Category Archives: Currency

Neoliberalism Has Met Its Match in China

Ellen Brown chairs the Public Banking Institute and has written thirteen books, including her latest, Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age.  She also co-hosts a radio program on PRN.FM called It’s Our Money.

When the Federal Reserve cut interest rates on July 31 for the first time in more than a decade, commentators were asking why. According to official data, the economy was rebounding, unemployment was below 4%, and GDP growth was above 3%. If anything, by the Fed’s own reasoning, it should have been raising rates.

The explanation of market pundits was that we’re in a trade war and a currency war. Other central banks were cutting their rates and the Fed had to follow suit, in order to prevent the dollar from becoming overvalued relative to other currencies. The theory is that a cheaper dollar will make American products more attractive on foreign markets, helping our manufacturing and labor bases.

Over the weekend, President Trump followed the rate cuts by threatening to impose a new 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese products effective September 1. China responded by suspending imports of U.S. agricultural products by state-owned companies and letting the value of the yuan drop. On Monday, August 5, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 770 points, its worst day in 2019. The war was on.

The problem with a currency war is that it is a war without winners. This was demonstrated in the beggar-thy-neighbor policies of the 1930s, which just prolonged the Great Depression. As economist Michael Hudson observed in a June 2019 interview with Bonnie Faulkner, making American products cheaper abroad will do little for the American economy, because we no longer have a competitive manufacturing base or products to sell. Today’s workers are largely in the service industries – cab drivers, hospital workers, insurance agents and the like. A cheaper dollar abroad just makes consumer goods at Walmart and imported raw materials for US businesses more expensive. What is mainly devalued when a currency is devalued, says Hudson, is the price of the country’s labor and the working conditions of its laborers. The reason American workers cannot compete with foreign workers is not that the dollar is overvalued. It is due to their higher costs of housing, education, medical services and transportation. In most competitor countries, these costs are subsidized by the government.

America’s chief competitor in the trade war is obviously China, which subsidizes not just worker costs but the costs of its businesses. The government owns 80% of the banks, which make loans on favorable terms to domestic businesses, especially state-owned businesses. Typically, if the businesses cannot repay the loans, neither the banks nor the businesses are put into bankruptcy, since that would mean losing jobs and factories. The non-performing loans are just carried on the books or written off. No private creditors are hurt, since the creditor is the government, and the loans were created on the banks’ books in the first place (following standard banking practice globally).

As observed by Jeff Spross in a May 2018 Reuters article titled “China’s Banks Are Big. Too Big?”:

[B]ecause the Chinese government owns most of the banks, and it prints the currency, it can technically keep those banks alive and lending forever.…

It may sound weird to say that China’s banks will never collapse, no matter how absurd their lending positions get. But banking systems are just about the flow of money.

Spross quoted former bank CEO Richard Vague, chair of The Governor’s Woods Foundation, who explained, “China has committed itself to a high level of growth. And growth, very simply, is contingent on financing.” Beijing will “come in and fix the profitability, fix the capital, fix the bad debt, of the state-owned banks … by any number of means that you and I would not see happen in the United States.”

To avoid political and labor unrest, Spross wrote, the government keeps everyone happy by keeping economic growth high and spreading the proceeds to the citizenry. About two-thirds of Chinese debt is owed just by the corporations, which are also largely state-owned. Corporate lending is thus a roundabout form of government-financed industrial policy – a policy financed not through taxes but through the unique privilege of banks to create money on their books.

China thinks this is a better banking model than the private Western system focused on short-term profits for private shareholders. But U.S. policymakers consider China’s subsidies to its businesses and workers to be “unfair trade practices.” They want China to forgo state subsidization an it’s d other protectionist policies in order to level the playing field. But Beijing contends that the demanded reforms amount to “economic regime change.” As Michael Hudson puts it:

This is the fight that Trump has against China.  He wants to tell it to let the banks run China and have a free market.  He says that China has grown rich over the last fifty years by unfair means, with government help and public enterprise.  In effect, he wants the Chinese to be as threatened and insecure as American workers.  They should get rid of their public transportation.  They should get rid of their subsidies.  They should let a lot of their companies go bankrupt so that Americans can buy them.  They should have the same kind of free market that has wrecked the US economy. [Emphasis added.]

Kurt Campbell and Jake Sullivan, writing on August 1 in Foreign Affairs (the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations), call it “an emerging contest of models.”

An Economic Cold War

In order to understand what is happening here, it is useful to review some history. The free market model hollowed out America’s manufacturing base beginning in the Thatcher/Reagan era of the 1970s, when neoliberal economic policies took hold. Meanwhile, emerging Asian economies, led by Japan, were exploding on the scene with a new economic model called “state-guided market capitalism.” The state determined the priorities and commissioned the work, then hired private enterprise to carry it out. The model overcame the defects of the communist system, which put ownership and control in the hands of the state.

The Japanese state-guided market system was effective and efficient – so effective that it was regarded as an existential threat to the neoliberal model of debt-based money and “free markets” promoted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to William Engdahl in A Century of War, by the end of the 1980s Japan was considered the leading economic and banking power in the world. Its state-guided model was also proving to be highly successful in South Korea and the other “Asian Tiger” economies. When the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the Cold War, Japan proposed its model for the former communist countries, and many began looking to it and to South Korea as viable alternatives to the U.S. free-market system. State-guided capitalism provided for the general welfare without destroying capitalist incentive. Engdahl wrote:

The Tiger economies were a major embarrassment to the IMF free-market model.  Their very success in blending private enterprise with a strong state economic role was a threat to the IMF free-market agenda.  So long as the Tigers appeared to succeed with a model based on a strong state role, the former communist states and others could argue against taking the extreme IMF course.  In east Asia during the 1980s, economic growth rates of 7-8 per cent per year, rising social security, universal education and a high worker productivity were all backed by state guidance and planning, albeit in a market economy – an Asian form of benevolent paternalism.

Just as the U.S. had engaged in a Cold War to destroy the Soviet communist model, so Western financial interests set out to destroy this emerging Asian threat. It was defused when Western neoliberal economists persuaded Japan and the Asian Tigers to adopt the free-market system and open their economies and their companies to foreign investors. Western speculators then took down the vulnerable countries one by one in the “Asian crisis” of 1997-98. China alone was left as an economic threat to the Western neoliberal model, and it is this existential threat that is the target of the trade and currency wars today.

If You Can’t Beat Them …

In their August 1 Foreign Affairs article, titled “Competition without Catastrophe,” Campbell and Sullivan write that the temptation is to compare these economic trade wars with the Cold War with Russia; but the analogy, they say, is inapt:

China today is a peer competitor that is more formidable economically, more sophisticated diplomatically, and more flexible ideologically than the Soviet Union ever was. And unlike the Soviet Union, China is deeply integrated into the world and intertwined with the U.S. economy.

Unlike the Soviet Communist system, the Chinese system cannot be expected to “crumble under its own weight.” The US should not expect or want to destroy China, say Campbell and Sullivan. Rather, we should aim for a state of “coexistence on terms favorable to U.S. interests and values.”

The implication is that China, being too strong to be knocked out of the game as the Soviet Union was, needs to be coerced or cajoled into adopting the neoliberal model. It needs to abandon state support of its industries and ownership of its banks. But the Chinese system, while obviously not perfect, has an impressive track record for sustaining long-term growth and development. While the U.S. manufacturing base was being hollowed out under the free-market model, China was systematically building up its own manufacturing base, investing heavily in infrastructure and emerging technologies; and it was doing this with credit generated by its state-owned banks. Rather than trying to destroy China’s economic system, it might be more “favorable to U.S. interests and values” for us to adopt its more effective industrial and banking practices.

We cannot win a currency war by competitive currency devaluations that trigger a “race to the bottom,” and we cannot win a trade war by competitive trade barriers that simply cut us off from the benefits of cooperative trade. More favorable to our interests and values than warring with our trading partners would be to cooperate in sharing solutions, including banking and credit solutions. The Chinese have proven the effectiveness of their public banking system in supporting their industries and their workers. Rather than seeing it as an existential threat, we could thank them for test-driving the model and take a spin in it ourselves.

Guns and Chips and Irony

I had Doctor Daniel Brown from Harvard spend 70 hours with Sirhan over almost three years [and] he comes away with this staggering, staggering evaluation. He says Sirhan was hypnoprogrammed ….. a technique of using chemicals as well as hypnosis ….. The program on him makes him forget everything within a certain time frame ….. He remembers when he gets a pinch on the neck [that] what he sees is not Senator Kennedy. It’s a paper target of a human being.

— William Pepper, 2013, speaking at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Two issues made explicit in the U.S Constitution had to do with personal protection and the creation of money. Regarding the Second Amendment, its single sentence is blunt: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (Infringe: to limit or control) The authors, informed by history, knew that governments typically grow despotic, and that being armed provides a measure of protection for citizens against a government grown oppressive and unaccountable. In Thomas Jefferson’s words, “…. to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

Yet there is a growing call for governmental control of guns in the hands of citizens, the call coming from within the citizenry itself, and the reason is evident: Every so often in recent years an apparently deranged individual goes on a shooting spree in a school or public space. With each shooting the chorus to rein in gun ownership grows ever louder, and ever more politicians, sniffing out prevailing public sentiment, make gun control a campaign issue. Ideas range from the registration of all firearms to the outlawing of weapons that might give citizens parity with, say, a militarized police force.

But here’s an interesting question: Might devious elements within a government, intent on disarming its populace, resort to the creation of false-flag scenarios designed to frighten and to produce justification for ever-tightening control? Might it be a question of “LIHOP” (let it happen on purpose) or “MIHOP” (make it happen on purpose), to use the lingo of what CIA-tutored media figures call “conspiracy theorists”? It’s just a question. I’m not so cynical as to imagine such intent, but the notion that such could be the case definitely exists among many who are inclined to ferret out details of certain events like the sinking of the Maine, the Lusitania, Operation Northwoods, Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin. Things like that.

The fact that elements of the U.S. Government have developed and refined mind control techniques, such as those apparently applied to Sirhan Sirhan, is old news. The CIA’s Program MKUltra was born more than 60 years ago, and although it was reported as having been officially terminated in the 1970s, anyone who would accept that as fact resides in the kind of comfortable mental Happy Place that seems to be an American specialty.

Shootings themselves make excellent ‘news’, as they produce an uptick in public attention (and anxiety), which is important to those with a stake in maintaining narratives and crafting prevailing public opinion. And when poignant biographies of victims are aired as news items, with touching facial photos, evocative descriptions of their generosity and good works, and how they were so beloved, the victims are transformed for viewers into something akin to neighbors, and the shootings become a viewer’s neighborhood issues. Something must be done! And so public demand for gun control continues to grow.

Would central banks jump to the rescue and offer a fully anonymous digital currency? Certainly not. Doing so would be a bonanza for criminals.

— Christine Lagarde, IMF Director, 2018, speaking at the Singapore Fintech Festival

It is Congress that was granted the power “to coin money [and] establish the value thereof”, or at least that‘s how the U.S. Constitution would have it. But times changed, as did our governors, so in 1913 the Congress and President decided, despite multiple warnings from Jefferson to Lincoln (and others in between and since) to turn that process over to a private banking interest given the grossly misleading title “Federal Reserve”.

Those whom we allowed to become the masters of our money are now herding us toward an electronic global currency. The concept has been widely discussed since at least 1988 when a cover article in The Economist predicted a single world currency by 2018 along the lines of a theoretical “Phoenix”. The stepwise route described would be at first allowing — then later encouraging — the use of some form of private-sector money to be used in addition to existing national currencies. Thereafter, over time, the public would come to prefer it on the basis of its greater convenience. While the 2018 prediction was itself a miss, cryptocurrency had by that time become all the rage in some quarters, and the concept of cryptocurrency as a global reserve currency is now being discussed.

Meanwhile, the use of credit- and debit cards continues to rise, in some European countries virtually the sole means of making purchases. Banks and credit unions are now offering incentives for their use, even as powerful governmental forces are advocating the banning of cash altogether. Follow the threads and the world that emerges is one in which our every transaction is an electronic record. Consider, though, that a personal “chip”, that dreaded item of ultimate control in the worst of all dystopian futures, needn’t be a microscopic subcutaneous transmitter. A plastic card willingly (and, in a cashless society, necessarily) produced with every exchange works perfectly for recording the where and what of each individual’s every movement.

With cash a relic of the past, there would be no place to protect savings were The Economy to require negative interest rates and “bail-ins”; accounts would be docked automatically. Anyone deemed an irritant to the government would simply have his or her “chip” turned off (It happens!) leaving the offender absolutely disabled in a cashless world. With the loss of one’s card an ever-present possibility, instinct would naturally tend toward protective self editing, and the inevitable result would be a population rendered ideal from the standpoint of an oppressive and unaccountable government: obedient and submissive.

