro area. First, the introduction of sovereign credit risk has made nations and subsequently banks effectively insolvent unless they receive large-scale bailouts. Second, the ensuing credit crunch has exacerbated difficulties in the real economy, causing Europe’s periphery to plunge into recession. This has increased the financing needs of troubled nations well into the future.

With governments reaching their presumed debt limits, some commentators are calling on the European Central Bank (ECB) to bear the costs of additional bailouts. The ECB is now treading a dangerous path. It feels compelled to provide adequate “liquidity” to avert systemic financial collapse, yet must presumably limit its activities in order to prevent a loss of confidence in the euro—i.e., a change in market and political sentiment that could lead to a rapid breakup of the euro area.

Five measures are needed to enable the euro area to survive [Ash: and/or create a moneyless society]: (1) an immediate program to deal with excessive sovereign debt, (2) far more aggressive plans to reduce budget deficits and make peripheral nations hypercompetitive” in the near future, (3) supportive monetary policy from the ECB, (4) the introduction of mechanisms that credibly achieve long-term fiscal sustainability, and (5) institutional change that reduces the scope for excessive leverage and consequent instability in the financial sector.

Europe’s leaders have mainly focused on a potential longterm fiscal agreement, and the ECB under Mario Draghi is setting a more relaxed credit policy; however, the other elements are essentially ignored.

This crisis is unique due to its size and the need to coordinate 17 disparate nations (see chart below). We give four examples of economic, social, and political events that could lead to more sovereign defaults and serious danger of systemic collapse. Each trigger has some risk of occurring in the next weeks, months, or years, and these risks will not disappear quickly."

SecularAnimist said...

It's really time for people to stop thinking the global technocratic society can never die, and there is no option for humanity other than the level of centralization and inter-dependency we have become accustomed to.

The earth is a single system and all living sub-systems are interdependent, to some extent. This will never change. Centralized information about our physical systems in relation to living systems would be a wonderful things.

From Bolivia's constitution

The earth is defined as an “indivisible community of all living systems and living organisms, interrelated, interdependent and complementary, which share a common destiny.”

This dichotomy between technological gadgetry Fetishization and those the demonize the thought of technological innovations benefiting society is getting stale. The technology genie is out of the bottle - lots of luck stuffing it back in.

SecularAnimist said...

"This moneyless-model is the realm of speculative fiction, not preparation for the world to come in our life times. I like speculative fiction, but is not what I come to read at TAE"

Interestingly TAE is on of the best anti-money blogs on the internet. I refer lots of people to this blog for anti-capitalist reasons. All the writers describe the irrationality and corrupting forces of capital in their own special way.

You may want to pay attention(or not) to the concept because the proposal is gaining steam on a global scale. In the era of systemic dysfunction, deflation, revolutionary resonance and instantaneous information transfer - it could seriously be an idea the continues to pick up steam.

scandia said...

I know nothing about Croatia except that they recently voted to join the EU, I assume they mean to accept the euro as well?
If so why would they do so now just when the doo doo gets deeper with each passing hour?

Supergravity said...

See, because its the 'Enemy' Expatriation Act, as in adhering to their Enemies, purposefully and materially supporting such Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort in Levying War against the United States, in any conflict subject to the laws of war, perhaps becoming such an Enemy by adhering to them, as is tradition in Treason.

HR 3166 and s 1698 activate the indefinite detention provision in the NDAA as applicable to citizens, rendering them extralegally expatriated and banished as uncitizens, for no particular proven act, on a similar non-crime suspicion for which they can also be indefinitely detained, and for which citizens have already been extralegally murdered.

I say it is seditious conspiracy to politically enact this legislation, which is intended to purposefully misconstrue a contextually equivalent description of Treason as a nameless offense to be punished without any legal definition as a criminal act.
This would be done to enable forced expatriation as punishment on a presumption of practical Treason, as entertained by the expatriation/detention/kill panel.
This would not require [criminal evidence pertaining to] legal process in order to determine guilt, and would make extralegal expatriation unaccountable and uncontestable by due process.
This would effectively overthrow the bill of rights entirely by destroying legally protected citizenship and the right to have civil rights.

I'd like some comment on this, whether political enactment of HR3166 and s1698 is maximally unconstitutional, breaching article III section 3 and subverting the 14th amendment section 1, and by evident malicious intent, is certain to yield seditious conspiracy?

JayD said...

Regarding moneyless society....+1 for the motion.
Ash,is there any space left in your skull for the right hand hemisphere of your brain?This thought is brought to you from the school of organic anarchy and a faith in Human Nature!(A.K.A The Village Idiot)

Lanterne Rouge said...

Suprised to see so much groping around this moneyless society idea. AIUI; works fine for peasant societies where tribute is paid in goods and almost all trade can be done in kind because the exchange partners know each other and price discovery is ongoing and reciprocated across all actors in the trading pool, with negotiation over multiple transactions following resource flows and labour/skill inputs. When the trading pool is enlarged beyond geographic or cognitive limits for a single group, some accounting system for work done has to be employed.
While SteveB hasn't referenced the work the Allende regime was doing in reciprocal accounting via early computers, I'm sure something of that kind could be done, but the the ability to CAPITALISE on an innovation is lacking in any non-money system. Its correlate, the creation of more tokens to ensure the social position of the token-creators, is the human flaw.
I suspect Ayn Rand's position, not apparently dissimilar to that of Hong Kong Chinese if Howard Mark's description was accurate, is that all work needs to be priced, or emotional coercion in a non-money system is a problem as much as information assymetry is in a money system. I'd support that with the for example, having just finished E Annie Proulx's Shipping News, that small communities operating with a lot of non-monetarised services tend to be quite strong locii of behaviours that the money system drives out, like sexual abuse and social bondage.
The point about tribute up above is because you can't have 'socialism in one country'. A moneyless system that hasn't got antibodies against a money system will succumb. Tribute functions as the antibody, and tax as HIV.
/ramble.

jal said...

Re.: moneyless society
Did you know that there is a specie of bird that lays its egg into another specie's nest?

The poor unknowing mother then ends up hatching, feeding and raising the impostor.

Until our society can prevent impostors from getting hatched, feed and raised there will be abuse of all and any kind of tokens of exchange.

jal

Hombre said...

Supergravity - OK.
For my part... of course bills like HR 3166 and Sen 1698 open the door to a lot of mischief by TPTB, like much of the "Patriot Act" wording. I don't comment on it much because there is little one person can do about it and I don't like to waste thought and energy.
Oh... forgot... we can vote! :-)
That is, we can select from a group of ego-swollen turkeys if we happen to live in a "primary state" like Iowa or Florida--another oxymoronish formal structure that goes against the constitutional grain.
I'm not sure we can get to moneyless from here, but surely we can manage to achieve partyless, or primaryless somewhere down the road.

Ash said...

