Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

June 17, 2012

Alternatives to Crumb-Sharing

Filed under: Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — paragardener @ 11:27 pm

There is a horrifying wealth disparity in America, where a few hundred families dominate all of politics, business, and even “charitable” foundations. Meanwhile, other folks can’t find any way to make money, and they’re losing homes left and right. The basic, default left/Socialist solution to wealth disparity is to tax the rich more heavily and disperse their money with entitlement programs, or perhaps job-creating enterprises (how about a bullet train?).

That’s not a horrible solution. It’s not always politically feasible, Goddess knows, and there are a few problems it creates, such as resentment from those who don’t quite qualify for the program that would help them, or are too proud to take a “hand-out.”

I believe that much of our wealth disparity problem stems from operating our markets under the wrong rules, and not from some inherent tendency of markets to concentrate wealth. I want to suggest alternatives to sharing tax-crumbs around, just to stimulate some thought. Perhaps we could stop thinking of “redistributing the wealth” (which is fine) and start thinking of “economic justice” (which is better.)

* More forgiving bankruptcy laws. Bankruptcy is available as an escape from total debt entrapment. In 2005, Congress imposed a means test (that is to say, a poverty test) on Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Why? So that those who fail the means test can become resentful of those who are even worse off? At the same time, it required credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy. Hopefully, all of the credit counselors approved by the government are honest dealers. They also complicated the matter to the point where bankruptcy lawyers have to bill you more hours to get through the process.

Congress should have moved in the opposite direction — how about forgiving student loans through bankruptcy, instead of keeping people in debt chains for their entire lifetimes?

* Usury is a crime. Civilizations that have developed banking generally limit interest rates — indeed, neither Christians nor Muslims could loan at interest, period, for over a thousand years. Having no laws against usury is akin to legalizing theft or rape. Credit cards at 20% interest and payday loans at 200% interest are crimes that suck the middle and working classes.

* End debt-based money. A bank makes a loan, and creates the money for that loan out of thin air… however, they don’t create the money to repay interest on the loan at the same moment. The borrower must scramble to get that money from somewhere, which, as in a Ponzi scheme, works just fine as long as more suckers are buying into the system.

Did you know that the Earth is not an infinite space, but rather like a marble in space? All Ponzi schemes end, and debt-based money leads to times of repo activity, such as the Great Depression.

Money should be issued directly by way of the government printing the money it spends, or we could use silver, gold, or kilowatt-hours as money.

* Jubilee. The Old Testament describes the Israelites returning all land to its previous owners and freeing all indentured servants every 49 or 50 years. Lately, a world-wide forgiving of debts seems necessary if we aren’t all to become indentured to the banks, both individuals and nations. Current bank-oriented monetary policies put debt into the world faster than they put money into it. Clearly we need to wipe that debt, much of which is unpayable anyways. Some of this debt even comes tied to austerity measures (rolling back crumb-sharing programs), a strategy proven to make it harder  to pay back debt (because the economy doesn’t grow as well under austerity.)

* Prosecute fraud. Fraud is still a crime. Bankers who commit fraud shouldn’t get a fine for breaking a regulation, or be allowed to sign a “no wrongdoing” settlement. They should be prosecuted as fraudsters, and far fewer municipalities and pension funds would be going broke. Instead, our current government believes in bailing fraudsters out when their schemes go belly-up!

* Unionization. It allows people to effectively negotiate the terms of their employment — working as a unit, like the corporations we all have to deal with. ‘Nuff said.

 

Well, there are six ideas there for making “the free market” a fair market. They would hardly remove the need to sometimes give somebody a helping hand, but I believe that these kind of reforms would make the economy a lot more friendly to the 99%, and lessen poverty and the need for giant entitlement programs. These are just skeletons of ideas that demand a lot of development — of course, they’re not original and plenty of people are working on them.

Sharing crumbs around is not enough — demand JUSTICE!

September 18, 2011

Alien Invaders

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — paragardener @ 6:40 pm

One random day, a swirly green wormhole opened in the vicinity of Earth’s moon. Hundreds of shining metal spacecraft popped out of the hole and took up wide orbits of Earth. They were of all sizes, from tiny robotic drones to Manhattan on rockets. The military and astronomy communities went on high alert and followed the action with their instruments and global networks, but many ordinary people were startled at the appearance of new constellations in the sky — and especially that weird green star up there.

After we watched each other for a few days, the aliens gave a T.V. and radio address to the people of Earth. A mass of green tentacles with one big eye in the middle looked straight into the camera. It spoke, and the tentacles wriggled. “Hail, Earthlings. We are a diverse group of civilized entities, traveling the stars and representing the Galactic League. We are a peaceful band, coming to you in peace with wishes of brotherhood. It is our intention to open trade with your planet, so that you can reap the massive social and technological benefits of membership in the League.”

Many said that the aliens had no good in mind for us, while others said that we would finally know world peace. The aliens’ plan came down to this: they wanted the genomes of all of Earth’s creatures, from viruses and goo to plants and animals. They would sell us superior alien genome sequencers for Galactic Credits. We could get Galactic Credits by borrowing them, or by selling genomes. So anyone could take out a loan, buy a sequencer, take some samples, and turn a tidy profit in credits by selling genomic data back to the guys in orbit.

People rushed onto alientrade.com to get started: once you had some Galactic Credits, everything would be gravy and flying cars. The alien technology fulfilled a science fiction wishlist: antigravity, free energy, teleportation and tourism on far-off worlds. A few people worried about the amount we were borrowing from the League. They said that our growing debt to the League was dangerous, that we would inevitably pay for it later. Most people were reassured that as Earth’s debt in credits grew, the number of credits circulating on Earth was growing as well.

Then, one seemingly random day, the ships in the sky began winking out. On the same day, the alien gene buyers started writing rejection letters. Billions of people found that they, or their corporations, were sitting on genomes they couldn’t sell. The tentacle-eye came out on television a week later, to explain: “People of Earth, we have enjoyed this time of trade and mutual enrichment. Unfortunately, we now possess genome maps to almost all of Earth’s creatures. We hope that you can now turn your economy to something more marketable, such as flying car production. Thank you, and goodnight.”

No one had much to sell for Galactic Credits, once Earth’s genetics had been completely shared. A lot of people and a lot of companies owed credits to the aliens, though. Shadowy, spidery repo men landed in flying saucers and space planes and handed out letters in the middle of the night. You could avoid repossession, if you submitted to the League’s Responsibility Policy.

People still got up and went to work. Nowadays, though, the boss was following orders from the Galactic League — those damned Responsibility Policies. Everyone worked harder to get less. The oceans and lands were ruined by giant metal tubeworms we installed in the crust of the Earth, to extract rare elements to trade for a few more credits (allowing, let’s say, General Electric or Cuba to make interest payments for a few more months). The sky assumed a permanent overcast.

 

Will the people of Earth default and demand debt forgiveness? Or will the Earth be broken down into its component elements?

Our history of dealing with globalist banks and other corporations suggests that we won’t wake up until we’re as depleted as Somalia, and we have to seize some spaceships and go pirate on the wormhole traffic just to feed ourselves. (That would make a bad-ass movie.)

Good luck, Earth!

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