On Wednesday, The US Department of Homeland Security seized a payment processing account belonging to Mt. Gox, the largest international Bitcoin trader over claims the monetary exchange service had falsified financial documents, as reported at Ars Technica.
Bitcoin threatens both the financial elite’s monopoly over the economy and the online web of payment systems which have been used as a tool to crack down on free speech on the Internet, Amir Taaki, a bitcoin software developer, told RT.com in this interview.
The world economy may be crashing but these are exciting times for barter currency and exchange systems. Since 2002 we’ve been saying that the economy is going to get a lot worse before it gets better… and the worse it gets the more importantly barter and those who facilitate its mechanisms will fare.
On the 8th December the City of London, in conjunction with various U.K councils, NGOs and think tanks, commissioned a report from Y/Zen Group, the City’s prominent think tank, assessing the future scope and potential for trade, excess capacity exchange, and commerical barter to increasingly augment local and national economies.
Surveyed barter exchanges, banks and industry professionals were asked to attend workshops and submit copies of their internal documents, audited accounts and plans to help provide some background industry information for this report. Ormita Commerce, whom we have co-chaired its Advisory Board since inception was one of the invitees. Ormita’s founder, Daniel Evans, shares a similar advisory with Catalyst House.
With offices in 17 countries and customers in 54 countries, Ormita is appearing increasingly relevant where governments and industry envision the future of barter and money itself.
Bitcoin, the virtual peer-to-peer currency that was launched in 2009 (see CAT blog June: Barter P2P Currency Gains Traction), had a meteoric rise in April-June of this year—but after a hacking attack on the premier bitcoin exchange, the currency plummeted, then rose again. Today it traded at $2.40, down from a peak of $30, but still way up from the pennies it priced at 18 months ago.
In a recent WIRED article Benjamin Wallace reports that -
In the public’s imagination, overnight the bitcoin went from being the currency of tomorrow to a dystopian joke. The Electronic Frontier Foundation quietly stopped accepting bitcoin donations. Two Irish scholars specializing in network analysis demonstrated that bitcoin wasn’t nearly as anonymous as many had assumed: They were able to identify the handles of a number of people who had donated bitcoins to Wikileaks. (The organization announced in June 2011 that it was accepting such donations.) Nontechnical newcomers to the currency, expecting it to be easy to use, were disappointed to find that an extraordinary amount of effort was required to obtain, hold, and spend bitcoins. For a time, one of the easier ways to buy them was to first use Paypal to buy Linden dollars, the virtual currency in Second Life, then trade them within that make-believe universe for bitcoins. As the tone of media coverage shifted from gee-whiz to skeptical, attention that had once been thrilling became a source of resentment.
Brace yourself for the impending gold shortage. Gold shortage? Yes. With the launch of a flurry of dedicated gold ETF’s last year, total ETF holdings of the barbaric relic, now exceed total world production. South Africa suffered its steepest decline in gold production since 1901, falling 14%, to a mere 232tons. It now ranks only third in global production of the yellow metal, after China and the US. Severe electricity rationing, a shortage of skilled workers,and more stringent mine safety regulations have been blamed.
From Goldprice.org -
The world is running low on gold and here’s more reasons why.
As the standard of living in China and India increases more and more people there will be demanding gold. As an example, the Chinese middle class has been increasing and although is a tiny percentage of the overall Chinese population it is still bigger than the entire population of the US now. The Chinese government is actively encouraging their population to buy gold. This is a lot of gold demand in China alone. The same is happening in India and their demand for gold is continuing to increase.
This is on top of the extra demand by cautious and impatient investors who are not getting the results they expect from bonds and investments.
The world’s biggest gold miner, Barrick Gold has noted that finding more and more viable gold deposits is becoming harder. The chart above shows how gold deposit discoveries are rapidly declining and we know what that means. The value of gold, quite apart from the decreasing dollar, is going to go up as demand outstrips supply.
The gold war has begun
You may be asking yourself, did the central banks ever control the gold market? Yes, indeed they did!
