The End Of The World As We Know It

Discussion in 'Financial Cents' started by melbo, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    The end of the world as we know it: Get Ready

    By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster Online Journal Guest Writer Sep 25, 2007

    America is now poised for an event that has happened elsewhere in the world but never, for living Americans, here on US soil. That event is a hyperinflation that will destroy our savings, milking Americans dry.

    Those who planned this event have been in charge of the monetary system, and in charge of every branch of government. While occupying those positions of trust they have profited mightily. Now, many of those who believed they were 'insiders' will face a reality that confronts them with the fact that they, too, have been had. Their employers have used them to immunize themselves as they prepared to move off shore, convert their stolen assets into Swiss Francs, hard money, and commodities, hunkering down to ride it out as they slurp champagne.

    The mortgage market is draining away one portion of American savings while the Securities and Exchange Commission finalizes the enabling of hedge funds and limited partnerships like Blackstone Group, to suck out the pensions and secured savings that elderly Americans thought would carry them through to the end of life, leaving a nest egg for their children and grandchildren. Those in power did not forget other kinds of savings, including those intended to educate our children. It was all up for grabs. To protect yourself and those you love you need to see the world, not as they present it to us, but as it appears to them.

    We are the bees. They control our hive.

    The Corporate Greedy and BigOil, think they have won; they did all within their power to convert our form of government from a representative republic made up of independent states to a serial monarchy/oligarchy. They busily changed the meaning of words, for instance converting the word “Conservative” to Big Government Federalist for a start.

    You may also still believe that communism was a real threat to America instead of another boogeyman intended to keep us in line. You may still believe that a tiny insane cabal of Muslims, individuals who had been marginalized in their own countries, are a threat to us. It is time to lose your illusions.

    Iraq is about the oil. The only surge those in power really care about is the one being carried out by the Security and Prosperity Partnership and the other forms of control for installing what they hope will be the militarized ground they intend to turn into one large plantation that they call the North American Union. Think of it, and us, as their long-term investment strategy.

    The hyper inflation now beginning is intended to make us helpless, unable to resist, focused on stark survival, as they staple in place a new, overt form of government on the savaged bones of our Constitution.

    Those plans, as reflected in the words, “Security and Prosperity Partnership” are about just that. For their own children they want not prosperity but the culmination of their own fantasies: a guaranteed, unending flow of money and security. The partnership is for the Corporate Greedy only.

    You and I are not to be the beneficiaries of that flow. Our purpose in their eyes is to either produce the wealth, be consumed, or conveniently die.

    The Corporate Greedy have been eating us alive for generations. By doing so they worked to provide for those future generations of trust fund brats with no character, morals or clue about the work ethic -- more George W. Bushes, more little Murdochs and Rockefellers. For that purpose they have driven America into bankruptcy, using all of the institutions we paid for and thought were intended to provide security for us, the real Americans, and our families.

    Like the movie, “The Matrix,” it is very simple when you understand.

    This hyperinflation cycle is the corporate beekeepers harvesting the hive. They are now harvesting America, making room for those of us who survive, to produce more. At the same time they are looking at which bees are likely to give them the best return. They intend that the 'useless eaters,' the elderly, the lowest income people, the inconveniently political, die.

    After they finish harvesting, America will be a third world country. The North American Union will be in place to act as their conduit for rebuilding on very different lines, smugly expecting us to be grateful for the opportunity to simply survive and serve.