SA,

I'm not sure you and I are even understanding each other's position anymore. First of all, like I said in my first response to SteveB, we need to distinguish between anti-capitalist societies and "moneyless" societies. Money is a broad concept that encompasses many different functions that are not necessarily tied to private industry and profit. In fact, a global Communist society would be much more identified with the use of money than a decentralized anarchist society. As archeologists, anthropologists and ethnographers have established, the very concept of money as unit of account and medium of exchange was probably established by relatively centralized state-like institutions, such as temples or legal institutions.

Second, no one is arguing that all forms of technological innovation or established knowledge will disappear. Decentralized societies can innovate as well, but the key is that they will not all be under a common system, i.e. common economic, political, legal institutions. Ironically, the people who say all technological progress will cease and knowledge disappear for all time are not very different from those who say the concept of money can be eradicated from human consciousness on the drop of a dime.

Although you initially chimed in to defend SteveB, I don't think your ideas of a future society are similar at all. As he stated early on, he is not anti-capitalist or pro-communist. He just wants to discuss the possibility of the entire world getting rid of the concept of money.

Supergravity said...

Ron Paul alone is trying to get section 1021 of the NDAA repealed, but HR3199 and s1698 must be killed separately.

Remember that thing with the codified system of power heuristics, and that if it became destructive of these ends, then it would be both righteous and dutiful to alter or abolish it? How can you tell when this threshold is passed, that it cannot be reformed by legal means?
All revolutionary imperatives against this system should become morally justified by the end of the year if they continue with the tyrannical legislation, its pretty evident what their intention is.

Scalia on unlimited political ads: Turn off the TV
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPREME_COURT_SUPER_PACS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-01-21-16-41-10

"Scalia said the blame for this type of system shouldn't fall on the Supreme Court, which he said decides merely [!] whether the system is legal under the U.S. Constitution. Instead, he said the ones who have to change things are the politicians who created the system and the voters who often reward the candidates who spend the most money."

Hombre said...

Supergravity - I'm not sure I answered your request... yes, they are unconstitutional IMO!

"ZURICH/ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's private creditors pleaded on Tuesday with European officials who rejected their bond swap offer to hammer together a deal before Athens tumbles into a chaotic default."

http://tinyurl.com/greeklatest

Ash said...

SuperGravity,

As much as I don't like Scalia, the Constitutional "original meaning" advocates do have a point. The whole purpose of a democratic republic is to allow the people to express their will for governance through elected representatives. Therefore, it makes sense that statutes and constitutional provisions should be interpreted according to the original intent of those who enacted them (much easier said than done!). And that's why you can have judicial proceedings over whether a certain law is or is not unconstitutional (when it most certainly accords with or contradicts the plain language of the text), with 5-4 splits in the decision, and usually the most high-paid, clever lawyer and vested interest gets 5.

Greenwood said...

The 'moneyless' economy seems like a vague term which could mean different things to different people.

Vague terms which could mean different things to different people have historically started many many conflicts and resulted in tremendous violence over the eons.

This 'moneyless' economy would need an accounting system to avoid such misunderstandings even if no coins or PM or paper script ever changed hands.

In most modern societies, with population attention spans the size of a gerbil's, and an aging population with decreasing memory, and add in lots of alcohol and drug use, accounting for an exchange of goods and services had better be accurate, reliable and easy to use or it will foster mistrust and a formidable lack of confidence.

I wouldn't trust many people to accurately remember what we exchanged least week any more. Most middle-aged and older modern 'consumers' can't remember where they put their car keys from one day to the next without notes and 'to do' lists, much less how many sheeps and goats we traded.

Like that horrible Ronald Reagan quote, "Trust but verify" is a Main St accountant's motto.

In a 'moneyless' economy, an accurate accounting system for transactions basically morphs and in and of itself becomes the new 'money'.

Take the 'Spilt Tally' (from Wiki)".. "The split tally was a technique which became common in medieval Europe, which was constantly short of money (coins) and predominantly illiterate (no written records), in order to record bilateral exchange and debts. A stick (squared Hazelwood sticks were most common) was marked with a system of notches and then split lengthwise. This way the two halves both record the same notches and each party to the transaction received one half of the marked stick as proof."

The stick recording your transaction acted like 'money'. When a party was confronted with one half of the tally stick, 'payment' was expected.

The tally stick had most of the characteristic of 'money'.

You could probable 'sell' or 'barter' your tally sticks to third parties like bundled mortgages. Hahaha

Tally stick were ubiquitous through human history, even going back to the 'moneyless' Paleolithic.

Surprise.

~

Supergravity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Supergravity said...

@ash
Did I not show that the new nameless offense in HR 3166 is contextually equivalent to Treason precisely as defined in the constitution, that this has the aforementioned consequences when now inserted as a novel expatriatory offense without being a [dis]provable criminal act with a legal definition or name, that this has been done so deliberately to fatally impair protected citizenship and due process?

SteveB said...

Ruben wrote: But none of these things is going to happen. I think the antipathy some posters are showing to your position is more based on the reality than the quality of the idea.

It's based on the erroneous belief that the future is determined by the past. It's not reality, it's bounded reality, limited by personal experience and a reluctance to imagine the possible and instead dismiss the novel or vaguely threat-invoking. It's also based in thinking that reflects the rationality (i.e., calculating ratios of value) inherent in a money-using system in which we are all actors (subsystems.)

Great ideas that will never come to pass can easily be seen as a sort of intellectual wankerism. Think of colonizing space, the Singularity, or the hydrogen highway.

And airplanes won't work because they're too heavy. Not that that or those you list are necessarily great ideas. (I'd say they're all highly debatable.) I don't know about the Singularity, but the other two face physical limits, which ending the use of money doesn't. Apples and oranges?

Thanks for the David Rock link. Very informative.

Jeotsu wrote: For such a system to work "all" you need is a large group of people who are honest, generous, hard-working, fair-minded, informed, rational, and sane.

This statement implies that the absence of money would somehow require better human behavior. That's what laws are for, not money. Our current system functions in spite of the large number of participants who don't meet those criteria. How is it possible? I think this is non sequitur. That said, it might be worthwhile to investigate what's meant by "to work". For example, mountaintop removal "works" as a way to get fuel. Maybe the term would be better abandoned as not specific enough to be useful.

Ash shared: Five measures are needed to enable the euro area to survive [Ash: and/or create a moneyless society]

The five measures referenced involve the use of money. Ending the use of money would obviate them. Therefore they wouldn't be "needed".

Lanterne Rouge wrote: While SteveB hasn't referenced the work the Allende regime was doing in reciprocal accounting via early computers, I'm sure something of that kind could be done, but the the ability to CAPITALISE on an innovation is lacking in any non-money system. Its correlate, the creation of more tokens to ensure the social position of the token-creators, is the human flaw.

