LIMITING WEALTH

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LIMITING WEALTH

Postby Quantum on Wed May 21, 2014 1:47 am

LIMITING WEALTH


"The form of law which I propose would be as follows: In a state which is desirous of being saved from the greatest of all plagues -- there should exist among the citizens neither extreme poverty nor, again, excessive wealth, for both are productive of great evil... Now the legislator should determine what is to be the limit of poverty and of wealth."
-- Plato, 327 B.C.


Debates over limiting wealth and power arise wherever enclosure, oligarchy and factor imbalance create great disparities in wages, venture shares, land ownerships, and societal power. Wage-laboring majorities exploited by capital are left without natural freedom or the effective democracy necessary to secure greater equity, and a political means to peacefully "reshuffle" the deck. As a result, we are doomed to redistributive fever and revolution.

Given such conditions it is only a matter of time before disparities reach the point where the poor and over-taxed middle classes have nothing lose, and everything to gain, from general strikes, riots, revolutions and the like.
At this stage it matters not how sophisticated are the techniques of social control as nothing will save a corrupt system from implosions ignited by falling living standards, fiat money, competitive devaluations, overpopulation, eco-ruin, and unemployment.

If we recognize no limits to wealth and its attendant political powers, then a growthism driven by enclosure and oligarchy will create deadly disparities of riches and political influence. Such social deformities lead to the collapse of natural economy, effective democracy, progressive reform, and livable environments. A just and stable society then slowly evaporates as growing wealth disparities produce class conflict.


Lacking refuge, most today are urbanized, indebted, desperately employed, and subject to their employer's, at-will, termination of their means to live. Naturally, in this condition, most are eager to become rich in order to fill the gap left by "original appropriation" and one's lack of liberating estate or communal enfranchisement.

Exactly this locked-in condition produces an all-consuming drive for money-wealth, and means we develop a "free market" of dependent wage slaves who must exploit one another in order to gain escape velocity from a game designed to liberate the few.

This very desperation - arising from a pervasive lack of individual or communal refuge - neither defines, or produces, any enlightened and progressive society. Rather, this estate of "labor" produces a frantic self-interest which further empowers capital, and allows ruling oligarchies to create massive "trickle-up" disparities of wealth and power. As a result, freedom is corrupted, creativity mis-aligned, and democracy denied as wealth, land, and freedom concentrate into the hands of the few.

The emergence of gross income disparities, and land redistribution movements, is a sure sign the socio-economic scheme is defective. The root question in then whether freedom and responsibility are not also defective since, given the nature of the game, only a few become free and enfranchised while the rest come to depend on subsidies to exist.

After centuries of "growth" why are the vast majority still landless, mortgaged, and dependent upon capital for their employment, and upon the state for an ever-receding "retirement?" Why, after centuries of "free markets," have not wage-laboring majorities become relatively wealthier, more enfranchised, landed, and less subsidized? Why are urban majorities still wage-bound, dependent on the state, and without natural estate or communal alternative amidst our growing wealth disparities and constant, per-capita, decline?

When stock markets are high, apologists point to the petty increases in stock ownership by today's struggling middle-classes as indicating progress has occurred. This is despite the fact both social and natural security are collapsing, and the ability of an evaporating middle-class to fund even a modest retirement has become nearly impossible. Come the time when markets crash, currencies decline, and depressions emerge then the wealth, freedom, and social security of the majority disappears.

At the latest peak of a massive stock market bubble generated by private central banks, the top 5 per cent of U.S. households, for example, still own 75 per cent of all stocks. The bottom 80 per cent own only three to five per cent of equities, shares, defined-contribution pension funds, IRA's, Keoghs, and mutual funds. In the U.S., only 1.7 % reach the $600,000 level of taxable estate at death.

Worldwide, 358 billionaires are now worth the combined income of 45% of the planet's population. and less than two hundred companies control half of the world's wealth and production as mergers continue.

Today's global concentration of wealth, and economic and political power, is almost without precedent. In any case, such ill-distributed wealth and power cannot possibly define success for the vast majority. Combined with a pervasive lack of natural freedom, current conditions define oligarchy with its obscene concentrations of wealth and power, monopoly, oligopoly, and pre-revolutionary social conditions.