    Hyperinflation is one of their tools that shows you what is about to happen. It has been used before. Stan Mikhalsky experienced the hyperinflation that took place in the Soviet Union. Here is his story.
    By Stan Mikhalsky​
    It started in November 1985. The Soviet Union had been shaken by a tsunami of deaths as one after another, starting in 1982, Party leaders died in office. First Brezhnev, then Andropov followed by Chernenko. Never had the Soviet Union seen so many deaths just in three years. ​
    Then, suddenly, a new guy, younger, eager, and unexpected . . . Gorbachev, came into office.​
    The 70s in Soviet Union had been marked as years of prosperity and peace. Ordinary people had prospered. Then, in 1979, we found ourselves at war in Afghanistan and the world changed.​
    When I stepped on American soil in 1996 I had the same feeling of those fat, happy years of the 70s in the Soviet Union. Yet in the back of my mind I wondered. I was worried because I knew how that time of peace and prosperity had ended. Putting that aside I figuratively rolled up my sleeves and got to work; good times mean profits and there was much I wanted for my family, much they needed after the trauma we had survived in the Ukraine. ​
    Those fat years of the 70s in the Soviet Union had been followed by a long nightmare, one I see beginning here in America. ​
    Gorbachev had been in office just a couple months when he ratified a new bills exchange. A bills exchange means exchanging the currency then in use for different money. ​
    Well, you could ask, that is normal in many countries, right? Normal? Maybe. But the outcome was like they had pumped us dry of savings. Going through it was torture, seeing the savings of a lifetime drained in days, weeks, or months. ​
    Current denominations of fifties and hundreds could be exchanged for new bills for only three days and only 500 Rubles could be exchanged at one time. So, what is a big deal? ​
    Many honest people in the Soviet Union had escaped scrutiny, moving into the burgeoning middle class, by keeping their profits in cash. For example, at the time there were many 'underground milliners' whose enterprises were not in sync with ruling Communist Party. These were "illegal activities" though they harmed no one. ​
    Gorbachev had decided, alone or based on advice, to kill these people as a class. And that action -- bills exchange -- killed a segment of the middle class in Soviet Union.​
    The artificial currency exchange ratio (at the beginning of the Gorbachev tenure) was 69 kopeek (lowest USSR currency) for 1 US Dollar. It wasn't real, of course. In reality there were people who dealt with foreigners, buying from them and then selling to the general population (jeans, for example). These entrepreneurs were called "farcovshiki." Farcovshiki were risking their lives to support their families. The penalty for these activities were up to 15 years in prison, the same sentence that was applied by criminal law to rapists and killers. ​
    To live in the Soviet Union was to live with danger. To be in business we needed to have a real currency, real US Dollars and Deutsch Marks. The new exchange rate had risen to 3 Rubles per US Dollar.​
    In the wake of these events, people were literally hiding their money under pillows, afraid to put their funds in the bank. The biggest USSR Savings Bank loomed as a threat to all savings. Instead those funds were kept close at hand, buried in a backyard or hidden in the attic. Imagine what shock we felt when it was announced the new bills would be valid and old ones void in three days! ​
    Just like in the United States, there are always people who worked hard to build businesses and support their families. In the Soviet Union we called those people, who were like my parents, "hard working communists." Like all law abiding citizens they kept their hard-earned money in the USSR Savings Bank. At that time they had enough money in the bank to support them in comfort in their retirement. So, in a sense, these money were US 401K plans equivalent." ​
    1985, everything changed. They figured out how to reach into the places we had used to hide the money we hoped would give us security.​
    The 'free market' overwhelmed formerly Soviet Union citizens. Overnight the world had changed, some for the good and some not. Now we, ordinary people, could say what we wanted, not just in own kitchens but out loud in public. Our world grew larger. Freedom gave us the ability to see beyond the borders of the USSR. Now we saw the world as it had appeared to Party leaders, the Military Elite, and their friends. We could see R-rated movies and read different opinions.​