And the irony? If governmental and social forces now in motion continue unabated and unopposed, Americans, who proclaim themselves “lovers of freedom”, will have essentially disarmed and chipped ourselves. Having been made fearful, we don’t merely allow, we insist, on governmental control of personal arms. And through a process of multigenerational social engineering, our attachment to our plastic identifiers has been so reinforced and normalized that we have failed to realize what they represent and how they can be used against us.

Forgive them their debts as they forgive those…

It is “budget time” again!

That is the season when the persons displayed on television screens as representatives of those who have no representation engage in the theatrical display of subordination to those who actually own things, like the countries we happen to inhabit. Although there have been a few publicised investigations and even some occasional criminal charges against (usually septuagenarians) some conspicuous miscreants, there has been no action which could restore some health or sanity to what most of us consider the daily economy. In some countries, like where I live, people go on strike. There is little indication that the fundamental message of the strikers gets heard. Perhaps that is also why the television seems obsessed with the marketing of hearing aids. There is a hearing aid for every occasion, except sessions of the national assembly, where such technology might really help.

One way of dealing with the hearing impaired is repetition. In scientific terms this means increasing the rate of signal in proportion to noise in the hope that the essential message is received. Although I wrote a version of this paper in 2014, four years later I cannot help feeling some repetition would do no harm. If every budget season one has to listen to the same set of distortions, then it is only fair to reproduce the corrections.

Like the absurd climate debate, which never includes the “carbon footprint” of the largest military machines, the budget debates (essentially interchangeable) never discuss the cost of subsidising international banks and corporations to facilitate their extraction of wealth from the national economy. There is no intelligent, let alone honest, discussion of what is meant by “public debt”—or why the taxpayers must bear losses to guarantee tax-exempt profits for investors.

I always ask myself when someone says or writes “loss”, where did the money go? Even when a ship is lost at sea there is generally wreckage. Of course, the ocean is bigger than the economy and it is possible that a ship’s remains disappear beyond recovery. The price of abandoning the very modest social gains of the New Deal in the US and social democracy in Europe with the ascendancy of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan has been enormous, not only for US and European working people but, for the rest of the world. In fact, the meter is still running with no indication of when it will stop.

The crisis no one cares to talk about any more comprises trillions in losses. If these losses are real, then that means the value has been forfeited in favour of someone else. E.g. after the Great War France and Britain were essentially bankrupt: they owed nearly everything to US banks. Without economic manipulation, war and terror, India would probably have occupied the same status vis a vis Great Britain in 1945 that Brazil gained vis a vis Portugal after the Napoleonic Wars. The claims against the productive capacity and assets of Old Europe were held by identifiable third parties, representing, then as now, a tiny band of bankers. Of course, those claims were so great that no normal income streams from taxation could satisfy them. Control of Britain was effectively ceded to the US, while India was wracked by civil war rather than collecting the wartime debt Britain owed to her.

The other meaning of loss is the inability to sustain a certain valuation of an asset or income stream. The nature of the initial valuation is then the problem. The continuous attempts in the IFRS (international accounting standards) to skirt around the issue of essentially fraudulent valuation illustrates that even the private sector’s notion of “value”, whether book value or fair value, is the product of casuistry.

Since European “banking” was reorganised on the US Federal Reserve model by creation of the European Central Bank, it is instructive to consider how grand theft in the state-banking sector of the US functions. In other words, the “losses” hidden on the books of the USG banks, “Fannie” and “Freddie”, are either notional or they reflect claims that were satisfied in favour of third parties beyond the capacity of those institutions to generate income. Again we know who those third parties are. The “losses” are essentially sacrificed sovereignty.

Government institutions pledge to private persons (corporations and foreign exchange pirates) the State’s capacity to pay, derived from the ability to tax the working population, beyond any realistic possibility to extract that income. This was called “tax farming” in the bad old days of “colonialism”. Frequently punitive military force was sent into any country that was not delivering enough booty (aka interest on foreign debt). In fact, as retired general of US Marines infamously confessed that was his main job in the Corps—protecting corporate plunder.

This is essentially the same principle imposed through the ECB—except that some nominal account has to be taken of national political systems. Since in Europe the State was far more frequently the owner of capital infrastructure, absorbing the cost of its operation and regulating labour as civil servants, considerable ideological work had to be performed to cultivate the generation, which privatised most of the national capital assets held by European states. The fact that since 1945 the US has controlled the international payments system has reduced the need for military intervention. Decisions taken in New York, London, Frankfurt or Brussels can deprive a country of any affordable means to engage in the most basic financial transactions. The entities involved are privately owned and therefore cannot be coerced except by measures that would “threaten private property”.

Just as the railroads and banks obtained control over most of the continental US by defrauding the US government in the 19th century, the surviving banks have defrauded most of the American population of its home equity today. Although it was established that a conspiracy of UK-based clearing banks illegally fixed the LIBOR/ EURIBOR rates, this had no serious consequences. If one considers very carefully that nearly all mortgage and commercial financing agreements base their interest computations on one of these benchmarks, the true scope of the fraud becomes apparent. Everyone who made an interest rate agreement assuming the “free market” condition of the underlying rate was cheated. It could be argued that the interest rate clauses of innumerable contracts were void due to fraud. A perusal of public debt instruments would no doubt reveal even more catastrophic deception.

The endless wars, funded by plundering the public treasury and the wealth of other countries, are part of that income extraction, too. Now the US government and those of its vassals are little more than one large mercenary enterprise, together as NATO, the most heavily armed collection agency on behalf of third party creditors on the planet. It does not matter who occupies the mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Of course, there is plausible denial for any of the beneficiaries of this plunder since populations weaned on soap operas and “crime drama” are incapable of examining, let alone comprehending, the most obvious operations of US corporations and their agents– who almost never appear as criminals on television. The “crime drama” narrative dominates almost every bandwidth on the critical spectrum and as a much younger US director, Michael Moore demonstrated in Bowling for Columbine, corporate crime does not make acceptable television. The most elemental sociological truths, plain to anyone who has ever belonged to a club or worked in middle management of a company, namely that “democratic” and “meritocratic” decisions are regularly subverted by scheming among the ambitious at the expense of the docile– become discredited when the insight is applied to the polity as a whole. People who do not think twice about making a phone call to a “friend” to influence a decision in their social club or place of employment, become incredulous at the suggestion that the chairman of a major investment bank would dictate policy to the head of state whose election he had financed.

In short, the debate about the current global economic “crisis” is obscenely counterintuitive and illogical to the point of incoherence. Who is willing to “follow the money”? This dictum, popularised in the Woodward and Bernstein fairy tale of US President Richard Nixon’s demise– All the President’s Men— appears utterly forgotten, despite recurring astronomic fraud perpetrated by US corporations since the so-called “S&L scandal”– crimes for which no more than a handful of people were indicted, let alone tried or sentenced. Only one corporation was deprived of its right to do business, Arthur Andersen, and this was patently done to spare all the politicians from the reigning US president, most of the US Congress, and untold state and local officials who had been bribed or otherwise influenced by Enron.

If the stories reported by Pete Brewton in 1992, the documented history of the OSS “China insurer” AIG, and the implications of the 2002 Powers Report on the Enron collapse are taken seriously, then Houston lies on a financial fault line more devastating than the San Andreas. That fault line runs from Texas through Virginia to the bedrock of Manhattan. The economic earthquakes that have persisted since 1980 are both literally and figuratively the result of deployment of the US atomic arsenal and the policies that gave rise to it. The US dollar’s continued, if fluctuating, strength as a reserve currency is based on drugs, weapons, and oil– all traded in US dollars. However, this material reality is also based on an ideological or dogmatic constitution. The seismic activity induced by US corporations created gaping holes in the global economy– holes which could only be breached by the financial instruments developed in the weapons laboratories of Wall Street based on the same conceptual models as the neutron bomb and today’s nano-munitions developed at Lawrence Livermore. Indeed, the theory has been almost universally accepted that people are always to blame for the problems of government and Business is the sole and universal solution to all problems. Hence tax monies will only be spent on weapons, war, and subsidies for corporations—the things Business needs.

A considerable obstacle to any change in the US, short of its destruction, is the fact that as Michael Hudson and former assistant Treasury secretary under Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts, write repeatedly, the US government has absolutely lost whatever legitimate function it may ever have had as an instrument of popular will. In other words, the efforts of working people, whether immigrant or ex-slave to remake the plutocratic regime of the 19th century into a State responsive to their needs were frustrated by the massive assaults on labour, combined with the ideological warfare of the “Progressive” movement. The latter, funded heavily by the newly created super-philanthropies, including those of Rockefeller, Sage, Peabody, and Carnegie, predated CIA-style front organizations and infiltration. They helped turn popular sovereignty movements into the kind of technocratic organisations which prevail today– dependent on corporate donations and led by the graduates of cadre schools like the Ivy League colleges, Oxford and the LSE. With few exceptions the only remnants of the “popular will” in the US are those that drive lynch mobs, reincarnated in “talk radio” today.

The main work of the USG and the corporations for which it stands has been to undermine any notion that the State is rightfully an expression of the popular will for the realisation of popular welfare. The State has been reduced to a protection racket. By the time Ronald Reagan, imitating Margaret Thatcher, pledged to “get government off the back of the people”, the only “people” who counted were corporations and those in thrall to them.

It is easy to forget that the US was actually founded on the basis of a kind of white (in that sense “enlightened”), oligarchic absolutism– the British parliamentary dictatorship minus hereditary monarch. Its moral vision predated the Thirty Years War and, until John Kennedy was elected president, its hypocrisy was that of Cromwellian fanatics. In revolutionary France and countries that were inspired by France, as opposed to the American independence war, struggle continued on the premises that the State is not the King (in whatever incarnation) but created by the citizens (not the possessive individual) for the maintenance of the common weal– including the nutrition, health, housing, education of its people. The opposition to destruction of the public sector or public services and the debate that continues in Greece, France, Italy, and to a lesser extent Germany, defies comprehension in North America and Great Britain because of some unfortunate residues of that revolutionary vision of the State so violently opposed by Britain and the US ever since 1789– except when the resulting instability provided business opportunities. (Thatcher did not restore the spirit of Churchill to power—but that of Wellington.)

Moreover as Coolidge once said, “the business of America is business”. If a policy or action of government cannot be expressed in terms of someone’s maximum private profit then it is indefensible in the US. The conditions of the Maastricht Treaty establishing the euro and the ECB are an attempt to impose those same ideological and political constraints on the European Union enforced by adoption of the Federal Reserve Act in the US. The Federal Reserve is essentially a technology for naturalising usury and endowing it with supernatural legitimacy. But just as it has been argued in some quarters that the US Federal Reserve triggered the Great Depression– for the benefit of the tiny bank of banking trusts– the European Central Bank, urged by the right-wing government in Berlin, is being pressured to follow the same rapine policies as the FED is pursuing today. Of course, there are other countries ruled by financial terrorism or where banking gangs have turned their entire arsenal against sovereign peoples.

The “Crisis” is not really about the “debt” or the heinous losses. It is a crisis of sovereignty. The failure of popular sovereignty means that a microscopic bacterial colony of the immeasurably rich can make war on the rest of the world, destroying the common weal and commerce at home and everything else abroad. Germany’s citizens have been bludgeoned since 1945 by Anglo-American propaganda and the occupation forces to persuade them that they– not the great banking and industrial cartels on both sides of the Atlantic– were responsible for Adolph Hitler’s rise to power. When in 1968, student leaders like Rudi Dutschke tried to remind Germans that their democracy was destroyed before Hitler’s putsch and that they had the right and opportunity to demand a democratic Germany after the war, those young people were harassed and even killed. (Dutschke was shot in the head by an unemployed labourer. That “lone” killer later died in prison with a plastic bag over his head.) Attempts to create a truly popular democratic government in Germany have been frustrated by foreign intervention since the French Revolution. Nevertheless people in Germany still believe that the State is there to provide services to the people– and not to fight wars to further foreign trade as suggested by Horst Köhler before he was relieved of his duties (ostensibly resigning) as German federal president.

There is no doubt in Germany that former Chancellor Schroeder’s refusal to follow the US into Iraq—whatever motivated it—enjoyed the widest support, even among those who tend to believe anything the US government says. The resignation of former IMF director and Federal President Köhler expressed the sensitivity of the situation then. On one occasion he referred to the great banking interests as “monsters” and then broke the silence on the German war efforts in Central Asia by explicitly articulating what had been Chancellor Merkel’s, silent but deadly policy of supporting US counter-terror in Afghanistan. Köhler was not opposed to the future escalation of German belligerence, but by his calling a spade a spade on national radio, the right-wing government in Berlin almost had to defend its unconstitutional deployment of German soldiers in public. Already that April Angela Merkel had been forced to sacrifice an army general and a cabinet minister when it became known that German combat aircraft were also bombing civilians like their US counterparts—and trying to keep the fact a secret.