In 2004 we wrote a series of articles in the Las Vegas Tribune questioning whether the world’s central banks were cooking their books regarding the amount of gold they held and why.* Much of our story told of the efforts of GATA, Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, to expose the resultant gold-price manipulation that was occurring at the highest levels of the financial food chain.
Now the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee and its secretary/treasurer figure heavily in a new edition of the television program “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded,” which examines the question of whether the U.S. government really still has any gold in the vault at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The program, to be broadcast on the History Channel, stresses the secrecy and unaccountability of the government in regard to anything related to gold. Enjoy it here now.
‘Debt: The First 5,000 Years’: Mankind’s millenialong obligation
Four years after the mortgage meltdown capsized the market economy, leaving millions of Americans stuck in unthinkable debt, the U.S. government gridlocked over how to bring the nation’s mounting debt under control, and Europe wrestling with how to deal with its various sovereign-debt crisis, it takes not an economist or a politician but an anthropologist to ask, “Just what do we mean by ‘debt,’ anyway?”
“That’s the question David Graeber, a self-described anarchist and activist as well as academic (Yale notoriously declined to consider him for tenure in 2005, and he now teaches at the University of London), has set himself to answer in “Debt: The First 5,000 Years.” And the answers he comes up with will, it’s safe to say, set orthodox economic minds spinning.” Debt, he argues convicingly, predates not only money but also the more primitive barter, saying that there’s “virtually no evidence” that ancient societies relied on barter in anything like the way our economics textbook assumes they did.”
Is debt is primary to money?
In “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” anarchist, academic and author David Graeber writes about debt, and how humans have both benefitted from and been burdened by owing others for several millennia.
“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is a catchphrase and proverb, frequently used (with variations in wording) in discussing economic inequality. Its most common use is as a synopsis of socialist criticism of the free market system (or “Capitalism”), implying the inevitability of what Marx called the Law of Increasing Poverty.
Andrew Jackson, in his 1832 bank veto, said that
“When the laws undertake… to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society… have a right to complain of the injustice to their Government.”
William Henry Harrison said, in an October 1, 1840 speech,
“I believe and I say it is true Democratic feeling, that all the measures of the government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.”
In 1821, Percy Bysshe Shelley argued, in A Defence of Poetry (not published until 1840), that in his England, “the promoters of utility” had managed
“To exasperate at once the extremes of luxury and want. They have exemplified the saying, “To him that hath, more shall be given; and from him that hath not, the little that he hath shall be taken away.” The rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer; and the vessel of the State is driven between the Scylla and Charybdis of anarchy and despotism. Such are the effects which must ever flow from an unmitigated exercise of the calculating faculty.”
The phrase resembles the Bible verse
“For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”
Did you know? …
• 90% of the worlds wealth is held by 1% of the population
• 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
… and stick it to Wall Street at the same time! Sounds like the best of both worlds to us!
In November 2009 Ellen Brown wrote at AlterNet that bailing out the banking system “…has only fixed the economy for bankers and the wealthy; it has not done much to address either the fundamental problem of unemployment or the debt trap so many Americans find themselves in.”
The Bank of North Dakota may seem like a sole-surviving relic of a bygone era. As a “state-owned” bank, it offers discounted loans to farms and agriculture, students and education, andsmall companies. It serves as an important economic development agency and a “banker’s bank” that reduces the loan risks of private banks and assists the private banks to finance bigger business projects.
The Bank of North Dakota had over $5 billion in assets and a $4 billion loan portfolio at the end of 2009, and it made nearly $60 million in profits in that year, setting a record for the seventh straight year. This was at a time when the entire banking and financial sectors were reeling from the collapse. Over the past 10 years, the bank channeled over $300 million in profits to North Dakota’s state treasury.
Sometime back author and new-paradigm-shift thinker William Brandon Shanley posted a well articulated blog addressing the paradox of scarcity in a universe that quantum scientists say is unlimited – infinitely unlimited. All science is an awakening to what “always already is,” to paraphrase Beloved Adi Da Samraj.
Shanley is the organizing editor of a new work, which we reviewed in April. See: William Shanley’s Alice and the Quantum Cat
“A paradigm shift is underway, and a bright, bold new post-material, post-scarcity era called The Age of Infinity is rapidly emerging,” says Shanley.