    However, with this new freedom brought with it hyperinflation, gangsters, and crooks. Inflation was no longer controlled as it had been before. Because Gorbachev said that the "Free Market" was subject to any forces that came, by 1989 the Ruble had fallen to a value only 1/6th that of the US Dollar.​
    By 1991 the Soviet Union had ceased to exist and Ukraine had become independent. That led to more instability and new rounds of inflation through currency manipulation. ​
    As an independent nation, the Ukraine decided to have its own currency. That 'currency,' which we called, 'coupons,' was printed on low quality paper and was easily reproduced in basements using Xerox machines. Counterfeit currency became a reality, dooming the Coupons. Rubles were highly valuable in exchange because Russia had a strong infrastructure.​
    The Ukraine, on the other hand, had and has today, an economy based largely on agriculture.​
    There, Russia and Ukraine found a common ground. Ukrainians carried their bags of farm food to Moscow, where Muscovites bought with pleasure. Moscow, without a strong agricultural economy, was suffering from a reliable food supply. This was a win-win outcome for both with Moscow getting their food and Small-Russia, the name often given to the Eastern Ukraine, receiving Rubles for radishes.​
    However, trade and the possibility of profit stopped in August 19, 1991. The coup in Moscow severed these connections with the Ukraine.​
    Inflation was like an avalanche, a tsunami that destroyed businesses and savings. Before long the Ukraine announced a new currency and, on paper, everyone in Ukraine became a millionaire as the value of our Coupons plummeted to 200,000 to 1 against the US Dollar. Money in your pocket was worth less every moment. We lived in a state of perpetual uncertainty and shock.​
    Half-legal currency exchange became a very profitable business. You could go to special a market and exchange your life savings, packaged now in packs of coupons with rubber bands, for crispy "greens." Greens were US dollars. Most prized were crispy new greens; This bias tremendously helped counterfeit US currency to conquer our shaky post-Soviet market. ​
    Some of you may wonder why we needed US dollars in a first place? Well, because borders were much more open than before; many entrepreneurs started trade with other countries and former Soviet Union Republics, making the dollar the only currency we could use to trade. All of us were having the same problems with currency.​
    Then, in the end of 1995, a new Ukrainian currency arrived. That was the Grivnya. It was a better quality banknote that exchanged elsewhere in ratio 1 Grivnya = 100,000 Coupons. It brought some stability for a short while. Far from perfect, the new currency was again counterfeited; these then flooded the markets. Inflation continued to escalate.​
    During the 1996-2001 period the Grivnya continued to lose its value until the US Dollar itself began to slip. What had been 1 US Dollar to 6 Grivnyas became 2 Grivnyas per Dollar. ​
    Today, it is finally stable and the dollar is losing its luster. And there begins the warning I need to share with you. ​
    There are parallels in those years I lived through in the Ukraine with what I see and sense with the current US market situation. ​
    The law of "survival of the fittest" is still in power. You need to prepare yourself for what may come from uncontrollable US inflation and staggering political instability. Do as many of us, having survived through so many rounds of instability learned to do. Do not hold on to currency. Instead, buy and hold raw products and commodities. ​
    In all countries that painted the map of the Europe after Soviet Union and later, Yugoslavia separation, the oligarchy raised their wealth on these natural products. Some of the oligarchs came from banking industry but in general – oil, gas, colored metals, and media. I am pretty sure that this pattern will apply to any future independent states with economics in turmoil. ​
    Get ready. It will happen here.​
    The problem that we face in America at this minute is what Stan and other citizens of the Soviet Union faced, but for us that is only a part of the story. After the inflation we will be facing a new world, now being created to control us by the same people who are harvesting the hive of American wealth as I write.