In the midst of the financial crisis, that is the plunder and pillage of the accumulated reserves of Europe’s working population after those of the US are exhausted, it is impossible to ignore the restoration of Asian political and economic prominence. This process started in the 1960s when Britain and the US launched their wars to secure footholds and control of the vast resources of Indonesia and Indochina. Although only partly successful, the destruction of national independence movements throughout South Asia created the conditions for de-industrialising Europe and North America. Mistakenly much of the North American and European Left judged the losses in Korea and Vietnam as defeats for US power. Such judgments have been based on assessments of the official war aims and not on any analysis of the underlying corporate and financial policy objectives. The long-term results of those wars included creation of the massive debt system that is at the root of financial collapse for the majority of US Americans. Of course, China remains the great unconquerable threat to continuation of US hegemony. The balance of power in Asia may be very delicate indeed.

Continental Europe remained somewhat insulated from those seismic forces until 1989. The “velvet” invasion of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union led by US capital, aided as usual by the combined secret services and economic “consultants” of Shock Therapy, began the destruction of the economic base for European social democracy and “real socialism”. The debt machine created to exploit Eastern Europe was applied in Germany first– destroying the GDR and financing that destruction with EU-generated debt, culminating in the euro. Introduction of the euro effectively destroyed half of the purchasing power of working people in the Euro Zone overnight, creating the conditions for consumer borrowing which had prevailed in the US since the late 60s and eroding wages and benefits drastically.

The final loss of control over archaic legislative instruments (whether in the US or Europe) is not only assured by the system of bribery that turns those in office into indentured servants of corporations. Full investigation of the Enron scandal would have proven once and for all that there is almost no one in the US Congress not owned by some corporation. Similar conditions have come to prevail in European legislatures where for decades US academic and policy exchange programmes have trained the political class to work first and foremost for Business.

The loss is also assured by the now entrenched belief that the only legitimate human goal is individual personal profit. As Hudson has suggested, this is the “theology of the Chicago School”. Since Margaret Thatcher was appointed to convert Britain to that dogma, nearly the entire political, academic and “civil” culture has been saturated with people who cannot think in any other terms– even when they assert that they are still social democrats or democratic socialists. The latter insist that “social policy” is merely a palliative to prevent the poor and destitute from becoming unsightly spectres in urban entertainment centres. They all have become positivists– reifying the prevailing economic relations and worshipping quantitative methods– subordinating human agency to pseudo-science and thinly disguised opportunism. The only kindness this ethical standpoint can express is “charity”. Charity, however, has nothing to do with the common weal or the State as an embodiment of the popular will. In fact, it is just as parasitic as the belief from which it springs. If those whom John Pilger called “the new rulers of the world” consent to relieve us– that is to allow us anything resembling our dignity and subsistence wages– then it will scarcely exceed the infamous “dimes” with which John D. Rockefeller cloaked his cynicism in piety and charity. Nowhere is the cynicism more profound than in the expression “giving back”. Of course, the pennies “given back” are microscopic compared with the billions “taken” in the first place. But those shiny pennies and dimes are enough to keep embedded intellectuals loyal to Bill Gates or George Soros. For a few dollars more they will even protect the likes of Blankfein or Buffett.

“Charity” is the gratification a person finds when scratching a mosquito bite. One feels better while scratching– although this provides no relief. The cause of the itch is the substance injected by the mosquito while sucking the blood from its victim. Of course, some mosquitoes offer only token charity and the itch disappears. But there are mosquitoes that carry other parasites– the effects of their charity can last forever, or at least until the victim dies.

Trump’s Threat of New Tariffs on Chinese Imports and Possible Consequences

Introduction

The US Chamber of Commerce warns against the consequences of new tariffs on Chinese imports proposed by the administration of President Donald Trump.

The top business lobbying group said the tariffs dramatically expand the harm to American consumers, workers, businesses, and the US economy. It said the Trump administration lacks a coherent strategy to address QUOTE China’s theft of intellectual property and other harmful trade practices. The chamber also demanded that Washington hold serious discussions with Beijing. Trump has threatened 25 percent tariffs on 200 billion dollars of Chinese imports. He says this is in response to China’s retaliatory tariffs on 50 billion dollars-worth of US products.

PressTV: What is your take on this?

Peter Koeing: The key word is “threatened”. Trump has threatened an additional 25% import tariffs on 200 billion worth of Chinese imports to retaliate for China’s retaliation, so to speak. Chinese retaliation was to be expected and is fully justified. It is clear that China will not reverse their import tariffs for US goods. Why would they?

China is poised to negotiate a one-to-one even level, but not on the basis of the US dictating the rules. Trump and his “masters” must realize that.

Then the additional reason of “China’s theft of intellectual property…” is today more a joke than reality. In many areas of technology development – especially certain precision electronics and foremost alternative energy – China is worlds ahead of the United States. But nobody talks about it. China will soon be number one in alternative energy production, which China will be exporting to the world, to the detriment of the US-led petrol industry.

Maybe that’s what Trump is focusing on — attempting to detract from what is really threatening a big junk of the US economy, the notorious dependence on hydrocarbon energy, the number one polluter an environmental destructor today.

And there is another factor, perhaps the number ONE target of Trump’s ever-increasing tariffs for Chinese exports, or rather US imports of Chinese goods:

That’s the Chinese currency, the Yuan.

It is known since long to many treasuries of countries around the world, that the Chinese Yuan is a much safer investment or reserve currency than the US dollar which is based on hot air, or not even, while the Yuan is based on a solid Chinese economy and on gold.

Not only has the Yuan been admitted officially in the IMF’s basket of SDRs – Special Drawing Rights, which consists of the five key reserve currencies – US Dollar, UK pound, Japanese Yen, Euro – and now also the Chinese Yuan.

The yuan is not only for most countries around the globe a very interesting investment currency, not a bullying currency as is the US dollar, always with severe strings attached, but the yuan is also growing rapidly as a reserve currency replacing the dollar.

Levying tariffs to hurt China’s exports and economy and the Yuan’s strength, may be the key reason behind this deconstructive tariff game Trump is playing.

However, China has a strong market dominance in Asia and tariffs will do limited harm; besides, China has many other means to further retaliate, for example, devaluating the Yuan vis-à-vis the US dollar.

So, keep tuned. There will probably be more to come.

Bitcoin, Innovation of Money and Reinventing Activism

Bitcoin’s price explosion made news headlines this last year. Topics of digital assets entered onto dinner tables and friendly chats at work places. Fever of the digital gold rush that has swept mainstream finance became contagious. Institutional funds are now entering into cryptos, seemingly hedging their bets with their “sugar high” bubble economy. Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan CEO who previously slammed Bitcoin as a fraud is said to be regretting his claim. He now praises the blockchain, the underlying technology of Bitcoin. Goldman Sachs recently acknowledged Bitcoin as money, comparable to gold. The firm is already setting up a trading desk for digital currencies.

While Bitcoin is gaining traction in financial circles, Naval Ravikant, the CEO and co-founder of Angel List saw this technology’s profound socio-political impact. He noted, “Bitcoin is a tool for freeing humanity from oligarchs and tyrants, dressed up as a get-rich-quick scheme.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also recognized the revolutionary power of this money based on math. At the end of 2017, from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been confined more than five years, Assange tweeted, “Bitcoin is a real Occupy Wall Street”.

What is this disruptive force of Bitcoin? The Occupy movement that had spread over dozens of US cities and across many countries created a wave of uprising. It inspired a new vision of politics outside of the electoral arena. Now, years after Occupy’s demise, this new innovation of decentralized digital currency could offer a way to reinvent activism, helping all around the world to organize and create radical social change.

The era of creditocracy

First, let’s look back at the rise of OccupyWallStreet protest. The movement kicked off in New York’s financial district in 2011, uniting people from all walks of life under the banner of the 99% against economic inequality and corporate greed. Occupy emerged within a cultural milieu of transparency, spearheaded by WikiLeaks’ disclosure of documents pertaining to government secrecy and corruption.

The insurgency in lower Manhattan marked a peak of disillusionment about the current state of democracy. People began to wake up to an invisible hand of the market – 1% global oligarchy, that was controlling resources through money based on debt. In the article “Student Debt Slavery: Bankrolling Financiers on the Backs of the Young”, attorney and author Ellen Brown described the advantage of “slavery by debt” over owned slavery, which was an idea argued in a document reportedly circulated during the American Civil War among British and American banking sectors. Brown showed that while slaves need to be housed and fed, “free men could be kept enslaved by debt, by paying wages insufficient to meet their costs of living”.

This debt-based financial system has become what professor and veteran of the Occupy movement Andrew Ross calls a “creditocracy”. In this, ordinary people with student loans, medical and credit card bills have become indentured servants. Ross explains how it is the Western version of a “debt trap”, where debts are piled up with monthly credit card balances or underwater mortgages that cannot be ever paid to ensure continuing revenue for the banks. He notes how this is similar to the developing countries that fell under IMF dependency in the course of the 1970s and 1980s.

In the era of creditocracy, ubiquitous anonymous corporations keep the force of control invisible, making people obey their rules. MasterCard tells their customers who the master is with exuberant charge-back fees and penalties. VISA maintains US hegemony of the world, denying access to finance for refugees and immigrants and assisting US government sanctions on countries like Russia and Iran that challenge dollar supremacy. This is a two-tiered financial patronage network that exempts fees and extends credit lines to the rich and privileged, while it exploits the poor by seizing their funds and engaging in predatory lending.

Creditocracy now expands around the globe and threatens civil liberties. Recently, PayPal came under scrutiny, with their failure to provide services in the West Bank and Gaza, while making its service available in Israel. This payment processing company was accused by pro-Palestinian activists as enacting “online apartheid” against Palestinians.

Vision of new democracy

It is people’s indignation against this systemic economic oppression that sparked revolt at the center of world finance seven years ago. Occupy was unprecedented in its scale and its unique style of no central coordination or formal leadership. It was a move away from electoral politics and top-down decision making to the principle of consensus and direct action, which activist scholar David Graeber described as “the defiant insistence on acting as if one is already free”.

During the early days of this movement, the mainstream media criticized demonstrators for not having a clear mandate. Yet this lack of demand was a strength and refusal to recognize the legitimacy of power structures that protesters were challenging. What unfolded then was a new form of activism that truly channels uncompromising power of ordinary people. It was an activism that doesn’t acknowledge external power or seek for permission. Instead it encourages people to change society by simply building new alternatives.

This was a seed for a real democracy that is horizontal and participatory. It was manifested through activists’ effort of creating people’s libraries, media hubs and kitchens and forming a new way of governance through mic check and General Assemblies. This vision of organizing society through mutual aid and voluntary association went viral, spreading with internet memes and Twitter hashtags, creating solidarity across borders.

Cypherpunks write code

Occupy’s permissionlessness, without a need to refer to central authority, is embodied at the core of Bitcoin. The idea of Bitcoin was introduced in a whitepaper published in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. It is clear that the anonymous creator of Bitcoin was concerned about deep corruption of government and their mishandling of monetary policies. This was shown in the message embedded in the genesis block of the block-chain. It contained a headline of a newspaper that read “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”.

Richard Gendal Brown, chief technology officer at software firm R3, provides a summary of the invention of this open source software:

Bitcoin is the world’s first system of digital cash, which allows peer-to-peer value transfer over the internet with no reliance on third parties. It is built on a new invention, the decentralized global asset register. This global asset register is the world’s first decentralized consensus system.

What is behind the protocol of a truly peer-to-peer currency is a revolutionary mind that refuses to obey the command from above and declares independence from all that claim authority. This fierce autonomy is the moral value of cypherpunks, a group that emerged in the late 1980s, who saw a potential of cryptography as a tool to shift balance of power between the individual and the state.

Cryptographer and one of the notable cypherpunks Adam Back, who was cited in Bitcoin’s whitepaper for his invention of Hashcash described the ethos of cypherpunks as that of writing code. This is an idea of making changes by creating alternatives. Back noted how pressuring politicians and promoting issues through the press tends to be slow and create an uphill battle. He pointed out how instead of engaging in the political process through campaigns and appealing to authority for changes, people can simply “deploy technology and help people do what they consider to be their legal right”. Then society would later adjust itself to reflect these values.