My contention is that accounting of any sort is unnecessary. The convention that innovation should be rewarded is a choice. We could choose to let personal satisfaction and other non-material feedback be the reward. ("What?! We couldn't capitalize anymore?!!")

Excess token creation is a flaw in a system that uses tokens. In a system that doesn't use tokens, who knows?

small communities operating with a lot of non-monetarised services tend to be quite strong locii of behaviours that the money system drives out

As I noted above, laws are meant to address behavior. Is it really that such small communities (to whatever extent they actually exist) also don't have adequate law enforcement to serve as a deterrent? We don't need money for that purpose. We use it as an incentive now because it has a systemic value. In a system that didn't use it, something else would fill that void—laws, peer pressure, etc.

Interesting thoughts on antibodies. Memory of the dysfunctional nature of the abandoned money system could serve that purpose. That's not a guarantee, of course, but then there are no guarantees.

Ash said...

SuperGravity,

You are asking whether you have shown that legislation passed by Congress an signed by the President constitutes treason when such legislation is intentionally enacted to fatally undermines constitutional protections, such as habeas corpus and due process?

I don't know, maybe. But good luck proving any of that "beyond a reasonable doubt" in a court.

Glennda said...

We seem to be going off in many directions on this No Money thing. As a woman let me say "no money is ridiculous", but then I found a book I bought last year by Thomas H. Greco, Jr. - "The End of Money and the Future of Civilization", published by Chelsea Green.

It turns out to not be about getting rid of money, but using alternate money and banking arrangements that are not capitalist monopolies. Much of it is tedious to me having studied the subject for years, but it is a good resource, if you are interested in other ways of dealing with money.

One of his blogs has lots of links to research and places that have actually enacted alernate money arrangements.

http://beyondmoney.net/

http://beyondmoney.net/2012/01/20/all-together-now/

http://beyondmoney.net/financing-alternatives/
[actual resources for areas looking into alternate money arrangements]

Greco suggests at one point that if the non monopoly banking and money ideas in Germany before ww2 had been enacted, Hitler might not have risen to power. I see the 30s as a time of desperate measures and those who favored monopoly capitalism backed Hitler who basically set up a State Capitalism (see this week's Economist and its Feature on State Capitalism).

Amazingly I keep finding parts of Ron Paul's messages very appealing and spot on. Then comes the Ayn Rand type views appear and I step asside. At least Greco seems to be very infavor of a social safety net, even while recommending people watch the Fox news clip - What if ? Judge Napolitano asks some penetrating questions - January 16, 2012

http://beyondmoney.net/2012/01/16/what-if-judge-napolitano-asks-some-penetrating-questions/

"Judge Napolitano’s video clip is not about Ron Paul, it’s about America’s entire political predicament. The important thing to remember is that there is no leader who can remedy the situation for us. It’s up to you and me. Find your own way to help make this a happier, more peaceful world.–t.h.g."

It's a thought provoking subject.

Glennda

ogardener said...

Money is what got us to this space in time. What's so bad about a 3 - 15 hut hamlet? Granted it does not scale well on this overpopulated planet but on the other hand after dieoff scaling shouldn't be a problem.

Ruben said...

@SteveB

Quote 1
Ruben wrote: But none of these things is going to happen. I think the antipathy some posters are showing to your position is more based on the reality than the quality of the idea.

It's based on the erroneous belief that the future is determined by the past. It's not reality, it's bounded reality, limited by personal experience and a reluctance to imagine the possible and instead dismiss the novel or vaguely threat-invoking.

Quote 2
Eventually, a proposal could be put forth. (12/12/12, 12:12:12 has a certain appeal as a kickoff point.) For example, someone could propose that a year from the date of the proposal the question would be posed: are we ready and willing to end the use of money as of a designated date, say a year later. Such an approach would give both a period of time for consideration and one for preparation.

If the answer was clearly, "No", the question could be reposed to be addressed the following year. This is assuming that people wanted more time to consider it before committing. If essentially the whole world had heard and considered the idea but clearly didn't favor it, that would likely be the end of it.

Response
Steve, in this case, I am uninterested in why people will reject the idea (bounded reality, limited by personal experience, reluctance to imagine the possible, dismiss the novel or vaguely threat-invoking). But I am convinced they will reject the idea.

Let's look at how successful the EU is--Britain hasn't even joined. Now the EU can't figure out how to deal with economic crises. How about climate negotiations? How about the high level of debate in the US election cycle? Has there been any luck securing real aid for the global poor?

So, your first problem is convincing people that a meaningful global, or even national, or even municipal conversation is possible. It is not the merit of your idea that is the problem.

If you can solve Problem Number One, and since you found the David Rock link interesting, the second problem is convincing people that meaningful conversations are an effective route to create change. The people who actually study change will not be clamouring to agree.

And then, should you manage to convince people that a global conversation is possible and would change anything, would all seven billion of us really want to have our first conversation about getting rid of money?

--- said...

Lanterne Rouge,

"behaviours that the money system drives out, like sexual abuse and social bondage..."

?????!!!!!!

Guess you're not from a tribe that was preyed upon for slavery then?

Or you don't know about certain Shrub specialties in Washington D.C.?

http://prorev.com/2005/02/all-jeff-gannon-all-time.htm

Whew...

Ash said...

SteveB,

Ash shared: Five measures are needed to enable the euro area to survive [Ash: and/or create a moneyless society]

The five measures referenced involve the use of money. Ending the use of money would obviate them. Therefore they wouldn't be "needed".


Just my "clever" way of implying that neither a miraculous rescue of the current euro system through those five coordinated measures nor the rapid creation of a worldwide moneyless society have much more than a snowball's chance in hell of occurring.

Nassim said...

re: Petroplus

I have looked up Petroplus on Wkipedia. Frankly, I had never heard of them until a short while ago. Anyway, a perusal of their history shows that they are actually a company into which several well-known oil companies dumped their refinery operations - at a high price - to liberate cash for pursuing upstream activities. Essentially, the bag was sold on to "investors", like your pension funds, as the oil companies knew full well that it was no longer a growth story - they also wanted to get out of their expensive pension/enviromental clean-up obligations. Here is a list of some of the sales:

1- Antwerp N.V. Refinery - sold by the Daewoo Group (a huge Japanese concern).

2- Cressier Refinery - sold by Shell.

3- BRC Antwerp Refinery - sold by Sovereign Holding Ltd (Bermuda). I suspect some big companies are behind that offshore facade.

4- Ingolstadt Refinery - sold by ExxonMobil

5- Coryton Refinery - sold by BP.

6- Petit Couronne Refinery - sold by Shell.

7- Reichstett Refinery - sold by Shell.

Like I said some weeks ago - nothing to worry about. These refineries can readily be bought back by their previous owners - at vastly lower prices than they cost to buy earlier on - and operated. It is not as though the actual refineries have been scrapped. It is simply a financial operation that has copped it.

--- said...