How can I make such claims about the future? Simply because these technologies and sciences are characteristics of the nature of nature and we need only unfold what already is and “ride the horse in the direction its going” to make them tangible.
All science is an awakening to what already is. Our inventions and systems simply mimic what nature has already perfected with utmost efficiency through intelligent networks and least action principles. Through time, as our glasses become more and more refined, we’re able to see more deeply into the infinite fecundity, creativity, power, potential, and perfection of the cosmos and thereby create successively more successful theories, maps, metaphors and meanings to represent it.
Well now a new P2P digital currency, called Bitcoin, may provide the ideal medium to engage in commerce outside the official economy and – it’s decentralized, anonymous, and its supply is moderated by a mathematical formula to automatically deflate it over time. A truly dangerous idea.
Eric Blair at Activist Post writes: “The masses are beginning to understand that the greatest threat to human freedom is the international banking cartel and their debt-based monetary system. Together with governments, they squash any manifestation of a free marketplace and personal freedom. Between runaway money printing, corporate cartel control, subsidies and taxes, and regulations and fees; the free market is nothing more than an ideology — for now.”
It would seem that the precise remedy to such a system would be decentralization of currency and banking, or functioning in an underground economy outside the system. There may be hope for accomplishing both with the new crypto-currency that is beginning to gain recognition, the Bitcoin. Can this decentralized barter currency free humanity from the grip of the slave masters and provide for a truly free-market economy?
The U.S government may be positioning to establish private currency barter of any sort as an unlawful transaction, pursuant to a recent criminal conviction of Liberty Dollar’s founder Bernard Von NotHaus for “counterfeiting” and “conspiracy,” supposedly intending to illegally mint and replace US currency with a private one using silver and gold-based coins and silver-backed paper dollars.
And the US Attorney in charge of von NotHaus’s successful prosecution, is now parlaying the conviction to say that this ruling sets forth a precedent against “…any private barter transactions that use any form of currency besides established Federal Reserve Notes and U.S. minted coins.”
The federal government also is seeking to take permenant receipt of eight tons of silver and gold ($7+ Million dollars) bullion and silver ‘Liberty Dollars’ that were minted and sold by von NotHaus.
We’ve written a few times over the years about Bernard von NotHaus and his brave alternative currency scheme called Liberty Dollars (New Millenium Moolah, LV Tribune 2004 and Give Us Liberty And Give Us Silver! page-11 2006). Backed entirely by gold and silver, the Liberty Dollars had grown to over $20 million in circulation, the most successful alternate currency of its day.
But alas, the federal government apparently didn’t like the plan and indicted von Nothaus and confiscated everything in sight, in a pre-dawn raid of the company’s Idaho and Indiana facilities, including 9 tons of silver and gold that back the currency. The charge, you ask? ”Counterfeiting!”
And just last week von Nothaus had his day in court, but despite a very strong trial defense, was found guilty by jurors of multiple counts of criminal fraud and counterfeiting. Jurors came to the unanimous verdict after only two hours of deliberation.
“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins said in a March 18 FBI press release boasting of the verdict.
Doug Hornig at Casey Dispatch writes –
Von Nothaus sees himself as a true patriot, offering a product that can function as a citizen’s defense against the ravages of inflation brought on by the systematic debasement of the greenback.
Thus was born his “money,” consisting of silver “rounds” – which are perfectly legal, as opposed to “coins,” which would not be – and certificates redeemable in silver. (There is a smaller number of gold dollars and certs, too.) I have a Liberty Dollar in my hand right now. (Does this make me a potential co-conspirator?) It was minted in 2006, has a face value of $20, and contains an ounce of .999 fine silver. A real bargain at today’s prices.
Brazil’s fourth largest city, Belo Horizonte, teaches humanity an important lesson. A city population of 2.5 million that once had a high percentage living in abject poverty, and 20% of the children hungry for basic nutrition essentially become a proud testament of true democracy by voting out hunger.
“Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy.” — Frances Moore Lappe
When I lived in Belo in the late 90s the city was already 5-years along in an important experiment – by will of the voters Belo had declared food to be a right of its citizenry. The new municipal administration declared in return: “If you are too poor to buy food in the market—you are no less a citizen, and you will eat.”
|Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz on U.S. economic policy -
“It’s doing nothing for the American economy, but it’s causing chaos over the rest of the world. It’s a very strange policy that they are pursuing.”
Ed. note: A fascinating account of the way it just might be, behind all the pomp and propaganda. One might liken the leading nations and their currencies to dying elephants thrashing about, struggling for ‘sustenance.’
|From: Breaking All The Rules / Sartre -|
A new documentary currently being completed by Katie Teague, called, “Money & Life” (Trailer 3:40 min.). Here Katie talks about her documentary –
“Inspired by the possibility of generating real transformative social change from the opportunity of the current economic and financial crisis, I have been on a two year odyssey studying the money system and interviewing cutting edge thinkers and leaders on the issue of the day.
“The film proposes that money, like other social technologies, is a reflection of our consciousness as individuals and as a society. If we are indeed in the midst of a planetary evolutionary shift, then money is one of the most important aspects of the postmodern world to grapple with, given its pervasiveness in our lives and throughout the world. The film’s basic inquiry is: can our understanding of money and how we relate to it be transformed to serve our highest capacities and values?”
September 12 – 18, 2010
Praxis Peace Institute is organizing a 5-day workshop/seminar with the Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque country of Spain. The purpose of the seminar is to learn about worker owned and managed cooperative businesses from the leading consortium of cooperatives in the world.
|Basic Cooperative Principles
Click to enlarge
The Mondragon Cooperatives were founded in 1955 and now encompass 120 businesses and employ nearly 100,000 worker-owners. Mondragon is a highly successful cooperative model with over 50 years of proven success. They have established research centers, bank and credit unions, a university, youth cooperatives, and small to large businesses
In June 2007, the Educational Director of the Mondragon Cooperatives, Mikel Lezamiz, spoke at the Praxis Peace Institute conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Due to the interest generated at the conference, we decided to collaborate with Mondragon in offering an in-depth educational opportunity for those who want more information on how to create cooperatives in their businesses and communities.
AD|MAX Merchants To Receive RaveReviews! SANTA ANA, CA. July 31, 2002 /PRNewswire/ – AD|MAX Media Solutions managing advisor, Lynnea Bylund, announced today that the Company has secured an arrangement whereby its merchant marketing clients will receive website-based ìstreaming testimonialsî to be provided by RaveReview.biz. Read complete release in PDF (149 KB).
by Lynnea Bylund 2004-2005
Science & Design Systems
Dr. Sahtouris, is an evolutionary biologist, futurist, author, speaker and corporate consultant on Living Systems Design. Her current focus is on evolution biology as a model for organizational change in the corporate world, on the Internet, and all “…business ecologies, including…globalization and community barter as alternative currency.” Travels as a speaker have taken her from Asia and Africa to Europe, North, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand. She has made many television and radio appearances in addition to live speeches and workshops. Dr. Sahtouris is a citizen of the United States and of Greece, with a Canadian Ph.D. She did her post-doctoral work at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, taught at the University of Massachusetts and MIT, and has been a United Nations consultant on indigenous peoples. As a futurist she is a member of Humanity 3000, and consults with corporations and government organizations in Australia, Brazil and the USA. Her books include: Biology Revisioned, co-authored with Willis Harman: North Atlantic Books 1998; A Walk Through Time: From Sturdiest to Us: Wiley, NY 1998, and EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution: Praeger Fall 1999 (formerly Gaia, Simon&Schuster 1989). Her article The Biology of Globalization appeared in Perspectives on Business and Global Change, September issue, 1997. The sustainable health and well being of humanity within the larger living systems of Earth and an intelligent self-organizing Cosmos are her context for addressing questions about the human future at local community and bioregional levels, as well as in our broadest context of global politics and economic sustainability.
EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGIST, FUTURIST, SPEAKER, CONSULTANT
Books: EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution
Biology Revisioned, w/ Willis Harman
A Walk Through Time: From Stardust to Us