Network of resistance

While the mainstream media is obsessed with Bitcoin’s price and investors speculating gains in their portfolios, this technology’s defining feature lies in censorship resistance. The integrity of Bitcoin relies on decentralization, which is a method to attain security by flattening the network and removing levers of control, rather than performing checks and balances of power that tends to concentrate through control points inherent within the system, seen in the existing model of governance. This unprecedented security creates a network of resistance resilient to any forces of control.

When governments that are meant to defend civil rights act against their own people, Bitcoin preserves the network value of public right to free association and speech and distributes this to all users. This right was claimed and exercised in real time. In facing the illegal financial blockades imposed by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union, WikiLeaks showed ordinary people how they can circumvent and combat economic censorship with Bitcoin.

As the whistleblowing site continues to publish CIA Vault publications, political persecution intensifies. Now the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an organization that was founded to tackle attacks on free press, decided to terminate processing of donations for WikiLeaks. In response to this new political pressure, Assange urged supporters to continue making contributions with cryptocurrencies and unleash the power of free speech that belongs to all.

As trusted institutions and governments are failing, people around the world are finding their own path of self-determination. In Argentina, as the Peso has been steadily falling since the country’s 2002 economic collapse, Bitcoin adoption has been accelerating. Bitcoin historian and former tech banker who goes by Tweeter handle @_Kevin_Pham noted, “Bitcoin’s killer app can be found in Venezuela, it’s called: ‘not dying.’” As hyperinflation is rendering their national currency worthless, Venezuelans are flocking to Bitcoin as a safe haven to store their savings.

In Iran, the government came on full force, engaging in internet censorship and cracking down on protesters who revolted in response to the country’s long economic stagnation. It was reported that leading up to the civil unrest, the Bitcoin community has grown with more people entering into cryptocurrencies. In Afghanistan, a company that advocates Afghan women’s computer literacy empowered women with bitcoin, helping them gain financial sovereignty.

Permissionless activism

The Occupy movement ignited aspirations for the rule of the common people, verified and upheld by a network consensus created through people’s trust in one another. Yet the enthusiasm for real democracy that was mobilized through social media could not withstand state coordinated police crackdowns. With the eviction of encampments and squares, people’s power that had arisen then dissipated.

Now, with Bitcoin surging, a new stream of disruption is emerging. These old financial engineers aim to protect their dying fraudulent world of central banks by upending their speculative casino with this hyped crypto market. As incumbent banks geared with regulatory arms try to control the bubbling civic power, perhaps this technology calls people to rise once again to halt financial aristocracy by innovating the ‘activism without permission’ – this time with better security and robustness.

Knowledge of computer science empowered by the ethics of cypherpunks now provides a viable platform for people to occupy society with their heart’s imagining. Sovereign individuals can now defy the rule of creditors and create their own rules, ending financial apartheid and discrimination. They can coalesce to fund independent media they support with their money and defund wars that they oppose. Permissionless activism can bring a jubilee, making rapacious debt obsolete through each individual simply walking away from this erroneous system, uniting with those who share goals to create a new economy.

The imagination of this invention opened the potential for a radically different future. From Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery Alabama to occupiers’ adamant refusal to make demands, Bitcoin’s networked consensus creates an autonomous currency that allows all to move struggles of the past forward.

The rise of Bitcoin is poised to disrupt the world of creditocracy, as we know it. As the price rally continues, many now proclaim the rise and rise of Bitcoin! The question that remains is: Can our imagination rise with the revolutionary force this technology brings? Bitcoin already unleashed a potent power within. The future is now in our hands. It is up to each person to claim this power and show the world what democracy really looks like.

 

Runaway Train Towards Full Digitization of Money and Labor

The other day I was in a shopping mall looking for an ATM to get some cash. There was no ATM. A week ago, there was still a branch office of a local bank – no more, gone. A Starbucks will replace the space left empty by the bank. I asked around – there will be no more cash automats in this mall – and this pattern is repeated over and over throughout Switzerland and throughout western Europe. Cash machines gradually but ever so faster disappear, not only from shopping malls, also from street corners. Will Switzerland become the first country fully running on digital money?

This new cashless money model is progressively but brutally introduced to the Swiss and Europeans at large as they are not told what’s really happening behind the scene. If anything, the populace is being told that paying will become much easier. You just swipe your card – and bingo. No more signatures, no more looking for cash machines. Your bank account is directly charged for whatever small or large amount you are spending. And naturally and gradually a ‘small fee’ will be introduced by the banks. And you are powerless, as a cash alternative will have been wiped out.

The upwards limit of how much you may charge onto your bank account is mainly set by yourself, as long as it doesn’t exceed the banks’ tolerance. But the banks’ tolerance is generous. If you exceed your credit, the balance on your account quietly slides into the red and at the end of the month you pay a hefty interest; or interest on unpaid interest and so on. And that even though interbank interest rates are at a historic low. The Swiss Central Bank’s interest to banks, for example, is even negative; one of the few central banks in the world with negative interest, others include Japan and Denmark.

When I talked recently to the manager of a Geneva bank, he said, it’s getting much worse. ‘We are already closing all bank tellers, and so are most of the other banks’. Which means staff layoffs which, of course, makes it only selectively to the news. Bank employees and managers must pass an exam with the Swiss banking commission, for which they must study hundreds of extra hours within a few months to pass a test usually planned for weekends, so as not to infringe on the banks’ business hours. You got two chances to pass. If you fail you are out, joining the ranks of the unemployed. The trend is similar throughout Europe. The manager didn’t reveal the topic and reason behind the ‘retraining’, but it became obvious from the ensuing conversation that it had to do with the ‘cashless overtake’ of people by the banks. These are my words, but he, an insider, was as concerned as I, if not more.

Surveillance is everywhere. Now, not only our phone calls and e-mails are spied on, but our bank accounts are too. And what’s worse, with a cashless economy, our accounts are vulnerable to be invaded and robbed by the state, by thieves, by the police, by the tax authority, by any kind of authority, and, of course, by the very banks that have had your trust for all your life. Remember the ‘bail-in’, the infamous “hair-cut”, first tested in early 2013 in Cyprus? Bail-ins will become common practice for any bank that has abused its greed for profit and would go belly-up, if there wouldn’t be all those deposits from customers. Even shareholders are not safe. This has been quietly decided some two years ago, both in the US and also by the non-elected white-collar mafia, the European Commission, EC.

The point is, ‘banks über alles’ (“banks above everything”, following Hitler-Nazis’ battle cry “Deutschland Über Alles”). And which country would be better suited to introduce ‘cashless living’ than Switzerland, the epicenter – along with Wall Street – of international Zion-banking. Banks will call the shots in the future, on your personal economy and that of the state. They are globalized, following the same principles of deregulation worldwide. They are in collusion with globalized corporations. They will decide whether you eat or become enslaved. They are one of the tree major weapons of the 0.1 % to beat the 99.9% into submission. The other two at the service of the master hegemon’s Full Spectrum Dominance drive, are the war- and security industry and the ever more brazen propaganda lie-machine. Banking deregulation has become another little-propagated rule of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Countries who want to join WTO, must deregulate their banking sector, prying it open for the globalized money-sharks, the Zion-controlled banking conglomerates.

Retrenchment of personnel in the banking employment market is increasing. The news only selectively reports on it, when there are large amounts of jobs being eliminated. Statistics lie everywhere, in the EU as well as in Washington. Why scare people? They will be scared enough, when they are offered jobs at salaries on which they can barely survive. That’s happening already. It used to be a tactic applied for developing countries: Keep them enslaved by debt and low pay, so they don’t have time and energy to take to the streets to protest.  They have to look for food and work, whatever menial jobs they can get, to feed their families. It’s now hitting Europe, the West in general. Some countries way more than Switzerland.

Cashless trials are going on elsewhere, especially in Nordic countries, where selected department stores and supermarkets do no longer take cash. Another monstrous trial has been carried out in India a year ago, in the last quarter of 2016, where from one day to another 80% of the most popular money bills were eliminated, and could only be exchanged for new bills by banks and through bank accounts. And this in an almost pure cash country, where half the population has no bank account, and where remote rural areas have no banks. People were lied to so that the sudden introduction had maximum effect.

It caused massive famine and thousands of people died, as they had suddenly no acceptable cash to buy food – all instigated by the USAID Project ‘Catalyst’, in connivance with the Indian rulers and central bank. It was a trial. It was a disaster. If it works in India with 1.3 billion people, two thirds of whom live in rural areas and most of them have no bank account, the scam could be applied in any developing country. See also India – India, Death by Demonetization: “Financial Genocide”, The Crime of The Century.

What is going on in Switzerland is a trial with the high end of populations. How is the upper crust taking to such radical changes in our daily monetary routine?  So far not many protests have been noticed. There is a weak referendum being launched by a group of people who want the Swiss Central Bank be the only institution that can make money, like in the ‘olden days’. Though a very respectable idea, the referendum has no chance in today’s banking and debt-finance environment, where youth is being indoctrinated with the idea that swiping your card in front of an electronic eye is cool. Today, most money is debt-money, made by private banks, like elsewhere in Europe and the US. Worldwide banking deregulation, initiated by the Clinton Administration in the 1990s – today a rule for any member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – has made this all possible.

Digitization and robotization is just beginning. Staffed check-out counters in supermarkets are disappearing; most of them are converted into automatic check-outs – and that happened within the last year. Where are the employees gone?  I asked an attendant who helped the customers through the self-checkout. ‘They joined the ranks of unemployed’, she said with a sad face, having lost several of her colleagues. ‘It will hit me too, as soon as they don’t need me anymore to show the customers on how to auto-pay.’

Bitcoins

Digitization also includes the cryptocurrencies, the blockchain moneys floating around – of which the most famous one is Bitcoin. It brings digitization of money to an apex. The system is complex and seems to lend itself only to ‘experts’. Cryptocurrencies are fiat money, based on nothing, not even on gold. Cryptos are electronic, invisible and highly, but highly, speculative, an invitation for gangsters and fraudsters. It looks as if cryptocurrencies were designed for crooks and speculators.

Bitcoin was allegedly invented by Satoshi Nakamoto which could be a pseudonym of a man or a group of people, suspected to live in the US. “Nakamoto’s” identity is believed to be commonwealth origin, due to the vocabulary used in his writings. One of his close associates is purportedly a Swiss coder, who is also an active member of the cryptocurrency community. He is said to have graphed the time stamp of each of Nakamoto’s more than 500 bitcoin forum posts. Such ‘forum posts’ exist in the thousands, worldwide. They form an elaborate network based on algorithms.

Bitcoin was formally created in January 2009 with a fix amount of 21 million ‘coins’, of which more than half are already in circulation, or ‘mined’ as the jargon goes, and 1 million, or about 4.75% (of the total) can be traced to Nakamoto. This, based on the current market value, corresponds to close to US$15 billion. Today’s overall Bitcoin market cap is more than US$ 315 billion. The market is highly volatile. Drastic daily fluctuations are common, especially within the last 12 months. If one of the major Bitcoin holders, like Nakamoto, would capitalize his profit by selling a big portion of his holdings, the Bitcoin price would be in free fall, functioning pretty similar to the regular stock exchange.

On 24 August 2010, when Bitcoin was first traded, its value was US$ 0.06. On 26 December 2017, the coin was worth US$ 15,770, an increase of more than 250,000%. In the last twelve months, its value increased from about US$ 800 in December 2016 to a peak of close to US$ 20,000 in mid-December 2017, an increase of nearly 2,500 %. However, in the last 7 days, after several ups and downs, the price has dropped by about US$ 680; i.e., by more about 4%, and the trend is uncertain. Perhaps a sign of quick profit-taking? This all shows how instable this cryptocurrency is, apparently much more so than trading corporate shares on the stock market. And certainly not apt as a every-day currency base.

The number of cryptocurrencies available over the internet as of 27 November 2017 is above 1300 and growing. A new cryptocurrency can be created at any time and by anybody. By market capitalization, Bitcoin is presently the largest blockchain network (database network, storing data in different publicly verifiable places), followed by Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Litecoin.

Bitcoin may be the next bubble, bringing down a parallel economy which has already its fingers clawing into our regular western economy. Cryptocurrencies are officially forbidden in Russia and China, though stopping cryptocurrency dealings by individuals is hardly possible. They do not touch the traditional banking system. That’s why major banks hate them. They circumvent the banking suckers, prevent them from making ever higher profits from horrendous commissions, against which the people at large are powerless.

Here is Bitcoin’s positive side. It escapes bank and state controls. If countries’ economies were run on Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency, they would escape US sanctions which function only because western currencies are foster-children of the US-dollar, hence, subject to the dollar hegemony; meaning all international transactions have to pass through a US bank. A typical case is ‘banking blockades’, when Washington decides to stop all international transactions of a country until it submits to the wishes of the empire. It is blackmail; totally illegal, but unless there is a monetary alternative, the (western) world is subject to this system.