Hi Ash, thought you might enjoy this:

"the very concept of money as unit of account and medium of exchange was probably established by relatively centralized state-like institutions, such as temples or legal institutions"

It is clear that obsidian was a critical material in Precolumbian Mesoamerican economies; it is ubiquitous throughout the region, and found in the material record of all cultures and time periods. The low bulk of obsidian in transport, which therefore required less effort in trade, and the large quantity of useful items that could be produced from a small amount of material, greatly contributed to obsidian’s widespread use.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsidian_use_in_Mesoamerica#Trade

Nassim said...

I have spent the last several weeks carefully reading the discussion on not using money (there is a certain appeal) and come to the conclusion that it is one of the most tedious and unrealistic ever to have hit TAE comments.

XYZ,

Hear, hear. I second that.

Anyone who wants to know what an almost cashless economy looks like can read up about the Soviet Union - people had loads of cash and nothing to spend it on. In that environment, other things become more important. A favoured person who was a member of the Communist Party could get access to shops and goods that other people could not. A person's "clout" and network was far more important than their access to cash. Personally, I prefer to live in a place where the price, if not the value, of everything is known. Anyway, exporters from the Soviet Union always wanted US dollars for the goods - not Roubles - that should be a good pointer for everyone except for serious dreamers. :)

SteveB said...

Greenwood wrote: accounting for an exchange of goods and services had better be accurate, reliable and easy to use or it will foster mistrust and a formidable lack of confidence.

Ending the use of money would likely involve the realization/agreement that we can trust things to be 'close enough, enough of the time' because accounting is an unnecessary waste of time that typically outweighs the value of the perceived discrepancy.

Which reminds me: here are several basic operational principles likely to be adopted—or rather continued—in a world that no longer uses money:

1. First come, first served (unless you're a friend and you come 'round the back—just like now.)

2. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone (within the legally allowed parameters.)

3. Keep the change (so to speak. In other words, don't sweat the small differences.)

Can anyone think of others?

In a 'moneyless' economy, an accurate accounting system for transactions basically morphs and in and of itself becomes the new 'money'.

That's the primary reason to abandon accounting as well if we stopped using money. I've noted that it would essentially be the end of exchange (but not transfer), but that's a more abstract way of putting it.

--- said...

Ash,

Contrary to Wiki, obsidian was also widely available in the northern Rockies due to enormous cliff-faces around Yellowstone.

As a child in the 60's, before the Park System became such a social truss, on visits families used to scoop up as much as they pleased.

It was a financial buttress to the Indians of the region.

SteveB said...

Nassim wrote: Anyone who wants to know what an almost cashless economy looks like can read up about the Soviet Union

Non sequitur straw man. See also prisons, ancient tribes, Star Trek, barter systems, local currencies, etc.

Supergravity said...

@Ash
Political enactment would constitute the crime of seditious conspiracy on the part of its sponsors, the POTUS and his executive purge panel exerting the force to convict, this panel which cannot be dissolved or accounted for as there is no law establishing its authority or existence.
Members of congress who 'merely' vote in favor of HR3166 and s1698, if this gets out of committee alive, may not be direct accomplices in this seditious conspiracy. But at least its sponsors could be prosecuted for attempting to subvert the constitution on purpose, they have chosen the words so precisely to mimick Treason without trial that HR 3166 and 1698 may be sufficient evidence as written.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002384----000-.html

This legislation is so unconstitutional, so illegal, that the punishment it seeks to legislate may be incurred upon conviction of the crime it will yield to politically enact it.

Citizens arrest of the sponsors could be employed if deemed lawful, the evidence of the legislation itself could be sufficient to issue warrant.

However:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002385----000-.html

Advocating such arrest by unlawful means is illegal anyway, and under certain conditions, may possibly be construed as an incitement to violent overthrow of the government, unless discussed within limits of protected political speech, such as the general procedures of kinetic constitutionalism described in the declaration of independence.

Have I ever mentioned how unauthorised warfare without explicit congressional approval is Levying war against them?

Supergravity said...

Charge is a recursive algorithm.
Where's my gavel?

SecularAnimist said...

I'm not sure you and I are even understanding each other's position anymore.

Yeah, sorry, I was unclear, as I often am when time constrained. I'm sure I understand your position better than you understand mine. Frankly, my positions are constantly in flux as well. Being anti-capitalist is 100%, though.

Although you initially chimed in to defend SteveB, I don't think your ideas of a future society are similar at all. As he stated early on, he is not anti-capitalist or pro-communist

Ash - They may or may not be. I'm not sure. Though, I do agree with the lion share of his posts. But, if one concluded that going to a moneyless society was a good idea. They surely would be anti-capitalist and commie-like or leaning;) Not saying steveb has decided that, but the fact that he is looking says something.

People need to stop suppressing their inner anti-capitalist and just come out with it. Being publicly anti-capitalist today is like being publicly gay in the late 50s early 60s. I suspect it will become more trendy in the future.

Steveb just come out of the closet already;)

Now off to incite anti-capitalist sentiment in the meat world.

Cheers

jal said...

Nassim said...
re: Petroplus
"...Essentially, the bag was sold on to "investors", like your pension funds..."
---
Ch 11 will tell us who are the bag holders and how much they have lost.

Jeotsu said...

Trust based systems have one fatal flaw IMO- their fundamental structure is based on self-regulation. You assume that everyone is playing fair, and by the rules.

How do you deal with the psychopaths, the same ones merrily wrecking the current system? Do you plan to purge the psychos / bad actors from the system? How? And how would you prevent those same bad actors from taking over any institution tasked with "getting the rot out of the system"? (See: pretty much every regulatory and rating agency in the world today)

If your answer is to ostracize them- to drive them out of your circle of trust- I see a new problem. The traveling psycho. Move town to town, steal what you can. Collect around you a posse of people who "decided they wanted to be soldiers". Yay! We've just invented warlord-dynamics. At which point you'd better immediately mistrust/fear/drive off any strangers who come into town. Now were insular and mistrustful of outsiders. Sounds like most of human history to me.

This doesn't seem to be going very well.

You can't just wave your hands and assume 100% angles in your no-money, trust-based system.

It takes very few bad apples to totally ruin things if they can't be controlled/expunged.

Quote of choice: "In my mind I can see a world without war, a world without hate... and I can totally see us invading that world because they would never expect it."

SteveB said...

Ruben: Let's look at how successful the EU is--Britain hasn't even joined. Now the EU can't figure out how to deal with economic crises. How about climate negotiations? How about the high level of debate in the US election cycle? Has there been any luck securing real aid for the global poor?

So, your first problem is convincing people that a meaningful global, or even national, or even municipal conversation is possible.


You appear to be conflating governmental action with individual action. The complex issues that face governments is quite different than the choice I'm posing to individuals.