Where enclosure and factor imbalance prevail, limits to wealth and periodic reshufflings of assets, competition, and opportunity soon becomes a necessity. If reform is thwarted society cannot peacefully ameliorate great disparity or disenfranchisement. We are then destined to breed greater concentrations of wealth and power until society is completely convulsed and the severity of reckonings is greatly increased.

Given a capital-controlled global marketplace, we have entered a new era of stateless oligopoly, monopoly, and disparity without limit, or offset. At this writing, a new round of depressions, recessions, and repressions around the world today are leading to re-evaluation of capital's trade policies, election of "populist" governments, and a new scrutiny into the institution of private central banks, and the undemocratic international tribunals now controlling our lives.

With little or no effective democracy remaining, and nation-states increasingly impotent, every industry is destined to be controlled by one, two, or at most five or six, global mega-corporations - each with little interest in any real competition or consumer benefit. With the increasing size of global corporations, absence of compensating tariffs and anti-trust levers, few, if any, competitors can mount a challenge or raise enough capital to compete with established giants. Thus, no competition for emerging global oligopolies will emerge and, as a result, they will then turn the screws on hapless consumers without choice.

The enormous power of capital today is seen in the fact that, of the top 100 economies in the world, fully half are multinational corporations - i.e., private economies whose annual revenues exceed the G.D.P. of many nations.
With companies grown as large and powerful as nations, democracy, effective competition, and truly free interdependencies must prove difficult if not impossible. The sheer size and power of global corporations today is well beyond anything imagined by economists and social theorists only a few decades ago. As a result, we are fast losing control of "our" markets, communities, and nations. Needed today are new and old mechanisms to prevent global monopoly, oligopoly, oligarchy, and the control of world markets and society by a few immensely wealthy individuals, powerful corporations, and "independent" central bankers.

If, on the other hand, we lived in a world of the enfranchised, and markets existed without great barriers to entry and competition, we might then conclude that such bigness is not a threat - or, at least, not likely to become a danger in a world of the enfranchised. However, this dream world is clearly not the case today. Worse, we are no longer maximizing domestic competition, capacity, creativity, and community control but, instead, minimizing local authority, autonomy, as well as our ability to escape one factor's power and predation.

Rather than a new capitalist millennium, the world is being set up to revisit nineteenth-century social conditions. Indeed, we are manufacturing conflict as growthism spawns decline, depression, currency ruin, crime, violence, envy and a revenge aimed at wealth and capital. Only with pervasive factor balance, enfranchisement, and trade schemes fit for a disparate world, can we alter a dismal dynamic, and avoid a sorry conclusion.

Short of reforms, however, there are currently no limits to wealth, enclosure, or capital's purchase of protection and political power.

In sum, within today's "laissez-faire" societies, our land and wealth distributions, as well as laws and legal systems, reflect the interests of those already in possession of wealth, power and freedom.
This causes the privileged to ignore, and make worse, the plight of growing numbers of "late-comers."
As oligarchies defeat reform, and manipulate the vote, they feed the forces insuring their demise.
Without new limits upon wealth, and corporate size and power, we are condemned to global enclosure, oligarchy, violence, and revolution.


Read more here --
http://www.limitstowealth.com/

8-)
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Quantum
 
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Re: LIMITING WEALTH

Postby Quantum on Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:07 am

GROWTHISM - The `Economic' Cancer of Growth-To-Ruin
What is commonly termed "economic growth" today is a combination of productivity enhancements and population increase. In fact, nearly 70 per cent of so-called economic "growth" is not productivity rise but simply population increase, not to mention inflation and currency decline further skewing the statistics.

Population increase, however, is not real "growth." It is nothing more than a per-capita decline in the essential qualities of life - i.e., per-capita space, environment, resources, etc.

Yet even in today's out of balance world this sorry definition of "growth" persists within the economic profession. In effect, by confusing growth with per-capita diminution, it serves to produce a continually degenerated and overpopulated world - thus robbing future generations of the better, less-overcrowded, world we ourselves inherited.