Argentina is a case in point. Buenos Aires was forced by a New York judge in June 2014 to pay a New York based Vulture Fund US$1.6 billion, an illegal ruling according to a UN Resolution. Argentina refused to pay, so the judge, interfering in a sovereign nation, blocked more than US$500 million of Argentina’s debt payment to creditors, bringing the country to the brink of a second bankruptcy in 13 years. Eventually, neoliberal Macri negotiated a deal with the Vultures and made a payment in excess of US$ 400 million.

This US blackmail would not have been possible had Argentina been able to make its foreign transactions in Bitcoins or another cryptocurrency. Venezuela has created the “petro”, a hydrocarbon and gold based national cryptocurrency to escape dollar-caused inflation and for some of its foreign transactions, thereby also escaping the sanctions stranglehold of Washington. Had Greek and Cyprus citizens had a cryptocurrency alternative to the euro, they would not have been subject to the cash control imposed by the European Central Bank.

On the other hand, funding of terror organizations, like ISIS, cannot be disrupted, if the terror group deals in cryptocurrencies.  This shows, for good or for bad, Bitcoins, or cryptocurrencies are for now unique in resisting censure and blackmail, or any kind of authoritarian outside interference in electronic money transactions.

Cashless Living

If Switzerland accepts the change to digital money, a country where until relatively recently most people went to pay their monthly bills in cash to the nearest post office, then we, in the western world, are on a fast track to total enslavement by the financial institutions. It goes, of course, hand-in-hand with the rest of systematic and ever faster advancing oppression and robotization of the 99.9% by the 0.1%.

We are currently at cross-roads, where we still can either decide to follow the discourse of a new electronic monetary era, with ever less to say by “We, the People” about the product of our work, our money; or whether, We, the People, will resist a banking/finance system that has full control over our financial resources, and which can literally starve us into submission or death, if we don’t behave. In order to resist we need an alternative monetary system or monetary network, away from the dollar-euro hegemony, and cryptocurrencies, as structured today, are no alternative.

All the more important is the ascent of another economy, another payment and transfer scheme which already exists in the East, the Chinese International Paymen System (CIPS), effectively a replacement of SWIFT, totally privately run and linked to the US-dollar and US banks. The world needs a multipolar currency system, based on the real economic output of a country or society, as is the case in China and Russia, not one based on fiat money as is the current western economy.

Will Switzerland, the stronghold of world finance, along with New York, London and Hong Kong, resist the temptation of increased profit, power and control, offered by digital money? We, the People, have still the chance to decide either for continuing rotting in a fraud economy, based on wars and greed for which digital money, exacerbated by cryptocurrencies, is a new tool for a new maximizing profit bonanza on the back of the common people; or do we opt for an honest future and for a life that leaves us free to take sovereign political and monetary decisions in a full cash society. For the latter we must wake up to see the propaganda fraud going on before our eyes, and to resist the robot and electronic money onslaught being unleashed on us.

The Iran Dilemma: The Tyrant Has Spoken

The tyrant, of course, is Donald Trump. He launched tirade after tirade, and keeps launching them, insult after insult, lies after lies after miserable lies at the Government of Iran – about Iran not fulfilling the conditions of the Nuclear Deal. The typical mass indoctrination of the western world through the presstitute mainstream media. Goebbels might smile in his grave, how well the neolibs or neo-Nazis have learned from the Nazis of his time – and perfected this science of deceit in the last 50 years. Fortunately, the counter culture, the truth seekers have also become more sophisticated. More people are waking up to the truth every day.

This Nuclear Deal was an agreement reached after 9 years of meticulous, often perilous and at times for Iran demeaning and offending negotiations. But Iran endured, because Iran’s negotiators, notably the Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, knew what they were talking about, namely, that Iran had never any plans to develop nuclear weapons, but using the enrichment process for the production of nuclear power. This was, by the way, confirmed by all 16 US security agencies. To no avail. The media all but ignored it. The announcement received little coverage by the MSM and was soon shoved under the carpet by the massive western lie-propaganda.

Iran knew that justice was on her side – the agreement concluded in Vienna, Austria, on 14 July 2015 between the 5 + 1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China, France, Russia, UK, the United States plus German), as well as the European Union with the so called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Of course, this was under Obama’s Presidency, and Obama was not as friendly to Netanyahu as is Trump, who is through his family closely interlinked with the Master Zionist of the Zionists, Mr. Bibi Netanyahu.

President Trump wants to cancel the Nuclear Deal. He has said this from the very beginning of his Presidency. And lately he started new outbursts of false accusations against Iran. Now that the entire world is against him, wanting to adhere to the nuclear agreement, including some Republican members of Congress – all of the five signatories, even the otherwise vassal EU, they all say that Iran is fully complying with the agreement, and they will stick to the deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna has also confirmed that Iran is fully compliant with the rules of the terms of the accord.

Since it is now difficult for Mr. Trump or any of his handlers to pretend that Iran has failed the agreement, Trump has changed his language. He, and some of his most ridiculous stooges say now that Iran is infringing on the “spirit” of the agreement, as if Trump even knew what spirit and spirituality means.

He, the tyrant, keeps insulting and hammering down on the Government of Iran all the same – spreading lies which even Iran’s enemies know are lies: Iran is spreading and funding terrorism in the region, and the world, they are a [military] threat to the region – and they are even a ‘National Security Threat’ – 12,000 km away from Washington. Imagine, one of the most peaceful countries in the world. The only National Security Threat to virtually ALL the nations of the globe, minus Israel, is the only rogue state we know – the United States of America.

So, for now The Donald has retracted from his strong statement of canceling the Nuclear Deal and said simply he will not ‘certify’ it, whatever that means. Because “canceling” by the US alone is simply another outrageous arrogance of Washington’s. The US is a mere signatory among 5+1 and the EU. So, canceling is legally impossible. For now, he has relegated the “Issue” – the Trump problem, that is – to Congress to come up with a solution – i.e. more sanctions on Iran or – else?

Iran is beyond sanctions. Iran is already part of the new economic system – the one emanating from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by China and Russia, and detached from the dollar hegemony. Therefore, slandering Iran, threatening Iran with war and sanctions or both, is one big bluff – and Trump, Netanyahu’s puddle, believe the world will go for it.

More likely, Trump’s handlers want the Donald to create more confusion, spread chaos. Since the Iran ‘issue’ was delegated to Congress to handle, Trump is again verbally firebombing North Korea, threats after threats. And dangerously provoking military games on DPRK’s sea and land borders. More sanctions are not enough, because by now everybody knows they don’t work. How can Washington impose sanctions on China and at the same time hope China will uphold the sanctions the US is imposing on the DPRK? North Korea’s economy is tied at the tune of 90% to China. Not to mention that ‘sanctions’ – by now the hearing or reading of the mere term is laughable – imposed on China and Russia are totally meaningless, useless, toothless.

Both countries are trading with the world since quite a while outside of the fiat dollar system, using instead yuans and rubles convertible into gold. That’s the new currency standard offered to the world. The west can take it or leave it. It’s like jumping on the fast train that has already left the Shanghai station, racing through Eurasia towards Europe, called the OBI – the One Belt Initiative, President Xi’s answer to the western economy of fraud, that will lay the tracks for a new and peaceful economy, possibly for the next few hundred years. I have said it many times before, and will keep repeating it, the future is in the east; the west is passé. It is committing suicide, greed, war and lie-driven auto-destruction. Iran, India, Pakistan are already members of the SCO, others, including NATO Turkey, are vying to join and be no longer vulnerable to US imposed sanctions and sledgehammer policies.

Even far-away Venezuela has decided to trade her hydrocarbon resources with China in gold-convertible yuans. Hence, Venezuela is detaching herself from the dollar economy, freeing herself from the financial and economic shackles of Wall street, the FED and the Bretton Woods Institutions. Venezuela is a beacon illuminating a new economy for South America, as well as an example of a solid democracy, as demonstrated by this past weekend’s regional fully transparent elections to elect governors and state legislators – a new path to follow by other Latin American countries, who are still enslaved and trampled by the dictate of Washington.

So – why is Trump letting off his steam, showing off in such ridiculous brinkmanship? A piece of theatre for a public that is afraid to see the light? – Outbreaks of aggressive rants against Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and lately again Cuba – who is next? It’s like a dance of death – a final ritual that may end up in total nuclear annihilation or implode by its own weight, because those deep dark forces behind The Trump love life too much to let it be destroyed by their overdose of thrill.

The World Beyond Capitalism

A New Idea Addresses Some Old Problems

The chron was conceptualized to solve the biggest problem in Capitalism: labor costs. Controlling labor costs to maximize profitability has unleashed the forces of Capital against the world’s population. Globalization is a direct result of capital institutions’ need to control costs and undermine the bargaining power of workers in developed regions by creating competition with workers from less developed regions. Implementation of the chron will eliminate labor costs for Capital because people will essentially pay themselves through their effort. It will also eradicate the exploitation of workers in developing regions. The chron will enable people from all regions to be paid to a common standard. It will immediately lift the standards of living for billions of people and facilitate the transformation of our world into one in which the benefits of modern civilization can be enjoyed by all.

Right about now, critics are probably foaming at the mouth or simply incredulous at the idea of paying people in their own time. “Sounds like another crazy socialist idea,” is probably the thought. “If we pay everyone with their own time, then everyone will essentially be paid the same amount relative to how much they work regardless of what job they perform, right?”

Yes… and no.

Not One Money, But Two

The issue of taxation always brings into question for whom and at what rates would it be most fair. Should the rich be taxed more? Are the non-rich shouldering their fair share? The chron answers a couple of interesting questions regarding taxation. The first one is: what is the fairest way to tax earned income?

The answer is: You don’t. Ever.

Everyone owns their own time. To place a tax on something that fundamentally belongs to the individual can only be considered theft. If I turn my time into productivity and thus currency, society already benefits from my efforts; what right does anyone, particularly a government, have to claim any portion of that? Only the threat of force makes such a proposition remotely feasible. In this respect, libertarians are correct. What is earned as a result of a one’s effort should not be able to be claimed by any other entity. In other words, taxation on income that is earned, particularly if it is in a currency like chron which is simply a validation of something which already rightfully belongs to the individual, is fundamentally criminal.

That’s great! So that nips the whole taxation thing in the bud, right?

Actually, no. In the world of the chron, taxation will still be very necessary. So how would taxation be handled in a “chronist” economy? Like fiat currency now, not all chron will be earned. Many will be acquired as a result of exchange for goods and services or investment returns. Chron acquired in this fashion would be taxable as they were created as a result of passive rather than direct effort. However, unlike taxation in its current form, taxation of chron will serve a specific, critical purpose, which will later be examined.

So, there are actually two kinds of money in the world, that which is earned through work and that which is accumulated through exchange. Chron which are earned are called “eChron” as in “earned chron.” Chron that enters into the process of exchange are called “xChron” or “exchanged chron.” The chron life cycle involves two main processes: the first is the creation of chron through work and the second is the exchange of chron for goods and services.

The basic premise of the chron from a taxation standpoint is that any chron which is earned as the result of work, or eChron, should never be taxed in any way. A person’s time belongs to them; the idea that any entity can claim another’s time as a tax is anathema to this premise. However, once eChron have been exchanged for goods and services, they become part of the greater exchange economy and thus are converted to xChron. In the exchange economy, profit acts as a tax on the consumer by creating a surplus which is claimed by the provider of goods and services in most commercial exchanges. As profit is the net of revenues minus expenses, there is no effort truly associated with it. The best way to describe profit is “a convenience tax,” a determination of value and demand for payment by the provider of goods and services simply for having conveniently provided those goods and services. This is not necessarily a negative thing as profit acts as the incentive that drives the market economy.

However, profit is, for all intents and purposes, “free money”; it can be used in many ways, from making business improvements to increasing incentives to rewarding investors. However, in an economic environment featuring the chron as currency, the major expense of labor is eliminated, greatly increasing profit potential. Since chron represents actual value as opposed to potential value, ensuring their responsible use is essential. To prevent irresponsible accumulation and encourage responsible use, taxation can be very effective. As the chron in the economy accumulate, taxation may even become vital to their guaranteed productive use in society.

What’s important to understand about the chron is that its use does not preclude the profit motive. Unlike the bartering and pseudo-bartering of other time-based currency systems, the chron is actual money. It can be utilized exactly like fiat currency and is perfectly compatible with current models and methods of trade, commerce, and investment. In other words, the chron is perfectly compatible with market-style economics. For example:

Regarding the earlier “socialism” question of people essentially being paid the same amount relative to how much they work regardless of what job they perform, the answer was both yes and no. The chron is an elegant solution because everyone will essentially make the same amount of earned chron for their work, regardless of what job is performed. So, both the doctor and the janitor in a hospital will make the same number of eChron if they work the same number of hours. Salaried workers in any discipline will make the exact same amount of eChron if they have negotiated the same work week in hours (note: the chron can be applied to both wage- and salary-based compensation models).