    To survive and provide the softest landing possible for Americans we need to take action as follows.

    At the local level you need to get out of debt. If you can't pay off your credit cards to big corporations don't feel bad; their grid has been one of the conduits for stealing placed intentionally to put Americans into their control. The reason they changed the bankruptcy laws was because they knew where they were taking us. Pay off your mortgage if possible or find the means for at least lowering your exposure by moving to a fixed interest rate loan.

    Get ready to look for the investment opportunities that will soon be available to ordinary people for lower cost alternatives in energy, transportation, and other off-grid technologies. They are coming. Every home that gets off their grids strikes a blow for freedom. Look at all the grids, energy, transportation, water, food, credit, insurance, medical. Understand how they bind you; there are solutions to each of these. You can break free.

    Look at where you live. Can you grow your own food? Look into starting a co-op, bringing in locally grown farm food. Join with those around you; this will build a community of cooperation that will bring both security and provide the means for local control.

    Growing and eating locally will reduce your exposure to reliance on food that is shipped in from off shore, perhaps bringing in with it diseases or toxic substances, and also mean more security for you and those around you in a steady, clean, supply of food.

    Growing your own food has many other benefits; many generations of Americans did just that. Learn more about what you can do along with others in your community. Local food, vegetables and meat, taste better and do not carry the additives that we are slowly learning have had drastic physiological impacts on our health.

    Make sure you know what your children are learning. Schools now routinely turn out students who are functionally illiterate, suited only for the kinds of jobs they envision for our posterity. Dumbing down was part of their agenda.

    The planning began in California with the Reagan's election as governor there. Examine what you think you know. We were all conned, often and early.

    The best indicator for future success in life is how early you have your first job, not how many degrees you accumulate; education has become about symbols over substance. Tesla had no degrees and never attended college. This generation of children will be finding out what it means to work the hard way. Nothing about the policies that have extended childhood far into the twenties have been about protecting children; those policies are about control.

    At the same time you need to come together with others in your community to take back control. Use persuasion; true community is about including and caring for everyone voluntarily.

    Look at your local police. You pay their salaries. If they are focused on a militarized agenda, converting you and other citizens into criminalized targets, ignoring your constitutional rights under the coloration of 'gang control' you need to take action. The Constitution is for all of us.

    The individuals hired as police need to understand that the militarized agenda for control will not be tolerated. Deliver the message.

    We need to take back control of our courts. Understand the bait and switch that took place and study the common law that is America's real heritage for enacting justice and lowering the transaction costs of conflict and crime. A crime has not taken place if there is no victim.

    The sheriff in your county is the highest constitutional law enforcement authority. If you can't trust him, remove him and elect someone who will be willing and able to tell the Feds to stay out. Expect them to move rapidly on their agenda to assert control over regional areas and state governments. Be ready to react accordingly.

    Lastly, start thinking about the many ways that same Corporate Elite has conned us, manipulated us, continue their predatory behavior. Through the stock market, through the mortgage industry grab, through the continued rackets they run in every place they touch our lives.

    Count up what they have cost you, when, where and who. Make a record. Gather together all of those accounts that show how they have stolen from you, done all within their power to suck you dry.

    There will be an accounting and you need to be ready.

    Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the granddaughter of Arthur C. Pillsbury. AC invented the first circuit panorama camera as his senior project at Stanford in 1896 while majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She has been studying the market and economics through the filter of politics and anthropology for twenty years. Her political blog is How the NeoCons Stole Freedom. She is presently working on a book titled, “Off the Grids to Freedom in One Easy Lesson.”

  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    The end is nigh. Be positive

    Richard Eckersley September 22, 2007

    A FEW years ago, my then teenage son and I were watching world news on television. An item began about the humanitarian tragedy in Darfur, Sudan (which is still with us). "Can we turn this off, Dad?" my son said. I asked why. "It's depressing," he said. "I don't need reminding what a horrible place the world is."

    It is depressing, and it is becoming more depressing as our perceptions of the world and its future are increasingly shaped by images of global or distant threat and disaster: earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, bushfires, disease pandemics, war, terrorist attacks and famine. These hazards are not new, but previous fears were never so sustained and varied, never so powerfully reinforced by the frequency, immediacy and vividness of media images. This effect seems certain to intensify as global warming and other threats begin to impact more deeply on our lives.

    Most of the attention on how we tackle these threats has focused on economics and technology. But how we react psychologically will be just as important. This response involves subtle and complex interactions between the world "out there" and the world "in here" - in our minds. These have implications for personal wellbeing as well as social cohesion and action.

    Psychological research suggests that adaptability, being able to set goals and progress towards them, having goals that do not conflict, and viewing the world as comprehensible, manageable and meaningful are all associated with wellbeing. Biomedical research has shown that people become more stressed and more vulnerable to stress-related illness if they: feel they have little control over the causes of stress; don't know how long the source of stress will last or how intense it will be; interpret the stress as evidence that circumstances are worsening; and lack social support for the duress the stress causes.