Secondarily, the complexity and resistance that complicates those government-level decisions and political matters are largely related to the use of money. You're actually making a case for why abandoning money would be beneficial: profit impacts would no longer factor into governmental decisions, and corporate interests would no longer guide political discourse (by funding the mass media coverage), etc.

As for global conversations, we're having one about climate change, global finance, and other issues. We wouldn't have to all be simultaneously engaged any more than we are for those issues. Besides, isn't the prospect of putting all the dysfunctions of money use behind us much more appealing (and novel) to consider than hand wringing about the poor (again/still)?

Ash said...

"But, if one concluded that going to a moneyless society was a good idea. They surely would be anti-capitalist and commie-like or leaning;)"

Anti-capitalist, yes, but not necessarily "commie leaning". Communist societies, and especially those encompassing large portions of the globe, would necessarily rely on money if for no other reason than the state accounting for and allocating resources between various industries and valuing their output. That's why I think your ideas are not very similar. You're talking more about the existence of private markets for capital (including cash) and goods, rather than the broader concept of money.

SteveB said...

Jeotsu: Trust based systems have one fatal flaw IMO- their fundamental structure is based on self-regulation.

You say fatal flaw, I say minor challenge, addressable through a change in thinking.

You assume that everyone is playing fair, and by the rules.

No, that's you making that assumption. Using a common understanding of "playing fair", our current system doesn't guarantee that either. On the other hand, our current system does present persistent and pervasive incentives to not "play fairly". Ending the use of money would largely end those incentives. Also, as I've already noted, we have and would continue to have laws and enforcement to address adherence to rules.

How do you deal with the psychopaths, the same ones merrily wrecking the current system?

Most of them would have a lot of free time initially, their occupations obviated due to being entirely necessitated or made possible by the use of money. Whatever perceived power they formerly had would evaporate. If they lived in my neighborhood I'd invite them over for dinner.

And how would you prevent those same bad actors from taking over any institution tasked with "getting the rot out of the system"?

Taking over? You mean like a coup d'état? Or something more like the piracy short at the beginning of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life? Uh, elections, police, door locks… I don't really understand what you're referring to here. Do you see that the rot would largely be gotten out of the system along with the use of money?

We've just invented warlord-dynamics. At which point you'd better immediately mistrust/fear/drive off any strangers who come into town.

Well, you've invented it. But let's think it through anyway. First, why are strangers coming to town? Any indication as to whether they'll be staying or rather moving on soon? Are they wandering the streets? Snooping around my back yard? Knocking on my door? How many of them are there? I have options: ignore them, call the police, invite them to dinner, tell them about the vacant house in the neighborhood, etc. I don't see this as a significant concern (or one that's likely to go on for long), especially relative to the current state of society.

Now were insular and mistrustful of outsiders. Sounds like most of human history to me.

That would be the "most of human history" in which we used money, right? But we're talking about a fundamental change to that which would likely fundamentally change the 'nature' of outsiders. For starters, being an 'insider' would likely be much more appealing.

This doesn't seem to be going very well.

Yeah, remind me to not invite you over to babysit. (-;

It takes very few bad apples to totally ruin things if they can't be controlled/expunged.

Or jailed, or adopted, or housed, or embraced, or listened to, or counseled, or medicated, or hospitalized, etc.

SteveB said...

SA,

Steveb just come out of the closet already;)

Ash's response is on the spot. I don't even subscribe to Bookchin's or David Graeber's small-"c" communism. It's not that I find it objectionable or a poor prediction/descriptor, just that I think labels and characterizations are unnecessary and not particularly useful. I prefer to say that without using money we would just live. (Of course, we might persist in some other unnecessary practice after that.)

Nassim said...

You say fatal flaw, I say minor challenge, addressable through a change in thinking.

Brain transplant? :)

Urban Roman said...

Nassim & jal,
Thanks for the analysis on the Petroplus bankruptcy.

It's not surprising -- we knew from TOD over the last few years that refinery margins were shrinking, and there's bound to be some surplus capacity as ( demand destruction / post peak decline ) take their toll on throughput.

SteveB said...

Jeotsu, I was confused about your last comment and thought it was directed to me, but I see now that you were (I think) speaking more generally about trust-based systems and not about one that doesn't use money. Please consider (or ignore) my response to it above accordingly.

NZSanctuary said...

Jeotsu said...
How do you deal with the psychopaths, the same ones merrily wrecking the current system? Do you plan to purge the psychos / bad actors from the system? How?

Outside the money/no-money discussion, this is still a very interesting question.


SteveB said...
Jeotsu: It takes very few bad apples to totally ruin things if they can't be controlled/expunged.

Or jailed, or adopted, or housed, or embraced, or listened to, or counseled, or medicated, or hospitalized, etc.


The problem is that true psychopaths use things like counselling to become better manipulators and imitators, and would see affection, help offered, etc., as signs of weakness to be exploited. You (presumably) and I cannot fully grasp their mindset.

Has anyone researched historically how different cultures have dealt with people in society who are unable to experience empathy?

Ruben said...

No Steve.

Your first problem is convincing people that a meaningful global, or even national, or even municipal conversation is possible.

You haven't even tried to do that. I guess I should also specify that I take meaningful to mean "has a high likelihood of achieving desired results", not "has a high likelihood of generating lots of meeting minutes and eating cookies."

Hombre said...

Money is just an IOU recognized by more than 2 people.

ben said...

while i have found myself dismissive in the past of the moneyless contingent at Occupy i find myself unwilling to ridicule the possibility here. i realize this is an anarchist-identified blog and the moneyless pair here are framing it in seemingly unscalable terms considering both future energy constraints and cultural diversity but apart from that perhaps we shouldn't be totally surprised if the pendulum swings and homogenous youth rise up and enforce an undershoot of the money trendline after the bursting of the mega funny munny bubble.

(maybe the NWO could kindly compromise and agree to installing energy-sipping RFIDs in everyone in place of money.)

the incans did moneyless on a big scale, didn't they?

or is the moneyless movement full of pathos like the ghost dance (h/t HDP), but instead of hoping against hope to bring back sweet-grass and herds of buffalo it's hoping against hope to bring back a generous citizenry of gifters and regifters?

SteveB said...

Ruben,

OK. Thanks for the warning, Dr. Zaius. I'll take my chances in the Forbidden Zone anyway.

el gallinazo said...

Supergravity

You want a comment?

The Constitution is just a piece of (toilet) paper.

- George Butthead Bush

SG - It should be pretty obvious to you by now that there has been a silent coup d'etat by the banking cartel and that the USA no longer operates under the Constitution or the rule of law. What I find most interesting about this is that the majority of liberal and progressive politicians, whom I actively supported most of my adult life, are at least as big scumbags as the "conservatives." Case in point. Senator Leahy from the purported Peoples Republic of Vermont as the Primary Sponsor of PIPA.