However, people with skill-sets in higher demand can be compensated with additional xChron which would come directly from the revenues of the organization hiring for the skill-set. For instance, while a doctor and janitor will make the exact same 2,400 eChron over a forty hour work week, the hospital may choose to compensate the doctor an additional 1,200 xChron per week for a total of 3,600 total chron per week. The chron system has a built-in fail-safe to prevent excessive supplemental xChron compensation because all xChron are taxable. Taxation on xChron can be applied in a variety of models tailored specifically to address overcompensation or over-accumulation.

The chron is the ideal currency for a market-style economy. It is far superior to fiat currency because it fundamentally makes markets smarter.

Smarter Money

What if, rather than selling you an item for $5, I sold it to you for 5 minutes of productive effort? Wouldn’t that type of transaction create a more intimate understanding of the relative value of the transaction? Wouldn’t it allow you to have a greater understanding of the exchange relative to the time and effort required to complete it? For example:

If I loaned you 500 xChron and charged 24% interest, would you feel comfortable repaying back an additional 2 hours of your time and effort on top of the 8 hours and 20 minutes required to repay the principal of the loan? What if the interest was 99%? Also, extending the loan itself requires little effort; however, it will, in the best scenario, take about a business day of actual work to repay. Would you say that you have a better understanding of how the debt directly impacts your time and effort?

In our current economic system, it is difficult to correlate money to time and effort when it comes to resolving debt. Money is an abstraction that prevents a true understanding of value because it is an inherently poor measure of value. In other words, money is a particularly dissociative concept because it isn’t worth anything in and of itself and only arbitrarily measures value for any given circumstance. So, borrowing money often doesn’t seem like that big a deal.

However, the figures mask the real burden of debt. Using the example of the $500 USD loan at 24% interest, a person making the worldwide average of $18,000 USD per year with 15% disposable income would need to perform roughly eleven weeks of productive effort to repay the loan. In this instance, the loan represents almost three months of time converted into productive effort.

When you think of it from this perspective, it’s clear that, when you are given a loan, you are actually being “advanced” your own time. So what then does the interest on that loan represent? It is basically a tax on your time and effort; it is the time and effort you give freely to a creditor for the convenience of converting the time and effort you already own into a fungible asset called “money.”

So, what could be considered a “fair” amount of interest on a debt? Historically, the act of collecting any interest on debt has been considered a negative practice called “usury.” Usury was considered to be an unethical practice that indentured or even enslaved those in debt by saddling them with an interest burden that was excruciatingly difficult or even impossible to repay. It’s difficult to determine in any given circumstance what a “fair” amount of interest on a loan is.

However, the chron creates a direct correlation to time and effort that allows individuals to have more useful information in any transaction. When you know exactly how much something costs in relation to your own time and effort, you are more likely to make better financial decisions. The chron also exposes the predatory nature of compound interest; would people tolerate a tax on their time and effort that compounds?

By having currency directly correlate to time and effort, people will be able to make financial decisions with a better understanding of their ramifications. The chron significantly reduces the need for people to have extensive knowledge of finance to effectively manage their own money; it allows for a perpetual real-world understanding of how all financial transactions entered into by a person will affect that individual in time and effort.

Health is Time

As previously stated, the chron allows a level of precision in economic mathematics that would be unprecedented. The move from multiple currencies that are valued subjectively and arbitrarily to one that is objective and precisely measured will allow very detailed insights into work, standard of living, and enterprise, the likes of which have never existed in economic study.

The chron is particularly useful when it comes to value-setting and pricing models. Setting prices with fiat currencies is by its very nature grossly imprecise. From resources and materials to labor, all facets of determining value with fiat currencies are arbitrary as a result of being set by markets. However, almost all facets of production can be measured in time with strong correlation to effort; complex or inefficient methods of production or productivity will generally be more time intensive while the reverse will be true for highly scaled and efficient methods of production or productivity. For the most part, setting the value for products or services is a simple equation of time invested in production or effort plus profit denominated as chron.

However, the chron exposes one particular area of the economy for which pricing is inherently difficult and results in severe distortions. In fact, the distortions are so great in the U.S. that the entire system has just undergone a very unpopular overhaul… the area is health care.

If you envision a world in which productive effort as measured in time is money, then it is clear that health is probably the single most important factor to an economy. It’s no secret that the staggering costs associated with health care motivated the creation of the Affordable Care Act, more famously (or infamously) known as Obamacare. The hope was that, by subjecting health insurance costs to greater market forces, substantial reductions in those costs would result. However, the chron reveals that the value of life simply can’t be fairly quantified. How do you fairly price health tests or treatment? When it comes to improving health or saving lives, what is fair market value for services? If a doctor saves your life, is there any price that can be paid to even the scales?

The answer would have to be “no.” A physician could realistically lay claim to anything you produce after the fact as a result of having saved your life. In some ancient cultures, saving a life resulted in the person whose life was saved becoming indentured to the person who saved them. Even in chron, a person would have to pay a lifetime’s worth in order to equalize the scales and that would be counter-productive to actually having been saved in the first place. Even in the event that a healthcare worker is not saving a life, what is the value of preventative medicine, physical therapy, or convalescent therapy?

What the chron reveals about health care is that it should be performed as a public service. It validates the concept of single-payer health care. In a chronist system, all healthcare would be provided on a completely not-for-profit basis. This should not preclude the use of xChron for additional compensation to attract doctors or others with valuable skill-sets; it just means that the goal of hospitals and other such entities should be to price their services in such a manner as to only cover expenses and liabilities.

What about veterinary services? Can the life and health of a pet truly be quantified? It’s likely that, for most people, particularly pet owners, the answer is no. For that reason, such services should also be offered on a not-for-profit basis.

Passion > Incentives

The previous section regarding healthcare begs the question: what will keep the world from settling into a cozy stagnation of everyone performing low-skilled work to make a basic yet dignified living in chron? The answer is the same thing that motivates everyone who does something they love for free which ends up positively affecting others. The simple fact is that people like to be productive and contribute. Many are motivated to tackle the challenges of the world not because of the promise of wealth, but simply for the chance to achieve. The need to validate ourselves is part of our inherent psychological profile as a species; humans simply seem to feel better about ourselves when we make useful contributions which benefit ourselves, our families, our communities, and our society.

Our current economic system is likely stifling massive amounts of intellectual and creative power. The chron was conceptualized partly as a way to unleash that power by leveling the psychological and emotional barriers erected by the current economic paradigm. With the relative guarantee that our productive effort will, at minimum, ensure a dignified, relatively secure life, the fear and shame created by the capitalist/fiat currency system will then be channeled collectively into a force that will transform our planet. With the collective energy of our inspirations and passions unfettered, humanity will be prepared to fully achieve its potential and take our place among stars.

The World Beyond Capitalism

In case you hadn’t guessed it, there is a greater purpose to the conceptualization of the chron than just creating a more equitable world. What are the ultimate benefits of a chronist economy and why is such a change essential?

The chron is really a pretty simple concept: it seeks to resolve the contradictions of the current economic system by creating an objective, absolute currency system for true value-for-value exchange. In the end, it obsoletes the grossly imprecise and arbitrary practices of market pricing by encapsulating the value produced in society as a result of effort directly into the currency. The chron represents “time + effort”; time is an objective measure while any productive effort related to that time is valued as intrinsically equal to all other productive effort as its true value is beyond quantification. By creating money from the bottom up, the capacity for a dignified standard of living is possessed by everyone. With the shackles of the stress and shame of struggling for the basic necessities of survival removed, the full weight of human power and innovation can be brought to bear on the challenges we face in ensuring our continued survival as a species.

The chron will herald a new era of “smart” money by personalizing it and, thus, tying it directly to the concept of responsibility. It has the potential to alter perceptions and decision-making in profound ways. For instance, consider political campaign finance… would people accept the spending of billions of chron, their time and effort, for the grossly distorted and negative political theater produced in today’s economy?

Also, would people accept a small cadre controlling massive amounts of realized productive value for their own benefit? Billions of chron would represent tremendous amounts of productive human effort. It stands to reason that people would demand that those chron be used for more than the personal enrichment of another. They would want those chron to solve problems and tackle big challenges because, indeed, the human race has many.

In the end, the chron may be the key to the continued survival of the human race.

The Final Frontier

Conceptually, once a chron is produced, it can never be destroyed. Indeed, the human experience is built on the collected experiences of every event that has ever happened and it has been shown that fate has often turned on the simplest of words or actions. The chron produced by an individual will affect the existence of humanity long after their originator has passed away. Much as the artistic value of a great painting can long outlive the one who painted it, chron will continue to circulate and build our society beyond lifetimes. More importantly, everyone, regardless of their immediate impact on society, has the potential to positively impact history. The less ambitious need feel no guilt as to how they use their lives; as long as they have engaged in productive effort, their time can be reused for great things even after death. In the form of chron, time can be “re-spent” indefinitely. In this fashion, the chron is a form of immortality.

Right about now, some may wonder at the practicality of the inflationary aspect of the chron. If chron are never destroyed, won’t their value essentially become worthless?

The chron, though inflationary, will be subjected to the deflationary pressure of population decline. As Buckminster Fuller so astutely determined, increases in quality of living conditions correlate directly to decreases in birthrate. In other words, the better people live, the fewer children they produce. The chron will facilitate widespread improvements in the standards of life for billions around the world which will subsequently cause the overall world population to significantly drop, placing deflationary pressure on chron production.

Chron production can also be controlled in other ways, such as mandatory ages for entering into the workforce and retirement as well as fewer mandated hours per work week. It’s also likely that, with a high standard of living being far more attainable in a chronist economy, some people will just work less and devote more of their time to leisure pursuits.

Likely, the most effective way of dealing with chron supply will be taxation. The amount of productive effort, both actual and potential, of which society is capable is immense; chron production will likely quickly outpace society’s ability to absorb them. To ensure the proper balance of chron in society, chron can be removed via taxation and “deactivated.” Much as kingdoms of the past used treasuries to store surplus wealth, national treasuries can store chron and release them strategically for a variety of purposes. For instance, there will be many people who, as a result of accident or disease, are not able to do productive work. In these instances, a government provided “social safety net” could easily cover their treatment and/or living expenses. In this fashion, the work of society can be used to support those who are truly less fortunate without negative impact.

A vitally important aspect of the chron is that it is an impeccable store of value because it represents value itself. It stores the value of productive effort just as history does. The chron is inflationary, debt-free money that will always be intrinsically valuable. In the years ahead, that will be tremendously important.

Time is Running Out

Whether we understand it or not, we are in a race against time. At this point in history, the statistical odds of the human race going extinct at some point are 100%. The only way to improve those odds in our favor is to become a space-faring culture. It is imperative for the human race to embark on a scientific and technological endeavor to colonize other worlds. With fiat currency saddled by debt, it is tremendously expensive to fund such a purpose in our current economic system. The forces of the market have barely motivated us to duplicate the space exploration achievements of almost half a century ago. The cost is too high and the pace of development is too slow in our current economic paradigm to ensure we can develop the technology and lifestyle necessary to avoid extinction. Our efforts must be accelerated to give ourselves a fighting chance.

The chron guarantees the funding necessary to meet that challenge. As an inflationary currency, the chron money supply will grow quickly enough to create the surpluses needed to fund the massive-scale projects necessary for extra-planetary colonization. As the chron is also inherently debt-free currency, future generations will not be saddled with the burden of repayment and the subsequent destruction of time/effort value. In other words, the chron allows us to shoulder the financial demands of these endeavors “up front.”

In the world of the chron, technology will still play a vital role. But rather than deprecate work and displace the worker, its role will become clearer as a tool that serves society rather than drives it. It will play a vital role in performing work that is too tedious or dangerous to be performed by humans. It will facilitate the elimination of fossil fuels as our primary energy source thus reversing centuries of ecological damage. The advancements of technology will bring a standard of living to billions of people that they could only have hoped to enjoy in our current economic system. And, ultimately, it will lead us to other worlds; massive new machines will allow us to terraform worlds while nano-machines will augment our immune systems, providing protection against extraterrestrial microbes as humans reach distant planets and expose ourselves to alien ecosystems. While the institutions of capital used technology always with an eye on driving down labor costs and creating new consumers, technology as an industry will finally get the chance to fulfill its purpose as a force for unambiguous, positive change.