    Negative expectations of the future of the world and humanity are likely to impact on several of these states, most obviously by encouraging perceptions of the world as hostile, dangerous and deteriorating. These psychological impacts will, in turn, shape our social responses.

    We are being drawn in at least three directions by suspicions of an impending apocalypse. The "business as usual" denial that has been the dominant response until recently is giving way to nihilism, fundamentalism and activism. My intention is to explain the way that people, individually and collectively, can respond very differently to the same perceptions of threat and hazard.

    Let's start with apocalyptic nihilism: the abandonment of belief in a social or moral order; where decadence rules. At the extreme of this are today's youthful killers, whose apocalyptic language conveys a message that "in a world stripped of meaning and self-identity, adolescents can understand violence itself as a morally grounded gesture, a kind of purifying attempt to intervene against the nothingness", as a young prison literature teacher, Theo Padnos, told American writer Ron Powers.

    What united his pupils were not their backgrounds, Padnos said, but their apocalyptic suspicions.

    "They think and act as though it's an extremely late hour in the day, and nothing much matters any more."

    The adolescents were drawn to the violence of movies and television, to stories of "post-apocalyptic heroes just like they want to be - violent, suicidal, the sort of people who are preparing themselves for what happens after everything ends".

    Others respond in less dramatic ways to this sense of futility. They become even more determined to succeed, to be a winner at all costs, or lose themselves in the quest for pleasure or excitement. These lifestyles have their own hazards, including various forms of addiction. Nihilistic inclinations are evident at a more mundane level in a growing political disengagement: a focus on home and hearth, on "tending our own patch".

    This strategy has its appeal. Social researcher Hugh Mackay has said the happiest participants in his studies were "those whose horizons were most limited, and whose concerns were unremittingly local, immediate and personal". There is a cost, however. The sense of the world as threatening and hostile, and that ultimately we are all on our own, produces a fraying of citizenship and democracy, and a vulnerability to the politics of self-interest and fear.

    And so to apocalyptic fundamentalism: the retreat to certain belief (whether secular or religious); a state in which dogma rules. In an extreme form, this is "end time" thinking, rife among fundamentalist Christians in the US, in which global war and warming are embraced as harbingers of the Rapture and Christ's return to Earth.

    Commentators are unsure how influential end-time philosophy is within the Bush Administration but argue that the hard questions about Bush's religious convictions need to be asked. Philosopher Peter Singer says the President's religious outlook is best represented by the Manichean idea of a force of evil in the world, with an apocalyptic Second Coming imminent and America as the divinely appointed nation set to destroy the forces of satan. This response, and that of Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups, could intensify as calamity deepens, possibly including a resort to the use of biochemical or nuclear weapons.

    The growth in fundamentalist thought extends beyond religion. Neo-liberal economics, which underpins current political strategies throughout most of the world, also represents a form of fundamentalism in its rigid adherence to an economic doctrine in the face of the growing evidence of its failure to deliver promised benefits. Fundamentalism produces a comforting certainty about life and a call to united action against threats, both moral and physical, but it also generates simplistic solutions to complex problems.

    Finally, the third response, apocalyptic activism: the transformation of belief; where hope rules. This reflects the desire to create a new conceptual framework or world view (stories, values, beliefs) that will make a sustainable future possible. The counter-trend this activism represents is evident in surveys across the West that show many people are making a comprehensive shift in their world view, values and way of life. Rejecting contemporary lifestyles and priorities, they place more emphasis in their lives on relationships, communities, spirituality, nature and the environment, and ecological sustainability.

    All three responses are growing in social intensity. It's a direct contest that, sooner or later, will shatter the status quo. Nihilism and fundamentalism represent maladapted responses to threat, whatever their short-term or personal appeal. Because they do not deal with the root causes of the problem, they risk amplifying the costs to human wellbeing. As Jared Diamond has argued in his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, such strategies have led in the past to the collapse of societies confronting environmental strains. Activism is an adaptive response, closely associated with the drive for sustainable development.

    Studies by American researchers Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson have found that about a quarter of people in Western societies are "cultural creatives". They represent a coalescence of social movements that are not only concerned with influencing government but with reframing issues in a way that changes how people understand the world.