SteveB

"It's based on the erroneous belief that the future is determined by the past. It's not reality, it's bounded reality, limited by personal experience and a reluctance to imagine the possible and instead dismiss the novel or vaguely threat-invoking."

While the future is not determined by the past, the past is an enormous inertial influence. Each individual has the free will to change old habits, but we are all aware how difficult this often is. How many New Years resolutions have already fallen into the waste bin? When we get into situations which involve thousands or millions of individuals, all or most required to change old habits for a specific effect or action, the situation begins to resemble a deterministic thermodynamic system. The population of the earth is not going to wake up one day completely transformed psychologically and spiritually, any more than I am going to wake up one morning speaking fluent and accentless Spanish. If I ever reach fluency, it will be through years of effort, and the chances of speaking without an accent regardless of effort are infinitesimal.

Glennda

"Then comes the Ayn Rand type views appear and I step aside. At least Greco seems to be very infavor of a social safety net, "

This got me to thinking what was the "social safety net" beyond the family in classical times such as Rome, Athens, and Judea, and the answer came back - begging. But why would anyone want to give money to a stranger? And the answer came back to me that some humans have developed empathy to the spiritual level of vampire bats, as referenced by my comment earlier in this thread.

Nassim re Petroplus

Yeah, just BAU when giant corporates reformulate their subsidiaries and pass off the future losers to dumb money. Nothing to see here - move along.

Re financial psychopaths

If we set beings existing on this planet as humans for 200k years, then they have existed as hunter gatherers for at least 95% of that time. Humans as HG know very well how to deal with psychopaths in groups of less than 200 individuals. It is with the rise of the city state, that they got the upper hand. Evolutionary social psychology just couldn't catch up in time.

Ash said...

UPDATE 3-Japan's first trade deficit since 1980 raises debt doubts

* Japan runs trade deficit of $32 bln in 2011

* Ability to fund public debt seen eroding

* Dec exports -8.0 pct yr/yr, imports +8.1 pct

TOKYO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - "Japan first annual trade deficit in more than 30 years calls into question how much longer the country can rely on exports to help finance a huge public debt without having to turn to fickle foreign investors.

The aftermath of the March earthquake raised fuel import costs while slowing global growth and the yen's strength hit exports, data released on Wednesday showed, swinging the 2011 trade balance into deficit.

Few analysts expect Japan to immediately run a deficit in the current account, which includes trade and returns on the contry's huge portfolio of investments abroad. A steady inflow of profits and capital gains from overseas still outweighs the trade deficit.

But the trade figures underscore a broader trend of Japan's declining global competitive edge and a rapidly ageing population, compounding the immediate problem of increased reliance on fuel imports due to the loss of nuclear power.

Only four of the country's 54 nuclear power reactors are running due to public safety fears following the March disaster.

"What it means is that the time when Japan runs out of savings -- 'Sayonara net creditor country' -- that point is coming closer," said Jesper Koll, head of equities research at JPMorgan in Japan.

"It means Japan becomes dependent on global savings to fund its deficit and either the currency weakens or interest rates rise."

Greenpa said...

I have to apologize, I really can't hold up my end of the conversations here at the moment; I'm running at 400% over-commitment in my business just now-

briefly- Ruben; I'm sorry, but I'm so out of date it wouldn't make sense to recommend; my original work was 35 years ago; part of my MS thesis. Not widely disseminated, it would still surprise lots of folks, but would be peripheral to present conversations anyway-

Ash's link could be a good place to start - but, Ash:

"scale-free correlation, and transcends biology. The closest fit to equations describing starling flock patterns come from the literature of “criticality,” "

ooh, pushing my buttons. In my books, any claim to "transcend biology!" is immediately magic. Ain't nothing biological that transcends biology; just as you really can't have physics that "transcends physics!". What it means is "I can't understand this; therefore, God must be involved."

It's a seductive pathway, but the history of such contentions is not good; with a little more development of the science in question, sensible explanations appear. They are likely to be nifty; but based in reality. Like the "bumblebees can't fly!" stuff, and "you only use 10% of your brain!"

uh, no. We now understand exactly how bumblebees fly, and tuna swim ("faster than possible, according to our calculations!"); and it's extremely cool; but based on normal physics. Some psychologists are actually beginning to understand a tiny bit of what we're using our brain for.

Ash said...

Greenpa,

I imagine they meant "transcends individual biology", as in you can't understand the effect from studying the biology of an individual flock member. Not that it's outside the scientific realm of physics/biology altogether.

Ash said...

Guardian blog

"Poor Portugal. Literally.

It's been a rough day for one of the eurozone's weakest members. Its government bonds have fallen in value, pushing the yield (or interest rate) on its five-year bonds up 19.2% (Reuters data).

At that level, traders are pricing in a significant risk that the debt will be restructured.

The cost of insuring this debt against default hit a record high. A five-year Portuguese credit default swap rose by 31 basis points to 1,310bp -- that means it would cost €1.31m per year to insure €10m of debt.

Portugal appears to be suffering the knock-on effect of the deadlock in Greece, with investors fearing the consequences of a disorderly default over there.

There is also concern that Portugal is heading towards a second bailout -- following comments from the head of its industry confederation.

Antonio Saraiva told Reuters that the €78bn that runs through 2013 did not take into account massive debts by inefficient, loss-making public companies, especially in the transport sector.

Portugal was also cut to junk status by S&P last week. And as economist Shaun Richards warns here, the mistakes of Greece are being made all over again."

el gallinazo said...

Nice analogy from today's CHS comparing the banksta elite controlled Central State to a spoiled teenager::

We can find an analogy to these "lessons learned" in a spoiled teenager who refuses to study and is failing but discovers that cheating can "save the day" with much less effort than actually learning. We as a nation have learned how to cheat, and now we think that learning how to cheat and create the perception that we've actually learned something can be substituted for making the necessary sacrifices to actually learn something.

When the cheating controls the marketplace to prop up asset prices and mask systemic risk, then we are in effect giving ourselves "straight As" even though we have torn up the test, i.e. how our policies work in a transparent, open marketplace.

el gallinazo said...

Greenpa

Ironically it is the quantum physicists who are having the hardest time maintaining their faith in the 19th century paradigm of a strictly physical, deterministic universe. The nature of consciousness keeps intruding its nasty head and creating paradoxes. And the recent "discovery" of dark matter and dark energy are not helping matters any. Einstein discovered initially that the energy contained in the vacuum of space in a virtual form was vastly greater than other forms totaled. This became so embarrassingly inconvenient that he had to go back and tweak a few parameters :-)

Ash said...

Apparently, the federal government guaranteeing millions of new underwater mortgages does not = a bailout or handout anymore. I knew I made the right decision not to watch the SOTU propaganda.

Obama Proposes Mortgage Bailouts, Handouts, Copouts Exactly One Paragraph After Stating "Top to Bottom: No Bailouts, No Handouts, and No Copouts"; How the Taxpayer Ripoff Works

el gallinazo said...