Capitalism was once essential, but now we have outgrown it. It’s time to embrace a new economic system that will not enslave our children with debt and shame. It’s time to embrace a new economic system that will unlock the potential of the human species and allow us to save the home we have while enabling us to find new homes among the stars.

Why It Matters

The truth is that the chron is not inflationary, it is expansionary. The chron will initially alter the complexion and psychology of the world by eliminating poverty and empowering people to fulfill their potential. As surpluses are developed, it will be used to incentivize people and groups to develop the technology necessary to spread humanity into outer space. In other words, the abundance of chron will actually motivate the expansion of the human race.

A new class of social elite will develop. They will be vanguard of humanity, the ones who personally assume the challenge of developing and using the technologies that will expand the human race to the universe. They will be engineers, scientists and explorers. They will have grown up in a world without want, one that allows art and culture to flourish because human potential is allowed to grow and breathe. Strong traditions will develop again and, as the psychology of the world changes, families will learn to be closer to one another again.

Everything won’t be roses, though. Beautiful ground is just as fertile a place for weeds as it is for flowers. Bigotry and prejudice may flourish in a world where people have the time to truly contemplate perceived differences. Will the new elite be revered as pioneers or envied for the wealth and status they will accumulate as a result of being the trailblazers for humanity?

It is highly unlikely the chron will solve every problem faced by humanity. However, what it will do is let the genie out of the bottle. We live in a world in which our economic system thrives on the concept of scarcity though technology defeated it not too long ago. Using technology, our planet has more than enough resources to comfortably provide for everyone, everywhere. The sad truth is that we are perpetually fighting a psychological war against poverty. Not just including the rich but especially the rich. We are terrified of want, but we’ve already won the war. Capitalism served its purpose, now it is time to let it go. Our economy is designed for scarcity, yet there are practically infinite resources in the Universe. Our economy should reflect the reality of our existence…  that there is a great, big Universe out there waiting for us to experience it. If we are going to save our species and give our progeny a chance to survive, it is imperative that we end Capitalism and implement a better way.

Not the End, but the Beginning

I wrote this essay because it needed to be written. I think it is apparent that there are fundamental problems in our current economic system and I decided to devote a few brain cells to figuring out how to fix it. Maybe the chron isn’t the answer, but I hope it will get people to really think about the question in fundamentally different ways. We live in perpetual boom and bust cycles. Despite the amazing progress made in the last few centuries, the world is still plagued by crime and misery. Albert Einstein once stated that the definition of insanity was to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. It’s time to do something different to change the result.

Capitalism is a fundamentally amoral system. It doesn’t care if harm is done as long as profit is achieved. We’ve created a system of laws to rein in its worst impulses, but many of them still slip through the cracks. Most crimes are simply extensions of Capitalism, the forces of competition involved in creating supply to meet demand. The illicit drug trade is one such stark example. Many other crimes and vices are a result of the psychological distortions created by Capitalism. Frustration and hopelessness created in an economic environment that has no respect for the value of time and life motivates indulgences in a variety of forms. “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll” are a mantra; escapism is not only a way of life, but big business as well. The forces of Capital built up the world and the collateral damage was acceptable because it brought us so far, so fast. But everything has a price. Global warming, pollution, and devastating ecological damage are the results. In a world in which we are all connected, the need to create profit commodifies the most important “capital” of all: Humanity.

I wanted to conceptualize a solution that invests everyone. Industry and commerce should appreciate the chron for removing labor costs from the equation. Libertarians and those on the economic right should appreciate the chron for its self-deterministic qualities that encourage personal responsibility; it offers no free rides, people still have to work to make a living. The chron emphasizes that social safety nets should, at the very least, be voluntary; no government should be able to mandate how someone uses their time and effort. It also has the potential to obsolete some social safety nets by removing the competition between Capital and Labor entirely. Proponents of the left should appreciate how the chron places money creation directly into the hands of the people, finally giving them the power to set their own course. Social conservatives should appreciate the chron because of its potential to severely reduce crime, indulgence, and social excess. Governments should appreciate the chron because it still requires central authorities to manage the validation process. With less economic tension worldwide, governments and militaries will likely shrink. People will then be invested in making sure the people representing them are actually “thought leaders,” people who can truly guide the collective efforts of humanity to greater heights of development and civilization.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of the chron in this essay. There is so much more it can reveal about our society. For instance, the chron presents a natural solution for the death penalty. Rather than execution, a reasonable alternate is that a person can become an indefinite ward of the state. Such persons could be utilized for excessively dangerous work by the state or otherwise have their productive effort utilized. They could never own their own time again.

In this vein, restitution rather than punishment could be an acceptable alternative for economic crimes. For instance, thieves could make financial restitution to their victims in chron through prison work programs. Rather than being incarcerated for specific terms, criminals convicted of economic and financial crimes can work off their debt until it is fully paid. Such a system would likely discourage large-scale theft.

The chron is also a powerful concept in cases of wrongful conviction. In the event such an injustice is committed and the person is exonerated by new evidence, they can then claim their chron back from the state. With the chron, the value of a person’s lifetime efforts are always preserved; even one wrongfully convicted could rebuild their life with the chron created by their work in prison.

A chronist economy also greatly improves the chances for rehabilitation of criminals by reducing recidivism. In a world in which labor pays for itself, many jobs that were once too expensive for capital to assume, particularly those associated to resource reclamation, can be performed by former prisoners or others who may not be able or willing to perform other types of work. Reclamation efforts, such as mass clean-ups or deconstruction of fixed capital, such as old factories or even whole cities, will have a massive, willing pool of labor who will not have to bear a stigma for performing an honest day’s work. In the capitalist system, former prisoners struggle to find their place in a world that is hostile to them even after they’ve paid their debt to society. In a chronist economy, their efforts will be welcomed, giving them the real opportunity to start anew.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the chron is an amazing concept with stunning possibilities. I intend to write more about how it can be utilized for a variety of pricing and economic models. Applying the chron to the areas of writing and book publishing is an interesting challenge. I’ve already created a scenario allowing the chron to be applied effectively to blogging and journalism. I hope that others, particularly economists, will find value in this concept and expand on it.

So this is the end … or the beginning. The chron may not catch on right away, but it is more than likely that a cataclysmic event, such as a world-wide economic collapse, will cause everyone to rethink the sense of our current economic system. I wrote this essay for that day. If the chron finds widespread acceptance sooner, that would be great. However, if not, I hope this serves as a place to start if the worst should ever happen.

The Wealth Psychosis

The Fundamentals of Exchange

At their most basic level, economic systems are simply methods of exchange between parties. At the root of every exchange are the basic principles of the credit and the debit. In every exchange of value, one or more parties act as the creditor (the one supplying the products or services) and the debtor (the one procuring the products or services). In our current economic system, most exchanges at the personal level are resolved immediately to the satisfaction of both parties, so most people do not understand that debt is a part of every exchange. To illustrate:

If you go into a convenience store and decide to buy a candy bar, once you pick it up with the intention of purchasing it, you have assumed a debt. At that moment, the owner of the convenience store has become your creditor and you are a debtor. Most people usually have the means of resolving their debts immediately in the form of physical money or another debit payment, such as an electronic debit card. When you pay for your candy bar, you are resolving your debt to the owner of the convenience store. If you use an electronic debit card, it is possible to resolve the debt with maximum accuracy and the most efficient exchange will take place. However, if you use physical money, it is possible to inaccurately resolve the exchange. In other words, you may give a larger payment than what is being demanded for the candy bar. In that instance, the difference between what is being demanded for the candy bar and what you paid for it becomes a debt for the store owner and you become the creditor. In order for the store owner to resolve their debt to you, they provide you what is colloquially known as “change.” The transaction ends when all credits and debits equal zero.

When you understand the nature of exchange it is easier to understand the concept of wealth. What wealth provides is the ability to instantaneously resolve much larger debts. The wealthy live in a world of fast-to-very-fast debt resolution as well as fast-to-very-fast wealth creation. Debt resolution and wealth creation becomes progressively slower for those who control less capital.

However, the true key to understanding wealth is understanding that it is simply a construct of value perception. As shown earlier, market pricing is basically arbitrary because it is based largely on means and the perception of value. Is a $100,000 car actually better than a $25,000 car? There may be some objective factors that indicate that a $100,000 is “better” than a $25,000 car but, for the most part, it is merely the perception of value that allows certain cars to be sold for $100,000 or more. The value of a $100,000 car to most people is simply that some people can actually afford it at that price while it is well beyond the means of the overwhelming number of everyone else. The value is almost entirely a symbolic one.

The desire for great wealth is simply a construction of perception. It is more than possible to live comfortably and responsibly without the ostentations of wealth, even for the very wealthy. Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, lives in what most in the developed world would consider a very modest home. Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire creator of the world’s largest social network, Facebook, drives what most would consider a very modest car. Steve Jobs, builder of what many consider the world’s greatest company, Apple, lived in a beautiful, but unremarkable home in the San Francisco Bay area. There comes a point in the accumulation of wealth that a very high standard of living has been achieved. Once that level has been reached, value perception largely becomes one of symbolism. Larger homes, faster cars, and more expensive goods are not essential to a comfortable, fulfilling life; they simply serve as symbols to others that one has achieved a certain status, which is also just a perception.

But why? Why is it important not only for some to achieve great wealth, but also for some to advertise it? For a very simple reason: poverty sucks. Our current economic system does actual harm to billions of people every day. Millions of people in the developed world are either unemployed or working in low paying, unfulfilling jobs that keep them barely at the subsistence level. If this were not hard enough, politicians and the wealthy elite routinely scapegoat them, blaming them for their own misfortune while benefiting from a system designed to ensure that every cent they make ends up in the coffers of the wealthy.

To be financially unsuccessful has physical, psychological, and emotional ramifications that affect every aspect and corner of society. From unhealthy food that facilitates obesity and disease, to long working hours in dangerous or demeaning conditions, to the daily stress of trying to build a high quality of life in a system that thrives on the creation of debt, even the people in developed nations bear the brunt of an economic system that is rigged to exploit their time and effort for the benefit of an “elite” few.

These people are made to believe that they have a choice, that their success is tied directly to their effort, but the truth is that the primary factor for great financial success today is simply luck. The opportunity costs for cultivating the skills for success are becoming overwhelming for some, particularly those obtaining privatized, advanced education, which generally leaves them with crushing student loan debt. These same persons end up having to compete against people from poorer regions with high-quality, subsidized educations, who will often accept less compensation and do not carry high, education-related debt. Additional challenges from automation and technological advances further marginalize workers, increasing labor competition and suppressing incomes. Even educated workers live in a world of increasing uncertainty and the stress created fuels billion-dollar industries of legal and illicit drugs and intoxicants.

However, the challenges for educated workers in developed countries pales in comparison to those of less-educated workers worldwide. Billions of them live in modest to truly impoverished conditions. In those conditions, crime and humiliation fester like open sores. Sex trades, voluntary and forced, trap thousands in cycles of abuse and degradation. The fight to survive often breeds violence and misery. Even for those for which crime and violence aren’t frequent occurrences, the fiat currency system makes life tedious, demeaning and unfulfilling. To them, “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay” is mostly an empty euphemism. The reward for doing the grunt work of society is not appreciation, but scorn and disdain. In a society that supposedly values work and adherence to the rule of law, the working poor are treated as burdens, moochers, or freeloaders, particularly if they require any form of public assistance to supplement their income. Their wages are artificially suppressed in the so-called market system for the benefit of business owners, traders, and investors. They are treated as replaceable cogs in a machine that feeds the fortunes of a select few.

The Wealth Psychosis

It is through the crucible of poverty that the concepts of wealth and privilege are forged. Ostentation related to wealth and privilege is a visceral response to the indignity created by the current economic system. Very few people have jobs or careers of which they can be proud. As previously stated, over two billion people live on about $2 per day. Capitalism as it is practiced today, while beneficial in many regards, also facilitates a rash of societal ills, such as crime, violence, and substance abuse. Factoring in debt burdens, the overwhelming majority of people live their lives at subsistence levels relative to the prosperity of their country.

Many of the financially powerful are aware of these conditions, at least on a primal level. Their lives have become a celebration of being beyond the struggle associated with acquiring the means for a high standard of living. Their lives reflect what they view as “victory”; victory from hunger, strife, suffering, premature death, and, most importantly, indignity.

The further down the financial chain you are, the more likely you are to experience the effects of living in a world that demands your effort, but vilifies and humiliates you for the simple act of survival. Fear of that suffering causes those higher on the chain of financial success to ruthlessly judge those below them. This creates a self-justifying, self-perpetuating cycle of feigned superiority and shame.