Growth then is indeed a ponzi scheme, and at this stage in humanity's devastation of the planet, it is nothing less than a crime. Yet we remain imprisoned within capital's sick and self-defeating definition of growth and progress - largely due to capital's overwhelming control of society and economy, as well as the persistence of religious idiocy. In effect, Balance is ex cathedra and outlawed.

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

What we are suffering from is the uneconomic, amoral, religio-capitalist, program of perpetual, per-capita, decline and its concomitant environmental devastation. While real progress has been made in bringing populations in balance in some countries, nevertheless, fundamentalist forces prevent birth control programs, erect gag rules, and so keep humanity expanding and chaos brewing.

As a result of such policies, wealthy nations are made to pay the bill in the form of immigration-to-ruin, environmental devastation, and resource wars. Poor countries wallow in despair and attempt to export their problems - a sick legacy to future generations.

Any truly moral, efficient, and responsible economics leaves a legacy of balanced budgets, balanced populations, and balanced environments. That direction is progress, that condition is economic, and that estate is moral and responsible.

Rather than continuing to direct and legislate public policy toward "growth" we need to re-orient our entire socio-economic structure and legislation toward Balance. At this stage in mankind's journey, and given the fragile environmental state of the planet, only Balance is a moral, rational, or truly economic agenda.

"The real meaning of capital's "progress" is that growth must proceed until all desirable optimums are exhausted and destroyed. Preservation of any human or ecological balance, and more desirable state of affairs, is denied in theory and practice. Pursued for its own sake, and without reference to extant conditions, growthism is a cancer producing continual per-capita diminishment and illusory profit - until space for natural freedom is exhausted and our enclosure, dependency, and despair are complete."

Read more here -
http://www.growthism.com/

8-)
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Re: LIMITING WEALTH

Postby Quantum on Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:58 am

Ponzi Planet: The Danger Debt Poses to the Western World

From -
http://www.spiegel.de/international/wor ... 06772.html

When Carlo Ponzi, a dishwasher from Parma, Italy, immigrated to the United States in 1903, he had $2.50 in his pocket and a million-dollar dream in his head. He was able to fulfill that dream, at least temporarily.

Ponzi promised people that he would multiply their money in a miraculous way: by 50 percent in six weeks. With his carefully parted hair and charming accent, Ponzi beguiled investors and fueled their avarice. The first investors raked in fantastic returns. What they didn't know was that Ponzi was simply using the next investors' money to pay them their profits.

The scheme continued. Ten investors turned into 100, and 100 investors turned into 1,000, until the scam was discovered. Ponzi spent many years in prison, and he died a pauper in 1949. But his name remains important to every criminologist today -- and every economist.

Economists use the term "Ponzi scheme" to describe a disastrous mechanism in which someone pays off old debt by constantly taking on new debt. The repayment of the debt -- the most recent loans, plus interest -- is deferred into the distant future, fueling an eternal process of debt refinancing.

It's the classic pyramid, or snowball scheme, practiced by thousands of con artists after Ponzi. The most spectacular case was that of New York financier Bernard Madoff, who was responsible for losses of about $20 billion by 2008. Snowballs are set into motion, becoming bigger and bigger as they roll along. In the worst case, they end in an avalanche that takes everything else with it.

Western economies have not acted much differently than the fraudster Madoff. In 2011, they were virtually inundated with bad news and old sins. Almost everyone -- in Europe and in the United States -- has been living beyond their means, from consumers to politicians to entire countries. Governments have become servants to the markets upon which they have become dependent.

Bigger Snowballs

On an almost weekly basis, the reports have become more worrisome and the sums of money involved more staggering. Many are now concerned that, as 2012 begins, the snowballs will only get bigger -- and roll faster:

* There are the banks in Europe, which will have to repay about €725 billion in combined debt in 2012, including €280 billion in the first quarter alone. With the private market largely off-limits to them, the banks have had to rely on the European Central Bank (ECB) to bail them out. The ECB is now lending them fresh money -- as much as they want -- at minimal interest rates.