Ash

As the late, great George Carlin said in The American Dream, they spent 50 years dumbing us down with crappy education and propaganda, that now they can use the most obvious Orwellian bullshit and expect it to stick against the wall. And O'bumma is among the worst. At least anyone with three functional synapses knew what Darth Cheney and W were about from the get go.

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Or as Dylan sang it

It's a wonder we still know how to breath.

Perhaps we should have an office type blog pool here on how big the Fed can grow its balance sheet until it all falls apart. If O'bumma's plan goes into effect, the money will have to be extended by the Fed, unless the dumb panicked money from the Eurofraud collapse running to USD can cover it for a short while.

jal said...

There are some 2,600 thinkers and leaders meeting at Davos 2012
http://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2012

Those discussions will have more impact upon the decision makers than any blog.
Could this blog be part of those discussions?
Could our voices be helpful?

jal

seychelles said...

10th Annual Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index ranks USA 47th, in a tie with Argentina and Romania.

http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2012/01/25/reporters_without_borders_press_freedom_index_slams_us_for_occupy_wall_street_arrests.html?from=rss/&wpisrc=newsletter_slatest

Ruben said...

@El G

Why you gotta go and harsh the vibe of a perfectly nice global conversation about a moneyfree society by introducing the notion of free will?

This is all fine and good, but if free will is limited, and (to add insult to injury) a simple biological product of descent with modification, why the adamant human belief in freedom of choice? Why that unshakable part of us that says: we are not drosophila! We are not rats! We are different, we are people! Baumeister speculates belief in free will may have become so strong because it is beneficial to a healthy society. Envision a social order where we are not held responsible for our actions. Or imagine trying to trust and cooperate with others when you know there is no moral imperative pushing them to act a certain way. It would be disastrous. Belief in free will could keep a society healthy, even if that free will was, in actuality, limited.

The current state of research seems to be that we do not have Free Will, but rather we have Free Won't. Our consciousness is allowed a few milliseconds to try to override the decision our unconscious has already made. At best, as quoted below, our rational mind is a figurehead, allowed to feel it is controlling, or at least influencing, the direction of our life.

Laypersons often confuse determinism with fatalism, but this is a mistake. Fatalism means that the outcome would have been the same regardless of what you did. To a determinist, the outcome stemmed from what you did, and if you had acted differently, the outcome would have been different. (But, again, you could not possibly have acted differently.)

Sandy Pentland, at MIT, has measured that 90-95% of our behaviour is responsive to our environment.

Here are my two favourite quotes:

Humans reason as cats swim: They can do it, but they avoid it whenever possible. —Donald E. Watson

Until proven otherwise, why not assume that consciousness does not play a role in human behavior? Although it may seem radical on first hearing, this is actually the conservative position that makes the fewest assumptions.

Can the question of animal consciousness be stood on its head and treated in a more parsimonious manner? Instead of considering whether other animals are conscious, or have a different, or lesser consciousness than our own, should we question if our behavior is under no more conscious control than theirs?
—Robert Provine


And coming soon-- Amazon.com: Free Will: Sam Harris

Ash said...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/no-qe3-zirp-extended-thru-2014-jeffrey-lacker-objects-full-redline

TD on Fed statement: "Little of note in the statement: no QE3 explicitly in the form of LSAP, which an S&P over 1300 and crude at $100 made prohibitive. Instead the Fed is extending ZIRP through 2014, from 2013, which as commentarors, primarily Goldman had expected, and which means sub-3 year rates will never be above zero again."

AllGood4All said...

Hello,
After reading on TAE recently about the increased vulnerability of safety deposit boxes to government seizure, I'm wondering about the vulnerability of TreasuryDirect accounts to the same kind of thing. Unlike safety deposit boxes, funds (in the various forms) one may have in TD accounts are already literally in the government's vault/possesion... Do you have any concerns relative to that?

I know there is no form of owning cash that is 100% safe, and diversifying is wise, but would you please contrast what you feel to be the possible risks/benefits of having one's non-backyard cash in:

1. savings accounts of three or four local banks/credit unions

2. safety deposit boxes of three or four local banks/credit unions versus

3. TreasuryDirect

As always, thank you for your help.

SteveB said...

el gallinazo wrote: While the future is not determined by the past, the past is an enormous inertial influence. Each individual has the free will to change old habits, but we are all aware how difficult this often is. How many New Years resolutions have already fallen into the waste bin? When we get into situations which involve thousands or millions of individuals, all or most required to change old habits for a specific effect or action, the situation begins to resemble a deterministic thermodynamic system.

Another conflation, this time habits with choices. There's nothing habitual about making change for a twenty or swiping a credit card. Those are obvious examples. Does anyone have any to counter them?

The population of the earth is not going to wake up one day completely transformed psychologically and spiritually, any more than I am going to wake up one morning speaking fluent and accentless Spanish.

Another straw man.

I'm actually very open to a logical critique of this idea (as I also am to logical contributions to it.) Apart from conjecture on it never happening for various reasons projected onto "them", am I forgetting anyone's objections that I haven't already addressed?

It's interesting—if not ironic—that the 'betting against' responses reflect a subtle 'this thinking is influenced by living in a world that uses money' quality. Concerns about wasting time, which, as we know, is money; a lack of additive contributions (as distinct from supportive statements a la SA), because what's the point if I'm not monetarily compensated (aka, 'this guy might steal my idea'?); and demonstrations of denial that our current system in which money is used has all the same possibilities for abuse by members (and many more), because… well, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had something to do with the fact that we use money. Maybe that last one is about picking a winner.

A Fall Guy said...

@ SteveB

You said:

Yes, that's a common perspective for many older, white, North American men interested in money (a reasonable generalization, I think, for this site.)

I have been reading your ideas with interest, but this statement is ridiculous. I have been resisting engaging mostly because I lack the time (hence my "late to the party" comment).

I dislike the current use of money as much as you do (and as do many on this site), and I have given lots of thought about localized gift economies, bartering, and time-based currency.

Whereas you focus on thirst for money as the root of evil, I believe that it's more thirst for power (that current money systems in part provide). Getting rid of money does not get rid of power structures. Money related problems are a symptom not a cause.

The idea of a money-less society is appealing, but let's be realistic.

The capitalist system is very effective at concentrating wealth to the detriment of most ecosystems and human societies. Humans have evolved to be the most efficient species at increasing entropy, and capitalism has evolved to be the most efficient human system at increasing entropy.

You can't get rid of capitalism and yet retain the benefits of the capitalist system, such as "efficient" production of goods and just-in-time supply lines. I recommend you listen to this <a href="http://media.sas.upenn.edu/Humanities/harvey.mov>David Harvey lecture</a>.