For those who work long hours struggling to provide a high quality of life for themselves and their families, the current economic system de-incentivizes them by severely penalizing them for whichever course of action they take. Attempting to be responsible by doing productive work often leads to long hours, both in the work itself and the related commute. Work (in the developed world) also leads to work-related expenses such as car ownership (resulting in car payments, gas and maintenance costs) or other transportation costs, child care, and business-related clothing and other incidentals. Actually having a job oftentimes is more stressful and financially draining than not having one.

The alternative is unemployment; social safety nets in developed countries ironically provide a slightly more attractive option than working for many people. While politicians often criticize welfare and food assistance programs as de-incentivizing work, it is often the arduous, low paying work itself that is the culprit. Faced with the choice of humiliation either through low paying work or no work at all, many will choose to at least have the relative freedom that welfare programs provide. In a world where the only commodity that every person possesses is time, the value of other people’s time, in the form of quality of life, is often not respected by people who place a great deal of value on their own.

Crime, violence, and substance abuse are direct results of the shame created by the struggle to build a life of high value. Those who overcome that challenge or are fortunate enough to be born beyond it still experience it at a primal level. Many of the wealthy tend to live their lives in a state of perpetual celebration of victory over the struggle, while still secretly fearing that the victory is only temporary.

It is often stated that the poor hate the rich, but it seems as if the opposite is true. Many of the rich see in the poor the vagaries of fate. The difference between poverty and great wealth is largely the roll of the dice. We can’t choose our parents or how their genes mix to create a living being with a high level of innate ability to perform certain tasks that may give them an advantage in the current economic system. Could Giselle Bundchen choose to be beautiful or Warren Buffett choose to be born with the innate ability to manage capital? Can we choose what, if any, lessons are imparted to us to encourage the habits and perspective to become financially successful? What about the chance encounters that create the virtuous circle of friends, associates, and confidants which often fuel financial success?

The wealthy likely understand this at least at an existential level. In this regard, the less fortunate remind them of a world they cannot control, but desperately want to. In the less fortunate, they see their own faces, which creates fear and loathing. That isn’t to say that all people of means feel this way. But, it is very possible this feeling is what drives many of the wealthy to not only care little about the challenges faced by most people seeking to build lives of high value and quality, but also to ruthlessly operate against them.

Wealth, particularly as it has manifested in modern times, is a reaction to the suffering, shame, and indignity created by the struggle to fulfill our basic needs. Many of the “winners” flaunt their success through ostentation. Is it necessary to own mansions, cars, or yachts that can cost millions of dollars? What about other lavish displays of wealth, such as grand parties taking place in exotic locales… are such things truly necessary at the scale at which they are done? It’s an odd phenomenon that such displays of privilege are often showcased in media for all to see. What is even more telling is the response that such displays often engender: it is colloquially known as “hate.” Privilege that is conspicuously advertised is often greeted with anger and derision. The ones who display this privilege often lash out at the sources of these negative responses as “haters,” ones who are jealous of those advertising their good fortune.

However, let’s look at this from a different perspective: why would someone conspicuously advertise their good fortune? What purpose do overt displays of ostentation or privilege serve? It’s tough to truly understand the motives of people who conspicuously display their good fortune but it’s very easy to read such displays as acts of contempt against those less fortunate. They serve to remind others that their lives often are not as “fun” or “exciting.” Why post photos and videos of your good fortune if not for the purpose of reminding others of their ill fortune? Technology makes sharing those moments strictly with family and friends a trivial matter, so why make them available for all to see? When those moments are advertised publicly it is easy to interpret such actions as being pointed against the less fortunate. This is what likely creates “hate,” an aggressive backlash against those who conspicuously advertise their privilege publicly or in social and/or mainstream media. The reaction is not necessarily jealousy, per se, but a reaction against what is perceived as an unnecessary emotional attack. People with difficult lives do not have to be reminded that their lives are difficult. The responses of the less fortunate to these displays can be interpreted as the “hate” that hate makes.

The position of many of the wealthy is that those lower down on the economic chain desire an equality of outcomes rather than an equality of opportunity. Let’s set aside the notion that either is possible in the current economic environment because they are not. The wealthy increasingly exist in a stratified world in which their children, through benefit of the best, most expensive educations, develop social networks that lock out those on the lower rungs. The rich feel no obligation to support the value perceptions of those at the lower levels of the economy. As far as the financial elite are concerned, the system justifies itself; if the less fortunate are not satisfied with their lot in life, then it is not the obligation of the wealthy to change that. It doesn’t matter if the system is unfair or not, this is simply the way the world is. There are “winners” and there are “losers.” It’s not a perfect system, but it is not just the best we have, it is the best we’ll ever have.

The rich are 100% correct in one respect: the value perceptions of the less fortunate should not be their concern. However, they are absolutely wrong in another respect: our current economic system is not the best we can do. The key isn’t to guarantee that we all have an equal standard of living. The key is to raise the economic baseline so that the minimum outcome for anyone who acts lawfully, responsibly, and productively is a stable, secure, and dignified standard of living. Rather than being penalizing, degrading, or humiliating, our economic system should value all work as intrinsically important.

The notion that some work is more essential than other work is a fallacy. The goal of our economic system should be equitability for all rather than equality. You may be able to make the argument that all people should not be rewarded equally, but you can’t make the argument that everyone is not entitled to live their lives with dignity. Building a system that values the dignity of every person is the key to building a sustainable future.

The fundamental flaw of capitalism today is fiat currency. The paradox of fiat currency allows for a level of imprecision in determining value that has severely distorted the Capitalist system. To perfect our economic system, we must perfect the money. My proposition is a concept called… the “chron.”

Time (and Effort) is Money

Currently, money is mostly created by banks making loans. In this fashion, money is created “top down” in the sense that it is created on the supply-side and “trickles down” through an economy. For all intents and purposes, money is exchanged for the promise of goods and services. In other words, lenders lend money so that debtors can then procure and/or produce goods and services; the debtors promise to repay the lender the sum of the loan (denominated in fiat currency) plus interest. In order for the loan to be repaid, the debtor must either engage in one or more processes of exchange, known as trade or commerce, or some type of productive physical or intellectual effort, known as work, for which they are compensated. That compensation is then used to repay the lender. In this process, money is created first and value is produced afterwards.

However, what if money were created “bottom up” from the demand-side? What if money were created as a result of effort rather than vice versa?

Chron is money created as a result of productive effort. The simplest way to describe a chron is that it is the basic denomination created from a single minute of work.

Unlike other time-based currency systems, the chron is an actual currency that can be represented physically or electronically and operates exactly like fiat currency. In other words, chron can exist in physical or electronic form and be exchanged like fiat currency. However, its unique advantages relative to fiat currency have the potential to completely change the world’s financial and economic systems.

Better Money

Regarding the criteria for useful currency, the chron is very close to the ideal:

Regarding elasticity: It is better than elastic currency because, rather than being expanded and contracted to suit market conditions (and distortions), a chron is a pure, absolute measure of actual production represented in the most universally accepted and accurately assessed unit of measurement on the planet – time. Money goes from being created by banks to being created by individuals as a direct result of work. In other words, the payroll system becomes the means for creating money. Rather than being compensated in dollars, euros or other local/regional/national fiat currency, people are compensated in their own time as “chron.” These chron are direct replacements for fiat currency. To illustrate:

A person works eight hours per day; rather than being compensated an hourly wage or salary, they are paid 480 chron (8 x 60 chron (= minutes of time/effort)) per day. These chron are “printed” as a result of actual work performed rather than the promise of work.

To put it simply: everyone creates their own money through productive effort. Rather than a central banking system, a “validation” system is established to authorize entities, such as businesses and individuals, to validate the production of effort. The production of that effort is converted into the currency called chron rather than dollars or other fiat currency. Since chron has a direct correlation to both time and effort, the net effect is a system that allows a very high level of precision regarding the measurement of economic production.

Regarding efficiency: Time is the most accurately assessed unit of measurement in the world. It would make the ideal currency as it is already a universally recognized standard. The chron is not only compatible with the current financial infrastructure; it can also be integrated effectively with the same technology used for Bitcoin to form the basis of a truly efficient, universal currency system.

Regarding the chron as a store of value: the store of value problem is one faced by every currency. A currency must not only be worth something today, but tomorrow as well. That means it should be able to be stored indefinitely with little to no degradation to its physical form. People should also be able to agree that it has some form of intrinsic value that protects its relative long-term worth.

There are some things with such obvious intrinsic value that their worth cannot be questioned such as food, water, shelter, and warmth (fire). However, in the modern world, such things make poor mediums of exchange. We use money to make the exchange of goods and services efficient. However, because it is pretty much impossible to determine the absolute value of goods and services using today’s fiat currency, can any fiat currency accurately represent and retain the value of goods and services as measured both now and in the future? The reality is that they can’t. Because value is subjective, attempting to encapsulate the short-term and long-term value of goods and services using fiat currency is arbitrary, thus a relatively useless exercise. Doing so has forced us to live in a world of vague economic understanding where even our best mathematical models are nothing more than gross approximations subject to varied interpretation. There is no true precision in our economic models and can’t be due to the nature of fiat currency.

However, what if it were possible to have a completely objective money, one with intrinsic value that is already universally accepted? The most effective store of value is time. The sum of the efforts of humanity is stored in its history and can only be severely altered or destroyed through cataclysmic events. Once an event takes place, it cannot be altered and its effects, for the most part, can be measured. Time is the most precious commodity in existence for a human being, so much so that we continuously strive to create more of it. We yearn to use time productively, for both work and leisure, yet our current economic system prevents true efficiency by subjecting it to market forces. Time as a commodity is both potentially infinite and definitively scarce from the human perspective; it is “mined” by existing and continuing to exist for as long as possible. Time is the ultimate resource.

By encapsulating time as a currency that is created from productive effort, we can physically and conceptually embody its value as a tangible resource. Instead of exchanges being subjective and largely arbitrary actions based on perceived value, they become ones of actual, objective value because the chron represents effort that has already taken place, the value of which is already established as a result of productive action.

The defining concept of the chron is that it is based on the premise that all productive effort is intrinsically valuable. In our current economic paradigm, markets supposedly determine the value of work in its various forms, but, as previously stated, market determination of value is arbitrary. Some forms of work are valued more highly than others based on scarcity of skill-set. But, the failure of that system is that it is impossible to judge the true value of work based on context.

For instance, most people would accept that, based on training and skill-set, doctors should be paid more than the janitors who ensure that the hospitals at which they both work are clean and sanitary. However, what is the intrinsic value of clean and sanitary medical conditions which enable the doctor to be effective at their job? It can easily be argued that the work of ensuring a clean and sanitary hospital is vitally important. The market assumes a glut of low-skilled persons capable of fulfilling the role, but what the market can’t anticipate or value is the motivation necessary to perform the job. In other words, the market cannot properly assess the value of people who want to do the job versus those who simply can do the job. A janitor who is diligent and takes pride in their work not only does the job, but does the job correctly. What is the intrinsic value of someone who does their job well?

The reality is that it is impossible to truly quantify the value of a job well done. For example, let’s look at a common occupation such as waitress or server. It’s indisputable that there are many, many people who are qualified to fulfill those roles, but how many of them are suited to performing them well? What is the intrinsic value of a server who is courteous, personable, and diligent versus one who is taciturn, disrespectful, and laggardly? How much better is the experience provided by the former versus the latter?

Let’s look at the example of the drive-through cashier at fast food restaurants: would you rather interact with one who is amiable, respectful, and performs their job with accuracy and diligence or would you prefer to interact with one who is sullen, brash, slow, and gets your order wrong? To judge the value of work based on scarcity of skill-set completely ignores how vitally intrinsic the experience of all work is. We don’t just benefit from work done; our greatest benefit is derived when work is done with pride, care, pleasure, and attention to detail. In that respect, all work has the potential for great value.

Another problem is when people choose not to perform essential, valuable work because it doesn’t pay enough. School teachers immediately come to mind. Nothing positively impacts the learning of students more than an excellent teacher, but how many people forgo the profession because of inadequate compensation? When people are not empowered to devote their energies to the things for which they have the most aptitude and passion, it creates inefficiency by nature.

The chron respects the value of all work by turning the precious commodity that is spent performing it, time, into a spendable resource. Nothing is more valuable than time, especially when it is used for productive effort. By moving beyond a compensation model for labor, which the institutions of Capital are always motivated to undermine, a validation model allows people to utilize the commodity with which everyone is born as a truly fungible currency. In that respect, every individual, through productive work, can create their own money allowing truly objective, value-for-value exchange using current fiat currency metaphors.

Even as a thought exercise, the chron reveals some interesting realities about the current economic system; it provides unexpected answers to questions regarding the nature of money as well as a few surprising insights.