* There is a country like Italy, which has an exorbitant amount of debt to service at the beginning of the year. About €160 billion in debt will mature between January and April; the total for the entire year is about €300 billion. The government in Rome is already having trouble finding buyers for its bonds.

* There is the ECB, which is creating billions essentially out of nothing. On an almost weekly basis, it is acquiring bonds that no one else would buy from Portugal, Spain and Italy and, in the process, it is turning into a reluctant financier of nations. This financial aid already amounts to €211 billion.

* There is the European Commission, whose president, José Manuel Barroso, supports the use of so-called euro bonds. These bonds, which would be issued jointly by the countries in the monetary union, would amount to an accumulation of collective debt on top of national debts.

* There is the €440-billion euro bailout fund, of which €150 billion are already promised to Greece, Ireland and Portugal. But because this amount is still not enough, the finance ministers have decided to "leverage" the fund, a seemingly harmless term for bringing in additional lenders, thereby multiplying the volume of credit.

* And then there is the United States, which only remains solvent because the Congress in Washington keeps raising the debt ceiling. The American government already owes its creditors about $15 trillion. Stay tuned for the next installment.

In other words, there are plenty of snowballs that have started rolling and getting larger with each rotation. Some aspects of the economic system in the industrialized countries resemble a gigantic Ponzi scheme. The difference is that this version is completely legal.

Living on Credit

Old debts are paid with new ones, with borrowers giving not the slightest thought to repayment. This has been going on for a long time, far too long, in fact. It was only with the eruption of the financial crisis in 2007 and the outrageously expensive bailouts of banks and economies that many people realized that the entire world is living on credit.

"Debt is rising to points that are above anything we have seen, except during major wars," economists at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) concluded in a recent study. "The debt problems facing advanced economies are even worse than we thought."

This is even true of seemingly rock-solid Germany. In the third quarter of 2011, German public debt amounted to €2.028 trillion, an increase of €10.8 billion over the debt level just three months earlier. Germany's public debt grew by about €120 million a day -- or more than €80,000 a minute -- between July and September.

To make matters worse, this increase occurred in a quarter marked by plentiful tax revenues and a significant decline in unemployment. But debts increase independently of whether times happen to be good or bad.

The End of the System

The same thing is happening almost everywhere. In the first decade of this century, which was by no means a weak period economically, countries more than doubled the level of debt -- to an estimated grand total of $55 trillion by the end of 2011.

The United States leads the pack with its national debt of $15 trillion, followed by Japan with about $13 trillion. Germany's €2 trillion looks almost paltry by comparison. Today, the three major rating agencies award their highest credit rating to only 14 countries in the world.

The fact that nations are continually spending more than they take in cannot turn out well in the long run. The word "credit" comes from the Latin "credere," which means "to believe." The system will only function as long as lenders believe in borrowers. Once the belief in the creditworthiness of borrowers is destroyed, hardly anyone will be willing to buy their securities.

When that happens, the system is finished.

This is precisely what happened with Carlo Ponzi's scheme. And now entire countries are suffering suspiciously similar fates. They are no longer being taken seriously.

Greece is effectively insolvent. Italy and Spain are forced to offer higher interest rates to find buyers for their government bonds. And France threatens to lose its impeccable credit rating. The debt crisis has arrived in the heart of Europe.

Meanwhile, it is also flaring up in the United States once again, with Democrats and Republicans blaming each other for the nation's debts. Instead of taking responsibility and consolidating the budget, President Barack Obama prefers to rail against the Europeans' approach to crisis management. They, in turn, refuse to tolerate any interference, especially from the United States, which they blame for being the source of the financial crisis in the first place.

In this fashion, the Old World and the New World are tossing the blame back and forth, while confidence in politics and its ability to avert collapse is dwindling on both sides of the Atlantic. Is there still a way to stop the avalanche, or at least to diminish is destructive force? Why do countries that collect taxes have to borrow money in the first place?

Read more here -
http://www.spiegel.de/international/wor ... 772-2.html

:roll:
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