For a thought experiment, I imagined what it would be like if tomorrow everyone just decided to drop money and keep doing what they did today (even workers in sweat shops and prostitutes and servants). That may solve some money-based problems (by making accumulation of wealth more difficult, or impossible if we extended this thought experiment to also get rid of “ownership”), but would do nothing to address the larger issues facing humanity, such as ecological collapse.

I agree completely with you that a money-less society could be a better way to organize human economies (i.e. management of resources, and production and exchange of goods and services). But I disagree completely that it's as simple as just dropping money out of the picture and all else continues as before. Feasibility of transition from the current system aside, a money-less society would be VASTLY different from our current one. Much more localized, much fewer goods and services, much less complexity.

ben said...

this video (5min) of a moneyless (but not by popular choice) future posits that the helicopter drops will be for distributing zoloft and lexapro. i wonder whether there will be any paperwork accompanying such a government contract at that point or just some logistical back and forth on the interdepartmental phone lines.

the shock of a new paradigm

anybody here going so far as to stock up on essential meds for elderly relatives?

---

ash, regarding transcendental biology - is it just me or does greenpa's point still stand despite your clarification?

Gravity said...

@el G
Bush apparently convinced you with that impeachable remark of his, but there's a difference between the substance of law and the paper its written on.
Not respecting or adhering to constitutional principles according to the vested powers and duties of office, holding those in contempt, is how you can tell exactly that they're evil treasoners.

Its not protected political speech for any sworn agent of government to call the Constitution a 'goddamn piece of paper' in public.
By repeating this notion that the ideas of the constitution are valueless in equal measure to the absorbent two-ply paper its written on, you're inadvertently propagating Bush' contempt of office, the loss of faith in all lawful restraints on power.

I do appreciate your honesty in assessing the lawless state of the union there.

I've been reading the appeals to moneylessness. I've reasoned along those lines myself, but also ran into the practical difficulties mentioned here of determining value without price.

Ash said...

ben,

How so?

G,

"Not respecting or adhering to constitutional principles according to the vested powers and duties of office, holding those in contempt, is how you can tell exactly that they're evil treasoners.

You do realize that many of these "evil treasoners" are also the people who have been enacting policies over decades that have driven billions of people into extreme poverty, war, disease, etc? Many of those policies are well within the limits prescribed by the Constitution. We really don't need that particular document to tell us when something is fundamentally abhorrent to the interests of justice and equality. Take the 13th and 14th amendments, for example, which were only enacted after the bloody civil war and that too in a non-democratic manner.

jal said...

I just hear Bennie say that household are $800B underwater and that they don't have enough money to reduce capital of the loans for everyone.

DUHHH!

I take that to mean that the banks are not going to write down their books by $800B and declare themselves bankrupt.

jal

Ilargi said...

New post up.





Occupy Your Own Space





.

SteveB said...

A Fall Guy,

Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.

Getting rid of money does not get rid of power structures. Money related problems are a symptom not a cause.

I agree that power structures wouldn't be eliminated. However, that's different than saying that they would remain the same. I think it's logical to assume that many would be weakened and partially or even fully dissolved. Others would likely morph into something different and less powerful. None of them would be able to exploit the quality of money that allows wealth (including IOUs) and therefore power, to be accumulated.

I'm not sure what you mean by "money related problems", but obviously, problems are not the cause of themselves. I'm confident that the use of money is what makes today's power structures possible, such as they are. Many of the problems follow. Other problems aren't related to power structures but simply to individual actions influenced by money-related incentives—e.g., to buy the cheap rather than the durable.

The capitalist system is very effective at concentrating wealth to the detriment of most ecosystems and human societies.

I think that wealth concentration is inherent in the concept of money, not just capitalism, but that's a minor point since capitalism is the dominant system in the world. I prefer to not reference either capitalism or communism since they distract from my thesis.

You can't get rid of capitalism and yet retain the benefits of the capitalist system, such as "efficient" production of goods and just-in-time supply lines.

Why not? (I'm ignoring for now the question as to whether those "benefits" are desirable, or would be desirable in a world without money.)

I watched the Harvey lecture recently. I vaguely remember it not being directly relevant to my thinking on this idea (though otherwise interesting.) I'm listening to it again as I write this. I'll let you know if I get anything new out of it.

For a thought experiment, I imagined ….

That's great. Well done.

Now extend your thought experiment beyond 'the day after'. That's really just the starting point. How long would people stay in their current jobs? I've thought that we might want a basic operating principle along the lines of "stay at your job until it becomes obviously irrelevant or else until you find someone else to replace you."

Also, keep in mind that many jobs would disappear (financial sector, insurance, much of advertising, etc.) The elimination of those positions would begin the cascading effect that would simultaneously free up people to do other, presumably less-ecologically/socially-damaging and/or ecologically/socially-restorative things.

But I disagree completely that it's as simple as just dropping money out of the picture and all else continues as before.

Yes. I haven't communicated that well at all. I was attempting to simultaneously address the 'how would it work?' question and counter the thinking that many things would have to change before it could happen. As you rightly note, things wouldn't stay the same.

a money-less society would be VASTLY different from our current one. Much more localized, much fewer goods and services, much less complexity.

I agree, though I can't tell whether you think that those changes would be only related to the elimination of obsolete industries and occupations combined with the elimination of money-related incentives, or if you think that other factors would extend the degree of those changes. Again, in trying to address contentions that things would need to be organized differently or that other current, desirable features of society would be eliminated, I haven't gotten around to describing the likely repercussions in much detail. Thanks for getting that far with it. (-:

Gravity said...

@Ash
"We really don't need that particular document to tell us when something is fundamentally abhorrent to the interests of justice and equality."

No we don't, but we absolutely need it to define principles of lawful governance, to determine for instance whether any particular act may possibly qualify as Treason or not.

Point taken, the constitution alone cannot be the ultimate metric of morality, or its defining agent, but adhering to its lawful principles is a minimal prerequisite to moral agency in government at least.

Non-imperialist policy which should be inherent in the ideal republic, may require different governmental principles than are necessarily formulated or constricted in the constitution itself.

--- said...

In the spend-your-obsidian-anywhere department, it occurs to me that nothing ever changed. Money is but an illusion for those lower down the economic food chain. The managers still trade in things like metals (and no I don't intend to throw fresh bait to the gold thang)

""Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world," Kissinger said, "because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.”

This has the link for National Security Memo 200 mentioned by El G upthread which he felt too "lazy" to look up - http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18914.htm

ben said...

hey ash,

"how so?" (does greenpa's point stand about flocking)

I guess I felt like you were countering with what appears to be an attempt to mitigate a sensationalist article that seems to rely on a basic type of pattern recognition for its premise. the preposterous title of the article and the feeble opening and closing paragraphs, for starters, stand in contrast with your mitigation that the article isn't making esoteric claims.

this wikipedia entry strikes me as much more reality based:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Swarm_behaviour&mobileaction=view_normal_site