We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Thursday, May 31, 2012
China-Japan currency deal ushers in a new era
It seems to me that this is a major economic development that indicates another slippage for the US ruling class and their Empire down a very slippery slope to loss of power in the world. I'm sure this is making the political operatives of the Empire very nervous.
The rule of the US Empire depends upon two main sources of power--military and economic. The US spends more on its powerful military than all other countries combined. It also has dominant positions in the major financial institutions--World Bank and IMF. In order to support these two powers and salvaging the US dollar as an international currency after running up enormous debts in the Vietnam War while pacifying their own citizens with a "War on Poverty", in 1974 US political operatives (mainly Kissinger) worked out a deal with the Saudi family which controls the major source of oil in the world. The Saudi monarchy agreed to sell their vast supplies of oil only in US dollars in return for protection by the Empire. If this appears like a Mafia style arrangement, it appears so because it is. Let me explain how this works with a simple story.
Once upon a time many centuries ago there was an isolated community in which a bully lived and who was armed to the teeth. The bully spent so much money on weapons to beat up neighbors who didn't like him throwing his weight around that he soon ran out of money. He suddenly came up with a brilliant idea to deal with this problem. This bully offered protection to a neighbor who had most of the forest on his land (specifically the head of the family who was not well liked by his neighbors or even by members of his own family), if that neighbor-patriarch would sell his logs only in the bully's currency. Wood was used for all sorts of things, most essentially for heating and cooking. The bully had long insisted that everyone use his currency to buy things, but this arrangement insured their use of his money. Now the he could spend as much as he liked by printing his own money and everyone had to accept it.
Those who made money in this currency like the forest guy accumulated so much of this currency that they lent it back to the bully and everyone else that would borrow his money just to get rid of it and earn at least some interest off it. This caused havoc among some of the neighbors who couldn't pay back the loans.
But there was one family, a huge family with lots of strapping sons, who also accumulated a lot of this money selling useful and low cost products through their hard work at very low wages. Their labor was so cheap that some members of the bully's family decided to take advantage of this by hiring some of them to make products for them to sell on the local market where they made loads of money.
Then one day the huge family decided to cut deals with individual neighbors to accept the neighbor's currency for their products. In the past the bully would beat up such a rebellious family (think Iraq, Iran, Venezuela), but in this case the bully looked at this huge family and decided that this might not be a good idea. Besides, the bully liked all the products they made for him to sell, and the products that his family purchased and consumed with money from his crude printing press.