    Ray and Anderson say cultural creatives in the 1960s comprised less than 5 per cent of the population in the US. In little more than a generation, that proportion has grown to 26 per cent, they say.

    "That may not sound like much in this age of nanoseconds, but on the timescale of whole civilisations, where major developments are measured in centuries, it is shockingly quick," they say in their book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World.

    Surveys by the Australia Institute on downshifting find that 25 per cent of Britons and 23 per cent of Australians aged 30 to 59 have downshifted during the past 10 years by voluntarily making a long-term change in their lifestyle and earning less money. Contrary to the popular belief that they tend to be middle-aged and wealthier people, downshifters are spread across age groups and social classes.

    Beyond those who are changing their lives are many more people who are thinking about it. Mackay, while noting the social dangers inherent in the process of disengagement, says many people are using this "retreat time" to explore the meaning of their lives and to connect with their most deeply held values.

    The gap between "what I believe in" and "how I live" is uncomfortably wide for many of us, and we are looking for ways to narrow it, he says. However the search for meaning is expressed - in religion, New Age mysticism, moral reflection or love and friendship - the goal is the same: "To feel that our lives express who we are and that we are living in harmony with the values we claim to espouse."

    Similarly, British business consultant John Whitmore has written that he is meeting more people in his work who secretly despise the system they are part of, deplore the lack of corporate values and know their products and services are of little consequence. They would love to be out of it and doing something more meaningful, he says, but feel trapped in their expensive lifestyles.

    "So they don their suit and tie and serve the system, but they glance more often out of the window. The spirit is stirring in such people and they are increasingly asking themselves tough questions."

    The cutting political edge of apocalyptic activism is the global development of what American social activist Paul Hawken describes in his book Blessed Unrest as the largest social movement in history. The movement is not hierarchical and does not have leaders and ideologies; there is no manifesto or doctrine.

    Metaphorically speaking, the movement is humanity's immune response to political corruption, economic disease and ecological degradation. "The movement is not merely a network; it is a complex and self-organising system," Hawken says. The movement is made up of more than a million organisations with roots in the environmental, social justice and indigenous movements: research institutes, community development agencies, village- and citizen-based organisations, corporations, networks, faith-based groups, trusts and foundations.

    Hawken says: "It arises spontaneously from different economic sectors, cultures, regions and cohorts, resulting in a global, classless, diverse and embedded movement, spreading worldwide without exception. In a world grown too complex for constrictive ideologies, the very word 'movement' may be too small, for it is the largest coming together of citizens in history."

    FUTURISTS have noted the human susceptibility to apocalyptic ideas, especially at times of rapid change, and the need for utopian ideals. Both of these are found in stories. Narrative studies have demonstrated the power of stories to transport ideas across time and space, construct meaning and identity, shape communities, enrich social life, define social issues, even put together shattered lives.

    The defining question of our times is this: will we make it? There is a real and increasing possibility that global warming, resource depletion, the growing world population disease pandemics, technological anarchy, and the geopolitical tensions, economic instability and social upheaval they generate, will coalesce to create a nightmare future for humanity this century.

    Avoiding this fate will depend critically on the stories we create to make sense of what is happening and to frame our response. A key task is to ensure these stories reflect not the decadence and despair of nihilism or the dogma and rigidity of fundamentalism, but the hope and energy of activism.

    Richard Eckersley researches progress and wellbeing. He is a founding director of Australia 21, a non-profit, public-interest research company, and a visiting fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University.
  3. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    [applaud]Thank you melbo really good post...Th hyperinflation plays to another thread: what "they gain?"
    seems to be wringing every last drop of wealth outta peoples lives( for the sport of it?)

    How many billions can any living man tally up? The currency exchange is pretty scary. Ssomething we seem to have zero control over.I don't know; do precious metals offer up better security than a case of Spaghetti-o's? and a box of can openers?[flag]
  4. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Monkey+++

    Good stuff melbo. [winkthumb]

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